AcuRite Atlas Weather Station Review: Does It Live up to the Hype?

AcuRite’s latest home weather station, the Atlas, has finally been released to the market. Fans of the AcuRite brand have been eagerly awaiting the next installment in the AcuRite lineup. The launch of the Atlas was unfortunately delayed by two years. We first heard about AcuRite’s plans to take on Davis Instruments in the ‘prosumer’ personal weather station segment all the way back in 2016. The company eventually released the Atlas in late 2018, so we were extremely curious to see if it could compete with the Davis Vantage Vue and Vantage Pro2.

Even as late as it was to the market, the Atlas still has the same goal that they told us more than two years ago: to give consumers a modern alternative to Davis’ rapidly aging weather stations, with similar top-tier accuracy, modern connectivity, and at an overall better price.

But during this delay, other companies have worked hard to build fully featured smart home weather stations at an affordable price point for first-time buyers. The standout being Ambient Weather’s WS-2902 Osprey. Did AcuRite wait too long to release the Atlas? Let’s find out.

>> Click Here to See Pricing, Ratings and Reviews on Amazon <<

Pros

  • Accuracy that does nearly match Davis Instrument’s high bar
  • Well-designed app
  • HD color touchscreen console
  • Competitively priced
  • Detachable and extendable anemometer

Cons

  • Manufacturing defect caused a recall of early models to fix false lightning strikes
  • Limited smart home support

Our Verdict

While AcuRite’s recall issue for faulty wiring which caused false lightning strike detection disappointed, once fixed the station performed admirably. Accuracy is indeed just as good as Davis’ Vantage Vue, and even though smart home support is somewhat lacking, it’s an improvement (the intuitive and easy-to-use mobile platform makes up for it) over previous AcuRite stations.

>> Click Here to See Pricing, Ratings and Reviews on Amazon <<

Included Instruments

Installation

Installation of the Atlas isn’t too difficult as the integrated sensor suite (ISS) is an ‘all-in-one’ unit, but you will, however, need a pole to mount the ISS on to (the mounting hardware is built into the ISS body). The station can be mounted on a pole of a diameter up to 1.25 inches. You just need to remove the back by sliding it off the ISS, place the other section of the sensor suite on the pole, slide the back part back on, and use the tightening knob to secure it

AcuRite Atlas weather station

The integrated tightening knob makes it very easy to set up the Atlas on a pole mount.

(There is a wall mount option, but for a variety of reasons we do not recommend this, so we won’t cover it here.)

The Atlas can be mounted either at the top of the pole or at some point along the length of the pole. We recommend the latter since you will be able to then place your thermometer sensor at the correct height, which is about six feet off the ground (see our tips here for the best installation methods).

If you follow our siting recommendations for the most accurate readings, you’ll also want to purchase the optional wind extension kit. There’s a benefit to doing this as official wind readings are taken at 33 feet. Getting your wind vane as close to 33 feet as you can and clear from any obstructions leads to better readings overall. We were able to get our wind vane up to about 10 feet with Ambient Weather’s EZ-48 Tripod and two extension poles (the max the mount supports).

AcuRite Atlas installation

My installation of the AcuRite Atlas on an Ambient Weather EZ-48 tripod with two mast extensions.

From here you only need to set up the AcuRite Access and the console, both of which were straightforward, but you must set up and power the sensor suite first before doing anything else, or you’ll run into trouble. Just a reminder that the outdoor sensor transmits measurements up to 330 feet away from the console, so remember to mount it within range of the console.

We also had the opportunity to test out other optional upgrades, including the lightning detector, remote battery pack, and the sensor AC adapter, which we’ll discuss later.

Accuracy

Before we go into a discussion on accuracy, here’s a look at AcuRite’s claimed accuracy and specifications from their manual. We think these are very commendable numbers.

Operating Range

Reading Frequency

Accuracy

Temperature Range

-40 to 158° F (-40 to 70° C)

30 seconds

± 1°F

Humidity Range

1-100% RH

30 seconds

± 2% RH

Wind Speed

0-160 mph (0-257 km/h)

10 seconds

± 1 mph ≤ 10 mph, ± 10% > 10 mph

Wind Direction

360°

30 seconds

± 3°

Rain

.01 inch intervals (mm)

30 seconds

± 5%

UV Index

0 to 15 index

30 seconds

± 1

Light Intensity

to 120,000 Lumens

30 seconds

n/a

Lightning

Up to 25 miles away (40 km)

10 seconds

n/a

Does it live up to these claims? We’d argue yes. Using both our local NWS station and our Davis Vantage Vue for comparison, the Atlas sensor suite performed admirably well. Accuracy is a big step up from the AcuRite 5-in-1 systems that preceded this station.

Temperature and humidity readings were similar to the Davis Vantage Vue and the NWS, and if you purchase the optional wind extension kit, getting the anemometer up higher in the air does help a lot to obtain accurate wind readings. Rainfall and barometric pressure readings also seemed to be on point, and an improvement over previous AcuRite consoles we’ve tested.

The optional lightning detector also works well, as long as you don’t have an early model station. If you do, your integrated sensor suite will need to be returned to AcuRite for warranty/recall repair. A faulty wiring issue interfered with the module and the fan, causing in some cases hundreds of false strikes a day. We’ve gotten our ISS back recently, and after the repair, there have been no more false strikes. You’re not likely to have this problem if you purchase a new station, as AcuRite have been shipping Atlas units with the repair for a few months now.

Upgradability

The Atlas does have some upgrade options. At the time of purchase, you can either choose to buy the weather station with the Access module (AcuRite’s internet connectivity device), the HD touchscreen color console, or both. If you have the money, we’d strongly recommend buying both.

AcuRite Atlas lightning detector

One optional upgrade is a lightning detector.

There is also an optional lightning detector which is mounted in the sensor suite inside the battery compartment, a wind extension kit to install the anemometer at the optimal height of 33 feet to take wind readings, and a remote battery pack and AC power adapter.

The remote battery pack will allow you to place the ISS batteries near ground level to negate the need to remove the ISS unit from the mast to change the batteries, while the AC power adapter will allow you to run the sensor suite off electrical power. While we found both useful, we’d still recommend installing the Atlas the way we did—the AC adapter really isn’t necessary because the ISS will run on its internal batteries and the solar panels for about 8-12 months at a time.

You can add additional sensors via the AcuRite Access, but keep in mind that these additional sensors do not show up on your console, the data will only appear in the My AcuRite app. AcuRite has a variety of sensors compatible with the Access, so we suggest visiting their website to learn more about what you can get.

AcuRite Atlas vs. AcuRite 5-in-1

We’ve already noted that the Atlas is a step above the previous AcuRite Pro+ 5-in-1 stations, but we wanted to discuss why briefly. The most significant difference is sensor quality. The Atlas sensors are higher-end, which means you’ll get more accurate measurements. AcuRite has also rated the Atlas wind vane to work at speeds of up to 160mph and increased reporting frequency to every 10 seconds, making it useful in areas prone to severe weather conditions, including tropical storms and hurricanes.

The Atlas ISS also includes a UV index and light intensity sensor, which while not as good as the same optional sensors found with Davis Vantage Pro2, they are indeed an added benefit.

The fact that you can mount the wind vane separately is also a big deal, as is the integrated tightening knob mounting mechanism on the ISS itself for pole mounting. Every part of the Atlas is a step up, and worth the added cost.

AcuRite Access for My AcuRite Remote Monitoring

The AcuRite Access really only has one purpose, and that’s connecting your Atlas weather station to the Internet. The Atlas and its console can work without it. However, you won’t be able to share your data or use AcuRite’s Alexa skill.

AcuRite Access

Connect to My AcuRite with the AcuRite Access.

As long as you install the ISS first, you should have no problems with installing the Access. We should note here that it does take a bit of time for the sensor data to start reporting. In our tests, it was about five minutes, but AcuRite warns this could take up to half an hour.

Measurements are sent every minute to My AcuRite, although, if you’re using the web app it will only automatically refresh every five minutes. However, you can manually refresh either the web or mobile app to view the updated readings.

If you want even faster updates, set up Weather Underground’s Rapid-Fire feature within My AcuRite. This will pull updates from your ISS every 18-36 seconds, enabling almost real-time Internet monitoring. For most of us, however, this might be overkill.

My AcuRite dashboard
My AcuRite charts
My AcuRite alerts

The AcuRite Access also has Alexa connectivity, you just need to enable the My AcuRite skill within the Amazon Alexa app to get connected. We’re a bit disappointed that there is no Google Assistant connectivity nor IFTTT support. We expect that AcuRite will support Google Assistant soon, but the company in the past has told us they don’t think IFTTT works fast enough to make it truly useful in a smart home, so it’s unlikely IFTTT will be supported anytime soon.

Display Console

The Atlas display console is one of the better consoles we’ve seen on the market. It’s an HD full-color 7-inch TFT touchscreen. The display is clear and bright with a wide viewing angle. It not only looks nice, but it works well. The HD display console is a big step up from many stations, notably the outdated Davis console.

AcuRite Atlas console

The modern HD full-color 7-inch TFT touchscreen Atlas display console.

We love the fact that you can view graphical data on various weather conditions over either the past 6 or 48 hours and adjust the brightness of the display. It also includes a sleep mode which dims the brightness to a low level yet shows time/date, outside temperature and humidity and wind speed. Like other consoles, several alarm options are available.

The only negative here is that the Atlas console cannot support the display of any additional AcuRite sensors. You’ll need to use the My AcuRite mobile or web app to do that.

What We Really Liked

What we like is that this is honestly the first home weather station that’s been able to hold its own against the Davis lineup in terms of accuracy. Mainly because of the ability to separate and extend the height of the anemometer for accurate wind readings. We also like how straightforward the installation is thanks to the integrated tightening knob. Plus, the weather station is very affordable, even with every possible upgrade option, you’ll still get a station with more functionality than Davis for a lower price.

Finally, the web and mobile app are intuitive and easy to operate. Davis finally updated their app late last year, but it still is far behind what AcuRite has been able to do with the My AcuRite platform.

What We Didn’t Like

We have some concerns about build quality due to the recall to fix the faulty wiring inside the sensor suite that made the lightning detector report false strikes. With that said, AcuRite proactively reached out to affected users and fixed the problem rather quickly. Turnaround time for the repair was about two weeks. You shouldn’t have a problem here as only early models had the wiring issue—it has since been fixed.

There is also no IFTTT support which means you won’t be able to use your weather data to control smart home devices like your sprinklers. That’s a shame. Also for developers, no API exists to support connectivity with third-party programs to the platform. If that’s important to you, then take a look at the Ambient Weather WS-2902. Ambientweather.net provides this, the platform allows you to write your own programs and scripts to use and display your station’s weather data.

Are There Better Alternatives?

Perhaps, but it depends on your needs. If smart home compatibility is your primary requirement, then it would be better to either buy the Ambient Weather WS-2902 or better yet, the Ambient Weather WS-2000 with the HD console.

If accuracy is what you’re looking for, then either the Atlas or Davis Vantage Vue are good bets. However, the top of the line model is still the Davis Vantage Pro2, and we're yet to find a home weather station that beats it for accuracy. Problem is, the console is so outdated now that many newer stations are just an overall better deal despite their marginally worse accuracy.

We’re also still waiting for the AcuRite Atlas Elite. We’re not sure when it's coming out, but that might be a better buy overall when it finally arrives. It has been reported that the main differences with the Elite are a 2-second wind speed and direction reporting interval and new radio system with 1000 feet extended range. The anemometer is separate as standard, and there might also be higher quality sensors.

We’ll be sure to review the Atlas Elite if and when it comes out.

Should You Buy It?

We think you should. The price is right, it’s accurate, the build quality is decent, and AcuRite has really stepped it up with the integrated mounting system, HD console, and extensive upgrade options. We particularly love the ability to separate and extend the anemometer to official reporting heights with the wind extension kit. It’s an option that you just don’t normally see on weather stations in this price bracket.

We’re hoping however that the early problems are just a hiccup, and from what we’ve been able to gather it was. So, definitely consider the Atlas if you’re in the market for an affordable, yet high-quality personal weather station.

Click here to buy the AcuRite Atlas Weather Station on Amazon.

AcuRite Atlas Review
  • Accuracy
  • Features
  • Ease of Installation
  • Ease of Connecting to the Internet
  • Value for Money
4.5

Summary

The AcuRite Atlas bridges the gap between affordability and high-level accuracy making it a top contender in the prosumer category. The upgrade options are what sets the Atlas apart from other stations in this price range. The most notable upgrade being the wind extension kit to separate and extend the height of the anemometer for more accurate readings. We're also impressed with the remote monitoring through the My AcuRite app. However, smart home integration is lacking, and an early recall for false lightning detection worried us (it has since been taken care of). If you're looking for a durable and accurate home weather station with straightforward installation and user-friendly internet connectivity, then the Atlas is an excellent option.

Published: February 24, 2019

Leave a Reply