Not everything needs to connect to the Internet. When it comes to detecting temperature inside your home, the Ambient Weather WS-01T Color Changing Wireless Temperature Night Light doesn't require Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or an elaborate setup. It's also very affordable at just $19.95, and can communicate with up to eight remote temperature sensors. True, its operation is limited compared with a smart home device like the Netatmo Weather Station, but it's a low-cost, low-tech option that just works.
When you buy the WST-01T, you get the main night light base station and a single F007T wireless thermometer for $19.95. That's a significantly lower price than other indoor sensors we've reviewed.
The F007T thermometer retails for $10.50 with a six-foot temperature probe, or $9.65 without the extended probe. The probe is useful for placing inside a refrigerator or out a window, so keep that in mind if you're buying extra sensors.
If you like the look of the WST-01T but aren't interested in multiple sensors (or, perhaps, living in a tiny apartment and don't need multiple sensors), Ambient Weather has you covered. The Ambient Weather WS-01 is just the night light portion of the setup, and retails for $9.99. It lacks the ability to receive data from remote temperature sensors, but it does display the current temperature and has its counterpart's color-coding capabilities.
The WST-01T is a rectangular plastic device about 2.5 inches on each side that plugs into an AC wall outlet. The housing is an unremarkable, white, textured plastic. The entire assembly also sticks out a full inch from the wall, which could make placement tricky. The thermometers run on two AAA batteries, the housing of which is secured with a single screw.
The bulk of the night light is taken up by a large LCD that shows the time and temperature, and is lit with one of 11 vibrant colors depending on how hot or cold it is. Warmer colors (like orange, red, and yellow) represent warmer temperatures. You probably won't see red, given how hot it needs to be. Cooler colors, ending in icy purple, are for colder temperatures.
An onboard battery means you can easily unplug and move the device without losing your settings, and there's a light sensor on the top. It's a small, sleek design and easy to read from a distance. It's far less fashionable than the Netatmo Weather Station, but that lacks a screen of any kind—to check the temperature with the Netatmo, you have to open an app or visit a website.
The low-profile housing of the WST-01T is marred by a small temperature probe that hangs an inch or two below on a wire. The accompanying documentation says that this is to avoid interference from the heat of the night light. That's great, but it's disappointing that such accuracy needs to come at the cost of aesthetics.
On its own, the WST-01T only displays the current temperature. That's all well and good, but when combined with a F007T thermometer, they form a tidy little home network of temperature sensors. Up to eight F007T thermometers can communicate wirelessly using radio transmissions, with the night light serving as a base station.
A small LCD on the F0071 thermometer shows the current temperature, but that's about it. The thermometer is suitable for wall-mounting, and comes with a suction cup for easy mounting on a window or other non-porous surface. Each thermometer is fairly rugged and the battery compartment secured against the elements with a rubber gasket, which means it can be placed outdoors. The thermometer runs off of two AAA batteries, the housing of which is secured with a single screw.
This setup is similar to how the Netatmo Weather Station works: a main base station communicates wirelessly with several additional, specialized sensors.
By default, the WST-01T displays the temperature it is currently reading. You can tap the CH+ button to scroll through the data sent from the remote thermometers. You can also set it to cycle through all of the available temperatures. Note that when cycling, the light will glow with the color corresponding to the most extreme temperature it is recording. For example, three of my temperature probes were reading around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but the one in the freezer read -0.4 degrees, so the light shone an icy purple.
Note that only the thermometers, and not the night lights, broadcast their temperature data. If you have two night lights, both display the information from the wireless thermometers, but not from each other. The night light by my desk does not display the temperature information gathered from the night light across the room, for example.
The sensors and night light can communicate over 300 feet, provided there is clean line of sight between all components. In practice, 100 feet is a more realistic limit.
Setting up the night light on its own is simple. I just removed the plastic tab, which allows the internal battery to connect, then plugged it into an AC outlet.
Adding the wireless thermometers takes a little more work. Each needs to broadcast on its own channel; setting the channel for each requires poking some tiny DIP switches inside the battery case. It's not a very user-friendly experience, but a handy diagram on the thermometer itself helps a lot.
While moving the sensors around PCMag's test lab, I did lose contact with them a few times. Fortunately, pairing the sensors to the night light is simple; just press and hold the CH+ button. After a few minutes, the night light will display information from all the sensors it has detected. No app or online setup required, which is a relief compared with the Netatmo Weather Station—when it went down recently, I was faced with the prospect of going through its entire setup process all over again.
In addition to displaying temperature, the night light can show the minimum and maximum temperatures recorded, though this clears daily by default. It can also execute alarms and display the date and time. All of this takes some setting up, and while it's not overly difficult, I found the included documentation quite obtuse.
While the WST-01T does a great job detecting temperature around the house, it doesn't do anything else. It measure humidity, barometric pressure, air quality, or other factors. For that you'll want a more full-featured indoor sensor or something like the Ambient Weather WS-1001-WIFI Observer, which includes both indoor and outdoor sensor packages. It also can't contribute to controlling the heating and cooling of your home, like the Nest Learning Thermostat.
The night light also does not communicate with the Web or other weather devices. This means it can't be hijacked for nefarious purposes, as we saw recently with the Mirai IOT botnet. But it also means that you can't check up on your devices remotely. The Elgato Eve Room and the Nest Protect both gather more data than the WST-01T, and are accessible online. The Nest Protect also functions as a smoke alarm and the Eve Room can communicate with services like If This Then That (IFTTT) to expand its capabilities.
The F0071 can communicate with a number of other Ambient Weather devices and the WS-01T nightlight simultaneously. There are also additional sensors, like a floating thermometer for your pool, that can be paired with the night light as well.
The entire WS-01T setup is also firmly designed for indoor use with limited outdoor capabilities. The BloomSky Solar Powered Weather Station works well outdoors, or in a sunny window. The BloomSky also includes an integrated camera, and creates impressive time-lapse videos at the end of each day.
The Ambient Weather WS-01T Night Light is a good buy if you want a smart home, but not one that's too smart. The night light and remote temperature sensors require no Internet connection and are easy to set up and maintain. There's no chance of it being part of a cyber attack or threatening your network, and it's supremely affordable. But that simplicity comes at a price of its own. The WST-01T has limited capabilities, and the data it gathers can't be used to run an IFTTT script or even be read from a smartphone. It also can't be read remotely, or used to control the temperature of your home. If that's the kind of interaction you're looking for, you're better off with one of the Internet-connected options mentioned above.