The best weather apps 2018: get super accurate up-to-the-minute forecasts

Your eyes on the skies – get the right weather forecast in the right way with one of the best weather apps on the market

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Weather watching is a natural obsession, and one that most of us share, so you should definitely be looking for one of the best weather apps available.

If you’re going to step out that door, particularly if you live in a country with a more, ahem, variable climate, it’s important to know what wear and what to carry. And since things can change in a second, a portable window on the weather is an absolute must.

Before we bring you the best weather apps around, it’s important to note that there are a host of sources out there, which range from personal weather stations to massive meteorological offices to military or aviation data. As long as those sources are reliable, it rarely matters which you use: a great weather app is mainly defined by its presentation, features, and ease of use.

You want that weather report fast, with an at-a-glance view backed up by a (hopefully) glowing future forecast. Maybe you’d like to see the skies to make your own mind up; perhaps a hyper-local forecast is what matters to you. Whatever you need, we’ve got the weather app for you.

Best weather apps

1. WTForecast

Sometimes foul-mouthed but definitely fun forecasting

Specifications
Best for: Those who hate both rain and sun
Available on: Android & iOS
In app purchases: No
Size: 19MB
Reasons to buy
+Amusing forecasts+Good weather sources
Reasons to avoid
-A little rough around the edges

We will admit that WTForecast is a little plain, but any qualms we might have about WTForecast’s slightly shaky presentation are quashed by its key gimmick: it’s as angry about the weather as you are. Tick the right box, and it’ll swear like a trooper in its one-line briefing as you load the app. 

It pulls its data from local weather stations, rather than an over-arching organisation, and this is also customisable; you can select the geographical range you’re interested in, and whether you want to stick to METAR stations (used by aviators for pre-flight briefings) or WTForecasts’s entire range of localised sources.

Best weather apps

2. Dark Sky

Detail in abundance, with beautiful radar and accurate forecasting

Specifications
Best for: Regularly updated forecasts
Available on: Android & iOS
In app purchases: No
Size: 39.3MB
Reasons to buy
+Hyper-local forecasting+Weather system tracking via radar
Reasons to avoid
-It's not cheap. At all

What's the weather going to be like an hour from now? Any old app can tell you that. But if you're interested in what it's going to be like ten or 23 minutes away, Dark Sky can let you know. Its hyper-local forecasting offers up a minute by minute breakdown of the next hour of weather so you have a heads up if the heavens are about to open.

Not that it stays entirely that micro. The expanded view of the weather, covering everything from daily to weekly forecasts, is great, and Dark Sky offers up updates as soon as the data changes so you won't get soaked without it being your fault. And if you're more of an amateur forecaster, make sure you keep your eye on the weather radar to see for yourself how your local storms are brewing.

Best weather apps

3. AccuWeather

AccuWeather by name, accurate weather by nature

Specifications
Best for: Very specific forecasting
Available on: Android & iOS
In app purchases: Yes
Size: 201.6MB
Reasons to buy
+Two hours of minute-by-minute forecasts+RealFeel temperatures
Reasons to avoid
-Not the prettiest

DarkSky will give you an hour, but AccuWeather's MinuteCast offers detailed information on the next two hours of weather. If there's rain coming up it'll tell you when it's due to start and when it should finish, too. That's great – and the fact that it offers up RealFeel temperatures, letting you know not just what the temperature will be but how it will feel, is even better.

Radar and satellite imagery is available for a large scale view, and compatibility with Android Wear and Apple Watch means immediate alerts if you have the right wristwear. It's all free, too: an in-app purchase unlocks ad-free weather and extended forecasting if you want it, but it's not by any means essential.

Best weather apps

4. YoWindow

A unique look at local weather

Specifications
Best for: Extremely lazy weather watching
Available on: Android & iOS
In app purchases: No
Size: 21MB
Reasons to buy
+Unique customisable looks+Plenty of relevant data
Reasons to avoid
-A little simplistic at times

 Don't want to read anything? Don't fancy interpreting what those numbers might mean? Don't bother! YoWindow is, as its slangy title might suggest, a virtual look through your window. Flick through time, and it'll show not only what the weather will be like through an iconic picture of your town, but the light level and even the phase of the moon.

Not that it's short of concrete information – with YoWindow you can find out data like the UV index, local water temperature, and much more, and it pulls its data from Norway's MET office, so it's perfect for north western European locales.

Best weather apps

5. Met Office

The UK's weather service has all the detail you need

Specifications
Best for: Unbeatable depth
Available on: Android & iOS
In app purchases: Yes
Size: 112.9MB
Reasons to buy
+Wide-ranging metrics+Windchill consideration
Reasons to avoid
-Forecast not minute by minute 

If you have a pollen allergy, or sensitive skin, the Met Office's app is a perfect companion, given that it track far more than just the weather. Pollen counts, the UV index, even predicted levels of air pollution are trackable and obvious through its functional interface. If you're an avid viewer of the weather forecast on TV, go straight to the source with this app.

Obviously it's a UK-focused app, given that that's the data the Met Office so closely works with. But that doesn't mean there's not more worldwide coverage on offer, and while there's no minute-by-minute forecasting included, the addition of windchill temperature estimates certainly means its suits its audience well.

Best weather apps

6. BBC Weather

The at-a-glance forecasting champion

Specifications
Best for: A quick look at conditions
Available on: Android & iOS
In app purchases: No
Size: 71.7MB
Reasons to buy
+Brilliant design+Super-quick access to weather
Reasons to avoid
-Lacking a little detail

The BBC's effort might be simple, but sometimes that's what you need: the essential information, accurately predicted, presented in a way that you can get your head around in seconds. Hourly forecasting information is just a tap away from the main home screen, and if you're in a major area this can stretch as far forward as two weeks in the future.

The BBC's app is always our go-to before we open the front door, but it's not the one we'd choose if planning a trip in the next week or two. Not that the data isn't accurate – it's pulled from the Met Office, which is a solid source – but the more extensive depth of other apps gives them the muscle you'll want to have in order to make your own decisions.

Best weather apps

7. Haze

Straightforward top layer, deep dive underneath

Specifications
Best for: Beautiful, quick forecasts
Available on: Android & iOS
In app purchases: No
Size: 147.9MB
Reasons to buy
+Tilt and slide navigation+Swipe to temperature 
Reasons to avoid
-5 day forecast a little simple 

Some apps overload you with data, but Haze knows you don't need that at first glance – instead, it gives you a little slice to begin, then offers upp an interactive interface which shows off temperature, sunshine hours and the chance of rain at a quick swipe.

Drag your finger down, and you'll head to a forecast for up to five days ahead; go further and you can see detail like temperature extremes, wind chill, and so on. It may be a little on the shallow side in terms of future predictions, but Haze's gorgeous looks make it really pop on new generation iPhones, and it's one of the most refined weather apps ever made.