product by:
J P

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On November 21, 2017
Last modified:April 8, 2019

Summary:

Kestrel weather meters and wind meters are handy and portable. Some of them are like carrying an entire weather station in your pocket.

Ultimate Guide & Review 

Kestrel Weather Meters

Kestrel is the world leader in handheld weather meters.  Their line of robust and accurate meters is popular among weather enthusiasts, race tracks, fire fighters, HVAC technicians, farmers, and long range shooters.  Kestrel weather meters are made in the USA and backed by a 5 year warranty.

Here’s a list of features you can expect from all of the Kestrel weather meters listed below:

  • Rugged and weather-resistant
  • Waterproof and floats
  • Impeller than can be replaced without tools
  • Wind Speed range of 0.3 to 134.2 mph (guaranteed accuracy between 1.3 to 89.5 mph)

Kestrel produces over one hundred individual SKUs.  If you’re not familiar with each model, it can seem daunting to chose a meter.  We’re going to break down the most popular weather meters one-by-one and guide you to the best model for your application.  Now to our Kestrel weather meter reviews…


Kestrel 1000 Pocket Wind Meter / Digital Anemometer

Kestrel 1000 review:

The 1000 is the most basic wind meter offered by Kestrel and extremely simple to use, yet reliable and very compact.  It’s been available for nearly 20 years, and yet still very popular today at an affordable price.  The Kestrel wind meter comes with a protective cover, neck lanyard, and CR2032 battery (average life 300 hours).

Common Use:  Basic wind meter

Features of the Kestrel 1000:

  • Current & average wind speed
  • Maximum wind gust
  • Data hold function
  • Large, easy-to-read display provides

Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

kestrel 1000 pocket wind meter

Kestrel 2000 Pocket Wind Meter / Digital Anemometer

Kestrel 2000 review:

Like the 1000 model, the Kestrel 2000 is both compact and rugged.  In addition, for just a little more money, the 2000 includes several more features that are not available in the base model 1000 that just measures wind data.  The Kestrel 2000 also comes with a protective cover, neck lanyard, and CR2032 battery (average life 300 hours).

Common Use:  Outdoor enthusiasts, Skiers/Snowboarders

Features of the Kestrel 2000:

  • Current & average wind speed
  • Maximum wind gust
  • Air, water, and snow temperature
  • Wind Chill
  • Data hold function
  • Large, backlit easy-to-read display

Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

kestrel 2000 pocket wind meter

Kestrel 2500 Pocket Wind Meter / Digital Altimeter & Anemometer

Kestrel 2500 review: 

The same size as the basic wind meters above, the Kestrel 2500 starts to add some serious weather measurements with the addition of a pressure sensor and digital altimeter.  The Kestrel 2500 comes with a protective cover, neck lanyard, and CR2032 battery (average life 300 hours).  It also comes in both orange and olive drab options.

Common Use:  Model Airplane Flight, Long Range Shooting

Features of the Kestrel 2500:

  • Current & average wind speed
  • Maximum wind gust
  • Air, water, and snow temperature
  • Wind Chill
  • Barometric Pressure
  • Altitude
  • Clock
  • Data hold function
  • Large, backlit (night vision preserving back light on olive drab model)

Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

kestrel 2500 pocket wind meter

Kestrel 3000 Pocket Weather Meter / Digital Anemometer

Kestrel 3000 review:

The Kestrel 3000 is popular amount firefighters for controlled burns.  It adds humidity and heat stress index to the base model.  In many cases, it can replace a Sling Psychrometer, a huge step in time saving.  The Kestrel 3000 pocket weather meter comes with a protective cover, neck lanyard, and CR2032 battery (average life 300 hours).

Common Use:  Firefighters, Concrete Professionals

Features of the Kestrel 3000:

  • Current & average wind speed
  • Maximum wind gust
  • Air, water, and snow temperature
  • Wind Chill
  • Relative Humidity
  • Heat Stress Index
  • Dew Point
  • Data hold function
  • Large, backlit easy-to-read display

Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

kestrel 3000 pocket weather meter

Kestrel 3500 Pocket Weather Meter / Digital Altimeter & Anemometer

Kestrel 3500 review: 

As a full weather meter, the Kestrel 3500 packs features into its compact frame.  This feature-rich, portable weather meter can measure A LOT!  Like the others above, the 3500 Kestrel pocket weather meters come with a protective cover, neck lanyard, and CR2032 battery (average life 300 hours).  It also comes in both yellow and olive drab options.

Common Use:  Outdoor Enthusiasts, Campers/Hikers, Anyone interested in accurate, portable weather monitoring that fits in their pocket.

Features of the Kestrel 3500:

    • Current & Average Wind Speed
    • Maximum wind gust
    • Air, water, and snow temperature
    • Wind Chill
    • Dew Point
    • Wet Bulb Temperature
    • Barometric Pressure
    • Altitude
    • Clock
    • Relative Humidity
    • Heat Stress Index
    • Data hold function
    • Large, backlit (night vision preserving back light on olive drab model)

Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

kestrel 3500 pocket weather meter

Specialty Kestrel Weather Meters in 3500 Series

Kestrel 3500DT

Kestrel Weather Meter Review: 

The Kestrel 3500 also comes in a “Delta T” version.  In addition to the standard 3500 model, the Kestrel 3500DT measures the difference between the wet bulb temperature and the dry bulb temperature.  This assists in providing a determination on optimal spraying conditions for agricultural professionals.

See the 3500DT Kestrel Weather Meter on Amazon

Kestrel 3500 Fire Weather Meter

Kestrel Fire Weather Meter Review:

The 3500 series also comes in a “Fire” version (Kestrel 3500FW).  In addition to the standard 3500 model, the Fire Weather Meter model includes an easy to read PIG (Probability of Ignition) and FDFM (Fine Dead Fuel Moisture) cards.  This assists firefighters with consistent, precise measurements without human error.

See the 3500FW Kestrel Weather Meter on Amazon


Kestrel 5000 Series Weather Meters

The Kestrel 5000 series provides similar measurements and monitoring features as the Kestrel 3500.  The major difference between the two is the 5000 series’ ability to store and graph data and upload it directly to your computer via the USB Data Transfer Cable.  In addition, it can interface directly with your computer or smartphone via Bluetooth on the “LINK” enabled versions.

All Kestrel 5000 handheld weather meters have a standard white backlight and a night-vision preserving backlight for both day and night viewing.   Each Kestrel 5000 series device includes a neck lanyard, protective drawstring pouch, AA lithium battery (average life 400 hours), certificate of conformity, and instruction manual.

Kestrel 5000 Environmental Meter / Portable Weather Station

Kestrel 5000 review:

The Kestrel Pocket Weather Tracker is a data logging, handheld weather meter.  You can purchase the standard Kestrel 5000, or one with Bluetooth LINK.  With LINK, you can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth.  You can also purchase a USB dongle separately and use it to connect to your PC/Mac via Bluetooth.

Common Use:  Scientists, Athletes, Automotive Technicians, Law Enforcement

Features of the Kestrel 5000:

  • Current & average wind speed
  • Maximum wind gust
  • Air, water, and snow temperature
  • Wind Chill
  • Dew Point
  • Wet Bulb Temperature
  • Barometric Pressure
  • Station Pressure
  • Altitude
  • Density Altitude
  • Time and Date
  • Relative Humidity
  • Heat Stress Index
  • Data hold function
  • Backlit display (night vision preserving back light on olive drab model)

Standard: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

With Bluetooth LINK: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

kestrel 5000 evnironmental meter / portable weather station

Kestrel Accessories for all 5000 Series Weather Meters

Click Link to See Amazon Product Page


Kestrel 5100 Racing Weather Meter

Kestrel 5100 Review:

The Kestrel 5100 Weather Meter is very similar to the 5000 series with a few distinct differences, specifically made for the race track.  As a “pit meter”, the 5100 can provide last minute tuning decisions based on track weather conditions.  By adding LINK, you can get the data instantly to your smartphone up to 100ft away.

Common Use:  Race Track / Pit Weather Meter

The Kestrel 5100 adds the following features to the 5000:

  • Moisture Content (water grains)
  • Air Density
  • Relative Air Density (RAD)

Standard: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

With Bluetooth LINK: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

kestrel 5100 racing weather meter

Kestrel 5200 Professional Environmental Meter

Kestrel 5200 Review:

5200 Series Kestrel weather meters are very similar to the 5000 series with a few distinct differences, specifically made for professionals.  They also comes in standard and a Bluetooth LINK version.

Common Use*:  Construction, Concrete Work, HVAC Technicians, Agricultural/Farmers

The Kestrel 5200 adds the following features to the 5000:

  • Evaporation Rate
  • Air Flow
  • Delta T
  • Relative Air Density
  • Air Density

Standard: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

With Bluetooth LINK: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

kestrel 5200 professional environmnetal meter

Kestrel 5500 Weather Meter / Portable Weather Station

Kestrel 5500 Review: 

The Kestrel 5500 is very similar to the 5000 with a few additional features.  It really is like a complete weather station that fits in your pocket. 

Common Use:  Military, Hazmat Crews, Outdoorsmen, Ultimate Weather Enthusiasts

The Kestrel 5500 adds the following features to the 5000:

  • Digital Compass
  • Wind Direction
  • Crosswind
  • Headwind/Tailwind

Standard: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

With Bluetooth LINK: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

kestrel 5500 portable weather station

Kestrel Sportsman Applied Ballistics Weather Meter

Kestrel Applied Ballistics Review: 

The Kestrel Sportsman with applied ballistics has some additional features over the standard 5000 model, specifically relevant for shooters/hunters.  Built-in is the Applied Ballistics G1/G7 ballistics solver.  As a rule of thumb, this is a good meter for those shooting at distances up to 800 meters.  For longer range shooting, check out the Kestrel Elite below. 

Common Use:  Shooters, Hunters, Outdoorsmen

In addition to the standard features on the 5000 model, the 5500 also includes:

  • Wind Direction
  • Crosswind
  • Headwind/Tailwind
  • G1/G7 Solver – Aerodynamic Jump, Spin Drift & Coriolis corrections (for accurate long-range shots)
  • Muzzle Velocity Tuning (can measure bullet velocity without a chronograph)
  • Choice of units (Mils, MOA, or Clicks)

Standard: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

With Bluetooth LINK: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

kestrel 5000 sportsman applied ballistics

Kestrel Elite Applied Ballistics Weather Meter

Kestrel Elite Review:

The Kestrel Elite with applied ballistics is the big brother of the Sportsman model.  It has the same built-in applied ballistics, many additional features.  This is their best meter when it comes to long-range shooting.  

Common Use:  Long-Range Shooters, Marksmen

Here are the features the Elite model adds to the Kestrel Sportsman:

 

  • Custom drag curves – includes drop scale factoring (assists in targeting beyond supersonic bullet range)
  • Ballistic calibration (truing)
  • Crosswind Jump
  • Calculate accurate fire control solutions for long range rifle shooting
  • Ballistic coefficient data for over 225 long range bullets
  • Adjust for angle
  • Able to export wind speed, elevation, and windage by Bluetooth to external device
kestrel 5000 elite applied ballistics

Note, you can download and use the Kestrel LINK Ballistics app (free for both Android and iPhone) with the LINK model to load Ammo/Gun combinations on the meter.  You are not able to load gun profiles via the dongle.  The USB cable will work for this and is commonly used if connecting to multiple meters.

Software for the applied ballistics is built-in to the meter and includes the “Litz” library of G1/G7 BC’s, drag curve modeling, truing, and loader software for PC.

Standard: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

With Bluetooth LINK: Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

Compare Kestrel Sportsman & Kestrel Elite

Chart from the Kestrel Weather Meter website

Summary

So, which is the best Kestrel weather meter?  Well, the short answer is that they’re all great.  You just have to find the right one for your needs.  Each of our Kestrel weather meter reviews includes common uses and features to help you choose.

Best Kestrel Weather Meter

If you’re looking for something lower cost, but with many features, we recommend the Kestrel 3500 Pocket Weather Meter.  It’s full of features, yet fits in your pocket.  It covers a wide range of uses, comes with the Kestrel 5 year warranty, and is made in the USA!

Best Kestrel Portable Weather Station

You can’t go wrong with the Kestrel 5500 Portable Weather Station w/ LINK.  It is quite literally an entire weather station in your pocket.  It can do so much!  This is the ultimate tool for any weather enthusiast or would be a great gift for someone that needs critical readings in their job.

Best Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meter

If you’re into long-range shooting and ballistics are you reason for purchasing a weather meter, we highly recommend the Kestrel Elite Applied Ballistics Weather Meter w/ LINK.  As you can see above, this convenient little device is also a reference guide, data base, and calibration tool that is specifically designed for your craft.


*Reference for Kestrel 5200 Uses Discussed Above

Construction/Concrete: The Kestrel 5200 is a concrete crew’s dream.  It provides and evaporation rate calculator and displays it right on the screen with no calculation.  It also as built-in the American Concrete Institute Evaporation Rate nomograph.  With the information provided, additives and curing decisions ae made easy, preventing potential costly cracks

HVAC:  The Kestrel 5200 makes volume air flow super easy.  No need for calculations or geometry.  Just enter the duct shape and dimensions, then move the meter across the duct.  It’ll provide the average and instantaneous volume air flow.  This can help in commissioning and performance balancing HVAC systems.

Agricultural:  Delta T calculations on the 5200 help guide you through optimal spray conditions and nozzles.  Delta T is an evaporation rate using dew point and temperature.  Farms know when spraying is safe by using this along with the wind conditions measured on the Kestrel 5200.


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