Weather station recommnedations?


Senior Member
I am wanting to get a weather station that includes outdoor temp, humidity and rainfall. I was looking as some cheap tipping bucket station and noticed it was recommended to take the thing down or cover it during freezing conditions. I don't want to have to mess with that. Is this a limitation on all of them or are some able to stand up to freezing? Some rain gauges have heaters but that is overkill for me - I don't really care about accuracy when it is freezing, just that the thing is not damaged.

What are my options? I want something that will work with Misterhouse. I think wired would be the best as I don't have to worry about changing batteries although solar powered should work ok.

I am hoping to get something in the $100 - $200 range. Is this reasonable to get something reliable and fairly well built?

Some of the stations that are well supported in MH are:

WMR968 - I have seen this discounted as low as about $200 - just in the budget. ;) Do I need any of the "extras" (besides the PC cable, of course) such as the pagoda radiation shield (seems like I could just mount the temp/humidity sensor on the north side of the house) or the "virtual weather station" software?

WX-200/WM-918 While supported by MH apparently these are no longer for sale.

Davis Weather Master II - Didn't find this exact model but the Davis stations seem to be well out of my budget.

Could others comment on this? I would like to know what others are using and have found to work well.
With weather stations, you very much get what you pay for, $100-$200 isn't going to get you anything that will be reliable. Check the reviews on for weather stations, the WMR-968 doesn't fare very well there. My friend got a LaCrosse station for about $200 that he's had nothing but problems with. I thought I'd save a few bucks and bought some 1-wire components from AAG Electronics and put together my own station...I saved about $100 over buying a Davis weather station, but ended up spending several hours trying to get it to work right, and my humidity sensor failed completely after a year. Wish I had just spent the extra money and gone for a Davis station, they seem to be the best consumer-grade stations available.
I have one of the Lacrosse models that I use to obtain weather data which I then use with software to upload to my weather website.

Two really good websites for researching these are the support forum on the Ambient Weather website (ambient) as well as the forum for the Weather Display software (weather watch).

Just about any question you could have may be found there....
I'm partial to 1-Wire ;) but the Davis is a good system as well. With 1-Wire you get more flexability in what sensors you can use and is much more expandable than the Davis. What you lose with 1-Wire is that it can take a bit more tinkering than the Davis to get setup.

I'm also partial to the Peet Bros. units. I've got a Ultimeter 2100, and it's been rock solid. Yes, the wires can be a PITA, especially if you have to put the sensors far away from the console. I'm in trees, so I had to stick the anemometer 400' away on a post near the shore (I'm on a lake) before I got anything near an accurate readings. The flip side is that I can do this with wires. My older wireless unit (WMR968 IIRC) couldn't handle that type of distance. Also, wired is SO MUCh better for accuracy and timeliness. It used to drive me up the wall when during a thunderstorm, a gust would drag my barbaque across the deck, and the weather station would say the gust was 6 mph. Now I can look over and the speed goes up at the same time as the gust strikes. Yeah, the heated rain guage is probably overkill for most people, but at least it's an option if you want it. Ditto for the heated anemometer.
If you are serious about getting accurate readings you need to spend some bucks.
Davis is best with Peet following close behind. I have had my Davis for almost 9 years now. Anytime I had an issue, Davis was right there with a fix or replacement part.

Accuracy is everything.. ;)

My accuracy:
I was making the same decision about 2 years ago. I only wanted some basic information but I wanted it to be reliable and relatively accurate. After talking to others and checking every review site I could find I quickly discovered that a key theme to all these discussions is that cheaper weather stations ($100 to $200) are less accurate and can be much less reliable. Based on this information I ended up getting a Davis through Ambient Weather's site because they offer a good discount and I have found they offer great service and software as well.

I have the wireless Davis model and it works flawlessly (the outdoor unit is about 150 feet away). I have never had to do anything to the outdoor unit except check for leaves or other falling debris in the water funnel at the end of the fall season. I have also added the VWS weather software to my home and now have a website with my weather data. More recently I added the VWS plug in to HomeSeer and now I have weather information available to my home automation. These are things that I never planned to do but am now glad I purchased a system and software that was capable of doing these things.

Good Luck,
I would also have to add another vote for the Peet Bros unit. I'm running a Ultimeter 2100 and it has worked great. I've had it for the last 8 years. I upgrade from a Ultimeter 2000 on a trade in. I've had to replace the wind sensor twice, but that was because I was running a heated wind sensor. I got away from that and everything has been fine since then. Their Pro rain gauge is also a very neat design. Water just drops through and it is counted, no tipping bucket design that can get stuck. For software I would recommend Weather Display. The author is amazing and is always adding features. I have it set up to create two text files every minute. One of them is loaded as a video screen on my Homevision unit so I can see all the weather data on the TV. The other is parsed for the Homevision unit to read it in and set variables. This way I can use the weather data in my if then logic. The weather display will also update the weatherunderground and it will create webpages and keep them updated.

Here are the links for weather display.

and for my web page created with weather display

My webpage isn't anything special, but the software can be used to create some really amazing webpages.

I use RainWise because of the nice wireless displays. Had a problem a couple weeks ago and they sent me a replacement part at no charge even though my system is 4 years old.

I wouldn't even consider another brand.
I appreciate all the feedback and advice. The Peet Bros and Davis units look great but out of my price range. For $400 the Peet Bros unit doesn't even include the rain gauge, the main thing I am interested in. And I don't need the fancy displays. I mainly want a decent rain gauge and outdoor humidity and temp with computer interface. Has anyone had any experience with Facinating Electronics rain gauge? I would need to program a PIC or something to do the interface (unless someone has done it already and is willing to share their work).

For $40 this seems like a good deal considering I have seen reports that it is well build.

Or I could build a similar one like this:

But I think the kit is worth it.

For outdoor humidity and temp there are several low cost options. One of the more robust solutions is the Sensitron SHT11:

About $30 in single pieces I think.

Will weather stations like the Davis work in locations with winter weather that is on average about -15 to -20 C ?

Just last week we got down to about -37 C with the windchill and at times it goes above -40 ...I've been holding off on purchasing one because we were waiting for the house to be built, its done and we are living in it now and I'm curious what models people use in very cold winter climates that can stand up to extreme cold weather conditions?

I'm looking to mount it on the roof and already have a cat5 wire up their I'm just not sure what model would work best with our weather and not be breaking down every few months.
The Davis and Peet Bros units are expensive, but they are very accurate. If you want to go by on the cheap I would recommend the one-wire sensors. I use a one-wire lightning counter with my Ultimeter and it works fine and was easy to setup. The weather display software even supports the one-wire interface. If you really want to get by on the cheap you should just probably pull the data down of the internet. You should be able to use the weatherundground to find a station near you and just use that data. My data is usually within a degree or two of the official weather station near me. No worries about setup, wiring, or failed components.

JimS said:
Hmmm.. I couldn't find anything with that $40 price tag at this link?
For $40 this seems like a good deal considering I have seen reports that it is well build.
I have been using the LaCrosse 2310 for over a year with NO problems at all. For $145 it is a lot of bang for the buck especially since it includes the VWS software that will do more than you will ever need or use... just my two cents worth.