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CNET First Look
Make Sense of your home's energy usageThe $299 Sense Home Energy Monitor displays energy stats, but there's a catch.
[MUSIC] If you're trying to cut down on your home's energy usage, it can be hard to figure out which devices are using the most electricity. You could always measure out your electric meter, but old analog models like this one at the CNET Smart Home are particularly difficult to read. And they don't provide itemized lists of individual devices and their energy breakdown. The $299 Sense home energy monitor wants to make it easier to see which products are doing the most damage to your monthly electric bill. And to some extent, it delivers on its promise. The first hurdle is installation. This is not a DIY process. You'll want to enlist an electrician to remove the breaker panel and to hookup your Sense unit. It should only take them about ten minutes, though. After that you can see real-time stats of your home's energy usage in the Sense app. Sense learn new devices over time and will shoot you and email letting you know it's identified your dryer or your fridge. This worked fairly well, but the discovery process took weeks, and after more than a month of testing, Sense has only managed to ID three specific devices, and two unnamed motors. [MUSIC] You simply don't have any control over how and when Sense learns new appliances. And that can be frustrating. Sense told me the strength of your wi-fi connection can impact how quickly it finds specific products, but even so. I expected it to detect more devices in five weeks. Sense is a decent energy monitor, if you want to view, at a glance, whole home stats. But it doesn't do a great job distinguishing among individual devices. It also costs 50 bucks more than its competitor [UNKNOWN]. I'd skip [UNKNOWN] for now and hope it improves its device detection. [MUSIC]