There are many different reasons why you need to know what the weather is like outside. Whether you need to know what time to leave for work in inclement weather, what to wear outside or anything else, being keen to the weather conditions is important in our lives. It is something we cannot control in the least and something that we need to be prepared for.
Years ago, people relied on the weather channel or a weatherman on the news to give them the information they desire, but now, technology and our smartphones have changed that. You can now access the current weather, forecasts, radar, precipitation and a ton more information pertaining to weather right from your phone or any other device. Most phones and tablets come complete with some kind of weather app pre-loaded, but they are often fairly lackluster. As a result, there have been many other companies and developers that have created their own weather apps.
However, there is one big problem with this fact. If you search the word “weather” in the app store, you will be greeted with an almost endless list of options that all promise to be great and “the best”. So with so many possible apps to trust with your weather needs, how do you choose which weather app is the best and which ones should be avoided? If you are struggling with that choice, this article is for you. In this article, I will go over a ton of different weather apps and offer my best choice, a runner-up and a list of honorable mentions as well, any of which is a good choice.
The winner and my choice as the best weather app out there is none other than Accuweather. Not only is this app extremely simple to use and very comprehensive in terms of what it includes, it is also free. There are some ads that are impossible to ignore as this is a scrolling app, but they really don't interrupt with the flow of the app at all. There is an Accuweather Platinum upgrade for $3.99 which will get rid of the ads, but the free version alone is still outstanding and well worth a download as your primary weather app. This app features just about everything you need to know about what's going on outside and has comprehensive forecast data for millions and millions of different locations.
With so much possible information and data at your fingertips, you might assume the app would be a bit cluttered and hard to read, but that couldn't be further from the truth. As soon as you click on the app and select your city, you are taken to a beautiful page that shows the temperature, over a backdrop of what the weather looks like outside. For example, if it is sunny and clear where you are, the animated background will show a reflection of that. And if you are currently sitting through a snowstorm or thunderstorm, the app will show that too.
But instead of simply offering the temperature on this page, they also offer the "RealFeel". This is a great addition as it gives you a better understanding of how cold or hot it will feel outside. As just a number, the temperature doesn't really matter that much to us, it is more about how we feel, and this feature is amazing for that. For example, some apps might just say that it is 6o degrees outside, but it may actually feel closer to 40. This app will tell you that and you will definitely be thankful for that fact.
On this main page, you will also notice that you can "Check Minutecast". This is a cool feature that allows you to put your address in and see if any precipitation is expected at your location in the next two hours. This is very helpful as many weather apps will simply say that it is raining in your city, but not your exact location. But as we know, some cities are massive and the weather will change throughout it. As a result, it is very good to know what they weather will be like at your exact location at an exact time. When you swipe left on the main page, it also takes you to a page where you can add a number of other locations in case you want to keep tabs on the weather of an upcoming vacation destination or just see how the weather is throughout the world.
However, when you swipe up from the main page is when you truly get to the meat and potatoes of this app, the large amount of customizable information and data. The first thing you will see is the "Looking Ahead" section which gives a brief overview of any major weather happenings in your area over the next few days and an outlook on how the weather will generally be. This gives you a great and simple snapshot of what to expect in the next little while.
Next, you can see more information about the current weather in your city including the humidity, UV index, wind speed and direction, cloud cover and much more. Below that you will see an hourly forecast which will show you the outlook over the next few hours. This section includes the RealFeel, probability of precipitation, as well as most of the information that is included in the "Currently" section. You are then greeted by a "Trending" news section that will include a couple of different news stories and videos that are important in the world of weather.
Keep scrolling down and you can see the daily forecast as well as up to a 15-day forecast as well, which is great for figuring out the best day to hit the beach or stay inside. These forecasts include a ton of information including temperature highs and lows, the possibility of precipitation, cloud cover and a short description of what to expect from the weather throughout the day. And the page concludes with a look at the times the sun and moon phases with a cool little animation to boot as well.
Also, when you're on this page full of information, you can simply swipe to the right which will reveal a highly detailed and constantly updating weather map and radar. This will give you an inside look on if any inclement weather is coming your way shortly in the future, and also allows you to check out the weather across the country with ease. In addition to looking at what weather is coming your way in the future, this page also lets you look in the past in case you want to see what the weather was like overnight or throughout the earlier hours of the day. While this may not be as useful as seeing what weather is coming up, it is always good to be able to go back and see what the weather was doing.
The app also can connect with your calendar and give you notifications of severe weather events such as storms, snow or anything else that could possibly throw a wrench in your daily plans or travel. So if you have a beach day planned, this app will let you know if you should pack extra sunscreen, or stay inside. There is also the option for you to report a weather condition in your area if you spot something interesting, and you may even be featured in the news section of this app if your video is high quality.
The fact that all of that information is available on a completely free app with only a few ads is pretty great. An app of this caliber (even just the free version) could easily cost a couple of dollars and I would still have no problem putting it at the top of the list. If you are looking for a simple yet comprehensive weather app that won't break the bank, this is a fantastic option. As you can see from this entry, there is a ton of things to like about this app and it offers more than enough information to be prepared enough for whatever inclement weather might be coming your way, all in an incredibly simple and beautiful design.
The runner-up for the best weather app out there goes to Weather Underground. Just like our winner for the best weather app, this app is free with the inclusion of ads. But again, the ads aren't terrible enough to skip out on this app. There is an option of paying $2.79 to remove the ads for one year if they are really annoying to you. But just like in Accuweather, I never found the ads annoying enough to get in the way of the great things this app does.
If you are a budding meteorologist or having a ton of different data at your disposal is your thing, this is the app for you. Also, this might just be the best option of all weather apps when it comes to truly localized forecasts. This is because they have nearly 200,000 (and growing) personal weather stations around the globe. This means there is likely one nearby your location that will give accurate local forecasts and weather conditions. This app has the largest such collection of personal weather stations of any app, which is a huge plus. So while some apps may only give one temperature and wind speed for the city, this app will provide numerous different options. In fact, when I used this app, it had a specific station right for my neighborhood, and I don't live in a giant city or neighborhood by any means.
In addition to being great with hyperlocal weather forecasts, this app is also extremely data-heavy. Whether you like your data in graph form or in simple text, this app has you covered. You can see past, present and future data for things like wind speed, precipitation, temperature, UV, pollutants and more. One knock on this app is that forecasts can only be provided for up to 10 days in advance, which is quite a bit shorter than other apps. However, as mentioned, this app is definitely more focused on data, so this really isn't a big deal for those who would primarily use this app. This app also has a layout that can be a tad more overwhelming than our winner, but again, for those who love a ton of crowd-sourced data, this is perfect.
While it's forecasts and current weather detail sections are decent and definitely suitable for most people, the true selling point and the reason why this app is so good is because of the highly detailed and interactive map. This map has a wide array of buttons that can help you see the radar for your area, the temperature over time, a satellite view as well as an option to layer and more.
As you can see from that description alone, this map is much more detailed than the one offered by AccuWeather and other weather apps. You can also quickly zoom in an out to see the weather and conditions from all over the world due to the many personalized weather stations used by this app. Also, with so many weather stations all contributing to this app, you can even see that different areas of the city have a different temperature, wind and more. It is very cool to be able to get such a hyper-local look at the weather, even in a relatively small city or town.
So while the interactive and incredibly detail and data-heavy map/radar/satellite is the main selling point of this app, there are also some other cool things included too. For example, there is a section where you can take a peak and various different webcams from all over your city to give you a great look at the current conditions in different areas at any given time. There is also a "Wunderphotos" section, that shows you various different user-submitted photos of the weather. Wherever you are in the world, you can see photos from places across the globe and get a great look at the kind of weather they are experiencing.
All in all, this is a great choice for your primary weather app is data and precise information at all times is your thing. It may not be as streamlined, simple and well-designed as AccuWeather, but it is definitely worth the number two spot. The interactive map alone is worth the download, so the wide range of other solid features is simply a bonus to those who download it.
Weather Live is an app that combines a very simple design with one that looks very good on your device. While the full app costs $5.49, there is a free version of the app that is more than sufficient for most users.
As soon as you start the app up, you will be drawn in by its beautiful main page, which is actually quite similar to that of the AccuWeather app. Depending on the current conditions where you are, the scene will match up with that. These scenes are very beautiful and can change along with the weather. These include sunny, foggy, rainy, snowy, cloudy and more. But unlike AccuWeather, you can have all of the current weather information displayed above those nice scenes, which is definitely a treat.
While the beautiful design and look of this app will likely attract many of the people who use it, there is a fair amount of solid features included that will keep them around. These features include things like 1-7 day forecasts, weather warnings and reports, current conditions, your choice of different layouts, a comprehensive weather widget and much more.
Another very cool feature about this app is that it not only works on the Apple Watch and Apple TV, but also looks great on the platforms. While it may not be as comprehensive or data-heavy as some of the other apps on this list, this is a great choice if you want a clean, simple and gorgeous app to check the weather from time to time.
If you prefer the look and design of an app over the kind of data or information you are provided with, this is one app that you might enjoy. Remember, not everyone needs a ton of information at their disposal. Some people just want to check the current temperature real quick and if you prefer to do that with a beautiful landscape in the background, this app is worth a download.
No, the Weather Channel is not just on your TV screen anymore. One of the most known and popular TV channels for weather has an app, and a very good one at that. The app is free and offers quite a bit of information and data for no charge. But if you aren't a fan of the ads, you can pay to have them removed for a year, which seems to be the trend when it comes to these weather apps.
This app comes complete with a ton of data on temperature, wind, visibility, precipitation and more. There are also a few different options in which you can view this data from hourly and daily forecasts, as well as in extended forecasts up to 15 days.
This app also comes complete with a map that uses the Doppler radar data to display precipitation and other potential severe weather alerts. While their interactive map is not quite as good as some of the others on this list, it is more than enough for most people. The social aspect of this app is also quite impressive as it allows you to share photos, videos and more.
If you want a weather app from a trusted source and authority in weather forecasting, this app is a perfectly acceptable choice.
If you are a feature and information lover, this app could very well be your choice. WeatherBug is packed to the brim with about as much information as they could fit, and best of all, the app is free. For an app with this much packed in it to be free, is pretty special.
As expected with an app that provides users with this much weather information and features, it can feel a tad bit cluttered and hard to navigate. But if you can manage to do it, you will be rewarded with a ton of cool features. You could spend a ton of time navigating through all the data, which will definitely give you all the information you need to know about the weather in your city.
This app gives you fast and constantly-updating alerts about dangerous weather that could be possibly affecting your area. Of course, this app offers forecasting and a report about current conditions in your area, but it also has live cameras in select areas, interactive maps, visual forecasts and much more.
While it may be a tad clunky and cluttered at times, it works as advertised and is definitely among the most comprehensive weather apps out there without having to pay.
If a beautiful interface on your weather app is most important to you, this app might just jump up to the top of the list. It was a winner of an Apple Design Award in 2013, which is a testament to how stunning and innovative the design and layout of the app is. You will likely find yourself looking at the backgrounds and landscapes even longer than you are looking at the weather which you likely came to the app for in the first place.
Since Yahoo owns Flickr, they have millions of gorgeous landscape and weather photos at their disposal and they make good use of them. Every time you check the current weather, you are greeted with a stunning shot of either a landmark in your city or an animation that reflects the weather in your city or town.
While the beautiful design of this app is clearly the most impressive part about it, don't think there aren't other things about this app that makes it worth a download. It's striking layout and interface aren't just very pretty to look at, it also functions pretty well too. It offers comparable features (interactive maps, forecasting, a boatload of weather information) in a beautiful app that almost feels like it belongs as the default weather app on Apple devices.
This app is very different than most of the others on this list in that it brings weather to life. This app was adapted from a broadcast tool that TV presenters use in their weather broadcasts.
The app displays a 3D globe and you are free to explore it all. As you zoom in and out on the map, you will be able to see things like cloud cover, temperature, precipitation and more, depending on the layer you choose. It is a unique look compared to most other weather apps, but it definitely works.
The app also allows you to check out 1000s of webcams from all over the world to see what weather is like all over the world. It is a very stunning app, but not really one that would be of interest for those who just want to check the temperature real quick or see if it's going to snow. However, the fact that it is so unique compared to other weather apps while still being free, warrants a spot on this list.
For people who just want to see the weather information in their area and know what it means for them without all the clutter of added features and numbers, this app is for you.
Fresh Air has a minimalistic design that is as beautiful as it is simple. The app uses an easy-to-understand scrollable 7-day graph that shows you a number of different data points. These include temperature, precipitation, wind and other meteorological data. The idea of a graph as the primary method of showing the weather information is also a unique take that very few apps use, and I personally think it looks pretty good.
It also is able to connect to your calendar and show you the likely weather you will be experiencing during those events, which is a very cool touch. The app is completely free, but in-app purchases are available if you want to unlock NOAA radar maps or to get rid of the ads.
While this app does show you the standard weather information like temperature, wind, precipitation and forecasts, the main attraction for this app is its radar and interactive map.
This app is basically a powerful (yet surprisingly simple) weather station that you can use right from your phone. The app offers real-time HD radar images on an interactive map that show you the precipitation and weather around the world at any given time, as well as up to 24 hours in the future.
This app also allows push notifications which will alert you when some possibly inclement weather is coming your way. This is a great app for those who are very into meteorology and like to have an advanced weather station on their phone, for no cost at all.
This weather app often flies under the radar and you might have never heard about it, but is a fine choice for your main weather app.
While the app doesn't offer a crazy interactive map or radar, it is a solid app that covers the basics very well. The main page of the app is a full-screen forecast with all the information you need including things such as temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, as well as what the weather will be like throughout the day.
It's not going to offer you a "specialty" or a distinct advantage over other apps, but it is a solid choice if you just want a simple app to check the weather with a customized background that you can choose yourself. It is user-friendly and the addition of videos definitely doesn't hurt either.
While most of the apps on the list and in this category are free, there are a couple of paid apps here too. Now, because an app is paid doesn't automatically mean its good. But in the case of Dark Sky, many people think the wonderful app is worth the $3.99 price tag.
When it comes to extremely accurate local forecasting, Dark Sky is at or near the top of that list. This app can let you know when some rain or snow will be hitting your area with precise accuracy. While some apps will include this as a small feature, this app puts almost all its effort into determining when some precipitation is coming your way. In addition to this, it still provides you with things like the temperature as well.
And instead of just letting you focus on your own area, this app actually encourages you to check out weather all over the world. If there is no precipitation near you, the app will suggest some places to check out in the app that are currently experiencing some. The app also sends notifications if rain is coming your way, which means that you hardly need to actually open and interact with the app much at all.
This is a completely unique app on this list and is truly innovative in the space. The app markets themselves as the most honest weather app out there, and I would have to agree.
In addition to providing you the weather in a very simple interface, the app acts almost human as it offers a little phrase to go along with the forecast. The app tells you what;s up with the weather in a "colorful" manner. People who have this app likely look forward to the snarky and silly little remarks it makes about the current weather about as much as actually finding out the weather.
The app costs $2.79, which may seem like a fair bit as it doesn't offer a ton of features. But if you ask me, the smile that the little phrases put on your face after reading them is more than worth it. Also, they are constantly adding new phrases so they will never get old and stale.
This app is different from most as it won't likely be your primary choice for finding out the weather around you. However, if you or any of your loved ones live in a hurricane-prone area, this is a very important app to have.
This app won't give you temperature or anything like that, but it can alert you when a hurricane or windy storm is coming your way. Finding out this kind of information as early as possible can be a life saver.
The app also has an amazing feature that makes it automatically be able to send a message to your loved ones that you are okay. Even if no one you know lives in an area that can be affected by hurricanes, knowing what is going on in the world in terms of major storms isn't a bad idea either!
In addition to this app, the Red Cross also has a few other apps centered around natural disasters such as one for earthquakes, one for tornadoes and one for fires.