The 10 Best Storm Glasses
This wiki has been updated 12 times since it was first published in May of 2020. Storm glasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with many looking like curious scientific instruments of old. For this reason, they make good decorations in places that suit antiques, like studies, libraries, or atop your mantelpiece. However, despite their name, they aren’t actually capable of predicting the next storm and should be purchased primarily for their aesthetic value. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 29, 2020:
If you're looking for ways to accurately measure, record or predict the weather, you should consider gadgets like outdoor thermometers, home weather stations or even the smart stations that connect to your phone. If, however, you're looking for an interesting object to compliment your library or a nice antique-looking piece for your desk, then the items in this list certainly have plenty to offer in that capacity.
The storm glasses in this list fall into two distinct categories: sealed systems with a chemical solution inside a glass ball or tube, and open systems exposed to the air that only use distilled water. For centuries no one really knew how the chemical variety worked, some believed it was only measuring temperature whilst others, like Admiral Fitzroy (which is why this type of barometer is sometimes named after him), were strong advocates of its efficacy and demanded it be used on ships. The idea was that the solution would form crystals inside it and you could anticipate the coming weather based on the shapes of these crystals. The versions sold nowadays (like the ones on this list) have been proven, at best, to only react to temperature, largely because they are sealed and therefore cannot be sensitive to barometric pressure.
On the other hand, the liquid barometers that have an opening at the top of the spout are a simple yet remarkably effective way of measuring small changes in pressure although these adjustments will only be relative to what the pressure was at the time you filled the glass with water, so won't give you any kind of reading or number. That being said, given that they function at all as a measure of pressure means they are better at doing what they should than their crystal-forming counterparts. We included three: the Ambient Weather BA212, which looks good mounted on a wall, the AcuRite 00795A2, which also has a Galileo thermometer alongside it, and the Esschert Design TH31, with its ornate cast-iron holder.
The chemical weather glasses that rely on a solution to form crystals, although inefficient at indicating pressure, can nevertheless react to temperature and make for an interesting spectacle and provide you with a talking point next time you have visitors. The manufacturers have presented their storm glasses in myriad ways - from the minimal, test-tube shape of the Kikkerland ST71, to the icicle-like Glassic Gifts Hanging Fitzroy, or the intriguing apothecary bottle idea of the Caveen Mechi 1271 to the often used tear-drop design of the Eon Concepts Weather Predictor.
Two versions from the same manufacturer, the Lily's Home SW997, and the Lily's Home SW238A, combine their tubular storm glasses with a similarly-shaped Galileo thermometer in a deep-colored, cherry wood frame to make elegant decorations that would suit most study desks, home libraries, and living room mantelpieces.