The Best Smart Water Leak Detectors of 2018By Daniel Wroclawski
Whether it's frozen pipes in the dead of winter or a washing machine that springs a leak, you need to keep your home protected against water damage. Luckily, there's a new crop of smart leak detectors that can beam alerts about leaks to your phone almost instantly, even if you're hundreds of miles away.
Since they're all so new, it can be difficult to know which detector is worth your money. So we selected the top six standalone leak detectors on the market and put them to the test.
We tested their smartphone apps for responsiveness and ease of setup, put them in simulated leaks, and even submerged them in over two inches of water—all to find the best of the best. And if you want the best of the best, we'd recommend the Honeywell Lyric (available at Amazon for $57.99).
Updated June 26, 2018
Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi Water Leak and Freeze Detector
Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi Water Leak and Freeze DetectorBest Overall
The best smart leak detector is the Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi Water Leak and Freeze Detector. It offers easy setup, a solid app, temperature and humidity readings, and an optional cord sensor attachment that expands the detection area up to 150 feet. The detector works over WiFi for easy setup, doesn't need a hub, and should last up to 3 years on AA batteries.
After it detected water, it took a bit longer to send an alert to a smartphone compared to other sensors, but we believe that might be due to how it conserves battery power. Regardless, it will still alert you within minutes of detecting water. And while it no longer worked after we submerged it deep in water, it still kept going off—audible alarm and all—while fully submerged for the duration of the test. If power, and subsequently WiFi, goes out, you won't receive an alert until power is restored. But that's the case with all of these detectors.
The Honeywell costs $79.99, making it a bit up more expensive than most of the competition. But if you want a solid and reliable experience, this detector is well worth the investment.
Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector
Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze DetectorBest Value
Our best value pick goes to newcomer Roost. It's WiFi water leak detector costs $30 less than the Honeywell—and the experience was almost just as good. The Roost comes with a slick and straightforward app, although the setup experience was a bit clumsier.
In order to pair with the detector, your phone has to play a loud tone that's reminiscent of dial-up internet. And our initial pairing didn't work because we had a case on our test phone. Roost points out this potential issue in its troubleshooting steps on its website, and once we removed the case the pairing process finally worked.
After that, the sensor worked like a charm, acing our leak detection and reliability tests. But like the Honeywell, it too could not survive being submerged in 2.5 inches of water. The sensor did continue to register a leak, and the app did so well after it died, but the Roost won't live to alert of another leak or flood. The company informed me that it was not designed to be submerged, and a just $49 replacement cost is a lot less than the deductible on your homeowner's insurance.
LeakSMART SensorBest for Floods
If you live in a flood-prone area and have seen your basement turn into a swimming pool one too many times, then the LeakSMART sensor is the leak detector for you. Unlike the Honeywell and Roost, the LeakSMART was able to beat our submersion test by floating, thanks to its watertight seal around the battery compartment.
There were only two downsides to the sensor: First, it requires a hub, either from LeakSMART or a third-party like Wink or SmartThings. Second, the companion LeakSMART app doesn't send you push notifications. Instead, you have to set up the sensor to send alerts to you via email and/or text message. It's definitely not a deal breaker, but seems like a strange omission.
WallyHome Starter Kit
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WallyHome Starter Kit
The WallyHome Starter Kit offers a unique system of multi-function sensors that can detect leaks, as well as act as door/window sensors. It was easy to set up and included a hub, which also acts as an additional alarm when the leak sensor goes off. The sensor worked flawlessly at detecting leaks, but also died after submersion, which WallyHome said was to be expected.
Whether you decide to buy this kit really comes down to price. At $99 for the hub and just one sensor, it's the most expensive solution we tested. But if you're interested in a whole home sensor solution, the WallyHome system could be appealing. And additional sensors are just $34.99.
Fibaro Flood Sensor (HomeKit)
Fibaro Flood Sensor (HomeKit)
The only leak detector that works with Apple HomeKit, the Fibaro Flood Sensor offers the unique ability to be checked during a chat with Siri. It is also the only other sensor we tested that is able to float and survive flooding, but those are the only real positives to the device. It only works with Apple devices and runs over Bluetooth, meaning you'll need to use an iPad or an Apple TV as a HomeKit hub in order to receive leak alerts when you're away. As for the alerts, they would only come through the Apple Home app during our tests, not Fibaro's companion app. Unless you desperately want a HomeKit-compatible sensor, we think there are better options on the market.