Anemometers, if you didn’t already know, are nifty instruments for measuring the speed and direction of a gust of wind at their most basic level, and are primarily found at weather stations.
Having evolved considerably since John Thomas Romney Robinson built the prototype in Northern Ireland in 1845, they are now easily available to purchase online, particularly in a digital, handheld format for personal use.
Although mostly used by meteorologists to study and predict weather patterns, and physicists investigating air movement, anemometers are popular amongst HVAC professionals, hikers, surfers, and drone enthusiasts alike.
If you’re interested in purchasing your own portable wind measurer, we’ve rounded up five of the best handheld models on the market currently, so your search is as simple as checking out the product outlines, pros and cons.
Want to learn more about their form and function before you commit? Check out our buyer’s guide to find out more. Likewise, if you have any lingering queries before you hit that buy button, feel free to peruse the list of frequently asked questions.
Top 5 Best Handheld Anemometers
OUR TOP PICK
In a hurry to get measuring without weighing up your options?
We believe the BT-100 from BTMETER is a universal anemometer that works for almost any activity you can think of, whether that’s shooting, hunting, sailing or drone flying.Not only can you measure the wind’s speed, temperature and chill, but barometric pressure, altitude, relative humidity and dew point are also just a click away.
With all that in mind, the average price point is even more buyer-friendly.
Wind speeds can be measured from 0.67 to 67.1 miles per hour, with -/+ five% accuracy. Results are displayed in five units - MPH, ft/minute, KM/hour, M/s or knotts, depending on the needs of the user.
A backlit LCD screen makes measurements easy to read in a flash, during the day or late at night, with a large, clear font that remains visible to the reader even in the most turbulent of conditions.
Your battery is preserved by an auto-shutdown function that force-stops the meter after ten minutes of inactivity, whilst a low battery indicator flashes when it’s time to change them out for a fresh pair - two double AAs are included with your purchase!
What’s more, you can log up to sixteen groups of barometric pressure data in order to compare and analyse the potential relationship between height, temperature and humidity - no more struggling with a pen and paper!
- Measures speed, temperature, humidity and so much more
- Battery-saving features
- Backlit screen for use twenty four hours a day
- Versatile for use in many careers
- Only measures up to 67 MPH
Sleek, svelte and sophisticated, Proster’s contribution to the anemometer market is popular with users for its simplistic but high-quality design, complemented by your choice of bright yellow or bold black heavy-duty protective case, free in-box.
Measuring wind speed, chill and temperature, this is a great product for those seeking a simpler experience, without a bunch of confusing extra features that might prove distracting in the long run.
A backlit LCD screen is large and easy to read in all weather extremities, with a high precision pressure sensor and external thermistor providing quick response measurements as soon as you hit the button.
Drop-tested, when shielded by the rubberised cover, your meter is anti-skid, anti-fall and more than durable enough for withstanding whatever environments you might want to measure the wind in.
Wind speed is presented in an easily interpretable Beaufort scale bar graph, and data can be stored on the device should you have forgotten your notebook that day, for your retrieval later.
An automatic power off function preserves the included cell battery, and you’ll also receive a lanyard for hands-free transportation when you’re on the move, so you won’t make the mistake of forgetting it at home, in a bag or your car.
- Measures wind speed accurately up to 67mph, with a current/max/average reading
- Simple, easy to use navigation system
- Multiple units of measurement to suit any user
- Includes battery, protective case and lanyard
- Two buttons to control all functions - must learn these or refer to instructions
With over a thousand five star reviews, the 886B anemometer from HOLDPEAK is popular among customers, a testament to their twenty two years of skillfully manufacturing such devices.
A low-friction bearing eight leaf wind fan and dual wind chill sensors offer quick, accurate readings of wind speed promising an accuracy of 0.1% from 0.3 MPH - 67 MPH, and wind temperature/chill can be read in centigrade or fahrenheit to suit you.
Backlit for use at night or in the day, the sizeable, clear LCD screen makes reading measurements as simple as a quick glance, whilst low battery indicators are built in to make sure the instrument never cuts out when you need it.
Power-off can be performed either manually or automatically, so you won’t run down your battery if you forget to turn things off when you’re packing away, which avoids the nasty shock of going to use it next time only to find it is dead!
Compact and lightweight, simple to use and easy to get to grips with, you can take the 866B with you wherever you go, to get accurate measurements for surfing, sailing, fishing, hiking… any activity where monitoring wind levels is useful.
- Versatile meter for countless activities
- Simple but accurate wind measurements
- Batteries included
- Max/average/current wind speeds all displayed
- Does not have data storing capability
Able to detect wind speed on a twelve grade Beaufort scale, Wintact’s anemometer can measure in a variety of units to suit you, as well as offering readings for temperature and indicating wind chill to boot.
Accurate to the nearest five percent between zero and sixty five miles per hour, as well as from minus ten to forty five degrees centigrade, you’ll find a range of measurements to suit beginners and professionals alike.
Included in-box are a snazzy postbox red protective case, rubberized with grip indents to protect your meter from drops, dust and other damage, as well as a lanyard for hands-free usage or transportation.
You’ll find the LCD screen is readable no matter what conditions you’re in, with the maximum and average wind speeds displayed alongside a constantly updating measurement for continuously accurate readings.
When any key is pressed, a backlight activates to allow for the highest possible readability, but this will deactivate after twelve seconds to prevent battery waste when not needed.
After fourteen minutes (we know, oddly specific) the system automatically shuts down to preserve the life of your battery. Speaking of, the cell battery required for power is included with your purchase.
- Accurate measurements with sensitive fans and temperature probes
- Simple button navigation systems
- Clear, well laid out LCD screen
- Free protective case and lanyard included
- Backlight cannot be switched on permanently
Rugged as is, and even more so with the delightful protective case that comes free in-box, the Kestrel 2000 is the result of years of work - since 1996! - to produce the highest quality anemometer possible.
Kestrel’s patented impeller (essentially a rotating component or fan) is used in all models and is replaceable should it become damaged or defective - this will save users money in the long run as purchasing a whole new meter is unnecessary.
Mounted in jewel bearings, as well as protected from shock in a glass-reinforced plastic housing, you’ll struggle to find a more rigiorous design as suited to coping with the elements whilst maintaining precision.
Thanks to their technology, you’ll stay abreast of changing conditions, calibrated to NIST-traceable standards to offer you years of continuous accurate measurements of wind speed (current, average and maximum), chill and temperature.
Proudly made in Pennsylvania, you’ll receive a Certificate of Conformity demonstrating the ways specifications have been researched and met in the creation of this product.
Available in bright, bold colours - blue, green, orange red and yellow - there’s a design to suit every user, and you’ll find it very difficult to misplace despite its small and lightweight stature - it’s water resistant, too, and even floats!
- Covered by a five-year warranty
- Quick-response, accurate external measurements
- Holds data for your convenience
- All components are made and assembled in the USA
- Slightly more expensive than other products, but worth the increase in price (in our opinion) for the highest quality production
Best Handheld Anemometers Buying Guide
As technology has developed, so too have multitudinous ways to measure wind speed been designed and developed, with the rise of electric, sonic and hot-wire instruments over the last couple of centuries.
Today, though, we’re talking about the small yet mighty handheld varieties, which are much less expensive, require very little power, and yet still manage to produce accurate enough measurements to prove very popular.
Let’s get to it then - what characteristics should you be looking out for when it comes to picking up a quality anemometer?
Accuracy Naturally, the most important feature in a device that measures something is, well, how accurate the measurements are! Not to point out the obvious, but other factors matter very little in comparison.
You can expect the highest quality meters to detect wind speeds up to a hundred miles per hour with ease, whilst lower-end products may struggle in harsh conditions, only able to manage around seventy miles per hour on average.
Response time also plays a role in the accuracy of your results, as the wind can change very quickly, so if your anemometer takes an age to calculate its speed, it may well be different by the time you’re able to record it!
Some models display the current, average and maximum wind speeds which allows for immediate comparisons whilst keeping you constantly updated to any changes, should you be measuring for long periods.
Durability and Design
If you plan on exposing your device to some of the harsher conditions the great outdoors have to offer, or you’re a professional expecting to use it frequently, a sturdy design from heavy-duty materials is a must.
Want to set up your anemometer hands-free? Many models come with built-in fixtures so that they can be attached to generic tripods; this might help for more accurate readings if your hands are not the steadiest.
Similarly, some meters are designed to be water-resistant or entirely waterproof, so if you plan to use yours in wet weather or out at sea, prioritizing an instrument with that extra layer of protection is worthwhile.
Devices with fold-up or pull-out protective housing allow for simple and easy storage in your pocket or work bag for peace of mind and easy portability, whilst those that extend further in length can provide a greater range of detection.
When your career requires navigating dust, dirt and other detritus, an anemometer that is dustproof and resilient when dropped could save you having to get a replacement every couple of months when it gets clogged up.
A large, clear display that can be read at a glance is recommended, as are models with bigger buttons, for those days when you need to bust out your coat, scarf and gloves to stop yourself from freezing, but taking measurements is still a must.
Likewise, many designs make use of a backlight to allow for use of the meter at any time of day or night, increasing readability for those who might work in darker environments or have weaker eyesight.
Fundamentally, anemometers are build to measure the wind’s speed, but the fancier devices on the market have other capabilities that might entice you, depending on their intended target audience.
Other environmental characteristics you might be interested in measuring include temperature, elevation, dew point, humidity, and wind chill, depending on what it is you want to use your meter for.
Need measurements in a particular unit? Good anemometers offer wind speeds and temperatures in a multitude including MPH, m/s, km/h, knotts just to name a few, so be sure to check out the specifications before you pick one out.Also available are devices with inbuilt Bluetooth or Wifi, and the ability to store previous readings using internal memory, but such features aren’t necessary and are usually reserved for the more expensive, higher-end designs.
A few of the models we’ve listed also come with a protective case and lanyard, which is a nice touch that promotes the longevity of your anemometer and makes it a little easier to use and protect.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a weather anemometer?
Anemometers are all made for the general purpose of weather measurements, but perhaps this refers to the larger-scale fixed varieties that are expertly precise and constructed to an industry standard.
Of course, as they are produced to be used for a much greater purpose, covering a vast area and working more quickly, you’ll find that the price point triples, as there is a lot more riding on the dependability of the results collected.
How do you wire an anemometer?
We believe this question refers to the ‘hot-wire’ variety, which is composed of a fine-wire element heated using electricity, supported by a needle. Contrastingly, it is used to detect both direction of movement and velocity of fluids.
Working on the principle of transferring heat from a high temperature to a lower one, by measuring how much heat is lost by the wire when submerged in a liquid, the temperature can also be calculated.
How does an anemometer work?
Again, there are several types of meter available, but this article specifically refers to the handheld variety, which works somewhat similarly to a bike’s dynamo, generating power through the user’s pedalling.
Instead of the cups or propellers present in other models, a small fan is used to power a generator, in turn connected to a circuit. When the wind blows the fan, this setup works to immediately offers a digital reading of the wind’s speed.
How can you make an easy anemometer?
Should you find yourself suddenly in need of measuring the wind, without your trusty anemometer to hand, there is a simple way to get a less accurate but relatively decent estimate with something you might already have at home.
If you’re of a certain age, you might even remember a middle school Physics lesson where you made one of these bad boys.
By attaching a ping-pong ball to a string, you are able to measure the wind’s speed; when it blows horizontally there is pressure applied to the ball, and as it’s lightweight, it will move consistently, even in the lightest of breezes.
Using a protractor to measure the angle between the ball/string instrument and the vertical, you can calculate a rudimentary estimate of the wind’s speed. Of course, using an actual anemometer might be simpler and easier next time, though!