Buying a Cheap Weather Station? Read This Before You Do

Home weather station is tied with tape to a stick, against the b
Evgeniya | stock.adobe.com

Weather watching is a fascinating hobby, but it’s certainly not a cheap one. Most weather stations can easily run into the hundreds of dollars (the Davis Vantage Pro2 a great example) — which prices out a significant number of us. If budget is a concern for you, a cheap weather station is probably your best bet.

Cheap doesn’t necessarily need to mean lower quality. While the best weather stations are pricey, there are several models below $200 that we’re happy to give our recommendation on. Our favorite is the Ambient Weather WS-2902C, but three other cheap weather stations are nearly as good.

What cheap weather station should I buy?

We’ve noticed a lot of new budget weather station brands on Amazon as of late. However, we recommend you stick with some of the more popular and well-known brands. Among cheap weather stations, Ambient Weather is the brand that we recommend most. Even though the company’s stations are among some of the cheapest on Amazon, they’re feature-packed and surprisingly accurate for the price.

However, there are stations from AcuRite and La Crosse Technology that are worth considering. We’ve included two below that caught our eye. As for the other budget weather station brands you see on Amazon — Logia, Sainlogic, and others — we’d recommend steering away from those for now.

We’ve yet to test any of these brands, so we can not speak from personal experience. However, from reading the reviews, many of these brands suffer from some issue, whether it be poor support, troublesome installs, or in some cases, poor construction and reliability.

As they say, buyer beware.

The Best Cheap Weather Stations

The Ambient Weather WS-2902C’s price might stretch the definition of “cheap” a bit, but when compared to most other stations, it’s an absolute bargain for what you get, and reviews of the station (including our own) are generally very positive.

The WS-2902C isn’t as accurate as the WS-5000 or either of the Davis stations, but it comes close. The connectivity is a standout feature at its price point, with full smart-home capabilities thanks to IFTTT, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa support.

Like the WS-5000, connecting the station to AmbientWeather.net allows you to share your data with Weather Underground, as well as access your station data through the app or a web-based portal.

The LCD console in the WS-2902C is much improved over previous models. When we tested the WS-2902A, the console suffered from readability problems beyond a 30-degree angle. That issue is far less of a problem here.

If you can’t justify the price of most weather stations, the WS-2902C is your best bet.

Ambient Weather WS-1900A Ambient Weather WS-1900A
$124.99
  • Easy to read LCD display
  • Measures wind speed/direction, temperature, humidity, rainfall, UV and solar radiation
  • Identical to WS-2902C, but without internet connectivity
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11/26/2021 12:03 am GMT

If you don’t care about connecting your station to the internet, you can save a considerable amount of money by opting for the Ambient Weather WS-1900A instead. It uses the same sensor suite as the WS-2902C and the same console too. The only difference is the Wi-Fi connectivity is disabled in the console in the WS-1900A.

Even though we haven’t had a chance to test this particular station ourselves, we feel pretty confident in recommending it because it’s so similar to the WS-2902C. Our favorite features are the UV and solar radiation sensors, which are often not found in budget weather station models.

The WS-1900A’s biggest issue is the lack of internet connectivity. Yes, you’re saving some money, but these days we’re finding the internet connectivity to be much more useful — especially with smart home connectivity, which the WS-2902C has. But we can see where some may prefer to leave their stations offline, so definitely consider this one.

AcuRite Iris with Wi-Fi AcuRite Iris with Wi-Fi
$169.66
  • Wi-Fi built into console for sharing data to the internet
  • Measures indoor outdoor temperature and humidity, wind speed/direction, barometric pressure, and rainfall 
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11/26/2021 02:52 am GMT

Among the AcuRite stations, the best cheap weather station is the AcuRite Iris (10544). The Iris comes in several different models, but this bundle offers a nice console with Wi-Fi connectivity and the Iris sensor suite. It’s quite similar to the Ambient Weather WS-1900A, but with a few key differences.

The AcuRite Iris does not have UV or solar radiation sensors, but it does include Wi-Fi connectivity to share your data on the internet. If you want a highly functional weather station app, we’re big fans of My AcuRite. The clean UI makes navigation a breeze, and it’s chock full of information.

The Ambient Weather WS-2902C and this particular Iris model are typically competitively priced with one another, so check both to find out which one is the best deal.

La Crosse Technology S81120-INT Wireless Combo Weather Station with New Breeze Solar Wind Sensor, Black La Crosse Technology S81120-INT Wireless Combo Weather Station with New Breeze Solar Wind Sensor, Black
$70.79
  • Dynamic Forecast icons and forecast tendency indicator; Monitors Indoor and wireless outdoor temperature (°F/°C) & humidity (%RH); Temperature and humidity records (HI/LO) with trend indicators; Customizable temperature, humidity and wind alerts
  • Adjustable backlight with auto dim feature (HI/LO/OFF); 12/24 Hour time; 4 Language settings: English, Spanish, French & German; Calendar: day, month, date (full weekday display)


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11/26/2021 12:03 am GMT

We’ll be honest: we don’t have a lot of personal experience with La Crosse products. The company produces a ton of cheap weather stations that you’ll find just about anywhere, including in many retail stores. But as we recommend in our weather station guide, buying a weather station from Target or Home Depot isn’t the best idea.

If you’re looking for a La Crosse model that is better constructed than the ones you’ll find at those stores, consider the S81120-INT weather station. This budget weather station is under $75 and is one of the best-rated cheap weather stations at this price point.

The sensor suite is powered by the sun, although you have a battery backup just if an extended period of dreary weather occurs. While there is no rain gauge, the S81120-INT does have all of the other important weather conditions, all easily visible from a distance thanks to a vivid and well-designed LCD console.

If you own any one of these “cheap” weather stations or have others you’d like to see us add to this list, we’d love to hear from you in the comments about your experiences.

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