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Forget your forecast app: These standalone weather stations put your smartphone to shame

There are plenty of reasons to buy a home weather station. On a farm or in a garden, for instance, certain plants demand care that changes with the forecast. Folks with serious allergies could also benefit from more data on their environment, as can amateur meteorologists who are looking to stay updated with the latest information.

Related: This weather detector looks to do for weather what Waze does for traffic

Home weather stations vary greatly in terms of specs and abilities, so you’ll want to think about what kind of features you want before making a purchase. Some of the more advanced units will cost you, but for those who truly depend on weather knowledge, the upgrade is likely worth it. If you’re more of a casual enthusiast, you probably won’t want to drop hundreds of dollars — and the extra features may not be worth it for you, either. So to help you make the right decision, here’s a quick rundown of the best weather stations.

Ambient Weather WS-1001

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The Ambient Weather WS-1001 is one of the most all-encompassing stations you get get for under $300. The weather station collects a lot of data, too, including temperature, humidity, wind speed, radiation levels, rainfall, and barometric pressure. Data is transmitted via Wi-Fi to a display console, though internet connectivity is not required. Access to the Wunderground app is also available, providing real-time data from a series of Ambient Weather home weather stations. The WS-1001 is considered to be one of the more accurate and reliable devices available for personal use, especially given how simple it is to set up. Just mount it on a pole and you’re good to go!

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2

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The Davis Instruments 6153 is for the serious weather enthusiasts, or folks with some extra cash to drop. The device will cost you nearly $800, but it’s one of the best personal stations on the market. It’s the kind of device you would expect farmers, educators, and emergency professionals to have. Graphs, totals, averages, highs and lows — this device will calculate it all.

There are a bunch of add-on options, too. Need more temperature and humidity sensors? You can add that. Want a soil moisture station? That’s available, too. One of the most impressive features is its refresh rates, though. The data is sent from the outdoor transmitter every 2.5 seconds, which is as close to immediate as you’re likely to get with a home weather station. Information is sent to the included display, but the device can also be connected to a computer using the Vantage Pro2 software. The device also relies on solar energy during the day and uses stored energy at night, but there is a backup battery if you need it.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Netatmo Personal Weather Station

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Netatmo’s personal weather station is handsome to say the least. The unit’s sleek, cylindrical design is much more subtle than the rest of the weather stations on this list, rendering it our top choice for the design enthusiast. One station goes inside, with the other outside. There’s no display — instead, information is sent directly to your smartphone. The provided data is not as comprehensive as other stations, but it covers the basics, including temperature, air quality, and humidity. An add-on is available for those interested in rainfall measurements, too.

Where the Netatmo really stands out, however, is with its ability to track indoor air quality. According to Netatmo, indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air. Using a built-in CO2 sensor, the weather station is designed to measure the air quality of your home. The device glows green when ultra-clean air is present and yellow for average air. And when it glows red, well, it’s time to evacuate the family.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

AcuRite 75077 Weather Forecaster

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The AcuRite 75077 costs around $40, which makes it one of the most affordable weather stations on our list. You lose a few of the more advanced features with the price dip, but for casual users, it’s certainly not a bad way to go. To use the system, you mount an unobtrusive sensor in your yard, which will transit the data to the display panel. Here, you’ll be able to see the forecast, indoor and outdoor temperature, high and low records, and the time and date.

The display generates the forecast using a “weather prediction algorithm,” one that relies on the data from your personal sensor. The display looks good, too, and features a large typeface that’s easy to read. This particular model is black-and-white, but AcuRite offers a color display, too, if that’s important to you.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

AcuRite 00638 Wireless Weather Station with Wind Sensor

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AcuRite offers a bunch of different options aimed at all types of weather enthusiasts. The Wireless Weather Station with Wind Sensor is a step up from the 75077 Weather Forecaster model, and adds a bit more information to its offering — namely, wind speed and chill. Like with the 75077, the outdoor station gets mounted in the yard and transmits data to an easy-to-read, indoor monitor. You’ll get a personal forecast, which includes indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, daily lows and highs, heat index, wind speed and chill, moon phases, and time and date. These metrics will be sent to the monitor consistently throughout the day, and though the station costs roughly $70, it remains a reasonable option for those looking for a budget-based weather station.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

BloomSky SKY1 Weather Camera Station and Solar Panel

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BloomSky’s SKY1 device stands out with its HD camera, which it uses to capture photos every 5 minutes and create a time-lapse video each day. You can also adjust the built-in, 45-degree fisheye lens to take photos whenever the weather changes, meaning you can quickly capture a snapshot when the temperature fluctuates or when it starts to rain. A solar panel powers the device, and if needed, a battery will kick in to keep it going over long stretches of cloudy/dark weather. All information, including photos, is transmitted directly to your smartphone once synced with the accompanying BloomSky app. The weather station can even be integrated with other smart home devices, like those from Nest.

Buy one now from:

Amazon