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 six of the web’s best weather APIs — some free and some paid — to use in your application. Our updated list reflects some new additions since Apple’s acquisition of the popular Dark Sky API in 2020.

1. OpenWeatherMap

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. ClimaCell

Next up on our list is ClimaCell. ClimaCell’s Weather API offers global support and returns hyper-local weather data for weather types, moon phases, air quality and pollen indexes, and fire risks. It has temporal and historical data going back to 1997. What’s unique about ClimaCell is it utilizes unique sensing technologies, including cell towers, to widen the scope of data ingestion. Many big-name brands, like Uber,  Ford, and Google Cloud use ClimaCell within their applications.

Pricing: Free up to 30,000 calls/month, capped at 1,000 calls/day. Details on paid plans here.

3. Stormglass

The Stormglass API offers global high-resolution weather forecasts directly from the world’s most trusted meteorological institutions. Stormglass is extensive; in addition to your typical weather data, Stormglass also supports marine data, such as weather, tides, and chemical compositions, as well as information related to renewable energy, like wind, solar indexes, as well as agricultural data like soil moisture and surface temperature.

Pricing: Free up to 50 requests per day for all-weather parameters. Commercial use requires paid plans. Details on paid plans here.

4. Yahoo Weather

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.

5. The Weather Company

IBM operates The Weather Company Data Packages, a service offering that includes weather data APIs. Features including current and historical weather data as well as hourly, daily, and intra-daily forecasts are available. 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.

6. AccuWeather

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 its 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

There you have it: some of the best weather APIs on the web. 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 want Weather of Things powered precision, choose ClimaCell.
  • If you want additional data on marine and renewable energies, chose Stormglass.
  • 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 Stormglass. 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

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.