How to Build an Anemometer to Measure Wind Speed

Weather is always changing.

I’m fond of this project, because it can be done by people living in urban settings. This simple tool is a wonderful way to observe and learn about wind speed.

Anemometer – Measure Wind Speed


  1. 4 small paper cups – like bathroom cups
  2. 4 plastic drinking straws
  3. tape
  4. scissors
  5. straight pin or small nail
  6. pencil with a new eraser
  7. stapler
  8. notebook
  9. (optional) webcam or camcorder


  1. Make a cross from the straws and tape them at the center.
  2. Staple the top side of one cup to each straw.
  3. Make sure the cups all face the same direction.
  4. Push the pin through the straw intersection into the pencil eraser.
  5. The pencil is your axis.
  6. Mark one cup, so you have a measuring point.
  7. Test by blowing or using a fan to ensure this spins.
  8. Mount your anemometer in a place where it has access to wind from all directions.


You may want to compare your model to a commercial anemometer if you have access to one. As a general rule, 10 turns per minute means the wind speed is about one mile per hour.

Use your notebook to make a chart – plan to check this at the same time or times daily and record the time interval – one minute, etc. and the number of spins during that time.

What happens to your anemometer when it’s calm? When it’s windy? What else do you notice about the weather? What kinds of clouds are in the air? If there is smoke in the air, what direction is it going? How does the wind feel on your face? What are the trees doing? What birds are flying? Do you see animals? What is happening to their fur?

Webcam and camcorder are wonderful ways to study wind speed over time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

six × 3 =