Our Engbird IBS-TH1 temperature and humidity smart sensor rating:
Engbird temperature and humidity sensor at a glance
The Engbird Wireless Bluetooth Temperature and Humidity Smart Data Logger is a small, battery-powered sensor that passively captures data 24/7 and displays it in a neat, easy-to-read app.
It’s easy to connect to the sensor via the app (note that you connect to it over Bluetooth, not WiFi) and the sensor holds about 20 days worth of data (depending on your sampling rate, which you can adjust).
An optional wired probe lets you monitor temperature and humidity in a variety of places, including liquids, incubators, and cigar collections. The probe itself is waterproof, too, so you can dip it in a vat of whatever you’re making and track its temperature over time.
Why we love the Engbird sensor
The Engbird temperature and humidity sensor is a lot like an ecobee room sensor! It doesn’t tie into your HVAC system in any way, but you can use it to get a better understanding of your home’s varying temperatures and humidity levels. It’s especially great for homes that can’t have one of the popular 24v smart thermostats (like homes with line-voltage heaters and many apartments and mobile homes) and would otherwise miss out on collecting and viewing this kind of data.
Since the unit itself is wireless and doesn’t need to be connected to WiFi or electricity to actively collect data, you can track the temperature and humidity of any place you can think of – inside your car, a shipping container, your office, your shed, you name it.
Just remember that in order to get the data off the device, you’ll have to be near it with the app open on your phone.
- Accurate: humidity and temperature accuracy is ±2%RH and 0.5°F
- Low power consumption and an estimated battery life of 1 year (and you can change the battery yourself when it goes kaput)
- Monitoring range: 50 meters / 150ft (No obstructions).
- Temperature Range: -40 ~140°F (inner sensor) and -40~212°F (with the external probe)
- Humidity Range: 0~99%RH
- Monitor the temperature of liquid with the external probe
- °C /°F
- Main unit has a magnet, so you can mount it on a fridge
- iOS and Android support
- Holds about 20 days of data at a 1 minute sampling interval (30,000 samples total)
- Sampling interval can be 10 seconds, 30s, 1 minute, 2 min, 5 min, 10 min, or 30min
- Multiple Devices: One mobile phone can monitor more than one sensor and one sensor can be monitored by more than one mobile phone.
Unboxing the Engbird Sensor
Our Engbird sensor arrived from Amazon the last weekend of December 2017. Here are some photos from the unboxing and setup:
Setting up the Engbird sensor
The sensor itself has no display, so you’ll need to download the app and turn on Bluetooth. Pairing is simple – open the app, add a new sensor, and it’ll find the Engbird unit automatically. Overall, setup was painless and took about a minute.
The sensor begins collecting data right away, and continues to collect data in perpetuity. It holds about 20 days worth of data, unless you adjust the sampling rate (the default is 1 minute, and increasing or decreasing will affect how many days worth of data it holds.)
We left ours in our toddler’s room, which has remained stubbornly cooler and more humid than the rest of the house.
Using the Engbird app
Open the Engbird app (and turn on Bluetooth) to automatically connect to the sensor. The latest data is fed into the app in a process that takes a second or so.
After three days, we had plenty of interesting data to look at, which is displayed in easy-to-read charts. The unit also tracks the most recent max and min temperatures, as well as an average. This makes it easy to just glance at the app and understand what’s going on.
Connect via Bluetooth using the Engbird app to view recent data or dump a .csv (to a cloud service, such as Google Drive, or your phone’s own filesystem).
After nearly a week with our Engbird, we’re quite happy to report that it’s been a positive addition to our home.
We have one room at the front of our house that is stubbornly colder than the rest of the house, so having a temperature sensor in that room has helped us quantify just how much colder it is, and it has helped us observe effects of things we’ve done to remedy the problem (such as opening and closing vents throughout the house, opening the attached bathroom’s door vs. leaving it shut, etc).
Since it’s currently winter, we’re also battling a condensation problem with the room’s windows. The moisture that’s pumped in from the humidifier attached to our central heating system isn’t evaporating in this cold room that never gets direct sunlight, so monitoring humidity levels has also been useful. When we see the humidity levels creep too high in this particular room, we know our HVAC’s humidity is set too high (even if it’s not too humid at our thermostat, which is at the opposite end of our house and in the sun half the day).
We have another humidity and temperature reader we used to compare against the Engbird’s output. The two devices were always within 2 degrees or fewer of each other, and within 1-2% on humidity readings.
The alerts are a nifty feature but you have to be near the unit in order to receive them. We didn’t make much use of the alerts for that reason.
Who it’s for
Anyone who needs to monitor the amount of heat, cold, or moisture in a particular location will probably be looking for a device like the Engbird sensor.
Common uses include monitoring hobby rooms, greenhouses, collections (such as antiques or cigars), basements, attics, home brewing, children’s rooms, garages, wine cellars, and more. We currently live in the Midwest, where winters are dry and cold, so we use sensors like this one to monitor humidity in our home (too dry and we might feel itchy or get sore throats; too humid and our windows might develop ice on the inside).
It can push alerts, but only if you’re in range of the device (roughly in the same room as it) and you have Bluetooth turned on on your phone.
The Engbird sensor does not interface with WiFi so you cannot use it to remotely monitor a place – you must stand within several feet of the Engbird sensor to collect its most current data. If you need WiFi capabilities, check out the SensorPush and its separately-sold WiFi gateway.
How Engbird stacks up against SensorPush
The SensorPush Wireless Thermometer is a similar product and one of the Engbird sensor’s main competitors. The general idea is the same: a small, Bluetooth-enabled sensor collects temperature and humidity data that you can view by opening the app (when in range of the sensor) and/or export for use outside the app.
There are two key differences between the Engbird sensor and the SensorPush:
- The Engbird sensor includes a waterproof temperature probe
- SensorPush can be made to work with WiFi if you purchase this separate WiFi gateway for it
We have not tried the SensorPush – if you have, let us know what you think in the comments.
Things to know before you buy
Engbird only connects over Bluetooth, so you won’t get an alert while you’re away at the office that your home humidity are spiking. You must be near the device to collect its data. WiFi connectivity is a huge battery drain, though, so being Bluetooth-only is how this device runs on battery for a year+.
The battery is replaceable but not rechargeable. This YouTube video shows you how to replace the battery (it’s simple).
The Engbird Wireless Bluetooth Temperature and Humidity Smart Data Logger is a well thought-out device. The app is easy to use and we immediately found the device useful for understanding ongoing temperature and humidity issues in our toddler’s room. If you love data, it’s easy to dump a .cvs file from the app onto your phone or cloud service of your choice.
Sensors like the Engbird are especially great for homes that can’t install a smart thermostat for whatever reason and for homes that have the thermostat placed in an less than ideal location. For us, personally, trying the Engbird was a perfect opportunity to get aggregated insights into the temperature and humidity issues in our daughter’s room (which is at the north end of the house, where the sun doesn’t shine directly, and completely opposite of our thermostat, which is in the south end of the house facing a sunny window).
We highly recommend the Engbird Bluetooth Temperature and Humidity sensor to anyone who wants a more complete understanding of their home’s temperatures and humidity.