If you’re anything like me you love automation that takes away the small annoyances in life and replaces them with with a cool gadget. Well, that’s exactly what the PlantMaid is. I love greenery, whether it be the Melbourne Botanical Gardens or the lovely plants at my apartments and in my office. What I don’t love is constant watering and wondering if I’m slowly killing them.
PlantMaid pitches itself as a product that will take care of plant hydration on your behalf and do a better job than you. Does it live up to its claims and what is the overall product quality like? Find out now in this PlantMaid review. If you’re short on time feel free to skip ahead to the different sections:
PlantMaid is a brand new product designed by Paul Immelman. Paul was kind enough to send me a near market-ready version of PlantMaid to review in anticipation for the official Kickstarter launch! I’ve had this product for around a week now and have been testing it out in my office to see what it’s like to use, how effective it is and what the overall product quality is like. So. let’s begin!
I was impressed when first took it out of the box. I’ve reviewed my fair share of Kickstarter prototypes and usually, you can very much tell they are a prototype. This is not the case with PlantMaid. It is well put together, looks clean and is smaller than I expected given it is expected to pump water. It comes with two AA batteries which fit into a battery cartridge which detached from the underside of the product and slots right back in.
Aesthetics & Build
Although the function is much more important than the form with this type of product, aesthetics is still an important component. At the end of the day, one of the reasons we love plants is because they look pretty and you don’t really want to buy a product that ruins that effect. Well, fear not. The PlantMaid is understated in its design and small enough to go unnoticed if that’s your preference. The form of the product is nothing special but it is also not offending anyone – it’s functional and minimalist.
The outer casing is made from a matt, white plastic that is present across the entire body of the unit. It is accented by two lime green buttons present on the front side that control different functions and has a small, and basic display above the buttons. There is a certain functional charm that has it’s own aesthetic beauty to it. There is a tube attached to the left-hand side of the unit which appears to be made from quite a durable and strong plastic with an open-end ready to suck up water for your plants’ pleasure.
At the moment there is not much weight to the end of the tube which results in it moving around in water reservoir, but Paul has informed that adding more weight to the end is high up on the list of required tweaks.
At the bottom of the product is a sensor which looks flimsy, but it is surprisingly firm. At first, I was being over careful with it, but quickly realised it was pretty robust. So far, so good.
In order for the automation aspect of the PlantMaid to work in needs sensors to detect the state of the soil. It does this through three separate sensors. It has a light sensor, temperature sensor and soil moisture sensor. Let’s start with the soil sensor.
The soil sensor protrudes from the underside and needs to be fully inserted into the soil up until the bottom of the unit is touching the top of the soil. This will allow PlantMaid to accurate and continually check the moisture level of the soil. With this information, PlantMaid can then be set to either maintain a set moisture level or let the soil dry up and then re-water. This pretty clever stuff and makes the PlantMaid a useful gadget for all different types of plants.
The temperature sensor is also pretty handy, especially with Summer around the corner here in Australia. It’s easy to forget the damage that high heats can do to your plants. Well, the PlantMaid’s temperature sensor takes the guesswork out and can provide you with a current temperature reading or an average of the past 24 hours. This could be a literal lifesaver for some more fragile plants.
Finally, the light sensor. This little guy helps you find the optimum position for your plants. Just like the temperature sensor, the light sensor can provide you with a current and average reading of light levels. This gives your plants the best chance of growing strong and healthy.
Of course, this product couldn’t do its job without a pump to move the water around, and it’s surprisingly powerful! The first time I tested it to see how it worked it squirted water over my table. I was expecting it to drip or dribble out, but no, there is a consistent flow of water out of the spout.
What’s It Like To Use
It takes two minutes to set-up, which is always a good thing. Once you have inserted the batteries, it’s pretty much ready to do its thing. Just grab a bottle of water to act as your water reservoir, drop the tube in you’re halfway there already. Insert the soil sensor fully and aim the spout towards the middle of the pot and you’re good to go. I won’t go through all of the individual instructions as you can read them here, but I’ll let you know that they are super simple and easy to follow.
I was kindly given permission by my office manager to become temporarily in charge of one of the potted plants at my office for a week and allow PlantMaid to be the primary caregiver. I setup PlantMaid to maintain a continual moisture level and let it run its course while keeping an eye on it once or twice a day. I don’t know what I was expecting because this isn’t the most dynamic product in the world but it quietly went about its business with absolutely no input from me.
Occasionally I would hear the quiet stir of the motor and that’s about. There is a buzzer to inform you when the reservoir is out of the water, but I didn’t get that far. A nifty feature no doubt. The result, a happy and hydrated plant one week later with no human intervention. Just what the product was designed for. Awesome!
This is certainly a cool product and one that I can see happily sitting in plant pots around the world. It solves a common issue with simplicity which is always good to see. It’s not the cheapest product in the world but if you’re away for an extended period of times it is a lot cheaper than the majority of large plants, not to mention the time-saving element to the value proposition. This product is easy to recommend to plant lovers who want to free up a bit of their time.
This is no doubt a very useful product for people who love plants and need a helping hand to keep them healthy. This will remove a lot of labour and the guesswork from maintaining plants, but it does come at a cost. It’s far from prohibitively expensive but with multiple units, things will add up quite quickly. However, if you’re away from home for long periods these will save you a fortune in replacing dead plants.
✓ Great idea
✓ Does its job well
✓ Minimalist and small design
✗ Multiple units add up quickly