The Best Weather Apps for Android

With the days growing shorter and the air turning colder, keeping up on the weather is a must when headed outside. Throughout much of North America, a cold front is moving in that’s destined to make things snowy and icy, with temperatures lower this month than what we’ve seen from the previous two Novembers. Rain can make for slippery roads, and bridges can often freeze without you even realizing they’re wet. And even in areas where it’s warmer or drier than the northern parts of the United States, it’s still a good idea to stay alert and notified of changes in the weather that can turn deadly at any given time. To do that, you’ll need to keep a solid weather app on your phone to alert you to rapid changes in the weather. Weather apps have since the beginning of app stores on mobile devices, meaning you have tons of selection on the Play Store to find an app that fits you.

Unfortunately, though there are dozens of weather apps available for Android, not all of them are worth your time or money. Plenty of these apps are outdated, lacking in basic features, or haven’t been updated since the early days of Android six or seven years ago. With the glut of weather apps on the Play Store today, there’s no reason to stick with your bad, unsafe, or poorly-made weather app any longer. Whether you’re looking for an app designed to keep you notified with to-the-minute weather reports, or you want an app that can play back general weather forecasts specific to your area, there are plenty of options for weather apps on Android. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones.

Everyone else

Yahoo Weather was our original runner-up seven months ago, right before the launch of Today Weather that has now taken its place. The reasons for it scoring so high with us were simple: the design is excellent, despite breaking with the usual Android design language, and utilizes the Yahoo-owned Flickr image sharing service to essentially pull off the same trick as Today. Full-screen photos are beautiful on this app, and the use of lined iconography and transparent shaders still looks great, even if the app is starting to feel a bit dated overall. Yahoo’s app has some amount of advertisements in it, and unfortunately, there’s no option to remove them. Those ads certainly take away from some of the good looks of the app, though it doesn’t ruin it. You can save multiple locations, view local time in each area, and even view local photographs for certain places depending on their location. You might not find as much saved information here as you will with Weather Timeline or Today Weather, disappointing true weather nerds in the process, but for a simple, free application, it does the job well.

Google’s own weather application isn’t strictly a weather app. As you can probably tell by the name, News and Weather presents users with both the weather in your local area and headlines at a national, international, and local level. Unfortunately, this dual-service means that the weather capabilities of the app are pretty limited: it only shows you current conditions, in addition to the next four days, with each day expandable with a tap to show you sunrise and sunset times, precipitation chances, wind speed predictions, and humidity percentages. Google also provides a series of graphs covering those categories, with temperature and humidity presented as a mix of a line and bar graph and precipitation just using basic bars. The rest of the app, however, is dominated by news headlines. For some, this is perfect—nailing two apps in one is ideal for someone with limited space on their phone—but the lack of a five or ten-day forecast makes it difficult to recommend to plenty of users. There are some highlights here, including a dark theme, material design, and some pretty solid widgets, but overall, fans of Google apps should stick to using Google Assistant for their weather.

Dark Sky as a service was one of our favorite aspects of both Weather Timeline and Today Weather, but the app itself is fairly divisive among Android fans and users. When the once-iOS-exclusive app came to Android, people were initially ecstatic. Though apps that used the service, like Weather Timeline, had existed for quite sometime, it was still a positive development. Unfortunately, in its transition to Android, the app’s pricing structure was modified to fit Android users, with the one-time payment app on iOS becoming a free-to-try app on Android, with a subscription model in tow. Android users, unfortunately, have to pay $2.99 per year to use Dark Sky’s app on Android. Over the past year and a half, the app’s reputation has rebounded, sitting at a 3.9 on Google Play, but originally, consumers were frustrated by the decision. Still, if you do decide to use Dark Sky instead of Weather Timeline or Today, you’ll find a solid application, with a gorgeous interface that shows the same information we’ve come to love from the Dark Sky service. Most consumers will probably find themselves happier with the one-time payment app in Weather Timeline or the lower-priced subscription model of Today, but Dark Sky is an excellent alternative to both apps.

The Weather Channel is one of the biggest names in weather forecasting, and has been for over three decades. Despite the usage of their cable service dropping throughout the 2010s, it’s still a popular and trusted name in weather, and millions of people turn to the application as their choice in forecasting prediction. Unfortunately, The Weather Channel’s app didn’t impress us with the design. Instead of tastefully placing the advertisements throughout the app, TWC has decided to place a large banner ad on the main display of the app. Both Today and Yahoo Weather handle their in-app ads better than The Weather Channel, which looks terrible. The information provided was also lacking, with a high temperature forecast for our area unlisted despite multiple refreshes. That said, it’s not a terrible app. The interface itself, ads aside, actually doesn’t look too bad, with a tile-based system that looks good, and watching local video straight from their cable channel is incredibly useful for forecasts and quickly seeing information presented. Also, the app has a “Road Conditions” card that tests the driving conditions in your area—truly a step up from the rest of the app. Unfortunately, this app doesn’t do itself any favors with its giant banner advertisements, but overall, it’s a good free selection for any user that doesn’t mind ads.

WeatherBug is, overall, a pretty good experience on Android. The app looks pleasant enough, even if it doesn’t hold a candle to some of the more design-focused apps on this list. The interface is simple enough for most smartphone users to learn, regardless of experience on Android. With four distinct panels—Now, Details, Hourly, and 10 Day—it’s easy to find the information you’re looking for on the app without much work. Each can be accessed either by tapping the corresponding tab or by swiping through the interface, and each tab presents its information in a clean and distinct light. Now, for example, gives you the basic information for the day, like current temperatures and conditions, while the Details tab presents wind conditions, sunrise and sunset times, and even information like the pollen condition. There is a persistent notification offered by the app, but it looks better than some of the other apps on this list, and of course, can be turned off in settings. Our biggest grip around WeatherBug surrounds a similar gripe with apps like Yahoo Weather: ads. WeatherBug serves up a lot of ads to its users, and without an option to pay to remove them, anyone bothered by a deluge of ads should avoid WeatherBug and pay for Weather Timeline or Today Weather.

Weather Underground isn’t necessarily a bad application. After all, it displays the current weather accurately and shows forecasts in an organized, concise manner. But unfortunately, it isn’t nearly as great as some of the other apps you can grab on this list. Though Weather Underground presents its information in a pleasant, material-esque presentation, it’s appearance is a bit dated by late 2017 standards. The font looks good, and its diagrams are quite nice, and the app is easy enough to browse. You can even use a webcam feature that displays weather cams in your location from a wide variety of sources, but unfortunately, those weather cams occasionally fell to being plagued by error messages. The app is customizable, though, with the ability to delete unused tiles from your settings menu, which means you can easily hid the weather cams from your display if you wish. This is certainly a positive, because several of the tiles act as advertisements for articles from Weather Underground’s sponsors, particularly the farther down the list you scroll. Advertisements are particularly bad in this app, actually, repeating several times throughout the list and taking up more than a third of our test device’s display. Weather Underground does have a $1.99 subscription that removes ads, but overall, we’d recommend choosing Weather Timeline, Today Weather, or Dark Sky’s own payment plans over this. Overall, Weather Underground is good enough to recommend, but we’d say sticking with some of the above recommendations is a better idea.

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