“Smarthome” and “Internet of Things” now occupy space in even the most technophobic person’s vocabulary. It’s really no surprise… home automation is pretty awesome. You probably know about smart thermostats, Wi-Fi cameras, and Google Home… but what about monitoring tools?
Want to know how warm it is inside your attic? Maybe you want to keep tabs on the humidity in your basement. Or… keep tabs on the conditions in your humidor from anywhere. You need a wireless temperature sensor or wireless humidity sensor.
After reading reviews and specs on some of the more popular options out there; we decided to order a product called Sensor Push. There are a couple of quirks, but we’ll cover those later. First, let’s cover the features, setup, and first impressions of the sensorpush.
What does a Sensor Push do?
If you’re in the market for WiFi humidity sensor or want to set up remote temperature monitoring via cell phone; Sensor Push is a great place to start. Now the small Sensor Push “puck” isn’t technically a Wi-Fi device. It uses Bluetooth technology to transfer data directly to your smartphone. The problem with that is that the smartphone and sensor need to be in the same general area to connect to one another. The Bluetooth works well in your home or apartment, but if you want remote temperature and humidity monitoring from say… another country you’ll need another device.
The Sensor Push device that lets you keep tabs on basement humidity in Seattle from the comfort of your hotel room in Rome… is this Wi-Fi Gateway. It costs twice as much as a single Sensor Push sensor… but it is the only way you can see temperature and humidity data from anywhere with internet connectivity. Oh, and there’s no monthly fee or anything. Just buy it and connect to the device/web. We didn’t buy one for this review… but we probably will in the future. (We’re always worried about water leaks / ice dams while we’re away from home… especially in the winter).
It tracks humidity…
This is what really brought us to eventually purchase a Sensor Push. We’re located in a arid part of the country so we like to keep tabs on relative humidity. Keeping it in the 40-50% range really seems to help with our allergies, snoring, and cold recovery. There are other benefits, but you can check those out here, we’ll keep this review focused on the device.
It’s probably the coolest and most user friendly hygrometer we’ve ever used or reviewed. But, we’re a little techy and a lot lazy… so keep that in mind. If you want to walk around your home checking humidity on ten old school devices like a luddite be our guest. But, if you want to open an app and see what’s going on in your humidor or nursery, keep reading.
It monitors temperature…
If you had to tell someone from the 1800’s what this device does… you’d probably start by telling them that it’s a type of thermometer. And, when you strip away the tech and such that’s exactly what it is. We’ll that and a hygrometer, but we covered that above. So why not just get a thermometer? Convenience of course.
We’re kind of paranoid. Whenever we leave town in the winter we check the forecast to see the predicted low temperatures. And, while we’ve never had a HVAC system fail… if there’s freezing weather in the forecast we open the cabinets under every sink. Just to buy a little more time should our heater fail and indoor temps start to head toward freezing. Paired with a Sensorpush Gateway the Sensor Push turns into a WiFi thermometer, or more accurately a WiFi temperature sensor. Thus allowing us to periodically check in and make sure the heat is still running.
It tells you when it’s too hot, cold, dry, damp…
What good would a smartphone connected device be without some awesome notification tools and historical data collection. If you’re worried about a temperature drop… have it notify you when it senses a temperature lower than 40 degrees (or any temp measured to 1/10th of a degree). If you have basement moisture problems… have the device tell you when humidity (rH) exceeds 65 percent. Awesome, right?
It provides historical data…
We love charts and data. And, sensorpush doesn’t disappoint. In fact each little sensor will hold 20 days of information and then load it to your phone when its in range.
Our Favorite Uses…
We mentioned keeping an eye on humidity to tip you off to a leak or heater failure above. But, there are actually way more practical uses for this device in your everyday life. Here are a few of our favorites.
Monitor a baby’s room without any accidental wake ups.
Our heating system is split into three zones. And, our nursery is on a zone that’s thermostat is located outside of the room itself. So when the door is shut our smart home has no clue what’s going on inside the room where our baby sleeps. The heating system just pumps heated air into that zone until the air surrounding the HVAC sensor reaches the predetermined temperature. Not a huge deal if your a full grown human; you can make a few adjustments and get comfortable.
That’s not the case with a baby. So to optimize sleep time for everyone we used a standalone electronic thermometer/hygrometer and a oil heater to keep baby his ideal sleep temperature. The downside is that we were always getting up to make sure everything is where it should be (from a heating standpoint). Being fairly lazy and constantly sleep deprived lead us to a search for wireless temperature monitoring tools.
Protect your Coop, Incubator, or Greenhouse
A wifi temperature sensor is a great way to make sure your chickens are comfortable. It will work best when the coop is closer to the house or near the Wi-Fi Gateway. That way you can just set up a minimum temperature notification and stop making trips to the coop. It’s also works well in an incubator for maintaining both temperature and humidity.
Similar to keeping tabs on your chickens, these work awesome in a greenhouse.
Keep an Eye on your Humidor (temp / humidity)
If there’s one thing that ruins cigars it’s a lack of humidity. You store them in a humidor… that’s how crucial humidity is to cigars. They named the storage device after what you MUST do to keep them in good condition. Plus cigars are pretty pricey, you can’t really find a good one or less than five to ten dollars. Multiply that by 50 to 100 and a wireless humidity sensor becomes cheap insurance on a huge investment.
Monitor Fridge or Freezer
We’re pretty skeptical about temperature readings provided by built in sensors. A bluetooth sensor is a great way to set your over analytical mind at ease. It’s also a great way to make sure that freezer in the garage is good to go. We had an entire freezer’s worth of food ruined a few years ago when the garage’s GFCI circuit breaker tripped. Since the freezer was only opened every week or two… the contents were pretty nasty when we finally opened the fridge.
Speaking of refrigeration. One of our favorite uses for the sensor push is inside of our 12 Volt ARB car fridge. If you’re a camper and haven’t seen one before… they’re a game changer. No more wet sandwiches, no more ice, no more worries about the kids leaving opening the lid of your cooler to often. The downside is that both the cooling element and the temperature sensor are located in the floor of the fridge. This makes for super cold items on the bottom and warmer items as you move toward the lid. A Sensor Push works great as a remote temperature sensor (cooler in the cargo area, phone on the dash) and it will give you a better idea of the true conditions inside the cooler.
Keep Tabs on Your Wine Collection
Wine corks need humidity. Sure the wine side of the cork is always wet, but in an arid climate the dry side can compromise the entire bottle. Too dry and the seal that protects the wine will fail. Not enough humidity and that cork will crumble when you’re ready to enjoy that bottle you’ve been saving for years. Wine is expensive, a collection of 10-20 bottles can easily set you back $1,000 so a sensor push is cheap insurance. Especially for those bottles that hold more sentimental value than monetary.
Protect Musical Instruments
It’s no secret that humidity can wreak havoc on any instrument constructed from wood. These work great in a guitar case. They’re small, and the finish seems like it wouldn’t scratch the guitar’s finish. It’s a pretty affordable way to see what’s going on inside that case. We presume it would also work well inside a piano.
Monitor Boats, Camper Trailers, and RV’s
After you winterize that Airstream a sensor like this is great to keep tabs on the humidity levels inside between seasons. If you keep it at a storage facility it will be a challenge to monitor it remotely, but the 20 days of historical data can be very valuable. Swing by every month or so and see sync the data, if you see moisture spikes or higher than desirable humidity levels add some more dehumidification.
Monitor a Vaccine Fridge or other Medical Storage
If you’re refrigerating vaccines (or other medical products) a wifi temperature sensor is a great tool to add to your arsenal. You can set up multiple sensors in different areas and connect them to a gateway for remote monitoring. You can even set an alarm to notify you when the temp rises.
Setting up your sensor push
Set up is very, very easy. You don’t even need to flip a switch or plug anything in to get the sensor up and running. We’ll cover the setup on iOS below just for kicks…
Step 1: Remove from box. Step 2: Download the Smart Push app. Step 3: Start the app. Step 4: Place the Sensor Push on your Phone’s screen when prompted. Step 5: Name the device and set your temperature and humidity parameters. Step 6: Calibrate, place, and monitor.
Bluetooth vs Wi-Fi
In the world of smart home devices Wi-Fi is the best way to go almost all of the time. It’s pretty reliable and allows you to control your gadgets from almost anywhere. The downside to Wi-Fi devices is that their way more expensive than Bluetooth. It’s also a bit more of a power hog.
When we were shopping for a wifi temperature sensor and hygrometer, we found a true Wifi device called “Temp Stick.” The sensorpush product we ended up buying cost about one third the price… and temp stick doesn’t have a hygrometer. While Wifi is typically better, we just couldn’t justify the price jump. Plus, for the price of the Temp Stick we could get a single Sensorpush along with their Wi-Fi Gateway. Which would give us Wi-Fi, remote temperature monitoring from a smartphone, and a hygrometer.
To be completely honest… we initially saw “Bluetooth” and thought about it’s shortcomings first. We wanted a Wifi sensor. Wi-Fi is better, right? But, then we saw the price and warmed up a bit. Then we started thinking about power consumption, and Bluetooth started looking pretty good. The SensorPush is tiny and the battery lasts 12-24 months. A similar wifi device would either need to be much larger or require a wall outlet.
Going with Sensor Push allows you to give wireless temp and humidity monitoring a try for a very reasonable price of entry. Then if you choose to, pick up a Wi-Fi gateway and check in on your home or office from anywhere. From there you can grow your network of sensors for a pretty low price. You could have a sensor in your damp basement, one in the nursery, another in a humidor, and a fourth for your wine fridge…all for the price of two Wi-Fi sensors.
Bottom line; we’re very happy with the Sensor Push. We think you will be as well.