Best water leak detectors in 2023 | Tom's Guide

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Best water leak detectors in 2023 | Tom

Even though it's still pretty warm out and the threat of freezing pipes is still a few months off, a burst pipe or water leak still remains one of the biggest threats to homeowners, potentially causing thousands of dollars of water damage. One of the best water leak detectors can help prevent this from happening by sensing temperature and water leaks, and alerting you if anything is wrong — before it becomes a major problem.

There are two types of water leak detectors in this guide: Water leak detectors without shutoff valves, and water leak detectors with shutoff valves.

The first are sub-$100 devices that you place near pipes, water heaters, and other places where you're likely to get a leak. If they sense water, they'll send you an alert, but it'll be up to you to manually turn off your water.

Based on our research, our favorite model among this type of water leak detector is the Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector. In addition to leaks, it can also measure the humidity levels as well as the temperature — important to know if your basement or other area is in danger of freezing. It can warn you in the app and emits an 85-decibel alarm when it detects water. And, if you decide to upgrade to a Moen water leak detector that can shut off your water automatically, this sensor can be linked to it.

The second type of water leak detector — the one with a built-in shutoff valve — costs upwards of $400 and needs to be professionally installed, but in the event of a leak, it can automatically shut off the water coming into your home. These models can also monitor the flow of water through your pipes to detect leaks behind your walls and recommend ways to conserve water — and lower your utility bill. It's one of the best smart home gadgets that could save you money. 

For this, we like the Flo by Moen, which can fit three sizes of water lines, and can show you your water usage by fixture. The FloProtect service ($5/month) adds professional monitoring and live-chat support, and will cover the cost of your deductible (up to $5,000) if there's water damage. 

You'll also want to check out these 15 water saving tips to lower your bill.

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If you're not ready to commit to a water-shutoff system, the Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector is a good place to start. This device senses leaks, temperature, and humidity, and can emit an 85-decibel alarm when it detects water. It also connects to the Flo by Moen app, where you can link it with Alexa, Google Assistant, and other smart home systems.

This device comes with the main unit as well as a four-foot cable, so you can mount it on the wall, and not worry about it getting washed away if you get a flood. And, when you want to step up to a system that can also shut off your water, you can link it to the Flo by Moen shutoff valve.

Many pipes will burst when the water trapped inside them freezes and expands. That's why, in addition to water leaks, this Resideo (a division of Honeywell) 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 sensor 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. Resideo's  products also work with a wide range of smart-home systems.

For those whom the Phyn Plus Smart Water Assistant + Shutoff valve is too expensive, the Phyn Smart Water Assistant could be the answer. This device, which costs less than half the price, does everything the Phyn Plus does, except for having an automatic shutoff valve. 

Like the Phyn Plus, the Phyn senses the water pressure in your home, can detect when there's a drop in pressure and using algorithms, can let you know if it's being caused by a burst pipe or just a leaky toilet. Because it doesn't include a shutoff valve, the Phyn can be easily installed by a homeowner, under any sink. The one caveat is that you'll also need a power source nearby. But, the Phyn could save you money over the long haul, even if you don't have a major catastrophe.

The D-Link Wi-Fi Water Leak Sensor and Alarm Starter Kit works a little differently than other water leak detectors. A Master Sensor, which needs to be plugged into a wall, acts as a hub between wireless remote sensor pods and your home Wi-Fi network. (You can connect up to 16 pods.) Each pod costs $24 each, and is powered by two AAA batteries which the company says will last up to five years before needing to be replaced. 

Best water leak detectors in 2023 | Tom

Smart Sensors The main sensor pod has a loud 100dB alarm, a strobe light, and can send an alert not just to your smartphone, but to any connected Google Home smart speakers. Pretty neat.