smartthingssensorphoto100687499orig

Samsung SmartThings Water Leak Sensor review: A cheap detector that leans on its ecosystem

When shopping for a smart water leak sensor, you can either pay more for lots of extra features, or opt for a basic device that simply sends alerts to your phone.

Samsung’s SmartThings Water Leak sensor falls into the latter camp. At $40 per sensor, it’s on the inexpensive side for flood detection. But on its own, it’s also limited in its ability to detect and alert you to hazardous conditions.

Setting up the sensor

The SmartThings Water Leak sensor requires a $100 SmartThings hub, but once you’ve set that up, pairing the sensor is dead-simple. Pop off the rear cover and remove the plastic tab from the battery, and the sensor enters pairing mode. You then instruct the SmartThings app to find new devices, and the rest happens automatically. By default, SmartThings will send push notifications when the sensor detects water, but you can also plug in a phone number for SMS alerts.

SmartThings’ sensor is among the smallest we’ve tested, at 2.3 inches long by 1.5 inches wide by 0.9 inches thick, but it doesn’t include any extension cables to detect water in tight spaces. You’ll just have to plunk the water sensor down as close to the source as you can.

How it works

Unlike most smart flood detectors, the SmartThings sensor doesn’t have its own alarm, and the hub doesn’t have one either. That means you’re entirely dependent on alerts from your phone, and you won’t get those if the power goes out.

The SmartThings sensor also lacks some frills found on other sensors, such as temperature readings and support for external power supplies. (The included CR2 battery should last between two and three years on a charge, which is typical among smart sensors.)

At least the SmartThings platform helps compensate for some of these shortcomings. Through the SmartThings app, you can have the sensor sound an alarm on connected speakers, flash a warning on connected light bulbs, or trigger a water shutoff valve. And in case the SmartThings ecosystem isn’t enough, the platform also integrates with IFTTT. This allows you to set up phone or email alerts, and integrate with other smart home products that SmartThings doesn’t support natively.

Samsung’s integrations help make up for a shortage of built-in alert mechanisms.

At $100 for a hub and $40 per sensor, the SmartThings Water Sensor isn’t the cheapest solution around. Insteon’s hub costs $80, and sensors usually sell for around $20, while Lowe’s Iris costs $60 for the hub, plus $30 for sensors from Utilitech.

Still, if you’re looking for a setup that plays nicely with lots of other connected devices and services, or are attracted to the SmartThings platform in general, Samsung’s name-brand sensor might just be good enough.

IDG Insider

PREVIOUS ARTICLE

« Alphabet's self-driving car may keep the steering wheel after all

NEXT ARTICLE

5 tips to stay ahead of ransomware threats »
author_image
IDG News Service

The IDG News Service is the world's leading daily source of global IT news, commentary and editorial resources. The News Service distributes content to IDG's more than 300 IT publications in more than 60 countries.

  • Mail

Recommended for You

International Women's Day: We've come a long way, but there's still an awfully long way to go

Charlotte Trueman takes a diverse look at today’s tech landscape.

Trump's trade war and the FANG bubble: Good news for Latin America?

Lewis Page gets down to business across global tech

20 Red-Hot, Pre-IPO companies to watch in 2019 B2B tech - Part 1

Martin Veitch's inside track on today’s tech trends

Poll

Do you think your smartphone is making you a workaholic?