Is it going to rain today? Should I bring a jacket with me? Is it safe to plan a trip to the beach this weekend? Just a couple of years ago, answering any of those questions required watching your local news or tuning in to The Weather Channel to get a vague forecast that will probably change before you get where you’re going. But with smartphones, we can have insanely accurate weather reporting and predictions at our fingertips everywhere we go. Weather apps are a huge part of my daily routine — I consult them every day to determine where I’ll go and what I’ll wear.
Google Now on Android phones puts the current weather conditions and forecast a simple voice command away. But if you're looking for more than just basic temperature and the upcoming forecast, there are plenty of great weather apps out there for Android. The best apps can accurately tell you the forecast in your notification bar or in a desktop widget, are easy to use, fun to look at, and don’t have ugly ads ruining the experience. And they offer everything from short and long term forecasts to radar maps and severe weather alerts.
You can spend days — and a lot of money — looking for the best weather app for your Android smartphone. We’ve done the hard work, testing out dozens of weather apps, and have narrowed it down to a paid option for a premium experience and a free option if you don't feel like spending any money. I love weather apps — here are the ones you should love too.
Using an iPhone? Check out our picks for the best weather apps for iPhone!
The best paid weather app
The best paid weather app on Android is AccuWeather Platinum. AccuWeather has pretty much everything you could ask for in a weather app: detailed current conditions, accurate hourly predictions, forecasts that stretch out for up to three weeks, animated radar maps, and TV-style video forecasts.
It recently gained minute-by-minute forecasts and exact locations, down to a street address. If you’re curious if it will rain in the next 120 minutes or not, AccuWeather can tell if so, when, and for how long it will last.
AccuWeather also has a clean design that fits right in with Android’s design guidelines and offers informative and attractive homescreen widgets. It presents forecasts in charts, making it easy to see weather trends, as you scan the predicted temperatures for the day or week. You can also have the current temperature and weather conditions right in your notification bar and get alerts for severe weather events, if you want. There is a free version of AccuWeather that offers the same features, but with annoying ads that mar the otherwise nice design. And it’s worth paying a few dollars for an app you’ll open several times a day, every day.
The best free option
If you don’t want to spend any money, Yahoo Weather is the best free option for Android. It uses beautiful, full-bleed images culled from Flickr along with clean typography to convey the current weather conditions. A simple swipe brings up your hourly and five or ten-day forecasts, along with plenty of details about current conditions and precipitation forecasts.
Yahoo Weather also offers multiple homescreen widgets and ongoing notifications in the status bar to keep you abreast of changing weather throughout the day. The only things that it’s really missing are animated radar maps and minute-by-minute forecasts. Even though it’s a free app, Yahoo Weather doesn’t have any annoying ads, banner or otherwise, and is more polished than most paid apps on Android.
The Weather Channel is the first source many people think of when looking for reliable weather information, and its app is unsurprisingly popular. It recently received a design overhaul and is packed with features such as live radar maps and the ability to report the weather conditions in your area. But its interface isn’t the easiest to navigate and it doesn’t have as many useful features as AccuWeather. It also has annoying ads that can’t be removed with an in-app purchase.
1Weather provides an abundance of information at your fingertips, including short- and long-term forecasts, precipitation predictions, and animated radar maps. It can show your current weather and forecast in the notification tray or in a widget on your home screen. And if you’re an early adopter of Google’s new smartwatch platform, you’ll be pleased to know that 1Weather is the first third-party weather app with support for Android Wear. But it’s not as feature rich or nice to look at as AccuWeather.
WeatherUnderground’s claim to fame is its 40,000 professional and amateur stations; no matter where you are, it should be able to give you an accurate forecast for your exact location. It also has radar maps, crowd-sourced reports, and even air quality conditions. This wealth of information can be a bit more difficult to parse, however, and WeatherUnderground isn’t as easy of an app to navigate as AccuWeather or Yahoo Weather. There are banner ads on almost every screen, but you can remove those with a yearly in-app purchase.
WeatherBug has been around forever — it was one of the first desktop helper apps that put the current temperature in the system tray of your PC. Its smartphone app is fully-featured, but it doesn’t have as nice of a design as AccuWeather or Yahoo Weather. You can tune in to weather cams stationed around the country to get a real-world look at current weather conditions in a specific area, and it offers a unique alert system for lightning strikes. The Android app is free, but has banner ads that cannot be removed with an in-app purchase.
Arcus Weather is unique in that it taps into the same database that powers our favorite iPhone weather app, Dark Sky. It has minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour forecasts, as well as weather in your notification tray and homescreen widgets. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the killer alerts found in the real Dark Sky app, and its barebones interface leaves a lot to be desired.
Solar burst on to the weather app scene with a super simple, super clean and colorful design that shows you the current temperature and conditions. You can swipe up and hold your thumb on the screen to see what the temperature will be like later in the day. It’s a fun app to use, but it lacks a lot of advanced features, such as radar, long-term forecasts, or severe weather alerts.
If you were to ask a meteorologist which weather app they preferred on their smartphone, chances are they’ll point you to RadarScope. RadarScope provides a wealth of radar and in-depth prediction information, but it can be overwhelming and hard to parse when you just want to know the current temperature outside. It’s also considerably more expensive than most of the other weather apps in the field. This one is definitely pros only.
Eye In Sky is popular for its clean, dark design and customizability — you can choose from a variety of weather icons to represent your current conditions. It has short- and long-term forecasts, but it lacks any sort of radar maps. It also has trouble pin-pointing locations: during our tests, it frequently placed me in New Jersey despite the fact that I was in the heart of New York City.