How to use a barometer

Last Updated: 21.01.20

You can find out the weather forecast by checking your phone or turning on the TV or your car radio. Back in the day, it really didn’t use to be as simple as that. People had to use special devices to find out what their skies would bring in the future.

One of these particular tools was the barometer, so keep reading to find out what are the most important features you should look for. Despite having been replaced over time, especially as its design has evolved much like that of many other gadgets, a barometer is still a charming device to have around. Moreover, it is commonly utilized in meteorological circles, but if you want to learn how to read one, we can be of some assistance together with some helpful tips on how to calibrate it. So don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it seems and once you’ll get the hang of it you might also want to acquire and calibrate an autoclave sterilizer similar to what we described in this informative post.

What type of barometer do you have?

These devices aren’t all the same, and that’s because they differ largely when it comes to their construction and even their capabilities. The mercury barometer was the first ever to have been invented, and it boasted a mercury cistern and a closed tube of about thirty inches in height. The level of mercury was either raised or lowered depending on the air pressure.

This kind of barometer is no longer available to purchase, and that’s because mercury is a highly dangerous substance for humans and other living beings. It is no longer utilized in thermometers, either, so that should give us a pointer as to whether or not we should be avoiding it.

However, if you’re resolute on getting one or maybe you are a collector, you can find vintage models available online. Keep in mind that a mercury barometer is far less accurate than a modern alternative.

The aneroid barometer was invented in the first half of the 19th century and was commonly utilized on ships and in old weather stations. Unlike its Mercury counterpart, this design didn’t have any liquids. In fact, it relied on a small box made of an alloy of copper and beryllium which either expanded or contracted depending on the chances in air pressure.

Finally, electronic barometers are those utilized nowadays and are by far some of the most accurate ones. They are typically outfitted with a thin wire that changes its electrical resistance in accordance with the atmospheric pressure that acts on a diaphragm wrapped around that wire.

It goes without saying that utilizing older models of barometers is way harder compared to using modern devices. But as you’ve probably figured out by now, some people like a challenge whereas others just want to know the weather forecast as quickly and easily as possible. For the latter, there are things called portable or home weather stations that they can install and use both conveniently and efficiently. For the former, however, there are the somewhat traditional models that we have mentioned earlier on.

Forecasting the weather with the help of an aneroid barometer

We chose to leave out mercury barometers from this article because they are dangerous and as such, we do not recommend them even for collectors. Unless you know for sure that you are not going to use the device and that you can store it safely and away from other people, try to avoid purchasing such a product in the first place.

You can set up an aneroid barometer with ease. All of the equipment that you are going to utilize consists of a small screwdriver. You have to first calibrate it, which means that you should get the right barometric pressure as per the area you live in from some resource. Some people like using online weather forecast websites to match the barometric pressure of the barometer to that of their location.

A typical aneroid barometer is outfitted with two hands. One of them shows the actual pressure reading, and the other has to be adjusted manually when you take a measurement and align it with the pressure reading. Unfortunately, using an aneroid barometer calls for a bit of effort and commitment, which means that you will have to pay attention to the orientation of the needle and check on the device every few hours or so.

While some might argue that the manual needle is virtually useless, the fact is that it can offer a lot of information as to the direction that the automatic needle has moved in and just how far.


Forecasting the weather with a digital barometer

You can come across a plethora of great barometers for sale these days, and most of them are electronic. What’s more, you might come to notice that most such devices have incorporated other features to as to be as convenient as possible. Some can tell you the outdoor and indoor temperature, the moon phase, the time, and the weather forecast for the coming days.

As such, using a digital barometer is far easier compared to setting up and employing an aneroid barometer. Nevertheless, a digital weather station doesn’t look that good in a somewhat traditional setting or interior design, and it’s definitely not designed for people who like to tinker and study things in detail.

With a digital barometer, all you have to do is go through the manufacturing brand’s instruction manual when you take it out of the box. The device is responsible for anything else, and let’s face it. That takes some of the charm out of the whole experience.

Use any resource you can get

If this article hasn’t helped you all that much when it comes to explaining to you how a barometer can be used, we suggest going online and doing a bit of research. For traditional models, there are sites like The Art of Manliness and even wikiHow that have published extensive articles on how you can set and observe a barometer as best as possible.

There are even several YouTube videos that can give you a hand with understanding barometer readings. So, as you can see, you needn’t go to extreme lengths to learn how to utilize such a device. Besides, with a digital one, using it is a piece of cake.



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