We’ve all been there—heading afield only to realize that the forecast we watched the night before was completely wrong. An uncomfortable day is sure to follow. For those who spend a lot of time outdoors, knowing the weather—specifically, the temperature—is important to making decisions on how we dress and what we pack for any outdoor excursion. An outdoor thermometer can make that job much easier. To make a good selection when shopping for an outdoor thermometer, you should ask yourself three critical questions—do you mind stepping outside to read it, what range do you need for a wireless model and is temperature your only weather concern?

This analog model has a large face that makes it easier to see from far distances. Amazon

Some people are perfectly happy to walk outside and check their thermometer. Others like to do it from indoors, where they can find out what the temperature is without actually experiencing it. Both types of people can find just the right thermometer for them. Digital wireless models feature an outside sensor that transmits data back to an indoor monitor, making it easy to know the conditions without stepping outside. More budget-minded analog units may require you to step outside to take a look but are sometimes very attractive and used for decorative purposes. Some models even offer a compromise: They hang outside in the elements but are large enough to be read from indoors.

This model features a backlit touchscreen and has a range of 200 feet. Amazon

If you decide on a digital wireless unit with indoor display, the effective range can be an important factor in your selection. Before ordering, decide where you want to hang the outdoor sensor and where you want to place, or mount, the monitor inside your house. Next, determine the distance between the two. With that information in hand, you can check the effective range of the outdoor thermometer you intend to purchase to make sure it will work for your situation.

The LCD screen on this model is bright and easy to see. Amazon

If you want to know about more weather conditions than just temperature, you’re in luck. Some digital units will give you a wide range of information, including time, wind speed and direction, moon phase, barometric pressure, indoor and outdoor humidity and sun/cloud status, along with both the indoor and outdoor temperature. Heck, some even have a built-in alarm clock, complete with a snooze button!