One of the biggest issues facing any homeowner is water damage. A burst pipe, malfunctioning hot water heater or leaky appliance can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. Fortunately, there are now a number of smart devices that can not only detect water leaks, but can also notify you and in some cases, shut off the water automatically, keeping a small problem from becoming a major catastrophe. Here are the best water leak detectors you can buy now.
- Flo by Moen announced a new $50 water leak detector. The Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector is a battery-powered standalone sensor that can be placed anywhere in your house. When it senses a water leak, it can send an alert to your smartphone, and if you have a Flo water shutoff valve, can send a command to turn off the water in your home. It's available for preorder at meetflo.com, and will be available on Amazon in March.
- Flume's Water Sensor ($199) wraps around your water meter—no plumber needed— to sense the flow of water in your house, and can detect leaks anywhere in your system. It runs on four AA batteries and connects to a Wi-Fi bridge, which then sends information to the Flume app on your smartphone. However, it cannot turn off your water.
- Phyn is launching a new water leak detector that offers many of the features of the original, but doesn't need to be installed by a plumber. The Phyn Smart Water Assistant ($299) can attach to any faucet in your home, and let you know of leaks and water use. However, unlike the Phyn Plus, it cannot turn off your water automatically. The Phyn is available for $299.
1. Samsung SmartThings Water Leak Sensor
A good sensor for SmartThings users.
Size: 2.3 x 1.7 x 0.8 inches | Shutoff Valve: No | Plumber Required for Installation: No | Wireless Connection: Zigbee | Battery Backup: Yes | Works With: SmartThings
At around $20, Samsung's leak detector is inexpensive (so you don't have to spend a lot to put them all around your house), but the device requires the Samsung SmartThings Hub ($69) to work. Contacts on both the bottom and the top of the sensor can detect both pooling water as well as drips from above.
It doesn't have an alarm of its own, but because it integrates with Samsung's ecosystem, you can link it to a lot of other smart-home devices, including lights, alarms and more.
2. iHome Wi-Fi Dual Leak Sensor
Dual sensors, loud alarm.
Size: 3.1 x 1.8 x 1.2 inches | Shutoff Valve: No | Plumber Required for Installation: No | Wireless Connection: Wi-Fi | Battery Backup: Yes | Works With: IFTTT
iHome's detector connects directly to your Wi-Fi — no bridge needed — and has two sensors, so you can monitor for leaks in separate locations. If there's a leak, it sends your phone push notifications and sound a 100-dB alarm. You can also link it to other iHome smart-home devices (such as its smart plugs) to trigger other actions.
3. Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi Water Leak & Freeze Detector
Built-in alarm sounds when it gets wet.
Size: 3.1 x 3.1 x 0.8 inches | Shutoff Valve: No | Plumber Required for Installation: No | Wireless Connection: Wi-Fi | Battery Backup: Yes | Works With: Alexa
Many pipes will burst when the water trapped inside them freezes and expands. That's why, in addition to water leaks, Honeywell's sensor can also detect temperature changes and humidity, and send you an alert when things get too cold. The Lyric sensor runs on two AA batteries, which are rated to last up to three years. It includes a 4-foot cable, the entire length of which can detect leaks.
When the Lyric Freeze detects a leak, it sends an alert to your phone and emits a 100-dB alarm. It also connects directly to your Wi-Fi — no hub needed. Honeywell's Lyric products also work with a wide range of smart-home systems.
4. Flo by Moen
This shutoff valve also offers extended insurance coverage.
Size: For 3/4-inch lines: 5.9 x 5.8 x 2.6 inches/ For 1.25-inch lines: 7.7 x 7 x 3.4 inches | Shutoff Valve: Yes | Plumber Required for Installation: Yes | Wireless Connection: Wi-Fi | Battery Backup: No | Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Control4
The Flo monitors your water flow, pressure and temperature, and its app shows you how much water you're using per day. It also tells you what's using water, and it runs daily tests to determine if there's a water leak. If a major leak is detected, it automatically shuts off the water.
If you opt for the FloProtect service ($5/month), you can view how much each individual faucet, shower and appliance is using, and get monitoring and live-chat support. FloProtect will also send your insurance company a letter (potentially lowering your premium) and will cover the cost of your deductible if there's water damage.
Customers can purchase an optional battery backup ($249), which will provide up to three days of protection if power gets shut off.
5. Phyn Plus Smart Water Assistant
Deep analysis of all your water use, plus a shutoff valve.
Size: 8.4 x 5.6 x 3 inches | Shutoff Valve: Yes | Plumber Required for Installation: Yes | Wireless Connection: Wi-Fi | Battery Backup: No | Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT
Phyn's sleek smart-water assistant has a series of blue LEDs along one edge that give the illusion of flowing water. Inside the device is a water-flow sensor, as well as some interesting algorithms that can detect leaks throughout your house based on water pressure. It can even tell the difference between a toilet flushing and a drip from a faucet, and give you insights into how much water you're using. So, you don't need to install remote sensors throughout your house. If there's a leak, the Phyn Plus automatically turns off the flow of water.
The Phyn Plus can be installed indoors or outdoors, and works with Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT. Unlike the Flo by Moen, there are no additional subscription fees. However, it has to be plugged in to work, and there's no battery backup.
6. Guardian Leak Prevention Kit
Size: 8 x 6.3 x 3.5 inches | Shutoff Valve: Yes | Plumber Required for Installation: Optional | Wireless Connection: Wi-Fi | Battery Backup: Yes | Works With: n/a
Unlike other water shutoff valves, which require a plumber to install, the Guardian Leak Protection Kit sits on your water line and turns the shutoff handle already on your line. That means you don't need to call in a plumber to cut your water line and install it. It's compatible with quarter-turn metal ball valves from 0.5 to 1 inches in size.
The Guardian comes with three wireless water sensors, which you place in the areas that are most likely to leak, such as under your sink or by your water heater (they have a 1,000-foot range). Additional sensors are $49 each. It also performs periodic tests to ensure the device is in working order, and an optional battery backup ($29) will keep it running for 12 hours if your power goes out. Unlike the Flo and Phyn devices, though, it doesn't monitor water usage, and it doesn't work with any other smart-home systems.
7. Leaksmart Cut-in Valve Water Detection Starter Kit
Works with lots of smart-home systems.
Size: 7.1 x 7.1 x 6.4 inches | Shutoff Valve: Yes | Plumber Required for Installation: Yes | Wireless Connection: Zigbee | Battery Backup: Yes | Works With: Google Nest, Wink, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Control 4 and SmartThings
Leaksmart makes several smart water shut off valves. Its least expensive is the cut-in water valve detection kit. However, it requires a plumber to install, which negates the cost savings. The Leaksmart connects wirelessly to remote water detectors (one is included with the kit; additional sensors cost $69).
The Leaksmart valve connects via Zigbee to a Leaksmart Hub (included in the starter kit), which allows you to monitor and control the valve remotely from your smartphone. Leaksmart's third-generation hub also integrates with Google Nest, Wink, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Control 4 and SmartThings.
While you can purchase the Leaksmart through online retailers, the company recommends you purchase it through a licensed plumber. Leaksmart also makes a Snap-on Valve Controller, which doesn't require you to cut into your water pipe. However, it's only available as a kit for $795.
Water leak detectors: Quick buying tips
Water leak detectors fall generally into two categories: those which can shut off your water, and those that can’t. The latter are generally inexpensive — less than $100 — and will send an alert to your smartphone when they sense water. However, it's then up to you to turn off your water, which can be a problem if you're not at home. Those that have shutoff controls typically cost upward of $400 and require a plumber to install, but could be worth the investment, as they'll not only help reduce catastrophic damage, but can also help lower your monthly insurance bill.
Regardless of the type of water leak detector you purchase, here are a few things you need to consider before you buy.
- Battery or plug-in? Some leak detectors run on batteries, while others need to be plugged in; the former type makes it easier for the detectors to fit into locations that are far from an outlet, but their batteries will need to be replaced every year or so.
- Built-in alarm: A detector with a built-in alarm will sound a siren, so that you can hear where the leak is coming from, without your smartphone.
- Smart-home integration: While not a necessity, if a detector works with other smart- home systems, such as Alexa or Google Home, you can have a light flash in your house, for instance, when there's a water leak.
How we picked
To select our list of the best water and leak detectors, we included two kinds of devices: Those that could only detect leaks, and those that could detect leaks and also shut off your water supply. To come up with our picks, we looked at reviews from such sites as Wirecutter, Reviewed.com and Safety.com, as well as customer ratings on Amazon, Home Depot and Lowe's, among others.