by product:
J P

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On February 4, 2019
Last modified:April 8, 2019

Summary:

Portable weather stations, also called handheld weather stations, are beneficial for acquiring field weather data that is accurate and real-time no matter where you are.  They are used by fun-seekers and professionals alike.

Portable Weather Station List

A portable weather station, also called a handheld weather station, provides all sorts of weather data to its user in a small, easy-to-carry device.  They provide readings on things like temperature, pressure, wind speed, humidity, and altitude.  Handheld models are beneficial for acquiring field weather data that is accurate and real-time no matter where you are. These pocket-size gadgets are used in a wide range of outdoor activities.  And since they’re used outside and in many different weather conditions, they’re usually rugged and weather-resistant.  The best portable weather stations are even waterproof and float. 

Please see our recommendations and portable weather station reviews below.

Our Top 5 Portable Weather Station List

Top Pick:  Best Portable Weather Station 2019

Kestrel 5500 Portable Weather Station

We’ve chosen the Kestrel 5500 as the best portable weather station.  It’s the top of the line product from Kestrel’s popular 5000 series and includes more features than any other on our list.  It’s quite literally like having an entire weather station in your pocket.  In fact, if you wanted to, it can be placed on an optional wind vane mount and connected via LINK (optional Bluetooth model) to a PC, making it even more like a home weather station.  This Kestrel portable weather station is rugged, waterproof, and floats.  It’s also backed by Kestrel’s 5 year warranty and made in America.

Here is a list of its features: 

  • Wind (Speed & Direction) 1-90 mph
  • Temperature
  • Wind Chill, Dew Point, Heat Index
  • Humidity
  • Pressure
  • Altitude
  • Compass
  • Crosswind/Headwind/Tailwind

We recommend this as the best portable weather station.  With all of the features does come a higher price than others on this list. Click the links below to see the current price on Amazon.

Standard Kestrel 5500: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

Kestrel 5500 w/ Bluetooth: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon


Runner-up Picks

Ambient Weather WM-4 Handheld Weather Station

Ambient Weather is a leader in the weather station and observation market.  Their WM-4 handheld weather station is packed full of features, including a compass, but at a much lower price point than most that do.  The WM-4 is weather-resistant and floats, while carrying an industry average 2 year warranty.

Here are the features of the Ambient WM-4:

  • Wind (Speed & Direction) 1-89 mph
  • Temperature
  • Wind Chill, Dew Point, Heat Index
  • Humidity
  • Compass
  • Crosswind/Headwind/Tailwind

One area that the Ambient handheld weather station falls short is the lack of a pressure sensor, meaning no pressure reading or altimeter.  If this is a deal breaker for you, but you liked the Ambient brand, they do offer an upgrade to the WM-5 which includes a pressure sensor.  Otherwise, you’re encouraged to look to the next option on the list, the Kestrel 2500.

Ambient Weather WM-4: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon


Kestrel 2500 Portable Weather Station

For those who aren’t interested in spending the dough required to purchase the 5500 model, Kestrel’s 2500 model is a great choice.  It still has many of the features of the 5500 and also carries their 5 year warranty and is made in the USA.  Like all of their pocket weather stations, this unit is rugged, waterproof, and floats.

Here are the features of the 2500 model:

  • Wind Speed (1-90mph)
  • Temperature
  • Wind Chill
  • Pressure
  • Altitude

Although the warranty and other features of a Kestrel weather meter make this #3 on our list, it is lacking a hygrometer, meaning no humidity readings.

Kestrel 2500: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

Kestrel makes some of the best portable weather stations available.  They make so many models that we couldn’t share them all here.  If you’d like to learn more about their entire line-up, please see our Ultimate Guide to Kestrel Weather Meters.


Weatherhawk SM-28 Portable Weather Station

Weatherhawk is a brand that is known for their high-end weather instrumentation, so you know accuracy is a focus for their products.  The Skymaster is no different.  They advertise this model to be accurate to 3% on wind speeds from 0.5-99 mph.  This particular portable weather station carries a 2 year warranty, and like others in its class, the SM-28 is water-resistant and it floats.

Other features include:

  • Wind Speed (0.5-99mph)
  • Temperature
  • Wind Chill, Dew Point, Heat Index
  • Humidity
  • Pressure
  • Altitude

Weatherhawk SM-28: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon


Brunton ADC Pro Pocket Weather Station

Brunton’s ADC (Atmospheric Data Center) Pro has a lot of features and is shaped slightly different than other portable weather stations.  It does some unique things like give a 12-hour weather prediction, provide alarms for different measurements, and include a chronograph.  Additionally, it measures, counts, and logs virtually all aspects of your journey.  Like others, its waterproof, but it’s also submersible.

Here are weather-related data points it will measure:

  • Wind Speed
  • Temperature
  • Wind Chill
  • Pressure
  • Altitude
  • Water Speed

A couple of drawbacks on this model are its 1 year warranty and the lack of a hygrometer for sensing the humidity.

Brunton ADC Pro: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon


Handheld Weather Station Buying Guide

As you can see in our list of the best portable weather stations above, they can come with vastly different features and weather data measurements.  You’ll see in the portable weather station uses below some of the reasons where you could really use one.  This will likely have much to do with which unit you’ll want to purchase.  In other words, will you be using it for business or pleasure?

If you’re going to be using the handheld weather station in your day-to-day job function, you’ll want to find something that has all the features you’ll require.  In addition, finding a unit that will be rugged and can stand up to the conditions will be key.  Although price almost always plays a part in any buying decision, this situation might be different.  You’ll likely be better off spending more money now rather than buying something cheap and having to replace it because it either wasn’t want you needed, or because it broke prematurely.  This happens due to the nature of the work that most of these job functions do.  If you are buying this work, I recommend looking closely at the Kestrel 5500 on the top of our list.

On the other hand, if you’re buying for pleasure, meaning you won’t be using it every day, you might have some more flexibility.  In this case, the most important thing is to determine what weather data points will be essential for your use.  Once you are able to determine which models will fit your needs, you can weigh that with the price, warranty period, and feedback other customers have given to decide on a portable weather station from our list.  By clicking on the “Check Price & Reviews on Amazon” link, you can see what recent buyers of the product have to say about the product.  This information is invaluable to someone that’s not quite sure.  Besides, each of these top 5 pocket weather stations has their own unique features and benefits.  In the end however, they are all great products and the ones we found to be the best. 

Portable Weather Station Uses

Most people think about portable weather stations being used by hikers, campers, fishermen, and other outdoorsmen.  They can provide weather readings that are handy to have when in the woods or on the water in order to keep you safe.  It’s true that they’re a useful appliance for this group, but they aren’t the only ones that benefit from such a device.

Handheld weather stations are also used in several hobbies.  For instance, model airplane flying, kite surfers, and long-range shooters are interested heavily in the wind.  Athletes and coaches care about temperatures and the heat index for player safety.  Storm spotters use them to identify conditions that are indicative of a storm, and weather observers use them for daily observations.

In addition to all the fun-seekers discussed above, portable weather stations are also often used on the job.  Here are some examples…

First Responders

Emergency response teams, hazmat crews, and firefighters need to quickly gauge conditions to make life-saving decisions.  Check out the Kestrel 3500FW, specifically outfitted for firefighters and their unique needs.

Farmers

Farmers can use handheld weather stations to determine when to plant crops, when to spray fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide, and when to plan for harvest.  Because of its portability, it can be carried around with them or left in car or tractor to keep handy.  There numerous models that measure Delta T, which is important for farmers.

Law Enforcement Officers

Law enforcement and military personnel often have the duty to protect those they service.  Knowing hyperlocal, current weather conditions can be a part of that.

Race Track 

Race track officials and pit crews are interested in weather readings specific to their needs.  They may affect how the car runs or track conditions.  See the Kestrel 5100 w/ LINK, our recommendation as the best portable weather station for the racing industry.

Construction Site

Construction and concrete workers are also interested in weather conditions that surround them.  In construction, scheduling and worker safety relies on the weather.  For concrete workers, scheduling and curing times can be dependent on weather conditions.

HVAC

HVAC technicians use handheld weather stations for other reasons.  They use them in their trade for airflows and temperatures in duct work, not necessarily outside.

Best Portable Weather Station Summary

Hopefully our portable weather station reviews were helpful in your pursuit.  There are a number of different options available, but we’ve covered the most popular and feature-rich options for you so you don’t have to research them all yourself.  In our opinion, these are the top 5 best portable weather stations.

That being said, the best portable weather stations are in a sweet spot.  They are more than just pocket wind meters that typically just provide wind speed and temperature and not the other weather data.  On the other hand, they measure much of the same types of data as home weather stations.  Where the standard weather stations are more convenient for home use, portable weather stations are perfect for folks on the go that need to take it with them on the road.


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