Outdoor Thermometer - which type do you like?

prairiemoon2 z6 MAJanuary 13, 2014

I need a new outdoor thermometer. I see they have digital versions, that I haven't tried yet. I wonder if they are a pain to set up and if they stop working in a power outage? Anyone use those?

Otherwise, I'm thinking of getting one with large numbers and something that is decorative. Maybe look at Russell's for one. Any other nursery I can look, or an online source?

Does anyone use any specialty weather equipment? Like a minimum / maximum thermometer or something that reports the percentage of humidity, etc?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've had a giant dial thermometer that was easy to read from inside, but it wasn't particularly accurate. I also used to have a high-low thermometer, but it eventually broke and I haven't found another one that I like yet. I loved the accuracy and easy resetting of my high-low. Now I have one of those alcohol-based thermometers that fits on a bracket just outside the window: not too difficult to read, unobtrusive, and seems fairly accurate.

My inlaws have an entire weather station outdoors that connects to a digital readout indoors: accumulated rainfall, wind speed and direction, temperature, relative humidity, and it might have a high-low temperature function. My FIL loves it, but it seems to me like he spends a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to reset it and straighten out issues. I don't know if this is an issue with most digital stations. My BIL swears that a hand sling psychrometer for measuring relative humidity is more accurate than a digital readout. I've mostly used a sling psychrometer, but DH used a digital and seems happy with it.

So I don't know if any of that was of any use at all.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 9:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
corunum z6 CT(6)

Hi PM2, I buy the cheap Taylor suction cup style that sticks to the outside of the window - the ones with big numbers and cardinals and blue jays, or a frog if I feel jovial at purchase time. They last for years, are accurate enough for me and I can read them without glasses from across the kitchen sink even before coffee. As far as me having to know the relative humidity, or even the non-related humidity, I just don't care that much, so the old red line marking the temps works for me. I do know that if I'm quite uncomfortable in hot weather and the wood floors don't squeak, that the humidity is high. In cold weather, if the cat gives off sparks when petted, then I know the dew point is really low. The old thermometer style works for me. I don't want life to be more complicated; I just want to know within a few degrees what the outside temp is.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 10:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And if you want JUST the basics, I swear by my Vermont
Country Store weather stick (seriously - all you
youngsters stop laughing!) . . .as a Yankee kid, we
just checked the old mercury thermometer and/or
stepped out on the back porch and looked at the sky;
the daily hysterics you hear on The Weather Channel
these days really crack me up!


Here is a link that might be useful: The Vermont Country Store

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
corunum z6 CT(6)

I just bought the Vermont weather sticks - they come highly recommended, lol. Thanks, Carl.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 11:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

And if you want something a little more than just the basics, but not a full-fledged weather station, this gadget is similar to the one I have, and have had since late 2004.

I bought it when I had my houseplants outside in a heated greenhouse and I wanted to monitor the temperature and humidity from the house. I don't need all the functions now, but I like having two separate sensors outside; one on the porch and one on the deck. A bonus is that I sometimes pick up the readings from my neighbor's sensor so I know the temperature over there too. You may think that's overkill, but the temperature can vary 10 degrees F from the bay side to the street side, depending on wind and sun.

You can also read the temperature from inside after dark - nice for those chilly nights when you want to torture yourself by watching the temperature drop below 0 deg. F.


edit note: Another thing I like about this gadget is that the time is controlled by an outside radio system so it's always accurate. In practice, this is useful for when the power goes out and the electric clocks have to be reset. I trot around the house carrying the gadget and reset the clocks to the correct time.

This post was edited by claire on Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 15:19

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 1:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mjc_molie(z6 CT)

This from my DH--- "Digital thermometers run on battery and are very easy to set up using the directions that come with the thermometer. They're very accurate. Some simple ones give you indoor/outdoor temperatures. More elaborate ones give humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, day and time (which it gets from the atomic clock in Colorado), plus other features. That's the one we have. It was about $50.00. Ours was from lacrosstechnology.com. Also look at the site 'Clock It' which gives all types of weather instruments. I've found stuff on sale there."


    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 3:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 5:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

The problem I've had with the digital gadget type is that their operating temperature range is, um, impractical? for something that is supposed to sit outside in the cold. And they are too expensive to buy new every year.

I did like the indoor clock/thermometer gadget. Until the cats knocked it on the floor one too many times. And yes, there was the cool month once when we picked up a neighbor's sensor.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 9:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

That's a good point, mad_gallica, about the operating temperature range.

I just checked the specs in my user manual (my model is no longer available), and the display range is -4.0 deg. F to 140.0 deg. F. Proposed operating range is 23.0 deg. F to 140.0 deg. F. I don't know why the operating range is different from the display range.

In the recent sudden freezes I've been getting readings down to - 1.5 deg. F and these readings are consistent with online temperatures in nearby weather stations. Temperatures here almost never get anywhere near the display limits, so the gadget is within its range. I do have the sensors protected inside plastic jars.

This is the only one I've had and it's lasted nine years so far.


edit note: I just found a reference for the newer Oregon Scientific gadget, and it says that the indoor range is 23 deg F to 122 deg. F while the outdoor range is -4 deg F to 140 deg. F. This sounds to me that the operating range refers to the main unit, which stays inside the house, while the outdoor sensors have a much wider range.

This post was edited by claire on Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 9:50

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 9:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Thanks for checking the gory details, Claire. I just remembered the temperature limits being somewhere around zero. Since things don't even start to get interesting around here until -15, the limits seem very limiting.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 10:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

You obviously have much more stringent requirements than I do, mad_gallica. You might have to go to the real serious weather station paraphernalia, which takes a certain weather nerd fanaticism to operate (and pay for).


    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 10:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The problem with digital thermometers is in many cases the battery doesn't work in the coldest days of the winter. Also, they typically have a part that goes outside and sends radio signals to the indoor part...brick houses sometimes interfere with the signal. I sort of like the big mechanical dial ones.

One weather station I've had good luck with is the Weather Channel Wireless Pro Weather Station with wind. The main thing it has over a conventional thermometer is it measures the wind speed. The tough part about setting it up wasn't the electronics but figuring out the attachments/brackets and finding a good spot for it.

There are also high end weather stations that send weather data to a central website, and help contribute to weather forecasts. I think the idea of this is neat, but those ones are expensive, and require you to get an internet connection and power outside. (The highest end ones have wifi and solar panels).

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 10:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Just found an extreme and expensive gadget with a "Temperature Remote: Range -40ð to 150ðF. Accuracy ñ1ðF".


    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

And if all of these fancy gadgets are too much for you, and you want something even more basic than Carl's weather sticks, I offer the Deck-centric Weather Forecast.

First thing in the morning I look out at my deck..

- Is it wet? It must have rained overnight and the temperature is above freezing.

- Are there splashes in the wet? It's still raining.

- Is the whole deck wet or just the part not under the overhang? If the whole deck is wet than there's strong winds from the east (or northeast or southeast). If only part, then it's relatively calm or the wind is from the west (or northwest or southwest). North winds are mostly blocked by the house.

- Is there snow on the deck that wasn't there yesterday? It snowed overnight and the temperature is at or below freezing.

- Is the snow depth increasing? It's snowing.

- Are there shadows on the deck? It's sunny.

This morning part of the deck was wet but no splashes, and there was a small amount of snow around the edges. A little later I started seeing shadows but on and off.

Therefore, it rained overnight but is not raining now, and the temperature is just around freezing. There's little wind and the sky is partly cloudy.

And the squirrel conned me into throwing out peanuts again.

The next level of the forecast is to look at the porch on the other side of the house, where similar rules apply except for the wind direction.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
corunum z6 CT(6)

My Vermont Weather Sticks arrived Friday. Seems simple enough to me. The straight one stayed in the house all night, the bent out of shape one was outside on the deck while it snowed. Seems logical. The sticks are like us; smooth and in line, the weather is fine. Bent out of shape, the weather is crummy. Should've bought these years ago. Thanks, Carl.

Where is PM2? Hope you're okay.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 5:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My personal preference is the remote sensor type with a readout unit in the house. They are under ten dodllars at Lowes.
1. They are easy to set up
2. Battery powered
3. Give you a daily high and low reading and resets itself every 24 hours at a time you choose
4. You can move the sensor around to different locations as the sun moves through the seasons. I have even used it in my coldframe
5. It's accurate.
6. The numbers are large enough for my 83 year old eyes to read.
7. The batteries seem to last quite awhile. The brand I bought is Accurite but they all probably come out of the same Chinese factory. I think walmart sells one also.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 5:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hello all, sorry to have abandoned this thread, but same day I posted I came down with the flu. IâÂÂm on the mend. Very happy to see so many responses to the question of a new thermometer.

I see some experiences with the digitals that I hadnâÂÂt thought of, that wouldnâÂÂt appeal to me. The operating temperature range and the dependency on batteries working in the cold were two. And I realize that I donâÂÂt really feel a need to know humidity outside or wind speed and direction. I think I really would get some useful information from a minimum / maximum thermometer but otherwise, probably a âÂÂnormalâ thermometer is going to do the trick for me.

Enjoyed your âÂÂdeck centric weather forecastâÂÂ, Claire. [g]

And the Vermont Weather Sticks ⦠who knew? lol

Sconticut, IâÂÂll check out that Accurite at LoweâÂÂs, since it also has the daily high and low which I am looking for.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 2:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Glad to hear you're OK, or at least recovering, PM2. It's not like you to leave a thread untended.

This has been a fun thread, and useful as well.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 3:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
corunum z6 CT(6)

Follow up: The Vermont Weather Sticks have been in place for 2 weeks, so they've acclimated to their new surrounding and each stick moves. Literally, each stick - one with a joint in it, one without - physically moved over the past 24 hours about one inch upward. One leans to the left a little, but it is New England and it's sunny. They work. But, Carl already knew that. Merci beau coup, monsieur.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 2:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know this thread is old, but I wanted to chime in on a wireless option that is great. I have a Lacrosse WS9080-U-IT that I got a few years ago when my old one died. This one is pretty simple and much more reliable than my old. The key is the frequency that it runs on. The older ones were not at a good frequency and had trouble with the signal. This one has no trouble no matter where I put it. The outside sensors are weather resistant and adaptable to many locations (shade preferable). I put new batteries in every fall and they are still good now. (you know because I said that, it will probably croak tomorrow...). I use the best ultra ones I can find -- even tho the directions say to just use plain AA. And it even switches to daylight savings time by itself!!

LaCrosse at amazon

I also have a nice looking wall clock with humidity and temp dials by Conant Custom Brass. It's not always accurate but good enough and having the clock is handy to stop the gardening obsession and come in for meals. Along the lines of this:

However, since I moved it from a sheltered overhang with morning sun, to a sunny exposed deck wall, the glue for the frame keeps melting. :-(

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 8:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks Wendy, nice to have another choice. I haven't bought a thermometer yet. [g]
I do have a battery operated clock in the garage, that has bird calls on the hour, but it doesn't have the temperature or humidity. It also doesn't have any glue issues and works great out of the sun. Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 8:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, I like this model, it displays both the maximum and minimum at the screen, in this way, I can be easily advised the outside temperature change.
The suction cup and magnet on the back offer me more ways to install it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tonglixing

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 9:12PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Annie_NH Annual Plant Swap June 7, 2015
Hello, this is Annie's daughter Becky. We will be having...
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2015 #4
This thread is intended to give people a place to post...
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
Starting PEAS
A few of my beds have thawed enough that I can work...
Yes, I know you think they're just cute little white...
Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b
UMass Extension Landscape Message March 27, 2015
UMass Extension Landscape Message #2 - 2015 The Landscape...
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™