Water Sensors - ST, Fibaro, etc


I’m in the process of adding some sensors to my ST system. I’m trying to understand the differences between the different device types noticing that some are considered water sensors others moisture sensors etc. Obviously humidity sensors are different. What should I look for? Other than the obvious point of using different protocols (generally Zigbee or Z-wave), I see that some of them have very different designs as well. The ST water sensor sits directly in the water from what I can tell (haven’t seen pics of the underside and what I have seen isn’t very clear on its use) and I’ve also seen pics of it mounted vertically. The Fibaro uses adjustable either contacts that come out the bottom or a wired probe, batteries or ac power, and is waterproof & floats so immersion or frequent dunking is harmless to the sensor itself. It’s pricier, too. Others only use probes. Some can give information about when moisture is present as well as absent which gives additional use. Water absent isn’t my primary use at this point so not a huge issue either way. Battery type and life is somewhat of a concern although if it can use rechargeable batteries, it’s somewhat less of a problem. I just got worried reading about the Aeon which is rated for 1-2 years but reviewers were stating that they were going put in less than a month. Probably a gives but it has to work with ST. Oddly, Aeon seems to be well supported by ST in other areas but water sensor have been problematic according to ST users who reviewed the product I also noticed it’s not listed at this point although I was under the impression that it used to be. I also heard someone mention the Lowes/Iris branded version of the Ever Spring which was quite a bit cheaper but apparently works the same. If don’t know enough to know if this is correct or not.

Any help and experiences you could share regarding this would be great. I’m just getting my head around all the ways I can u this and different designs seem as though they would lend themselves to different uses. I was going to just slap one down under the sink but reading how sensitive they are (and having already suffered a very expensive mishap with the bath overflowing at our current apartment screwing up the electrical below us) I’m starting to think more creatively about it. We also have several non-standard items in our apartment due adaptive needs that use water and could potentially have similar problems as we experienced before if/when they fail someday.

Thanks so much! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and learning from you!

I have an interest in adding a water sensor also but have not yet decided on which one. I have 4 Fibaro Motion Sensors and I really like them, one of the most reliable devices on my system. So I lean toward the Fibaro, I have read that the sensor they show attached to the device isn’t actually available but apparently you can create your own with wires, so I tend to think it will work best if you use the sensors in the base of the unit. This may change as the device was recently release I believe. Fibaro documentation usually includes the zwave commands supported and they features that can be set making writing the device code pretty easy which I really like.

I like Aeon Tech stuff also, not quite as polished as they often have little intricacies that you have to work around but they make their zwave engineering specs available often and you can contact support for zwave details. I even had a aeon tech go as far as send me a zwave stick so I could upgrade the firmware on my device, they are very helpful support.

I know very little about the ST version because I have purchased a ST motion sensor and two ST presence sensors and they are cheaply made so I am staying away from ST until they improve their products. Perhaps someone with this device can say what they think.

So all of my opinions here are based on other products from these manufacturer since I have not yet purchased a water sensor. But in my opinion I would want the Fibaro first, Aeon Second and ST last.

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Hi Ron,

I really appreciate your post! I leaned so much from it.

I’ll be adding other senses and such as well and I will definitely keep your experiences with the ST branded “things” in mind as I do. I have a couple of items that came in the kit (and the kit was on sale so it was a much better deal) but I need to add some more. I found your experiences very interesting! I’ve also been looking at adding some smart outlets and have had trouble choosing between brands. But the ST outlet is about 2x the cost of the well rated, fully compatible Aeon and I just can’t see the justification for the price difference. I think I’m going to go ahead and pull the trigger on those after reading your post.

I know the Fibaro senders are more expensive than others but I really like that it can use ac power in addition to batteries. Maybe it could use both so that there’s still protection during power outages but had the reliability of ac the rest of the time. I’ll look into what you mentioned about the prove leads aren’t available yet and I’ll find out when they will be. That may make a difference depending on use. It’s obvious that the Fibaro was well thought out from details like the unit being waterproof, floating in water, and the adjustable contact probes in case you have to put it on an uneven surface, not to mention dual power sources. It’s also completely usable outdoors and in winter opening up all sorts of real time triggers for rain, cold (due to the temp sensor), etc. It even recommends use with driveway heating mats or something where it will remove ice on steep driveways. In contrast, I read from a user post in the meantime, that water will ruin the ST water sensor. How does that make sense? It can only alert a person for a time until it’s in the water too long.

If the info is correct on the Lowes/Iris rebrand, I may try that one to begin with as they have a good return policy and they are inexpensive. People have recommended the Ever Spring model that’s rebadged as Iris with very good reports and the savings is a plus. Or maybe I’ll try a couple different types & decide from there. BTW, haven you found any sensors similar to the function of the ST multi sensors? I like it’s functionality but don’t want to be replacing them if they are now as well built as others. The contact sensor with the vibration sensor is greater for doors and windows and provides extra security.

Thanks again. I hope that you’re able to find the perfect water sensor for your needs as well. Hopefully, we’ll hear some other experiences from ST users.

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I try to avoid buying Smartthings sensors as if I ever leave the ST universe, I’d rather have standard zWave devices (I know ST devices are zigbee, I am not sure how well they would work on other platforms). I have a Fibaro motion sensor and it KICKS ass! It’s worth the premium price. As far as water sensors, I just ordered the Aeon on Amazon today for $39.99. I didn’t feel the Fibaro price of $20 for a leak sensor was worth it since this thing should just be used for emergencies and I am hoping it does that job :smile: I hated my Aeon motion sensor and replaced it with the Fibaro.

Also FWIW, I find battery performance on ST devices AWFUL.

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The aeon smart switches are very nice. Plugged in zwave devices also act as repeaters in your mesh network so they are a good option. I also have two GE wall switches that act as repeaters and just bought two leviton switches that I plan to install which will also make my mesh stronger. Both ZWAVE and ZIGBEE create mesh networks so the more devices you have which also act as repeaters the better. For this reason I have been mostly buying zwave since I have many zwave devices now.

The fibaro motion sensors do not use ac power, they are battery only but that said I have 4 for more than 6 months and have not changed battery yet. The water sensor does but again I don’t have one of those yet.

Consider that when the power is out so is your smart hub’s access to the servers. ST V2 hub does have some offline capabilities but they are VERY limited at this time. I don’t trust ST for security so honestly when the power is out I don’t care that it is offline. I use ST to control, lights, AC, music, and various power switches so with no power I have no real use for it anyway. In case of network only outage I would wish my local stuff worked better but that happens to me infrequently so not worried about that either.

I agree with your opinions about Fibaro water sensor being well thought out. I felt that way to when I looked at its features. They seem to make very nice products. Again my motion sensors are rock solid, they are very expensive $60 each but still I bought 4 of them because I like them so much. I also have one Aeon motion sensor and one ST motion sensor if that tell you anything :smile:

That’s crazy, I didn’t know that.

What are you trying to sense ?
Fibaro motion sensor also senses illumination and vibration and temperature.
I also have a aeon tech multi which senses illumination, motion, temp and humidity.

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I’m using the Everspring z-wave water/flood sensor to monitor the sump pit in my basement and SmartThings had no problem identifying it.

I chose this device because I could mount it on the wall and stick the submersible sensor anywhere I wanted because the cord was at least 5’ long.

It takes 3 regular AA batteries, but I’m not sure if SmartThings reports the battery correctly because I’ve had it for a few weeks and it’s still showing 100%.

It plays a sound when it’s wet, but it’s not very loud so you probably won’t here it unless your in the next room. It doesn’t report moisture, it just reports wet or dry.

I test it frequently and it’s never failed to report when it’s wet, but I had some problems with it taking 30+ minutes to report that it was dry afterwards. I found that the plastic clip that holds the sensor in place was trapping water after it was submerged. I stopped using the clip and let the end dangle and it now reports dry within a couple of minutes.

I don’t have any Fibaro devices, but I’ve heard good things.

[quote=“Ron, post:2, topic:35207”]
I like Aeon Tech stuff also, not quite as polished as they often have little intricacies that you have to work around
[/quote]I completely agree, although their Minimote has been working perfectly since day one.

I do have some other ST sensors and I ran into a lot problems with the multi-sensor saying the door was opened when it wasn’t. I try to stick with z-wave devices, except for the ge smartbulbs because they’re so cheap.

There’s a “Home Security Suite” package that comes with 2 contact sensors and a motion/temperature sensor for $50. They’re not a main brand and technically not supported, but I’m using several of them and they’ve been extremely reliable so far.

No device is going to do what you want it to do all the time, at least not on SmartThings network, but you can usually tell by the product reviews which devices to stay clear of.


I have the Fibaro flood sensor and added both external power and sensor leads. These two capabilities were the main reasons I went with the more expensive device.

Adding external power wasn’t difficult. I have a bunch of old power adapters from outdated computer hardware and found one that was 12V. I used a multimeter to confirm the +/- wires and connected them to the terminals. If the power goes out, the internal battery takes over as backup. If you have paired the device with only battery power, you will need to unpair it and then re-pair it when it’s plugged in (and vice versa).

If you add external sensor leads you can detect moisture in multiple areas with a single device. The probes on the bottom of the device are still active, and you could have wires travelling to multiple locations. I have the device on the floor next to my washing machine and a wire that goes to my hot water heater. If moisture is detected at either location, an alert is triggered and the main water valve is closed. The device can’t identify which probe detected the moisture, so if you need different actions based on location, you’ll still need multiple devices. I used 18/2 thermostat wire. The terminals aren’t really big enough to accommodate more than one wire, but you could create a “junction box” outside of the device to send wires off in many directions.

The wires on my external probe are extremely sensitive. If they both touch the concrete under my water heater it establishes a connection and sets off the alert. I’ve got the bare leads hovering a couple millimeters above the concrete.

You have to drill your own holes in the cover if you want to add either external power or probes. I tested all my wiring with the cover off to make sure it worked before drilling the holes.

I doubt that my device will float now that it has stiff wires sticking out of it and holes through the cover, so if it does get flooded I suspect I’ll be out a device. It would probably be safer if I had the device off the floor and external leads going to all my locations.

I’m not sure how accurate the temperature sensor is, but I’m not using temperature to trigger anything, so it’s less of a concern for me.


That is very interesting. But the leads under the device can obviously touch concrete since the the device rests on these leads, I wonder why the wire attached sensing is so much more sensitive ?

I can think of three possible variables:

  1. The metal in the wire conducts differently than the pins on the device
  2. The leads on the wire are closer together than the pins on the device
  3. The water heater is on the raised slab next to the furnace, so maybe the concrete mixture conducts the current differently
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All strong possibilities. I was thinking of #1 maybe heaver gauge or lighter could make it work like the pins on the sensor, Your point about distance is also well taken and finally the mixture being more conductive would imply that the device would fail if placed on the concrete directly so that one could be tested :smile:

Thanks for the feedback. Fibaro site shows a external sensor but I have read reviews that it can’t be acquired so far. I would hope that one could touch the floor.

The probe sensor looks like a nice addition, I am surprised they didn’t make a port to connect to so you don’t have to drill holes. Seems like it could have been relatively easy to do that. Still a nice looking device.

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You’re exactly right! I ended up with the word “senders” when I’m sure I typed “sensors”. Probably autocorrect, although could just be brain jello. It’s what I intended to say! I didn’t know one way or another about the other Fibaro sensors I had just read that the water sensors are either/or battery or ac power. Thanks for letting me know about the motion detectors.

I feel like a bit of an idiot that I hadn’t realized how much of a difference there is in sensors of the same basic type between different manufacturers. I really appreciate hearing and learning about it. I’ll definitely have to do more homework before buying any more.

That’s a fair question and one that I hadn’t realized I had so much choice in. I had planned to use the ST sensors on my front and back doors (where I have the two from the kit now) and I was going to add them to our windows, at a minimum (we only have a few windows as it’s an apartment). What I like is that I can see if anyone goes in or out, opens or closes (door or window) and since I don’t always hear knocking at the door, Iiked that it could pick that up as well. I’ve not setup a lot of scenes or triggers using that but as I continue to get my head around all of this, I will. I also liked the idea that if anyone tried to break a window rather than opening it (which would bypass a normal open/close sensor) I’d still know of the intrusion due to the vibration sensor. I’m wide open to suggestions as I’d really like to get stuff that will make this whole setup as easy as possible to create and maintain. I thought about adding some open/close sensors to a few inside doors as well for triggering some lights etc.

Thank you for letting me know about the switches. The reviews were actually more positive than ST outlet so it seemed good bit it’s always helpful and comforting to hear it from a community member who knows. The info about the mesh network is interesting. I had written a post a few months ago as I was learning and just starting asking people if they tried to stick with a single protocol or if it didn’t matter and I got some very interesting replies. The concensus was to build both networks out to be strong is most ideal as you can use whatever you want then but one or two people said to just stick with one protocol only. But they couldn’t say which one. My problem was that I already have a decent mesh for Zigbee due to 12 or 15 Hue bulbs in my system. When that’s over an apartment, I have OK coverage. Then, the four ST things that came with the starter kit are also Zigbee. I did have an epic debacle with pairing my Zigbee ST things - so much that I almost bailed to another system entirely. I would go through the pairing process and the app would just keep looking for literally hours and not connect. Support was sssssllllooooowwww and I tried everything I could find anything answer. Having to wait multiple days for a support response was bad enough but made excruciating they sent a link for me to try, when I had quoted from that exact link in my first email as I had already found and tried all that. I would have been stark raving crazy if a community member hadn’t suggested moving my ST box away from the router as it can wreck havoc on the Zigbee spectrum. This worked but I was warned that I may have to go with z-wave, as Zigbee may always have issues with my existing router. I’ve been hesitate to add Z-Wave as I don’t know what will happen to Z-Wave when Zigbee fragments/adds the new “works with Nest” protocol sensors to the system. But it sounds like many people work primarily with Z-wave on the ST system. So, I’ll probably go that route as well, regardless of the kit pieces/things, my Hue lights, etc. It sounds like most of the Z-Wave items will work with any really controller which gives a backup plan should ST continue to have trouble. I just need to keep learning now and pick the right ones for each job!

Really interesting. I had the same experience with my ST multi sensors. They built such a narrow strip of contact that it wouldn’t line up without my adding a wedge thick enough to bring the two pieces of the sensor closer together when closed. It’s stupid to have to create hacks to make it work, when most people likely have door frames that could have trouble with mounting one of the these.

Maybe there’s an alternative way to mount these that is a workaround for these problems??

[quote=“Raeven, post:12, topic:35207”]
They built such a narrow strip of contact that it wouldn’t line up without my adding a wedge thick enough to bring the two pieces of the sensor closer together when closed.
[/quote]I thought I got mine to work by having the strip hanging over the door, but when it got really cold it started reporting that it was open every couple of hours. I also had problems with the vibration sensor causing it to report open whenever I walked near the door.

[quote=“Raeven, post:12, topic:35207”]
Maybe there’s an alternative way to mount these that is a workaround for these problems??
[/quote]It will probably work fine as an interior door, window, temperature and/or vibration sensor, but I think anyone trying to use it for an external door is going to run into problems.

I have been using the Wallyhome system by SNUPI Technologies for over a year.

I have four sensors that work well and wish I could buy more.
Unfortunately, SNUPI stopped selling the devices last April.

My Wallyhome sensors are connected to Smartthings through an IFTTT recipe and close a Leaksmart valve I bought at Lowes if water is detected. It also sounds an alarm using the Smartthings VLC Thing device handler.

Fortunately, I recently learned that SNUPI Technologies has been acquired by Sears

and that they will be introducing a new upgraded version of the Wallyhome system in the next few months. I think I will be waiting to see what they come up with before I add on to my system.

RE: the probe - unfortunately, yes - it’s vapourware. A pair of high-gauge wires (e.g. repurposed CAT6) will achieve the same, but they don’t look as pretty.

The flood sensor does have some little knock-outs for screws in the rear of the casing, which could be used to port the wires.