Product Review: WeatherFlow Wind Meter for iOS and Android

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The WeatherFlow Wind Meter is durable, portable, and has potential for easily sharing your locally-generated wind data. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

After my experience with the Vaavud Wind Meter last fall, I was pleased to be invited to check out the WeatherFlow Wind Meter.

There are so many differences between these two systems that I can’t believe they were actually designed to do the same thing. Each system has pros and cons that make them useful for your specific needs. Allow me to investigate further.

Bear in mind that I will be very nitpicky about this app, because of my background in precise weather instrumentation. Overall, this is a great device for outdoor enthusiasts who need wind measurements for activities such as kiteboarding, R/C aircraft, skydiving, and model rocketry. At only $34.99, this is one of the least expensive smartphone anemometers on the market, and is among the most durable.

The WeatherFlow Wind Meter is smaller and more durable-looking than the Vaavud. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.
The WeatherFlow Wind Meter is smaller and more durable-looking than the Vaavud. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

What Comes in the Box

The WeatherFlow Wind Meter is a small device that makes for a nice stocking-stuffer-sized gift. The package includes:

  • One wind meter
  • Lexan plastic carrying case

Pretty simple, isn’t it? On the back of the carry case are the two logos explaining how to download the accompanying smart device apps on Google Play and the iTunes App Store.

The wind meter is very lightweight and seems much more rugged than the Vaavud. The blue outer casing is rubberized and I’d trust that it would bounce back just fine from the occasional fall to the ground. I didn’t trust the Vaavud like that; it was much more fragile.

Downloading the App

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Make sure you find the proper “Wind Meter” app in the App Store. It’s a free download. Image: Patricia Vollmer.

I only have iOS devices compatible with the WeatherFlow app, so that’s what I’ll be demonstrating here. However, I did go to Google Play on my Samsung tablet to see that the app is indeed there. I just can’t download it to my particular tablet; it’s more for phone-sized devices.

It’s important that you download the correct Wind Meter app, because there are several out there on the market. Case in point: If you just search for “wind meter” on Google Play, the one you actually need will be the sixth choice returned. Incidentally, the Vaavud will appear first.

For best results, go ahead and search for “WeatherFlow Wind Meter” for the most accurate results. The icon will look like two commas overlapped on each other.

It’s a straightforward download, and it will easily prompt you to plug in the wind meter to begin the measurement process.

Note: Without a WeatherFlow Wind Meter, this app is useless. 

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Without the wind meter itself, this is all you’ll get out of this wind meter app. Image: Patricia Vollmer.

Once you plug the wind meter into your headphone jack, it will ask to use your current location (for reporting purposes, if you choose to use it). Then, the app will be ready to take a measurement.

This app will measure for up to 30-second increments. That's it. I'm not super-fond of that. Image: Patricia Vollmer.
This app will measure in up to 30-second increments. That’s it. I’m not super-fond of that. Image: Patricia Vollmer.

Taking Measurements

To take a measurement, face the direction the wind is coming from (i.e., the wind should be hitting your face) and hold up the wind meter as high as it will go. Hit the green “Start” button and let it do its thing. It will measure for a prescribed period of time and then present you with a wind report that you can save, discard, or share via email or social media.

Note: The smartphone’s compass is providing the direction, not the Wind Meter. Keep this in mind for a more accurate wind measurement.

The Vaavud only measured the wind speed itself, while the WeatherFlow will allow a direction measurement. But an accurate direction is up to the user. If you’re not taking the time to orient your device to the wind, you will be sharing an inaccurate measurement if you choose to share it on social media or through the Wind Alert app (discussed later in this post).

I was very surprised at how this app will only take the wind measurements for 30-second increments. You can see in the image above how there’s a large red button that’s taking time. You can stop the measurement sooner or let it go to 30 seconds. After that, you’re presented with a 30-second average sustained wind, as well as an average of gusts.

If you need longer-than-30-second averages, I’m afraid I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. What’s also unfortunate is that you can’t easily hit the “Start” button again without weeding through some pop-up screens with choices of what to do with the measurement just taken.

What to Do With the Measurements

As I just mentioned, you’re presented with numerous options after you take the measurement. You can save the measurement, discard it, and then choose to share a saved measurement via email or social media.

I decided to tweet the measurement. Like other apps, it will easily tie in with your existing Twitter and Facebook apps on your smart device.

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You can Tweet your measurements. Feel free to add @weatherflow and any hashtags you want. The app won’t do that for you. Image: Patricia Vollmer.

This is the tweet that went live after I transmitted it from the Wind Meter app:

Alrighty then. There were no indications of how I came to that value, no advertisements for the app that I used, nothing. The shared Facebook status was similar. Of course, you can add whatever hashtags and handles you like, but I think this feature needs work. I recommend the company tweak that feature to fill it with hashtags and the company’s Twitter handle.

For those who are more interested in precise wind direction measurement, it won’t go to social media this way. Considering it’s up to you for accurate direction, perhaps reporting to only 8 compass rose directions is the best way to go.

Another thing that I’d like to see is the option for users to share the wind report with multiple social media platforms at once. As it stands, you can share it one time as soon as you finish the observation. Then, you need to dig into the history listing to share it additional times. This can be refined with subsequent app version releases.

The WindAlert App

One of the options for sharing your Wind Meter measurement is to post it to the WindAlert app. I decided to download the app and check it out. Like the Wind Meter app, it’s available for iOS and Android.

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WindAlert is a wind-display app that allows you to customize data to the outdoor activity you prefer. Image: Patricia Vollmer.

WindAlert is more than just a means to display your Wind Meter observation, it also serves as a full service weather awareness app. Users can view current observations from numerous weather networks, U.S. NEXRAD radar, and National Weather Service forecast information conveniently.

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It’s been pretty windy in Colorado Springs lately. You can click on an observation point and view the wind trends for the past several hours. Image: Patricia Vollmer.

Conclusions

After having tested the Vaavud smartphone anemometer, I was pleased to see an option that was more rugged and suitable for outdoor activities where you’d want an instant wind reading, such as kiteboarding, R/C aircraft flying, and model rocketry. The WeatherFlow Wind Meter easily fits in your pocket and performs accurately for these purposes.

Users can upload their data to WeatherFlow’s observation network through the WindAlert app. This helps give an idea of winds at nearby locations.

The WeatherFlow Wind Meter retails for $34.99 and is available through the company’s online store, as well as other electronics retailers such as Amazon.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

Patricia Vollmer is the proud mother of two emerging geek sons, ages 12 & 15. She is a meteorologist with the Air Force Reserve and is currently assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Patricia blogs about her family's nomadic military life at Ground Control to Major Mom. Home is always where the Air Force sends her family, which is currently in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Hobbies include running, despite no one chasing her, sharing her love for Disney and Star Wars, and exploring the world with her boys. Ask her why the sky is blue at your own risk.