A $50 Smart Gadget Transformed How I Do Laundry

Because my dryer is ancient, it doesn’t have any fancy features. It gets the job done—at some point. That’s because I always overdry my clothes. Towels, pajama pants, hoodies, and delicates all get cooked until they’re dry, and then they get cooked even longer. (I’m positive the one sock that goes missing all the time truly caught fire.) That’s how much I’m drying, and it’s becoming an issue. It is inefficient, costs me money, and harms all of our fabrics.

On a lark, I not too long ago examined out the SmartDry Wireless Laundry Sensor, a $50 good sensor that works with present dryers and Wi-Fi. After talking with Wirecutter’s laundry staff, I had my reservations in regards to the worth of “good laundry.” Nonetheless, SmartDry isn’t just a few neat gadgets—it truly solved my issues and reworked the way in which I do laundry.

As Wirecutter’s smart-home author, I really like good gadgets and write about them at size right here. Nonetheless, I additionally love $50, and I wouldn’t suggest spending that on a tool except it supplied actual worth.

What’s SmartDry?

SmartDry is a two-piece system that adds smart capabilities to any dryer, allowing you to check in remotely via smartphone and receive messages when your clothes are dry and cycles are finished. It comes with a little sensor that attaches magnetically to your dryer drum and a smart-home hub that connects into a nearby outlet. When the dryer stops moving or the items inside are dry, the sensor detects motion, temperature, and humidity and alerts the hub. The hub then uses Wi-Fi to send notifications to your smartphone or to Amazon Alexa smart speakers. (It also works with Google Assistant, but only to a limited extent.)

The way it modified my laundry habits

I’ve been using the timed dryer option for years. Why? Because it’s a machine setting, and I’m familiar with the concept of timed drying. Even after 30 years of washing my own laundry, I still can’t seem to get the hang of it.

I usually set the dryer for 50 minutes and then spin it for another 30 to 40 minutes if something is even slightly moist. After all, I don’t have time to keep an eye on the laundry all the time. I also don’t have time to rewash smelly, damp clothing. I noticed a pattern in how long different textiles took to dry after a few rounds with the SmartDry.

More importantly, it got me into the habit of utilizing the automatic dry cycle, which detects when clothes are dry using the sensors built into my 10-year-old dryer. This functionality should perform similarly to SmartDry. Despite this, the SmartDry regularly saved me 15 to 30 minutes per load by correctly informing me when my garments were actually dry, even when the cycle was still running. This could save me some money on my energy cost. And it’s saved my sanity since there’s only so many times I can run up and down the stairs in a day—at least for washing. My clothes are less staticky and wrinkled, and they should last longer as a result.

What we love about SmartDry

The good news is that the SmartDry sensor is effective. During my testing, it reliably alerted me when the dryer stopped moving and when the garments were dry before the cycle was finished. I’d occasionally find a garment that was “nearly dry,” but it was typically because I was packing the dryer too full.

Of course, some of these functions are integrated into smart dryers that link to your home’s Wi-Fi. Smart features alone, according to Wirecutter’s appliance testers, aren’t enough to justify replacing a working dryer (but most new top models are equipped with smart features anyway). With a few exceptions, we can suggest this $50 upgrade to anyone who wants to keep track of their laundry.

The place SmartDry can enhance

The SmartDry hub (the part that stands outside the dryer) looks like it was thrown together with Lego parts by my child. It’s unattractive and large, but it gets the job done. In September, SmartDry will release a redesigned hub that is slimmer and looks more like a smart plug. It will also enable a fascinating new feature: if you have a gas dryer, you can connect it right into the new hub, and it will automatically turn off once your clothes are dry. I tested a prototype of the new model, and it performs similarly to the current one. However, I was unable to test the shut-off mechanism because I use an electric dryer. A model for electric dryers is due in 2022, according to SmartDry.

Both the iOS and Android applications work with the SmartDry sensor, although they are significantly different, and in my testing, the Android version looked and worked better. It has a visual timer, measures dryness levels, and allows for follow-up notifications. (By the end of summer 2021, SmartDry expects the iOS version to be updated to match.)

SmartDry helps Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you possibly can ask a wise speaker about your laundry standing. Nonetheless, integration with each platform is wonky. The Alexa ability (which is like an app) isn’t native. This implies Alexa is extra of an intermediary, and your entire voice instructions have to request that Alexa relay your inquiries to SmartDry. (“Alexa, ask SmartDry if my garments are dry.”) Alexa sends SmartDry alerts through Alexa Notifications, so once more, you’ll have to ask what’s up. Getting that info introduced out loud requires a whole separate skill. SmartDry doesn’t supply any sort of notification choice for Google customers but, simply the power to ask about standing. And iOS customers have to electronic mail the corporate with the intention to activate Google’s good audio system.

Despite these limitations, SmartDry delivered on its promise for me, and in the process, it made me more aware of—and efficient at—laundry. The SmartDry sensor is a worthwhile investment if you aren’t in the market for a new dryer but want to enhance your current one. Unfortunately, my family continues to produce a lot of laundry, so I’ll continue to test and update you on any new developments.

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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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