Wyze Sense sits in an odd place. It’s cheaper than any home security system you can buy, but it’s not a home security system. It’s a self-monitoring system. Despite that fact, there’s lots to love about this $20 sensor pack.
Whether it’s the original Wyze Cam or the Wyze Cam Pan, we love Wyze products. At the heart of Wyze is a fundamental promise: reliable products at incredibly low prices. The Wyze Sense starter pack continues that tradition.
If you already own a Wyze camera and you’ve ever considered adding motion and contact sensors to your house, you can stop reading this review.
As long as you don’t want full security options, skip straight to buying a starter pack right now.
Stupid Cheap, But Not Full Security
For $20 you get a bridge (think of it as a hub), two contact sensors for doors or windows, and a motion sensor. Contact sensors go on things that open and close, like your doors or windows. The motion sensor does just what sounds like, and you may want this in a room where you don’t have a camera. Compared to similar SimpliSafe sensors you’d spend $30 for just two contact sensors, or only a motion sensor, and you’d still need to buy a $185 hub. However, with Wyze Sense, you don’t get a full security system.
With SimpliSafe, any kit you buy comes with a keypad and base station, and you can buy a siren as well. Additionally, you can subscribe to a monitoring service. When you leave the house or go to sleep, you can arm the system. If someone trips a sensor, the siren will sound, and if you have the monitoring service, they’ll call you and the police. The idea is to be a theft deterrent and failing that to protect you and your family.
Frankly, Wyze Sense doesn’t offer any that. You don’t arm the system, Wyze offers no monitoring, and you’ll notice the company never calls this a Security system. It’s a Sensor system.
You should get the system if you want to know about the comings and goings in your home. When the family arrives, when guests arrive, and if you’re willing to do the legwork of calling the police if a thief does break in your house in the middle of the day. You should look to something else if you want a full security system.
A Sensor System That Couldn’t Be Easier to Set Up
Getting up and running with Wyze Sense is a simple process. First, plug the bridge into the back of one of your Wyze cameras (it doesn’t matter which). Then attach your contact sensors and motion sensors to the spots you want to monitor, they all have double sided tape attached.
Once you’re satisfied with the placement, open the Wyze App and tap the plus symbol to add a new product, then choose a sensor. The starter kit came with a tool that looks like sim-card ejector, when prompted push that into the little hole and hold until you see three red blinks on the sensor. You’ll hear your camera say pairing is complete and you can move on to the next sensor. I finished pairing all three sensors in about five or six minutes.
Instant Notification, Improved Video Speeds
In our Wyze Cam pan review, we noted that sometimes Wyze notifications could be frustratingly slow. Sometimes the app will warn you of detected movement instantly, and sometimes it can be ten minutes late. I’m thankful to say the sensor do not suffer from that issue.
I currently have a contact sensor on my front door and back door, and the motion detector in the garage (where I don’t have a camera) pointed right at the garage door. Any time one of the doors opens, I get a notification on my phone nearly instantly. I’ve added options to monitor that whoever opens the door also shuts it. When somebody closes the door, I get that notification, and if it’s left open, I’m warned about that as well.
Here’s the kicker. Right now I have a camera pointed out my front window, and another camera pointed at my front door. When someone passes by the window on the way to my front door, the camera should detect that motion and send me video. Then, when someone opens the front door and trips the sensor, it tells the second camera to record and send the video to me.
On average, the app notifies me about the opened door and related video before it tells me about the person passing by the window. While that’s not great for the camera based motion detection, that’s fantastic for the speeds of the sensors. Unfortunately, the sensors are not weatherproof, and the motion sensor uses Infrared which means it will not work through glass. I can’t use the sensors to improve my front window camera performance.
One downside is the reliance on app notifications. Have you left your phone in another room? You’ll miss any notifications. Do you use do not disturb on your phone, especially overnight? Do not disturb prevents tripped sensors notifications. Again, this is not a security system. The first night I tested the sensors, I thought something wasn’t working until I realized my do not disturb settings had kicked in.
The App Provides More Useful Information, Anywhere I Go
My house has a SimpliSafe system, and one advantage of it is the chime it makes when someone opens a door. But, that doesn’t tell me who just walked in, or which door they walked in through. I work from home, so I don’t always want to get up to investigate and interrupt my workflow, but I feel like I should. That is if I hear the chime at all. If I have music playing or I’m on a different floor, I’ll miss the chime; it’s pretty quiet. And if I’m the store or gym, none of that does many any good since I don’t pay for monitoring.
With Wyze app notifications, so long as I have my phone or tablet with me, I always know what’s going on. The Wyze app specifies “front door opened” or “back door opened” (or whatever I’ve named the sensors) and sends me a video when I’ve enabled that link. I can easily see what’s going on from my office, a different floor, or when I have left the house entirely. It’s incredibly convenient, and something my security system does not provide.
The best part is about Wyze Sense is I don’t have to remember to arm the system. Unfortunately, my family is terrible about arming, and often when I come home to an empty house, I find an unarmed security system. No matter how good your security system is, the weakest point will always be the family who arms it. So even though Wyze Sense is not an actual security system, a strong selling point is that you can leave it always on.
Currently, you can’t turn it off, however, but Wyze announced it would introduce that capability in the future.
The Only Question is the Add-On Packs
If you own a Wyze camera, and you’re interested in a home sensor system, I have to recommend this system wholeheartedly. As long as you don’t want monitored security, it works too well for such a small cost to say otherwise. But there’s an aching unanswered question: how much will additional sensors cost? Wyze told us they plan to sell an add-on pack with three contact sensors and a motion sensor, but they didn’t state the price. Given that a starter pack already costs $20, I’m looking for a price in that range.
Each bridge can handle up to 100 sensors, so you probably won’t need to buy additional starter packs. In the rare case that you do need more sensors, multiple bridges (plugged into multiple cameras) will work together.
At this point, I’m planning to pick up additional sensors so that I can add one to my mailbox. The idea of actually knowing when the mail (and perhaps a package) arrives is tantalizing.
I haven’t taken down my SimpliSafe system yet, but I’m considering it. Right now it serves the same function as the Wyze Sense system, especially considering how often we forget to arm it. The only thing we’d miss is the chime from the base station, which is a feature even the dog has learned to love. If Wyze introduces an update to add a chime to the cameras, then that might be the day we take down SimpliSafe.
In the meantime, I’m not taking down the Wyze sensors either. And if you get one, you’ll probably feel the same way too.
Here’s What We Like
- Incredibly cheap
- Fast notifications
- Very small, fits anywhere
And What We Don't
- Not a real security system
- Do Not Disturb prevents phone notifications
- Requires at least one Wyze camera