Thinking of buying a weather station for Christmas? Read this first.

Many readers of WUWT have an interest in weather, and specifically temperature. This being “Black Friday”, I thought I’d spend a few minutes talking about some of the home weather stations that are available and being promoted as “deals” this year. I’m going to provide you with some details that might help you avoid purchasing a piece of poorly manufactured equipment that might look pretty, but won’t last and won’t be accurate.

One of the most promoted weather stations out there this year is one by a company called “LaCrosse”. You’ll see this snazzy looking “5 in 1” weather station at Costco, Amazon, and many other places.

They like to bill themselves as a company based in Wisconsin, but make no mistake, everything they sell is manufactured in China, as is this unit. I’ve had a fair amount of personal experience with this company, and the products are generally low-end when it comes to reliability, quality, and accuracy.


  • Great price
  • Lots of features
  • Color LCD display
  • Cell phone interface/app


  • Rain gauge with lower surface collection area than is standard means lower accuracy on rainfall measurements
  • No wind direction measurement – only speed
  • Small cup size on Anemometer means low wind readings are not captured
  • No specs given on accuracy of temperature, humidity, pressure, rainfall – only ranges given in their published specs
  • Company’s products have history of short durability

My experience with Chinese made products like this is that they have a temperature accuracy that is often only ±2 or 3 degrees Fahrenheit, don’t read winds accurately, nor report rainfall measurements accurately due to non-standard sizes of wind cups and rain collectors. Even worse, in my experience, they often don’t last very long. The plastic components don’t handle weather and sun exposure well, and the housing darkens with age, increasing the bias to the temperature. While this product “looks” great, it’s really little more than a toy.

Another similar Chinese-made weather station is one from a company called AcuRite, also available in many places, such as Target, Amazon, Kohl’s, Home Depot, and many other online stores. Like the LaCrosse, it has a snappy display and lots of features, but like any Chinese-made product, it suffers from accuracy and reliability issues.



  • Good price
  • Lots of features
  • Color LCD display
  • Cell phone interface/app
  • Computer logging program
  • Solar powered fan for aspirated temperature readings


  • Oddly shaped rain gauge aperture with lower surface collection area than is standard means lower accuracy on rainfall measurements
  • Small cup size and odd shape on Anemometer means low wind readings are not captured
  • Accuracy of temperature is listed as ±2 degrees F
  • Users report fan stops working after a few months, resulting in higher than normal temperature readings
  • Slow – wind speed reported every 18 seconds and direction every 30
  • Users report short useful product lifetime

The above examples are just two of the many Chinese-made consumer grade weather stations being foisted on consumers this Christmas. While these might be fine for “entertainment value”, anybody who is series about getting accurate weather and climate information really needs to look elsewhere. These weather stations have even worse problems than we have uncovered in the NOAA surface temperature network.

There is one company, Davis Instruments, of Hayward California that makes quality weather stations that have accuracy and quality, and I highly recommend them if you plan to purchase a weather station. Sure, they may cost more, but they do in fact last, have standard sized rain and wind collection that meet WMO specs, and have sensors that are NIST traceable. Plus, they are wholly American-made.

The caveat “you get what you pay for” holds true in the weather station market.


  • Standard sized and shape rain gauge comes meet WMO standards for size and collection area
  • NIST traceability with sensors
  • Temperature accurate to within ±1 degreeF (0.5C) Full specs here
  • NOAA, Naval Observaory, WMO, algorithms built into firmware for calculated data
  • Durable construction won’t darken or fail – users report stations lasting 10 years or more
  • Parts are available from the U.S. manufacturer – unlike from China manufacturers


  • No color display
  • Higher price

Full disclosure: my company has the first and oldest online weather instrument store ( 1995) and we sell these. If you’d like to take a look, we have a sale on, and you can take my word for it: these stations will last, and give you accurate readings, as well as log data, send data to places like Weather Underground, and works with Android/iOS apps if you get the WeatherLink IP to connect to your home router.

I have seen so many people buy these cheap Chinese instruments, then become frustrated with them either right out of the box (DOA) or having them fail in a few months, that I thought I’d take a moment to tell people about what I’ve learned through experience. Even if you don’t buy a Davis weather station through my store, at least don’t buy one of these cheap Chinese alternatives if you value greater accuracy and reliability.

Thanks for your consideration.

via Watts Up With That?

November 24, 2017 at 05:31AM

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