We compare some web APIs that add weather data into your app

If your application has anything to do with leaving the house, there’s a good chance that weather data is one piece of the development puzzle. While there are quite a few choices out there for weather APIs, it’s difficult to find the features you need at a price that works for you… even if that price is zero! As a result, we’ve compiled a list of five of the web’s best weather APIs — some free and some paid — to use in your application.

1. OpenWeatherMap (Free Plan)

OpenWeatherMap is one of the most popular choices for accessing high volumes of free weather data. The API’s generous free plan allows users up to 60 calls per minute, including access to current weather data, forecasts, and weather maps. The Creative Commons Share-Alike licenses on all retrieved weather maps may prove particularly useful for developers looking to build their map-based interfaces. However, free data is only updated every two hours, and some criticize the service’s accuracy.

Pricing: Free current weather and forecast data for up to 60 calls per minute. Developers can purchase additional calls with one of four plans, which also unlocks access to extended-range forecasts and advanced weather maps. OpenWeatherMap charges historical weather data separately.

2. Dark Sky (Free Plan)

Next up on our list is Dark Sky, which has made a name for itself with its proprietary, consumer-oriented weather app. The API offers current and historical weather data for the world across — as well as forecasts and alerts — free for up to 1,000 calls per day. It’s generally rated highly for its accuracy, and developers often chose it for its hyperlocal geographical precision. Also, what’s not to love about their simple pricing model!

Pricing: Up to 1,000 free calls per day. Additional calls cost a flat fee of $0.0001 each.

3. Yahoo Weather (Free Plan)

The Yahoo Weather API only offers access to location-specific current weather and 10-day forecast data but is entirely free. There are reports that the service is limited to 2,000 calls per day, but the FAQ page mentions applying for commercial purposes, which presumably boasts additional calls charged on a case-by-case basis.

Pricing: Up to 2,000 free calls per day. Paid plans may be available upon request.

4. The Weather Company (No Free Plan)

The Weather Company, owned by IBM, is one of two APIs on this list with no free plan. After making 10,000 free calls at a rate of up to 10 calls per minute — which you should really view as a free trial — calls are charged at between $0.00013 and $0.00017 (a fraction more than with Dark Sky) depending on the plan. Features including current and historical weather data as well as hourly, daily, and intra-daily forecasts are available in all three plans. An added bonus is the API’s basic location services, which allow you to look up location names and geocodes.

Pricing: Trial offers up to 10 free calls per minute but expires after 10,000 calls. Paid plans all offer the same functionality and include ten requests per minute for $24.95/month, 150 calls per minute for $300/month, or 375 calls per minute for $650/month.

5. AccuWeather (No Free Plan)

Last but not least, there’s AccuWeather, which you may have heard of as a result of its weather journalism and mobile app. Like The Weather Company, AccuWeather has no free plans; instead, they offer a “limited trial” with up to 50 calls per day, after which calls cost as little as 0.0001 each, but get more expensive the more you use the API! The AccuWeather API stands out for its imagery endpoints. Unfortunately for some, AccuWeather requires their logo to be clearly placed within the developer’s application.

Pricing: Limited trial offers up to 50 calls per day. Then, calls can be purchased with one of three plans, each giving access to long-range and more accurate forecasts.

Which Weather API to Use in 2019

There you have it: five of the best weather APIs on the web, as of late 2019. In case you’re still not sure which API is right for your use case, here’s a quick rubric which might help:

  • If you need plenty of free calls and/or brandable maps, choose OpenWeatherMap.
  • If you need other imagery, choose AccuWeather.
  • If you need accuracy and precision, choose Dark Sky.
  • If you need built-in location services, choose The Weather Company.
  • If you need more than 1,000 free calls per day (but not more than 2,000) and accuracy is important to you, choose the Yahoo Weather API.

Final Thoughts

There’s always going to be a need for accurate, up-to-date weather data, so it should be no surprise that there are quite a few weather APIs out there. As always, it’s nice to see there are a few free plans, too, especially when they’re as powerful as OpenWeatherMap or Dark Sky. And if the free packages of those two APIs aren’t good enough for you… well you really will be spoilt for choice!

Thomas Bush

About Thomas Bush

Thomas Bush is an enthusiastic freelance writer from the United Kingdom, who loves breaking down tough topics into bite-sized articles. Covering everything from cryptocurrencies to medicine, and now APIs, you can find out more about Thomas on LinkedIn or on his website at http://thomasbush.co.