Our Davis Vantage Vue 6250 review looks at a 5 in 1 weather station that measures:
- Outside Temperature
- Wind speed
- Wind direction
- Inside temperature
- Inside humidity
- Barometric pressure
The Vantage Vue is the budget entry from Davis Instruments. A US company that is held in high regard by weather Junkies everywhere for its high quality meteorological equipment.
However, this is their low cost version.
Its closest competitor from a price point of view is the well thought-of Ambient Weather 1001.
So how does it compare? And is it worth the money?
You can tell that Davis prioritize quality and robustness over keeping to a price point.
Gone is the cheap nasty plastic that dominates other budget weather stations. This is the first weather station that feels more like a professional metrological monitoring device, rather than a cheap foreign toy!
As well as the production quality, the first thing you notice is that some parts are black.
This is not a fashion statement, but a sign that Davis concentrate on details that matter.
So why black?
As the weather gets colder, the moving parts on weather stations tend to ice up resulting in a station that stops reporting wind speed & direction. Using black ensures that they defrost quicker.
A simple change but one that shows that Davis thinks about the small details.
The housing itself is designed to resist corrosion by the use of over molded plastic that helps reduce moisture.
Expected lifetime: 5-10 years.
Cheaper weather stations have a real world range of 100 feet or so. They also use either 433MHZ or 915 MHZ.
The Vantage Vue goes a step further. It uses a frequency hopping spread spectrum frequency that ranges from 902 to 928 MHZ.
It real terms this gives a much more robust system that offers a 1000 feet range. While most people won’t need this extreme range, it demonstrates the difference in component quality.
It also removes any concerns that you will experience signal drop outs or connectivity concerns
It also allows you to concentrate on siting the station in that perfect spot without worrying if it will connect or not.
Quite simply, it just works.
Like other all-in-one units, the Vantage Vue is very easy to install.
It comes with a mounting kit that allows you to simply mount it onto a 1” to 1.75” pole.
The Vantage Vue suffers from the same problems as other all in one systems.
The inability to site the anemometer correctly gives inaccurate wind speeds. A 30% reduction in reported speeds is likely because of the need to site the anemometer 5-6 feet off the ground, rather than the recommended height of 33 feet.
However, without spending more for a station that allows separate siting of sensors, this is the compromise.
As we start to look at more professional systems, it’s worth looking at the recommendations of the Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP).
CWOP relies on information collected from amateur weather station enthusiasts throughout North America and the rest of the world. The data they collect is used by over 800 establishments around the world including:
Because of the importance of providing accurate data, CWOP provide a minimum sensor accuracy recommended level.
Let’s see how well the Vantage Vue does.
The CWOP recommends that the temperature sensor is adequately shielded.
The Vantage Vue uses a passive radiation shield to protect the sensor from getting too hot when exposed to direct sunlight. This ensures that the sensor doesn’t report incorrect high temperature.
Cheaper stations often come with shields that are too small to achieve this. Davis have addressed this by providing a well sized passive shield that works well.
The ideal solution is to use a Fan-Aspirated radiation shield, but as ever, this requires a more expensive system.
Davis have significantly improved the accuracy of the sensor compared to the Acurite & Ambient weather stations by achieving an accuracy rating of ±1F, whereas the Acurite & Ambient stations only have a ±2F range.
So an actual temperature of 20F will be reported between 19F-21F.
Updates are provided every 10 seconds to the inside console.
The spinning cup design of the Vantage is robust and well built. It doesn’t demonstrate any of the flimsiness of the cheaper stations.
The Vantage Vue matches the CWOP recommended anemometer accuracy rating of ±5%. For comparison, the Ambient & Acurite systems only achieve a ±10% accuracy.
While the cheaper stations achieve the CWOP recommended reporting range of 0-100MPH, the Vantage Vue will measure speeds up to 180 MPH.
Very handy if you are going for wind speed records!
Wind direction precision is also increased over cheaper weather stations by reporting over 360 degrees with an accuracy of 1 degree. Cheaper stations only report over the 16 points of the compass giving a 22.5 degree margin for error.
Finally, in case anyone was in any doubt as to how much more accurate the Davis system is, it provides more accurate wind gust reporting by updating wind speed updates every 2.5 seconds.
This is a big improvement over the Acurite at 18 seconds and the Ambient at 16 seconds.
CWOP recommends a data resolution of 0.01 inches for collecting precipitation. The Davis matches its competitors by achieving this.
The rain gauge is a good size to capture rain & sleet.
Cheaper weather stations have a reporting range of 10% – 99% with a 10% accuracy.
The Vantage Vue measures relative humidity using the CWOP recommended range of 1- 100% with a 3% accuracy, so vastly increased accuracy.
Updates are sent every 50 seconds to the inner console.
Overall, the Davis Vantage Vue is much more accurate than its competitors, in line with CWOP recommendations.
Functionally, it provides a huge amount of information.
- Time & Date including sunrise & sunset times.
- High & low records
- The eight phases of the moon
- A forecast feature that shows expected sun, cloud, rain & snow
- 10 second Outside Temp, 50 second Outside Humidity, 60 second Inside Humidity
- Barometric pressure trends – Shows rises, falls & stable
- 10 Second updates for wind chill & heat index – gives a “feel like” temperature
- 20 second updates for rain totals – Last 25 hours/days/months
- Temperature & barometric comparisons to previous day
- Temperature changes by the hour
- Historical graphs for previous 25 hours/days/months for temperature, rain, rain rate, wind & pressure
- 22 simultaneous alarms to warn of high winds, freezing temperatures, rain etc.
- Wind speed updates every 2.5 seconds, average wind speed for 2 minutes intervals
The console also makes use of glow in the dark domed buttons that work well. We also like the ability to turn off the display rather than having it in your face the whole time.
This is where we hit a problem with the Vantage Vue.
The display was designed back in the 90s and hasn’t been changed since. It looks very outdated.
It screams “I am a serious device”. It’s definitely an engineer made device rather than one from a designer.
It will put some people off for sure.
This leads to the other problem with the Vantage Vue.
With many other devices if you don’t like the supplied display, you could simply download a Weather App to your phone or tablet and view your data in living color.
After all, we’re in the 21st century now.
The Vantage Vue doesn’t let you…..
If you want to gain internet access to your data via the web browser or various internet apps, you must purchase an additional device!
You can buy either
WeatherLink USB to connect the console to your PC. Then you can either save the data or upload it
The WeatherlinkIP to connect directly to your router to allow automatic uploads to the internet.
Both of these devices are expensive, and are proprietary, so you either buy these or do without. There are no third party alternatives.
They do both come with additional software but, in keeping with the design of the console is stuck in the 1980s.
They really should invest time to bring this up to date.
The outstanding outdoor array deserves it.
Overall, the Vantage Vue really steps up the quality of the data you receive.
Weather sensors have increased accuracy giving better data, which, after all is the whole reason to purchase a weather station in the first place.
It also provides much quicker updates compared to lower priced alternatives.
Finally, the build quality of the outdoor array should give greater confidence over the long term.
You really need the additional Weather Link to enable you to save and manipulate the data or use weather apps.
Overall, the Davis Vantage Vue 6250 is a real step up in accuracy and quality over cheaper rivals. However costs can really add up once you start purchasing the additional data logger.
Check out our ultimate guide to choosing the best weather station here.