The Best Indoor Outdoor Thermometer

Updated


Top Pick

After researching 40 indoor outdoor thermometers and narrowing down the results to a final six, which we then tested over 30 hours (and 12 months of long-term testing), our pick for the best indoor outdoor thermometer is the La Crosse Technology – WS-9160U. Although basic in its feature set, the design is best-in-class, giving you an easily readable screen from across the room. If you need a humidity sensor, we also like the AcuRite – Tall.

Our Top Choices

Top Pick


LaCrosse

Best for Humidity


AcuRite

Tall

Best for Office Use


Taylor

1730

Best for Weather Geeks


AcuRite

Color

After researching 40 indoor outdoor thermometers and narrowing down the results to a final six, which we then tested over 30 hours (and 12 months of long-term testing), our pick for the best indoor outdoor thermometer is the La Crosse Technology – WS-9160U. Although basic in its feature set, the design is best-in-class, giving you an easily readable screen from across the room. If you need a humidity sensor, we also like the AcuRite – Tall.

Table of contents

Important features to consider

If you’re in the market for a thermometer, you first need to decide what’s important to you. Temperature is an obvious one, but past that and a clock display, the feature set gets a little more grainy. If you’re in a humid environment, you may want a unit that displays humidity. Not all of them do.

From there, you can get some nice features like temperature prediction, barometric pressure, forecast and high-low temperatures. In our opinion most extra features are not worth the tradeoff of worse screen readability. If it’s 6PM, it’s about to get cooler. If it’s 9AM, it’s about to get warmer (which is a good time to turn on that portable AC). That part isn’t rocket science.

The decision basically comes down to how much you want to balance feature set and the ability to read the screen. The more features you add, the worse each unit performs. This might not matter to you if it sits at your desk or you’re a weather geek, but if you’re placing it across the room, it can be an annoyance.

Not every unit is wireless, either. The colored AcuRite has a battery-powered dim option, but that’s completely unreadable unless you manually trigger the brightening button on the top of the unit. If it’s plugged in, it stays lit, but if you aren’t planning to dock it where it’s readable, it won’t be as functional for you.

Summarized, the following list details the core features most of these thermometers have. Almost all units have the features at the top of the list, but as you get further down, less will have it and those that do will be more expensive. It’s also our opinion that this list reflects what’s actually important to most casual users from most to least.

  • Indoor/outdoor temperature
  • Clock
  • Readability of the display
  • Wireless or wired display
  • High/low daily temperatures
  • Temperature/forecast prediction
  • Temperature range
  • Barometric pressure

What is barometric pressure?

A common feature on some of the more advanced units is barometric pressure. Barometric pressure is the pressure exerted by the weight of air in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Air pressure affects the weather by influencing the movement of air around the world. High pressure areas tend to bring sunny skies, while low pressure areas generally develop clouds and precipitation.

If you’re in a sunny climate, this feature might not be as interesting to you. But if you dream of someday predicting the weather in more volatile climates, you may be interested in one of the units that include those calculations in their LED screens.

What about range and temperature accuracy?

We tested the six models for range accuracy, but after walking almost halfway around our neighborhood to do so (and getting our wireless sensors thrown away), we realized that it won’t really matter for 99 percent of the people who use them. All of these units have solid range for the average homeowner, and it would take a unique use case to test the limits of their reach.

Similarly, all six units were pretty on point with accuracy, showing consistent temperatures across the board when placed in the same environment and monitored over the four weeks we owned them.

For most, a difference of one or two degrees isn’t a deal breaker and shouldn’t impact your purchase decision. If you’re perturbed by the slightest inaccuracy, we suggest looking into a home weather station instead.

The six best indoor outdoor thermometers

Product NameReadability (out of 5)Advertised RangeCost
a. La Crosse Technology - WS-9160U5330 ft$$
b. AcuRite - 00611A34165 ft$$
c. AcuRite - 02027A13330 ft$$$$
d. AcuRite - 750773330 ft$$$
e. Taylor - 17304200 ft$
f. Ambient Weather - WS-1171B1300 ft$$$

How we’ll describe thermometers in this post

As you can see from the above list, the thermometers have odd names, and AcuRite, a prominent weather-instrument company, has three in the list. For that reason, it’d be confusing to reference them by their model numbers. Instead, we’ll pair the models with names that match their aesthetics and brands.

From left to right in the above photo:

How the thermometer displays compare

In the following photos, we did our best to show the thermometers in a consistently shot environment so you could get a sense of their screen legibility and proportions in reference to each other. After each photo, we’ll discuss the attributes of the particular thermometer.

The AcuRite – Wide indoor outdoor has many attributes, including high/low temperature, date and forecast. However, despite its massive size, its screen isn’t easy to read. Take a look at this photo, and compare the AcuRite to the centered La Crosse. The text on the screen seems lighter. That’s no mistake — it is.

So although it tries to make up for legibility by an increase in size, it’s actually a bit more difficult to read. Another drawback to its size is the amount of space it will take up in a small area.

Best for Desks: Taylor - 1730

Bite size and yet readable, the Taylor is a good and inexpensive fit for your home office.

The Taylor – 1730 is the polar opposite. By far the smallest unit we tested and also bare bones when it comes to features. However, it’s easy to read and utilizes its proportions to give you the most important metric, the outside temperature.B

The Taylor is also the cheapest thermometer by a considerable margin. It’s not as easy to read from long distances, and its range was lacking compared to other units. But it does the job if you plan to have it situated close to you.

The AcuRite – Tall reads great from a distance and also includes humidity, which makes it an attractive and affordable choice if you live in a humid environment and care about that metric. On the negative side, with its gray and bulky design, it’s safe to say this model is the ugliest we tested, though perhaps not quite bad enough to deem it as horrific.

Best Features: AcuRite - Color

The middle ground between a weather center and an indoor outdoor thermometer.

The AcuRite Color is the online-dating match that had a great profile photo but looked horrible when they showed up in person. Well… maybe not that bad, but you’d expect the color screen would mean it’s the easiest to read. Quite the opposite.

The design, as you see from the shot above, captures the light awkwardly and makes the text difficult to read. Again, we couldn’t consider it poor, but you’d expect better from the most expensive model.

The color version has all the bells and whistles: forecast predictions, humidity, barometric temperatures and even the current state of the moon. On the downside, it’s the only non-wireless model we tested, requiring it be plugged in to stay lit.

The La Crosse Technology thermometer has a design feature that should have been obvious but which few thermometers integrate — it tilts up. This slight tilt makes it easier to read from afar (and up close), giving it a natural position for reading no matter where you are in the room.

Its large, crisp digits also contribute to that aesthetic. Overall, it’s definitely bare bones from a display perspective, but for those not looking to spend a ton, it delivers in quality.

Ambient Weather also tilts up, but unlike the La Crosse, it suffers from information overload. You’d have difficulty reading this model from afar, and as you can tell from the display, it almost feels blurry up close.

That said, it has a host of features including detailed barometric pressure, humidity, temperature forecast and the ability to measure dew point (the temperature where dew will begin forming in the air).

Indoor outdoor thermometer comparison chart

If you prefer to see the differences side by side, we’ve drafted the following comparison chart. Click the image to see it at full size.

Top pick: La Crosse – WS-9160U

The La Crosse indoor outdoor thermometer is by far the best choice for 80 percent of the population. It’s well designed, low cost, minimalistic and is direct in giving you what you want: the temperature. Although you won’t buy it as a clock, it doubles as a highly effective one, too, given its easy-to-read display.

Our Top Pick: La Crosse Technology - WS-9160U

Affordable, accurate and easy to read, La Crosse has everything you need in an indoor outdoor thermometer at a low cost.

One negative is that its low price point comes with limited range. The only time range would come into play is if you have some far-away location— a shaded guest-house porch, for example— that you’d want to monitor the temperature. Any reasonable distance right outside your home should cover 99 percent of the population.

That said, the La Crosse’s minimalistic feature set is exactly that — minimalistic. If you want the bells and whistles, the La Crosse isn’t for you.

Best for humidity: AcuRite – Tall

The AcuRite Tall does everything the La Crosse does but takes it one step further by adding humidity. It slightly loses on display quality and aesthetics, but overall it’s still an easy-to-read, affordable unit that would be a great addition for anyone who lives in more humid situations and would like to see those metrics on their thermometer.

Best for office use: Taylor – 1730

If you’re short on space, the Taylor – 1730 is a great option. It’s the cheapest model we tested but still has a serviceable display, one that would make for a perfect fit for reference on your desk.

The feature set is as bare bones as the La Crosse, featuring temperature and time only. But for a price less than $20, you really can’t complain.

Best for weather geeks: AcuRite – Color


If you enjoy knowing the small forecasting details of the weather but aren’t quite ready to pony up the $80 for a weather station, the AcuRite Color is for you. It includes barometric pressure, humidity, forecasting and a pleasant— although not perfect — color display.

On the negative side, it’s one of the only models that needs to be wired to function effectively. If not, you have to click a black button on the top to fully light up the model. It’s also the most expensive product we tested in the indoor-outdoor thermometer segment. However, if you classify it as a home weather station, which tend to be more complex and expensive, it’s actually quite affordable.

Long-term testing notes

We’ve owned the La Crosse for over 12 months now (and since writing the first version of this article), and we’re still as happy with it today as we were then. It’s predictably reliable: the screen looks just as good, the numbers just as bright, and the temperature is no less accurate than it had been previously. It’s a simple and ridiculously useful tool just as an indoor outdoor thermometer should be.

The bottom line

Bigger is not always better. The La Crosse indoor outdoor thermometer is minimalistic, but it does everything asked of it in a highly efficient way. It’s not for everyone, but for most, it’s the cost-effective and preferred choice.

Our Top Pick: La Crosse Technology - WS-9160U

Big things come in small packages. An efficient and effective indoor-outdoor thermometer at an affordable cost.

Bryan Vu, Editor

Bryan is our cooking and kitchen expert, with more than 15 years of experience of cooking and testing kitchen products. When outside of the kitchen, he enjoys woodworking, photography, videography and figuring out how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. He thoroughly enjoys discovering the best, whether it’s ingredients or equipment, and finding products that can stand the rigors of daily use.

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