by | Sep 2, 2020 | Outdoor Fun, Reviews, Z

Last Updated: Sep 17, 2020 @ 10:25 am.

What's the best outdoor thermometer? Do you want a simple stick thermometer to put outside a window? Or a large dial thermometer for a patio? What about a remote thermometer you can read from anywhere inside your house? As certified weather enthusiasts, we tried out several options, looking for accuracy and ease of use. Here are the ones we'd recommend. FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!


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Best Window Thermometer

No batteries, no fuss
Easy to use and read, this stick thermometer has a red liquid (alcohol) that shows the current temperature. Old school, but it works! Great for a putting outside a door or kitchen window.
$9.95

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Best Window Thermometer: MARATHON BA030001 Vertical Outdoor Thermometer

When it comes to outdoor thermometers, sometimes simple is best—a plain, no frills stick thermometer that doesn’t need batteries.

We tried out a handful of simple stick thermometers outside a window here at the home ranch. We looked for accuracy and how easy the thermometer is to read.

After this research, we decided Marathon’s BA0300001 model thermometer is the best bet to use as a window thermometer. This alcohol-based thermometer was accurate, easy to use and a good bang for the buck.

What We Liked

• Easy to read numbers.

• No batteries!

• Includes mounting screws.

• Mercury-free.

• 16″ tall.

What Needs Work

• Can’t see it from an angle. To view the temperature, you have to look straight at this thermometer–it’s not visible from the side. That is true for most stick thermometers.

• Accuracy issues? This is one challenge for all window thermometers—when placed next to a house, a thermometer can give somewhat inaccurate readings because heat from the house can escape from the window. Hence, if you compare a window thermometer with an official temperature reading at an airport (which is taken four feet above the ground and away from buildings), your thermometer is likely to be off a bit.

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Best Patio Thermometer

Easy to read, large dial
Love the red arrow and large numbers on this simple dial thermometer. It can be read from 30 to 40 feet away. Good accuracy. We liked the shatterproof plastic and metal construction.
$16.00

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Best Patio Thermometer: Taylor Precision Products Patio Thermometer

A good patio thermometer should have large dial that is easy to read from a distance. Large numbers and a big arrow are helpful as well!

Size is another issue: we prefer a patio thermometer that is at least 18″ wide. Yes, there are small patio thermometers out there that are 12″ or 16″ . . . but after testing, we think these are hard to read at a distance. Most patio thermometers are mounted on a wall that can be some distance from the house—and we think it is hard to read a thermometer that is under 18″.

After looking at various brands and trying out several models, we pick Taylor Precision Products model 681. It hit all the right notes: big, easy to read numbers and a large red arrow to indicate the temperature. Here’s more:

What We Liked

Weather resistant.

• Shatterproof.

• Metal construction.

• No batteries.

• 18″ dial is easy to read from a distance.

What Needs Work

• Lens can cloud over time. This is frustrating, in our opinion. Granted, we see reports that doesn’t happen for a couple of years . . . but since this thermometer is designed for patios, it would be a nice improvement if Taylor could improve the plastic to avoid this issue!

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Best Remote Temp + Humidity

Can add up to 3 remote sensors
This outdoor thermometer is actually a weather station with all the bells and whistles. We loved the color, backlit display and trend arrows. Plus hi/low temps for the day. Excellent accuracy.
$19.99

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Best Remote Temp + Humidity: ThermoPro TP60S Digital Hygrometer Indoor Outdoor Thermometer

Simple stick or dial thermometers are great for a quick read of the temperature. But what if you want to know the humidity as well? And the high and low temperatures for the day?

Digital thermometers also have another key advantage over analog thermometers: the remote sensor can be placed away from buildings and other heat sources. (The best place is on a post or in a shaded area about four feet above the ground). That makes the sensor more accurate than thermometers next to a window, which can be influenced from the heat from inside.

After trying out five different digital options, we think ThermoPro TP60s is the best indoor and outdoor thermometer that also reads humidity (technically, these are called hygrometers).

Here’s why:

What We Liked

• Digital 2.7″ display is easy to read.

• Records minimum and maximum temperature in the last 24 hours. That’s nice to know, as temperature trends are almost as important as the current temp.

• Sensor can be 200 feet away from main display.

• Runs on AAA battery which is included.

• Simple to set up and use.

• Can add up to 3 outdoor remote sensors, in case you want to monitor a greenhouse, chicken coop or other out building.

• Low battery indicator.

• Trend arrow shows if temp is rising or falling.

What Needs Work

• Temperature range only goes as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a colder climate (we are looking at you, folks in Maine), you might want a different option with a larger low range.

• Can’t wall mount the unit if you want to check the min/max temps. That’s because the button that shows you the high and low temps is on the side of the unit.

• No back light. Yes, the maker has another model that does offer this feature . . . but this model doesn’t—and that makes it hard to read in the dark!

• Eats batteries. One tip: use lithium instead of alkaline batteries. They last longer and do better in extreme temps  (cold or hot).

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Best Color Wireless Display

Alerts for temp + humidity
This outdoor thermometer is actually a weather station with all the bells and whistles. We loved the color, backlit display and trend arrows. Plus hi/low temps for the day. Excellent accuracy.
$45.11

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Best Color Wireless Display: La Crosse Technology C85845-1 Color Wireless Forecast Station

If you are looking for a gift for a weather enthusiast, we’d recommend this remote outdoor thermometer: La Crosse’s model C85845-1.

More than just a current read on outdoor temperature, this station features a color backlit display with temperature and humidity alerts. Basically, it is a mini weather station complete with forecast graphics.

Here’s more on why we liked this pick:

What We Liked

• Easy to read display. We liked the use of color and backlit design.

• Easy to set up.

• Good range. The maker says 400 feet, but that is without obstructions. For most folks, even at half that distance this station does a good job. As always, putting the sensor in a shaded area, four feet off the ground and away from buildings will provide the most accurate readings.

• Trend arrows note rising or falling temps.

• Atomic clock sets automatically.

• Auto daylight savings.

• Can wall mount of use on a tabletop, thanks to kick stand.

• Display can run on A/C power or batteries.

• Temp and humidity alerts.

• Back light is adjustable.

What Needs Work

• Eats batteries. The remote sensor works on 2 AA batteries—and if you use alkaline batteries, they won’t last long. We suggest using lithium batteries—longer life and better able to withstand temperature extremes.

• Outdoor sensor has no mounting hardware.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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