Free Desktop Weather Software: Four Reviews

Whatever your needs, there’s plenty of free desktop weather software to keep you updated on everything from temperatures and travel delays to precipitation and pollution. In fact, there are so many desktop weather downloads available that it’s hard to know which one is best for you. That’s where I roll in like a thunderstorm across the prairie.

As your dutiful reviewer, I laboriously installed four of the more reputable weather programs and used them each for a short period of time. Here’s my guide to free desktop weather software!

Free Desktop Weather Software: Weather1
download at: www.weather1.com

Great for true weather geeks who want more information than they can handle, Weather1 provides up-to-the-minute weather data on locations around the world. Looking like a cross between a tabbed spreadsheet and a Windows module, Weather1 is customizable, loaded with features, and free of ads. You can select both domestic and international locations, toggling between all kinds of outlooks, charts, graphs, and images. On top of all the expected maps and stats, they’ve got EPA pollution levels, UV indices, lightning strike maps, and much more. If anything, there are almost too many options. So unless you’re a true weather nerd, world traveler, or a professional who needs to monitor the skies and temps for work, Weather1 may prove more cumbersome than practical – especially because the plain-old local forecast info is not neatly presented.

Free Desktop Weather Software: WeatherBug
download at: www.weatherbug.com (note: this is about the original version, not the “plus”)

One of the more popular downloads for the average PC user, WeatherBug provides weather basics along with some remarkably detailed local imagery (spiffy, numerous live cams). It’s definitely more appropriate for people who stay in one place most of the time and primarily want nicely displayed – and unbelievably accurate – current conditions alongside a cheery forecast for their zip code. WeatherBug is a user-friendly program overall, but it does have some annoying tidbits, like on-screen ads and brief surveys during signup. It also requires care during installation to avoid unnecessary features/buttons. Select the custom install and be sure to skip the toolbar so that you only get the weather software itself. But as long as you’re savvy about this download, it may be the most balanced, accurate general weather tool.

Free Desktop Weather Software: Weather Depot
download at: www.weatherdepot.com

Similar to WeatherBug in its local orientation – but with an even easier-to-use interface – Weather Depot defaults to a crisp, clean hour-by-hour outlook for your zip code. It’s packed with useful details, the layout is intuitive, and installation is hassle-free. If your goal is to access the local forecast for the rest of the day and week without fuss, it’s a good option. Weather Depot is, however, inferior to Weather Bug when it comes to updating information frequently and providing true neighborhood weather. For example, it covers Chicago generally but doesn’t zero in on my area conditions with the accuracy and consistency of its peer. Right now, Weather Depot is 7 degrees off because it’s displaying a delayed temperature for a different part of the city while WeatherBug shows me live conditions at a high school just blocks away from my home.

Free Desktop Weather Software: Desktop Weather from the Weather Channel
download at: www.weather.com

As much as I love the Weather Channel itself, I do have to lament the ad-heavy and frankly unattractive desktop software they make available for download. It requires users to select a specialized weather theme from a paltry list (even if you don’t want to), and while all the basic weather information is available from a reliable source, the interface is unremarkable, with few of the nifty local extras available on WeatherBug. The only exception is Desktop Weather’s excellent live traffic map, a handy feature for anyone who worries about congested commutes.

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