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Weatherstack vs. OpenWeatherMap – Which Is the Best Weather API?

A laptop screen displaying the homepage of the best Weather API service for real-time and historical data, showcasing customer endorsements and features.

Nowadays, various websites and web apps integrate a weather API. For example, a weather app relies on a weather API to fetch current, historical, and weather forecast data. Similarly, a hiking app can integrate a weather API to show users the current and weather forecast data, enabling them to make decisions accordingly. 

Whatever your reasons for integrating weather data into your app or website, there are plenty of weather forecast APIs to choose from. With so many options available, picking the best weather API can be difficult, but, in the end, it all comes down to finding the one that best suits your needs. That is why, to help you choose the best weather API for your app, we’ve narrowed it down to two of the most popular: weatherstack and OpenWeatherMap.

In this weatherstack vs OpenWeatherMap, we’ll compare various aspects of both weather APIs to help you choose the right one for your needs.

What Is a Weather API?

weather information displayed on a tablet

A weather API is essentially an Application Programming Interface that can connect your app or website to live, historical, and weather forecasting databases. In other words, weather APIs allow us to integrate weather data (current, historical, and forecasted) into our apps easily. A weather API will have an API key or similar mechanism to authenticate usage of the API when you call the API.

A reliable weather API gathers data from trustworthy sources, such as large weather stations, providing accurate data for any location around the world. API reliability is simply a measure of how consistently up you can expect your app to be. Weather data APIs are used to compile and display weather information for a wide range of usage scenarios. 

For example, a surfing app could collect coastal weather forecasting and use the data to predict the time and location of big waves for its users. Likewise, agricultural software makes extensive use of weather APIs in automated farming practices, such as crop irrigation.

Weatherstack vs OpenWeatherMap?

What Data Does The API Collect?

Each weather API collects a specific set of data, and different APIs generally use different sources. Before you choose an API, it’s best to know about its data sources as they directly affect the data accuracy. 

Data sources for weather APIs can include:

  • Weather stations
  • Government meteorological organizations
  • Weather models
  • Radar systems
  • Satellite imagery.

OpenWeatherMap

OpenWeatherMap takes a crowdsourcing approach to data collection. It gathers information from worldwide meteorological broadcasts and weather stations to provide accurate.

The data it collects includes:

  • Current weather data
  • Historical weather data
  • Hourly forecast for the next 4 days
  • Daily forecast for the next 16 days
  • Climate forecast for the next 30 days
  • Solar radiation forecast for the next 16 days
  • Road risk mapping
  • Weather, relief, and precipitation maps
  • Government weather alerts

Weatherstack

Weatherstack sources weather data from large weather stations and reliable data providers in key locations across the globe.

The data it collects includes:

  • Real-time weather updates
  • Location lookup by name, ZIP code, coordinates, or IP address.
  • Astronomy and lunar data
  • Hourly weather forecast for up to 14 days
  • Historical weather data (all the way back to 2008)
  • A wide range of weather parameters, such as maximum, minimum, and average temperature, total snow, precipitation, humidity, UV index, Wind speed and more.

weatherstack vs OpenWeatherMap - weatherstack weather API example response

Which Locations Does the API Cover?

weatherstack vs OpenWeatherMap - Global weather data coverage

If you’re looking to integrate global weather data into your app, choosing an API that provides global coverage is crucial. This will help ensure that your app shows accurate weather data for any location around the world. 

When it comes to weatherstack vs OpenWeatherMap, both APIs cover thousands of cities worldwide. 

OpenWeatherMap covers 200,000+ cities around the globe, allowing you to retrieve accurate current weather data for any location. Moreover, the API updates the data frequently based on the global and local weather models, radars, satellites, and various weather stations. weatherstack also covers global weather data across the board, providing accurate data.

How Reliable and Responsive is the API?

API response is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a weather API. It tells you exactly how fresh/up-to-date you can expect your weather data to be. 

OpenWeatherMap API has an annual average uptime of 95%, while Weatherstack API has 99.9% over the last 12 months. In terms of responsiveness, OpenWeatherMap limits the number of API calls per minute, which can result in slower responses to calls and older data returned.

weatherstack vs OpenWeatherMap: Documentation and Ease of Integration

Assessing the documentation and ease of integration of an API is crucial. Choosing an easy to integrate API that has detailed documentation will speed up your web app development process and save you time and effort. 

When it comes to weatherstack vs OpenWeatherMap, both APIs have extensive documentation containing all the details regarding the API endpoints, parameters, and features, as well as example codes and API responses. Additionally, both APIs are easy to integrate and return data in lightweight, easy-to-understand JSON format.

How much do the OpenWeatherMap and weatherstack APIs cost?

Price is always a crucial factor when you are selecting an API. Here is a comparison of the relative costs of implementing both APIs.

OpenWeatherMap

OpenWeatherMap offers 4 paid packages: 

  • Startup: Around $38 per month for 600 API calls per minute and 10 million API calls per month
  • Developer: Around $180 per month for 3,000 API calls per minute and 100 million API calls per month
  • Professional: Around $470 per month for 30,000 API calls per minute and 1 trillion API calls per month
  • Enterprise: Around $1900 per month for 200,000 API calls per minute and 5 trillion API calls per month

Weatherstack

Weatherstack has 3 paid packages, with custom pricing available for Enterprises:

  • Standard: $9.99 for 50,000 API calls per month
  • Professional: $49.99 for 300,000 API calls per month
  • Business: $99.99 for 1 million API calls per month

weatherstack vs OpenWeatherMap: Free version?

It is always great to test on the free version, but not all APIs offer a free plan. And even if they do, often API free versions offer such stripped-down functionality, it is difficult to get a clear impression of what the API offers or how it will perform. 

Here is a quick comparison of what each of our weather API contenders has to offer.

OpenWeatherMap

OpenWeatherMap allows free use of its API up to 60 API calls per minute and a total of 1 million API calls per month. In addition to the current weather conditions, free users can access forecast data for the next 7 days and historical data from the last 5 days, along with national weather alerts.

Weatherstack

Weatherstack allows free users 250 API calls a month, with access to current weather data only. 

What is the Overall Rating of weatherstack vs OpenWeatherMap?

The table below shows the summary of weatherstack vs OpenWeatherMap:

OpenWeatherMap weatherstack
Data sources Collects data from meteorological broadcasts and weather stations worldwide Sources weather data from large weather stations and reliable data providers in key locations across the world
Real-time weather data Yes Yes
Historical weather data Yes  Yes (all the way back to 2008)
Weather forecast data
  • Hourly forecast for the next 4 days
  • Daily forecast for the next 16 days
  • Climate forecast for the next 30 days
  • Hour-by-hour data
  • Up to 14-day forecast data
Coverage Covers 200,000+ cities worldwide Global coverage
Uptime 95% 99.9%
Documentation Detailed documentation with coding examples Detailed documentation containing coding examples
Price $38-$1900 $9.99-99.9 + custom pricing for enterprise plans
Free plan Yes Yes

OpenWeatherMap

Pros: 

  • Outputs map layers to Google Maps
  • More features for free users
  • More API calls per month

Cons:

  • Limited API calls per minute
  • Less reliable
  • Less scalable for enterprises

Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Weatherstack

Pros:

  • Real-time updates for all users
  • Better budget package
  • Flexible pricing for enterprises

Cons:

  • Fewer monthly API calls
  • No historical data for free users

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

What is the Best Weather API (weatherstack or OpenWeatherMap)?

Overall, Weatherstack comes out on top. Firstly, when it comes to integrating an API with your site or software, reliability matters. The extra 4.9% annual uptime may not seem like much, but it is a huge difference in the long run with regard to keeping your app operational.

Although OpenWeatherMap allows for more monthly API calls per dollar you spend, the limits on API calls per minute significantly reduce the practicality of the added capacity. Any developer aiming to provide real-time updates at scale could create major delays in response time.

Weatherstack is a flexible and highly scalable API suitable for tracking and responding to weather in a wide range of usage scenarios, from large-scale farming and industrial operations to consumer leisure apps and services.

Try out weatherstack today by signing up for free instant access.

You can also find out more about an API marketplace and our APIs here.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is there any free weather API?

Both weatherstack and OpenWeatherMap offer a free plan. You can use it to try the API before subscribing to a paid plan.

What does a weather API do?

A weather API gathers weather data from various sources, such as weather stations, weather models, etc. It allows developers to integrate weather data into their apps easily.

What is the best weather API?

Weatherstack is a leading weather API that collects data from reliable sources. The API has an uptime of 99.9% and returns data within milliseconds.

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