How Do Wind Vanes Work?


In this article, we’ll explain what wind vanes do, why they’re so popular, and where you might use them most effectively.

What are Wind Vanes?

Wind Vanes are handy devices that help you find your way when there’s no other source of information available. They can also provide valuable data about how strong and steady the winds are, which will give you essential clues on whether you need to take shelter from them. Wind Vanes are used to measure the speed of air currents.

They consist of an aerodynamic shape mounted on top of a mast or pole and pointed into the direction of the prevailing winds. The angle between the axis of rotation and the local horizontal plane determines how much lift will be generated by the device, which in turn indicates the strength of the current. Wind vanes can also be used as weather instruments to measure temperature, humidity, pressure, etc., but they are most commonly used to determine wind velocity.

weather station
Wind Vane as a Weather Instrument

Working Principle

The basic principle behind all wind vanes is simple: when there is no wind blowing against them, their blades remain vertical; however, if the wind blows past them it causes the blade to rotate about its longitudinal axis until it points directly into the wind’s direction. This movement creates lift depending upon whether the wind is coming from above or below the blade’s surface.

If the wind comes from above, then the force exerted on the blade increases with increasing distance away from the centre line of the blade. Conversely, if the wind comes from below, the force decreases with increasing distance from the centre line. As such, the amount of lift created depends on both the magnitude of the wind and the orientation of the blade relative to the wind flow.

Check Out – The Weather Station of 2021


A wind vane is an aerodynamic device that uses the force of air to turn. It consists of three main parts: 

  1. The hub
  2. The vanes 
  3. The base plate or mounting bracket

The Hub

The hub is where all the magic happens! This part contains two important features; it has holes for attaching the vanes and houses the mechanism that turns the entire assembly in response to changes in wind speed.


These are the actual wings of the wind vane. Each one is attached to the hub using screws through tiny holes near each wing’s edge. These holes allow the user to adjust the position of the vane according to the desired wind conditions.

Base Plate/Mounting Bracket

This component holds everything together and provides stability while allowing the whole thing to spin freely around the central shaft. In addition, it will enable the user to attach additional accessories like thermometers, rain gauges, barometer tubes, etc.

Where Can I Use Them?

You may have noticed that many people seem to prefer wind vanes over traditional methods of finding out the direction of the wind. There are several reasons for this preference. First off, wind vanes don’t require any special equipment. Second, they are easy to set up and operate. Thirdly, they offer more accurate results because they measure the speed of the wind rather than just guessing based on visual cues. Finally, they are relatively inexpensive compared to other types of directional indicators.

So, if you want to know exactly where the wind is coming from without having to rely solely on guesswork, then a wind vane could be a good choice for you. However, keep in mind that these devices aren’t perfect – they only indicate the general direction of the wind, not the exact location.

How to use a wind vane accurately?

  • Place the wind vane in an open area with the direct wind. Hold the wind vane slightly above your head, away from you. Make sure the wind vane isn’t blocked.
  • Use a compass to figure out where the wind vane should go. Turn the wind vane so that the ‘N’ on the direction mark corresponds to the compass arrow pointing north.
  • Make a note of which way the wind vane is pointing. The wind is blowing from this direction.

READ NEXT – Best Home Weather Station for real-time accurate data

Scroll to Top