We can always talk about the weather … and weather apps. And these are some of the best weather apps for Android.
Unless you happen to live in a holodeck or maybe a climate-controlled biodome, the weather has ways of encroaching on our lives if we're not prepared for it. Maybe you should've grabbed a jacket before that cold front blew through. Maybe today's line of storms weren't the best time to wear a white top. Maybe you should've shoveled the driveway now before the last cold blast blew through and froze your driveway solid. Save yourself from an ice slick, or a cold wind blowing through your thin shirt, and keep a weather app handy. Your phone may have come with a weather app or widget, but that should never stop you from checking out the competition.
And so while we're about to showcase apps that will vary drastically in bells and whistles, keep in mind that if the weather data that app provides isn't accurate enough for your particular place, then you should keep looking for something that does.
Updated May 2016: Updated the best weather apps, and later included the excellent Dark Sky.
AccuWeather is one of the more established weather sites out there today, and it has a sizable Android following not only because of a simple yet feature-rich app, but also because AccuWeather powers a plethora of widgets and third-party weather apps. AccuWeather's first-party app is a bright affair, with lots of white backgrounds broken up with big pictures, charts, and ads, though those can be removed by upgrading to AccuWeather Platinum.
The detailed charts for both hourly and daily temperatures also scored big, making it easy for users to judge coming conditions more quickly and easily than reading a slew of numbers. AccuWeather also has regional video forecasts a la The Weather Channel and support for Android Wear, putting the forecast and conditions on your wrist for your convenience.
1Weather is a beautiful weather app with a dark theme after my heart and a simplistic but sensible side-to-side page layout to match. It's easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to love. It even has Android Wear support, though rather than an app it comes in the form of three-card notifications for current conditions and immediate forecast and one-card notifications for alerts, each with customized background images.
If you have a child that's interested in what the weather terms we often look at mean, 1Weather is an app that can help teach them a bit more about the weather. When you tap on any of the stats on the bottom of the main page, it will give you explanations of that term and some helpful hints as to what they mean — for instance, that when barometric pressure is dropping there's a good chance a storm is coming. There's even a collection of video links to help teach you about weather events and what the clouds outside your window mean for your forecast.
There are few flaws we've found in our extended use of 1Weather, and most of them can be attributed to the layout 1Weather uses, such as the disconnect between reaching the map and interacting with it, as you have to tap an expand button before you can zoom or move the map. There are ads in 1Weather that can be removed with a one-time in-app purchase, and while the black/blue UI is constant, the background it sits in front of can be changed between a dozen choices, including different weather states, space and cats, should you need a dose of adorability with your weather.
3. The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel app has undergone some changes in recent times, and most of them have improved the app greatly. The layout is much slicker and simpler than before, having ditched its previous UI for one big, long continuous scroll.
As you scroll you get to more detailed information, like daily forecasts, radar, even social options and what the weather is like in some ski resorts. The Weather Channel is one of the most well known sources of forecast information on the planet, and their latest Android app takes out the complicated and makes it ultra simple to see what you need to see.
There are ads inside the app, but equally it's free and they have to pay the bills. A paid upgrade would be nice, though.
4. Weather Underground
Weather Underground is a weather service with a history most Android fans could admire. It grew out of the University of Michigan's weather database, eventually growing into a professional weather data provider for numerous sources, including The Associated Press. And then after becoming the No. 2 weather site on the net, they were bought by The Weather Channel. The site still operates as a separate entity, and continues to be the top weather source for a great many users around the country, in no small part due to the network of over 100,000 personal weather stations.
Weather Underground is a busy little app, but it's easy to get around and it's easy to find the basics. You find the same vertical scroll layout used in many of today's weather apps, but you also have a quick menu to switch between the weather and the WunderMap. The WunderMap provides radar, temps, and a slew of user weather reports from both the personal weather stations and from users like you, who can report their current geo-specific conditions right here in the app.
It is a flexible app in both layout and in settings, providing controls over the forecast source, over privacy in your ads, and even allowing for a choice between a light theme and a dark theme. And if you're happier with a most compact format and a no-nonsense design, the Weather Underground will do you just fine. One quirk for Weather Underground is that to get rid of ads, you must be a paid Wunderground member or pay a yearly subscription.
5. Yahoo Weather
Yahoo takes the honor in this humble writer's eyes for being the prettiest weather app, but when it comes to weather apps, pretty can't be all it has. Yahoo Weather is powered by Weather Underground, so it's forecasts and data have the accuracy of its nationwide network of personal weather stations.
The background images for the app are pulled from Flickr, Yahoo's picture service, so if you're looking at picturesque locations like New York City or Disney World, you're likely to get a new and beautiful image every time to go into the app. If you're in a more remote location, those pictures will be more generic. The layout for Yahoo Weather is nice if you like to check multiple locations quickly, as you scroll up and down for the data about one location, then scroll side to side for each location's data.
Yahoo is another weather app that doesn't allow you to get rid of ads, but there are at least not that many of them, with a single ad between the forecast and radar and then a list of Yahoo's many Android apps in the menu shade between your locations and settings.
6. Honorable Mentions
While there are lots of great weather apps out there, we had to stop somewhere. If you're looking for something a little more off the beaten path, here are a few other apps and widgets suggested by our users that you may find more to your liking.
- Bright Weather: Another utterly simplistic weather app, Bright Weather has but three screens: the homescreen is the current temp and a graph with both the last day and next day's worth of temperatures and rain chances. The second page holds the hourly and weekly forecast, and the next page has the radar map. Many users like the simplicity of this app, but it takes a little getting used to.
- Grumpy Weather Widget : Maybe it's just the infantile side of my brain, but it can be miserable outside and I'll still smile at this widget's smarmy opinion of the weather. Grumpy weather is indeed very grumpy and very inappropriate for certain audiences. User discretion is advised.
- BBC Weather: BBC Weather's app is quite pretty and quite good. It's what our editors on that side of the pond use, and they seem happy with it.
- Weather Timeline : This material design weather app has a small but devoted following, and the app's premise as a weather app is simple: summarizing the coming weather and putting it in an easy-to-digest timeline format. Weather Timeline also has Android Wear support and a low price of 99 cents.
Another trait we found among our readers during our poll on weather apps was that most users don't limit themselves to one. Sometimes the weather needs a second opinion, or one app has a feature you need sometimes — like the Spark network on Weatherbug or the wave forecast on the Weather Channel — but another app fit your daily habits and tastes more. Don't be afraid to mix and match — and don't be afraid to tell us what you're using for all your weather needs.
7. Dark Sky
Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps for ... that other platform ... and now it's finally available on Android! Dark Sky's claim to fame is that its "hyperlocal" accuracy can tell you within minutes of when it's actually going to rain. In addition to that it's got your basic weather information — current temperature, highs and lows, what it actually feels like, etc. You also get precipitation information, windspeed, humidity and UV index.
You can get detailed information on the week ahead, hour by hour. A handy map feature shows you where the rain (and snow) is, worldwide, at any given time. And you've got a wealth of notification options, including a daily summary, next-hour precipitation, severe weather alerts, and custom alerts based off your own variables. And a dedicated do-not-disturb mode means you won't be bothered in the middle of the night.
Dark Sky is free, but some of the more up-to-the-minute options will require a $2.99-a-year (that's $3 every 365 days) subscription.