Gadget Review: NetAtmo Weather Station for iPhone and iPad

About two and a half years ago, I reviewed the NetAtmo Weather Station for Macworld. I had to send the review unit back, and have used a cheap weather station ever since. That one having died recently, I looked at what was available, and decided to splurge for the NetAtmo. It’s not cheap; $150 or £139 (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), but it’s easier to use, and provides much more information than standard weather stations.

StationThe NetAtmo comes in two parts, as expected. You place the taller unit indoors; it connects to an AC plug and manages the connection with the outdoor unit, and with your Wi-Fi network, to upload data to NetAtmo’s servers. You position the smaller unit outdoors, preferably on the north side of your home, out of direct sunlight or rain. The two communicate by radio waves, allowing about 100m between them. I live in a stone house, so communication is difficult, but the outdoor unit is on a wall opposite my office, so the connection works. Depending on your location, and the type of house you live in, you may have more difficulty getting the devices to connect.

Once you’ve done this, you really don’t need to touch the devices; you configure them and view their data on the free iOS app, or on a web page. The outdoor device records temperature, humidity, and some pollutants; the indoor device records temperature, humidity, CO2, sound level, and barometric pressure. The data is checked regularly, and added to your account, so you can not only view your latest readings, but also graphs showing historic readings.

Netatmo ios

One nice feature with the NetAtmo device is the way the company crowd-sources weather data. The company hadn’t yet started this when I reviewed the device in 2012, but you can now view maps showing your device, as well as all the others who are sharing data. Here’s a view of my environs:

Netatmo map

I’m in a semi-rural area, so there aren’t that many of these devices, but if you check a major city, you’ll find hundreds, even thousands of them. (Though the presence of this device varies greatly by country.) As such, you can check precise temperatures in areas nearby, or where you plan to travel. (You should assume that some of the weather stations are not positioned optimally; it’s best to make an average of the temperatures you see.)

My only complaint is one that I mentioned in my initial review: there’s no way to view any data on the devices themselves. You either need to use the iOS app, the web interface, or, if you want temperature data to be easily visible, an app such as the $4 AtmoBar 2, which displays temperatures in your Mac’s menu bar, and, when clicked, shows more detailed data.

This is a cool device, though. It’s lots more data than what most people need, though some may want more. The company also sells a rain gauge (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), and will be releasing a wind gauge in the near future.

NetAtmo also makes a thermostat, (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), which works like many other smart thermostats, but which also takes into account the outdoor temperature that your weather station reports, which should make it more efficient. I may try this later in the year.

If you want a weather station, and want the ability to view temperatures in your home remotely, the NetAtmo is a great device. It’s a bit pricey, but it works better than most weather stations.

Update: So, one day after I posted this review, I encountered something a bit annoying. The iOS app showed no data, and I was not able to log into NetAtmo’s website to see my data. So, if the server hosting the data is down, then you won’t be able to see any of your weather data. I’d expect that you’d at least be able to see it locally, and I find it to be quite problematic that this is not the case.

14 thoughts on “Gadget Review: NetAtmo Weather Station for iPhone and iPad

    • Why do you say that? I have a netatmo on my porch in my condo. Does your condo not have a porch or any sort of exterior exposure?

    • Why do you say that? I have a netatmo on my porch in my condo. Does your condo not have a porch or any sort of exterior exposure?

  1. Kirk, in my view this is a gadget that needs a serious “health” warning! I have been using a Davis Pro2 station here in Spain for nearly 10 years and was pretty much in sync with the two other real weather station users in the locality (one Davis one not). Recently there has been a proliferation of stations in the area using NetAtmo’s, resulting in the temperature in the area varying by over 5C at the exact same moment. BTW, I’m using WeatherUnderground as my comparison.

    Location of weather stations is crucial as you know and ideally needs to be well clear of obstacles such as trees, walls and anything that breaks the stations ability to pick up free air readings. Thus I believe this station with its positioning need, is unlikely to ever correctly report. If you need a toy go ahead, but don’t be surprised that your 25% at variance with the real weather.

    • I’d say you’re exaggerating a bit. It’s true that positioning is important, but that’s the case with all such devices. I think the best thing is to check the map of other devices around you; if yours is 5 degrees higher than one nearby, you need to reposition it. I don’t see it being at 25% variance with the real weather. In any case, check three weather apps, and you’ll see three very different temperatures at the same time.

  2. Kirk, in my view this is a gadget that needs a serious “health” warning! I have been using a Davis Pro2 station here in Spain for nearly 10 years and was pretty much in sync with the two other real weather station users in the locality (one Davis one not). Recently there has been a proliferation of stations in the area using NetAtmo’s, resulting in the temperature in the area varying by over 5C at the exact same moment. BTW, I’m using WeatherUnderground as my comparison.

    Location of weather stations is crucial as you know and ideally needs to be well clear of obstacles such as trees, walls and anything that breaks the stations ability to pick up free air readings. Thus I believe this station with its positioning need, is unlikely to ever correctly report. If you need a toy go ahead, but don’t be surprised that your 25% at variance with the real weather.

    • I’d say you’re exaggerating a bit. It’s true that positioning is important, but that’s the case with all such devices. I think the best thing is to check the map of other devices around you; if yours is 5 degrees higher than one nearby, you need to reposition it. I don’t see it being at 25% variance with the real weather. In any case, check three weather apps, and you’ll see three very different temperatures at the same time.

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