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Anemometers: Introduction

Anemometers are sophisticated devices used to measure wind speed. They are invaluable tools in meteorology utilized to study weather patterns and predict severe weather conditions. Furthermore, anemometers can be employed in a variety of settings, such as research, hiking, boating, sky diving, education, firefighting, data collection, TV reporting, construction, HVAC, and crop harvesting.

Note that the first mechanical anemometer was developed in the 15th century by Leon Battista Alberti. However, it was John Thomas Romney Robinson, who in 1846 invented the famous cup anemometer and was credited as the inventor of the modern anemometer.

The design of wind speed measuring devices has improved significantly over the years, leading to the creation of hot-wire, electric, and sonic measuring devices. Now there are different types of anemometers. Cup anemometers are among the most popular items, which consist of three or four cups attached to a vertical axis. Vane anemometers, on the other hand, are shaped like windmills and are ideal for high wind speeds. Additionally, there are sophisticated hot-wire anemometers that assess heat loss in order to measure air velocity, as well as pilot tube anemometers that measure wind pressure to achieve accurate wind speed readings. That being said, sonic anemometers are defined as the most precise units that employ ultrasonic wave analyses to detect wind speed.


Choosing an Anemometer: Factors to Consider

Because of their diverse applications, anemometers are highly valued by both professionals and amateurs. Choosing an anemometer, however, can be daunting. As stated above, there’s a wide variety of models; that prospective buyers can choose from. Note that users should consider three major factors: requirements, specifications, and total costs.

Requirements: Before buying an anemometer, users should decide where they’ll be using the device (stationary conditions, mobile monitoring). As mentioned above, vane anemometers are ideal for high-speed winds. The material used is also crucial to guarantee both accuracy and durability. As anemometers are often exposed to harsh weather, devices should be able to withstand different weather conditions, including ice. Interestingly, the color of the anemometer should also be considered, especially if the unit will be used in cold locations, with black units being able to thaw out faster than white anemometers. Depending on the user requirements, the size and design of the unit are also essential to ensure user comfort and accurate readings. To provide an example, handheld units are ideal for outdoor adventures. Additionally, units with large vanes and three-cup devices can be more accurate than anemometers with small vanes and four cups, respectively.

Specifications: Perhaps the most important parameter to consider before purchasing an anemometer is accuracy ratings. Note that it’s advisable to look for units with accuracy ratings of around +/-5%. Another major factor to consider is wind speed response; reliable units usually have wind speed reporting of above 0-100 mph and fast responses between readings (designed for wind gusts). The range of the unit is also important (0-5000 feet recommended), especially when it comes to handheld models. Note that digital units with an easy to read display and clearly marked buttons are ideal for beginners.

Total costs: From cup units to sonic devices, there’s a wide variety of anemometers with varying costs. Note that more advanced but costly units come with numerous features, such as settings that enable wind temperature measurements and switching between metrics (knots, ft/min, etc.). Users should also consider the unit’s power source. Note that most anemometers are powered by batteries; some units have power savings modes and indicator lights for when the battery is running low. Last but not least, accessories are also essential; prospective buyers should consider if the unit can be attached to a tripod, a lanyard, or another surface.


Best Anemometers on the Market

Anemometers are invaluable tools used to measure wind speed. Given the variety of anemometers for sale, however, choosing a new unit can be challenging. Based on different parameters and user reviews, here are the best anemometers on the market:

1. Proster Handheld Anemometer

Proster Handheld Anemometer is one of the best portable anemometers on the market. It reads wind speeds of up to 30 m/s with high accuracy. The unit is equipped with a backlit LCD display to improve the readability of data. Note that this anemometer is powered by a 9V6F22 battery (included). Last but not least, its attractive and durable design makes it ideal for a variety of applications; from measuring the airflow from heating vents to studying the weather while flying drones, this anemometer is ideal for both experienced users and beginners.

2. Extech 45158 Mini Waterproof Thermo Anemometer and Humidity Meter

Extech 45158 Mini Waterproof Thermo Anemometer and Humidity Meter is a versatile product with a flip-style case that acts as an extension handle. This anemometer can display velocity, temperature, relative humidity, dew point, and wind-chill in a variety of metrics (feet/min, knots, etc.). Note that the measuring range is 100-5500 feet/min, relative humidity 10%-95%, and dew point 32°F-122°F. Additionally, the unit can be set to capture data in 5, 10, and 13-second intervals. Note that this anemometer is powered by a CR2032 lithium battery. With durable housing and various features, this model is perfect for both uses on the land and at sea.

3. HOLDPEAK 866B Digital Anemometer

HOLDPEAK 866B Digital Anemometer is another powerful digital unit with a wind speed range of 0.3-30 m/s (max 69 mph). Note that this anemometer can measure wind speed in five units: m/s, km/h, ft/min, knots, and mph. Additionally, the unit displays temperature and wind-chill. It uses 1.5V AAA batteries (included) and has a low-battery indication to improve user experience. Last but not least, this device comes with a lanyard, a protective case, and a user manual. With a variety of advanced features, HOLDPEAK 866B Digital Anemometer can be used in numerous applications, such as recreation, research, and forecast.

4. Kestrel 2000 Pocket Wind and Temperature Meter

Kestrel 2000 Pocket Wind and Temperature Meter is one of the most durable handheld units that display wind speed, chill, and temperature. Note that this anemometer is waterproof and can float. Additionally, the model has been drop tested to military standards (MIL-STD-810G). The unit comes with a large display, a slip-on case, a neck lanyard, and a CR2032 coin cell battery. Because of its compact design and resistant housing, this model is a great gift choice for sailors and nature lovers.

5. AcuRite 00634A3 Wireless Weather Station with Wind Sensor

AcuRite 00634A3 Wireless Weather Station with Wind Sensor is a great product with a versatile design. The unit’s multi-variable history chart can show barometric pressure, wind speed, temperature, and humidity, while its atomic clock is set to update time for consistent accuracy. Note that the unit consists of a self-calibrating sensor that collects the data and a tablet-like device that displays the readings (tabletop/wall-mountable design). This weather station is simply great for personal forecasting.

6. Pole Mount Anemometer by Inspeed

Pole Mount Anemometer by Inspeed is a handy unit that can provide accurate readings of 3-4% or +/- 1mph. This anemometer has a one-second update rate for wind gusts. Note that the set comes with a Cateye Velo8 bicycle speedometer for display (suitable for 5-150 mph) and a wire. This pole mount unit manufactured by Inspeed is great for home and recreational use.

Anemometers: Maintenance
  • Anemometers are invaluable scientific instruments used in a variety of applications. As anemometers are often exposed to harsh weather, users should take proper care of them. Always check the maximum wind speed and minimum temperature your anemometer can withstand.
  • Carry cases are recommended to protect a unit’s digital display, especially when used in hiking, boating, and outdoor adventures. Consider waterproof units with durable armor if you’re planning on using your anemometer for sailing and other outdoor activities.
  • Anemometers with automatic off buttons to extend battery life and low-battery indicators are recommended to improve usability and user experience.


Anemometers: Conclusion

Anemometers are invaluable measuring devices used to assess wind speed. Since the development of the first wind speed meter in the 15th century, anemometers have undergone significant transformations. From digital units to sonic devices, prospective buyers can choose from a wide variety of models ideal for both home use and outdoor adventures. Note that users should consider three major factors: requirements, specifications, and total costs. Accuracy, design, materials used, battery life, and accessories should all be considered. Note that as anemometers are often exposed to harsh weather conditions, waterproof units with durable armor are recommended. Last but not least, accessories, such as protective cases, mounts, and lanyards, should be considered.

With a variety of settings and designs, anemometers are invaluable tools in meteorology used to study weather patterns and predict severe weather conditions. Such measuring units can be used in a variety of applications, such as research, hiking, boating, firefighting, TV reporting, construction, HVAC, crop harvesting, home use, and education.