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 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. The first is weatherstack and the second is OpenWeatherMap.
Table of Contents
What is a Weather API?
Weather APIs are Application Programming Interfaces that can connect your app or website to weather forecasting and historical databases. Weather data APIs are used to compile and display weather information for a wide range of usage scenarios. They also have data for any location and probably historical current and forecasted weather data.
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 or OpenWeatherMap?
What Data Does The API Collect?
Each API collects a specific set of data and different APIs generally use different sources. Before you can decide on a weather forecast API, you need to know it uses sources that match your needs. Usually the data sources for weather APIs are a team of it experts and sometimes even an algorithm built by experts and data scientists which forecasts weather data.
OpenWeatherMap takes a crowdsourcing approach to data collection. It gathers information from worldwide meteorological broadcasts and weather stations.
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
Weatherstack licenses weather data from large weather stations and 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
How Reliable and Responsive is the API?
API response is another important factor, it tells you exactly how fresh you can expect your weather data to be. API reliability is simply a measure of how consistently up you can expect your app to be. Usually an API will have an API key or similar mechanism to authenticate usage of the API when you call the API.
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.
How much does the OpenWeatherMap and weatherstack APIs cost?
Price is always a factor when you are selecting an API. Here is a comparison of the relative costs of implementing both APIs.
OpenWeatherMap offers 4 paid packages:
- Startup: $40 per month for 600 API calls per minute and 10 million API calls per month
- Developer: $180 per month for 3,000 API calls per minute and 100 million API calls per month
- Professional: $470 per month for 30,000 API calls per minute and 1 trillion API calls per month
- Enterprise: $2,000 per month for 200,000 API calls per minute and 5 trillion API calls per month
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
It is always great to test on the free version, but 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 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.
On the other hand, Weatherstack allows free users 250 API calls a month, with access to current weather data only.
What is the Overall Rating of OpenWeatherMap and weatherstack?
Taking all of our criteria into account, here is a summary of the results:
- Outputs map layers to Google Maps
- More features for free users
- More API calls per month
- Limited API calls per minute
- Less reliable
- Less scalable for enterprises
Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars
- Real-time updates for all users
- Better budget package
- Flexible pricing for enterprises
- Fewer monthly API calls
- No historical data for free users
Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Which weather API (OpenWeathMap or weatherstack) is better?
Overall, Weatherstack comes out on top. Firstly, when it comes to integrating an API with your site or software, reliability matters. That extra 4.9% annual uptime may not seem like much, but it is a vast 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.
You can also find out more about an API marketplace like apilayer on our blog.