Best Weathervanes

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

27 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
310 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best weathervanes

Last Updated September 2020

Bob Dylan famously sang that “you don’t need a weatherman” to determine wind direction, and he was right. All you really need is a weathervane.

For some, a weathervane is an essential part of a DIY weather forecasting station. For others, a weathervane serves more as a decoration. The iconic look of a rooster, pig, or other character sitting atop a spinning arrow is timeless, nostalgic, and fun. People have placed weathervanes in chicken coops, sheds, houses, barns, and living room mantles, to name just a few locations.

Before you purchase a weathervane, it’s a good idea to find out all you can about these devices. For example, you will want to arm yourself with knowledge about weathervane size, construction materials, installation, cost, and features such as directionals and weathervane tops. In this guide, we delve into the details, so you have an easier time shopping. We also offer recommendations for some of our favorite weathervanes and explain why we love them.

The first weathervane put into use was made by the Greek astronomer Andronicus in 48 BC. It was mounted atop the Tower of the Winds, located in Athens.

Key considerations

Size

Weathervanes range in height from under 10 inches to over 60 inches. As you might expect, price often correlates with size. Smaller weathervanes tend to cost less; these structures look great on top of sheds and chicken coops. Larger weathervanes tend to cost more; if you’re looking for a weathervane to crown a barn or similar structure, a big one stands out more.

Assembly and installation

Affixing a weathervane to a roof can add to the overall difficulty of installation. Some weathervanes ship with a mount and all the hardware needed for roof installation. Others come without the mount, which you would need to purchase separately.

An adjustable mount is easier to install on a range of roof types and pitches. Installation instructions should be easy to read and follow with both text and illustrations for clarity.

While some assembly will likely be required, this is often as simple as threading elements on the assembly rod.

Spin/rotation

The entire purpose of a weathervane is to rotate and show wind direction. Therefore, the top should spin freely. While this can be hard to verify when purchasing online, a dive into the product specs should clarify any questions you have about the spin or rotation of a weathervane.

DID YOU KNOW?

While copper, steel, and aluminum are common weathervane materials today, antique weathervanes were often made from iron, bronze, and zinc.

Features

Construction material

Metal is the overwhelming material of choice for weathervanes. There are several different metals to choose from, but whichever you select, it should be durable, weather resistant, and long-lasting. Common weathervane materials include the following.

Copper: Copper has a classic appearance that holds up well over time. This is largely due to the patina that forms as copper ages. Copper can be expensive, particularly if you’re interested in a solid-body weathervane.

Steel: Less expensive than copper, steel is also quite durable. Any weathervane made from steel should have a powder coating to protect it from the elements.

Aluminum: Often made from recycled materials, aluminum is lightweight, long-lasting, and resistant to rust. An aluminum weathervane may feature some form of protective coating, like satin black enamel.

Some weathervanes have plastic components. On a poorly made product, these components can easily wear out or break.

Top

Of all a weathervane’s parts, the top draws the eye. It may feature a flying pig, fish, chicken, mermaid, or other figure that rotates in the wind. The top is where your personality can really shine through.

The top may serve as a wind pointer, or it may sit atop a pointed arrow. Weathervane tops can be hollow-bodied or solid. The best weathervane tops are well-balanced and capable of turning easily. While rare, some weathervanes ship with interchangeable tops so you have a bit of creative freedom when it comes to the appearance of your weathervane.

Wind cups

Available on some weathervanes, wind cups spin freely with the wind. While largely a decorative element, you can also use them to approximate wind speed.

Directionals

Standard on the majority of weathervanes are directionals that point out north (N), south (S), east (E), and west (W). These remain in a fixed position while the top rotates so you can easily tell at a glance which direction the wind is blowing.

Globes

Some weathervanes feature globes, which are used to separate the main parts of the weathervane. Largely decorative, there is usually a larger globe between the mount and directionals and a smaller globe between the directionals and the top.

Assembly rod

Holding it all together is the assembly rod, the skewer to the weathervane shish kabob. All parts slide onto the rod, which then attaches to the mount. The longer the assembly rod, the taller the weathervane will be.

EXPERT TIP

If you’d like your weathervane to have more height, consider picking up an extension rod for it.


Staff  | BestReviews

Weathervane prices

Inexpensive: For $30 to $50, you can buy a compact weathervane with a simple design and a light build. The tops of these inexpensive weathervanes are often flat as opposed to hollow or solid. The material of choice here is steel or aluminum. Weathervanes in this price range are best as in-house decorations or toppers on a smaller structure like a shed or chicken coop.

Mid-range: For $60 to $150, you will find weathervanes for general use on houses and medium-size barns. These hollow-body designs are largely made from powder-coated steel or copper. The majority of buyers should find satisfaction in this middle price range.

Expensive: For $150 and up, build quality improves dramatically. Weathervanes in this price range tend to be larger and are often made of copper. For the money, you can expect solid-body designs and multiple layers of protective coating. Weathervanes at the top of the price range are best suited for larger barns and similar structures.

DID YOU KNOW?

When copper ages, it forms a greenish outer layer called a patina. This layer can help protect the copper from the elements.

Tips

  • Some weathervanes are made of environmentally friendly materials. Those crafted from aluminum largely use recycled metal, which is a plus for those seeking a green option.
  • Mounts can be fixed or adjustable to fit a variety of roof types. If the mount that ships with your weathervane does not work with your roof, or if the weathervane shipped without a mount, you can still choose from a wide variety of mounts on the market. If you frequently experience high winds, consider buying a heavy-duty mounting package. These sturdy mounts offer greater strength and stability than standard mounting packages.
  • A protective coating can help to shield your weathervane from fading, rust, and other weather-related issues. To maximize this protection, go with a weathervane that has been powder-coated. You could also apply a layer of clear lacquer before installation.
  • Professional weathervane installation is relatively inexpensive. If you go this route, you will have the added bonus of knowing that the weathervane is properly mounted and able to withstand whatever Mother Nature throws at it.
Weathervanes are known by a variety of names: weathercocks, wind vanes, windsocks, and anemometers are a few examples.

FAQ

Q. Do weathervanes provide weather information beyond wind direction?
A.
Some weathervanes include wind cups, which can give you a rough idea of how strong the wind is. Other than that, weathervanes don’t provide much in the way of weather information, although you can mount a rain gauge and other weather station instruments to them. Unless these instruments are wireless, however, you won’t be able to place them on a roof and receive much information from them.

What a weathervane can do by itself is provide you with a rough forecast based on its behavior. For example, if the weathervane shifts from west to east, it may indicate that a storm is headed your way. Similarly, if it suddenly shifts to show wind from the south, it may indicate that warm air is headed your way.


Q. Do I need to ground a weathervane?
A.
Lightning seeks a ground. When you have a weathervane on your roof, it is really only a piece of metal with no ground. As such, it is not susceptible to lightning strikes. Running a ground wire from a weathervane could actually harm the structure it is on, so you should refrain from grounding one.

The exception to this is if you already have a lightning protection system on your barn or house. In this scenario, you’ll probably want to connect your weathervane to it.


Q. What part of the weathervane actually moves?
A.
Not all parts of a weathervane respond to the wind. Features like the directionals — the arms pointing N, S, E, and W — should not move. Rather, they should be fixed to always point in their corresponding directions. For example, N should always point north.

The decorative top part of the weathervane is the part that should rotate to indicate wind direction. Other parts, such as wind cups, will also rotate when exposed to wind.

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The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
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    Digital Content Producer
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
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    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
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    Rich
    Writer

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