There are various smart sensors for your home that can help trigger automations, including window and door sensors, motion sensors and water detection. They can be used as a part of an existing security system to send alerts, or they can be connected to other smart devices to control things like lights, fans and more.
When shopping for smart sensors, first, you’ll want to make sure the device is compatible with your smart home. Common protocols include Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth and RF. It’s usually a best practice to use sensors from the same company as your central hub, such as SimpliSafe, abode or ring.
Both Philips Hue and Lutron now make sensors that are compatible with their smart lighting systems. Recently, it has become challenging to find SmartThings sensors, as they’ve stopped manufacturing sensors and have instead partnered with companies such as Aeotec.
There are several great alternatives. For ZigBee motion detection, I would recommend Nyce, and EcoLink is a good option for Z-Wave. Otherwise, if you want more features, take a look at Inovelli.
Nyce also makes great window and door sensors, and both Sengled and AduroSmart are good alternatives that use the ZigBee protocol. The Sensitive slim Z-Wave detector is perfect for windows that slide up and down to open or close, as the sensor can fit in the gap.
Water sensors are great for detecting leaks. They can notify the homeowner, and when paired with a shut-off valve, they can turn off the water at the main to prevent further damage. Moen sells a three-pack of Wi-Fi-based sensors, and Fibaro has a solid Z-Wave option.
The Google Nest CO alarm and smoke detector detects issues and communicates them across other devices in the home in plain language. In the event of an emergency, it can shut off the HVAC system when paired with a Nest thermostat.
First Alert also has a Z-Wave option that’s often used in professional installations. Other products advertised are just “listeners” and will notify you via an app that your existing system has gone off.
Smart sensors are a great way to gain insight into your home, get notified of issues before they become big problems and control other smart devices you may already own. It is important to select products that use a common protocol and that are ideally from the same brand to ensure compatibility.
Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.