Smart leak detectors have been around for years now, and we've tested a bunch of them. At $80, Delta's new Wi-Fi leak detector offers the solid functionality we've come to expect along with some additional user-friendly features. Is this leak detector a game-changing must-have? With its waterproofing issues and lack of smart home integrations, I have to say no.
Delta does start strong though, with a sleek, white disc design. This low-profile device isn't an eyesore and should fit in most utility closets and under-sink spaces without being intrusive. Two concentric rings of conductive metal monitor for the presence of unwanted moisture. A single button on the top of the device surrounded by an LED light ring acts as the main physical interface.
Beyond leak detection, Delta incorporates the ability to monitor temperature. Set the threshold for low and high temps in the app and you'll receive notifications if your space exceeds the limits. This could be especially helpful for cold winter nights when pipes could be at risk for freezing. The app also includes a log of timestamped temperature, leak and alert history.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of Delta's leak detector is the hub-free Wi-Fi connectivity. This detector connects to Wi-Fi through your mobile phone via the app, eliminating the need for a smart home hub. Removing the smart-hub middleman is a welcome feature, but it's not new. The Roost Smart Water Leak Detector, D-Link Wi-Fi Water Sensor and Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi Leak and Freeze Detector all pull it off, too.
Setup is simple enough. Inside the box, you'll find the detector, a quick start guide and three AAA batteries, which Delta says will last about two years. Certain activities do require higher battery usage. Multiple leak alerts, a detector being offline for an extended period of time or a firmware update will drain the battery. Delta sends an alert to change the batteries once they reach 20 percent. You can also view the battery life percentage and signal strength at any time in the app.
To get started, you'll download the Delta Leak Detector app from the App Store or from the Google Play Store and create a profile. On-screen instructions will help you configure your device. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi must be functioning on your mobile device to complete setup. The leak detector is not compatible with 5GHz Wi-Fi and won't show those networks in the available Wi-Fi options.
The detector's ability to independently connect to your home's Wi-Fi without going through a smart hub is a plus. It simplifies setup and presumably means fewer connectivity issues. However, if the power goes out, in most cases your Wi-Fi will too, and the device won't be able to send you notifications.
You can name the detector for the appliance you'd like to monitor. There's plenty of opportunity for customization here. Choose from a list of common leaky appliances (think "sump pump," "sink," "toilet" or "water heater") or create your own device name using the "Other" category.
Delta includes the option to add multiple users for SMS and email alerts. I like this feature for extra insurance, in case I'm out of town or otherwise not able to respond to a leak notification.
In addition to mobile alerts, the device also beeps and flashes its center LED when it detects a problem. Placed in a high-traffic area like under a kitchen sink or behind a toilet, this is a welcome back-up notification system. The beeps and flashes last about 10 seconds and occur every 30 seconds for three repetitions. However, if the detector were in a utility room or closet I doubt anyone would notice, as the beeping isn't very loud and doesn't last very long.
I tested water both above and around the device with success. With the detector sitting directly beneath one of my fake leaks, it took around 10 droplets for the water to roll down the device's edge and contact the metal rings. This is where I think Delta gets it right, by adding the ability to detect leaks before real pooling or flooding begins.
There are some caveats to using this device for water sensing, though. First, Delta states in the user guide that the device is not designed for complete submersion. Delta does say the battery cover is designed to be tight enough to keep water out, but it also recommends replacing the device entirely if water reaches the battery compartment. For me, that's hard to swallow considering the $80 price tag. Last year's Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi Leak and Freeze Detector debuted with the same annoying issue.
Second, this leak detector lacks meaningful smart-home integrations. Though it was developed with iDevices, don't be fooled. Delta's leak detector doesn't integrate with major voice-assistant platforms like Apple's Homekit, Google Home or Amazon's Alexa. Delta uses iDevices technology for Wi-Fi pairing, but you're completely dependent on the standalone Delta Leak Detector app for controls and notifications.
Delta's leak detector is set to enter the market this fall at $80, making it one of the more expensive smart leak detectors available. While it does offer easy setup, a companion app with good customization options and a sleek design, the price tag seems high.
This leak detector seems squarely aimed at competing with the similarly priced Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi Leak and Freeze Detector. But for the same money, Honeywell offers a cable to extend detection range, IFTTT compatibility and humidity measuring.
That leaves Delta's Leak Detector as a visually attractive but pricey alternative. It comes with quite a few useful features, but it isn't without its waterproofing flaws. It is currently available for preorder, with a release date set for October 12.