The Competition - Why I chose Sense

I must admit I was attracted to Sense first by the looks of the unit, then the nice graphics on the Company’s web page. I’m a firm believer that the presentation/looks of a product is the first and most important factor to bring people to you, then come the specs, price and other attributes. I then read some Amazon reviews, some discussions on, researched other products, and finally decided to take a dive. My Sense has been running for a week now, and I like it very much (until the next gadget, that is).

There are few competing products out there, and one of them has not 2, but 16 CT Sensors (Current Transformers). Do a search in Amazon, it’s rather obvious. One can thus install a CT around almost each breaker in the electrical panel. This sounds very tempting, but when you think about it, such approach gives you the TOTAL energy consumption on each circuit. For example, if you have all your major appliances wired on the same kitchen circuit, then such approach won’t be able to distinguish whether it is the fridge or the microwave that’s a power hog. In contrast, the approach adopted by Sense is to use AI and identify the ‘signatures’ of all connected devices. Yes, I see many people ‘ranting’ about the number of sensors, but when I think of the technology behind Sense, I like the product even more. It might (and does) struggle to identify many power hungry devices but nonetheless it’s a rather elegant solution, very in-line with our modern times.

Ultimately the future could bring more sensors, but device signature detection based on AI & Machine Learning is the way to go. I hope/wish the recently formed Smart Homes Consortium would ‘require’ that most electrical devices we use, would someday measure and broadcast their own energy usage … These are definitely interesting times we live in.


Thanks for sharing this insight on your research process, @drjb. I’ve passed your compliments along to the folks responsible for the things you’ve complimented above. We always appreciate feedback here.

I would tend to agree IF ONLY Sense was able to reliably distinguish all of the appliances (which in my limited experience isn’t the case). I’ve ordered the 16-CT device you mentioned (arriving tomorrow) along with eight “smart plugs” at a little over $7 each.

I should be able to make a big dent in identifying my devices of interest w/16-breakers & eight monitored outlets.

Hi @adolfo - For the limited amount of time you had your Sense (i believe under a month), I’d only expect a few devices to be recognized. Sense, as you’ve probably seen numerous times across the forums, takes some time to recognize devices. We’ve been working to add ways to accommodate immediate identification with numerous integrations (smart plugs, hue) and product releases (Dedicated Circuit Monitoring, Sense for Generators). Data Science is constantly working behind-the-scenes to increase the accuracy and reliability of native device detection.

I understand that Sense wasn’t able to meet your expectations in your case, but I would separate your very limited experience from others who are still using Sense to identify and understand their home energy usage. We have a return policy of up to 90 days because we want to give people the option to return their monitor if it’s not working for them (which you did). Just like Sense wasn’t able to meet your expectations in the limited time you had it, the 16-CT solution you mention won’t work for a lot of folks for a variety of reasons that have been frequently mentioned across these forums.

I appreciate the feedback you’ve provided on why you returned Sense and your experience with the product while you had it, but this forum is designed to help people with Sense and accumulate active user feedback on the product, not to delegitimize someone else’s experience because it was different from yours. You’re welcome to continue browsing the forums, but as long as you’re not actually using Sense, I’d kindly request you hold off on contributing here without having the product.


adolfo - Yes, I agree none is a perfect solution. One is based on actual measurements, the other on some ‘smart’ pattern/signature recognition. I felt the Sense approach was stronger in software. Also, I use a lot of data analysis and DSP in my line of work, so the Sense solution seemed very ‘natural’/eloquent’. Plus, I’m a bit biased here, but Sense was developed by people from MIT, and I have high confidence in what those guys do, as I am myself an alumni of such school.

Question: Which smart plugs did you get (for $7.00)? Do they also have built-in energy monitoring? I got a couple of KP115 arriving tomorrow. Will see if Sense integrates them seamlessly.

The smart plugs @adolfo was referring to do not have built-in energy monitoring that can be read by Sense. I recommend staying tuned though, as we have some upcoming smart plug announcements that may be of interest :slight_smile: (beyond the KP-115).


Quick please … before I invest fully in KP115.

It’ll be good to have few options.


The ‘other’ solution (one with 16 CTs) seems not too well built (not to criticize) and I’m not sure their small CTs have enough SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) to provide accurate measurements. It would be useful for us to understand the Pro’s/Con’s of each approach but that would require a bit of work, and is a bit beyond the scope of this forum. Head on to openhab once you have a fair/objective comparison. They have a large section there dedicated to hardware, though often some people will object if the discussion is not 100% openhab related.

Also, one main difference between the two solutions (Sense vs. 16 CTs), is that Sense uses a very high sampling rate to properly identify ‘signatures’ in the electrical signals/currents. This is a requirement for the AI to work. The 16 CTs solution uses a lower sampling rate and from what I understand today, it won’t be able to use pattern/signature recognition.

Lastly, I’m not advocating one vs. the other, just trying to be a bit more educated about the technology and options.

Question: How much bandwidth does the Sense device consume ?

Some estimates on bandwidth usage here: