If you want to know the weather right now, you can just open a window, but there’s no window for the future. When you’re on the go and need to know what to expect from Mother Nature, apps can be a lifesaver.
Whether it’s keeping tabs on a developing hurricane, or just planning your next baseball game, understanding the weather is crucial. With so many apps on the market, it can be daunting finding the right one. You can pay $3.99 for a solid app like Dark Sky, but you can also pay nothing at all.
Here are the best free weather apps for iOS and Android.
The best free weather apps
The Weather Channel – Free
The Weather Channel has been a go-to source for meteorological knowledge for over three decades, and now you can access it on your phone. Featuring a 15-day weather forecast that’s updated hourly, you’ll always know what to expect. Curious about where the storms are headed next? Check out the radar yourself. Weather Channel even provides safety alerts, allergy advisories, and other health risks. You can grab the app for free, but expect to deal with ads.
If you’d like to get rid of the ads you can for $3.99/year via an in-app purchase. (You can also stream it with select streaming services; Frndly can hook you up for as little as $5.99 a month.)
Apple’s Weather App – Free
Apple fans don’t need to download an extra app to check the weather, thanks to the Weather app already built into iOS. This no-frills app doesn’t have long-range precipitation forecasts or a live radar, but it’s accessible via Siri and is perfect for quickly getting a read on the week ahead. If you don’t need a lot of data and just want the basics, Apple’s app is a free reliable choice.
Weather Underground – Free
Free weather apps don’t get the respect they deserve, especially in the case of the shockingly powerful Weather Underground. Drawing from 250,000-plus weather stations, Weather Underground compiles in-depth reports on up-to-the-minute weather conditions. Users get up to a 10-day forecast, complete with a text summary. Its radar map draws from all of the weather stations in your neighborhood, making it the closest to Dark Sky for pinpoint predictions.
The developers have even included access to National Weather Service radio. Users in smoggy parts of the country will appreciate the air quality monitor under the app’s health tile, along with other quality-of-life alerts. There are ads, which can get annoying, but those can be banished for just $1.99 per year.
AccuWeather – Free
AccuWeather is a free weather app, offering a clean and easy-to-understand interface for users who want more than the Weather Channel offers without getting overwhelmed. Its maps are the app’s best feature, providing a clear understanding of current and future weather patterns with a handy slider.
Users who upgrade to the $3.99 pro version of the app get a 25-day (!) weather forecast and all of the ads removed. Depending on how much you hate on-screen clutter, that’s a price worth paying. You won’t get the customization or hyper detail of other apps, but not everyone feels like drowning in data whenever they just want to know the weather.
The best budget weather apps (under $5)
Dark Sky ($3.99)
Dark Sky calls itself the most accurate source for hyperlocal weather information, and we’d have to agree. Its specific forecasts include down-to-the-minute updates, including how many minutes until it starts or stops raining. Dark Sky tells you what it’s like literally where you’re standing. Its weather forecasting API is so powerful that other apps, like Carrot Weather, use it to compile their own forecasts. While the reporting is great, Dark Sky’s best feature is its maps. You can easily follow weather patterns and track storms in real time on Dark Sky Weathers. Android users can try Dark Sky for free, though they’ll have to pay a $3 per year membership to unlock features like notifications, real-time forecasting, and an on-screen widget. Apple fans have to pony up $3.99 to buy the app, but don’t have to pay for a subscription.
Carrot Weather ($4.99)
Getting the weather doesn’t have to be boring, thanks to the snarky charms of Carrot Weather. Surely the only weather app available that makes Silence of the Lambs jokes, Carrot Weather delivers the weather with funny quips to put a smile on your rainy days. It utilizes the Dark Sky API, so you know you’re getting accurate results—but with added fun.
If you want to unlock features like severe weather alerts, daily weather summaries, customization, and automatic background updates for Apple Watch, you’ll need a subscription. Subscriptions cost 49 cents per month or $3.99 for the full year, depending on your budget. Premium users can even look back at up to 70 years’ worth of meteorological information around the world.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.