My family and I realized we needed a new kitchen when, at the start of the pandemic, the handle on our pull-out faucet broke. Although we had collected a temporary replacement together, our 1980s-built kitchen around us continued to crumble. Now, a few months after us DIY smart home renovation, the circle is complete: I just bought one of the smartest, most versatile sink faucets on the market.
Moen has always been known for faucets, but the U by Moen sub-brand has become a major player for sanitary systems-based smart home appliances. The company’s smart faucets not only help control the flow of water to kitchens and sinks, but they also package motion sensors and pair with Alexa or Google Assistant so that you can also operate them with your voice.
While motion detection has become a popular faucet feature, letting you turn the water on and off with the palm of your hand, you can’t change the temperature hands-free. That’s where my new U by Moen faucet lives up to its hefty $ 450 price tag.
Through us in the area Amazon Echo (4th generation) smart speaker, I can ask Alexa to make the water coming out of the tap warmer or cooler. I can even ask my assistant to set a specific water temperature as long as that value is within the capabilities of my plumbing.
The party tricks don’t stop there. Alexa can dose exact amounts of water, from a tablespoon to a cup, when asked. In the companion app, I can also combine the temperature and quantities under custom presets, which has already been useful for filling my 32-ounce water bottle.
For this feature, Alexa will start running the water and tell me to wait for it to stop. If the indicator light on the spout is on continuously, it means the water is at the requested temperature and I can swing hard over the sensor to let the requested amount drip out.
Set up my U by Moen smart tap
These clever skills don’t work out of the box, of course. Like any regular faucet, my smart van U by Moen came disassembled. Fortunately, we had some basic plumbing knowledge and were able to install the hardware ourselves in about 30 minutes.
The only physical setup difference between a dumb faucet and a smart faucet is that the smart faucet requires a battery pack, which you are encouraged to mount in your base cabinet.
Since you can’t wire it, Moen thoughtfully provided the six required D batteries, which the manual said will last for two years, as long as there’s a strong 2.4GHz Wi-Fi signal at your sink location.
You can also always hire a plumber to install your smart faucet. Even if you skip the smart features, the faucet works like a normal faucet with manual controls for adjusting the temperature and switching between stream and spray.
We even waited a few weeks to turn on the U by Moen tap’s intelligence. When we were done, it took a few minutes to connect the tap to my wifi and enable my Moen account in the Alexa app. I think it’s fair to say it’s one of the easiest smart home devices I’ve ever installed, from a software perspective. This provided the crane with the most important points in my book.
Why a smart faucet is a smart investment
If you’ve been following this series, you know that I otherwise skipped smart kitchen appliances. You’ll also know that I settled for a less than $ 100 smart thermostat, preaching about how taking the DIY route can save you thousands in designing your smart home system. So what do I do with a $ 450 smart faucet?
First, a faucet is something we always use. We make food, take care of plants, keep ourselves (and our dog) hydrated, and wash our hands with water from our sink. We were willing to loosen the wallet for the hygienic benefits of a motion sensor faucet, given how much we process raw meat for the barbecue. But when I came across a voice-controlled home that offered conveniences to match our lifestyle, I felt it was fulfilling my dreams of a smart home fit for the 21st century.
You decide not need a pricey faucet. Despite the smart features, we still use manual controls out of habit and appreciate that when guests come over, they have no trouble accessing running water. But when our hands are full, or we just want an automated experience, the motion sensor and voice control options are a game changer.
And more than that, after the fiasco with our old faucet’s broken handle, we thought a smart faucet was a smart investment. When used properly, the faucet’s hardware should undergo less wear and tear as you pull the different parts less often. It can also lower your water bill, as long as you take advantage of the accurate water delivery feature.
Are you sold on smart faucets? Let me know why (or why not) in the comments. Be sure to check out my guides for the best smart home appliances and best cheap smart home devices) for more gadget recommendations. And as always, email me at [email protected] with anything you’d like to see me cover up in the connected space – I could discuss it in a future episode.
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