What is the Best Handheld Anemometer? Handheld Weather Station Reviews

Handheld wind speed meters or handheld anemometers are extremely useful portable devices to gauge wind speed and sometimes direction. They range from basic cheap handheld anemometers to fully fledged portable weather stations that can measure barometric pressure and give instant hyperlocal weather forecasts. We’ve reviewed some of the best portable handheld anemometers, and listed them below.

The best handheld anemometers and portable weather stations:

best portable pocket weather station and handheld anemometerAmbient Weather WM-2 Handheld Weather Meter

The Ambient Weather WM-2 model is a basic handheld anemometer which measures wind speed, temperature and wind chill. It can also hold data for wind gusts and display information for the the Beaufort scale method of for measuring wind speed. With a long lasting battery and easy to read LCD screen readout, data can be displayed in a variety of ways including switching measurement units between miles per hour, kilometers per hour, meters per second, feet per second and knots.

Key features of the Ambient Weather WM-2 Handheld Wind Meter:

  • Cheap handheld wind monitor
  • Small and compact (pocket sized)
  • Measures wind speed up to 67 miles per hour
  • Rugged build quality
  • Tripod hole on bottom of unit for mounting

best portable pocket weather station and handheld anemometerAmbient Weather WM-5 Handheld Weather Meter

The Ambient Weather WM-5 is the bigger brother model to the previous handheld mobile anemometer, the WM-2. The WM-5 offers several advantages including a “jackknife” flip-case which doubles as a handle when you’re measuring the wind so that your own body heat and moisture won’t influence the instrument’s sensitive measurements.

The WM-5 features a Swiss-made precise barometer to measure barometric pressure as well as a humidity sensor. Its battery lasts up to 400 hours and is replaceable by the user.

Key features of the Ambient Weather WM-5 Handheld Wind Meter:

  • Jackknife flip-cover design for precise accuracy
  • LCD screen can display 16 hour history bar graph
  • Small and compact (pocket sized)
  • Measures wind speed up to 87 miles per hour
  • Rugged build quality
  • Rain and weather resistant
  • Tripod hole on bottom of unit for mounting

best portable pocket weather station and handheld anemometerWeatherFlow Hand Held Weather Meter with Bluetooth for iPhone & Android Smartphones

This tiny handheld weather meter measures wind speed, direction, temperature, dew point, heat index, wind chill, pressure & density altitude and relative humidity. That’s a quite a mouthful! But it has a trick up its sleeve: this unit doesn’t have a display and it instead connects wirelessly to your cell phone via a mobile app for iPhone or Android where it displays all the information using the large color screen that’s already in your pocket.

The WeatherFlow Handheld Weather Meter will be of special interest to sports shooters since it has a integrates with the BallisticsArc smartphone app to help calculate accurate predictive information for shooting purposes.

Key features of the WeatherFlow Handheld Weather Meter:

  • Small, lightweight design
  • Uses your smartphone’s large screen
  • Wireless (via Bluetooth)
  • Provides you with a wealth of data up to the second

best portable pocket weather station and handheld anemometerFixKit Handheld Digital Anemometer

The FixKit Handheld Digital Anemometer measures wind speed in 7 user-selectable units (mph, km/h, etc) on a large easy to read LCD screen with a backlight for dark spaces. This unit may be of particular interest to those who need a handheld anemometer for HVAC uses. The sensor unit has 3 foot long cable that separates the wind speed meter fan from the rest of the unit. This means you can stick the meter inside an air duct or other tight space to measure air flow and temperature without having to crawl inside it or stick an arm in there with a flashlight.

Note that because this hand held wind speed meter is in two parts (the sensor fan and the display readout) you’ll probably need two hands to operate it, unless you’re able to set one piece down on something. Two handed use might not be a problem for many applications, but it might be for some possible uses.

Key features of the FixKit Handheld Digital Anemometer:

  • Wind speed meter is detached from display unit
  • Large, easy to read screen & button navigation
  • Cheap price
  • Rugged rubber bumpers on edges of the display unit
  • Measures temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius
  • Auto-shutoff after 20 minutes of inactivity
  • Runs off a single user-replaceable 9 volt battery

best portable pocket weather station and handheld anemometerKestrel 3000 Pocket Wind Meter

Kestrel is one of the best known names in weather data devices and the Kestrel 3000 is an extremely well regarded pocket wind speed meter unit. It features an easy to read LCD display which reads out information on wind speed, temperature, relative humidity, dew point temperature, heat stress index, wind chill and more.

The Kestrel Pocket Wind Speed Meter is designed for professional daily use and it not only displays data on the current wind speed, but also the average wind speed over a period of time as well as the maximum wind speed reached during the measurement session. It also measures wind speed in miles per hour as well as knots and more units.

This handheld wind speed meter also has another trick up its sleeve: it’s waterproof and even floats! Especially handy for sailing enthusiasts who need a handheld anemometer for their boats.

Key features of the Kestrel 3000 Pocket Wind Meter:

  • Waterproof, floats
  • Pocket-sized, with lanyard strap
  • Rugged design built to withstand heavy use and drop-proof
  • Made in the USA
  • Includes a “heat stress meter” mode

best portable pocket weather station and handheld anemometerKestrel 5500 Weather Meter with LiNK + Vane Mount

This Kestrel handheld weather meter unit is probably the most fully featured handheld weather station on this list. It provides the user with a large easy to read display, and can optionally be used with the included tripod and wind direction vane. The Kestrel 5500 syncs with the Kestrel app on your iPhone or Android device up to about 100 feet in range and provides you with up to the second data on wind speed, direction, headwind and crosswind as well as temperature.

The Kestrel 5500 runs on a single AA battery and is fully waterproof up to about 3 feet for up to 30 minutes and it floats. It also measures humidity, barometric pressure, dew point, pressure trends, altitude and more as well as calculate wind chill and can store past use data within its memory banks. Comes with a neck lanyard, tripod, and wind direction vane attachment (though it can be operated without using these).

Key features of the Kestrel 5500 Handheld Weather Meter

  • Syncs with your iPhone or Android phone via Bluetooth
  • Waterproof & floats
  • Backlit display is easy to read even in the dark
  • Made in the USA
  • Includes a digital compass
  • Tracks headwind & tailwind
  • Works with a variety of ballistics phone apps for shooting
  • Red night vision LCD display mode
  • Includes a “heat stress meter” mode

Another nice feature of the Kestrel 5500 is that it can wirelessly connect to your PC or Mac to download weather data using an inexpensive dongle add-on. Using software you can then analyze historical wind speed information that you’ve collected using the instrument.

Factors to consider when choosing a handheld anemometer or handheld weather station

Does this anemometer measure more than just wind speed?

The most basic handheld anemometer will measure wind speed, temperature and probably nothing else. If your needs are limited to just that, then you can probably get away with a basic entry-level cheap handheld wind meter. But if there’s a chance you might need some more weather sensors such as barometric pressure or dew-point, then you might be more interested in a fully fledged portable weather station. Still other more advanced portable weather stations can offer analytical information like heat stress index, Beaufort scale equivalents, or windchill based on combining multiple measurements into one.

Will I be using this mobile anemometer near water or in rain?

Some handheld anemometers are waterproof and others even float. If you’re planning on bringing your wind speed meter on a boat or in adverse weather conditions, we recommend getting a portable anemometer that’s designed for that (such as the floating and waterproof Kestrel models listed on this page).

Do I need a detached instrument or is an all-integrated wind speed meter okay?

Some users who are interested in extremely precise humidity or temperature measurements will want to consider an anemometer with a jackknife design such as the Ambient Weather WM-5 listed on this page which has a flip-out display cover which you can hold on to instead of the unit itself so as to avoid from influencing the data collection with hand-sweat or body heat.

What type of weather conditions will I be using this handheld anemometer in?

If you’re a storm chaser that regularly finds themselves in high wind conditions then you might have more rugged needs than, say, an HVAC technician. Some anemometers are more rugged than others and can measure wind velocity up to almost a hundred miles per hour. Generally speaking the more expensive the anemometer, the faster the wind speed it should be able to read.

What is the price of this handheld anemometer?

Price is often a factor and the price range of handheld wind speed meters and portable weather stations ranges from a few dollars to several hundred. If you are planning on purchasing additional accessories such as tripods or other gear to use with your portable wind speed meter you’ll want to be sure to factor that price into the total purchase price of your system. Ultimately the best handheld anemometer is the one that’s right for you.

Do I need/want smartphone app compatibility for my handheld wind speed meter?

Some higher end wind speed meters such as the Kestrel models or WeatherFlow ones on this list offer the ability to connect your wind speed meter or weather station to your cell phone via iPhone or Android apps which you can download to provide in depth analysis of your hyperlocal weather conditions.

This Bluetooth connectivity can be useful for looking back at stored historical data (i.e. recognizing that a particular wind speed is the highest ever recorded, or what’s “normal” wind speed for a ventilator system). Handheld wind speed meters that work with your phone can also sometimes hook up to other third party apps like ballistics apps for shooters.

What are handheld weather stations or handheld anemometers used for?

There are a number of things that people use handheld anemometers, pocket weather stations and portable wind speed meters for. Generally speaking, these are grouped into several different categories by use type:

Pocket wind speed meters for firefighters – In some places wind speed and directionality can be a matter of life and death. It’s hard to think of a more critical use case for accurate wind speed meters or anemometers than firefighters battling a forest fire. Firefighters may use pocket weather stations to predict how conditions may change that impact the way that they fight wildfires as well as get a sense of where they may be able to safely be located while they’re fighting wide ranging fires.

As one firefighter says in the video above: “The reason [wind is] important to us, fires can create their own wind but they’re also driven by the wind that goes on within the weather. Increased winds will increase the veracity of the fire, changes in wind direction will change the direction that the fire’s going, so those are things that are important for us to know when we come on the scene and monitor for changes during event.” Relative humidity and temperature are also important weather factors for firefighters to monitor because humidity affects how quick nearby tinder is to catch fire.

Handheld anemometers for HVAC professionals – Contractors installing or maintaining heating, cooling and air conditioning units often find handheld anemometers useful because they’re a convenient pocket sized way to gauge how fast air is blowing, and whether a unit is faulty or not without having to rely on what it “feels” like.

Portable weather stations for hikers & backpackers – If you’re hiking in a microclimate or out in the middle of nowhere you may not have access to reliable weather data, especially at high altitudes. Carrying a pocket weather station with you can help produce accurate hyperlocal weather forecasts which can determine whether it’s important to seek shelter in the case of adverse weather conditions.

Handheld wind speed meters for model plane enthusiasts – Although pilots of large aircraft can usually rely on other sources of weather data, model plane and drone pilots often find handheld wind speed and direction meters invaluable when determining their own hyper-local flying conditions.

anemometers and wind speed meters for sailing

Portable anemometers for sailing – Large sailboats sometimes have anemometers (wind speed and direction meters) built-in but smaller boats don’t have these and it’s often handy to be able to check wind speed with a handheld device.

Anemometers for sports shooters & hunters – For sports shooters, wind speed and directional information can be quite useful to boost the accuracy of their shots. While hunters are interested in accuracy they may also be even more interested in the direction of the wind for scent purposes (hunting upwind, etc). Read more about the effect of wind speed and direction as well as scents in hunting in this article.

Weather stations & barometric pressure meters for fishing – Fishers also sometimes use pocket weather stations to measure barometric pressure which fish react to. In high or low barometric pressure environments fish swim slowly in deeper waters, while in falling pressure environments fish are more likely to be swimming near the surface and be ready to bite at any opportunity.

Wind speed meters for agricultural users – Farmers sometimes need to measure barn ventilation as well as temperature conditions for livestock purposes and so handheld portable wind speed meters are useful for them as well.

Wind speed meters for wind power professionals – People working in the rapidly expanding wind power energy sector often use handheld anemometers to measure wind speed at locations they’re considering putting in new wind turbines or windmills, as well as for measuring data when doing maintenance checkups to existing wind power sites.

Coaches and trainers who need handheld heat stress meters – Some coaches working with athletes outdoors during summer or winter may want to use a wind speed meter that has a built in heat stress meter to monitor weather conditions by synthesizing a combination of temperature, wind speed as well as humidity. This is useful to make sure athletes don’t over-exert themselves in challenging weather conditions while training. Some handheld wind speed meters such as Kestrel models offer this feature.

Pocket weather stations for storm chasers – Storm chasing is one of those hobbies that’s gaining popularity due to both cheaper equipment and the effects of climate change producing more extreme weather variations. Storm chasers often use pocket anemometers in conjunction with other gear to monitor current weather conditions and trends. Pocket anemometers allow storm chasers to measure weather conditions surrounding extreme weather events without fragile equipment, since most of these small devices are rugged and many are weatherproof and come with lanyards or hand straps.

Pocket wind speed meters for EMTs & public safety workers – Portable wind speed meters are also useful for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and also public safety workers dealing with avalanche control, smoke coordination, forensics, hazmat/biohazard remediation, K9 handlers, dive rescue workers, search and rescue, and more.

Pocket weather stations for Weather enthusiasts – The weather hobbyist community is growing and as weather station gear has gotten more both more portable and more affordable, some weather enthusiasts are choosing to buy their own portable weather stations. Weather reports generally offer forecasts for a large area– sometimes many square miles, and will never be as precise as the information you can get from your own handheld weather station.

Of course there are plenty of other reasons why a person might want a handheld weather station that aren’t related to any of the use cases listed above. Whatever the reason that you’re looking to buy a pocket anemometer we hope you find this article useful.

Frequently asked questions about handheld anemometers

What is an anemometer?

An anemometer is a wind speed meter that captures measurements on air velocity. To learn more about these devices, read our article titled What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?

Some anemometers are more complicated and offer other advanced features like humidity, temperature and barometric pressure. These are sometimes referred to as personal weather stations.

Are there other types of anemometers besides the fan/vane anemometers listed in this article?

Yes, another popular anemometer type that sometimes comes in a handheld version is a cup anemometer. Read our article on those for more: The Best Cup Anemometers & How Wind Cups Work

How do anemometers work?

The anemometers on this list have fans or “vanes” which rotate at a speed based on the wind velocity. The devices then measure how fast the wind vane or fan is turning and then translate that into the speed of the wind in units such as miles per hour, meters per second, knots, or other units.

What is the Best Wireless Anemometer & Wireless Wind Speed Meter?

Anemometers or wind speed meters are extremely useful to help gauge the speed and sometimes direction of wind at any given time. However if you’re interested in mounting an anemometer outside your home but you want to be able to know the wind speed before you leave the house, you can get stuck with hundreds of feet of cabling to install. It’s much more convenient to choose a wireless anemometer or wireless wind speed meter instead. Luckily there are several of these now on the market.

The best wireless anemometers on sale today:

wireless wind speed meterAcuRite 00634 Wireless Weather Station with Wind Sensor

Here’s a wireless wind gauge system that consists of a wireless anemometer paired with an LCD display unit that you can keep indoors up to 330 feet away from the sensor.

This AcuRite wireless anemometer measures the wind speed, humidity and temperature outdoors and transmits this information at 18 second intervals to the LCD base station which you can mount on your wall indoors or set upright on a table or counter. The sensor unit comes with mounting hardware and has a battery life of up to two years on four standard AA batteries. The wind speed meter is self calibrating and works with wind speeds up to 99 miles per hour and in weather up to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The easy to read wireless LCD display that comes with this unit gives you a 12 or 24 hour personalized hyperlocal weather forecast that tracks the wind speed, humidity, temperature barometric pressure, and even moon the phase. It can also store records of previous highs and lows in your area. All in all this is one of the best cheap wireless anemometers out there right now.

wireless wind speed meterAcuRite 02064MA1 Pro Weather Station with PC Connect, 5-in-1 Weather Sensor

This anemometer wirelessly connects to its indoor LCD base station up to 330 feet away. It transmits a wide variety of weather information like the wind speed and direction, the temperature and humidity, the barometric pressure, rainfall and distills all that information into a an easy to read personal weather forecast for your area on its LCD screen.

This is more than just a normal wireless anemometer however since it also connects to your computer and uploads the information to the My AcuRite website where you can analyze your historical data and check weather remotely from anywhere using the iPhone or Android app (requires a Windows PC). You can also export the raw weather data to a CSV file where you can do further analysis of trends and conditions.

The easy to read color LCD base station offers information like the outdoor temperature, indoor temperature, and a “feels like” temperature of what the things actually feel like when you step outside (based on wind speed and humidity). Works to measure wind speed up to 99 miles per hour and in temperatures up to -40 degrees below freezing. If you’re interested in gathering a wide array of weather information like rainfall and you want to access this data on your computer and smartphone from anywhere, this wireless anemometer might be the one for you.

wireless wind speed meterAmbient Weather WS-900-IP Wireless Internet Remote Monitoring Weather Station

Here’s another wireless anemometer that captures wind speed information and transmits it to an LCD base station indoors. This particular unit is unique because it it includes not one but two LCD base stations to view wind speed information so it’s easy to keep one upstairs in a bedroom and another one downstairs by the door for instance. You can mount the wireless personal weather station outdoors up to about 300 feet away from the indoor displays.

The Ambient Weather WS-900 also transmits your weather data (wind speed, direction, rainfall and temperature to Weather Underground, the largest weather station network on the internet. Your local data adds to a crowdsourced view of global trends helping everyone gain a clearer view of accurate weather data. You can also check on your local weather data using the iOS or Android mobile app from anywhere.

Comes with a mounting solution to attach this wireless weather station on to a pole or fence or other object. Runs on two AA batteries which can last up to 1-2 years.

wireless wind speed meterExcelvan Professional Wireless Weather Station

This wireless anemometer captures an even wider range of weather data and wirelessly transmits it to an indoor base station. It has a wireless range of up to about 330 feet and measures: wind speed, wind direction, temperature indoors and outdoors, humidity, rainfall, and the UV index and light index. Combined together, all this data can give you an extremely accurate view of current weather conditions in your local area as well as a forward-looking personalized weather forecast based on barometric pressure and other variables.

Like some of the other wireless wind speed meters on this list, this one also can connect to your PC where you can offload data and study historical trends using supplied Windows software (Weather Smart, which can sync with the Weather Underground online weather information clearinghouse service). Also provides dew point, time and historical information. Runs off of two AA batteries.

wireless wind speed meterDavis Instruments 6163 Vantage Pro2 Plus Wireless Weather Station

This professional level wireless weather station includes a wireless anemometer to measure wind speed and direction, humidity sensor, solar radiation sensor, a rain sensor and an extremely accurate temperature sensor that is shielded from wind by a fan which allows you to get very accurate temperature readings. You can mount this wireless anemometer and weather suite hundreds of feet away from the indoor LCD base station which provides data on an easy to read screen.

Since this is pro level hardware it’s more expensive but the instruments may be slightly more accurate than a consumer grade wireless anemometer or other instruments. It also has a longer wireless range meaning you can mount the weather station outdoors further away than some other wireless weather stations. You can also buy an optional accessory to download your weather data to a PC and upload your data to the user contribute-able Weather Underground website.

What is a wireless anemometer? What are wireless wind speed meters used for?

An anemometer measures the wind speed in a given area and a wireless anemometer measures wind speed and transmits it to a base station with a screen where you can view that information remotely.

One common use case for wireless anemometers is when a person wants to be able to tell how windy it is outdoors without going outside, and they don’t want to have to fumble with cables or wires to connect their wind speed meter (anemometer) with an LCD display. Often times the cables that come with even the best cup anemometers are too short and a hassle to deal with.

Factors to consider when buying a rotating cup anemometer

What is the wireless range of this anemometer?

Most wireless anemometers have a range of a few hundred feet. Since they commonly broadcast on the 915 MHz RF wireless transmission frequency, 330 feet is a very common range limit for these units. A few professional grade wireless anemometers have ranges of up to around 1000 feet.

Are there any drawbacks to making an anemometer wireless?

It’s not easy these days to find a wireless wind meter that only measures the speed of wind and not other factors like wind direction, temperature and other weather factors. These days it’s much more common to find a wind speed meter (anemometer) that’s bundled as part of a larger personal weather station kit. This might have possible downsides like increased cost. But we’d argue that in many cases it’s handy to be able to have all that extra data at your fingertips without needing to venture outside– even if all you think you initially are interested in is wind speed.

How many indoor LCD base stations does this come with? What are the base station’s features?

Some LCD base stations are easier to read than others, and different wireless anemometers will display different types of data on their screens. Be sure to examine the example display readout of any wireless wind speed meter that you are considering to make sure you’re happy with the display since that’s what you’re actually going to be relying on for information. Some LCD displays are in color, some are larger than others, and some distill all their information into a personalized forward looking 12 or 24 hour weather forecast (like “showers likely”).

Can this wireless anemometer connect to my computer? Does it have a mobile phone app that I can check from anywhere?

Some personal weather stations allow you to connect their base stations to a computer to sync weather data like wind speed, temperatures and so on for analysis. This can be useful if you’re tech savvy and some weather stations eve allow you to upload your data automatically to websites like Weather Underground, where thousands of weather enthusiasts contribute data to crowdsource a very accurate view of global weather. Some wireless anemometers also come with a mobile phone app that will let you check weather conditions at home even while you’re away.

It’s worth keeping in mind that all of the weather stations in this article only work with PCs and many will only upload data as long as they are plugged into your computer and it’s on and connected to the internet. One of the units in this list, the Ambient Weather unit does not need to be connected to a PC, it comes with a special wireless relay device of its own that uploads information to the internet for you without needing to be plugged into a computer that’s on.

What type of batteries does this potential wireless wind speed meter use?

Before you buy a wireless wind speed meter, be sure to check to see what kind of batteries it accepts and what the approximate battery life is expected to be. You probably won’t want to be changing the batteries every month for example. Many of the units featured on this page have a battery life ranging from many months to even a couple of years on standard AA batteries.

The Best Cup Anemometers & How Wind Cups Work

Cup anemometers measure wind speed in a highly accurate way. We’ve gathered together all the information you need to know about cup anemometers, how they work, where to buy them and more. Skip down directly to our sections below: What is a cup anemometer How does a cup anemometer work? and factors to consider when purchasing an anemometer.

The best cup anemometer for sale

best wind speed cup anemometerMagnetic Mount Anemometer Wind Meter by Inspeed

This is a popular wind cup anemometer which mounts to anything metal with its dual powerful magnet mounts on its base. It comes with a 25 foot long cable and a digital meter which allows you to measure the wind speed on its included display. Inspeed, the company that makes it, has designed this wind cup anemometer with the magnetic base so you can mount it on your vehicle for storm-chasing but of course you could also mount it at home on a sheet metal roof or anywhere else you have a metal surface to stick it to. For storm chasers or storm spotting in particular though, this is definitely one of the best cup anemometers out there because of its generous cable length allowing you to measure wind speed without getting out of your car (especially if its raining).

Pros: great car mounted anemometer for storm chasing
Cons: mounts magnetically only

best wind speed cup anemometerPole Mount Anemometer by Inspeed

If you’re looking for a wind cup anemometer but you want to mount it permanently or semi-permanently in a spot where a magnet like the car magnet anemometer above won’t work, this pole mount anemometer might be your best bet.

Inspeed’s anemometers are quite accurate, up to + or – 1 mile per hour and the included display captures both the maximum speed reached in a session as well as the current average. The battery in the remote display unit lasts for months of continuous use.

This wind cup anemometer comes with a digital display and a 25 foot cable, though you can attach your own 18 gauge speaker wire for a 100+ foot range which makes it easy to mount this anemometer on the roof of an RV or the roof of a house while the display is safely indoors. You can also bury the cable underground as well.

Pros: great mountable anemometer
Cons: not portable

best wind speed cup anemometerExtech AN400 Cup Thermo-Anemometer

This Extech cup thermo-anemometer is a great portable wind cup speed meter that you can hold easily in your hand to measure the speed and temperature of wind anywhere you go. The built in thermometer measures temperatures in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. It features three rotating wind cups and can measure air velocity in meters per second, ft per minute, kilometers per hour and knots on its LCD screen. It can also record minimum and maximum values in its log, as well as the current airspeed. The housing is water resistant and it comes with 4 AAA batteries. It also has a loop at the bottom so you can attach a non-included hand strap if you’re worried about dropping it (or using it in particularly high speed winds or poor weather).

Pros: easily portable, handheld wind speed meter
Cons: price (perhaps)

best wind speed cup anemometerAcuRite 01500 Wireless Weather Station with Wind and Rain Sensor

If you need a wind cup anemometer but you also want to measure other types of weather data as well, then an all in one unit like this AcuRite 01500 Wireless Weather Station with Wind and Rain Sensor might be just the ticket. It uses a range of instrumentation to provide you with your own personalized 12 to 24 hour weather condition forecast. This is especially useful for those of us that live in remote areas or places where weather forecasts are inaccurate due to a lack of weather instrumentation or those who live in microclimate zones that weather services don’t measure.

This sophisticated weather station with cup anemometer can measure the temperature, the wind speed and direction, rainfall in inches or millimeters, and other data. And it distills it all down to a forecast summary that can tell you if bad weather is on the way, as well as give you a “feels like” temperature.

The AcuRite Wireless Weather Station mounts on the side of a building such as a house and streams data to its included display up to 330 feet away (100 meters). It also gives you information about the day’s high and low as well as how much rainfall you’ve had and the time.

Pros: measures much more than just wind speed
Cons: complicated display

best wind speed cup anemometerVaavud Wind Speed Meter with Smartphone App

If you’re looking for a cheap cup anemometer with a digital readout, this handheld wind speed reader that plugs into your cell phone might fit the bill perfectly. It features a simple two-cup design and plugs into the headphone port of your iPhone, iPad or Android device. It works by plugging into the headphone port of your device, though if your newer cellphone doesn’t have a headphone port it will still work wirelessly as long as you hold it close and steady. It actually contains no electronics and works via batteries to communicate with your phone using the phone’s magnetic field detector (which is mainly only used for your phone’s compass). Works with Apple iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy and virtually every other smartphone (see a long list of compatible devices here).

One nice feature of this wind speed meter for smartphones is that it automatically logs your wind speed history along with location and time/date so you can easily refer back to it. That’s a great unique feature especially for portable anemometer uses like sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, etc.

Pros: great app, automatically logs wind speed & location
Cons: requires a smartphone

best wind speed cup anemometerAmerican Educational Corrosion-Resistant Cup Anemometer, with Revolving Wind Cups

Looking to teach middle school high school students about climate science or weather? This educational wind cup anemometer helps teach basic concepts at an affordable price.

The American Educational Products Cup Anemometer features four wind cups with two facing in each direction and one of them red which makes counting manual each revolution easy for students to do. This wind meter is easy to assemble and is made of non-corrosive elements meaning it can be left outdoors for long periods of time if desired.

Pros: Cheap, educational for science students or kids
Cons: No digital display, requires manual counting

What is a cup anemometer?

Cup anemometer definition: Anemometers measure wind speed, and a cup anemometer is specific type of wind speed gauge that measures the speed of wind or air flow based on how quickly a set of cups turns around in a circle.

Cup anemometers are one of the older types of anemometers or wind meters and they’re they’re still popular today among weather hobbyists and professionals measuring wind and weather. Cup anemometers are generally pretty accurate and they come in a few different varieties with the major difference being how many different cups they have (two, three or four) and whether or not they electronically count the revolutions per minute or whether you need to count them manually to measure wind speed. The cup anemometers that are manual and do not automatically count revolutions are generally meant for student use and not professional use. Often the manual count anemometers will have one cup that is a different color to help make it easier to count the number of revolutions the wind cups make per minute.

Cup anemometers will also sometimes come as part of a larger weather station with additional instruments. They also come in different form factors: some are designed to be mounted on the outside of buildings, others work well on top of a car, and still others are meant for handheld portable use.

Common wind cup anemometer users: home weather hobbyists, storm chasers/storm spotters, HVAC contractors, wind power professionals, windsurfers, sailboat owners.

Learn more about the different types of wind meters in our other article, what is an anemometer and what is it used for?

How does a cup anemometer work?

As the wind is caught in each cup on a wind cup anemometer, it pushes the cup to rotate and catches the next cup in its path, making the cup spin. The number of revolutions per minute will determine how fast or strong the wind is blowing. Some wind cup meters require you to manually count the revolutions per minute to discover the wind speed; other wind cup speed meters will measure the wind speed digitally and calculate it for you by counting the rotations on an internal computer.

A wind cup anemometer is a relatively basic but still fairly accurate wind instrument from a scientific point of view. They are in common use at weather stations around the world and points of interest where wind velocity is extremely important to understand such as airports. They are also used by wind power professionals who are evaluating sites for potential turbine installation.

Factors to consider when buying a rotating cup anemometer

Does this cup anemometer have a digital readout or will I need to manually count revolutions? This is a pretty obvious question and in most cases most people will require an anemometer with a wind calculator built in. One exception may be science teachers or those looking for a weather related gift for a child.

Is this cup anemometer handheld or mount-able? Some cup wind meters are meant to be mounted on cars or buildings or poles, and others can be brought with you wherever you go.

Does this mountable anemometer have a wired or wireless display? If you’re looking to use an anemometer mounted on your vehicle or outside of your home you may be especially interested in getting a wireless anemometer with a decent range to it so you can measure the wind speed without having to have a cable hooked to your device outdoors. Some rotating cup anemometers have wireless displays that can be placed hundreds of feet away and others require a cable to go from the wind cups to the display indoors. Regardless of whether or not your anemometer is wired or wireless, you’ll want to check the maximum range or cable length of the display you’re considering.

How many cups does this anemometer have? Cup anemometers come with a variety of different cup counts: some are 2 cup anemometers, others are 3 cup anemometers and still others have 4 cups.

Do I want a cup type anemometer that has logging built in? If you’re interested in logging wind velocity, you may be particularly interested in a cup anemometer which works with your smartphone so the wind speeds you measure can be logged with time and location.

Do I only care about measuring wind speed or do I want other features and functions too? If you’re interested in more than just wind velocity, you may want to consider fully fledged personal weather stations that include wind cups but also measure factors like temperature, barometric pressure, rainfall, humidity and other factors. These personal weather stations can accurately predict rain and weather conditions using a variety of instruments and often come with wireless digital displays that you can keep in your home.

What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?

anemometerAn anemometer is a weather monitor instrument used to measure wind speed. The first crude anemometers were used to roughly measure wind speed hundreds of years ago, but today anemometers are highly accurate wind speed monitors that can provide data in a variety of ways.

How do anemometers work to monitor wind speed?

There are several different types of anemometers and each one functions slightly differently. How an individual anemometer works to measure wind speed and sometimes direction is based on what type it is. Here are the major types of modern anemometers that you will commonly find today:

How cup anemometers work

Cup anemometers are perhaps the most simple type of anemometer, and among the most accurate. They are mounted on a pole with and consist of a set of two, three or four spinning cups which blow in the wind. Generally speaking three cup anemometers are the most common type these days. As the wind gets stronger, the cup formation spins faster and the anemometer captures the speed of the air flow and displays it as a digital readout. Cup anemometers are commonly used today by professional weather stations to measure wind speed.

Most cup anemometers are meant to be mounted on either a building or a sailboat but there are some handheld cup anemometers that do exist.

For more, see our article about the best cup anemometers and how cup anemometers work.

How vane anemometers work

vane-anemometer
Vane anemometers, also known as propeller or windmill anemometers, are similar to the cup anemometer however instead of spinning cups they instead use an array of wind blades that turn. They are not mounted vertically like the cup anemometers and instead the blades are horizontally mounted and face into the wind. Vane anemometers must rotate to face in whatever direction the wind is blowing so they often use a wind vane opposite the propeller to shift in the direction of the wind. Like cup anemometers, vane anemometers or propeller anemometers automatically count the number of revolutions per second to calculate wind speed and display that digitally for you. Some handheld propeller anemometers are also called impeller wind monitors because their propeller blades are protected by a caging unit to make sure they don’t get caught on your hand.

Some vane anemometers are meant to be mounted on buildings but handheld vane anemometers are also quite common.

How hot-wire anemometers work

Hot-wire anemometers or constant current anemometers work by heating a thin wire to a specific temperature and then measuring how much the wire is cooled by the air flow. The hot wire anemometer is able to calculate how fast the wind is blowing by measuring how quickly the wire cools down and how cool it gets.

Hot wire anemometers are most commonly made for handheld usage.

What is the best type of anemometer?

There really isn’t a best type of anemometer. Each type of wind speed monitor works slightly differently and may be better for some uses than others. For instance, if you’re looking for a portable handheld wind speed monitor, you might want to consider a vane anemometer (propeller wind speed meter) or a hot wire anemometer because a cup anemometer might be a bit too bulky to carry around since the cups stick out.

Alternatively if you want to mount an anemometer at your house to measure the wind speed outdoors you’re probably better off with either a cup anemometer or a vane anemometer since hot-wire anemometers are generally meant for handheld usage. In very light wind, vane anemometers might not work quite as well as cup anemometers simply because they need the wind to be strong enough to point their vane in the direction they’re blowing. However cup anemometers won’t give you data on the direction the wind is blowing, as vane anemometers typically will.

Additionally, if you’re planning to affix a wind speed sensor or anemometer on the outside of your home as part of a home weather station, you may want to choose which type of anemometer to use based on size or aesthetic concerns as well.

Specialty Anemometers for indoor and outdoor usage

Anemometers come with different uses in mind but most handheld wind speed monitors are fairly rugged and most mountable anemometers tend to be weatherproof.

Some anemometers are easy to take with you wherever you go, and others come as part of wireless weather stations that you can place in your backyard and read off an indoor monitor. Additionally some handheld anemometers are compact for portable use and others have long cables for mounting purposes. Still others are designed to be mounted on boats. Some anemometers are better for HVAC installation or repair uses and others still like hot wire air velocity meters are great for measuring the air flow that may be coming in from a drafty door or window. Many anemometers today connect to an app on your smartphone or tablet as well.

Who uses anemometers and why?

Plenty of people use anemometers for both professional and hobby uses. Here are some examples of why a person might need an anemometer:

  • Someone with a sailboat who wants to measure wind speed before they go sailing or windspeed and direction during sailing
  • A windsurfer who wants to monitor wind conditions
  • Weather enthusiasts and hobbyists
  • HVAC installation and repair personnel wanting a scientific way to measure airflow in an air conditioning, heating or ventilation unit or home inspectors and facility managers
  • People who live in rural areas that don’t have reliable or accurate weather data that want to set up their own personal weather station
  • People who fly drones or RC planes that want to check weather conditions to see if it’s safe to fly
  • Scientists who measure environmental conditions
  • Hunters, sports shooters/target shooters and archers (as well as those in the military) wanting a quick way to check ground conditions or wind direction and speed
  • Kite flyers or paragliders who want to check conditions before launching
  • Safari guides who want to keep an eye on wind conditions and staying downwind of various exotic animals

References

Anemometers on Wikipedia