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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Top notch accuracy
Fantastic transmission range
Convenient sensor package
Construction feels solid and durable
No internet connectivity out of the box
Can’t add additional remote sensors
Display console looks like a relic
The Davis Instruments Vantage Vue 6250 is a nearly professional grade weather station that doesn’t cost that much more than other hobbyist units.
Davis is known for its high-quality instrumentation, and its Vantage Vue 6250 weather station largely lives up to expectations. We were able to confirm temperature and humidity results to a high degree of accuracy compared to local NOAA readings during testing. The sensor package is also very convenient since it packs everything into a single unit that's easy to handle and install. That makes it perfect for a hobbyist who still wants highly accurate readings.
That said, this weather station is also quite expensive when compared to some of the competition. You're paying for quality, but less serious hobbyists may do better with less expensive hardware.
Davis Instruments builds their weather monitoring equipment to last, and the Vantage Vue is no exception. This weather station consists of a display console and integrated sensor suite (ISS), and they’re both built with durability in mind more than aesthetics.
The sensor suite does a good job of combining a large number of sensors into a relatively compact package.
From the black and brown plastic, to the LCD with its bright orange backlight, the Vantage Vue console looks like a relic from the 1980s. The goal here was to provide the most amount of information in a manner that’s easy to digest with no concern to modern aesthetics—in this regard, Davis Instruments definitely succeeded.
The sensor suite does a good job of combining a large number of sensors into a relatively compact package. Built out of white and black plastic, it felt nice and solid during assembly and held up well under heavy wind and rain during our testing. The top sports a standard cup style wind speed meter and a solar panel, the bottom holds a wind vane and a radiation shield for the temperature and humidity sensors, and a rainfall meter is concealed within the body of the device.
The Vantage Vue isn’t ready to go out of the box, taking a bit more assembly than less complex weather stations. The process is fairly straightforward, and most people should be able to get through basic assembly in less than half an hour.
Assembling the integrated sensor suite is the most time consuming part of the setup process. It comes mostly assembled, but you have to attach the wind vane and cups for the anemometer, attach the tipping spoon assembly for the rainfall meter, and remove the tab from the backup battery so that it’s able to power the unit.
Setting up the console doesn’t take as much time, but it’s more complicated. When you power it on the first time, you have to go through a number of steps to set the time and date, time zone, and more. Make sure you know your latitude, longitude, and elevation because you’ll need that information to complete the setup process. If you don’t, you can always cheat and ask your Alexa.
With the sensor suite and console both set up and powered on, they have to be placed about 10 feet apart until they establish a connection. Once that happens, you’re ready to install the sensor suite outside.
The console looks old and feels clunky. It works well, but it really does seem like a relic from the past. The display itself is a basic LCD design with a bright orange backlight that you can switch on and off, and it has 10 clearly labeled function buttons, four directional buttons, a toggle for the backlight, and a button that changes the behavior of nine of the 10 function buttons.
While it displays all the information you really need right out of the box, you can use the function buttons to dig down into additional information and charts. For example, the weather center portion of the display can show trends, graphs and totals pertaining to any of the sensors that the console monitors.
The console is powered primarily by an AC adapter, but it also takes three C batteries as a backup. If you choose to install the backup batteries, they’ll keep the console running in case of a power outage, or allow you to mount it on a wall without worrying about plugging it in. Davis says that the batteries are capable of keeping the unit running for up to nine months, and it’s designed to provide a warning before they die.
The Vantage Vue console has built-in temperature and humidity sensors, and the integrated sensor suite includes temperature and humidity sensors encased in a radiation shield, an anemometer that consists of a wind vane and cups, and a rain gauge that uses a tipping up design. They’re all highly accurate and durable, as you would expect from a Davis Instruments product, and the integrated sensor suite is also very convenient for the average hobbyist.
During our testing, we experienced one downpour of 4.3 inches per hour and still recorded an extremely accurate daily total as confirmed by radar and other local measurements.
The main issue with the sensor suite is that you typically don’t want to measure temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and rainfall all in the same location. Temperature is best measured down around eye level, while accurate wind speed measurements require a mounting location that’s free from obstructions.
Some high-end weather stations include separate instruments that you can mount in ideal locations, but the Vantage Vue requires you to make some compromises. You can mount the sensor suite down near eye level for the most relevant temperature results, or up above your roof for the best wind results, but you can’t have both.
The reality is that this isn’t that big of a problem for the average hobbyist or enthusiast, but anyone who needs the flexibility of mounting their instruments in ideal locations won’t find that option here.
The biggest problem with the Vantage Vue is that it doesn’t have any connectivity out of the box. This is just another factor that makes it feel like a bit of a relic, especially in a world where many hobbyist weather stations come with USB and Wi-Fi connectivity built right in.
You can connect the Vantage Vue to your computer, or to the internet, and upload data to services like Weather Underground, but it requires additional hardware. This additional hardware isn’t cheap, which is a definite drawback when the Vantage Vue is already more expensive than the competition.
The biggest problem with the Vantage Vue is that it doesn’t have any connectivity out of the box.
If you do want to connect a Vantage Vue to a computer or the internet, you’ll find a port hidden away in the battery compartment of the Vantage Vue console. Instead of using a standard USB port, or even something older like a serial port, Davis uses a proprietary design that can only be plugged into specific hardware like the Davis WeatherLinkIP.
(Updated 12/13/19) The WeatherLinkIP has been discontinued. The company now offers a device called WeatherLink Live, which allows you to push your weather station data to the cloud. You can view your data on the app or the WeatherLink site.
Davis boasts of extremely accurate sensor hardware, something we confirmed during our testing. When compared to other local sources, and other on-site equipment, we were unable to find any problems with the performance of this weather station.
Weather conditions are reported in intervals of about 2.5 seconds for wind, 10 seconds for outdoor temperature, 20 seconds for rain, and 50 seconds for humidity, so the results displayed on the console are just about as close to real-time as you’re going to get.
This is a premium device, with highly accurate and responsive sensors, and it’s priced accordingly.
Of particular note is the excellent radiation shield, which encases the temperature and humidity sensors. This shield prevents direct sunlight from causing erroneous temperature readings, and it also allows the humidity sensor to provide highly accurate results even during very humid conditions.
The rain gauge uses a tipping cup mechanism that measures down to hundredths of an inch, but it’s also accurate during heavy rain. During our testing, we experienced one downpour of 4.3 inches per hour and still recorded an extremely accurate daily total as confirmed by radar and other local measurements.
The Davis Instruments Vantage Vue has an MSRP of $395 for the package that includes both the console and the sensor suite, though it’s usually available for about $300. It definitely isn’t an inexpensive weather station and it isn’t a great choice if you’re working on a tight budget.
This is a premium device, with highly accurate and responsive sensors, and it’s priced accordingly. If you want the quality of a Davis Instruments weather station, and the fantastic Vantage Pro 2 isn’t in your budget, the Vantage Vue provides nearly the same level of accuracy for a much lower price.
There was a time when Davis Instruments was the unquestioned leader in the hobbyist weather station market, but that paradigm has started to shift. AcuRite has emerged as a major competitor, and Ambient Weather has also challenged Davis with more affordable options.
The AcuRite 01512 Wireless Weather Station has an MSRP of $199.98, and it’s usually available for around $130. Even at full MSRP, it’s significantly cheaper than the Vantage Vue 6250, packing in all the same basic sensors. It doesn’t have a radiation shield, the sensors aren’t as accurate, and it can’t measure things like humidity over as great a range, but it does come with built-in connectivity over USB.
The Ambient Weather WS-1002-WIFI Observer has an MSRP of $319.99, so it’s a closer competitor in terms of price. It includes all the same basic sensors, and the temperature and humidity sensor are even protected by a radiation sensor somewhat reminiscent of the Vantage Vue. It also has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, making it compatible with both Alexa and Google Home.
The Vantage Vue 6250 is hard to beat in terms of quality and accuracy, but Davis Instruments has clearly fallen behind in terms of newer features like connectivity. If those features are more important to you than accuracy, then the competition has a lot to offer.
Fantastic system for weather nerds, but the price is a major barrier.
The Davis Instruments Vantage Vue 6250 is a great weather station that provides accurate, timely readings, but Davis is caught in the past. If you’re mainly concerned with taking the most accurate readings possible, and you either don’t care about internet connectivity or don’t mind investing in additional hardware, then this is the weather station to own. Otherwise, take a look at some of the less expensive alternatives that include built-in USB or Wi-Fi.