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A drop of water may not seem like a big deal, but multiply that over time, and it can add up to some serious damage. Leaks are sneaky, often only showing themselves and the consequences they’ve caused in a home when it’s too late and you’re stuck with an expensive repair bill. That’s where the best water leak detector sensors come in. These small, affordable devices can be game-changers. Simply stick these around the house in potentially leaky spots, and you’ll catch it early every time.
Smart water monitors that cover your entire house are available, however they’re much more expensive, and only cover the water that your house is being supplied with. So, if the issue is a leaky roof or drainage pipe, or water building up in your home’s basement, those aren’t going to help much. The best water leak sensors give you the freedom to place them just about anywhere. Here’s what to know before buying one for your home.
Buying Guide: How to Pick the Best Water Leak Detector Sensor
Take the sensor’s connectivity, size, and power supply into consideration when shopping. Here’s what else to think about when you’re shopping.
Connectivity: There are multiple different options for connecting your water detector. The easiest is probably to your home’s WiFi, but if you already own a brand’s entire smart hub set up throughout the house, this is an affordable and small addition. There are some that’ll work with a more mainstream smart-home system like Samsung Smart-Things, but all can still send notifications via the company’s app, along with text and email alerts.
Size: The good news is that these can be especially compact and not take up much space, with some of the largest models only being palm-sized, and the smallest being silver-dollar-sized. It’s also worth considering the sensor height as well, since some need a pool of water to hit a certain depth before the alarm is triggered, and these are better for completely flat, non-porous surfaces.
Power: These standalone devices are most likely going to to need a battery or two in order to function, the most common being a couple AAs at the largest and coin-cell at the smallest. If you’ll be sticking it in a spot that’s tough to reach, like under the basement water heater, a lithium-ion may be the way to go since you probably won’t need to swap it out as much. Each of these consume different amounts of power with their varying builds and features though, so having a unit with a lithium battery doesn’t always necessarily mean less energy usage. WiFi is what generally uses up the most battery power, along with other attributes like a loud alarm, and battery replacement can range from every year up to every five years.
In the rare case you’re dealing with distilled or “soft water”, these devices won’t work as well, since those types of pure water won’t conduct electricity like regular tap water. But most water around the home has minerals dissolved within, and should be fine to alert you when there’s a problem.
1. Fibaro Flood Sensor
Fibaro’s unit can be placed either on a floor or wall, has a temperature sensor, and even lets you know when someone moves it. If you already have a Z-Wave smart hub at home, this is easily compatible, and will stay afloat during intense flooding.
2. Monoprice 133124 Flood Sensor
Stick this near a sink, tub, toilet, or anywhere else where a leak may be anticipated, and you’ll be the first to know the second there’s a problem. Even before there’s a problem, you can always go into the app to make sure things are running smoothly.
In standby mode, the battery can last up to five years before needing a replacement, and the detachable extended probe gives you extra room for the Stitch to reach back behind hard-to-see places.
3. Black+Decker Thermal Leak Detector
This device works a little differently than the rest: Instead of setting it and forgetting it until it alerts you with an emergency, the TLD100 is a handheld device that lets you search for leaks where you suspect they might be. The screen gives you an accurate infrared sensor which provides a visual mapping of temperature change. There’s a multitude of practical uses for this once you get started, not just finding cracks where water is getting in, but where heat might also be escaping.
4. YoLink Smart Home Starter Kit
For new homeowners looking to get started with a connected sensor kit throughout the house, this one’s simple to install and gets some impressive range at about .25 miles unobstructed. A battery backup can keep it working during WiFi and power outages, plus you can do most operations directly through the app. You can even get notified by text whenever there’s a problem.