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!
This simple windsock is the most basic type of wind direction meter that exists. This airport-style windsock 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 a 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.
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.
If you’re a sailing enthusiast you probably are no stranger to 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, wind vanes for sailboats, the best anemometers for sailing, and more.
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, ten, or 13 seconds (in addition to calculating the average wind speed and tracking peak speed for you). Plus it can also measure wind temperature and wind chill in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. One other nice feature about this sailboat anemometer is that 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.
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 meters 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
WeatherFlow Wind Meter for Smart Phone
This Android/iPhone anemometer attachment comes in two versions. The first plugs into your headphone port (or Lightning to Headphone adapter in the case of newer iPhones) and the newer version connects via Bluetooth. Both provide you with wind data in an app on your phone. 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.
Platforms: iPhone, Android
Battery required: Powered by your smartphone’s battery
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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?
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:
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 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:
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.
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 the best portable anemometer.
Our picks for the best portable wind speed and direction meters & weather stations
Basic Pocket Anemometer AP-816B for Wind Speed
If you’re on a budget or just looking for a portable model to give you wind speed on the go, you can’t go wrong with this pocket anemometer. This basic portable anemometer will measure 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 30 meters per second wind speed (67 miles per hour) and from 14 degrees Fahrenheit up to 113 degrees (-10 to 45 Celsius, both modes are available). This pocket anemometer also offers its wind speed measurements in a variety of modes: meters per second, km/hour, Knots or miles per hour. Powered with a CR2032 coin battery (included).
This basic portable anemometer is great for hobbyists like drone operators or kite flyers and sports enthusiasts like surfers
Measures: Wind Speed, Temperature (C & F), Wind Chill
This is another affordable portable anemometer with a few more bells and whistles. A basic anemometer, Holdpeak offers windspeed and temperature measurements, but this bundle gives you more flexibility. First, the anemometer comes with a tripod (max height 35 inches) so you can set it up to record data over a longer period of time. The anemometer can also sync via Bluetooth with a smartphone app, which allows you to look at the readings remotely while also tracking wind speed over time. An affordable option for hunters, sailors, and school teachers looking to measure windspeed.
Powered by 2 AAA batteries (included)). Come with a protective case, lanyard, tripod, and user manual.
Measures: Wind Speed (range 0.3~30m/s up to 69 mph), Temperature (range 14F – 113F), Wind Chill
Dimensions: 6.4 inches by 3.3 inches by 1.4 inches
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 airflow from vents or air ducts while troubleshooting on site. The telescopic rod makes it easy to take vent measurements up high without using a ladder. This HVAC anemometer measures airflow/velocity from .001 to 100 mph and temperature in a 32-113 F range. Runs on one 9V battery (included).
Dimensions: 6.4 inches x 3.34 inches x 1.35 inches
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, heat index, dew point measurements, and more. It can calculate crosswinds, headwinds and tailwinds, 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). CE Certified & RoHS Compliant.
Dimensions: 5.9 inches long x 2.1 inches wide x 0.85 inches thick
If you need a 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:
wind direction and speed (current/average/max)
wet bulb temperature
heat stress index
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).
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 use 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.
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.
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).
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:
Kestrel Elite Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics
The Kestrel Elite Weather Meter is 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.
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.
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 (our handheld anemometer reviews)
Amgaze Handheld Anemometer
If you’re on a budget and looking for a basic anemometer, this model will meet your needs. The Amgaze measures wind speed, temperature and wind chill. With a long-lasting replaceable 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.
The Ambient Weather WM-5 is an upgrade to the previous handheld mobile anemometer. 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:
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.
The REED Instruments Handheld Digital Anemometer measures wind speed in 5 user-selectable units (mph, km/h, etc) on a large easy to read LCD screen. This unit may be of particular interest to those who need a handheld anemometer for HVAC uses. The sensor unit has 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 Reed Instruments Handheld Digital Anemometer:
Wind speed meter is detached from display unit
Large, easy to read screen & button navigation
Comes with a carrying case to neatly transport the unit
Measures temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius
Records data to a removable SD card and can create spreadsheets
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:
Pocket-sized, with lanyard strap
Rugged design built to withstand heavy use and drop-proof
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.
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
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.
We hope you found our handheld anemometer reviews helpful. For more information about anemometers, visit our homepage, WindAndWeatherTools.com.
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:
AcuRite 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.
AcuRite 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 wind speed and direction, 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.
Here’s another wireless anemometer that captures wind speed information and transmits it to an LCD base station indoors. You can mount the wireless personal weather station outdoors up to 300 feet away from the indoor displays (Note: guaranteed up to 100 feet away; in optimal conditions up to 300 feet).
The Ambient Weather Wifi Weather Station 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 three AA batteries which can last up to 1-2 years (not included).
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 328 feet and measures: wind speed, wind direction, temperature indoors and outdoors, humidity, rainfall, dew point, and air pressure. 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.
The weather station itself runs off of solar panel, with 3 AA batteries as a back up power source. Easy to set up, the indoor display panel will give you all the info you need about the weather without having to step outdoors.
Davis 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.