Best Portable Weather Stations

Introduction

Finding good measurement tech can be a tall order since they need to be reliable.

This is especially the case if you’re doing a job that requires accurate meteorological readings, but unfortunately, portable weather stations often don’t have the guaranteed quality that static weather stations have.

You don’t want to get bunk readings for temperature or relative humidity when out in the field, so buying an accurate weather station is important.

We’ve got five portable weather stations below to show you, along with a small review of each so you can have an idea of what each one offers.

Below that, we’ve also included a small buyers’ guide where we explain what you should be looking for in a weather station.

That way, even if you don’t go for any of our suggestions, you can apply the same standards to other gadgets you find on your travels.

In a Hurry?

If you need to get a weather station that can fit in your pocket ASAP, you might be able to save time by looking at our top suggestion.

That’d be the Ambient Weather WM-5 Handheld Weather Meter, a high-end model that does everything you want it to while being housed in a durable case.

See what we liked about it below:

  • The WM-5 is a high-end weather station that can track the standard wind and temperature metrics along with humidity, altitude, and pressure. Its impeller measures wind speed up to 87 miles per hour.
  • The weather meter casing is rain-resistant and floats if dropped in liquid, so you shouldn’t be able to lose it to the deep. Inside its resilient case is a long-life battery that can last for approx. 4000 hours.
  • The WM-5’s interface flips out like a jackknife, keeping the vulnerable parts of the meter safe. The model also comes with an ergonomic carry case and an easy-carry neck lanyard.

Top 5 Best Portable Weather Stations

OUR TOP PICK

Ambient Weather WM-5 Handheld Weather Meter w/Windspeed, Temperature, Humidity, Dew Point, Heat Index, Pressure, Altitude

Ambient Weather has several portable weather stations on the market, so there’s little surprise that one of their latest and highest-end models took the top spot on our list.

You’ll see some of Ambient Weather’s offerings later in this list, but for now, we’re talking about the WM-5 model.

The WM-5 is a high-end model that keeps track of the standard meteorological metrics and more. It’ll show you the wind speed, current temperature, and relative humidity, but goes further to show altitude, pressure, and the heat index.

The barometer is extra-precise and made in Switzerland while the humidity sensors are from Honeywell, a known brand in humidification and humidity detection gear. It can also measure the wind speeds up to 87 miles per hour, which is a full 20 miles per hour over what the average portable weather station can measure.

This model also beats out other portable weather stations with its battery life. The battery that retails with this weather station should last for approximately 4000 hours before needing replacement. 

Something that the later Ambient Weather models have is a convenient jackknife flip cover that hides the interface when not in use. This keeps the most vulnerable parts of the device protected and clean from dirt and debris when out in the field.

This design also means that your hand won’t accidentally translate heat onto the device, which would give you false temperature readings.

The WM-5 is rain-resistant and, if you should drop the weather meter into a puddle or a body of water, it’ll float on the surface. This not only minimizes its exposure to liquid, making it less likely that water damage occurs, but it also makes it easy to get.

This device won’t sink like a stone if you drop it, so it’s great if you’re working near deep bodies of water.

The WM-5 comes with a carrying case so that you can keep the device safe and secure and, when it’s out of its case, a neck lanyard can keep the weather meter against your chest for easy access.

It also frees up a pocket, which is handy for hunting or survival applications since you can carry more. 

Pros

  • A high-end weather station that tracks wind speed, temperature, humidity, pressure, and altitude.
  • The built-in impeller measures wind speed up to 87 mph.
  • A long-life battery delivers 4000 hours of use.
  • Convenient jackknife flip cover protects the interface and ensures accurate readings.
  • Resistant to rain and will float if dropped in liquid.
  • Comes with a soft carry case and a neck lanyard.

Cons

  • The display can be difficult to read in low-light settings.

EDITORS CHOICE

Kestrel 3500 Pocket Weather Meter / Digital Psychrometer Altimeter Anemometer, Yellow

The second portable weather station we have to show you is one perfect for use by professionals, being used by many of the industries where having these devices is important such as military or hygiene services.

We’re talking about the Kestrel 3500 Weather Meter, a high-end model that gives you everything you can ask from a portable weather station. 

This comes at a price, however, with the Kestrel 3500 being the most expensive product on our list.

This is partly because every part of this weather meter is made in the USA, which pushes the price point up but guarantees domestic quality that overseas tech can sometimes struggle with.

As a weather meter, it’s pretty comprehensive in the data it tracks. You get the typical wind speed and directional measurements with the added bonus of a replaceable impeller if you want to add your own.

You also get temperature-related data along with relative humidity and different pressure ratings through an altimeter and a barometer, as well as heat stress index data.

All of this data is relayed through a clear monochrome LCD display with night-vision backlighting options.

Since it’s designed with grueling outdoor use in mind, the Kestrel 3500 is made waterproof to an IP-67 grade, meaning that it’s dustproof and can survive under a meter of water for approximately a half-hour, though we wouldn’t advise trying that for yourself.

It’s also extensively drop-tested, being rated at MIL-STD-810G, a military designation that ensures structural quality. You shouldn’t be able to accidentally break this model by using it as intended.

A rubberized slip-on sheathe ensures the gadget stays clean and is cushioned if you drop it.

The 3500 also comes with a neck lanyard and a five-year warranty for damage that’s out of your control or responsibility.

Pros

  • A high-end weather meter made in the States and used in meteorology, hunting, and military outings.
  • All in one weather meter that can also measure altimeter pressure and barometric pressure.
  • Details measurements through a monochrome LCD display with a night-friendly backlight.
  • Waterproof to an IP-67 grade and drop-tested to MIL-STD-810G military standards.
  • A rubberized slip-on cover keeps the device clean and intact.

Cons

  • The most expensive weather meter on our list.

BEST VALUE

Ambient Weather WM-4 Handheld Weather Station w/Windspeed, Direction, Temperature, Humidity, Compass, Dew Point, Comfort Index, Psychrometer

Portable weather stations from Ambient Weather feature prominently on our list because they have several models at every power and price point.

You’ve already seen the advanced WM-5 at number one, but here we have the WM-4. It’s cheaper than the WM-5 without sacrificing too many features, landing it squarely in the middle of our list.

The Ambient Weather WM-4 is a popular option among consumers, being Amazon’s Choice for “handheld weather station.”

That’s exactly what we’re looking for, so this mid-range option is your quintessential portable weather station. It’ll read you the wind speed, gust, direction, and chill, and current temperature.

The WM-4 has additional functions too, like a fluxgate directional compass to keep you firmly oriented on your travels and a heat index monitor to keep tabs on the wet and dry bulb temperatures nearby.

It also has a psychrometer that tracks relative humidity in the air. At the top of the device is an integrated impeller that can read wind speeds as high as 67 miles per hour.

Once the weather station is doing its job, you get results in both Celsius and Fahrenheit depending on which you prefer.

You can switch between them, just as you can switch between getting wind measurements in miles per hour, kilometers an hour, meters a second, feet per minute, and knots, for those who prefer imperial measurements.

The physical makeup of the WM-4 is a step up from the older Ambient Weather models, featuring a lot of the same ergonomic features that make the WM-5 great.

It has a rugged casing that opens out like a jackknife to protect its interface, and it’s thermo-resistant enough to avoid getting false readings from your own hand. 

These design features also make it suitably waterproof, but you shouldn’t tempt fate by leaving it in wet conditions for too long.

The backlight in the display also stays on for about three seconds, which means you need to manually stimulate the device if you’re using this device in low-light conditions.

Pros

  • A quintessential Amazon’s Choice “handheld weather station” with a built-in compass and heat index monitor.
  • Wind-reading impeller tackles maximum wind speeds of 67 mph.
  • Features the 5 standard units of weather measurement.
  • A durable and intuitive jackknife case keeps the unit’s interface protected.

Cons

  • The display backlight doesn’t stay on for long.

RUNNER UP

HoldPeak 866B Digital Anemometer Handheld Wind Speed Meter for Measuring Wind Speed, Temperature and Wind Chill with Backlight and Max/Min

Next, we have the HOLDPEAK 866B Digital Anemometer, a pocket-size weather station that’s very light on your wallet.

The 886B is also Amazon’s Choice for “wind speed meter,” so many others have found what they were looking for with this product and they’ve left thousands of ratings that you can use to see if this is the meter for you.

For its reduced price, you still get wind speed, wind chill, and temperature measurements on a backlit display that gets the job done. The station has a 0.3-30m/s speed range and it reports measurements to an accuracy of 0.1 digits.

It can also display five units of measurement: meters a second, kilometers an hour, feet per minute, knots, and the standard miles per hour.

The anemometer even analyzes the current environmental conditions to provide more accurate results. It’ll also alert you when critical weather changes have been detected such as the early signs of a hurricane.

It has extra modes and customization abilities too, such as Celsius and Fahrenheit adjustability, recorded maximum, minimum, average, and current functions, and it can indicate when the battery is low.

HOLDPEAK also provides a handy after-sales service that can help you if you have any problems.

Any quality issues that are out of your hands can be addressed, so you can get the most out of your purchase even if something goes wrong.

Pros

  • An affordable portable weather station that’s also Amazon’s Choice for “wind speed meter.”
  • A multifunctional anemometer that reports measurements in 5 different units.
  • Extra specifications that measure more than just wind speed.
  • After-sale service support irons out any potential issues after your purchase.

Cons

  • The meter isn’t waterproof at all, so keep it away from heavy rain or puddles.

RUNNER UP

Ambient Weather WM-2 Handheld Weather Meter w/Windspeed, Temperature, Wind Chill

Last on our list is the Ambient Weather WM-2 Handheld Weather Meter, an older model of the first portable weather station that we showed you.

Where the newer WM-5 came at the top of our list, the WM-2 comes in at the bottom, but that doesn’t mean it should be discounted. If you need a reliable but budget-friendly weather meter from a brand that’s delivered quality throughout this list, this should be your best bet.

So, what can you expect from the Ambient Weather WM-2? The lowered price doesn’t come at the expense of the core features you’d expect from a weather station, such as temperature, wind speed, and wind chill measurement.

When relaying wind data back to you, it’s also capable of displaying it via the Beaufort wind force scale.

You get all of the information back through an LCD display that’s easy to read and can relay a variety of units of measurements, such as miles per hour or knots, kilometers an hour, feet per second, and meters per second.

Even in low-light conditions, you should be able to see the display because the screen is backlit.

Being a humbler weather station model, you get more life out of the batteries than you would with the more advanced options.

The battery is also replaceable, and there’s an indication function coded into the device to let you know when that battery needs replacing. This ensures you’re not caught without power when you try to use the portable station.

This gadget gives you its temperature readings approximately every ten seconds and should be fine with wind speeds up to 67 miles per hour before you start running into problems.

Thankfully it has that trademark Ambient Weather durability, so its casing can take some punishment before any vital damage is done.

The WM-2 comes with an optional neck lanyard for a more convenient experience when using this portable weather station. This frees up a pocket for you to carry something else and keeps your station in reach.

If you’d prefer to set it up, you can also get a tripod for this model. This is ideal if you need to hunker down and get some additional stability for your weather measurements.

Pros

  • An affordable and compact weather station that relays data in all of the core metrics, including the Beaufort scale.
  • Displays its information through a large and easy to read LCD screen.
  • Features several operating modes and a low battery indicator.
  • Comes with an optional neck lanyard or tripod mount.

Cons

  • No on/off switch, the meter automatically turns off when no activity is detected.

Best Portable Weather Stations Buying Guide

When looking for the best weather station that can fit in your pocket, there’s a handful of features you’ll need to pay attention to.

There are a lot of portable stations on the market right now, so knowing what to look for can be the difference between a capable gadget or cash-wasting trash.

Below you’ll find subheadings corresponding to the main functions of a weather station, under which we’ve detailed what you should look for.

Application and Measurement Detail

Before buying any weather station, you should have an idea of what you’re using the station for. This may change which station you get, and you don’t want to overpay if you only need a simple device to get the job done.

If you want a station for hunting or shooting, you’re going to want wind measurements over anything else. These are present in virtually all stations, so you shouldn’t have to break the bank to get these rudimentary functions. The same can be said for temperature, too.

However, if you need more details like the relative humidity of the area, the altitude, or barometric pressure, then you’ll want a more substantial mid- to high-end model.

You should also consider whether you get the results In Celsius or Fahrenheit, or whether you can switch between the two. We’d advise you to get a model that can display the five basic units of measurement for wind speed: knots, miles per hour, kilometers per hour, feet per minute, and meters per second.

Durability

Any piece of tech is only as good as the casing protecting it.

You don’t want to blow your money on a station that breaks after the first accidental knock. Try to get portable stations that have durability awards or ratings, such as IP-67 or drop test grades.

At least get a station that’s resistant to passive wet weather like rain and can get dropped into a puddle without turning into an expensive paperweight.

Ease of Use and Comfort

You want to use your station easily and come to enjoy having it with you, but this is difficult if the tech has a hostile user interface.

Firstly, the screen should be large enough to comfortably read and preferably backlit, so you can read it when in low-light or dark conditions.

Secondly, it should be versatile in how you can use it. This means your station should be compatible with tripods or neck lanyards, so you have options on how to use your device when out in the field.

Thirdly, but not necessarily, a low battery indicator is handy for making sure you know when to change them. Keeping your station charged ensures you’re never left wanting for weather data.

You should also see if the general user interface is friendly. Ask yourself, is it easy to navigate? Are there enough labels? Experienced users will know what they’re doing but if you’re new to these gadgets, you’ll want to have a station that’s easy to navigate.

About the Author Marvin J. Snyder

I'm the research analyzer and data interpretation here at Weather Station Lab. I test various weather stations and share my conclusion here. Since my childhood, I had a passion towards weather and I'm always fascinated by that. Eventually, I pursued Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Arizona. I hope my contribution will help you to know more about weather stations. Read more about us, here