7 Best Weather Radar Websites and Apps in 2024 That Are Free

United States weather radar image from Weather Underground

There are numerous apps and websites available on the internet to get accurate weather radar data. However, many require a fee, either to purchase the app or to subscribe to the radar data itself. 

While paid options will give you real-time live radar data, a few free radar websites and apps offer user-friendly radar imagery with minimal delay. But a minimal delay can be a deal breaker. 

Storms can quickly form, so weather radar websites and apps without real-time radar data put you at risk, especially if you’re outdoors.

Here Are the Best Weather Radar Websites and Apps

We’ve assembled a list of the seven best weather radar websites and apps for 2024. All of them are free to download and use. 

Finally, we’ve also included our recommendations of top paid weather radar apps if you need the best radar data available in real time because even the top free apps can delay radar data by five or more minutes.

1. National Weather Service

National Weather Service radar

Website: https://radar.weather.gov

For the best, go right to the source. The National Weather Service offers free radar data from its website. The site is relatively easy to use and was recently updated, making it easier to use. 

A new user interface allows users to zoom in and out easily, and it’s browser and mobile friendly. You can view animations and radar products that show wind velocity and rainfall. 

The site also layers warning boxes over the imagery so you can see which storms have severe warnings.

Despite the drastically improved interface, some challenges remain. The radar resolution is still a bit grainy, and it isn’t as quick to update as with some apps. 

There’s no app either due to a non-compete clause with the private industry in Federal law. Unlike apps, you won’t get notifications of severe weather for your area.

  • Offers a full suite of radar products for free
  • Much improved user interface which is easy to navigate on a mobile device
  • Resolution is grainy

2. The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel

Website: https://weather.com/maps/usdopplerradar
App: Android / iOS

The Weather Channel’s app continues to be one of our top radar apps for 2024, and in our opinion, it’s the best actual mobile weather app. According to Forecast Advisor, The Weather Channel is consistently rated as the most accurate weather app for many cities across the US.

This general weather app has some great radar features that we think are worth mentioning, such as:

  • Fluid image zooming down to street level.

  • An innovative future radar option using proprietary short-range modeling attempts to forecast future storm movement by up to six hours.

One negative is that the app smooths radar imagery too much for better appearance. In turn, this may cause some inaccuracy in the data, especially when zoomed in. 

The smoothing is addressed in a premium radar option, which offers higher resolution radar and forecast imagery.

  • Well-designed user interface
  • Access to The Weather Channel’s news and video coverage
  • Free radar version smooths out radar too much
  • You have to pay for higher quality radar images

3. Windy


Website: https://www.windy.com
App: Android / iOS

Windy is great for outdoor enthusiasts, like boaters and pilots, who need a more comprehensive look at the weather. The app layers radar, wind, precipitation, cloud cover and more seamlessly in a visually appealing way. 

While there’s a lot to like about Windy, the radar data is often five or more minutes old. Detailed information might be a bit too complex for the average user to understand, so we’d recommend some of the other weather websites and apps if you’re looking for something easy to use.

  • Visually appealing maps
  • Lots of weather data options
  • Weather radar data is often 5+ minutes old
  • Has a learning curve

4. AccuWeather


Website: https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/national/weather-radar
App: Android / iOS

AccuWeather is another app that does a whole lot more than just radar. Along with radar, you also have access to AccuWeather’s 15-day forecasts, precipitation outlooks with the percentage of rain, and a host of other weather data. 

The radar also has a future radar option, but unlike the Weather Channel’s, it only predicts three hours in advance. Zooming in and out is easy too.

While it doesn’t smooth the radar images to the degree The Weather Channel’s app does, it is still enough that it may cause some inaccuracy. The user interface is not as intuitive as others on our list, but in terms of the amount of data available, it is one of the more feature-rich.

  • Access to AccuWeather content
  • Lots of data options
  • Radar images aren’t the best resolution
  • Future radar only predicts by 3 hours

5. Weather Underground

Weather Underground

Website: https://www.wunderground.com/weather-radar/
App: Android / iOS

The Weather Underground is an excellent app if you’re looking for radar information and hyperlocal weather conditions. 

The site has the most extensive collection of personal weather stations in the world, and this data is put on the map with the radar giving you a much more comprehensive picture of what’s going on at a particular location.

However, if current weather observations aren’t vital to you, then the added information might get in the way. Also, after being bought by The Weather Channel several years back, its functionality is not much different than The Weather Channel’s app. 

We feel that unless you need the hyperlocal conditions that Weather Underground provides, opt for The Weather Channel app instead.

  • Offers hyperlocal weather conditions
  • Lots of information from its extensive PWS network
  • Not much different than The Weather Channel App
  • Radar images are smoothed, just like the free Weather Channel app

6. WeatherBug


Website: https://www.weatherbug.com/maps/
App: Android / iOS

Although it’s not as popular as it was a decade ago, WeatherBug is still around and offers hyperlocal current weather conditions on its website thanks to its network of weather stations at homes, schools, television stations, and other locations throughout the world. 

The company has an app, with good weather and lightning data, on offer for free.

While its impressive visual maps offer all kinds of weather data, like the two previous apps, it smooths out radar images for appearance. Again, not to the degree The Weather Channel does in its free app, but enough to cause interference. 

We recommend sticking with the free version—the paid version is $19.99 and takes away the ads.

  • Lots of high-quality weather information
  • Lightning data is included
  • Radar image quality could be better
  • $19.99 for an ad-free version with no additional functionality

7. NOAA Weather Radar Live

NOAA Weather Radar Live

App: Android / iOS

NOAA Weather Radar Live used to be one of our top recommendations because it was so well-designed, and it offered plenty of free data. However, that’s changed. 

App users have reported that the amount of free data has shrunk, with a premium subscription necessary to use most of the app without seeing annoying subscription popups. That’s a shame, considering how good the app is.

Radar imagery with NOAA Weather Radar Live is sharp, and during the winter, precipitation type is overlaid so you can spot where it’s raining or snowing. Access precipitation and satellite data and generate forecast data for any location on the map. 

However, severe weather alerts or lightning data require premium access to obtain. We’ll keep them on our list, but we may need to look elsewhere next year if they don’t listen to their users.

  • Well designed app
  • You have to pay for severe weather alerts and lightning data, which is available free with other apps
  • Significant decrease in the amount of free data available
  • Frequent subscription popups

Our Top Paid App Pick: RadarScope


Website: https://www.radarscope.app
App: Android / iOS

If none of the above weather apps have what you’re looking for, and you’re willing to spend money on a quality professional weather radar app or website that storm chasers use, our top recommendation is RadarScope. 

Available on Android and iOS for $9.99 and Windows or Mac for $29.99, this app has the quickest radar updating around. You have access to the same radar products that the pros do, at the same time they see them—along with live warning information. 

Stepping up to the Pro Tier 1 subscription for $9.99 per year gets you longer animations and lightning data (a must for outdoor enthusiasts), dual pane capability, and inspection tools. 

The top end Tier 2 package adds in hail and shear contouring (the latter necessary for tornado formation), as well as multi-platform use and a 30-day radar archive.

But even for just $9.99 for the app without the tiered options, the standard data is fantastic.
  • It’s the absolute best radar app out there, period.
  • Little if any delay in radar imagery
  • You need the $9.99/year Tier 1 plan to get the most out of the app

Runner Up Paid Pick: Dark Sky

Dark Sky

Website: https://darksky.net
App: iOS

This app was so good that Apple acquired it. The app was previously available for Android and iOS, but it’s now only available to Apple users after the acquisition. While its functionality is slowly being integrated into the iOS weather app, it remains a separate app for the time being.

Dark Sky is famous for its down-to-the-minute weather forecast, which lets you know exactly what’s going to happen and when. We’ve tried it out—the app is impressively good for short-term forecasts. 

The weather animations are seamless and polished. While there’s a reasonable degree of smoothing (a feature we wish Apple would allow us to change) and the radar color scheme used is a little unusual, this is still a great all-around premium weather app.

  • Impressive accuracy with its forecasts
  • Seamless animations
  • There’s a good deal of smoothing in the imagery
  • Non-traditional radar color scheme that you can’t turn off

Final Thoughts

Whatever option you choose, any of the weather radar websites and apps above will keep you informed before severe weather strikes. If we didn’t include your favorite weather radar app, let us know in the comments below. 

We’d love to hear what apps and websites you depend on to keep you out of harm’s way.

Published: February 3, 2020

Comments (12)

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