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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
I do a lot of stuff like flying, sailing, astronomy and diving. Knowing the immediate weather is important and I've had all three portable lightning detectors, the Skyscan, Strike Alert and Thunderbolt. My Skyscan died after about 10 years and I'm in the process of buying another one. For my uses it is the best of the three.

Of the three, the Strike Alert is the cheapest, but the biggest drawback is having to have the unit upright to work which makes the LEDs on top difficult to read unless it is on your belt.

The Skyscan is more bulky when belt clipped and difficult to read if you're carrying it on you but it can stand upright and be readable from a distance via the LED positions, even in the dark. It does everything the Strike Alert does, and seems to be slightly more accurate.

The Thunderbolt is way more expensive. It does have a range of the advertised 65-70 miles but seems to consider any storms within 20 miles right on top of you. The LED screen is nearly impossible to read (the newer units have backlighting which may help), the shape is very weird and awkward, there is no easy belt clip and needs a bulky base to stand upright. There is no "range" lighting just basically difficult to read scrolling LCD messages. During a storm, you have to sit and watch the unit to read the scrolling messages on strike distance, where with the other two you can see at a glance by the range LEDs.

All three units work, but the Skyscan is the best for my needs.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2006
This is a great product for any use. Its great for camping and outdoor adventures as well as in the home. It detects storms and lighting up to 40 miles away to prepare you well in advance. Strong body,good size, easy to stick in a backpack while hiking and such. Batteries last for a long time. Just an excellent product.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2010
This is an initial report on the SkyScan instrument. Dimensions are about 16.5 cm x 8cm x 3.5 cm. Weight is probably 1-2 pounds with the batteries. Size is convenient if you have a small backpack, a fanny pack, or a large pocket in your coat. The advertised life when fully operational is 40-50 hours, but you can lengthen this to 70 hours if you use Battery Save mode. You can set the Range Select so that the unit will warn you (audible) about lightning within the following ranges: 0-3 miles, 3-8 miles, 8-20 miles, 20-40 miles. However, the scanner will also give you ranges to all lightning bolts, regardless of where you set the audible alarm signal (ranges again broken down into the preceding 4 categories).

See my revised comments. This detector was not nearly as helpful as I had hoped. The problem appears to be that it picks up a lot of cloud-to-cloud lightning, even when there seems to be "nothing going on". Hence from the point of view of a ground observer, it over-predicts the risk of lightning, which is frustrating. It might be of some assitance to storm watchers who work in desert areas and are viewing isolated thunderstorms. In that case the range feature might give you soem idea of the proximity of the thunderhead. But it's hard to say. eanwhile - back to counting seconds while you wait to hear thunder. Hahahaha!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2015
I have experience with lightning detectors; both commercial and homemade - all consumer grade devices. The crucial factor for a detector is range since more range equals more time to react to an approaching electrical storm. A ranging scale is a very nice option, provided that it works and is not simply a cosmetic add-on, and last, a good detector will have the ability to reject most false signals (there are a lot of them out there!).

This detector is at the top of my list. It is sensitive, quite accurate in ranging the distance to lightning strikes, and lacks the problem that sensitive detectors often suffer from ---- false alerts. Striking a grill lighter creates a broadband spark that will nearly always cause an alarm in an inexpensive detector from as far away as 20-feet (it also is a way to check if one is working --- ). $19 will buy a detector kit which has a 100+ mile range, but the finished product cries wolf every time a light switch is flicked. The SkyScan won't react to such artificial "lightning" unless the source is almost touching it.

If you are looking for the best consumer-grade lightning detector which won't break an average budget, this may be the one.

Downsides? Everything has them. The first is price. Check prices before you buy this item since those prices are all over the scale; I've seen the range go $80 to $390 for a new one. In any case this is one of the pricier detectors after you consider the many other models with prices which begin at $35 or so.

Second, the detector is large and heavy in comparison to other detectors. This isn't a problem if you have yours mounted in the kitchen as I do, but it's not nearly as handy as a less-expensive one with a belt-clip (like the one I have on the car visor).

Last, is the accessory price ripoff. The $5 "wall wart" AC power supply can set you back as much as $80 if you don't shop around. In reality, any plug in transformer with the correct voltage, polarity and plug size will work fine --- I'm using a no name transformer and it works fine. The catch is that the SkyScan uses a negative tipped plug - probably made that way to discourage using a non-SkyScan wall wart - when 80-90% of the power supplies you pick up will have a positive tipped supply. No problem if you have any electronics savvy; just cut the cord, reverse and solder the two wires, tape or heatshrink, and check your work with a voltmeter for proper polarity. I didn't try to use the wrong polarity tip which wouldn't harm the device anyway if the circuit included a two-cent protection diode, but some circuits don't. So, if you save money on the accessory AC power supply - which you will if you use this thing at home - double check the polarity of the power supply you use.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2013
With in 5 days after receiving the Storm Detector.... we had the opportunity to "Test" it out.... It Worked.... Just like the description said.... Our "Youth Baseball" Park was Put on alert--- 10 Minutes---before the Storms arrived... We were able to remove the players from the Fields---in to a Safer place---until the Storm was over.... I Highly recommend this product for all "Parks and Recreation"-Facility's.......
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on March 10, 2015
I have had this unit for about six months. I waited that long in order to experience a number of actual thunder storms so as to give a fair review. First this thing is big and bulky. It tends to give a lot of false indications but also seems to miss actual lighting strikes that are near by. The LED indicators only stay on for a short time so unless you are looking right at the unit you could miss an alert. Overall I am not please. I believe that there are units from other Companies that are less expensive and work much better.
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on June 3, 2014
Wanted something to have on hand to show my sons why its not a good idea to play around outside when a storm is coming. Now they can see that even if the storm isn't right on top of us, there's still a danger in being out in the open. Good teaching tool. Works as described, have not had to replace the batteries yet.
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on August 28, 2014
It works as they promised. A very sensitive instrument. When a lightning strike was detected I checked it out on the local radar and it was a TS at the distance it said it was. Very happy with the Sky Scan!
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on November 1, 2011
Skyscan lighting detector has proven to me the need for such a product. Have purchased several so I can verify they give accurate readings when lightning is in the area. Very Satisfied.
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on June 5, 2013
I received the detector on the day before a big storm, so I got the chance to test it out right away and it work great.
For those that work outside as I do this is what you need.
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