SmartDry: The Fantastic Way to Make Your Dumb Dryer Smart

Rating: 9/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $50
The SmartDry app on a phone that's in a dryer full of towels.
Josh Hendrickson

The SmartDry wireless laundry sensor promises to make your dryer smart for a very reasonable $50. The sensor notifies you when your clothes are dry, when the dryer stops, or if the heat is out of control. And, by golly, it delivers!

Here's What We Like

  • Dryness detection really works
  • Very simple to set up
  • Inexpensive

And What We Don't

  • App could use polish
  • Echo integration could use some fine-tuning
  • No Google Assistant integration

My dryer is stupid. Don’t get me wrong—it’s an excellent, expensive dryer that dries clothes. However, I can’t hear its notification noises from most of the house, and the built-in dryness detection feature is awful.

Every time I try to use the dryness detection feature, it goes wrong. In most cases, the clothes are still very damp. Other times, the dryer doesn’t stop when the clothes are dry, which could shrink everything.

Usually, I just use the timer, but I’m not much smarter than the dryness feature, and I’m undoubtedly lazy. I don’t want to run downstairs to the basement multiple times to see if the dryer’s finished. So, I set the timer for an hour and hope for the best.

The SmartDry sensor detects dryness, temperature, and motion. It alerts you if the clothes are dry while the dryer is still going, or if the dryer stops, but the clothes are still damp. It can even warn you if your dryer is overheating.

You might be worried that such a complicated-sounding sensor would be hard to install, but that’s not the case at all.

A Straightforward Install

The SmartDry hardware is pretty simple. You get a rectangular sensor unit, a bridge unit, and a plug for the bridge. To install it, you just pull the battery tab from the sensor and tighten some screws (the company even provides a tiny adorable screwdriver).

Stick it in your dryer as close to the middle as possible, next to a dryer flap. Powerful magnets hold the sensor in place, so attaching it to your metal dryer is very easy.

The SmartDry plug, sensor, and bridge.
Josh Hendrickson

Next, plug in the bridge unit as close to the dryer as possible. Once you have the hardware in place, you pair the sensor and bridge to the SmartDry app (available on Android and iOS.)

It took me about six minutes to get it installed and running. Choosing an outlet for the bridge is what took the longest. It was refreshing setting up a smart home sensor that required so little effort.

It Really Works

An easy install doesn’t matter much if the gadget doesn’t do its job. I’m incredibly pleased to say the SmartDry sensor delivers on its promises of more information and notifications.

While the dryer is running, you can open the app and check things like current temperature, whether the dryer is running, and how dry the clothes are.

The SmartDry App on a smartphone.

While the info is helpful, the best part is the sensor is a “set it and forget it” device. You can adjust a few settings, like how dry you want your clothes or if you have delicates in the dryer. But once you do, you can close the app and walk away.

When your clothes are dry, or the dryer stops, you’ll get a notification. The fact that it lets you know the dryer isn’t moving isn’t all that impressive—that’s just basic motion detection. However, the dryness detection is impressive.

On average, the notifications that my clothes are dry come through 10 to 15 minutes before my dryer’s timer is set to expire. On nearly every occasion, the sensor got it right. The one miss was a heavier load of towels and blankets. If I’d used the “More Dry” setting in the app, though, it probably would have worked.

Since getting the dryer sensor, the dryer consistently stops earlier than the timer would, so I’m saving energy. I’m also saving a lot of effort since I don’t have to go downstairs regularly to check if the dryer’s finished.

Not Quite Perfect

Overall, SmartDry is pretty fantastic, but there’s room for improvement. If I’m generous, the app is lackluster when it comes to design. It’s mostly boxes and toggles on a white background. The weird, curvy back button on multiple screens also looks out of place on both Android and iOS.

The other problem is you can’t sync more than one device with the hardware. The bridge device connects to your Wi-Fi network to communicate with the app, so it should be possible. That’s something to keep in mind if multiple people do laundry at your place.

The SmartDry does feature Alexa integration, but it’s unpolished. To connect, you type the email associated with your Amazon account into the app, and then add the skill in the Alexa app. After you approve some permissions, it works, but it feels weird.

The Alexa skill itself does the trick, but it could use some fine-tuning. It sends notifications to your Echo speakers. If you’ve ever received a package notification from Amazon on your Echo, it works the same way. But there’s no “do not disturb” option, so if your laundry finishes at midnight, you’re in for a rude (and literal) awakening. I turned off the Alexa integration.

At this writing, Google Assistant integration isn’t available for the SmartDry.

It’s Worth the Money

The issues I had with the SmartDry were all pretty minor. Its benefits far outweigh the complaints.

I no longer have to run downstairs to check the dryer, and, according to the company, the dryness detection feature can save you up to $60 per year. This means the device will pay for itself.

A tiny screwdriver, dryer sensor, bridge device, plug, and a sharpie.
The adorable little screwdriver is for the battery cover. Sharpie for scale. Josh Hendrickson

I haven’t had it long enough to say if this is true, but it seems possible, given I’m now routinely stopping the dryer with 10 or 15 minutes left on the timer. It’s also very convenient. My wife does most of the laundry (hey, I do other chores, okay?), so she took control of the app midway through the test and fell in love with the thing.

She especially liked that the notifications appeared on her Apple Watch, so she didn’t have to carry her phone with her as she does with most of our smart home tech. On one occasion, it even warned her that the dryer was too hot and in danger of shrinking delicate clothing—it might have saved us money on new clothes.

If you’re in charge of the laundry and tired of checking the dryer, you should absolutely buy a SmartDry. You’ll get a lot of convenience for very little money.

Rating: 9/10
Price: $50

Here’s What We Like

  • Dryness detection really works
  • Very simple to set up
  • Inexpensive

And What We Don't

  • App could use polish
  • Echo integration could use some fine-tuning
  • No Google Assistant integration

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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