The best WiFi water shut off valves
When you buy through links in this article, I may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More.
There are lots of good leak and flood sensors available now that can be connected to your smart home. These devices will quickly and accurately alert you to any potentially damaging water leaks but fall short in two key ways; they can’t do anything about the leak, and they only monitor a specific area where they are placed.
For a truly smart home response, we need a system that can intelligently take action when a leak is detected, and that’s where smart water valves come in. When my dishwater inlet valve cracked and started leaking into my kitchen cabinets I didn’t know anything about it until the floor on the other side of the wall became squishy.
Thankfully it was a slow leak and I was able to get things dried out, but it could have been disastrous. Since then I’ve looked at getting some automated response in place to prevent it happening again, or at least warn me something is up before it gets that far.
I’ve spent around 40 hours researching the various options on the market, and I’ve come up with the list below. Many of these products still fall short in key ways, but I’ve determined the best overall product, plus alternatives for WiFi, Z-Wave, budget, and outdoor options.
Importantly, I’ve split things into two distinct groups, as there are two very different approaches you can take here. Let’s start with how and why I’ve done that.
Types of Automatic Valves
Arguably the best approach is that taken by inline shut off systems. These are installed into the main water line into the house and usually include some sort of monitoring and leak detection technology so they can respond on their own, with no dependence on anything else.
These systems have the key advantage of offering whole-home protection, in that they can detect a leak anywhere in the house pipework and shut off the water to all of it. This covers you not only for faulty appliances and taps, but burst pipes and leaks in other unexpected places.
The downside is you really should have these professionally installed as you’re dealing with the main inlet line, and they can be quite expensive devices as well.
Add-on valve controllers
The cheaper, simpler approach is to use a valve controller. These devices sit on top of an existing ball valve and can physically turn the level for you. They a dumber in that they just do the on/off part, and rely on connected leak sensors of some kind to detect leaks. While you can typically have many such detectors, you’re still limited to responding to leaks in monitored locations, and a burst pipe in the ceiling or floor is unlikely to get noticed.
This approach is not all bad though, as it provides less ambiguity as to when the water should be turned off. The leak sensors are accurate and that means the valve can be shut off in seconds without the system worrying about whether it’s normal usage or not, or shutting things off when you don’t want it to.
Best In-line Shutoff Valve Overall
What I Like
After a lot of consideration I’ve given the best overall trophy in this category to Moen’s Flo system. It simply offers the most complete package with a good range of pipe sizes, smart home platform support for Alexa and Google Assistant with no hub requirements, battery backup, and outdoor capability.
It has automatic leak detection built in, but also includes the option to use Moen’s leak sensors for extra protection and reliability. You’ll also get very detailed and accurate reporting and analytics, but that comes with a catch.
That catch is that to get more than basic data reporting you’ll need to pay Moen’s monthly subscription. It’s not huge, but some people understandably see this as a cash grab given it’s an expensive peice of hardware already. Even so, Moen do throw in a deductible payment if you have an insurable incident, and an extended warranty.
A common concern with these inline types is also their tendency for false positives. Like other models, the Flo uses pressure and flow rate sensing to ‘learn’ the normal usage patterns of your home, and then alerts when something seems abnormal. Moen doesn’t offer any way to help this learning process, so you have to trust that it figures it out right, which it sometimes doesn’t, leaving you high and dry until you manually turn it back on.
Best Value In-line Shutoff Valve
What I Like
While also an inline system, LeakSmart’s automatic shut off system is simpler than the others here. It doesn’t use an internal leak sensor and instead relies on their own brand of wireless leak sensors. These all talk to each other via the ZigBee protocol, which makes it compatible with any smart home hub that offers that communication.
You can use the LeakSmart System Hub to provide this connectivity and join it to your WiFi, or you can use your own if you have one. I like the flexibility this offers for smart home users over being stuck with the limited platform integration offered by just voice assistants.
While the device itself is not rated for outdoor use, LeakSmart do offer an enclosure you can use if you need to install it outside, and it also includes a backup battery like the Moen so you’re not stuck in an emergency.
Not having internal leak detection does mean you’re not getting whole home protection with this one, but it’s also a lot cheaper, even with the other system components.
I’ve seen some customer reports that suggest it may not last as well we one would expect, but that’s hard to gauge from only sporadic records so I’ll just note it here.
Best Z-Wave In-line Shutoff Valve
What I Like
If you’re after something to use with a Z-Wave system, the Leak Gopher is your best bet for an inline install. It’s reasonably solid with a strong motor and a 10 year warranty. Again, as it’s just a valve controller you’ll need some leak sensors connected to your Z-Wave system to trigger it.
No whole-home protection here either, and some of the included valves have had poorly cut thread on the pipe connectors, leading to some installs being more difficult than they should have been. It’s also quite pricey for what you get, but there aren’t many Z-Wave options in the inline category.
Alternative Outdoor Shutoff Valve
What I Like
The Phyn Plus is a slick looking device, but more importantly it’s outdoor rated, which makes it worth a look if you need that. It can also handle a 220V outlet, which gives it a bit more flexibility.
Like the Moen it includes pressure/flow sensors and a learning system to detect leaks. Unlike the Moen Flo it does occasionally check with you if it’s correct with it’s assumption, and allows you to override.
The additional user input to the learning system is welcome, but it still suffers from issues around false positives as with other flow based detection systems.
I’m also not a fan of it having plastic fittings on such an expensive device. These are so easy to damage during install if you’re not careful.
It’s also been noted that while it does have a manual override in the event of a power failure (there’s no backup battery here), it requires a fiddly insertion of a specific screw driver. This can be awkward to get to, and to get traction on the screw to turn it.
Alternative Wifi In-line Shutoff Valve
What I Like
The Grohe Sense Guard is a smart looking device with very clear status indication via the ring light around the top edge, and simple manual controls. You do get whole home protection, and it’s WiFi connected, so no extra hardware is needed.
It’s a quality device, with good fittings for the price.
There’s no smart home integration, so you’ll be using only the dedicated smartphone app for control and alerts. That would usually put a device out of the running for me, but as it still offers remote app control I’ve chosen to include it for those who aren’t so interested in an integrated solution.
You’ll also need to check your pipe size as the Grohe doesn’t support many options, just the 3/4” and a possible 1” adapter.
Best Add-on Valve Controller Overall
What I Like
I’ve given the EcoNet Bulldog Valve Robot the top spot in the add-on category primarily because it is a well built device that will get the job done with the most powerful motor on the market.
It’s exclusively Z-Wave controller, but uses the newer Plus standard for added security and reliability, and that also means you can create deeper integrations with your other smart home devices if you use that protocol.
EcoNet says it is rain resistant, but they recommend protecting it nonetheless. You'll also note the mounting bracket is around the valve body, not the neighboring pipe like other models. This is preferable as it eliminates undue stress on the pipe joints when the motor is operating.
The biggest issue with this one is that it’s only suitable for North America. This is due to the different radio frequencies used for Z-Wave around the world.
Best Add-on valve controller for Wifi
What I Like
LeakSmart have a few products on the market, and we’ve already looked at their inline offering above. This valve controller provides an alternative solution, and while it’s not the powerhouse that is the EcoNet Bulldog controller, it does offer a comprehensive package through their starter kit. That includes the controller, the hub, and three leak sensors all for a pretty reasonable price.
Through the hub you get support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and the device includes a battery backup, which is always a welcome addition. If you’re not running a Z-Wave system, this is the most feature packed option.
You’ll need to ensure you have a free turning ball valve given the motor is not as strong, nor is the pipe mount. You’ll need to take care that it’s secured well to avoid issues.
Best Add-on Valve Controller on a budget
What I Like
For the truly budget conscious there is often a cheap alternative, and the Vaticas Water Valve is it. This is one of numerous largely identical generic Chinese devices that are sold under various brand names. They’re cheap and operate through the widely used Tuya smart home platform. Throw Tuya you’ll get some degree of Alexa and Google integration, but it’s not going to be a lot.
Being simple WiFi, and offering a cable ending in a barrel plug you’ll be able to use these anywhere in the world with a suitable AC/DC power pack. It comes with a US style one, but it’s easily swapped out for another format.
Being a cheap product from an otherwise no-name brand you shouldn’t expect anything in the way of support. You’ll also not get a best of breed product, with customers noting the motor is pretty weak, and the clamp is also a bit simplistic and may not hold well depending on your install situation. At least it clamps the valve instead of the pipe, though.
Best Add-on Valve Controller for Outdoors
What I Like
I’ve included the FortrezZ Valve Actuator as a Z-Wave option that can be used outdoors, as there aren’t many for that use case. The FortrezZ system requires multiple parts, so it’s a bit complicated, and pricey, but if you need outdoor control you don’t have many options.
Shown is the control box, that has to be inside. You connect that to the valve motor via a cable that comes in various lengths depending on your needs. The motor is outdoor rated. The additional catch here is the motor doesn’t include a valve. You have to buy that separately depending on the pipe size you need.
It’s not clear if this is a Z-Wave Plus device, but it doesn’t look like it is to me. That’s a bit disappointing these days, so hopefully they release an upgraded version soon.
Alternative Add-on Valve Controller for Z-Wave
What I Like
The Dome Shutoff Valve is one of the better known valve controllers, and plenty of people swear by them. This is another Z-Wave Plus controller, like the EcoNet, but is strictly indoor use only.
These are reliable and straight forward to use, so they’re certainly worth including here.
The biggest drawback, and why the EcoNet Bulldog rated better, is the motor size is considerably smaller (and thus weaker) which means it may not work well in your situation. You’ll want to check your valve operation beforehand to see if it’s going to put up too much resistance.
Alternative Add-on Valve Controller for Wifi
What I Like
For an alternative that doesn’t need Z-Wave, the Guardian Leak Prevention system offers a solid WiFi only option. It has the benefit of securing with easy to install clamps at BOTH ends of the device, which ensures you won’t have any rotational slippage problems. Those clamps also support a good range of pipe sizes, more than many other models do.
The leak detection is triggered by Guardian’s own wireless leak detectors which offer a 15 year battery life.
With no smart home integration you’ll need to factor in enough of these to cover your risk areas, and it’s only rated for indoor use.
Questions you may have
What is a smart shut off valve?
All homes have a main shut off valve that can isolate the house from the water supply. An smart shut off valve combines some sort of sensors to detect potential leaks and allow a motorized valve to cut that supply on it’s own.
This can provide valuable protection from major and minor leaks in less visible places, or when you are out of the house and unable to respond to an emergency.
Some systems use flow and pressure sensors to try and guess ‘abnormal’ water use, while others use a number of individual leak detectors that can be placed in areas of concern, such as the laundry, basement, kitchen, etc.
Are automatic water shut off valves worth it?
Yes. 37% of US homes have suffered water damage, with an average insurance claim of over $6000. 14,000 people every day suffer a water emergency, and that’s just the serious ones. Even if you don’t suffer a damaging event, leaks from US households are common, and 10% of homes leak over 90 gallons a day.
That adds up to a lot of wasted water, and money. Even the highest priced automatic shut off valves will pay for themselves fairly quickly, and you may even get a discount from your insurance company for having one installed.
How much does it cost to install an automatic water shut off valve?
Automatic shut off valves can vary signifcantly in price, from around $50 all the way up to nearly $1000. On top of that, you may need to pay a plumber to install it if you got for an inline model that can protect the whole home. It’s not usually a big job, so you’re probably looking at an additional $100-$200.
What happens if your internet is down?
WiFi based smart valves will typically rely on the company’s servers for control via their app. This is not ideal as you are dependant on a third party for your product to work properly, or at all. Thankfully the basic shut off functionality of all of the valves in this list will still work if your WiFi is down, but you won’t have manual control via the app, or any alerting notifications.
Valves that use a dedicated smart home communications protocol, like ZigBee or Z-Wave, will fare better as they communicate directly with your smart home hub and any sensors you may have connected to it. These systems provide ‘local control’, which means they don’t need the internet at all to function. You will still lose alerting notifications when you’re away from home if your internet is down, as they still need a way to get that data to your phone.
The Wrap Up
If you’re looking for a comprehensive solution for leak detection and whole home protection, the Flo by Moen system is the best option. Comprehensive features, indoor and outdoor usage, and the option to use either the inbuilt flow sensors or enhance it with leak detectors as well. Moen are the only brand to go with a subscription model so far, but you can use the system just fine without one, you’ll just lose some of the detailed usage reporting functionality.
If the subscription or the price puts you off, I’d recommend the LeakSmart Automatic Shut Off system. While not a whole home solution, it provides more smart home integration options, and an extensible sensor network for a much lower price.
Moving away from the inline options, you can utilize your existing ball valve with a motorized valve controller from EcoNet. Their Bullbog valve controller is tough and well built, but does need a Z-Wave controller to be of use. If you don’t have Z-Wave, then I’d look at the LeakSmart Valve controller instead, it uses their LeakSmart hub to provide plain WiFi connectivity, and can tie into the same sensor system as their inline model.