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Fibaro Flood Sensor review: Fibaro Flood Sensor boasts versatility and clever design

Inside the Flood Sensor, Fibaro has also streamlined the design. Most users will only use the single button and see the single LED, but a row of terminals also opens up the possibility of creative tech combinations. For example, you can connect the flood sensor to a permanent power source, alarm systems or even a camera that will begin recording when the probes sense water.

I really like the internal terminals for a few reasons. First, you can completely ignore them and still have a solid product. But they also provide options for security expansion at any budget -- from a couple bucks for wires to use as additional probes to a couple hundred for a camera system that will begin recording when a flood starts. The terminals also allow for personalization, so the needs of a variety of users -- from the casual consumer to the intense DIYer -- can be met. The directions even provide helpful diagrams for setting up these integrations.

This unlikely combination of streamlined interface and optional build-out capabilities, along with nice touches like flotation and a beeping alarm, make the Fibaro Flood Sensor a balanced and exciting addition to a smart-home setup.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Features

While the Fibaro boasts a clever design, it is a little too light on features. It senses water about as well as any other moisture detector on the market, which is to say, you'll get an alert if water is touching two of its probes. But where Fibaro could've distinguished itself with a humidity sensor or some other feature to improve its flood sensing focus, it instead measures temperature with surprising specificity (e.g., this morning the house was precisely 71.46 degrees F).

The one creative feature is a tilt sensor that alerts users if the Fibaro is removed from where it is supposed to be. While I appreciate this feature -- especially given that this Sensor is not anchored to a wall or floor like some others -- it only works half the time. If the Fibaro is flipped over, it will almost always beep and alert you to its displacement, but if it is bumped and slides away, it rarely alerts you.

Overall, though the Fibaro's tilt sensor might distinguish it from some competitors, it simply doesn't contribute enough to its flood sensing capabilities to make much difference.

Conclusion

Put simply, the Fibaro Flood Sensor works well. It detects water, integrates with SmartThings and has impressive Z-Wave range. Although the build-out functions might be intimidating to casual consumers, the Fibaro's flexibility makes it a good investment for anyone hoping to put together a home disaster security system. The only feature that suffered some glitches when I was working with it was the tilt sensor, which has limited functionality.

If you need a sensor for a particular drain -- and that's all -- then I'd recommend one of the $40 ones you can get from SmartThings or Aeon Labs. But for most other people, the Fibaro is a solid buy -- especially if you live in a flood plain, if your pipes are prone to burst, or if your basement floods often.

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