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Lifewire / R. Dallon Adams
Solid app and desktop platform
Easy setup process
Slow app refreshes
The sleek, modern Netatmo Weather Station certainly looks the part, but the limited instrumentation doesn’t match the exorbitant price.
In the era of smart homes and digital assistants, rudimentary weather apps feel very last century. Today, personal weather stations are becoming a popular addition to the increasingly interconnected modern home. This market is brimming with options at the moment, ranging from serviceable budget systems to multi-instrument meteorological beasts. We recently curated a piece on the best weather stations you can buy and in this review, we take a closer look at one of the best designs out there, the Netatmo Personal Weather Station. So how does this model compare to the rest of this burgeoning market? We’ll answer this question and many others below.
Right out of the box this product from Netatmo looks the part of the smart home personal weather station. The system is comprised of two sleek cylinders with matte grey finishes and, at first glance, the units resemble relatives of the first-generation Echo Plus. Both units have a narrow recess along the front to add a little pop to the rather minimalist design with the outdoor model standing just a few inches shorter than the indoor model. The outdoor station has a groove built into the back so the unit can be mounted per manufacturer recommendations (more on this below).
As is the case with other home weather stations, the Netatmo Personal Weather Station requires a minimal, but somewhat tedious setup process. It’s helpful to go ahead and download the Netatmo app before you physically set up the weather stations. Once downloaded and registered, the app will lead you through a series of steps. (There’s also an alternative installation method using a PC or Mac for those so inclined. I preferred to use the app, as this allowed me greater mobility during the process.)
First, you’ll need to plug in the indoor weather station and add the included batteries to the outdoor unit. A green light will flash on the outdoor unit once the batteries are properly installed. Next, the app will prompt you to press the button on the top of the indoor unit. Press or hold down this button until the light on the front of the device begins to glow. Once the indoor has been detected, you will continue to Wi-Fi configuration. After that, you will be prompted to select your network from a list, provide the Wi-Fi password, and create a name for the station.
Now it’s time to find a proper home for both units, and brace yourself for a slight delay as this can be a little tricky. The indoor model needs to be situated in a place that avoids direct sunlight throughout the day and will not experience interference from other appliances (humidifiers, radiators, etc.) as both of these will produce inaccurate readings. As for the outdoor station, the manufacturer recommends placing this unit in a covered area that will protect the unit from direct sunlight and precipitation. As for placement, the outdoor model comes with an adjustable strap for versatility. (Fun fact: finding an outdoor environment that is covered and avoids direct sunlight throughout the day is actually a little trickier than you might think.) I ended using a nail to attach the model to a recess beneath the roof on my deck.
Remember, you will also need to make sure the outdoor unit is within the signal range of the indoor model. This signal strength is easily accessed in the Netatmo app. At a distance of about 35 feet, the signal strength dipped to three out of five bars, but still delivered clean data to the indoor station. Finally, open the app, make sure the signal is sufficient and see if the indoor and outdoor measurements appear. If so, you’re good to go. All in all, individuals should expect to spend about 20 minutes setting up the system.
Accuracy is one of the most important considerations for anyone in the market for a personal weather station. Fortunately, the thermometer, hygrometer, and barometer proved to be consistently accurate, which certainly isn’t the case with all home weather stations. On the flip side, it can be a bit problematic when attempting to understand real-time data at times. For example, rather than monitoring live outdoor readings, the app refreshes every few minutes to provide updated information. In fact, there can be up to 10 minutes between refreshes. These micro-lulls will have minimal effect on the long-term data, but the lapse in real-time data is important to note nonetheless.
The included Netatmo Personal Weather Station also leaves the door open for plenty of aftermarket accessorization such as pairing the Netatmo Smart Rain Gauge and Smart Anemometer. The Netatmo weather station also works with the Apple HomeKit for those looking to add to their connected smart home.
The Netatmo app is definitely the standout feature with this personal weather station, allowing individuals to sift through basic indoor and outdoor data on the go. Overall, the interface is straightforward and very easy-to-navigate after a few uses. The top half of the screen provides outdoor meteorological information (temperature, humidity, dew point, air pressure, etc.) and the bottom portion displays indoor data (temperature, noise levels, indoor CO2 levels, and humidity). A gray band in the middle displays the seven-day forecast. Pressing the seven-day forecast will expand this feature to fullscreen, providing a bevy of additional information (wind direction, UV index, etc). However, this forecasted information is provided by WeatherPro, not the personal weather station.
It does feel a little constricted zooming in and out of a line graph on a smartphone to take a closer look at granular data.
The modified hamburger button on the top-left gives users access to more in-depth meteorological data and I thoroughly enjoyed the Netatmo Weathermap feature. This allows you to take a look at Netatmo weather station readings in your area and around the globe. Together, these individual stations create a very cool, global patchwork of localized data. It’s easy enough to load line graphs illustrating long-term changes in humidity, temperature, noise, etc. and zoom-in on specific moments down to the minute. Truth be told, it does feel a little constricted zooming in and out of a line graph on a smartphone to take a closer look at granular data and toggling through to compare separate graphs.
Thankfully, Netatmo offers a very helpful and easy-to-use alternative: the Netatmo desktop platform. After using both, I personally preferred the desktop setup over the app, without question. Granted the app is convenient on the go, but there’s simply too much data to sift through in a user-friendly way. The desktop platform allows you to compare all of the data at once without the cramped feel of the app. On the desktop, it’s also possible to juxtapose graphs side-by-side. In the app, users have to flip through graphs individually and go back-and-forth to compare datasets.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Netatmo Weathermap feature, which allows you to take a look at Netatmo weather station readings in your area and around the globe.
Currently, the personal home weather station market is brimming with competition and prices vary depending on the specs you’re looking for. There are solid basic models available for under $40, however, more sophisticated devices with multiple instruments and a paired app can easily cost hundreds of dollars. That said, the Netatmo Weather Station is positioned squarely in the middle of the higher-end of the market. Unfortunately, the Netatmo weather station doesn’t pack the meteorological toolbelt available with other similarly-priced or even less-expensive models. For example, the Ambient Weather WS-2902A Osprey (another model Lifewire tested) is available for between $130 and $170, and includes many additional meteorological features (weather vane, anemometer, and rainfall collector) alongside a similarly useful app and PC software.
Before going all-in on a personal weather station, it’s important to understand your exact meteorological needs first and foremost. Then, you can seek out the specific features you need and ditch instruments you can live without. That said, this product showdown is just as much of a David vs. Goliath comparison as it is a juxtaposition of the two opposite ends of the personal weather station spectrum. The ThermoPro TP67 (view on Amazon) is one of the more popular budget personal weather stations. While the Netatmo is certainly more accurate and comes with more advanced instrumentation, the ThermoPro TP67 is a serviceable model offering temperature, humidity, and barometer readings for a fraction of the price. By the same token, the ThermoPro TP67 lacks the app, enhanced features, and instrumentation included with the Netatmo system.
There are better products available for less.
The Netatmo Personal Weather Station is a decent model with accurate readings, but, as is, it lacks the instrumentation to make a case for its rather exorbitant price tag. Sure, you can add a wind gauge and rainfall collector for nearly $200, but other models already include these instruments for significantly less money than the base Netatmo system. The smart home connectivity and app will certainly sweeten the deal for some, but most consumers should look elsewhere for their personal weather station needs.