Feeling overwhelmed by the variety of smart home sensors available? I’ve been there too.
Whether it’s for security, comfort, or cost savings, fortunately, I’ve spent hours researching to compile a comprehensive list of all the different types.
I hope this guide can clear things up a bit.
Different Types of Smart Home Sensors: The List
In short, here are all the different types of smart home sensors available today:
Before we dive into comparing these various types of smart home sensors and identifying their applications and benefits.
There are many factors to consider before purchasing a smart sensor. But once you have the useful information, I promise you, it’s not that complicated!
Read this article in its entirety, and you’ll find all the answers to your questions.
Let’s dive in.
Stand-alone Smart Sensors vs Versatile Smart Sensors
Many types of smart home sensors are sold as standalone products. In most cases, it simply doesn’t make sense to purchase a product that only performs one of the functions described above.
I made this mistake early in my home automation journey. In the end, I ended up returning or not using the “standalone” products.
The reason is simple: most new smart home products on the market incorporate multiple sensor capabilities. They’re versatile products!
For instance, one of my favorite versatile sensors is the Aeotec Multisensor 7. It’s a motion, temperature, humidity, light, UV, vibration sensor!
If you’re interested in purchasing the Aeotec Multisensor 7, you can buy it here on Amazon.
That said, standalone sensors have their place.
What to Consider Before Buying Smart Sensors
Before detailing the applications of each type of smart sensor, here are some additional elements to consider before making your purchase.
- Required Hub/Bridge: Hubs simply connect all your devices together. If the smart sensor you’re buying only requires WiFi and you don’t wish to integrate it with other products in the future, you probably don’t need a Hub. But in most cases, you’ll want to make sure you have the right hub that works with the product. (Examples of hubs: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings…)
- Protocol Compatibility (often referred to as interoperability): Your device utilizes a certain “protocol” to communicate and integrate all your smart devices. Make sure the smart sensor you’re purchasing is compatible with this protocol. Often, the product simply lists the hubs it works with, and this information is sufficient for you to make a purchase. (Examples of protocol: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, ZiggBee)
- Range: Usually measured in meters and largely dependent on the type of smart hub/protocol you’re working with. If you plan to place your sensor at a great distance, there are a variety of range extenders that can solve this problem.
- Battery life: Some sensors are mains powered, others are battery powered, and some offer both options. Battery life can vary from a few months to a few years, depending on the device and usage. Always consider this when choosing your sensors.
- Setup: How easy is it to setup? Some sensors are as simple as sticking to a surface, others require wiring or screwing into place.
- Price: As with any product, price is a key consideration. Make sure you have a budget in mind when looking at different sensors.
- Security: It needs to be safe to use and also secured to avoid data breach or interceptions. (avoid cheap Chinese devices).
The 15 Types of Smart Home Sensors
Now that you’re familiar with what to consider before buying, let’s take a closer look at each type of sensor.
- Motion Sensors: These detect movement in a given area, and they’re commonly used in security systems and to automate lights.
- Contact Sensors: Also known as door/window sensors, these detect when a door or window opens or closes.
- Water Leak Sensors: These sensors alert you when a water leak is detected, possibly preventing major damage.
- Gas Leak Sensors: Similar to water leak sensors, these detect gas leaks and alert you, potentially preventing a disaster.
- Smoke Detectors : These devices are pretty self-explanatory and are vital for every home.
- Carbon Monoxide Sensors: These detect the silent, deadly gas, carbon monoxide.
- Temperature and Humidity Sensors: These are often used for managing HVAC systems more efficiently or detecting drastic temperature/humidity changes.
- Light and UV Sensors: These detect the level of ambient light and UV radiation, and can be used to automate lighting or blinds, and monitor UV radiation levels in the home.
- Sound Sensors: These detect noise levels and can be used for security purposes or to automate devices based on noise level.
- Occupancy Sensors: These sensors are used to detect if someone is in a room and can be used to control lighting, heating, and cooling systems.
- Vibration Sensors: These sensors can detect if an object or surface it’s attached to is being moved or disturbed.
- Air Quality Sensors: These sensors measure the quality of the air inside your home, checking for dust, allergens, and other pollutants.
- Electricity Consumption Sensors: These sensors help monitor the power consumption of your home, providing insights to help you manage your energy use more efficiently.
- Position Sensors: These sensors can detect the position of an object or person in space. They are often used in smart home automation for things like tracking the position of a robotic vacuum or the open/closed status of a garage door.
- Location Sensors: Often used in larger properties or for specific security purposes, these sensors can help identify the location of devices or individuals within the property.
Each of these sensors has a different application and can significantly improve the convenience, efficiency, and security of your smart home system.