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.
(If you've already got significant leaks, and need help cleaning it up, check out our article on the Best Wet/Dry Vacs and Shop Vacuums.)
It can be difficult to know which detector is worth your money. So we selected the top-rated standalone leak detectors on the market and put them to the test. If you want the best of the best, we'd recommend the Honeywell Lyric (available at Amazon for $55.99). To see how the rest of the leak detectors did in our tests, read on.
Updated December 13, 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.
A leak detector should be reliable, easy-to-use, and able to do its job despite being completely submerged in water; the Honeywell Lyric easily ticks all of these boxes.
Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector
Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze DetectorBest Value
Editor's Note: At the time of publication, the Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector was less expensive than the Honeywell Lyric, our overall winner. Over time, prices have changed, and that is no longer true. Stay tuned while we retest these products and test some new products that have appeared on the market; we'll update this article with our new favorites picks as soon as we can.
Our best value pick goes to newcomer Roost. It's WiFi water leak detector with an experience that is almost as good as that of the Honeywell Lyric. 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 it costs a lot less to purchase a replacement unit than it does to pay 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.
How We Test
With these smart water leak sensors, we tailored our testing to determine how these products operated both as smart home devices and as water leak sensors.
Smart Home Devices—How easy is it to set the "smart" part of these "smart water leak sensors" up? Does it require an app or a 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?
Water Leak Sensors—Does the sensor actually detect water? Does it reliably sound an alarm or send out notifications? Could the sensor survive being completely submerged, or did it float?
Our favorite smart water leak sensors were both painless to set up and use from our phones, 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.
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.