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Best Water Leak Detectors - A Complete Guide

Best Water Leak Detectors - A Complete Guide | Today I'm Home
Kevin Sagers

Last updated by

Kevin Sagers

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February 16, 2021

A water leak detection can save you thousands of dollars and loads of stress, so you want a quality one for your home. But how can you choose the best one?

First, you should decide on the type of water leak detector you want and the amount of water you want to be alerted for. Then, you need to determine whether you want automatic shut-off, temperature monitoring, mobile access, or any other additional features.

First, you should learn why it is a great idea to install a water leak detector.

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Why Should You Install a Water Leak Detector?

Water leak detectors are crucial to preventing water damage that could cost you thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars. But there are other reasons as well. Here are the main benefits of having a water leak detector.

Avoid Expensive Repairs

So this benefit was already mentioned, but it doesn’t hurt to say it again. Water damage is expensive and common, so why not do everything you can to prevent it? Even if you don’t get a water leak detector that will shut off when there is only a slight hint of water, you could still prevent excessive damage by shutting off the water before the water builds up.

Avoid Costly Water Bills

A leak isn’t always bad enough to cause water damage or even to be noticed. But a slow leak will still impact your water usage and attack your wallet. A water leak detector can help you detect leaks both big and small so you can avoid using too much water.

Safety

Water can be a significant safety hazard. If it gets bad it can cause structural damage. It can also be conducive to mildew and mold that can cause a plethora of health problems. But the primary safety concern is electricity. If water flows around appliances and outlets, it can harm you and your home.

24/7 Alerts

Whether you are sitting at home or driving a thousand miles away, your water leak detector can alert you of a leak. This can help you prevent flooding and other water related problems.

How Does a Water Leak Detector Work?

There are different types of water leak detectors. Some use sensors, some measure water flow, and still others use ultrasonic waves. It is important that you weigh the pros and cons of each type and know how they work.

Water Measurement

The first type of water leak detector uses a mechanical turbine to measure the amount of water that is flowing through your pipes. When there is a significant deviation from the normal water flow, a signal will be sent so that it closes the valve. Usually this type will be installed at the water’s entry point into the home. This ensures that the water will be cut off no matter where the leak is.

Ultrasonic

This type of water leak detector will send ultrasonic waves up and down your pipes. This will record the flow rate and give it to the system. Then, this information is sent to your Wi-Fi router and smartphone. The ultrasonic waves detect higher water flow and will close a ball valve. This stops water to the home.

Sensor

A sensor based water leak detector typically consists of two parts, the transmitter and the sensor. The sensor is the part that detects water, and it may be a good idea to place multiple sensors around your home. The sensor alerts the transmitter as soon as it detects water. The transmitter will then sound the alarm.

Sensors should be placed in any location where a potential water leak can occur. The more sensors, the more protection you have against water leaks. Places where water leaks are common include:

  • Around Dishwashers and Refrigerators
  • In the laundry room
  • In bathrooms (especially around the toilet)
  • Around the water heater
  • Under sinks
  • Basements

What to Look for in a Water Leak Detector

Different models of water leak detectors have different features that you should be aware of depending on your specific needs.

Water Detection

Different detectors sound the alarm with different amounts of water. Some will alert you as soon as a single drop hits the sensor, while others take more. Some models even have adjustable sensitivity so that you can configure it to suit your specific home.

Automatic Shut-off

This feature can be extremely beneficial, especially if a leak occurs while you are away from home. It works by closing a valve on your waterline as soon as the sensor detects moisture. It will also send you an alert or sound an alarm, but takes the stress away from worrying about turning off the water supply yourself. This feature usually costs additional money, but it can save you on expensive repairs in the future. The cost may also be worth your peace of mind.

Power Source

Most water leak detectors only use a battery so that the sensors will alert you of a leak even during a power outage. However, some also need to be connected to your water supply to access some features, specifically automatic shut-off.

Battery life is important to consider. Some last up to 10 years while others may only last three. It is also good to make sure a water leak detector has a low battery warning. You never want it to run out of batteries without you knowing.

Notifications

Not all water leak detectors will send you an alert on your smartphone, but a lot of them do. This is a feature that you should look for. If you aren’t home and your detector doesn’t have this capability, then what good if the water leak detector in the first place?

Temperature Monitoring

This feature is especially important for those who live in very cold climates. It can alert you of freezing pipes so that you can avoid a burst. Some models will even let you know before the pipe freezes so that you can take the necessary precautions.

The Best Water Leak Detectors (2021)

These are some of the best water leak detectors on the market. They are divided into separate categories so that you can easily find the one that you need.

Flo by Moen (Best Overall)

This system detects water flow so well it can detect even the smallest of leaks. In addition, it can track your water flow. It can also monitor temperature and humidity if you purchase the optional wireless leak detectors.  

Type Water Measurement (Sensors can be added)
Automatic Shut-off Yes
Power Source Battery
Notifications Yes
Temperature Monitoring Yes with wireless leak detectors
Additional Info. Water leak sensors are available for about $50 a peice

Flume 2 (Best Budget)

This is the best product if you are on a budget, and for only $200 it is fantastically priced. The only downside is that it does not include automatic shut-off. It is easy to install and can connect to virtually all smart home systems.

Type Water Measurement
Automatic Shut-off No
Power Source Battery and Outlet
Notifications Yes
Temperature Monitoring No
Additional Info. Tracks water usage and a future update is expected to track usage from separate appliances

Honeywell Lyric (Best Smart-Home)

This leak detector works with Alexa and most other smart home systems to provide you with 24/7 alerts and an alarm to ensure you know about a leak as soon as it happens. It doesn’t have automatic shut-off, but does have temperature and humidity monitoring. Its best feature is a 4 ft sensor cable that detects water at any point.

Type Sensor
Automatic Shut-off No
Power Source Battery
Notifications Yes
Temperature Monitoring Yes
Additional Info. Also has humidity detection and a 4 ft sensor cable

Guardian Leak Detector (Best Offline)

This water leak detector isn’t as easy to install as other ones on the list, but it still doesn’t require a plumber and works great if you want an option that doesn’t require any hub. Considering it includes a shut-off valve, the price is extremely reasonable. The best feature may be that it will shut off the water even if there is no Wi-Fi available.

Type Sensor
Automatic Shut-off Yes
Power Source Outlet (Battery Back-up optional)
Notifications Yes
Temperature Monitoring No
Additional Info. Comes with 3 sensors, additional sensors are available for about $50 each.

Phyn Plus (Runner Up)

This water leak detector is extremely good despite its high price tag. It has automatic shut-off and monitors your water usage. In addition, it can work with both Alexa and Google Assistant. It works so well it can tell which appliance is using water! It detects leaks through water pressure in addition to measurement.  

Type Water Measurement (and Water Pressure)
Automatic Shut-off Yes
Power Source Outlet
Notifications Yes
Temperature Monitoring No
Additional Info. Accurately measures water usage from different appliances

Samsung SmartThings (Samsung Smart-Home)

If you are already a SmartThings user, then this may be a great option for you. It is very inexpensive compared to other water leak detectors and the sensors can detect dripping and pooling water. It can also connect to other smart-home devices.

Type Sensor
Automatic Shut-off No
Power Source Battery
Notifications Yes
Temperature Monitoring No
Additional Info. Can give an additional alarm when connected to other Samsung smart-home devices

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Best Water Leak Detectors - A Complete Guide

About THE AUTHOR

Kevin Sagers

Hi! My name is Kevin. The "Today I'm Home" team have spent years with home related projects and researching new ideas. Now we're bringing our knowledge to you, and continuing to share what we've learned as we continue to grow. Let us know if you've got any tips and tricks that would be great to share with the community!

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