How We Tested
Hi, I’m Rachel Murphy, Reviewed’s smart home staff writer. I live in a smart home that’s full of smart cameras, smart plugs, smart speakers, and more. During my tenure at Reviewed, I’ve tested smart mini projectors, smart doorbells, and other gadgets that can be controlled remotely or via smart assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. I spent about a month testing these 10 smart water leak detectors and retesting four of the leak sensors we previously tested.
Our original smart leak detector testing was conducted by Daniel Wroclawski, a tech-obsessed editor who co-led the news and features team for Reviewed back in 2016. Nowadays, he writes about the latest smart home products for Consumer Reports.
These detectors can detect leaks, changes in water temperature, humidity, and much more. We tailored our testing to determine how these products operated both as smart home devices and as water leak sensors. This led us to ask two different types of questions:
Is it a good smart home device?—How easy is it to set up the “smart” part of these smart water leak sensors? Does it require an app or a smart home hub? How easily does it integrate into an existing smart home environment? Can the device be controlled remotely when you’re not home? Does the device have trouble maintaining connectivity?
Is it a good water leak sensor?—Does the sensor actually detect water? Does it reliably sound an alarm or send out notifications? Could the sensor survive being completely submerged? Did it float?
Our favorite smart water leak sensors were both painless to set up and use, and consistently sensed and alerted us to the presence of water. The very best sensors were able to persist despite being completely submerged in water, or they floated.
What You Should Know About Smart Water Leak Detectors
What is a Smart Water Leak Detector?
A smart water leak detector is a small gadget with built-in sensors that can signal a leak as soon as it happens. The sensor works by sending a notification to your phone via the companion app when water is detected, as long as you’ve created an account and downloaded the app ahead of time.
For the most part, the leak-detecting sensors are located on the bottom of the gadget, which itself is small enough to hold in your hand. Some models come with a cable sensor attached to a cord that helps extend the reach of the detector. When the sensor sends out an alert, it should, in theory, give you enough time to get to your home’s water line shut off valves or make a quick emergency repair.
The Benefits of a Smart Water Leak Detector
Water leaks can be problematic for homeowners—and in most circumstances, it’s a situation that requires immediate attention from a professional. But, a smart leak detector can sometimes catch leaks before they become a giant headache, helping you avoid costly damage.
The biggest advantage is that these leak detectors can alert you to a problem by sending notifications to your smartphone or, with some leak sensors, your email account. This is especially helpful if the leak happens while you’re away from home so that you can address the issue in a timely manner instead of coming home to a flooded house. Most of the leak detectors we tested also come with an audible alarm.
Pipes can burst for a number of reasons. Too much water pressure or corrosion can cause pipes to explode, or pipes may crack and spurt out water due to cold weather. And when water seeps into your home, it can cause mold spores to grow and spread, and cause damage to drywall, flooring, and more. A smart leak detector can help you catch leaks (and frozen pipes) with a push notification and/or loud alarm before they become a major problem.
Where to Place a Smart Water Leak Detector
Since the main purpose of a smart water leak detector is to find leaks before they turn into a major problem, you should place the sensors in and around the pipes in your home like behind toilets and underneath sinks, and by large appliances like water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines.
Placing leak sensors throughout areas of the home that are prone to leaks or have experienced water damage in the past is also a good idea. This might mean making a trip or two up into the attic, but luckily most smart water leak detectors are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and are very lightweight.
They’re also pretty simple to set up, and you should have no need to get help from a professional installer.
Insurance companies sometimes offer discounts to homeowners who have water leak detectors, since they can help safeguard your home against major water damage. However, this varies by company. Be sure to check with your insurance provider about any available price reductions, as well as what models qualify for possible discounts.
What to Do if Your WiFi Connection Isn’t Great
Depending on how far your leak sensor is from your WiFi set up, it may have trouble communicating with your internet connection, which can hinder your ability to receive leak alerts.
If that’s the case, we recommend using a mesh WiFi router to bolster the connection. The Google WiFi three-pack ships with one router that connects to broadband, and two nodes to extend the WiFi signal. It’s simple to set up, guides you through the best placement of the nodes for optimal performance and coverage, and works great in apartment buildings and standalone homes.
Other Smart Water Leak Detectors We Tested
More Articles You Might Enjoy
Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.