Best Altimeter Reviews

An altimeter is an instrument to measure altitude; the vertical distance between the altimeter and mean sea level. Please remember that altitude, elevation, and height are different.

hiking altimeter in Alpen
Altimeter Watch

Altimeters can come in a watch (altimeter watch). This model is appropriate to use for hiking, mountain climbing, etc. This watch can be also equipped with a GPS sensor for navigation purposes. Audible altimeters are used in skydiving as an altitude awareness tool. A mounted altimeter is appropriate for vehicles. The mounted model commonly comes with a barometer and inclinometer.

Many altimeters on the market are barometric altimeters that work based on atmospheric pressure. The more the altitude (higher places) increases, the thinner the air density, the lower the air pressure to be. There is also a laser and GPS altimeter. Barometric pressure altimeters work best in places where GPS signal is hard to get.

If you are going to buy a new altimeter, the following top 9 best altimeter reviews may be helpful for you to save time.

Top 9 Best Altimeter Reviews 2021

1. Garmin Instinct 010-02064-00 Altimeter Watch [Best Overall Altimeter]

Best Overall AltimeterWhen it comes to the altimeter that suits most uses, an altimeter watch is right to pick. We can check altitude on our wrists with ease. Despite the name “altimeter watch”, it doesn’t mean it is a watch that shows only the altimeter readings. It is commonly an outdoor watch. Thus, it’s not weird that air pressure, compass, GPS, navigation arrow, temperature, and other readings come with it.

If looking for an altimeter watch, then this Garmin Instinct should be your first consideration. This altimeter watch is also our best overall altimeter.

Sensors

It doesn’t only equip with a barometric pressure altimeter sensor but also GPS, Glonass, GALILEO, Wrist heart rate, 3-axis compass, accelerometer, and thermometer sensors. These sensors allow you to monitor your altitude, elevation, heart rate, calory burnt, position, etc.

Navigation

As mentioned, it does not only using GPS but also Glonass and Galileo network. The navigation screen is monochrome but it does the core things.

For the navigation guide, the breadcrumb style map will help you. This GPS watch also lets you able to go back using the same route with its trackback feature and other functions.

Battery Life

Another strong factor of this outdoor watch is the combination of its functionalities and great long battery life. It can last for 2 weeks (14 days) in smartwatch mode. In comparison with the GPS mode, it’s reasonable for reduction; able to last for up to 16 hours. The battery is rechargeable using the USB cable that comes with it.

Durability

The durability of this altimeter watch is no doubt; confirmed with the construction that passes Military grade 810G for thermal, shock, and water resistance (100m).

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Pros:

  • Altitude graph
  • Digital compass feature
  • Simple GPS navigation breadcrumb style map
  • Military-grade 810G
  • heart rate monitor is with its heart rate graph
  • step monitor is available
  • temperature and weather forecast watch face
  • Fitness monitoring system
  • smartphone connectivity
  • Water-resistant
  • Considered as having a long battery life for altimeter watch class

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Monochrome screen (black and while)

Other options:

If you are looking for other options for altimeter watch, then you could check these models: Pro trek, Garmin Fenix 5X, 9 Baro, Suunto Ambit3 peak, Garmin Forerunner, and Suunto (Suunto Ambit).

2. Garmin GPSMAP 64sx Altimeter [Best Handheld GPS with Altimeter]

Best Handheld GPS with AltimeterIf you are looking for a more powerful and accurate GPS device, and it comes with a barometric altimeter, then Garmin GPSMAP 64sx digital handheld altimeter GPS is a nice choice for you. Unlike the GPS watch, its wider screen and colorful will give clear navigation for you.

For navigation, it’s more sensitive due to empowered with a quad-helix antenna. Aside from that, it allows you to use GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo system networks with it. So, you get a more reliable navigation reading.

Although this is a GPS device, its compass and altimeter do have independent sensors. So, whenever you disable the GPS to save battery, the 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter sensors will work properly. If you turn on the GPS, the device is expected able to last up to 16 hours.

For connectivity, you could connect it to another device via Bluetooth. Moreover, sharing is also fun to do with others. You could do it by just press “send” to share your track, routes, and waypoints with your loved ones.

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Pros:

  • Barometric altimeter
  • Multi-GNSS support
  • TopoActive maps preloaded
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • digital compass
  • GPS navigation

Cons:

  • Only the US and Australia maps

How to calibrate:

Go to a place with known barometric pressure or elevation. Choose PAGE -> Elevation Plot -> MENU-> Calibrate Altimeter

3. L&B Solo2 Parachute Skydiving Audible [Best Skydiving Altimeter]

Best Skydiving AltimeterSkydiving is an extreme sport that requires high altitude awareness. Every 5.5 seconds, the skydivers’ freefall distance can reach up to 1000 feet. Therefore, it’s not weird that the altimeter should be audible so that it can remind you if lose your altitude awareness. Among the audible altimeters available on the market, you can consider L&B Solo2 altimeter as the first option.

The alarm will sound if you reach a certain altitude level. There are 3 adjustable levels of altitude that you can change its warning alarm. It’s intuitive and easy to change because the buttons are right on the panel.

By the factory settings, the first warning is 4,500 ft, the second warning is 3,000 ft, and the third warning is 1,500 ft. Unfortunately, the loud sound can be changed.

For measurement range, it has a broad coverage of operating altitude from 0 to 40,000 feet with an accuracy of 100 feet more or less.

Among the other audible altimeters of L&B available (Optima II, Quattro, and Protrack II), L&B Solo2 is the most affordable and it looks simple. It’s actually digital but no LCD screen you can enjoy.

Its size is small; smaller than the palm of your hand. It is designed ergonomically and super-thin with dimensions of 5.5 x 4.0 x 1.1 cm.

Another essential thing you have to know that it is water-resistant with a rating of IP64. This spec is very important for protection on the outdoor sport. It has a round part on the unit side called the Air Filter.

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Pros:

  • Audible altimeter that reminds you
  • 3 altitude warning choices
  • water-resistant IP64
  • ergonomic design

Cons:

  • a bit expensive

4. ZIPLEVEL PRO 2000 [Best Altimeter for Construction]

Best altimeter for ConstructionThe use of altimeter has been widespread in various work fields. The world of construction is changed significantly when Ziplevel PRO 2000 is invented. The labor work requiring less manpower is one of the drastic changes of Ziplevel Pro 2000.

It is a high-precision altimeter that can measure in a range of 200’ (60m) in the circular horizontal area and 20’ (6m) vertical area. The high precision comes from its ability to measure level within 0.1” (2mm) or 0.01” (0.2mm). The device does not need factory calibration. However, it does require factory servicing, which means a factory recharge of hydro-pneumatics it has for every 2-3 years with a lower cost than the other instruments’ annual calibration.

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How to calibrate:

Calibration is needed for vertical measurement accuracy by using CAL functions. Basically, the device does not require factory calibration. However, it may needs factory servicing every three years.

Pros:

  • high precision
  • factory calibration is unnecessary
  • no error of distance and line of sight
  • direct displays of level or elevation

Cons:

  • needs factory servicing every three years

5. Jolly Logic AltimeterOne [Best Altimeter for Rocketry]

Best altimeter for RocketryFlying models such as rockets, helicopters, drones, kites, and quadcopters would be very cool if they are equipped with an altimeter. If you want to know how far your model rocket goes off vertically, Jolly logic Altimeterone is the right choice for you.

It comes with the ability to measure altitude up to 29,500 feet (9000 m). While it measures, it also stores up to 100 flights. The battery is a lithium polymer, which can be rechargeable via USB. To start using it, go to the menu and choose “launch”. The ground level is where the launching point you start, not the sea level. Through the menu, you can switch the unit of measurement from feet to meter or vice versa.

In order to get the best reading of altitude, make sure a hole is there to allow air flows. That is because AltimeterOne measures altitude by using an atmospheric pressure sensor. Thus, it needs exposure to outside air pressure. Its construction is rugged ABS to overcome such crashes. The parts are replaceable and can be purchased from the official Jolly Logic store.

The altitude measurement here starts from the launching point. Not the sea level as the reference. So, when you choose Realtime or Launch, the device will consider it as the ground level.

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How to calibrate:

The altitude measurement here starts from the launching point. Not the sea level as the reference. So, when you choose Realtime or Launch, the device will consider it as the ground level.

Pros:

  • best for rocketry and other flying models
  • tiny size of 1.89×0.63×0.47 inches
  • very lightweight, only 9.9g
  • rechargeable via USB port
  • fairly cheap

Cons:

  • the reference point is the launching point, not the sea level.

6. Kestrel 3500 Altimeter [Best for Hiking]

Best altimeter for HikingAn outdoor sport such as mountain climbing requires you to have a reliable instrument while maintaining a small size and less weight. Kestrel 3500 can be your altimeter for this purpose. It does not only serve you as an altimeter but also anemometer, thermometer, etc. If you can combine it with a GPS watch, this instrument can be so powerful.

Here are the readings that you can see on the clear LCD screen:

  • measure barometric pressure and trend,
  • wet bulb temperature,
  • altitude,
  • heat stress index,
  • dew point temperature,
  • relative humidity,
  • wind chill
  • air/water/snow temperature,
  • current/average/maximum wind speeds

For durability, it is IP67 rated which means able to overcome wet and dust. The second point is it is drop tested to military-grade level as known as MIL 810G.

For altitude measurement, the measuring range is -1500 ft (500 m) to 30,000 ft (9000 m), which is great. It’s suitable to cover the altitude of Mount Everest (28.568 feet). For accuracy, it is +-30 m. Meanwhile, the resolution is 1 m.

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How to calibrate:

The device is calibrated by the factory. In case you need to recalibrate, you can return it to the factory, Nielsen-Kellerman, for factory calibration.

Pros:

  • wide range of measurement : -1500 ft (-500 m ) to 30,000 ft (9000 m)
  • altitude measurement accuracy: ±30m
  • IP67 (water-resistant)
  • military-grade tested (MIL 810G)
  • replaceable impeller

Cons:

  • not recommended for Night Vision

7. AltiTILT Mounted Altimeter & Barometer [Best Altimeter for Car & Off-Road Vehicles]

best altimeter for cars and off road vehiclesDriving 4-wheel drive vehicles in the wilderness already becomes a hobby for some people. Some preparations require to do thoroughly beforehand. Since off-road vehicles travel on extreme roads, to survive the harsh and dangerous terrains, AltiTilt can be the best choice to help off-roaders to know about the altitude and tilt of their vehicles.

The device is free of battery, which means it does not require any electricity. It functions as:

  • altimeter,
  • barometer,
  • and liquid-filled inclinometer (to monitor your vehicle’s tilt).

The altimeter can measure the altitude ranging from 0 to 15,000 feet. Meanwhile, the barometer measures in the unit of inches of Hg. For the inclinometer, it will tell you the tilt from -45 to +45 degrees.

For durability, the company constructs it in high-quality durable hard-side fasteners and housing. The full instruction is available to follow. It will guide the users the easy step-by-step instructions so that the users can learn about how to set and adjust their Sun altimeter.

Advantages:

  • Easy mounting will be the first because it will allow you to equip it in the top or front of your vehicle dashboard. You can also detach and bring it with you for hiking.
  • The second will be accurate readings. The adjustable dial will allow you to get that kind of reading.
  • An easy reading inclinometer is a next benefit you get because the display is manually painted numbers and engraved.
  • Last but not least is that the device will adjust itself to the surrounding barometric pressure. Aside from off-roading, AltiTilt can be your partner too for hiking or RV Travel without having a bit of worry about replacing or purchasing a battery.

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Pros:

  • measurement range: up to 15,000 ft (9000 m)
  • battery-free
  • easy reading inclinometer
  • cheap

Cons:

  • the dial is small

8. My Altitude Altimeter App [Best iOS Altimeter App]

Best iOS Altimeter App

As technology advances, the altimeter also gets developed into an app form. Devices such as smartphones are commonly equipped with a built-in GPS sensor. By using GPS, we can make a smartphone app that is able to measure altitude. Surely, this is not the barometric model. If you are an Iphone’s user or another apple product, then My Altitude is the best altimeter app for you.

This app does best for the outdoors, and internet connection is unnecessary. The working principle is basically it access the data from the device sensor to determine the altitude. On the other hand, an option to access NOAA data files to show the altitude of where you are is also available. The newer the device is, the more accurate the sensor is. Another feature offered is it allows you to take picture with geolocation details.

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How to calibrate:

You could do it with auto-reload. In case reload does not work, you could do it by restarting the device.

Pros:

  • internet connection is unnecessary
  • able to access NOAA datafiles
  • able to take pictures with geolocation details

Cons:

  • Reload may not work sometimes.

9. Accurate Altimeter [Best Android Altimeter App]

Best Android Altimeter App

iPhone has an apple store, while the Android smartphone has a google play store. If you are using android, then the best altimeter app we can recommend for Android is Accurate Altimeter.

Nicely, it can work without an internet connection. It has three methods to measure altitude. They are satellites triangulation, ground elevation at the current position, and utilizing the device pressure sensor.

Other features offered are historical charts where you can check your elevation gain, maps with details such as peaks name and contour lines, and taking pictures with geolocation details. If you would like the PRO version, you will get more benefits such as pressure sensor error compensation, larger map area, an altitude record (without the app being opened), and surely no ads.

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How to calibrate:

Auto-calibration can be done with the nearest airport, and you can do it manually too. However, you need to pay for the finest sensor calibration.

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • three methods to measure altitude
  • historical charts of elevation data gain
  • peaks and contour lines maps
  • pictures with geolocation details

Cons:

  • need to pay for the finest sensor calibration

A Little History of Altimeter

The very first man who invented the altimeter was Louis Paul Cailletet, a French physicist. His inspiration came from his father’s ironworks. Then, his high interest in aeronautics gave him the path to develop an altimeter to measure an airplane’s altitude.

Paul Kollsman, a German civil engineer, made such a drastic change for the aviation world by inventing the first accurate altimeter in 1928. It is also known as the “Kollsman Window.” It compared the air pressure to sea level pressure in the feet unit. The radio altimeter was then invented by Lloyd Espenschied, an electrical engineer who graduated from the Pratt Institute in 1924. This type works by monitoring the return time of transmitted radio waves after reflected by the ground to get the altitude information above the ground. The clear difference between radio altimeter and barometric is the radio type measures the altitude above the ground. In contrast, the barometric type measures it above sea level.

Things to Considering Buying Altimeter

1. Accuracy

In some crucial moments such as in outdoor activity, a misleading altitude reading can cause harm to you. Altitude can increase dehydration. If you are dehydrated in an unwanted place, your life is at risk. Therefore, you need an altimeter that gives an accurate measurement of the altitude.

Simply, if you are a skydiver or aircraft pilot or hiker, the accuracy of this instrument is very vital.

One simple and independent way you could do to verify your altimeter accuracy is by calibrating it yourself. Go to a known altitude place, then see what your altimeter shows. If it is matching, it’s accurate. You could calculate the error and consider it when taking readings on the other unknown places.

2. Measurement Range

The second specification you must keep in mind is the measurement range. It determines how high the place, mountain, or flight you can go to. If the location you are standing in is out of the measurement range, then your device may mislead you.

On an important or even dangerous event that might happen, you will likely be at a huge disadvantage. So, make sure the altimeter watch or another altimeter model you buy can cover the location altitude you will be at.

3. Construction Quality

In most cases, the use of an altimeter will be needed in extreme places or locations. The quality of altimeter construction is critical because it is related to durability and functionality.

4. Portability and Size

Nowadays, altimeter comes in various sizes and portability. The old ones had a larger dimension and mostly applied in the aviation world. The modern altimeter does not only present in a smaller size but also wider portability. It has even developed in the application form so we can use it right using our smartphones. In this case, we reduce the amount of devices to carry.

5. Battery Life

Another vital thing you have to never forget to consider when concluding your choice is battery life, especially when you narrow your need to an altimeter watch model. Since you will carry it outdoor, the chance to replace the battery is almost impossible. Bringing the battery backup may be optionable but it’s better to have an altimeter watch that long last so that you are not disturbed on the way.

6. Features

Altimeter is often available in a bundle with another barometer and compass. These three things unite into one instrument and they can be called ABC type.

But it’s not weird that modern altimeters provide more features than the simple ABC type such as GPS, thermometer, maps, weather, and even social media upload.

Some altimeters come in a watch. For skydiving, having an audible altimeter is really critical for safety. The heart rate reading feature may also come with it; it is a pretty impressive feature for health monitoring purposes.

Conclusion

An altimeter is used to measure the distance from sea level to the altimeter. Knowing your altitude is important for safety purposes. Therefore, it’s not weird we carry this tool when doing extreme outdoor activity.

The above are our findings of the best altimeter options on the market that you can pick. If you are still confused, our advice is to use the altimeter watch model. This model is easy to carry since it’s wrapped around our wrist. The watch model is also considered suitable for most uses.

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