Smart Faucet: An Extra Hand in the Kitchen
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By tapping into a virtual assistant such as Google Home, a smart faucet turns on and off, fills containers by exact measurement, programs “experiences” and changes water temperature, all by voice command.
Smart faucets aren’t cheap, ranging from $500 to $800. At first glance, it seemed like a novelty, but I was intrigued. So I picked up a Kohler Konnect Sensate ($518 on Amazon), a smart faucet that connects to my Google Home, to test it out in my own kitchen.
Same install—but with wires
Smart faucets install like standard faucets; you connect supply lines to the faucet. After that, as you might expect, there are multiple wires to connect a solenoid valve and other sensors. It looked daunting, but all was easy and intuitive, and installation was done in about an hour. Some smart faucets require an electrical outlet underneath the sink. If you don’t have an outlet under your sink, search “outlet” at familyhandyman.com to learn how to install one. Other faucets are battery-powered; with them, you’ll have the nuisance of periodic battery changes. Check out 10 tips for installing a faucet the easy way.
Control with voice commands
Voice commands are easy but not always intuitive. For the model I installed, rather than saying “Hey Google, turn on the faucet,” I had to say “Hey Google, ask Kohler to turn on the faucet.” Not a big deal, but kind of a mouthful. This model doesn’t offer voice temperature control, but some smart faucets do. Smart faucets also have a manual override, so they can also be operated the old-fashioned way.
Program different containers
You can program “experiences” for specific containers, such as coffee pots, dog bowls or watering cans. This way, you don’t need to remember exact amounts for each container. I programmed an experience called “spaghetti.” After telling my virtual assistant to “start spaghetti,” the pot filled to 4 quarts while I prepared other things.
Measure water with precision
While making pancakes, I put a container under the faucet and asked for two cups of water. In the meantime, I got a skillet from the cupboard and turned on the range. When I returned to the sink, two cups of water was waiting. It was magic.
The bottom line
I tested this faucet for a week. After I replaced it with our “analog” faucet, my wife and I were surprised to find we missed the convenience. Smart faucets are still very new and will undoubtedly improve, but even this early model made me think about installing one permanently in the near future.
Keep your faucet germ-free
After handling raw meat, I’d rather not smear it on the faucet handle. So I asked the smart faucet to turn on, washed my hands and turned it off with the motion sensor, never touching it.