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How To Measure Wind Speed: Anemometers

How To Measure Wind Speed: Anemometers

If you are interested in weather updates & want to know how to measure wind speed then understanding anemometers is valuable. Wind speed determines how soon a storm will arrive and how it affects the creation of high and low-pressure areas.  Measuring wind speed is an important factor when piloting a plane or conducting an outdoor athletic activity.

What Measures Wind Speed?

Wind speed is measured by using an instrument called the anemometer. The unit of anemometer is FPM or feet per minute.

An anemometer has has five basic types. These are, Mechanical Anemometer, Pressure Tube Anemometer, Thermal Anemometer, Sound Wave Anemometer and Doppler Laser Light Anemometer. Each type has its own subcategories along with advantages and disadvantages. These characteristics make each type ideal for measuring wind speed in particular situations.

We have included photos of each type in case you’re wondering; “what does an anemometer look like?”

Types Of Anemometers To Measure Wind Speed:

1. Mechanical
2. Pressure Tube
3. Thermal
4. Sound Wave
5. Doppler Laser Light

1. Mechanical Anemometers

These anemometers are among the oldest and most popular, so how do they work? They operate by simply having the wind push on them and then measuring angles or rotations.

Mechanical Anemometers comes in three types.

  • Plate Anemometers
  • Cup Anemometers
  • Propeller / Vane Anemometers

Plate Anemometers

Plate Anemometer first wind speed measures

The oldest form of what measures wind speed. These simple meters were invented by Italian architect Leon Battista Alberti in 1450. They use a plate mounted on a strip of springy metal which is faced into the wind. As wind speed increases, the plate is lifted and bent back. The change in angle of the hanging rod is measured and corresponds to wind velocity.

As you could imagine, this type of anemometer is not very accurate due to many factors. Think low wind speeds and deterioration of the plate and springs over time. A variation of this consists of attaching a ping pong ball to a string and determining wind velocity by the angle of the string as the wind pushes the ball.

Cup Anemometers

measure wind speed with cup anemometers

The classic image of four cups rotating around a vertical pole was made possible by inventor Dr John Thomas Romney Robinson in 1845. Originally, the device would measure wind speed by counting the number of cup rotations over a time interval.

This technique was improved by the use of electronics for measuring purposes. Electrical components can either provide greater accuracy in counting rotations per time unit or act as a small generator that creates higher wattage as wind speed increases.

Propeller / Vane Anemometers

propeller vane anemometers for wind speed

The use of a fan permits wind direction to be simultaneously determined with wind speed. The vane with the turbine has to be facing into the wind else the whole machine will rotate.

handheld wind speed meter using a miniature fan has an advantage over its larger cousin. Since you’re the one doing the pointing, it will always be facing into even the lightest wind . Also, because it’s not permanently outdoors, a handheld wind speed meter isn’t threatened by winter icing.

Vane anemometers give users choices of units of measurement: m/s, ft/min, km/h, MPH and knots to accommodate different types of applications.

2. Pressure Tube Anemometers

pressure tube anemometer and wind speed


Another very old approach to measure wind speed is through the use of a pressure tube. First developed by James Lind in 1775, the basic idea is to start with a U-shaped tube and bend one end over to create a horizontal section. This piece will face into the wind. Liquid is placed into the tube and wind blowing into the horizontal portion will force the liquid up along the vertical section.

Modern versions have replaced the liquid with a flexible membrane. This moves in response to pressure differences, while a gauge translates this into wind speed. With no mechanical parts, this instrument for measuring wind speed can go for long periods without maintenance.

3. Thermal / Hot Wire Anemometers

thermal hot wire anemometer

These thermal measuring devices are also known as hot wire anemometers. You start with the underlying principle that a flowing wind cools things off.

The device includes a thermostat that keeps a heated wire at a steady temperature. So, as the wind blows across the wire, it’s cooled and more electricity is used to bring it back up to its set temperature. The increased draw of electricity is what measures wind speed.

 4. Sound Wave Anemometers

Types of sound wave anemometers to measure wind speed:

  • Ultrasonic Anemometers
  • Acoustic Resonance Anemometers

Ultrasonic Anemometers

sound waves to measure wind speed

Because sound needs gas molecules to travel through, their speed and direction can affect the speed of the sound waves. Ultrasonic anemometers use this phenomenon to calculate wind speed. They compare the travel time between a sound generator and a receiver to what it should be under no wind.

The big drawback here is that turbulence created by wind flowing around the instrument itself can distort the results. Rainfall can also play havoc with readings.

Acoustic Resonance Anemometers

acoustic resonance anemometers

While it also uses sound waves to measure wind speed, this instrument takes a different approach. It measures changes in the frequency of the waves as they collide with passing air molecules. Faster winds will cause the sound waves to compress into a higher frequency.

These anemometers are compact and very rugged however, they are not that accurate.

5. Doppler Laser Anemometers

Doppler laser anemometers

This system relies on the same principals as an ultrasonic anemometer. The difference is that laser light is what measures wind speed.

The laser beam is split in two. One portion is used for reference while the other is aimed at the wind. If the air is rushing towards the measuring beam, the light waves reflecting off it are squeezed into a higher frequency. This is referred to blue shifting.

Laser light bouncing off air particles headed away from the detector undergo red shifting to a lower frequency. The receiving station compares this reflected light to the reference beam to calculate the speed of the moving air.

This instrument to measure wind speed is extremely accurate as well as very expensive. It also requires a lot of technical expertise to operate.

Many Choices To Measure Wind Speed

Clearly, there’s a lot of ways to use to measure wind speed. Keep in mind that some methods may not be very reliable. Others can be pretty costly and may involve unwieldy contraptions.

“What tool measures wind speed the best?” In our opinion, it comes down to cup anemometers for personal weather stations and handheld anemometers. These portable devices are accurate measures for wind speed anywhere you go. They are affordable, reliable and durable.

Best Wind Meters for Long Range Shooting 2021

Best Wind Meters for Long Range Shooting 2021

Wind Meters, Wind Gauges, Anemometers… Let’s talk about shooting.

Article last updated: April 2021

Long range shooting is a widely loved sport. Some of us are long-term shooting fans, while others might have been inspired by the surging popularity of FPS games like PUBG and Fortnite. Given that it’s both fun, challenging, and unique… it’s no wonder why the sport is gaining popularity.

In this article, we have some wind meters for long range shooting to help you on your way to becoming a sniper so good you’ll make Hawkeye jealous!

At A Glance: Best Wind Meters For Long Range Shooting

Table could not be displayed.

Here’s the thing. You’ve probably already realised by now that, no matter how well you focus your shot, there are other climatic conditions like the speed of the wind, air pressure, and direction of wind flow that come into play.

For short ranges, these factors are much less important. The longer the range that you’re shooting, the wind speeds and general weather conditions become more and more impactful. In order to assist with this problem, “Wind meters” are used. You may also see these referred to as anemometers for shooting.

So clearly, wind meters are beneficial for use in long-range shooting. They are ideal for estimating shot placement and to help reduce shooting errors due to crosswind conditions. There’s a wide selection of wind meters for long range shooting in the market today, and it helps to know their differences so you can pick what fits your budget and needs.

Below, we’ve laid out a selection of the best wind meters for long-range shooting in 2021.

This comparison is short and straightforward. I hope you find it useful!

Wind Meters for Long Range Shooting

 

Proster MS6252A Digital Anemometer

proster-digital-anemometer, wind meters for long range shooting

The Proster digital anemometer has a multi-unit switching function, including reading hold, maximum, minimum, etc. It can be used for handheld or fixed measurements. We love that it has a large LCD screen with a backlight that’s easy to read at arm’s length even with less-than-perfect vision. This wind meter also has a low battery indicator.

Specifications:

m/s(meter per second): 0.6 ~ 60.0
ft/m (feet per minute): 118 ~ 11,811
km/h (kilometer per hour):2.2 ~ 144.0
mile/h(mile per hour):0.3 ~ 134.2
Knots(nautical miles per hour):1.2 ~ 116.6
Beaufort Scale0 to 12 B
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-o-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-o-down” show_title=”true” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]Portable and therefore easy to use while shooting
Large display screen
Handheld or Fixed measurements.
Very easy to use
CFM ranges between 0 and 99,999
Display is backlit so you can see it in the dark[/i2pros][i2cons]Poor manual and Instructions are unclear
Doesn’t measure in MPH
Issues with durability[/i2cons][/i2pc]
This little device is worth every dollar and is great for long range shooting. It’s portability and easy to use functions as well as its large screen makes it perfect to use in any outdoor setting. This wind meter reads speeds of up to 30 m/s which works out to be about 108 miles per hour, within an accuracy of about two percent. This highly reliable and easy to use wind meter is perfect for long range shootin.
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HoldPeak HP-866B Digital Anemometer 

HoldPeak 866B Digital Anemometer, wind meters for long range shooting

The HoldPeak HP-866B digital anemometer is very accurate when it comes to measuring wind speed. Its device control has labels of the function it performs, which makes it very simple and intuitive. This ergonomically-designed handy wind meter comes with rubber inserts on the sides that provide a better grip. Plus, it has a screw hole at the bottom so you can mount it on a tripod. It also has a big screen, but the digits are a bit smaller compared to Proster.

 

Specifications:

m/s(meter per second): 0.6 ~ 60.0
ft/m (feet per minute): 118 ~ 11,811
km/h (kilometer per hour):2.2 ~ 144.0
mile/h(mile per hour):0.3 ~ 134.2
Knots(nautical miles per hour):1.2 ~ 116.6
Beaufort Scale0 to 12 B
Relative Humidity15 ~ 95% RH
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-o-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-o-down” show_title=”true” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]It provides fast measurement for analysis of critical weather conditions
Multifunctional anemometer – measures wind speed, temperature and wind chill
C/F temperature can be adjusted easily.
Max/Min/Average/Current function can be recorded.
Presence of low battery indicator
Good After-sales service[/i2pros][i2cons]Come-along Instructions are unclear
Backlight timer goes off every 15 seconds which can be irritating
Doesn’t work effectively with freezing or below freezing[/i2cons][/i2pc]
We loved the part of after-sales support; if your anemometer gets damaged within a short time frame, you can quickly contact and get it replaced or repaired. The seller takes full responsibility for the product, which is rare. The temperature function is a +1, and the built is sturdy and high quality. The only minus that we figured out was that the instructions were very unclear and ambiguous, which can be tough at the start, but you can always refer YouTube for a better understanding of the product. The Backlight Timer has the default setting of 15 seconds, which could be irritating, but it’s pretty accurate and highly sensitive and hence serves the ultimate purpose without any doubt.
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Kestrel 1000 Pocket Wind Meter

kestrel 1000 pocket wind meter

The Kestrel 1000 wind meter is the most basic and extremely easy to use wind meter by Kestrel. Unlike the first two, this one can be slipped inside your pocket because it’s very compact. It’s been in the market for about 20 years, and yet still one of the most popular today. It comes with a protective cover, neck lanyard, and it’s waterproof IP67 (floats). It has an easy-to-read, large high-contrast monochrome LCD.

 

Specifications:

m/s(meter per second): 0.2 ~ 55
km/h (kilometer per hour):0.8 ~ 200
mile/h(mile per hour):
0.5 ~ 125
Knots(nautical miles per hour):0.4 ~ 110
Beaufort Scale0 ~ 12 B
Bluetooth rangeup to 100 ft
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-o-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-o-down” show_title=”true” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]Highly accurate
Rugged handheld air flow meter
Large and clear display
Replaceable impeller
All kinds of wind flow measurement units are available
Highly waterproof (IP-67)
Floats in water
Drop tested to military standards (MIL-STD-810G)
Includes a slip-on protective cover
Includes neck lanyard
CR02032 coin cell battery
Five-year warranty
Can be used in all kinds of adventures and weather conditions
Shock-mounted impeller[/i2pros][i2cons]Less legible from side angles[/i2cons][/i2pc]
Even after strong research, we couldn’t find many negatives on this product, and it totally worth every Penny it costs. It is highly durable, and it has protective sheaths to protect itself from all kinds of potential dangers. It’s the safest and smartest investment you can make if you are engaged in Long Range Shooting.
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WeatherFlow Smartphone WEATHERmeter

Weatherflow WEATHERmeter

The Weatherflow WEATHERmeter is a small but very capable handheld smartphone weather meter that’s designed for precision shooting. Using the BallisticsARC mobile app, it provides a complete on-site atmospheric profile for long-range shooters. Measurements will show on your smartphone through the app. It can be paired instantly to your iPhone or Android phone through Bluetooth Smart technology.

 

Specifications:

m/s(meter per second): 0 ~ 30.0
0.1 Resolution
ft/m (feet per minute): 0 ~ 5860
19 Resolution
km/h (kilometer per hour):0 ~ 90.0
0.3 Resolution
mile/h(mile per hour):0 ~ 65.0
0.2 Resolution
Knots(nautical miles per hour):0 ~ 55.0
0.2 Resolution
Accuracy±5%
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-o-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-o-down” show_title=”true” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]Comes with an attractive apple-like case
Solid and well built
The associate app is helpful and easy to use
A new feature of pressure and dew point
Feature of the heat index[/i2pros][i2cons]Less accurate
Temperature fluctuation when exposed in sunlight
No warranty[/i2cons][/i2pc]
This wind meter has a supporting app that is big +1, but there a number of issues reported for its low accuracy. It is one of the best-sellers with tons of positive reviews, but we won’t personally recommend you to buy this one because the fundamental purpose is not served and it doesn’t even come with a warranty or after-sale service.

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Kestrel 3000 Pocket Wind Meter

Kestrel 300 pocket wind meter

Kestrel 300 pocket wind meter is not only good for long-range shooting, but it’s become necessarily required for wildland firefighters. It provides accurate weather data, relative humidity readings, calculates the dew point heat stress index and of course, wind speed. It holds an IP67 waterproof rating, and it’s drop-tested to meet military standards. This all-in-one equipment is portable and can fit inside your pocket.

 

Specifications:

Product

Price Comparison

Best For

AcuRite 01512

AcuRite 01512 Wireless Weather Station
3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)
$$$

Best Weather Station for Home Use
La Crosse 308-1414B

La Crosse Technology 308-1414B

3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)
$$
Best Weather Station for Budget Conscious
ThermoPro TP-60S

ThermoPro TP-60s

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
$
Best Weather Station for Baby Monitoring
AcuRite 02077

Accurite 02077 Color Weather Station

3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)
$$
Best Weather Station for Newbies
La Crosse C85845

La Crosse Technology C85845
3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)
$$
Best Weather Station for People On-The-Go
AcuRite 01007M Atlas

AcuRite ATLAS Weather Station
3.6 out of 5 stars (3.6 / 5)
$$$$$
Best Weather Station for Accuracy
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-o-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-o-down” show_title=”true” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]Highly Accurate
Rugged handheld air flow meter
Large and clear display
Replaceable impeller
All kinds of wind flow measurement units are available
Highly waterproof (IP-67)
Floats in water
Drop tested to military standards (MIL-STD-810G)
Includes a slip-on protective cover
Includes neck lanyard
CR02032 coin cell battery
Five-year warranty
Can be used in all kinds of adventures and weather conditions
Shock-mounted impeller
Measures heat stress index, relative humidity, dew point temperature, wind chill
Contains certificate of conformity
Highly Durable[/i2pros][i2cons]Expensive
The extra small size of icons[/i2cons][/i2pc]
If you are okay with spending a high amount of money on digital anemometers, this is the perfect one indeed. We highly recommend this not just because of accuracy, but also longevity. It comes with an assurance of long term support promise, and the manufacturers have provided almost everything that an anemometer might need. We are genuinely impressed with the design, features, and customer reviews. Until or unless there’s a software or circuit defect by default, this one goes perfect. It’s expensive, but it’s a one-time investment. The extra small size of icons is also manageable and does not seem to be a big issue to compromise with.
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Final words:

When it comes to a technical gadget like a digital anemometer, it can be very tricky to decide which one to buy. But we dearly suggest not to rely solely on the descriptions given beside the product but also to read and interpret the genuine customer reviews to track the common problems that you should be ready for. Although we make it easy for you by doing the tough part and release a soft summary of products that you should take into consideration. We understand that everyone has their own budget and specific needs. Therefore we always put options for the readers. 

Our personal best choice and recommendation is Kestrel 3000 pocket wind meter because we couldn’t find any many reasons not to buy it except for its price tag. Also, if you cannot invest that much amount of money into it, our second personal best choice and recommendation would be Kestrel 1000, which is just an outdated version of Kestrel 3000, but it’s less expensive and worth it. And if you are looking for a digital anemometer under 40$ or under 30$, Proster Handheld Anemometer and HoldPeak 866B can be a good choice although we don’t really recommend the Weather meter.