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The Ultimate Pocket Weather Station Guide by WeatherScientific.com

The Ultimate Pocket Weather Station Guide

Handheld wind speed weather station  meters and handheld weather stations measure the velocity, force, or speed of wind. Different handheld wind meters use different methods to calculate the measured values.

As technology progresses and we get more data on wind speed and its direction, we’re able to develop more accurate weather forecasts. Compasses and other analog instruments can be confused by magnetic fields, but a handheld anemometer or wind weather meter—a type of measuring instrument for wind speed—resists such interference while also analyzing air pressure to predict how the weather will change.

Analog or digital, we cover some of the best handheld wind speed meter, anemometers and weather stations you will come across so you can gauge wind speeds and directions accurately and safely.

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A classic handheld anemometer or handheld weather station consists of a cup anemometer or rotating vane type for detecting propeller or other types of wind motion and a mechanism to measure rotations, typically in the form of a revolving shaft with a pair of dials showing revolutions per unit time.

The unit is usually calibrated in miles per hour (mph), kilometers per hour (kph), and/or nautical miles per hour (knots).

It isn’t just how fast the wind is blowing that determines the severity of a storm, but also the direction it’s blowing in. For sailors, this is vital information when determining how safely to take to the waters, or whether to even make an excursion at all. And for land-lubbers, strong winds can still be dangerous, creating high wind barriers, treacherous walking conditions, weather conditions and flash flooding.

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To measure this important meteorological data you need a handheld anemometer. If you’re off on an extended hike, camping trip, sailing trip or site survey, a hand-held wind meter or anemometer can be extremely useful to assess wind speed and direction and other weather data.

Pocket handheld weather meters and anemometer are useful for gardeners, sailors, airplane pilots, bicyclists, kite-flyers, or any other outdoor activities which may be affected by wind gust and weather conditions.

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Compasses are pretty good at covering north to south, but not always east to west. Anemometers aren’t confused by magnetic fields, which means you can rely on their measurements to analyze pressure and forecast how the weather will change. We also look at several different anemometers that are resistant to interference.

 

Portable Weather Stations

Portable and easy to use, handheld weather station and anemometer enable users to measure wind speed and direction when out and about. They typically feature a digital display with the current readings alternately shown.

Numerous handheld wind speed meters and anemometer are available on the market. All are great, but choosing the best one is not easy.

Handheld wind speed meters are pretty expensive. They are worth it if you are planning to do an engineering project requiring precise wind speed measurements. A typical handheld weather station or anemometer comes in two different designs - spinning cups and rotating vane.

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Cup-type anemometers measure velocity through the flywheel effect while the rotating vane design measures wind velocity by passing a vane through the moving airstream.

 

How good are these?

The accuracy of typical handheld weather station, anemometers, and barometers vary by model. Some are +/-2% accurate while some can be within +/-1%. How you use them is also key. For more accurate wind readings, face directly into the wind for at least one minute while using a handheld weather station.

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Accurate wind readings are important for sailing, flying, and flagging down a passing bus, while the weather station will help you perfect your patio-weather-reading-patio skills. Both are equipped with sensitive, high quality sensors for quick readings.

The HWH1002 gives accurate wind data to within +/-2% of actual reading, while the HWH1003 Weather Station also includes a thermometer and hygrometer.

Operational humidity range is 10% to 95%, operational temperature range 35°F to 110°F (-1°C to +43°C), accuracy +/-3%.

There are two basic types of wind speed meter, handheld weather station or ‘anemometers’ and wind-speed measurements that are built into weather stations.

Anemometers can be stand-alone devices, or built into weather stations. Although both are considered accurate, the accuracy of the anemometer is dependent on how you use it.

Portable weather stations or anemometers should face directly into the wind, while a weather station should be located outdoors where it has a good view of the sky and no obstacles blocking its ‘line of sight’ to the rest of the planet. The effect of local topography will also

 

What is Wind Speed?

Wind speed is a fundamental atmospheric quantity, with units of meters per second, commonly known as just "m/s".

In meteorology, several scales are used to describe the magnitude of wind:

The Beaufort scale is a historical measure of wind speed, which was devised by Irish-born Francis Beaufort, an officer in the British Royal Navy. The scale is still used today for wind speed measurements in maritime and aviation activities, and for weather forecasting by the National Weather Service and its partners.

The scale's definitions were refined so that a Category 1 Hurricane has the same strength as a Category 5 hurricane – a minor change from what was originally proposed by Beaufort. It is important to understand that true "wind speeds" are not stated on the Beaufort scale.

A true reading would be tens of miles per hour! In actuality, it's a subjective "feeling" for what the average person thinks about at each number on the scale.

The Beaufort Scale is as follows:

0-5 kt Light air

6-11 kt Light breeze

12-18 kt Gentle breeze

19-24 kt Moderate breeze

25-28 kt Strong Breeze

28-33 kt Near Gale

34-40 kt Gale

41-47 kt Strong Gale

48-55 kt Storm

56-63 kt Violent Storm

64+ kt Hurricane

 

 

Setup

There’s a little “calibration” you need to do when using the wind meters. All the readings are right on with what you get from your professional instruments…. much better than many of the other weather stations you've experienced.

You can calibrate the pocket wind meter or handheld weather station with the easy to use button. Press the button for 4 seconds and it is calibrated.

Just point it in the direction of where you want to know how much wind speed is blowing and then read the reading. The readings are all the same as my professional wind gauges. It’s that simple!

Hold it in your hands, go ahead and press the Cal button. Now release...Voila! You are all set to start measuring wind speed.

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Why not get a handheld weather station instead?

Whether you want to become a hobbyist meteorologist or just like watching the weather come in, one of the best things that you can do is to simply keep tabs on the wind. Of course, that can be difficult without a quality weather station.

Handheld weather stations are the next best thing. These are compact versions of their larger counterparts designed for convenience. Most are easy to use, too.

Because the minimum wind readings you get with a weather station aren’t useful when you’re outside, it might be easier to get what you need by using app on your smartphone.

However, if you’re concerned with wind, rain, humidity, barometric pressure, and temperature—as well as tracking heat or cold waves—a handheld weather station is worth considering.

As the technology improves and the price for them drops, we think these will become more popular stand-alone home monitoring devices.

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Which Portable Weather Stations and Anemometers are the Best?

Let’s take a look at the different models we’ve tried and see which ones we like and why.

 

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Kestrel 1000 Wind Meter

The Kestrel 1000 Pocket Wind Meter is the first pocket anemometer that measures, displays and logs True Wind Speed, Power Indicator and Temperature all in one device. The Kestrel 1000 may be worn as a clip-on, hand-held or even a backpack.

This sleek beast is waiting for you to claim it. Take the helm with confidence knowing its two smooth SA-3110 computer-controlled turbines are there with you every step of the way, completely silent even at low speeds, so you can keep your focus on the wind.

The Kestrel 1000 hand-held wind meter is designed to simplify the process of measuring precise wind data quickly and efficiently. Based on the popular M500, this model is drop-tested to industry standards, comes with a protective slip-on cover for rugged field use, and offers other great features like DualBeam Technology™ that allows for simultaneous measurement of two different wind parameters including Wind Speed and Direction.

The Kestrel 1000 is available in black or white, and comes with a hard slip-on protective cover. It features a high contrast, sunlight readable monochrome LCD display that has an auto-darkening function for viewing in direct sunlight, and can display minimum/maximum/average wind speed readings. The 3 button control panel makes operation easy, and the data hold function freezes the current reading on the screen so you can view it repeatedly.

Meet the Kestrel 1000: a lightweight and rugged in-outdoor wind meter with a convenient 3 button control panel and a rugged construction.

Uses

  • Athletics
  • Aviation
  • Construction & HVAC
  • Fishing
  • Sailing & Boating
  • Wind Load Monitoring
  • Wind Surfing

 

Environmental Measures

  • Wind Speed

 

Features

  • 3-Button Control
  • Backlight blue white
  • Data Hold Function
  • Drop-Tested to MIL-STD-810G
  • Hard Slip-On Protective Cover
  • High Contrast, Sunlight Readable Monochrome LCD Display
  • Minimum/Maximum/Average Reading
  • Waterproof to IP67 (3'/1M for 30 minutes)

 

Includes

  • Battery - 1 x CR2032
  • Instructions
  • Lanyard
  • Protective Cover - Hard Slip-on

 

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Kestrel 2000 Wind Speed Meter

Our Kestrel 2000 Wind Meter is the perfect weather companion. With the ability to measure wind speed and temperature, it brings together two important elements of any outdoor adventure.

The Kestrel 2000 portable weather station is reliable, waterproof, and comes with a hard slide on case and lanyard for easy transport. Battery is also included and the Kestrel 2000's backlight allows you to check the measurements even in the darkness.

The Kestrel 2000 weather meter is a perfect tool for any outdoor enthusiast or adventurer looking for accurate weather data. Discreetly take it with you backpacking, hiking, fishing, skiing, boating, hunting, or camping and know exactly how cold it really is outside.

No more stocking up on warm clothing for months before heading out to catch some cold weather waves.

The Kestrel 2000 hand-held weather station makes it easy to know exactly how cold the water will be before you hit the surf, saving you time and money!

Easily gauge the wind speed with the Kestrel 2000 wind meter, which fits easily in your pocket. Its durable polycarbonate casing is easy to clean, and its replaceable impeller makes it easy to replace in seconds if damaged.

The Kestrel 2000 Wind Meter also gauges temperature, allowing you to measure the temperature of water or snow or open air.

The Kestrel 2000 meter takes the minimum amount of data for farmers using Xtendimax and while it's not the best option before you spray, it is the least expensive and does cover the bare minimum requirements without the access to standard anemometer towers!

Uses

  • Athletics
  • Aviation
  • Camping
  • Construction & HVAC
  • Farming
  • Fishing
  • Sailing & Boating
  • Wind Load Monitoring
  • Wind Surfing

 

Environmental Measures

  • Temperature
  • Wind Chill
  • Wind Speed/Air Speed

 

Features

  • Temperature Sensor (Patented External Isolated)
  • Waterproof to IP67 standards (can be submerged up to 3'/1M for up to 30 minutes)
  • Backlight
  • Data hold function
  • User replaceable impeller
  • Reliable, portable and easy to use
  • Assembled in the USA
  • 5 year warranty

 

Includes

  • Battery - 1 x CR2032
  • Instructions
  • Lanyard
  • Protective Cover - Hard Slip-on

 

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Kestrel 3500NV Weather Meter with Night Vision

The Kestrel 3500 NV portable weather station provides the most comprehensive weather information available in a single instrument. The large LCD features easy-to-read numbers for all measured variables, and the graphing barometer makes it easy to understand pressure trends over time. The Kestrel 3500NV portable weather station is part of the World's #1 brand of Pocket Weather Meters.

The Kestrel 3500NV portable weather station is the perfect meter for outdoor enthusiasts needing to track changing weather conditions. This compact, handheld weather meter has many features that are not available on other models, allowing you to accurately record current conditions, as well as find out how pressure trends may impact your day.

With the ability to measure wind speed, temperature, humidity, altitude, barometric pressure and more, you can trust the 3500NV portable weather station to provide accurate information.

The Kestrel 3500 NV portable weather stations are top-of-the-line, 4-in-1 instruments that provide you with accurate, reliable data for a wide range of weather-related tasks. They measure and display current atmospheric conditions as well as the trend arrow, making it easy to monitor pressure, temperature, humidity changes, and time. These portable weather stations also calculate altitude from internal software and display trends in barometric pressure over time.

The Kestrel 3500NV portable weather station with Altitude and Barometric Pressure combines a full color display with the power of a complete weather lab in a single instrument. This portable weather meter offers a very bright display for easy viewing, is compatible with Kestrel's optional weather sensor kits, and includes alkaline batteries.

The Kestrel 3500NV allows you to view the current indoor and outdoor temperature, barometric pressure, altitude above sea level, humidity, wind speed and direction, dew point measurement from the current temperature and humidity -- all from one compact unit.

The Kestrel 3500NV weather meter is a trusted companion for military and civilian enthusiasts alike. Its rugged design allows it to be used in any weather or lighting conditions, from the bright sunlight to total darkness. In aviation, hunting, tactical operations, and boating this portable weather meter can be easily clipped to a belt or stored in a pocket.

For military, or any night-time use, the Olive Drab NV version of the Kestrel 3500 handheld weather meter features a night-vision preserving backlight which helps in sustaining natural light. The backlight incorporates optical filter to reduce overall brightness and minimize blue and green spectrum light to preserve vision in the dark. (Note: This backlight appears soft grayish pink, not "red", and is still in the visible spectrum which makes it not compatible with night-vision equipment.)

Displays include extended temperature range, altitude, barometric pressure trend display, tipping bucket rain gauge, wind chill, heat index, relative humidity and dew point. It includes an external temperature sensor with a waterproof casing that allows you to gauge the temperature of water, snow or the open air.

 

Uses

  • Athletics
  • Aviation
  • Camping
  • Construction & HVAC
  • Farming
  • Fishing
  • Sailing & Boating
  • Wind Monitoring

 

Environmental Measures

  • Altitude (Barometric)
  • Barometric Pressure
  • Dew Point Temperature
  • Heat Stress Index
  • Relative Humidity
  • Temperature (air and water)
  • Wet Bulb Temperature (Psychrometric)
  • Wind Chill
  • Wind Air Speed

 

Features

  • Air, water, and snow temperature
  • Average wind speed / wind chill
  • Maximum wind chill / gust
  • Real-time clock
  • Waterproof
  • Large easy-to-read display with backlight
  • Data hold function
  • High precision pressure sensor
  • Quick response, external thermistor
  • Forecast weather with pressure trend indicator
  • Humidity sensor that can be recalibrated in the field with our Relative Humidity Calibration Kit.
  • Innovative, thermally adjusted humidity sensor designed for stability and accuracy in abrupt condition changes
  • Patented user-replaceable impeller
  • Reliable, portable and easy to use
  • Protective cover with sure-grip over-molding
  • All instruments and accessories are completely assembled in the USA

 

Includes

  • Battery - 1 x CR2032
  • Instructions
  • Lanyard
  • Protective Cover - Hard Slip-on

 

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Kestrel 3550FW Fire Weather Meter

Bring the power of one of the most accurate, trusted digital meters in fire safety to your department by investing in a Kestrel 3550FW unit. The 3550FW incorporates innovative features that are making it easy for firefighters to do their jobs safer and smarter, including a compass for wind direction, Bluetooth® connectivity to share weather data with their crew and the rest of the world, and an extra battery to ensure they don’t lose power at a critical time.

The Kestrel 3550FW unit is a rugged, compact weather meter with built-in GPS. It's purpose-built for firefighters to assist them in making informed decisions about weather impacts.

With an IP67 rating, waterproof housing, bright sunlight readable display, ability to update its own software over the air, and color coded alarms for monitoring conditions, this is an indispensable tool for firefighters everywhere.

The Kestrel 3550FW digital unit paired with the free Kestrel app puts powerful tools for monitoring, logging, and sending important weather information, like measures wind speed, temperature for making the most informed decisions for fire management strategy.

Pocket sized, rugged, waterproof, affordable, easy-to-use and equipped with data logging capabilities and wireless data retrieval for monitoring and reporting, the Kestrel 3550FW is your trusted weather guide for fire management and safety.

COMPREHENSIVE MONITORING

Consistently accurate measurements of barometric pressure, altitude, dew point, heat stress index, relative humidity, temperature, wind direction, air speed, wind chill, temperature and wet bulb readings.

CAPTURE REAL-TIME DATA

Easily view, and record data in real-time on a mobile device with the free Kestrel app.

SEND DETAILED REPORTS

Export and send detailed weather reports with GPS location via text or email for vital fire weather data management.

REFERENCE CARDS

Includes an easy-to-read Probability of Ignition (PIG) and Fine Dead Fuel Moisture (FDFM) reference card.

Uses

  • Athletics
  • Aviation
  • Camping
  • Construction & HVAC
  • Farming
  • Fishing
  • Sailing & Boating
  • Wind Load Monitoring

 

Environmental Measures

  • Altitude (Barometric)
  • Barometric Pressure
  • Dew Point Temperature
  • Heat Stress Index
  • Pressure Trend
  • Relative Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Wet Bulb Temperature (Psychrometric)
  • Wind Direction
  • Wind Air Speed

 

Features

  • 3-Button Control
  • Backlight - Green
  • Data Hold Function
  • Date & Time
  • Digital Compass
  • Drop-Tested to MIL-STD-810G
  • Field Humidity Calibration/Correction Routine
  • FREE Kestrel LiNK Software for iOS and Android*
  • High Contrast, Sunlight Readable Monochrome LCD Display
  • Minimum/Maximum/Average Reading
  • Pressure Sensor
  • Relative Humidity Sensor
  • Temperature Sensor (Patented External Isolated)
  • Waterproof to IP67 (3'/1M for 30 minutes)

 

Includes

  • Battery - 1 x CR2032
  • Certificate Of Conformity (Spec Sheet)
  • Instructions
  • Lanyard
  • Protective Cover - Hard Slip-on

 

Conclusion

Handheld anemometers and weather stations are a great way to get a better idea of the overall weather trends. They're easily portable and accurate within +/-2% of actual readings. So what does this mean? If you wanted to know the temperature outside, and the handheld weather station said it was 35 degrees, and your thermometer said 36 degrees, you can be certain that it is somewhere between 34 and 37 degrees outside.  

The best part? These devices don't just tell temperature; they also tell surface temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, as well as ultraviolet intensity.

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