Best Weather Apps on Your Phone
Weather apps are helpful, but they can be overwhelming. Which one should you choose? We walk you through the most popular weather apps for your phone.
Temperature. Wind speed. Precipitation. Lightning strikes. Barometric pressure. Humidity. Nothing lends itself to data analysis like the weather, because nothing else has so many things to measure. Well, except maybe baseball.
Weather data is big business. It’s not enough for an app to tell you the temperature. Predictive models are so precise now, and so readily available, that everyone’s looking for a way to stand out.
Today’s weather apps offer reliable data, customizable experiences and high-quality video — and they keep people informed. Here are the most popular apps for iOS and Android.
The Weather Channel
This weather juggernaut has been around forever and has the numbers to prove it. Thirty-five million people per month use The Weather Channel app to check hourly forecasts, track storms via radar and watch the latest weather-related videos.
This app is huge, so it can be a little slow to load. If that’s not a deal-breaker, The Weather Channel app is free. Or you can pay $4.99 per month or $29.99 yearly for premium, ad-free content like 15-minute forecasts.
WeatherBug offers hyperlocal forecasts in a good-looking, streamlined interface. It’s fast-scrolling, too — no glitching or slow-loading videos. And it has a ton of maps: 20, to be exact, from lightning strikes to driving conditions.
Have a big game today? WeatherBug offers an outdoor sports rating from one to 10, letting you know how dangerous the heat index, air quality, wet-bulb globe temp and other metrics might be for outdoor safety.
WeatherBug is free. Or you can pay $0.99 per month or $9.99 per year to go ad-free.
AccuWeather makes everyone’s Top 10 list, with good reason. It’s known for its accuracy, but features like weekly allergy reports are great for planning camping trips and other outdoor activities.
If you’re heading out for a run or bike ride, AccuWeather’s to-the-minute rain forecast, MinuteCast, tells you exactly when the rain will start. No more getting caught without an umbrella.
While some users complain about intrusive ads, this app gives you what you need. Download for free or get rid of the ads for $8.99 per year. Score the premium package and additional alert options for $19.99 per year.
Clime: NOAA Weather Radar Live
For real-time radar and satellite images, nothing beats the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). See where the rain’s going next or check out that weird cloud formation in the distance on NOAA’s new app, called Clime.
But radar’s not all Clime does. It’s still NOAA, so you’ll get forecasts, warnings and the UV index so you can plan your day. This app by far has the best yearly deal ($19.99) when compared to their monthly rate ($9.99).
This popular, good-looking app is known for its customizable widgets. Get temperature, forecasts and trends on your home screen, or open up the app and navigate 1Weather’s intuitively-designed menu and layout.
This app also has something called “shorts” — concise, 60-word weather stories accompanied by gorgeous photography. Shorts link to longer original reporting from around the globe. It’s a neat feature for people interested in exploring events that affect the weather and climate.
It’s free to download. You can go ad-fee (and get more features) for $1.99 a month or $9.99 per year.
This award-winning app has personality to spare. Seriously. Choose one of Carrot’s multiple personality types and political leanings to be the “voice” of your weather information. From straight meteorologist to snarky troll, Carrot adds levity to the staid weather-app market.
Other fun diversions are “missions,” where users follow clues to find famous locations on a map. Compatible with Apple Watch, the app offers a bunch of extra features with its two premium memberships, including the ability to switch between different data sources.
Carrot is free to download. To upgrade, you’re looking at $19.99 per year for Premium or $39.99 for Premium Ultra.
Apple Weather/Dark Sky
Dark Sky is massively popular, but you’d better move fast — it will no longer be supported in 2023. Apple bought Dark Sky and will be incorporating some of its best features into Apple’s weather app when iOS 16 is released in fall 2022. This update should add a little sizzle without overwhelming Apple Weather’s simplicity.
Dark Sky’s appeal stems from its gorgeous animations, historical weather snapshots and up-to-the-minute forecasts. Apple Weather’s appeal is basically that it’s free and already on your phone. For many people, that’s enough. It’s a nice app.
When Weather Underground (WU) says they’re hyperlocal, they mean it. WU combines traditional weather data with information from over 250,000 “personal weather stations” around the globe. This makes this somewhat sparse-looking app a must for data junkies.
When we think about how cold or hot it is outside, we tend to compare it to how it was yesterday, or last week. WU puts a comparison statement right under the temperature, and it’s surprisingly effective. Contextualizing the weather makes it more personally relevant than just reading numbers off a screen.
WU is owned by The Weather Company, which also owns The Weather Channel and app. WU is free to download. You can get rid of ads and get more detailed forecasts for $19.99 per year, or $3.99 per month.
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You may also want to download one of the best severe weather warning apps.