This sensor turns any dryer into a smart dryer
As a deaf person, knowing when the laundry is dry can be difficult.
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Whenever I traipse up and down the stairs multiple times to the basement to do the laundry, I tell myself it’s exercise. One reason for the advanced step aerobics routine is because after all this time, I still don’t know exactly when the wash is done and ready to be switched. I can’t hear when the washer and dryer stop, as I’m deaf. So when I heard about SmartDry, which claims to turn any dryer into a smart dryer, I wanted to check it out. Was a smart dryer the solution to wash woes?
What is SmartDry?
The patented SmartDry sensor is wireless and includes an app and an outlet hub. The smartphone app, once downloaded, walked me through the setup, which was pretty straightforward.
SmartDry gets thrown into the dryer with your wet clothes and monitors the moisture and heat levels as the dryer runs. It also uses an accelerometer to let you know when the dryer has stopped, so your dress shirts don't sit there getting wrinkled. The sensor communicates with the hub, which plugs into a nearby power outlet, and the hub in turn sends information to your phone anywhere, thanks to its Wi-Fi connection.
Features include notifications when clothes are dry or when the dryer has stopped, as well as auto shut-off for gas dryers. Exclusively sold on Amazon for $54.99, it also works with Alexa. This latest second-generation iteration was just released with a new app and extended features. By allowing you to stop drying cycles early, the company claims the device can save users an average of 15 minutes per load, which translates to an average savings of $40 per year and a reduction of CO2 footprint by 300 pounds a year.
Is SmartDry effective?
My experience with SmartDry was a mixed bag. The first time I used it, I put in a load of darks with a few towels. Normally, I wash towels separately. After 41 minutes, I got a text notification that the clothes were dry while the dryer was still running. The clothes were dry, but the towels were still wet. Probably not the best test since the heavier weight of the towels may have confused the sensor.
The next load was a load of all towels. My hearing husband heard a beep when the dryer started. The text notification later on said the clothes were “very dry,” but they weren’t. Up until now, I had been using the “dry” setting on the app, so I changed it to the “very dry” setting.
The third time I did the wash with SmartDry, I missed the notification when the dryer was done in 35 minutes. I thought it would be 65 minutes, since that’s what I set it for. Then I got a notification that the timed dry was up at 65 minutes, which was confusing.
I also got notifications when my son was doing his laundry. This would have been a plus if I had been waiting for him to finish before starting mine. Alerts for other people’s laundry could be good or bad, depending on your situation.
Is SmartDry worth it?
My (hearing) husband thinks SmartDry has value. He says we’re just not doing our wash properly. Someone who puts the appropriate amount of wash in the dryer without mixing laundry types would probably have much better results and find SmartDry to be a helpful tool. Even for us it does help on occasion when when we forget we’re doing the wash, in which case SmartDry would remind us to finish the load. In particular, our son will often forget to collect and fold his laundry until right before bedtime.
I agree that SmartDry can be useful in specific use cases. But I found the notifications inconsistent and confusing. Over time, the SmartDry may help me learn more accurate default times for each kind of load, like 50 minutes for a full load of clothes or 65 minutes for towels. With that information in hand, I could just as easily set a timer on my smartphone.
The company, by the way, is working on a version for the washing machine. It’s undergoing internal beta testing, with no firm release date yet. David Bambrick, co-founder and CEO of SmartDry, expects to get it out by the summer of 2022, taking all current manufacturing delays into account. This could be useful if you’re the type to accidentally leave clothes in the washing machine long enough to need a second cycle.
Now if only there were SmartSort and SmartFold options…
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