At CES 2020 in Las Vegas this year, Moen announced its entry in the smart faucet category. Carrying on the unfortunate “U by Moen” branding for connected products, the U by Moen Smart Faucet beats the competition in several ways: it controls water flow and temperature, it’s available in more styles and finishes, and it’s less expensive.
Moen offers four ways to control its smart faucet: manual, gesture, voice, or app. Of course, you can use the faucet’s onboard handle to control flow and temperature, just like with any faucet. You can also stop and restart the flow with Moen’s familiar wave sensor. Just wave your hand over the faucet. But that’s where the similarity with other systems ends.
Regardless of the set position of the faucet’s handle, you can control the faucet with the Moen app or with your voice. Handle in the off position? No problem…it still works with Alexa or the Google Assistant. Further, you can designate relative or specific water temperatures in addition to measurements. So everything from “turn on the water” to “turn on warm water” and “pour half a cup of 100 degree water” will work. These commands will initially require the awkward “hey [assistant], ask Moen to…” nomenclature. But while at CES, we also saw Google demonstrate new API features that Moen will eventually use to eliminate the need for that “ask Moen” third-party request.
What does “warm” mean? You decide that. Use Moen’s iOS or Android app to specify exact temperatures for hot, warm, and cold water. You can also create presets of your own naming for requests like “fill the pasta pot.”
Moen’s app will also monitor water use and present trends to help you reduce your water use if desired.
Fit and Finish
Moen’s smart faucet will be available in seven different designs, across them offered in twelve different finishes. Each features Moen’s Wave Sensor, a color-changing LED that indicates water temperature, and Moen’s weighted, pull-down, adjustable sprayer.
This is a DIY installation for the household weekend “plumber,” but it’s also standard enough that your professional plumber shouldn’t have any problems with it. To ease the installation, the smart mechanism is battery-operated. You can also plug it in if you have power under your sink for, say, a water heater or filter system.
Moen plans to launch the U by Moen Smart Faucets in the next few weeks. We heard a Moen representative say “February,” specifically. The faucets and software we saw felt production-ready, so we’re pretty confident saying you should see them this quarter. Expect to get them first from Moen and Amazon, then online at big box stores. Some retailers should also carry the product in stores later this year.
The Ace up Moen’s sleeve is pricing. U by Moen will start at about $450 for its most popular, stainless design and vary by style and finish. That’s lower than Delta’s offering and significantly lower than Kohler’s recently launched smart faucet.
Bottom line: It may be too early for a final verdict, but there isn’t anything we don’t like about Moen’s welcome addition to the smart kitchen. It’s more flexible and customizable than the competition. It’s available in more styles and finishes. And it’s notably less expensive. We’ll be eager to see how the market responds to this new product, and hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to test the faucet for a first-hand review.