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Handheld weather meters - which one?
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Erik G

Locale: THE Bay Area :)
Handheld weather meters - which one? on 01/07/2014 12:13:35 MST Print View

I'm in the market for a handheld weather meter. I've been looking at Kestrel units, particularly models 2500 and 3500. The difference between the two is that the 3500 can measure wet-bulb temperature, relative humidity, and dew point. It also costs $50 more ($150 vs $200).

Do you think the extra $50 is worth it for the added features? At this point I'm leaning toward yes.

Also, any other brands I should be looking at for a quality weather meter?

Thanks in advance

Edited by fox212 on 01/07/2014 12:28:06 MST.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Handheld weather meters - which one? on 01/07/2014 12:42:18 MST Print View

I have the 2500, I am sure it has a wet bulb thermometer (or maybe not)

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: Handheld weather meters - which one? on 01/07/2014 12:53:40 MST Print View

Well, on the comparison chart, there's no wb temperature for the 2500.

For the rest, only you know if you need it. What is it for ? Just hikes or actual scientic measurements ?

Erik G

Locale: THE Bay Area :)
Re: weather meter on 01/07/2014 13:13:58 MST Print View :)

No wet bulb thermometer on the 2500.

I plan to use it for backpacking, mostly just for my own curiosity and information. Probably won't be doing any serious measurements or calculations. That said, I'm an engineer and kind of a gear geek, so I like useful features and accuracy. :)

Seems like Kestrel is pretty much the benchmark company for these devices. Are there other ones I'm missing?

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: weather meter on 01/07/2014 13:48:34 MST Print View


With your background you can capitalize on a tenant of psychrometrics in that if you know elevation plus any two psychrometric values, all of the other relevant psychrometric values can be easily determined. In addition to the dry bulb temperature, you will need a second output value such as (wet bulb or dew point) to use a psychrometric chart or one of the psychrometric smart phone applications. This will allow you to fully understand everything relevant to the environment's impact on your UL backpacking shelter and insulation. Psychrometerics will give you the added information such as:

Humidity ratio
Partial pressure
Specific volume
Dew point (if only wb know)

Unfortunately the model 2500 doesn't provide you a second relevant value and so I wouldn't recommended it for your intended use.

I use a Brunton ADC Pro in the field but, I don't think it is necessarily a better product than the Kestrel 3500; I acquired it for a low price more than five years ago. It is adequate for my requirements but, I haven't looked at alternatives.

Edited by richard295 on 01/07/2014 14:20:52 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Handheld weather meters - which one? on 01/07/2014 13:52:01 MST Print View

I got

Cheap, no name, Chinese, $13, 2 ounces, seems to work okay, don't know if it's calibrated

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: weather meter on 01/07/2014 13:56:39 MST Print View

I assume you mean Brunton ADC Pro

I've used one for several years, works good, more expensive than my cheap Chinese one

Unfortunately, I found that if you put it on top of your tire to be in the shade, and then back up the car, the ADC Pro will fall off and end up, briefly, under the tire, and after that the wind meter doesn't work : )

Erik G

Locale: THE Bay Area :)
Re: psychrometrics and Brunton on 01/07/2014 14:30:44 MST Print View

Richard, good point and one I actually hadn't thought of. I am quite familiar with the charts you speak of (was just using them the other day, in fact). I agree that I wouldn't be able to get a complete understanding of my environment with the 2500.

The Brunton ADC pro looks like a strong contender as well, thanks for bringing that to my attention. Looks pretty comparable to the Kestrel 3500 in terms of features. Not certified (no problem), 2.4oz (vs 3.6oz for the Kestrel), and it looks like it can log data. On the Brunton, what is the resolution for temperature, humidity, wind speed, altitude?

I definitely want reliable accuracy, so I'll probably stay away from the no-name meters. The NIST certified calibration that comes with the Kestrel unit is a plus, but not a necessity.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: psychrometrics and Brunton on 01/07/2014 15:20:11 MST Print View


Answer to your resolution question:


The most recent calibration test on did on mine, 11/5/13, was for the RH measurement versus a new Bacharach 12-7012 Red Spirit F sling psyschrometer. For grins I also tested some other RH measurement devices I had on-hand. The ADC Pro has a calibration adjustment for a NIST / known reference.


Edited by richard295 on 01/07/2014 15:21:47 MST.

Erik G

Locale: THE Bay Area :)
Re: Brunton resolution on 01/07/2014 16:17:46 MST Print View

Thanks again Richard. I appreciate the info.

However, I've decided to go with the Kestrel 3500. I chose it mainly because:

-Better sensors, resulting in faster response and more accurate readings
-5 year warranty from Kestrel (1 year from Brunton)
-Designed and manufactured in USA (with US and foreign components)
-Both units seem very durable, but the Kestrel seems more so. The Kestrel passes MIL-spec drop tests, which is reassuring for a klutz like me. :)
-The Kestrel can measure water and snow temperatures as well as air temp. Not sure if the Brunton can do this.

I also learned that the 3.6oz weight includes a protective case; the actual unit weighs 2.3oz.