Review: Xiaomi Aqara Zigbee Water Leak Sensor

Introduction

 

I was always intrigued by Xiaomi as a company, but when I tried to find a review or guide for their IoT products I was never able to find any good reviews. That is why I hope to review all of Xiaomi/Aqara/Mijia’s products to help you decide on your new setup! For this review, we have arrived at another item where you might wonder what benefit IoT brings to it. As Xiaomi continues on to be the biggest seller of IoT in the world, I can only hope they keep adding new affordable products to their line-up!

Specifications

Weight Product weight: 0.0200 kg
Package weight: 0.0380 kg
Dimensions Product size (L x W x H): 5.00 x 5.00 x 1.50 cm / 1.97 x 1.97 x 0.59 inches
Package size (L x W x H): 12.00 x 17.00 x 1.65 cm / 4.72 x 6.69 x 0.65 inches
Package Contents 1 x Water Sensor
1 x Chinese Manual (Click here for English manual)
Powered by CR2032 Cell battery (Included)
Features
  • Remote Alert (get a notification on your phone)
  • IP67 waterproof (as you’d expect)
  • Able to detect the water when it is only 0.5mm (cannot detect water level)
  • Zigbee Wireless Technology
  • Compatible with SmartThings
  • Able to work for 2 years on a single cell battery
  • Great integration with third party software (Ha, Domoticz)
Manual Link

Unboxing

Almost all the small Aqara sensors have these small little packages, one day you’ll have vending machines in your local stores filled with these 😉
On the back they have some specifications, most of it is in Chinese though.
If you remove the little box, you get the sensor with the little guide as always. Just like every Aqara product, this manual is in Chinese. Not like it matters anyway because you have this review!

Design

As always, Aqara keeps delivering on small but good looking products. I always love their white minimalistic theme with a simple icon on top (just like their temperature sensors). The water drip icon also functions as the pairing/reset button, but I will talk more about that in the connectivity chapter!
The Aqara products usually have their reset/pairing button on the back, but on this sensor it is hidden at the front.
You can use a coin to unscrew the back of the sensor to replace the cell battery, Aqara guarantees that it will last up to two years.

Smart Features

Push notification on water detection

As soon as the device detects water (above 0.55 mm), the Mi Home App will send you a notification. I’ve tested it myself and poured about 50 ml of water on the sensor, the sensor detected this in 5-6 seconds and send a notification to my phone.

As you can see, Xiaomi still has a lot of parts in the Mi Home app that are a bit buggy or not even translated. I changed the name for the sensor in the general settings but it still shows up as _NAME_INDEX_. Not that it really matters to me though, I will add them to Home Assistant and use that for notifications. That’s about the only ‘smart feature’ this sensor has, but this feature can save you a lot of trouble in the long-run.

So what would be a good way to use this? For me I will get some water leak sensors for the following locations:

  • Behind the washing machine. If it ever happens that it will leak water or ever overflow, I will be noticed about the leakage
  • Left to my server rack. The heat boiler for the house is located 4~ meter to the left of my rack. If it ever happens to leak for whatever reason, I want to notify myself to fix the leak or shutdown and move my equipment.
  • Or any other location that is prone to water leakage! It may never happen, but if it does, you will be glad you bought this little sensors 🙂

Connectivity

Connecting it to Mi Home

To use the Aqara sensor, you have to pair it to your gateway. In the following gallery I will show you how to add it and configure it.

 

Click 'Add Manually'
Click 'Add Manually'
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As you can see, there is still a fair part in Chinese for the automations. But again, if you use Home Assistant or any other software, you will just pair it to your gateway and use Home Assistant for everything. This is why I am not bothered that some parts are still in Chinese.

Home Assistant and other third party integration

Just like all most of the other Xiaomi IoT products, they are widely supported by third-party programs. In Home Assistant you can just add the gateway to your config and most of the Mijia and Aqara products will be immediately added to your HA. It just functions as a binary sensor to it will be ‘Off’ when there is no water detected, and ‘On’  when there is water detect. Again, this sensor is only made for detecting water, not for detecting water level.

You can set up cool automation’s like: when water.sensor.washingmachine goes from ‘Off’ to ‘On’, send a Telegram message to all your house members with “Please help me I am drowning!”. Or something like that 😉

The device is also supported by Domoticz (you need the beta version) and SmartThings (follow this thread). You will still need a Xiaomi Gateway (atleast V2 to use this device with these software’s)I have to say I don’t have experience with both of them (ST is not even available in my country) so I have limited knowledge.

FAQ

Will these work with SmartThings?

Yes. Disclaimer: I don’t have SmartThings, I never used it and I have no clue about the whole ecosystem. So you are better off using that thread + the comments than ask me! You also do not need the Xiaomi gateway for it, as you can directly pair them to the ST hub.

If I use this with SmartThings/Domoticz/Home Assistant/Raspberry Pi (just anything), will I still need the Xiaomi Gateway/Hub?

Yes, here is a link to the Xiaomi Gateway. The devices do not work independent, they use Zigbee to communicate to the hub/gateway.

edit: as /u/zeeke42 pointed out, you can pair the sensors to the SmartThings hub itself. So it does not need the Xiaomi gateway to function.

Can I use this outside of China?

Yes.

Is the Mi Home ‘usable’

Yes I think it’s very do-able. You have to set the region to ‘China’ to use it though. The app is mostly English but for certain new items (like this sensor), the automations are not translated. This is the only part of Mi Home that frustrates me with the app (so most devices HAVE translated automations, but certain devices like this one ARE IN CHINESE). This is not a problem for me however. I pair my devices to the gateway and use them in Home Assistant, this way I barely have to use the Mi Home app.

Conclusion

In the end I think they made another great device at a great price point. I have to say, this device is more ‘niche’ than the others I have reviewed. But do not forget how much time and money this device can save you, if you place some of these around the house. It is better to prevent a leakage than to solve it afterwards. I have to say, I am still disappointed that Xiaomi/Aqara can’t just completely translate their app, the automations part is completely in Chinese. That is why there are great programs like Home Assistant or Domoticz that allow us to control everything from their software, without any interaction with the Mi Home app (the app is still needed for the pairing though). In conclusion, for only 10.99 dollar you can get a sensor that will alert you about any leakage. This sensor is not as exciting as the Temperature sensor, but it can be a great addition to your smart home setup.

Xiaomi Aqara Water Leak Sensor

$10.99
Xiaomi Aqara Water Leak Sensor
9

Water Leak Sensor

9.0 /10

Pros

  • Very cheap
  • Design is great
  • Zigbee with great third party intergaration
  • Small, fits anywhere
  • Up to two years on battery

Cons

  • Requires a Xiaomi Gateway
  • Some parts in the app are still in Chinese

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