Finding problems and solving them one drop at a time.
Phyn is one of the biggest names in the smart water monitoring market. Phyn Plus is its flagship product and has been available for a few years now, but with the recent release of the Phyn Smart Water Assistant we decided to do a proper Phyn Plus review and see which system does the best job. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive Phyn Plus is, in fact, the best smart water monitoring system money can buy. It features more accurate water flow metrics and offers more features than the less-expensive Phyn Smart Water Assistant.
Everyone’s home is different, and so are their water monitoring needs, but I’ve found that Phyn Plus is rather worth the extra cash, whether you’re worried about burst pipes or just want better insight into your water usage. You’ll likely require professional installation, because the Phyn Plus hooks right up to your main water line and can control the flow of water through that line. Once installed, though, it has an automated water shut-off valve, offering peace of mind during emergencies that other passive monitors lack.
Since all of your water flows through Phyn Plus, it knows exactly how much water is being used at any given point during the day — better than the Flume 2, which relies on your water meter. Within its surprisingly sleek-looking exterior is an ultrasonic water measuring system that boasts the most accurate flow detection rate on the market. It’s also smart enough to understand how each and every one of your appliances and fixtures uses water, giving you the ultimate look at your household’s water usage.
Bottom line: Smart water monitoring isn’t just seeing how much water flows through your pipes, but understanding how water pressure, temperature, and flow rate affect everything. Phyn Plus can do all of this, as well as nail down individual appliance or fixture water usage, make suggestions, and even turn your home’s water off in case of an emergency.
- Automated water shut-off valve
- Ultrasonic pressure and flow detection
- Fits a variety of pipe sizes
- IFTTT, Google, and Alexa support
- No subscription needed
- Insurance discounts with some companies
- Expensive up-front cost
- Likely requires professional installation
- No battery backup
Epitome of accuracy
Phyn Plus: What I like
One of my biggest gripes with the less-expensive Phyn Smart Water Assistant is that, in my home, it needed a long time to learn on the job, plus plenty of tweaks and corrections from me, before it started accurately measuring my water usage. Not all of that is Phyn Smart Water Assistant’s fault: my home actually has significant water pressure issues that caused Phyn Smart Water Assistant to struggle with accurate detections. But Phyn Plus had no such struggles.
That is easily one of my favorite things about using Phyn Plus: it has no issue accurately monitoring the flow of water in systems that have pressure problems — like mine. It’s so sophisticated it can even understand how much water each of my appliances are using on day one with little to no user intervention. It also supports and recognizes more kinds of applicances, giving you even more detailed information than you might have though it could offer.
For me, these are incredibly important features because they require less user intervention on systems that might have pre-existing issues.
It’s incredibly resilient on systems that have pressure problems —like mine — and is able to accurately monitor the flow of water regardless of these pressure issues.
Accurate flow statistics are tantamount to a good experience for a smart water montioring system. Phyn’s app made it supremely easy to see what appliances were using too much water, gave me alerts when water was running when it wasn’t supposed to be, and even sent plenty of high-pressure alerts over the past two months of usage to let me know my system was out of wack. As I noted in the Phyn Smart Water Assistant review, Phyn support even sent me an email noting that my system has dangerously high-pressure levels and gave recommendations on how to remediate the issue. Now that’s impeccably good support!
One of the main features that separates Phyn Plus from the pack is the automated water shut-off valve. While you can manually trigger this valve on or off in the app by toggling vacation mode, Phyn Plus has the ability to shut the water off automatically when it detects things are out of wack. This feature takes 2-3 weeks of monitoring and learning to become available because Phyn utilizes AI to completely customize the monitoring of your system, both based on your input and based on your home’s usage.
To almost no one’s surprise, the more expensive Phyn Plus performs better than the competition
This learning feature is used to make Phyn Plus more accurate over time and helps it understand when there’s an actual emergency. That means it will likely take action faster than you would ever be able to which, for me, is one of the most important pieces of the smart water monitoring puzzle and, ultimately, what makes Phyn Plus actually feel smart.
IFTTT integration also means that savvy users can sling together routines using IFTTT’s recipes feature to better link all your smart home devices, which could come in handy if there were an actual water emergency. One great example provided is turning up the thermostat in case pipes are in danger of freezing. And yes, that means you can ask Google to turn your water on or off; a step that might save precious seconds if you do actually need to shut off the water ASAP.
You can ask Google to turn your water on or off — a step that might save precious seconds if you do actually need to shut off the water ASAP.
Each day, Phyn Plus will shut off water to your home during its daily testing period — a time period that’s totally customizable to fit your schedule but defaults to midnight. These daily system tests help it more proactively find tiny pinhole leaks that might otherwise be missed on less intelligently designed smart water monitors.
The best part is that all your home’s historical data is available free of charge within the app, avoiding the fees or subscriptions that systems like Flo by Moen charge, ultimately making the cost of ownership over time lower for Phyn Plus. Some insurance companies will even offer you a homeowners insurance discount when you have Phyn installed, which helps further reduce the cost of ownership.
Cutting pipes and budget gripes
Phyn Plus: What I don’t like
When considering Phyn Plus, there’s just no way to get around the cost — it’s a lot. At $600, you’re probably going to need to plan before just randomly picking one up. Of course, while that’s roughly half the cost of a new phone in many cases, it likely offers more peace of mind than a shiny new phone. That still doesn’t make it an impulse buy, though.
it’s worth paying a professional to get the job done right, but that means extra cost.
You’re also likely going to need to pay a plumber to install it. Sure, if you’ve got the confidence and the know-how to cut your pipes and route new ones for Phyn Plus, that’s fine. Personally, I don’t like to make major plumbing or electrical changes in my home because I don’t really know what I’m doing and would rather not flood or burn my house down, so it’s worth paying a professional to get the job done right.
Both of those things combined likely mean you’re going to pay in the range of $800 (or more) after taxes and installation, so there’s no denying that this is a bit of a different cost bracket than Phyn Smart Water Assistant or Flume 2, both of which are less than half the cost and can be easily installed yourself without cutting any pipes.
Having a built-in battery backup would have been benificial.
Price aside, there’s only one major downside I found with the actual product: Phyn Plus has to be plugged into a wall outlet and has no battery backup in case of a power outage. Not being able to monitor your water in these moments is inconvenient, but it’s more concerning that the system can’t can’t shut the water off in case of emergency during outages. At least you can rest assured that Phyn Plus leaves the valve open by default, so an outage doesn’t mean no water.
Thankfully, you can solve this issue easily. Phyn Plus uses a standard power outlet with a long cord, so you can just plug it into any industry-standard battery backup system like a UPS or other similar brand, ensuring it never loses power. But it’s still worth noting, since that means one more expense for an already expensive system.
Phyn Plus’s most direct competitor is Flo by Moen, a suite of products that offers very similar functionality in many ways. The main Flo by Moen water shut-off valve product retails for $399 and collects very similar statistics to Phyn Plus — plus, of course, it has a water shut-off valve that can turn off the water in case of emergency — but Flo by Moen requires a subscription if you want access to all your data. It’ll operate without one and provide the basics, at least. It also works hand-in-hand with other Flo by Moen sensors and products to provide a more holistic view of your home’s water usage.
If you just need water monitoring, Phyn Smart Water Assistant offers similar per-appliance water usage monitoring and is far easier to install. It’s half the price of Phyn Plus, yet sports most of the same features. The biggest differences are that it might take much longer to learn your system than Phyn Plus — namely because it doesn’t hook up to your main water line — and that same point means it can’t actually shut your water off in case of an emergency.
If you just want to be able to shut your water off in case of emergency, companies like Dome Home offer a Water Shut-Off Valve that can be controlled via Dome’s app — or third-party services like IFTTT and your favorite virtual assistant — and could significantly help out landlords or people with vacation homes in case of a water emergency. A price of under $100 also means it’s much easier to pick up one without thinking about it too much.
Phyn Plus: Should you buy
You should buy this if …
You want a way to automatically (or quickly) shut off water to your home in the event of a leak
Phyn Plus doesn’t just monitor your home’s water usage; it actually learns how you use your water and can determine when something isn’t quite right. When Phyn thinks there’s a leak, it can automatically shut the water off to your home, likely saving it from a flooding disaster. If you so prefer, you can even ask your favorite virtual assistant to turn the water off or on for you, instead, giving you a range of ways to save money and protect your home.
You are looking for a way to measure your home’s water usage
Whether it’s trying to make your teenager understand why 45-minute showers are not OK, or just finding that one ancient appliance that’s using too much water and needs to be replaced, Phyn Plus can help you narrow usage down to the individual spigot or appliance in your home. Plenty of informative graphs and tons of historical data — all provided free of charge without needing a subscription — will give you deep insight into your home’s water usage history and how to better conserve that precious resource (or just lower your monthly bill).
Your home has lots of water pressure problems or old pipes
If your home is anything like mine, the water pressure in it is a bit screwy. Sometimes the pressure is too high, other times it’s too low, and it’s maddening trying to figure out why. Phyn Support helped me figure out what’s going on with my home’s water pressure issues and made great suggestions for how to remediate the issues. Whether this means adding in a thermal expansion tank, a PRV, or even repiping your home, Phyn Plus can help in significant, meaningful ways.
You should not buy this if …
You just need water usage statistics
While Phyn Plus is the most accurate way to get specific water usage statistics in your home, it’s probably overkill for someone who is just looking for usage statistics and doesn’t need all the extra features — and cost — of Phyn Plus. Something like Flume 2 will get the job done at a fraction of the price, and with a much quicker, simpler installation.
You’re a renter
It’s not likely your landlord will be very happy with you cutting your water pipes and adding Phyn Plus to your system. Better stick with Phyn Smart Water Assistant, Flume 2, or Streamlabs Smart Home Water Monitor, instead.
While the initial price of purchase — and installation — might be a turn-off, Phyn Plus quickly makes up for the extra cost by providing the most accurate readings you’ll find among any smart water monitoring system. It’ll help you save money, avoid plumbing problems, find leaks in pipes or leaky old appliances, and even identify which appliances just aren’t very efficient. It does all of this in a very user-friendly manner, intelligently identifying each of your appliances automatically and grouping usage together by date and time. The installation is a bit involved since you need to cut pipes, so it won’t work for every home, especially renters.
But if you’re a homeowner or a landlord, you should seriously consider adding Phyn Plus to your suite of smart home devices. It’s one of those rare smart home devices that isn’t just cool, it’s also incredibly useful. It provides a wealth of actionable information and could very well protect your home in case of a disastrous emergency. Burst pipes cost homeowners and landlords, alike, thousands of dollars when they happen and just generally aren’t very fun to find or clean up after. Phyn Plus is likely the best way to prevent future water-related disasters and save yourself some cash in the long-run by helping your family be more water smart, too.
Bottom line: Whether it’s finding out how much water your guest bathroom toilet uses, or stopping a leak from happening in your home, Phyn Plus can help. Its ability to understand how water flows through your home — and the appliances and fixtures throughout — makes it a more intelligent smart water monitoring system. It can also shut off the water in case of an emergency, preventing your home from experiencing a disaster.
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