Wind Speed and Direction Meters & Wind Direction Gauges

best sailboat wind meter and anemometer for sailing

A century ago, if you wanted to know which direction the wind was blowing, your only choice might be a creaky old weathervane. But today there are several types of wind speed and direction instruments available. In this article we’ve rounded up the best wind direction and speed meters for your consideration. We’re going to list the least complicated and most simple wind direction meters first and then move on to progressively more complex and fully featured wind direction gauges. Let’s get started!

The best wind direction meters

Outdoor Windsock wind direction instrument

This simple windsock is the most basic type of wind direction meter that exists. This airport style wind sock is a large easily visible wind gauge that will make the wind direction very obvious and to anyone looking at it. On the pro side, this sock needs very little setup and is pretty hard to misread and doesn’t require any batteries (though you will need to buy a wind sock pole separately if you don’t already have one). On the other hand, there is the small possibility that the sock might rip, and it doesn’t give you numeric measurements like some of the other wind speed meters in this article. And if the breeze is too light you might not be able to tell that there is a wind blowing at all, because it takes a certain minimum wind speed to elevate the windsock.

Wind Mill Style Weathervane

One step up from a a simple wind sock is a weathervane. When you think of weathervanes you might think of the traditional ornamental weathervanes that you may have seen on top of beautiful old farmhouses. Those weathervanes are wonderful decorations but they aren’t quite as functional because they’re often heavy and the surface area they offer to catch in the wind often isn’t very substantial.

This functional wind mill style weathervane stands 8 feet high (2.44 meters) and has a large and easily visible face with 12 blades and a rear paddle. The blades of the windmill are tipped with colored paint, further increasing their visibility even against gray skies. This wind mill kit comes with everything you need to set it up in your yard. Available in green and yellow or gray and red. Pros: Easy to operate, easily visible from far away, doesn’t require batteries, looks nice (if you like the windmill tower look). Cons: Doesn’t give exact speed measurements, is quite large.

Ambient Weather WM-4 Handheld Weather Station

The Ambient Weather WM-4 handheld wind speed and direction meter is a great little device that you can carry with you in your pocket. It measures wind direction using a digital compass that can give you precise wind direction in degrees and compass points. And it does more than that: for this anemometer, wind direction is only the beginning. It also measures wind speed, temperature, dew point, crosswind and tail wind, and much more.

Pros: Offers precise digital measurements of wind direction, compact handheld form factor for travel anemometer use

Cons: Slight learning curve. Requires batteries, although the included replaceable battery often lasts for years at a time

Related: The Best Portable Anemometers & Portable Weather Meters

Ambient Weather WS-12 Wireless Weather Station

Here is another instrument that measures wind speed and direction. This personal weather station can be mounted outdoors and collects several types of data. It’s a wind speed and direction meter for starters, but it also collects temperature information, dew point, humidity (allowing for the calculation of a “feels like” temperature) and much more. The weather station monitoring unit is solar powered. It also comes with a backlit wireless readout screen unit that works up to 300 feet away from the actual outdoor instruments, and even includes a rain gauge. It can also be used as an alarm clock.

Pros: Solar powered wireless weather station, affordable price, multi-featured instrument system

Cons: Not portable, must be mounted somewhere outside

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

Frequently asked questions about wind speed and direction instruments

What is an anemometer?

An anemometer is a wind speed meter. For more about anemometers, how they work and when they were invented, see our article: What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?

What are wind direction meters used for?

There are many different uses for wind direction and speed meters. A person might want to know the precise wind direction before they fly a model aircraft or a farmer might use wind speed and direction instruments to figure out when it’s safe to spray pesticides. Or a person might want a mountable wind direction gauge for sailing.

What is an instrument that measures wind speed and direction called?

“Wind direction gauge” or “wind direction meter” are two common terms for these devices. More broadly speaking wind speed meters are called anemometers, and wind direction is often an extra function of sophisticated anemometers.

How do wind direction gauges work?

Very simple wind direction meters like wind socks or wind vanes rely on the wind moving the instrument phyiscally in the direction of the gust. Anemometers that function as wind speed and direction meters (such as handheld wind speed and direction meters) will sometimes have a small flag or vane that rotates combined with a digital compass to read out exactly what the wind direction is.

Besides being a wind direction and speed meter, what else do anemometers measure?

Anemometers often measure much more than just wind speed and direction. Some sophisticated anemometers can also measure temperature, humidity, dewpoint, and even come up with forecasts for what the weather will be like. These complex instruments are sometimes called personal weather stations (they will sometimes be mounted in a person’s backyard because they live in a microclimate where official weather forecasts aren’t very accurate). Anemometers or wind speed meters also commonly will keep track of data like the maximum wind gust speed, and they may also be able to translate these speeds into various units of measurement such as miles per hour, meters per second, knots per hour, etc.

The best anemometers for kids (kids anemometer info & how to guides)

Anemometers or wind speed meters are terrific tools for teaching science to kids because they are easy to understand even from young ages. Everyone who has experience windy days and less windy days is familiar with the concept of fast wind vs a slow breeze no matter their age. And, it stands to reason, that there ought to be a way to measure the speed of wind, right? By equipping a young person with an anemometer they’re in the driver’s seat to answer that question themselves. Science can often be abstract but with an anemometer kids can experience it in a hands on way.

In this article we’re going to be suggesting some of the best anemometer kits for kids as well as exploring some related topics like making an anemometer themselves. If you’re only interested in our recommendations, you can skip straight down to the recommended products section.

What is an anemometer for kids?

An anemometer is a wind speed meter. Many basic anemometers measure the speed of wind by counting how fast a set of wind cups or wind blades move in a circle. The wind speed is then translated into a speed of miles per hour or some other unit of measurement. (Related article: What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?)

How does an anemometer work for kids?

Different wind speed meters (“anemometers”) work differently. The most simple type of anemometer is a rotating cup anemometer which works pretty much how you’d expect. It typically features two or three or four wind cups and it spins in the direction that the wind is blowing. By counting the number of rotations in, say, a minute, we can calculate the speed of the wind.

Other anemometers use wind blades inside a fan type enclosure (these are often called vane anemometers). Still other anemometers measure the speed of the wind by calculating how long it takes to cool down a heated wire (unsurprisingly these are called hot wire anemometers). Another advanced type of anemometer is an ultrasonic anemometer which measures how fast sound pulses move through air. A wind sock isn’t quite an anemometer but it is another simple method of roughly measuring wind speed and direction.

For most science classroom or children’s usage, cup and vane anemometers are the most common type, with cup anemometers being especially common. (Related article: The Best Cup Anemometers & How Wind Cups Work)

How to make an anemometer for kids

Making a do-it-yourself cup anemometer is a great science activity for kids. You can even create a simple but functional anemometer out of common household items like a pencil, straws, a pin and paper dixie cups. Watch the following how-to video or read our comprehensive guide How to make a cup anemometer for kids (DIY paper cup anemometer) – Video.

Related article: Science & Weather Gift Ideas for Kids & Aspiring Meteorologists

What are the best kids anemometers?

Eisco Labs Small Anemometer

If you’re looking for a basic anemometer kids will understand, this is it. It consists of four wind cups which are mounted on a stem that spins in the wind. The faster the wind blows, the faster the cups rotate. One of the wind cups is red which makes it easier to count as it spins (the number of rotations per minute will allow you to calculate the wind speed). This is a great science classroom anemometer or for home use if you don’t want to make your own anemometer out of paper cups.

Didax Educational Resources Anemometer for Grades K-12

This is a basic handheld wind cup kids anemometer. As the wind gets faster, the spinning cups start to rise, which elevates the reading bar on the stem of the device. It won’t produce very exact results of course but it’s a simple anemometer for kids that doesn’t require the user to count the number of revolutions per minute, instead relying on the built-in wind speed gauge. This cup anemometer also does not require batteries — another plus.

SmartLab You Track It Weather Lab

This is a weather science kit for kids ages 7 and up. It includes an anemometer with speed gauge, a rain gauge, a weather vane, a compass and color booklet with additional information about extreme weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, high heat, lightning, thunder and more. (You may also want to consider this alternative weather station kit for kids which features a cup anemometer that must be manually counted along with some other features.)

Handheld mini anemometer

This bright yellow battery powered vane anemometer features a simple, easy to read screen that measures wind speed in a variety of units (miles per hour, knots, feet per minute, meters per second, kilometers per hour). It also has a handy wrist strap and options for displaying the current wind speed, average wind speed, and peak wind speeds. This anemometer for kids even has a built in thermometer too. The backlit screen allows it to be used at night. Powered by a single CR2032 “coin style” battery (included and replacable). This anemometer is great for sailing, kite flying and more.

Frequently asked questions about kids anemometers

What are the pros and cons of building an anemometer with kids vs using a pre-assembled anemometer kit?

DIY cup anemometer projects where you build anemometers out of paper cups can be a great project that involves kids directly in the building process. At the same time, they won’t be terribly accurate and it may be hard to know how to translate the number of cup rotations per minute into the speed of wind in miles per hour or other units of measurement.

What is the right age to start using anemometers with kids?

The youngest age recomended by a product in this article is 7 years old for the toy weather kits. However to make paper cup anemometers the minimum suggested age is 8 or 9 years old (third or fourth grade). There is no maximum age for anemomters although the complexity of the work you can do with it depends on age. Anemometers are used in middle school projects commonly.

What can a child or student learn from using an anemometer?

With anemometers kids can explore numerous subjects including:

– Weather science
– Instrument use
– Mechanical ability (if doing a build it yourself anemometer project)
– Math and formulas (in the case of simple cup anemometers with manually counted/calculated wind speed)
– Discussion of wind power and clean energy

The best sailboat wind direction indicators, sailing wind speed meters & sailing anemometers

best sailboat wind meter and anemometer for sailing

If you’re a sailing enthusiast you probably are no stranger needing accurate wind speed and direction information. There are a slew of wind meters available today for just about every need: from handheld anemometers (wind speed meters), to sailboat mounted wind direction indicators and more. In this article we’re going to do a roundup of the best wind meters for sailing, windvanes for sailboats, the best anemometers for sailing, and more.

The best wind direction meters for sailing

WeatherHawk SM-18 SkyMate Hand-Held Wind Meter, Yellow

This floating anemometer is one of the best wind speed meters for sailing. It can measure wind speeds ranging from 0.5 miles per hour all the way up to 99MPH at user-selectable intervals of every five seconds, ten or 13 seconds (in addition to calculating the average windspeed, and tracking peak speed for you). Plus it can also measure wind temperature and windchill in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. One other nice feature about this sailboat anemometer is that it it comes with a durable build and a bright yellow flip-shield. Naturally it’s also water-resistant so if it falls into the water you’ll be able to easily spot it floating. Also comes with a loop for a lanyard or wrist strap if desired. A belt sheath is also available for this product.

For more handheld anemometers, see our full article: The Best Portable Anemometers & Portable Weather Meters.

Cape Cod Wind Speed Indicator for Sailboats

Cape Cod Wind & Weather instruments have been a staple of sailors since the company was founded in 1939. With an emphasis on quality American-made wind speed indicators, these gauges are built to last.

This wind speed indicator for sailing can mount on your sailboat either vertically or horizontally and it comes with a spinning cup wheel which can be mounted wherever you like (the supplied cable is 50 feet long and comes with a mounting bracket and screws). For wireless anemometers, see our related article: What is the Best Wireless Anemometer & Wireless Wind Speed Meter?

For decades Cape Cod Wind & Weather has supplied sailors with reliable real time sailboat wind direction indicators, and this wind speed meter for sailing is no exception.

This unit measures wind speed from zero to 100 miles per hour and comes with a ten year limited warranty. Pairs well with Cape Cod’s Wind Direction Indicator which matches with a lighted dial interface for wind direction metering.

Davis Instruments Windex 15 Suspension Bearing

This weather vane for sailboats mounts on your masthead through bolts or a tap and it provides an easy to read wind direction indicator. It’s one of the most popular sailing windvanes on the market and this particular Davis Windex model is intended for medium to larger boats (the vane itself is 15 inches long; a smaller model exists for smaller boats). This model has what Davis calls a bird-proof spike to keep seagulls from trying to land on the instrument while you’re sailing. The vane itself features tabs that reflect in order to remain visible at night or in dark conditions.

Davis Instruments Spar-Fly Wind Indicator for Yachts and Dinghies

This compact sailboat wind direction indicator comes in a bright red color and has both a top and side mounting option. It measures 15 inches long, is highly visible and weighs an astonishing 1.25oz for a highly responsive level of accuracy even in light wind conditions. The Spar Fly sailing wind vane is intended for sailing dinghies or small yachts and has great reviews.

Raymarine i60 Wind System with Masthead Instrument

The Raymarine i60 Wind System comes measures wind speed and direction as well as a slew of other readings with an easy to read digital-dial hybrid display and a masthead mounted instrument. It comes mounting gear and a 100 foot long (30 meter long) cable to connect the wind meter to the display. This is one of the best anemometers for sailing. Can measure wind speed/direction, maximum wind speed (peak), Beaufort scale, Tack and VMG. Plus it has a red backlight for dark conditions.

Frequently asked questions about windvanes for sailboats & the best anemometers for sailing

What features should I look for when shopping for a wind meter for sailing?

The best wind meters for are often mounted anemometers made specifically for boating which have a display you can attach to your console. We have a few such wind speed meters for sailboats listed in this article, above.

Handheld anemometers for sailing usually float, are brightly colored and are waterproof in case they fall into the water. They may also contain temperature gauges and loops for wriststraps or lanyards.

No matter the type of anemometer you choose, a large easy to read at a glance display is also especially useful for sailing anemometers.

What is an anemometer?

An anemometer is simply a wind speed meter. Some anemometers have digital displays, others have dial displays. The most sophisticated anemometers can also measure a variety of other metrics like temperature, dew point, humidity, barometric pressure and so forth. Advanced anemometers can even give a personalized weather forecast for any location (especially useful if you’re using an anemometer in a spot where there isn’t a reliable weather forecast). Anemometers for sailing are useful because they give a clear an accurate reading of wind speed and direction. For more information about what anemometers are, read our related article: What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?

12 Science & Weather Gift Ideas for Kids & Aspiring Meteorologists

Science & Weather Gift Ideas for Kids & Aspiring Meteorologists

Encouraging children and young people to be interested in science can yield all sorts of rewards later on in life. One way to promote an interest in scientific and technical fields is to give STEM gifts for kids (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Weather-related gifts can be especially accessible for children because weather is immersive and experiential– they see what the weather is like every day (it’s not an abstract concept).

We’ve rounded up some of the best gifts for kids who are interested in weather below:

Great science & weather gift ideas for children

1. Discovery Kids Extreme Weather Tornado Lab

Here’s a great science gift for kids: a tornado simulator! This weather kit allows children to simulate tornados to learn about how vortexes work using water. It can simulate tornadoes of varying severity (on a scale from 1 to 5) and includes an instructional guidebook plus a “storm chasing” DVD. You can put the included foam pellets (or other objects) in and see how they react to your storm. Battery powered (3 AAs not included).

Age recommendation: 36 months – 6 years


2. Future Meteorologist T-Shirt

This cute and bold “future meteorologist” shirt comes in both youth sizes and adult (men’s & women’s) and is available in various different colors as well. For a kid that’s super interested in weather, this could be a thoughtful gift (and something they’d love to wear).

Solid color choices are 100% cotton. Classic fit.

Age recommendation: All ages (various sizes available)


3. The Everything KIDS’ Weather Book

Written by a TV meteorologist, this weather book for kids explains how hurricanes, tornadoes, rainbows and other weather events work and why they happen. It also answers questions about how weather forecasts are made, includes DIY home experiments, and answers to frequently asked questions about weather phenomena like storms. This educational children’s book about weather also teaches about the difference between various cloud types.

Age recommendation: 7-12 years old




4. KidzLabs Weather Lab Science KitKidzLabs Weather Lab Science Kit


This weather station for kids can measure rainfall, temperature and wind speed in your backyard. It also teaches kids who are interested in weather about climate change, acid rain, the greenhouse effect, the water cycle and much more. This weather kit is a great science gift for kids. You can even grow “storm clouds” in the palm of your hand! Also includes a weather journal for your child to record the conditions in their area.

Age recommendation: 8-15


5. Daily Weather Board

Daily Weather Board - Weather Gifts for Kids


Younger weather fans may not be able to use tools to study the weather, but there are other ways for them to learn about the world around them. This weather chart is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who are interested in the weather. Each day they can observe the weather from their window or a trip outside and then select the figures that represent the conditions.

The board has buttons to hand the figures on and pockets to keep the extras in. The figures include a sun, moon, kite, umbrella, stormy clouds, and more. As weather conditions change, they can swap out the markers. This is perfect for children who live in climates where you have all different types of weather in a single day.

Age recommendation: 2 years old and up


6. KidzLabs Weather Lab Science KitKidzLabs Weather Lab Science Kit

Here’s another science gift for kids: this kit offers 7 different hands-on experiments children interested in science can do. It includes the ingredients for making your own tornado in a bottle, a blizzard in a test tube, a tidal wave, snow, volcano, and more. Includes an instruction book with information about weather phenomena.

Age recommendation: 12 and up


7. Storm Chaser Mobile Weather Pod

If your child dreams of loading up in a truck and chasing tornados or is otherwise fascinated with storms, this is the perfect toy for them. Made by Backyard Safari Adventures, this mobile weather pod has all the tools you need to introduce your children to the science of storm tracking. Your kid will learn how to track wind speed and direction with the built-in weather vane and anemometer. There’s also a compass to help track wind direction. The pod also has a rain gauge and a thermometer for tracking real-time weather conditions.

Since this weather pod is portable, it’s great to analyze the weather anywhere, like the park or your own backyard. The kit also comes with a collectible storm chaser patch and a field guide. Requires two AA batteries, not included.

Age recommendation: 5 years old and up


8. Felt Weather Wheel

Felt Weather Wheel - Gifts for Kids

Perfect for preschoolers who are still discovering the joy of weather, this weather wheel helps them observe and categorized weather. Each day they can look out the window and turn the wheel to match the weather they observe. They can even change it if the weather changes.

Handmade from felt, this weather wheel is 5″, the perfect size for little hands. Great for classrooms or home use.

Age recommendation: 2 to 6 years old

(See our related article: the best anemometers for kids)


9. Be Amazing Toys Big Bag Of Science 70 Activities

This science lab experiment kit for kids has dozens of activities in the fields of weather, physics, magnetism, chemistry, geology, biology and more. It includes a photo book with instructions for each activity and over 30 pieces for the experiments. The parts all fit back into a resealable ziplock bag so everything can be neatly put away after the experimenting is done.

Age recommendation: 9-14


10. The Magic School Bus – Chemistry Lab

Here’s another great STEM gift for kids: a Magic School Bus themed chemistry lab. Kids can do sorts of science experiments and put them away in the school bus-shaped storage box. Includes instructions for each experiment on colorful cards, and all the accessories you need. Your “young scientist” will enjoy more than 50 experiments like measuring pH, making slime or sticky ice, bouncy balls, their own volcano, and more.

Age recommendation: 5-12 years old


11. AcuRite 02064 Wireless Weather Station

If you’re looking for a science gift for teenagers, or advanced kids interested in weather, a home weather station might be a great option. This home weather station lives in your backyard or porch and can wirelessly send forecasts to your phone or a color base station inside. Pretty neat, huh? Weather enthusiasts use personal weather stations to offer super-accurate hyper-local weather information for their specific area (often microclimates or houses in between mountains have unusual weather patterns that broad TV weather forecasts don’t accurately reflect).

For more home weather station choices, see our related article What is the Best Wireless Anemometer & Wireless Wind Speed Meter?.

Age recommendation: Teenagers and up


12. I Love Rain T-Shirt

I Love Rain T-Shirt

This shirt is the perfect gift for anyone who can’t wait to run out and jump in puddles after a rainstorm. Or for those kids who refuse to come in and want to dance in the rain. With a cute illustration of an umbrella and raindrops, this t-shirt proclaims: I love rain!

With adult and youth sizes, this is perfect for kids of any age who enjoy a good summertime thunderstorm. Get it as a gift for aspiring meteorologists, storm chasers, and weather enthusiasts.

Available in navy & royal blue.


Frequently Asked Questions About Gifts for Weather Geeks

Can you recommend a weather book for kids interested in science?

National Geographic’s “Everything Weather” book for kids is a great place to start. It has plenty of great photographs and information about weather phenomena (64 pages long, recommended for ages 8-12). Browse other weather books for kids here.

How important are the age recommendations for these gifts for kids interested in weather?

Many of these science gifts for kids have small parts that can present a choking hazard for children under a certain age so we’d recommend taking the manufacturer’s age recommendations seriously.

Related Articles:

Gardening Gifts for Kids

The Best Action Cameras for Kids

Activity Trackers and Pedometers for Kids

Art Gifts for Kids & Aspiring Artists

Fitness Tracking Smartwatches for Kids

Handmade Gifts for Kids

Kids GPS Watches and Locators

Gift Ideas for Aspiring Young Writers


The Best Smartphone Anemometers – Wind Meters with iPhone & Android Apps

Anemometers have been around for hundreds of years. They’re extremely useful devices that measure wind speed and sometimes other climate or weather information. Today a new class of wind meter is gaining popularity: smartphone anemometers. Anemometers for smartphones (and anemometer attachments/accessories for smartphones) are useful for both professionals and hobbyist anemometer users. In this article we’re going to run down some of the best wind meters for smartphones.

Our picks for the best wind meter for smartphones

Vaavud Wind Speed Meter with Smartphone App

This is a basic iPhone anemometer/Android anemometer that plugs into your smartphone’s headphone port (it also works on iPads). It doesn’t use any battery power but instead measures wind speed by cleverly calculating the speed of the spinning magnets turning by using your phone’s built in magnetic compass. Note that if you have a newer iPhone or Android phone without a headphone jack, you may want to get a wireless Bluetooth anemometer instead (it will still work, but you’ll have to hold it instead of plugging it in). Comes with a carrying pouch.

Platforms: iPhone, Android
Battery required: None
Max wind speed: 56mph / 90kmph / 48 knots

Vaavud Sleipnir Wind Meter

The Vaavud Sleipnir from the Netherlands is one of the best iPhone anemometers (it works on iPads and Android devices too). This device plugs into your smartphone’s headphone jack (or in the case of the iPhone 7 and above without a headphone jack, it plugs into your Lightning to headphone jack adapter or a stiff Lightning to headphone adapter). It works with the Vaavud smartphone app to measure both wind speed and direction. The data can be added to an online crowd-sourced database and stored in your phone as a log. This smartphone wind meter is extremely popular for sailing.

Platforms: iPhone, Android
Battery required: Powered by your phone’s battery
Max wind speed: 89mph / 144kmph / 78 knots

WeatherFlow Wind Meter for Smart Phone

This Android/iPhone anemometer attachment plugs into your headphone port (or Lightning to Headphone adapter in the case of newer iPhones) and provides you with wind data in an app. It measures both the current wind speed and also keeps track of gusts, plus the direction and GPS location. Using the free app you can even share the wind data on social media. Also works on iPads and iPod Touches.

Note: this model also comes in a wireless Bluetooth anemometer version for your smartphone (plus a second Bluetooth version with ballistics information for shooting).

Platforms: iPhone, Android
Battery required: Powered by your smartphone’s battery
Max wind speed: 125mph / 200kmph / 108 knots

Skywatch Windoo Wind Speed Accessory for Smartphones

This weather station smartphone accessory plugs into your iPhone or Android device’s headphone jack and gives you a plethora of data. It measures: wind speed, wind chill, dew point, temperature, and barometric pressure and feeds that data into a convenient free multi-platform smartphone app. Since this weather station for iPhone/Android is so small, it has a built in keychain attachment as well as an included but optional wrist strap.

Platforms: iPhone, Android
Battery required: Powered by your smartphone’s battery
Max wind speed: 93mph / 145kmph / 80 knots

Kestrel Fire Weather Meter Pro

If you’re looking for a professional grade anemometer that works with a smartphone, this might be a good unit to consider. It’s made by Kestrel, the high end anemometer manufacturer and it syncs data with an app on your smartphone or computer. Like other Kestrel wind meters, this one is quite rugged, drop tested, waterproof and it even floats if dropped in water.

The Kestrel Fire Weather Meter Pro is more than just an anemometer accessory for smartphone, it also measures heat stress index, wet bulb temperature, humidity, altitude, temperature, and other weather related measurements. Its backlit screen makes it easy to view both in the dark and outside on sunny days. Comes with a lanyard. Note: if you’re looking for a Bluetooth anemometer for shooting, there is another version of this product with ballistics capabilities. See our companion article: The best wind meters for long range shooting.

Platforms: iPhone, Android
Battery required: 1 Lithium metal battery (included, replaceable)
Max wind speed: 134mph / 216kmph / 116 knots

Frequently asked questions about smartphone wind meters

What are anemometers for Android phone/iPhones used for?

People use smartphone anemometers for a variety of purposes. A person might use an anemometer for sailing, RC flying, windsurfing, kite flying, and any manner of other things. Wind speed meters are also used in various professional applications from HVAC testing (air conditioning/heating) to checking locations for wind farm appropriateness.

How do anemometers for smartphones work?

The phone + app anemometers on this list measure wind speed by calculating the rate that rotating elements spin in the wind. The faster the wind is blowing, the faster the cups or blades will spin. The rotations are counted and the wind speed is calculated as a result.

What’s better: an anemometer that connects to your smartphone physically or a Bluetooth anemometer?

This list includes both types of smartphone wind meters: those that are plugged into headphone jacks and those that connect wirelessly. There are two main differences: first, the Bluetooth models require their own internal battery. Second, the Bluetooth units tend to be more expensive.

There are reasons why a Bluetooth model may be more desirable in some cases however, such as when you want to be separate from the wind metering instrument itself (if you have it mounted on something), or if you have a new smartphone without a headphone jack it can be easier to just get a Bluetooth model than using a Lightning to headphone (or USB-C to headphone) adapter.

What is the absolute best iPhone anemometer attachment?

Naturally, as with anything, people’s preferences vary tremendously. But if you have an iPhone or Android phone with a headphone jack you might want to strongly consider the Vaavud models. If your smartphone doesn’t have a headphone jack, then the WeatherFlow Wind Meter (Bluetooth model) may be the best wind meter for smartphones.

I use a protective case on my smartphone, what do I do if these smartphone anemometer accessories don’t quite plug into it as a result?

This is a common problem among people who have Otterboxes or other chunky smartphone cases with thick protective plastic housings. Luckily you can get both flexible and firm headphone jack extenders which helps you plug in these anemometer smartphone dongles.

Related:

What is the Best Handheld Anemometer? Handheld Weather Station Reviews

The best wind meters for long range shooting

What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?

How to make a cup anemometer (DIY paper cup anemometer) – Video

An anemometer measures wind speed and making a DIY anemometer out of cups is a great school science project. In this article we’re going to give you a step by step guide for how to make an anemometer with cups and straws and answer some questions you might have.

How to build a cup anemometer

This straightforward video shows you how to make an anemometer step by step. Below we’re going to repeat the steps and give you a little more detail on some of them. First, here’s what you will need:

Anemometer Ingredients

How to build an anemometer at home – Step by step guide

Step 1 – Use the sharpened pencil to poke a hole in the bottom of one of your dixie cups or another type of paper cup if you’re using easter egg cups for your DIY anemometer. Then use your hole-punch to punch two sets of 2 holes (four holes total) so that each hole is perpendicular to another hole. One set of holes should be closer to the top rim of the cup, and the other set of aligned holes should be lower down.

how to make anemometer model

Step 2 – Insert the straws into the holes through the cup so they make an X when you look down at the cup from above.

how to make anemometer diagram

Step 3 – Punch one hole into the sides of all four other dixie cups. Make sure each hole is roughly in the same spot on the cup.

how to build anemometer

Step 4 – Thread all four ends of the two straws through the holes in your four dixie cups. Bend the edge of the straw so you can tape or staple it to the other end of the cup.

how to make an anemometer

Step 5 – Your anemometer cups are now all assembled. Make sure that you’ve maintained the same direction for each cup. It should look like this, viewing from above:

how to make anemometer science fair

Step 6 – The cups should twirl in the air easily. To finish your anemometer, place the pencil into your empty plastic soda bottle for a base. You can use stickers or a marker to make an X on one of the four rotating cups which will make counting revolutions easier (it will be obvious how many times the red dot or X has turned around).

How to use your cup anemometer to measure wind speed

Have one person look at a stopwatch to see exactly how long ten seconds is. Use the following chart below to calculate roughly how fast the wind is blowing.

Alternatively you can “calibrate” your anemometer by driving exactly 10 miles per hour and seeing how many times your cups rotate when held out the window. However many revolutions are equivalent to wind blowing 10 miles per hour (assuming there is no additional wind blowing). Obviously you don’t want to be driving and sticking your arm out the window counting anemometer cup revolutions so you’ll need two people for this step.

Alternatives to DIY home-made anemometers

Several educational products are available if you don’t want to built an anemometer from paper cups. Here is an assortment of anemometer kits that you may find useful in your classroom. Click on an image to open the product in a new tab/window and check the price of these weather anemometer kits.

(See our related article: the best anemometers for kids)

Of course if you’re reading this article because you’re interested in how to make anemometer for science project, you’re probably going to have to make one yourself using the DIY method outlined above instead of using a ready-built kit like these.

Frequently asked questions about cup counter anemometers

How does a cup anemometer work?

Cup anemometers are used by professionals to gauge wind speed. Normally anemometers will have built in computers that calculate how many revolutions they make per minute (or every 10 seconds or every 30 seconds, depending on how the computer is set up). The number of times that the wind pushes the cups around in a circle is then translated into the wind speed by the anemometer’s calculator into a unit like miles per hour, meters per second or whatever unit is desired. The more times the cups turn around in a circle, the faster the wind is blowing.

What is the difference between a 3 cup anemometer and a 4 cup anemometer?

Three cup anemometers are similar to four cup anemometers, they just simply have one less wind cup. For the purposes of this article about how to make an easy anemometer, we’re making a four cup model since that’s easier to make. Four cup models are also more common these days than 3 cup or 2 cup anemometers.

What is the cup anemometer working principle?

Cup anemometers feature a rotating array of wind cups that rotate as the wind blows. The faster the wind is blowing, the faster the cups will rotate. By measuring the number of cup rotations within a period of time (for instance within 30 seconds), we can calculate how fast the wind is blowing.

What other types of anemometers are there besides cup anemometers?

While this article is about how to make a kid friendly anemometer out of cups, there are several other types of wind guage instruments. Some examples include: hot wire anemometers (which measure how quickly a heated wire cools down in the breeze), ultrasonic anemometers (which transmit a sound signal to a reciever, measuring wind speed off of how long it takes to send it), and vane anemometers (which work on the cup principle but instead of rotating cups they have flat blades like a fan).

I don’t understand the instructions for how to make anemometer at home

Watch the “how to make anemometer video” at the top of this article for more information about how to build an anemometer out of cups for a school project.

I don’t want to use dixie cups, what else can I use for my homemade DIY anemometer cups?

Here are some ideas for how to make an anemometer with cups– using things other than dixie cups:

  • Colorful plastic egg shells – separated in half
  • Ping pong balls – sawed in half
  • Paper cups or condiment cups
  • Plastic soda bottles – sawed in half

You can also browse some professional anemometer cups for sale.

Terms Defined / Anemometer Vocabulary

Anemometer An anemometer is a device that measures the speed of the wind. Anemometers are used by many professionals who work in the wind energy field as well as meteorologists/weather scientists, hobbyists and others. Different anemometers measure wind speed differently, depending on how they’re designed.

Cup anemometer A cup anemometer is a specific type of anemometer that measure wind speed by counting the number of rotations that a set of cups makes when the wind blows. Cup anemometers can be manual like the types of cup anemometers made of paper cups for science projects, or they can be electronic. Sophisticated cup anemometers can calculate the wind speed in units like miles per hour, meters per second or Knots (a naval unit of measurement for sailing). Simply put, the cup anemometer definition is: a wind speed gauge that uses rotating cups to measure wind speed.

Wind energy Wind energy is power created by the wind blowing.

Windmill A windmill harvests the power of the wind and translates it into energy. Early windmills pumped water or milled grains but today modern wind turbines generate electricity.

Wind farm A wind farm is an array of wind turbines in a windy area that all work together to harvest a large amount of wind power.

Wind/weather vane A weather vane or wind vane is a flat instrument which rotates. Depending on which direction it’s pointing, it will tell you which direction the wind is blowing in.

Related articles:

All about anemometers: what they are, how they’re used & much more

The Best Portable Anemometers & Portable Weather Meters

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

The Best Cup Anemometers & How Wind Cups Work

What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?

All about anemometers: what they are, how they’re used & much more

In this mega-FAQ we’re going to explain to you what anemometers are, who uses them, how they work, who invented them, and much, much more. Let’s begin!

What is an anemometer?

The simple answer to this question is an anemometer is a wind speed meter. There are different types of anemometers and they work in different ways but all anemometers have ways of measuring wind speed. Here are a few examples of what different types of anemometers look like (click any image to enlarge it in a new window).

As you can see, anemometers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are portable handheld anemometers and others are built in and affixed to buildings as a part of weather stations.

What is an anemometer used for?

what is an anemometer used for

An anemometer is for measuring wind speed. Some anemometers are built into larger, more complex weather stations which contain various other instruments and can provide weather forecasts based on a combination of all the data.

For instance an anemometer may be used to measure how windy it is before you go sailing on a sailboat. An air conditioning repair technician might use an anemometer to measure the output of a unit they are troubleshooting. A meteorologist might use anemometer data in their forecasts. A professional sports shooter might use an anemometer to calculate crosswind so they can compensate and hit a target from many hundreds of feet away. Storm chasers and weather hobbyists might use anemometers to understand how fast the wind is blowing. A wind turbine surveyor may use a handheld portable anemometer to determine if a particular area would be a good location to harvest wind power from.

What is an anemometer and how does it work?

An anemometer measures wind speed. Most anemometers work by counting the number of revolutions that their circular array of cups or windmill or blades make within a period of time (say, a 10 second interval) to see how fast the wind is blowing. It can then translate that measurement into a calculation of wind speed in units like miles per hour, kilometers per hour, meters per second or in the case of sailing applications, Knots.

What is an anemometer unit of measurement?

Anemometers measure wind speed in a variety of units. Generally speaking, the more expensive and sophisticated the anemometer is, the more units of measurement it will offer. Anemometer units of measurement may include:

  • MPH (miles per hour)
  • Km/H (kilometers per hour)
  • Knots (for sailing or windsurfing)
  • Feet per minute
  • Meters per second
  • Beaufort scale (a specialized wind speed measurement – read more on Wikipedia)

How does an anemometer work?

Most anemometers fall into one of two general categories: vane (or turbine) anemometers and cup anemometers. In both cases as the wind blows through them and moves their parts around in a circle, they count the number of revolutions per second (or per minute or per 30 seconds or whatever time period). By evaluating the speed of the rotations, the anemometer is able to calculate the wind speed in a common unit of measurement like miles or kilometers per hour.

There is also a third type of anemometer, a hot wire anemometer, which heats a component and then measures how quickly the component cools down (giving a reading of how fast the wind is blowing to cool it). A fourth, more rare type of anemometer is an ultrasonic anemometer, which we will explain below.

What is an ultrasonic anemometer and how do ultrasonic anemometers work?

Ultrasonic anemometers measure wind speed. They do this by sending a sound pulse back and forth from a transmitter to a receiver over a span of a few inches to calculate the speed of the wind blowing in between the two sensors. Ultrasonic anemometers are extremely specialized devices and they tend to be much more expensive than typical anemometers in the more common vane, cup or hot-wire types.

How much do anemometers cost?

Anemometers cost less money than you might think. You can get a portable handheld anemometer for under $20. Of course more sophisticated anemometers with lots of additional features and sensors can cost hundreds of dollars. (See our related article: The best wind meters for long range shooting for some more examples of anemometer cost range.)

How to use an anemometer / how to read an anemometer

In the case of electronic anemometers (most of them), normally you’ll just to turn on the unit and watch as it displays the current wind speed. You may decide to change the mode to view the wind speed in a different unit of measurement (i.e. kilometers per hour instead of miles per hour). In the case of manual cup anemometers for science class projects you’ll need to count the number of revolutions the cups make in a minute long period to calculate the wind speed.

How do you pronounce “anemometer”?

This video shows you how to pronounce anemometer:

Ann-e-mom-eter.

How do cup anemometers work?

A cup anemometer (like the ones seen above– click on an image to open it larger in a new window) counts the number of times that the wind revolves a set of cups around in a circle over a period of time to calculate wind speed. At their most simple, cup anemometers consist of a stick of some kind that holds an array of 2, 3, or 4 wind cups which rotate. High school students will sometimes build anemometers or use simple non-electronic cup anemometers like the one below to manually count rotations over a period of 1 minute or 30 seconds to calculate wind speed.

How accurate is an anemometer?

Different anemometers will have different levels of accuracy. Generally speaking the more expensive the unit the more accurate you can expect it to be (no surprise there!). A common handheld decent quality anemometer accuracy range is within ±3%. This means that if the wind is blowing at 20 miles per hour, the unit might register anywhere between 19.4 mph and 20.6 mph, so fairly accurate for most purposes. Specialized scientific anemometers such as ultrasonic anemometers may have even higher accuracy rates.

Where is an anemometer placed?

Anemometers come in two varieties; those that are handheld and portable and those that are mounted in a single fixed location. For the most accurate readings, anemometers are best placed in locations that are unencumbered by obstacles so you can get a wind speed reading that isn’t blocked by trees/buildings/etc. For instance, the absolute worst spot for an anemometer would be directly next to a building or wall. Anemometers are sometimes mounted atop poles in the middle of yards, on top of buildings or in wide open spaces.

Does anemometer measure wind direction?

Anemometers measure wind speed. Some anemometers will also calculate the direction that the wind is blowing. These anemometers will often rotate or have an additional vane attachment that detects the wind direction. So to answer the question “Does anemometer measure wind direction?” we can say that most measure direction (they measure speed only), don’t but some higher end, more expensive models measure both speed and direction.

How is an anemometer different from a windsock?

Windsocks are a very simple way to gauge “is the wind blowing?” and “is the wind blowing fast or slow?” at a glance. But anemometers are very sophisticated instruments that can tell you precisely how fast or slow the wind is blowing, and sometimes even which direction the wind is blowing from. Anemometers will sometimes also be built into a feature-rich weather station which measures other factors like temperature, humidity and barometric pressure.

what does an anemometer look like / how does an anemometer look?

Here are some examples of what different types of anemometers (wind speed meters) look like. Click on any image to open it in a new tab and learn more about it.

How is an anemometer used / how is an anemometer helpful?

Anemometers, which measure wind speed, are used by many people for a variety of purposes. Knowing the wind speed is helpful to sailors, windsurfers, air conditioning repair technicians, professional sports shooters who need to know crosswind, meteorologists, and weather enthusiasts. Sometimes anemometers are built into sophisticated pieces of equipment with many other sensors called personal weather stations which are used by people who live in remote areas or microclimates where traditional weather forecasts are inaccurate.

How do anemometers work / how do anemometers measure wind speed?

Most anemometers have some sort of moving part which rotates or cycles in the wind so when the wind blows faster it will rotate faster. The anemometer’s computer counts the number of revolutions per second or minute (or whatever interval) and then figures out what the speed of the wind is in miles per hour, meters per second or whichever unit it’s set up to read. If you’re interested in learning more about how anemometers calculate wind speed, read on at Wikipedia.

Who invented the anemometer first?

Italian Renaissance man Leon Battista Alberti is credited with inventing the first anemometer, or wind speed meter, around the year 1450. Later in 1846 the English astronomer Thomas Romney Robinson invented the first cup anemometer. You can learn more about the history of the anemometer on Wikipedia.

Who invented the hot wire anemometer?

The first constant-current wire anemometer for practical use was created in 1909 by Russian scientist Dimitri Riabouchinsky (more info).

What does an anemometer and weather vane measure?

An anemometer measures wind speed. A weather vane measures the direction that the wind is blowing (for example, north-south or east-west).

How does an anemometer help meteorologist / why is a anemometer important to weather forecasting?

Basically what anemometers do is they tell you how fast the wind is blowing. If you’re interested in how an anemometer is used to measure weather, check out this answer from an engineer:

Meteorologists use anemometers to measure wind speed. Wind speed is obviously a weather feature reported in itself, but meteorologists use the data for other reasons as well. Gathering wind speed and direction at many locations and altitudes allows meteorologists to create the weather maps used to predict weather across the world several days ahead.

How does anemometer indicate the speed of the wind?

Most anemometers count the rotation of a series of cups or vanes to see how fast the wind is blowing. The faster the wind is, the faster the cups will rotate in the wind (or the faster its turbine will rotate). That speed is then calculated by the anemometer and displayed in a unit like miles per hour or meters per second on the display. In the case of an old fashioned manual cup anemometer, high school science students will often count the number of rotations and calculate how fast the wind is blowing based on that. See below for a simple cup anemometer example:

What is an anemometer used for in science?

What does an anemometer tell us? It tells us how fast the wind is blowing. This may be useful for a variety of different scientists. For instance, meteorologists use anemometers to calculate wind patterns. Renewable energy scientists and engineers may use handheld anemometers to figure out whether a particular place is a good spot for a wind turbine. Other scientists testing lab equipment may have different specialized uses for anemometers. So, what does an anemometer help scientists measure? Wind speed (or air flow, when indoors).

An anemometer is a gauge used for recording the speed of what?

Anemometers measure wind speed. Some very sophisticated anemometers and weather stations can also calculate the direction that the wind is blowing in, in addition to the speed at which it’s blowing.

How big is an anemometer?

Some anemometers are portable and can be held in your hand and stowed in a pocket. Others are part of a larger weather station and can be mounted on the rooftops of buildings or on poles in big open fields. The size of anemometers really varries widely depending on how it’s meant to be used.

How is an anemometer different from a weather vane?

A weather vane measures the direction that the wind is blowing. You frequently see them atop old houses or sometimes in people’s yards, ornamentally. An anemometer on the other hand is usually an electric device that measures the speed that the wind is blowing, based off of how fast a set of cups or a turbine is rotating. Anemometers come in both handheld and stationary mounted varieties. Some anemometers measure the wind direction as the speed, while others measure only the wind force.

The Best Portable Anemometers & Portable Weather Meters

best portable anemometer and portable weather meter

Plenty of professionals and hobbyists alike use portable anemometers or portable weather stations for a variety of uses. These devices range from simple portable wind gauges all the way to fully fledged weather stations with tons of features. In this article we’re going to go down the list of the top portable weather instruments. If you’re reading this list then you’re probably going to be especially interested in the size and weight of these anemometers so we’ll be listing that alongside each contender for best portable anemometer.

Our picks for the best portable wind speed and direction meters & weather stations

Qooltek Digital Handheld Anemometer

This basic portable anemometer will measure the wind speed and temperature. It features an easy to read backlit screen that works well even in the dark and a 180 degree rotatable turbine head for measuring wind speed (it does not rotate in the opposite direction but the blades measure wind in either direction so there’s no need for this). It operates at 0 to 32 meters per second wind speed (67 miles per hour) and from 32 degrees Fahrenheit up to 122 degrees (0-50 Celsius, both modes are available). The Qooltek Digital Handheld Anemometer also offers its wind speed measurements in a variety of modes: meters per second, km/hour, Knots or miles per hour. Runs off of three AAA batteries (included).

Measures: 6.3 inches tall x 1.7 inches wide x 0.98 inches thick
Weighs: 100g / 0.22 lbs

Pyle Portable Digital Anemometer

If you’re looking for a portable wind speed meter for measuring equipment airflow, this one might be for you. This next anemometer, portable with case included, is aimed at professional users who need to be able to separate the display from the actual wind turbine instrument itself. For instance HVAC pros may find this portable wind meter especially useful when they’re measuring air flow from vents or air ducts while troubleshooting on site. It measures air flow/velocity and temperature in a 14-140 F range (-10-60 C). Runs on one 9V battery (not included).

Measures: 10.2 inches x 8.5 inches x 3 inches (included carying case dimmensions)
Weighs: 0.86kb / 1.9 pounds (in the included carrying case)

Ambient Weather WM-4 Handheld Weather Station

Ambient Weather makes some of the best portable anemometers for the money. If you need more features than just wind speed and temperature, consider this portable weather station. It takes the same readings as the above models but it adds in the ability to detect exact wind direction with its directional compass as well as humidity, and heat index, dew point measurements, and more. It can calculate cross winds, head winds and tail winds, and gusts too. This is also a rugged unit; it’s water resistant and it floats. Accurate from -20 to 158F (-28-70C) and 0.8-90 miles per hour. Uses one coin style Lithium battery (included).

Measures: 5.5 inches long x 1.75 inches wide x 0.75 inches thick
Weighs: 181g / 0.4 lbs

Kestrel 5500 Weather Meter

If you need an extremely high quality, extremely precise portable wind speed and direction meter with tons of other features, the Kestrel 5500 might have your name on it. This high end portable weather station offers over a dozen different measurements:

  • heading
  • wind direction and speed (current/average/max)
  • cross/head/tail wind
  • pressure trend
  • altitude
  • wet bulb temperature
  • barometric pressure
  • relative humidity
  • heat stress index
  • dewpoint
  • density altitude
  • wind chill
  • air/water/snow temperature

In addition to its easy to read digital display this model also has Bluetooth and connects to a free iPhone/Android app and allows you to download data on to your computer using a Kestrel computer dongle (sold separately). This Kestrel 5500 kit comes with both the portable wind meter itself and also a vane mount which swivels in whichever direction the wind is blowing for the most accurate measurements. It works with a normal full sized camera tripod but it can also be fitted to a Kestrel Mini Portable Tripod. (For full-sized tripod recommendations, see this related article: What is the best tripod under $100?.) All these features come together to make the Kestrel 5500 one of the best portable anemometers today. Runs on 1 AA battery (included).

Measures: 5 inches x 1.9 inches x 1.1 inches
Weighs: 0.27 lbs / 121g

Frequently asked questions about portable anemometers

Does an anemometer measure wind direction in addition to speed?

Some portable wind speed meters measure only wind speed and others measure direction as well. In this article we’ve noted which models will give you direction data. Especially sophisticated anemometers will even sometimes have wind direction vanes and tripod mounts for measuring wind direction and capturing the most accurate possible data, such as the Kestrel 5500 portable weather meter.

How much do portable weather instruments cost?

It depends on the unit and how many features it has. Generally speaking simple portable wind gauges can be found for around $20 while more sophisticated portable weather stations can retail for all the way up to hundreds of dollars. The less expensive models may only offer the ability to read wind speed and temperature while more expensive models throw in a host of other features that help predict what the weather will be like (dewpoint, barometric pressure, density altitude, humidity sensors, etc). Each user’s uses may be different.

What is the best portable anemometer?

Again, it depends on what you need to use it for but if you’re looking for one of the most fully-functional wind speed meters, we’d say that the Kestrel 5500 is one of the top handheld anemometers out there right now.

Are any of these portable wind vane anemometers?

Of the units listed in this article only the Kestrel 5500 comes with a wind vane attachment for mounting on a tripod or mini-tripod. With that said, it’s worth noting that the Ambient Weather model also can calculate wind direction with its built in compass.

Related:

What is the Best Handheld Anemometer? Handheld Weather Station Reviews

The best wind meters for long range shooting

What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?

The Best Emergency Two Way Radios

Two way radios, sometimes also called walkie talkies, are extremely useful for a variety of purposes both in emergency situations and with large families at ski resorts or in a variety of work situations where cell phones are not ideal, such as farms.

Our picks for the best emergency 2 way radios:

Midland 22-Channel Two Way Emergency Radio

Midland is a well known maker of two way and emergency radios and their LXT500VP3 radio system is one of the best emergency two way radios for the money. This package includes two 22 channel radios and a dual unit charging base station (allowing both radios to be charged simultaneously). The 2 way radios can be powered either by rechargeable battery packs (included) or four AAA batteries. These walkie talkies also have an optional low power mode which can elongate the life on a single charge up to an impressive 16 hours. If you need more than 2 units, just buy another set (they will of course work with the same channels). Includes drop in charger.

Range: Up to 24 miles
Channels: 22
Battery: Up to 16 hours

Motorola MH230R Two Way Emergency Radio With Privacy Codes

These two way radios by Motorola have a 23 mile max range and run on the included rechargeable batteries or 3 AAAs. They offer a feature upgrade over the basic Midland unit above because in addition to offering 22 channels, they also offer 11 weather channels (7 of which are NOAA frequencies) to receive emergency broadcast notifications. These are also some of the best emergency 2 way radios because they have so-called “privacy code” modes which let you filter out unwanted conversations on the same frequency (useful for popular frequencies in crowded areas). Also available as a three pack. Optional separate walkie talkie headsets are also available. Includes drop in charger.

Range: Up to 23 miles
Channels: 22
Battery: Up to 10 hours

Motorola MD200 Talkabout Radio, 3 Pack

If you want an emergency two way radio but you don’t need a weather alert radio built in, this might be one of the best best emergency radio for bug out bags. It is a three pack of emergency two way radios able to be powered off of either included rechargeable batteries or 3 AA batteries. When powered by the rechargeable battery it gets up to 12 hours of life, but with double A batteries it can achieve up to 29 hours of life. Note: these walkie talkies are charged via included AC adapters (not drop in chargers like some of these other units).

Range: Up to 16 miles
Channels: 22
Battery: Up to 29 hours

Motorola MR350 Talkabout Radio, 3 Pack

When range is the most important factor in buying a walkie talkie pack, this unit from Motorola may fit the bill. It offers a range of up to 35 miles although of course in practice any two way radio’s range will be smaller if there are terrain obstacles or tall buildings in the way. This emergency two way radio offers a battery life of 23 hours on 3 AA batteries or 8 hours when using the included rechargeable battery packs. Although this is a pack of three walkie talkies, it’s also available in a two pack.

Range: Up to 35 miles
Channels: 22
Battery: Up to 23 hours

BaoFeng BF-F8HP Two Way Radio

If you need a seriously long range two way radio with professional grade features, this might be the unit for you. The BaoFeng F8HP works with 128 channels and is compatible with walkie talkie frequencies as well as an expanded range of UHF and VHF frequencies. It even can receive weather channels. It’s also one of the best emergency two way radios for the money because it has an LED flashlight built in (which can also be set to serve as a blinking beacon which lets you locate the walkie, or allows others to see your location in the dark if you’re wearing or holding it). Note that without a HAM radio license, transmitting on UHF and VHF frequencies is only permitted in an emergency. This unit includes a high gain antenna, an optional belt clip, an earpiece/microphone headset, and drop in cradle charger.

Range: Unlisted, but some users routinely get 15 miles
Channels: 128
Battery: Up to 24 hours

Frequently asked questions about emergency two way radios

If I purchase multiple sets of the same radio, can I use them all together?

Absolutely, yes. The main thing is to make sure that all your two way radios are tuned to the same channel. It does not matter how many radio sets you are using: 20 walkie talkies will communicate just as well as two will.

Can multiple different brands of two way radios work together?

For consumer class two way radios with 22 channels, the answer is usually yes. More expensive professional class radios may operate at exotic frequencies however, making them incompatible with other brands sometimes. The two way emergency radios listed in this article with 22 channels will most likely work with each other, across brand.

Do these emergency two way radios require a HAM radio license?

If you’re using a consumer grade 22 channel two way radio, you don’t need any special license.

If however you’re using a UHF/VHF professional grade two way radio, you need a HAM radio license (unless you’re using it in an emergency scenario). The only radio on this list that broadcasts in these pro frequencies is the last one. You can learn more about obtaining your own HAM radio license at HAMStudy.org, which prepares you to take the 30 question multiple choice amateur radio exam to get licensed.

Can these two way radios receive CB radio transmissions from trucks on the highway?

Generally no. CB radios in trucks use different frequency ranges.

How many miles in range can I reasonably expect to achieve with these two way radios?

Although all walkie talkies advertise ranges of “up to 20 miles” etc in realistic practice, your range will be much smaller. The ideal case would be if the transmitting radio was on top of a mountain and the receiving radio was in the valley. On flat ground with building or hills in between, you may realistically be able to expect closer to a 2-5 mile range with family style two way radios. With that said, the advertised ranges are helpful when comparing units to each other because in relative terms they give you a sense of generally how strong or weak their transmitters are.

Can I get hands free headsets to use with these two way radios?

Yes, to find a handsfree headset compatible with your choice of radio, simply search in Amazon for the model number and the word headset. In many cases there are both original manufacturer headsets as well as third party headsets which offer different configurations, styles and sometimes lower prices than the first party manufacturer.

These two way emergency radios come with rechargeable battery packs and they also work with AAs, what is the difference?

Besides not having to replace AA or AAA batteries, there are two main differences between using your walkie talkie’s rechargeable battery pack and normal alkaline batteries. The first difference is that alkaline AA or AAA batteries will give you a longer battery life, sometimes as much as 10 hours longer than rechargeable batteries. The second difference is that if you’re using AAs you can simply replace your old batteries with fresh ones, whereas if you only use the included rechargeable battery pack you’ll need to charge your walkie to use it again, which can often take a few hours.

Can a walkie talkie be used while it’s in its charging cradle?

Generally yes, although it may be awkward to press the talk button while it’s sitting in a charging cradle.

Can other people listen in on my walkie talkie conversations?

Yes. Walkie talkies don’t prevent anyone else with a similar unit from tuning in to your conversations. At the same time, depending on where you are the chances of that may be rather low.

Some higher end walkie talkies like a few on this list have so-called “privacy codes.” These codes do not prevent other people from listening in if they have a two way radio tuned to the same frequency as you, but instead they limit your radio from receiving transmissions on whatever channel you’re using, unless the transmitting radio is also tuned to that same privacy code.

The best wind meters for long range shooting

Using a wind meter for long range shooting can be extremely helpful for predicting shot placement and compensating for cross wind conditions. Some high end wind gauges for shooting even have special applied ballistics functions that help you make calculations for shooting in the wind. There is a wide variety of shooting wind meters available today, and so helps to know the differences between them when you’re picking one out. We’ve done a round up of our favorite wind meters for shooting below.

The best wind meters for long range shooting

Caldwell Crosswind Professional Wind Meter

This Caldwell brand wind meter for shooting is a rugged and water resistant unit with an easy to read screen and a 90 degree rotating anemometer head (wind turbine). The head of this unit rotates 90 degrees clockwise but the meter measures wind speed in either direction (so there is no need to rotate it the other way). Measures: current wind speed, average wind speed, max wind gust, temperature, barometric pressure, and altitude/density altitude. This budget-priced unit provides a decent wind reading for long range shooting, especially for the money.

One especially nice feature of this wind meter for shooting is that it has a standard size screw mount at the bottom, so you can set it on a small tripod. Unit runs off a single coin style battery (included).

WeatherFlow Precision Shooting Wind Gauge

The free BallisticsARC iPhone and Android app allows to to calculate a variety of ballistics information when you used with this shooting wind meter wirelessly over Bluetooth (a non-bluetooth version that plugs into your phone’s headphone jack is also available, although it is missing a few features).

This unit provides a variety of data for shooting in the wind: wind speed & direction, temperature, dew point, heat index and wind chill, as well as density altitude and relative humidity. The BallisticsARC app also comes in a professional version (for $15) which gives you satellite imagery to provide a GPS rangefinder. See below for a screenshot of what this looks like in practice:

reading the wind shooting

Kestrel Elite Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics

The Kestrel Elite Weather Meter is in some ways the gold standard for wind meter shooting. It provides you with Kestrel’s industry-leading Applied Ballistics Elite Ballistics solver, and the ability to store up to 30 custom gun profiles and has a library of custom drag models for over 400 bullets. This model is ideal for sports shooters doing competitive long range shooting because it even has a privacy PIN code for Bluetooth (if you’re linking it up with an app).

If you want a standalone tripod that rotates as the wind changes direction, you can combine it with a rotating vane mount and tripod.

This unit is also rugged, drop-tested and floats. Available with and without Bluetooth, in four different color options. Runs off of one AA batteries (included). Comes with a protective pouch, neck lanyard and a 5 year warranty. Made in the USA.

For a more budget friendly option for reading the wind for shooting, check out the Kestrel Sportsman Weather Meter, the younger brother model to the Elite. It is able to store less custom information but it comes with the tripod, Bluetooth, and vane mount. Measures wind direction, speed, crosswind, humidity, pressure, altitude, temperature and more.

Bushnell 202540KC Elite 1 Mile Conx Laser Rangefinder with Kestrel Sportsman

This two pack includes both a Kestrel shooting wind meter, and a Bushnell Elite 1 Mile Conx laser rangefinder. Together they form a powerful duo giving you extreme accuracy under even challenging wind conditions. Both the Kestrel anemometer for shooting and the Bushnell Conx communicate wirelessly to iPhone and Android devices with the included apps to analyze conditions so you don’t have to do manual calculation or data input.

With this wind meter for long range shooting, you can create custom ballistic curves on your phone with data from the rangefinder and calculate how weather conditions and crosswinds will affect your shooting outcomes. With the ability to measure altitude, humidity and other weather conditions, as well as density altitude (a key metric for many shooters), this combo provides all you need to shoot more accurately than ever before taking cross winds into consideration, especially at long range.

Frequently asked questions about long range shooting wind meters

Which Kestrel for long range shooting?

In order to get a wind reading for long range shooting, we recommend choosing a model that includes applied ballistics functionality. Kestrel makes two models of long range shooting wind meters with applied ballistics: the Kestrel Elite and the Kestrel Sportsman. The Elite model has more functions and more memory for custom data, whereas the Sportsman has less (but also costs less).

What is the best wind meter for shooting?

On this page we’ve laid out several long range shooting wind meter options, but if we had to pick the absolute 100% most fully functioning one, it would have to be the Kestrel Elite Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics. Both this wind speed gauge’s features and its reputation as an industry standard speak for itself when it comes to wind meter shooting excellence. When you factor in budget however, there are plenty of other candidates for the best wind meter for long range shooting, which we’ve listed above.

What is the difference between the Kestrel Sportsman vs Elite for long range shooting?

Generally speaking the Kestrel Elite model has more memory banks for additional custom guns than the Kestrel Sportsman model has, and a more detailed ballistics display. Because the Kestrel ballistics solver calculates each combo of a gun and a bullet separately, having more data banks to store different combinations is quite useful (you can always overwrite on top of the memory banks but inputting the data is a bit cumbersome and slow).

Is it worth paying extra for a Bluetooth enabled Kestrel wind meter for shooting?

We’d say yes. If you’re going to be using an anemometer for long range shooting frequently or with a number of different gun/bullet combinations, it’s especially worthwhile. Not only does this mean you’re able to input combinations of bullets and guns more easily with a full sized phone keyboard (instead of the button combination on the Kestrel unit), it also has a nice display with additional information. If you do plan on using the iPhone or Android app with your Kestrel for long range shooting purposes, we recommend getting a wind vane and mount with it because holding both devices at once is awkward. Note that the app can store more rifle/load combinations than the Kestrel unit can, since your phone has more storage.