Three years at CES 2017 Moen revealed a smart shower system that could be preheated from your smartphone without having to climb out of bed in the morning. This year the company is bringing that technology to the kitchen with a new smart faucet that delivers some surprisingly practical features.
The U by Moen smart shower was a bathroom upgrade that anyone would jump at, but with a price tag starting at $US1,160 ($1,669) that didn’t include shower heads, fixtures, or the cost of the complicated installation, it was a luxury that few could justify the cost of. You could easily save yourself a couple of thousand dollars by just remembering to turn on the shower as you stumbled past it towards the toilet and your morning potty break.
The U by Moen Smart Faucet, however, is a more attainable upgrade that expands on the convenience of having water at just the perfect temperature. Like the U shower, using sensors the faucet is supposed to intelligently mixes the hot and cold water flowing through your pipes to ensure that whatever temperature you requested is what comes pouring out of the faucet. These requests can be made using Moen’s iOS and Android mobile app, but Moen claims the smart faucet also works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa devices. Users will need to have at least one smart speaker in their home for voice commands to work, but in addition to requesting specific temperatures or presets configured in the app (such as “baby bottle”, users can also simply ask Google or Alexa to make the water a little warmer or a little cooler as conversational requests should work just fine.
The faucet can also be operated hands and voice free thanks to built in motion sensors and a traditional lever for flow and temperature adjustments, while a flashing LED light will change colour from red to blue indicating whether the water is being cooled or warmed to temperature, and will turn solid when the water has reached the requested setting.
The most innovative feature of the U by Moen Smart Faucet is its ability to also precisely dispense water in specific quantities, either through the mobile app or smart assistant voice commands. It should handle requests in metric and imperial measurements from as small as a tablespoon up to 15 gallons, and even at a specifically requested temperature. Users can request a half-cup of water at 102 degrees, for example, and the water will only flow once a vessel has been placed under the faucet and detected. If there’s a chef or baker in your life, this sounds like an upgrade that could vastly improve their kitchen workflow.
Pricing starts at $US430 ($619) and goes up from there based on the design and finish of the faucet (Moen is releasing an entire collection to ensure it compliments almost any existing kitchen decor). While not cheap, it’s nowhere near as expensive as the U shower upgrade. Furthermore, installation can be handled by even the most basic of home improvement enthusiasts—you don’t have to hire a professional plumber for the upgrade. Moen has even made the faucet’s mechanical and electronic components run off a set of D-sized batteries for those who don’t have an electrical outlet underneath their kitchen sinks. Basic wrench skills are all that’s needed to bring your kitchen into the 22nd century.
Editor's Note: Stay tuned for news of an Australian release date.