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The Best Smart Home Sensors Every Smart Home Should Have

Motion, temperature, and contact sensors become an extra pair of eyes for a smart home. They integrate easily with other smart IoT devices to trigger lights, speakers, plugs, and thermostats based on weather and temperature changes. These IoT smart sensors are quick to pick up movement when someone enters a room and then triggers other actions or devices; they also stand guard when you are not home.

When you use them with Apple’s HomeKit, they can also detect when changes occur, including opening and closing doors or windows. However, only a few options are available so far, but we think the Fibaro Motion Sensor is the best. While for anyone planning a smart-home system around the Samsung SmartThings hub should get the Samsung SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor or the Philips Hue Outdoor Smart Motion Sensor for their reliability and compatibility with Alexa.

What’s the Best Smart Home Sensors for HomeKit, SmartThings, or Alexa 2021

1. Best motion and temperature sensor for HomeKit: Fibaro Motion Sensor

Fibaro is one of the best smart wireless motion and temperature sensors for HomeKit users. Its stunning, eye-catching sensor boasts a 30-foot range: This sensor is quick to pick up movement when someone enters a room and then triggers other actions or devices. But unlike most Motion Sensors available, the Fibaro’s sensor also detects temperature, vibration, and light intensity, giving you more options with which to trigger smart-home devices automatically.

We like the Fibaro Motion Sensor because of its compact design and excellent mounting options that make it easy to fit securely and discreetly into any corner of your house. We also like that it works for multiple sensors all at once. However, you’ll need to use the free Fibaro’s app to access more functionality out of it.

The Fibaro Motion smart home sensors are available in 2 versions – the Z-Wave version, which is compatible with Amazon Echo and Samsung SmartThings, and there’s also one for HomeKit users.

Pros:

  • Accurate
  • Easy to fit and use
  • Compact design
  • Highly customizable
  • Four sensors in one (very sensitive and can be adjusted)

Cons:

  • Only battery-powered operation
  • No humidity measurement sensor

2. Best temperature and humidity sensor for HomeKit: Eve Degree

If you seek complete control over the temperature of your home or office, the Elgato Eve Degree is a beautiful and straightforward device that connects directly to your HomeKit. It can accurately monitor and alert you about the temperature, humidity, and air atmospheric of any room.

This motion sensor is part of Eve Systems’ smart home automation, which aims at Apple users, and as such, it relies more on Apple’s HomeKit. However, it is handy to monitoring conditions in a sensitive room such as a wine cellar, cigar room, and nursery.

It is the only sensor that displays readings on an e ink screen, which is incredibly convenient because you don’t have to use the app to check the temperature. However, you will need to use Eve’s app to access some of its cooler features.

Pros:

  • Straightforward setup
  • Low-power Bluetooth
  • Weatherproof
  • Integration easily with HomeKit
  • Solid battery life

Cons:

  • Display is basic
  • Expensive if you only want data logging
  • Only compatible with Apple smart home

3. The best contact sensor SmartThings: Samsung SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor

SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor is one of the more capable sensors we reviewed. At just $20, you get a three-in-1 gadget that can detect temperature, vibration, and contact. It’s slim, useful, and good-looking contact smart home sensors for SmartThings. Contact sensors give you one key piece of information: tell you when something is open or close, especially a front porch, as it can detect knocking. It also does a few other tricks, as well as what the temperature is in the vicinity, control lights when someone enters/leaves the room, and more.

We also like the whole device being magnetic, which can be easily placed anywhere, including your mailbox or gate. It is an excellent gadget for home automation and great compatibility with multiple smart devices, including Zigbee hubs like the Echo Plus or second-gen Echo Show. Though you’ll get the best results if you’re connecting it to a SmartThings Hub

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to Set up and use
  • Extremely versatile
  • It also works with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, SmartThings

Cons:

  • The vibration sensor is unreliable.
  • Only one color option

4. Philips Hue Outdoor Smart Motion Sensor

Probably the most adaptable and effective lighting system, Philips Hue Motion Sensor may be the intelligent device that allows your home to work for you instead of against you. The Philips Hue Outdoor motion sensor, compatible with all three assistants, including Alexa, HomeKit, and SmartThings, and it’s three sensors in one: temperature, motion, and ambient light. It’s available in a pack with one or two switches or individually.

If you need to, you can combine more of these smart home sensors to turn the lights on and off on the front porch, light the hallway, or on the side of your house to light the adjacent room to scare away potential burglars. However, you’ll need the Philips Hue Bridge. The Philips Hue Outdoor motion sensor does what it says it will do! Works brilliantly with the Hue hub, the apps responsive are the best among all the motion sensors, with accurate real-time feedback that makes it easy to read and light bulbs to automate entirely.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to mount
  • Long battery life
  • Flexible lighting scene options
  • Very responsive to motion detection
  • Work with Alexa, HomeKit, and SmartThings

Cons:

  • Require a Hue bridge
  • Occasional response lag to the motion

5. Best temperature smart sensor for SmartThings: Aeotec MultiSensor 6 (Z-Wave Plus)

If you already have your house filled with smart home devices for SmartThings and looking for other possibilities, you should consider adding the Eve Degree temperature sensor. It’s a handy small temperature sensor that is a good fit for SmartThings. This affordable, versatile temperature sensor monitor’s vibration, humidity, motion, UV, and light (were synchronized and reporting within few minutes), making it apt to control any Z-Wave smart thermostat or monitoring a sensitive room.

Aeotec’s MultiSensor 6 is our best temperature control for monitoring spaces where the temperature is critical. A USB cable can power this smart home sensor. The adjustable mount allows for consistent performance. In general, you can use just the Samsung SmartThings app to control your sensors and set your home automation.

Pros:

  • It did not require a firmware update.
  • Less prone to false-positive motion detection
  • Seamless install with Vera and SmartThings controllers
  • Two years Battery life or a USB cable (it comes with one or the other)

Cons:

  • Pricy
  • SmartThings’ app doesn’t offer push notifications.

6. Best for privacy: Minut Smart Home Sensor

The Minut Smart Home Sensor is a multi-sensor device that takes a privacy-first approach to home security and does not use cameras in the device. The multi-sensor device doesn’t depend on your deploying sensors all over the house, and you don’t have to worry about your home security system spying on you.

The all-in-one smart home sensors monitor motion, sound, and environmental conditions and send push notifications when detecting actions and abnormal readings. Minut Smart Home Alarm device is also easy to set up and use, exceptionally accurate, inexpensive, good battery life, and more sensitive to privacy than other home security devices. However, we’d like for it to be able to trigger other smart devices such as lights and thermostats. Even so, it’s still highly recommended to the ones with a camera.

You can share the device alerts with friends and family, the “Smart Neighborhood Watch,” aso lets you share your system alerts with your neighbor. However, none of this seems particularly worth the $7.99-per-month subscription.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Help detect intruders
  • Attractive design
  • Loud siren
  • Completely wireless
  • Good night-light feature
  • The most responsive sensors I’ve ever encountered
  • Supports Alexa and Google voice commands

Cons:

  • Responsive sensitive; easily set off by pets.
  • Can’t control smart devices such as lights, locks, and thermostats

7. Budget pick: Aqara Temperature and Humidity Sensor

If you’ve got the Aqara G2H Camera or Aqara Hub, odds are you’ve their smart sensors to go along with it. While they report humidity and temperature, this sensor is handy for your bathroom to control the ventilation. It’s among the cheapest HomeKit Smart Home Motion Sensor to incorporate heating so that you know the actual temperature in every room. However, they need an Aqara Hub to communicate with HomeKit

Unique to this sensor is its size, half the size of the Fibaro – the small sensor can mount just about anywhere with a swivel base. It comes with a connectivity button and an adhesive at the back. It works via the Zigbee protocol, and you can read the current and past values sent to Xiaomi’s Mijia Hub via the Mi Home app.

Aqara’s motion, temperature, and contact smart home sensors work reliably and are easy to set up. Individually they are less expensive, which makes them an easy-to-recommend budget choice.

Though, Aqara has a range of sensors and devices that include a bridge for $102. It’s available in a Smart Home Starter Kit that contains motion, temperature, and contact sensors. Plus, a smart switch, a smart plug, a vibration sensor, and a leak sensor. The Starter Kit is the best buy if you don’t want to spend much buying each sensor all over your home.

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Solid hardware
  • About 2-year battery life
  • Easily install on a wall, ceiling, or flat surface
  • Lots of compatible IoT devices
  • Works with HomeKit, Alexa, Google

Cons:

  • Difficult to pair with SmartThings
  • Don’t have any visual indicators

8.Budget pick home sensors: ONVIS Smart Motion Sensor

The Onvis Motion Sensor is least expensive than the Eve motion sensor that is compatible with Apple HomeKit. It doesn’t require a hub, unlike the Phillips motion sensor. It’s effortless to use, and you can set the timeout session after a motion is triggered. Since it’s Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, it responds fast (maybe 5 seconds or more quickly), all without account registration or a separate app.

We certainly appreciate and hail the ONVIS Smart Motion Sensor for its ability to pack three beneficial sensors (including humidity, motion, and temperature sensors) into a small and very affordable package. However, we’d like that the ONVIS didn’t include an ambient light sensor, a crucial component for a motion sensor.

For automation in the Home app, you can only use the motion sensor as a trigger. While 3rd party apps like ‘Eve for HomeKit users’ allow all three sensors to be used in automation. Overall, the wireless PIR detector is potentially the best HomeKit bargain considering it’s three in one sensor make this that much better.

Pros:

  • Setup is straightforward and simple
  • Tells motion detection, humidity, and temperature
  • Instant response time
  • Excellent compact size sleek design
  • The app is easily accessible and navigable

Cons:

  • lack of device support
  • The app seems a little clunky

How we picked the best smart home sensors for HomeKit, SmartThings, or Alexa

For this guide, we looked at the most common smart home sensors, including motion, temperature, and contact, rather than models focused on safety, such as smoke, freeze, water, and carbon monoxide sensors.

We went through numerous feedbacks, technical specs along with poring over Apple’s relatively comprehensive HomeKit device page. After we discovered more about these devices, we distilled the conclusions about which smart home sensors stand out. We also examined whether it could offer adequate protection rather than a regular protection system.

The three types of smart sensors we focused on, and everything you can use them for:

Motion sensors

Motion sensor gives you the option to mount it to a wall or sit on a flat surface. They are handy for triggering lights and other IoT devices to turn on or trigger HomeKit automation where multiple devices are combined. For example, you can set a motion detector in the hallway so that anyone passing by at a particular time. Will trigger the hallway lights to turn on, the front door to lock, and the thermostat to lower. Motion sensors can be customized to perform particular functions, even to alert the police.

Contact sensors

Contact sensors have two components, a magnet, and a detector. The status (open and closed) can produce real-time smartphone alerts whenever a door is open around the house. They’re typically installed on each side of a door, window, drawer, or just about anything else that opens and closes. Contact sensors have plenty of creative potentials; you can also place them on baby gates, pet doors, curtains, liquor cabinets, garage, or medicine doors; just about anything you might want to know about when it’s access

Temperature sensor

Temperature smart home sensors can monitor its environment’s humidity and temperature and signal temperature changes triggering a heater to turn on or a smart-plug-enabled fan or a thermostat to adjust. They can also alert you to an entrance door that someone has left open. It is handy to monitoring conditions in a sensitive room such as a baby’s room, wine cellar, or cigar room

If you’re interested in other home security systems, see our guide to best home assistance. We cover other environmental sensors in our guides to the best air quality monitor and smoke smart detector.

Federico Pacifici
CEO of IoT Worlds. Creative and innovative IoT Engineer, Project Manager and Digital Marketing Specialist with strong passion and skills on high-tech. Able to see the IoT big picture. Build, propose and provide end-to-end turnkey IoT Projects. Experienced in large and complex projects in different market (Automotive, Oil and Gas, Healthcare, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Smart Cities, Telecom) and countries.
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