Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Review


Inkbird is a company widely known among foodies and gourmets for their range of smart food thermometers like BBQ and smoker temperature probes. They have their own app and mainly use Bluetooth as a communication protocol for their devices.

For some of their products, there is an official Home Assistant integration, which allows you to get the readings of the sensors in your instance. I wrote about Inkbird’s Wi-Fi Double Probe sensor with relays a while back, labelled model IPT-2CH.

I’ve been meaning to test out their range of pool thermometers for a while now, an Amazon bestseller products that you toss in your pool, aquarium or hot tub to get the temperature reading of the water.

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Featured Image

In this article, I’m testing the Inkbird IBS-P02R Pool Thermometer with a screen. This is their latest version which uses 433MHz for connectivity and you can get it on Amazon, AliExpress or their official store.

Different Models of Pool Thermometers

Inkbird has a couple of models in their pool thermometer line-up, differentiated by communication method, receiver unit (screen) and other small differences. To make it clear from the start, here’s a summary:

Inkbird IBS-P01B

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P01B

Inkbird IBS-P01R

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P01R

Inkbird IBS-P02R

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R with IBS-M2

Technical Specification IBS-P02R

The model talked about in this review is the IBS-P02R, which has the following technical specification:

  • Temperature and Humidity Monitor (Receiver)
  • Temperature measurement range: -10°C~60°C (14°F~140°F)
  • Temperature measurement accuracy: ±1.0°C (±1.8°F)
  • Temperature display accuracy: 0.1°C (0.1°F)
  • Humidity measurement range: 0~ 99%
  • Humidity measurement accuracy: ± 5%
  • Humidity display accuracy: 1%
  • Maximum number of thermometer channels supported at the same time: 3
  • Pool Thermometer (Transmitter)
  • Temperature measurement range: -40°C~70°C (-40°F~158°F)
  • Temperature measurement accuracy: ±1°C(±1.8°F)
  • Temperature display accuracy: 0.1°C(0.1°F)
  • Sampling period: 10s
  • Waterproof grade: IPX7
  • Warranty: 1 year

Teardown

The Inkbird IBS-P02R pool thermometer ships in a branded box, containing the transmitter unit, receiver unit and a user manual. Contents inside the box are cushioned extremely well, there is no wiggle room so everything is safe from shipping mishandling.

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Package

The transmitter unit is fairly long, a bit larger than my mug. The part that actually floats on the water is above the green rubber protection ring while the elongated body dips about 10cm in the water.

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Transmitter next to Mug

The receiver unit has a large LCD screen divided in two areas, left and right. On the left side, you can see the temperature reading of the water as well as battery level of the transmitter unit. On the right side, you get a temperature and humidity reading of the room as well as it’s own battery level.

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Receiver next to Mug

Looking at the transmitter unit from the top, you see a small screen, an antenna and a status LED. The screen is tiny, but contains the temperature reading, battery state and connectivity indicator. Useful for glancing the temperature while you are in the pool alongside the device.

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Transmitter Screen

The transmitter unit is opened by unscrewing the top lid, where you are actually install the batteries. This device is powered by 2xAAAs, supposed to last a full year on a good set. The probe is connected to the main PCB with a silicone cable, which has enough length not to be twisted when screwing the top back in place.

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Transmitter Open

The actual sensor which measures the temperature is protruding through a small hole on the bottom. This probe is water and rust resistant, meant to spend it’s life in the water.

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Transmitter Probe

The screen of the receiver unit is actually quite solid, information can be be comfortably glanced from a distance. There are 3 buttons on the top of the device for controlling the unit:

1. Change communication channel (if you have multiple devices)
2. Change between °C/°F
3. Show Min/Max values (24Hours or All-Time)

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Receiver Screen

Dismantling the receiver unit was easy, everything is connected together by flat cables. PCB is neat and tidy, with a small antenna protruding through the bottom of the case for a better connection.

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Receiver Open

Since this is the 433MHz model, communication between the receiver and transmitter is handled through an RF module instead of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This results in larger range (about 300feet/90m) in open space, which can be convenient for larger pools and detached houses.

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Receiver Communication Module

Home Assistant Integration

The Inkbird Pool Thermometers can be integrated in Home Assistant in a couple of different ways. Some models are easier (Bluetooth, IBS-P01B), others more involved (433MHz, IBS-P01R, IBS-P02R) and require additional hardware.

The RF models also have receiver versions that act as gateways (Wi-Fi, IBS-M1, IBS-M2) which be integrated through Tuya/Local Tuya Integration. This leaves us with two options:

  • Integrate through rtl_433 directly
  • Integrate their receiver (Wi-Fi) through Tuya/Local Tuya Integration

Whether or not the 433MHz integration is worth the effort is up to you to decide. There are some benefits to RF over Bluetooth, such as improved range over an open area. However, you can always capture BLE packets with an ESP32 board and proxy those to Home Assistant if you need to. In summary:

My version doesn’t have the Wi-Fi gateway, so I could not test the Local Tuya Integration. I am currently waiting on a RTL-SDR dongle to test the rtl_433 Integration, will update this article when I get some information.

Testing

I don’t own a pool (this device is going to be given away), so to get a sense of the reporting interval and accuracy of the Inkbird IBS-P02 Pool Thermometer, I dipped the transmitter in two glasses. One contains cold tap water (still kind of hot due to summer) and the other one hot boiler water, coming in at about 40°C.

Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Cold Test
Tap water
Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Hot Test
Boiler Water

The values on the receiver unit were updated almost instantly, in about 3 seconds. As soon as I changed the mug back, the values changed back again. I’m not sure if such a fast reporting interval is useful for the purpose of this device, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

The temperature measured by the receiver unit deployed in my living room also appears to be accurate, compared to my e-ink Xiaomi LYWSD02 sensor. Overall, I am happy with the build quality and feature set of the Inkbird IBS-P02R.

Summary

This 2nd generation pool thermometer from Inkbird model IBS-P02R [Amazon, AliExpress] is capable of measuring the temperature in your pool, pond, aquarium or any mass of water really. It reports back very fast to it’s receiver unit via radio frequency on the 433MHz band.

Whether or not investing in RTL-SDR dongle to capture it’s payload is worth the effort is debatable, just so you could integrate the device in Home Assistant. If you have a pool near your home, you might be better off getting the first generation Bluetooth version – model IBS-PO1B [Amazon, AliExpress].

If you don’t need to integrate the device in Home Assistant and simply want to glance information on it’s receiver with a screen, than the 2nd generation IBS-P02R is certainly better. It’s important to note 433MHz has significantly larger range over an open area than Bluetooth, ~90 meters for this particular device.

If you decide to go the Wi-Fi router and integrate the gateway through Tuya/Local Tuya, it’s smarter to get the combo set which sells for a bit lets – IBS-P02R + IBS-M2 Gateway [Amazon, AliExpress]. You can add up to 9 pool thermometers on a single gateway.

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6 thoughts on “Inkbird Pool Thermometer IBS-P02R Review”

  1. I haven’t been able to add this unit to the Tuya integration on HA because I couldn’t see what device to add to the Tuya app in the first place. It works fine with the INKBIRD app but no luck with Tuya. Can you point me in the right direction?

    1. Tuya/localtuya only works with old IBS-M1 hubs. It doesn’t work with recently produced IBS-M1 or with IBS-M2. When connecting those to Tuya all you get is Chinese information, without the temperature data. Localtuya then doesn’t work either. Those models only work with Inkbird apps, which can’t communicate with anything external (useless). There is a workaround script if you google it to convert raw data from tuya to the actual temperature. I wrote to Inkbird and to Tuya and got nowhere. Otherwise BLE and rtl_433 work as described.

  2. If you’re giving it away I’m certainly interested in it to replace my DIY zigbee sensor hidden in the pool alarm box 🙂

  3. Hi,

    Thnx for the nice review. I bought a IBS-P02R with IBS-M2 and will receive it shortly.

    Is it easy to connect to a Homey Pro 2024 via RF? Or should I bought the older version in that case, I’m a bit in doubt…

    Thnx for your reply.

    1. Hey Allard,

      I am not really sure. They are both capable of 433MHz RF, so you will have to test and see.
      I don’t see an official INKBIRD app, so you might have to do some research/work.

      Cheers

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