For a while now I have been a bit of a weather freak without knowing it. Since I first got a smartphone I have been searching for the perfect weather app and over the years have bounced back and forth through many both paid and free. During this time, I have always kept my eye on personal weather stations like the BloomSky SKY2, Ambient Weather WS-2902, Davis Instruments 6250 and Netatmo Weather Station. IN the end I decided on the Netatmo Weather Station for a few reasons, first and most importantly it integrated with my Home Automation System powered by Samsung SmartThings as well has IFTTT and Amazon Alexa. Integration aside the Netatmo Weather Station seemed be the most flexible with components being separate and the ability to add modules on as I went. In this review we will talk about what the system can do out of the box, its setup process and the modules available to add onto it. Each of these have things that I like and dislike but overall this is a solid piece to my home automation system and gives me the level of detail I am looking for although understandably it may not be enough detail for some.
So what can the Netatmo Weather Station do for me out of the box. The basic Netatmo Weather Station includes both an Indoor and Outdoor Module. The Indoor Module is the part of the system that connects to your Wi-Fi and the part that you can interact with. This module monitors Temperature, Humidity, Air Quality, CO2 and Sound Level. The Outdoor Module monitors Temperature, Relative Humidity, Air Quality, and Barometric Pressure. Between these two pieces that is a lot of information in a $150 package, so I was very pleased by this. More important however is that both modules are astatically pleasing which helps with the wife acceptance factor although I do wish they were a color other than silver so that they would blend in a bit better. From a design standpoint there is not much to not like (other than the aforementioned color) they are simple cylindrical devices, because of this they have a nice way of blending into there environment.
Now I am a firm believer that the information you get from any type of sensor is only as good as its placement and that is very much the same here. You really need to think about where you are going to place these two modules. Obviously, you do not want them near things that will skew their sensor data. The Indoor Module is straight forward it simply sits on a table or shelf somewhere where you can pretty much forget about it after setup. The biggest consideration for the indoor module is it needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet so one does need to be nearby, but you also want to think about its mounting height and surroundings, heat does rise and placing it near an air duct will throw its data off. The outdoor module has a bit more requirements however. First and foremost, although it is meant to go outdoors it does need to be protected from the elements a bit, you also do not want it in direct sunlight or near any other heat sources as this can throw off sensor data. For me this was simple I have a deck that is about 10 feet off the ground, so I found a nice home underneath it. Mounting was simple as the back of the module has a slot for a screw to slide into. I should mention that a Velcro strap that slides into this same slot is included and would make mounting to a pipe or gutter downspout easy. With both of the modules in place, setup of the Netatmo Weather Station is as simple as downloading the app, creating an account and following the onscreen instructions. I had my weather station up and running in a matter of minutes.
As I mentioned earlier with the basic kit you get a good amount of information right out of the box but there is no way that would be enough for me, no way I could know of the existence of addon modules that I did not own! I quickly added on both the NETATMO NWA01-WW Wind Gauge and NETATMO Rain Gauge. As with the Outdoor Module these are both battery powered and connect wirelessly to the Indoor Module and so though needs to go into there placement. These two pieces actually have the exact opposite optimal locations. The Rain Gauge should be mounted near ground level and in a place, that does not accumulate water from other location (like next to a leaky gutter) while the Wind Gauge should be mounted up above your roof line. Now in my installation I went back to the aforementioned deck and mounted the Rain Gauge near the bottom of one of the posts going to the ground using the Netatmo Mount. This put in a good position to get unobstructed rain accumulation. Now being winter in New England and having a snow-covered roof did present an issue for me with the Wind Gauge so for now it is mounted to the side of my house about 15 feet up as this was the highest point I could reach off my deck without needed to get on a ladder. In the spring however, I will move the Wind Gauge to the roof.
Now with everything installed and connected I can finally sit back and view my data. To start the Netatmo App is beautify and super simple to use. It also gives you the ability to track analytics historically which can be a great tool for tracking weather patterns and year to year differences. The app also integrated a Weather Forecast which gives a nice view of what to be expecting. The integration with SmartThings gives me all this weather data right into my automation System and I could not be happier.
With all of that said there are not too many negatives with this system. I do have some concerns about battery life on the sensors that are outside especially the Wind Gauge when it is mounted up above my roof line but only time will tell how that battery life is. Additionally I did have an issue on first setup with my Indoor Module loosing all connectivity and locking up on me forcing me to replace it. This lead me down a path of trying to contact Netatmo for support which appears to be non-existent. I went to the website in search of a phone number and there is not one listed only email support which I did and got an auto response saying they would get back to me within a few days which is completely unacceptable and then I never received a real reply which is even more unacceptable. For the most part the Netatmo app has replaces other weather apps on my phone however I do need to keep one additional weather app installed because I do a fair amount of traveling and like to know what the weather is going to be where I am not at home in these cases. If you are into weather, then the Netatmo Weather Station is a good entry into the realm of the weather geek although when you start adding pieces onto the system the price can certainly add up.
Anyone else into weather and have the Netatmo Weather Station or another system they would recommend? Let me know in the comments below.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.