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Barometer vs. Hygrometer — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on October 30, 2023
A barometer measures atmospheric pressure, aiding in weather prediction. A hygrometer gauges humidity levels in the air. Both instruments assist in understanding climatic conditions.
Barometer vs. Hygrometer — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Barometer and Hygrometer


Key Differences

The barometer is a significant tool in meteorology, primarily used to measure atmospheric pressure. By observing changes in this pressure, meteorologists can make predictions about the weather, as rising and falling pressures indicate alterations in weather patterns. The hygrometer, on the other hand, provides insights into the amount of moisture present in the air, known as humidity. These two instruments, while different in their functions, are both crucial in providing a comprehensive understanding of atmospheric conditions.
Using a barometer, one can predict whether the weather is likely to change. A rapid increase in atmospheric pressure suggests clear and sunny weather ahead, whereas a sudden drop typically forewarns of impending storms. The hygrometer is essential for determining comfort levels in various environments. High humidity can make warm temperatures feel hotter, while low humidity can make cooler temperatures feel colder.
The design and mechanism of both the barometer and hygrometer differ, suited to their specific purposes. Barometers often utilize liquid mercury or aneroid cells to measure pressure changes, translating those shifts into readable measurements. In contrast, hygrometers can use various methods like hair tension, dew point, or electronic sensors to measure humidity levels.
Though they have distinct functions, the barometer and hygrometer often work hand in hand, especially in weather stations. Accurate weather forecasting requires understanding both atmospheric pressure and humidity levels, making the collaboration of barometers and hygrometers indispensable in meteorology.

Comparison Chart

Primary Function

Measures atmospheric pressure
Measures humidity in the air

Usage in Weather

Predicts weather changes
Indicates comfort levels

Mechanism Varieties

Mercury, aneroid
Hair tension, dew point, electronic

Indication of

Clear skies or storms
Dryness or dampness

Importance in Meteorology

Crucial for weather forecasting
Essential for understanding comfort

Compare with Definitions


Essential tool in meteorology for atmospheric insights.
Every weather station has a barometer for accurate predictions.


Helps determine moisture content in the environment.
With the hygrometer's reading, they adjusted the room's humidifier.


An instrument measuring atmospheric pressure.
The barometer showed a rapid drop, indicating a storm approaching.


Uses methods like hair tension or electronic sensors.
The electronic hygrometer provided a digital reading of the room's humidity.


Used to predict weather changes based on pressure readings.
Using the barometer, she predicted sunny weather for the weekend.


Often paired with thermometers for detailed climate analysis.
The combined thermometer and hygrometer gave a complete overview of the room's climate.


Can be mercury-based or aneroid in design.
The aneroid barometer on the wall didn't require any liquid.


Device measuring humidity levels in the air.
The hygrometer indicated high humidity, making the day feel hotter.


Converts pressure changes into readable measurements.
The barometer's needle shifted, signaling a change in weather.


Essential for understanding comfort in varied climates.
The hygrometer's low reading confirmed the desert's dry conditions.


A barometer is a scientific instrument that is used to measure air pressure in a certain environment. Pressure tendency can forecast short term changes in the weather.


A hygrometer is an instrument used to measure the amount of water vapor in air, in soil, or in confined spaces. Humidity measurement instruments usually rely on measurements of some other quantities such as temperature, pressure, mass, a mechanical or electrical change in a substance as moisture is absorbed.


An instrument measuring atmospheric pressure, used especially in forecasting the weather and determining altitude.


Any of several instruments that measure atmospheric humidity.


An instrument for measuring atmospheric pressure, used especially in weather forecasting.


(meteorology) An instrument that measures the humidity of the air or other gases, especially the relative humidity.


Something that registers or responds to fluctuations; an indicator
Opinion polls serve as a barometer of the public mood.


An instrument for measuring the degree of moisture of the atmosphere.


An instrument for measuring atmospheric pressure.


Measuring instrument for measuring the relative humidity of the atmosphere


Anything used as a gauge or indicator.


An instrument for determining the weight or pressure of the atmosphere, and hence for judging of the probable changes of weather, or for ascertaining the height of any ascent.


An instrument that measures atmospheric pressure

Common Curiosities

How does a hygrometer help in daily life?

A hygrometer indicates humidity levels, aiding in determining comfort and adjusting humidifiers.

Can a barometer predict rain?

Yes, a sudden drop in the barometer reading can indicate an approaching storm or rain.

Is it necessary for a hygrometer to be digital?

No, hygrometers can be analog or digital, utilizing various mechanisms to measure humidity.

How do electronic hygrometers work?

Electronic hygrometers use sensors that change resistance or capacitance with humidity levels.

How should one care for a hygrometer?

Regular calibration and placement away from direct heat or cold sources help maintain a hygrometer's accuracy.

Is there a specific place to install a barometer?

It's best to install a barometer at a consistent elevation, away from windows, doors, or heat sources.

What does a barometer primarily measure?

A barometer measures atmospheric pressure.

How does atmospheric pressure relate to weather?

Changes in atmospheric pressure, measured by a barometer, can indicate impending weather changes.

Can barometric pressure affect health?

Some people claim to feel changes in barometric pressure, associating it with headaches or joint pain.

Why would someone use both a barometer and hygrometer?

Using both provides a comprehensive understanding of atmospheric conditions for accurate weather forecasting.

Can a barometer be used indoors?

Yes, but for accurate readings, it's best placed away from direct heat or moisture sources.

Does a hygrometer measure liquid water?

No, a hygrometer measures water vapor or humidity in the air.

Why might a meteorologist trust a barometer?

Barometers provide reliable readings of atmospheric pressure, essential for predicting weather changes.

Can a hygrometer assist gardeners?

Yes, gardeners use hygrometers to ensure optimal humidity for plant growth.

Is a barometer always round in shape?

No, while many barometers are round, they come in various shapes and designs.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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