The Phyn Smart Water Sensor ($39.99) is a Wi-Fi-enabled leak detector that will send text and push alerts to your phone when it detects water. It also has temperature and humidity sensors, and when paired with Phyn’s Smart Water Assistant, it will trigger an automatic water shutoff to help prevent major damage. It doesn’t interact with third-party smart devices or support IFTTT applets or voice control, but the sensor responded quickly to the presence of water in our tests. That said, alerts from the $49.99 Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector were slightly faster, so it remains our Editors’ Choice winner.
A Puck You Can Place Anywhere
The Phyn sensor is a black puck-shaped device that measures 1.1 inches high and 3.5 inches wide. It can be placed directly on the floor or hung on a wall or the side of a cabinet. It has a small speaker and a backlit water drop-shaped status indicator on the top that flashes blue during setup and flashes red when water is detected. A 90dB alarm chirps when water is detected, and the indicator will briefly turn green once the water issue is resolved. There’s a power button on the side of the device, along with a port for an extension node or sensor cable.
Sensor cables and extension nodes will cost you extra. The $25.99 sensor cable is 4 feet long and can be expanded to 12 feet by daisy-chaining up to three cables. If any part of the cable comes in contact with water, it will trigger the device. The $9.99 extension node is a 1-inch sensor attached to a 4-foot cord that lets you monitor tight areas, such as under appliances.
The base of the Phyn sensor has three metal probes that will trigger the device when they come in contact with water. Also on the base is a removable cover that shields the two AA batteries (included) that power the device, as well as a reset button. The batteries are rated to last up to two years before needing to be replaced.
Under the hood are a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio for connecting the sensor to your home network, and temperature and humidity sensors that will also trigger alerts. For example, you can set the temperature threshold to 35-degrees Fahrenheit to receive an alert before your pipes can freeze, and you can set humidity high and low thresholds to prevent the growth of mold and wood rot.
Although the Phyn Smart Water Sensor is a standalone sensor, you can add it to a $699 Phyn Plus Water Assistant + Shutoff whole-home leak detection system and have it act as an integrated node, similar to how the Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector works with the $499.99 Flo by Moen Smart Water Shutoff system. If the sensor is triggered, you can have the Phyn Plus turn off your water supply to avoid further damage. As with the Flo sensor, the Phyn sensor doesn’t integrate with third-party devices or support IFTTT, HomeKit, or or Alexa and Google voice commands.
The Phyn mobile app (for Android and iOS) lets you see what’s going on with the sensor. It opens to a screen with panels for each installed sensor (you can have up to nine). Every panel shows the name (location) of the sensor, the current temperature and humidity readings, and historical charts for each reading. The charts are useful, but crammed into a small panel with no way to enlarge or expand the view. The Flo Sensor charts, on the other hand, are much easier to read and can be viewed independently of one another in full-screen mode.
At the top of the screen on the right is a bell icon. Tap it to view a page with active and resolved alerts. Each alert comes with explanations that tell you what the alert means and what you can do to resolve it. In the upper left corner are three bars. Tap them to access settings where you can set temperature and humidity thresholds, enable notifications (push and text), configure Wi-Fi settings, and check the sensor’s battery level. Here you can also edit account information such as your name, email address, and phone number.
Installing and Using the Phyn Smart Water Sensor
To install the Phyn, I downloaded the app, created an account, and selected the sensor from the device list. I gave it a name, installed the batteries, and pressed the power button to put the sensor into pairing mode. When the LED began blinking, I tapped Next and used my phone’s camera to scan the QR code on the base of the device. I joined the sensor’s network, selected my Wi-Fi SSID and entered my Wi-Fi password, and the Phyn was immediately connected.
I received a push alert informing me that the sensor was up and running, so I entered my home address per the on-screen instructions and the installation was complete. The entire process took less than five minutes.
The Phyn sensor worked well in testing. It responded instantly when the feet came in contact with water, and push and text alerts typically arrived within ten seconds of the trigger. In comparison, the Flo sensor also responded instantly, but push alerts were a bit quicker to arrive, usually within five seconds.
The Phyn’s audible alarm isn’t exceptionally loud, but I was able to hear it from several rooms away. The folks at Phyn sent along a sensor cable and an extension node and both worked as intended.
A Smart Sensor for Detecting Water
The Phyn Smart Water Sensor is a solid choice for a standalone water detector, and when you pair it with the $700 Phyn Plus Water Assistant + Shutoff, it becomes part of a whole-home leak detection system that will automatically turn off the water in your home when triggered. The sensor is easy to install and worked well in testing, but the Flo by Moen Smart Water Detector is even faster to report leaks and its usage graphs are easier to read, earning it our Editors’ Choice award. If you require a water sensor that will trigger other smart devices such as smart plugs and thermostats, meanwhile, the D-Link DCH-S161 Wi-Fi Water Sensor is your best bet, as it supports IFTTT applets that allow it to work with third-party devices, it interacts with other D-Link smart devices, it and supports Google Assistant voice control.