weather station accuracy

Weather Station Accuracy

Good news!  Most manufactures actually publish the stats on their weather station accuracy, either on their website or in an owner’s manual that can be readily obtained online.  We made your journey even shorter as we’ve already gathered the weather station accuracy numbers on most of the units we’ve reviewed here at wxobservation.com.  They can be found on each individual station’s review page.  As you will likely notice very quickly when looking through our reviews, it’s common for the best home weather stations to also be some of the most accurate.

By purchasing high quality components from proven brands like the ones we’ve reviewed on this site, you’ll find they are more reliable and more accurate than cheaper models.  Spending a few extra bucks now could save you from buying add-on after add-on later trying to make your home weather station more accurate through aftermarket components.  Some of the low-end weather stations use very light weight, cheap plastic components that might not make it through some tough storms.  Once the anemometer gets bent or the sensors damaged, it’ll be even less accurate than before.

Weather Station Accuracy:  What to expect

If you’ve read through our weather station reviews, you know that Davis Instruments manufactured weather stations are the most accurate when it comes to home-use stations.  Pulled directly from our Davis Vantage Vue review, here are its accuracy stats:

  • Temperature: ± 1° F
  • Humidity: ± 3-4%
  • Barometric Pressure: ±0.03 inHG
  • Rain: ± 5%
  • Wind Direction: ± 3°
  • Wind Speed: ± 2 mph

These are a good rule of thumb for what you can expect out of the best home weather stations.

Radiation Shields

A radiation shield is a component that blocks the sun from shining directly on to the temperature sensor, reducing the error from solar radiation and precipitation.  Most weather stations for home use are naturally ventilated through louvers in the shield.  These are pretty effective as long as you can keep them away from large objects like buildings and from heat-producing things like vents/motors.  While this is good and what is common on most units, there are some that have forced ventilation, typically called “fan-aspirated” radiation shields.   These fan aspirated shields tend to be even more accurate because of their increased ventilation.  A good example would be the Davis Pro2 with 24-hour Fan Aspirated Radiation Shield.

How Can I Improve Home Weather Station Accuracy?

This is one of the most important topics we’ve covered in our resource articles, so please pay attention.  The easiest, and often least expensive way to increase the accuracy of your home weather station is through proper siting, or optimal placement, of the weather instruments.  In fact, it makes such a big difference that we wrote an entire guide to weather station siting and installation.  Although proper installation techniques won’t improve the actual accuracy of the sensors themselves, optimal placement will help to ensure you get the full potential of the weather station’s accuracy.

Another way to improve accuracy after you already have a weather station would be to add on additional components as an upgrade.  If it doesn’t have a radiation shield, the manufacturer likely sells one.  If you one, perhaps a fan aspirated shield will help.  Like we mentioned above, it doesn’t take too long to feel like you should have just spent more money on a better, high quality weather station.  So, if you’re not happy with what you have, think about replacing the weather station before you put more money in what you have.

Conclusion

High quality weather stations that are installed according to the manual will present the most accurate readings.  When shopping for a weather station, check its accuracy with the manufacturer or on our review pages.  If you’re not happy with what you have, consider a weather station replacement rather than spending money on costly upgrades that won’t change the construction of the unit you already aren’t happy with.


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