Touchless faucets are trending for home use in 2021

Keep germs off those hands

U by Moen touchless faucet Credit: Moen

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Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic just keep resonating across the home design industry, from a redefinition of the home office to an uptick in home spas. As we enter 2021 with a continued focus on sanitation and cleanliness, we are seeing a shift to touchless faucets in the kitchen and bath.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association called out voice-activated, motion-control, and hands-free faucets in its NKBA Design Trends 2021 report as emerging kitchen and bathroom trends. In early February, its annual industry design event KBIS saw many brands like Moen and Toto showcasing new hands-free innovations.

Likewise, popular design and home renovation platform Houzz also notes touchless faucets as one of 36 design trends to look out for in 2021.

What to watch for in 2021

Credit: Toto

In 2021, Toto will be introducing eight different styles of its hands-free faucets, including the GC Touchless, pictured here.

Perhaps the coolest innovation we’ve seen coming out this year is the U by Moen smart faucet, which the design- and performance-focused North American brand developed before the COVID pandemic, but which has proved to be a prescient innovation. This smart faucet is part of Moen’s whole-home connected water system, which can be monitored through a smartphone app.

As for touchless capabilities, consumers operate the U by Moen smart faucet a few ways, including through settings in the app, by voice control commands compatible with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, and through MotionSense Wave touchless sensor activation turned on by a user with a wave of their hand. Users can also operate the faucet using a traditional manual handle.

Our favorite feature of Moen’s smart faucet is its “Wash Hands” preset in which the faucet automatically turns on for a few seconds with warm water, and then turns off for 20 seconds—the CDC-recommended time that you should be scrubbing your hands with soap—and then turns on again for a final rinse. There’s no thinking involved in developing this good habit.

Moen doesn’t overlook the consumer’s desire for an aesthetic that matches their existing home décor, and it plans to offer the kitchen and bath smart faucet in 14 different styles with seven different finishes, including matte black and terra beige.

Also on the horizon, American luxury brand Kohler has announced its new four-piece Riff kitchen faucet collection that boasts a modern design (and five finishes) and some super functionality including its Sweep aerated blade water stream and its Boost technology that allows for a 30% increased water flow rate.

On top of this, Riff integrates with Kohler’s Konnect smart home platform that’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Home Kit for voice-activated, hands-free control, as well as Kohler’s Response motion-activated technology.

Credit: Kohler

Kohler's new Riff kitchen faucet collection integrates with a smart home platform for voice-activated, hands-free control and motion-activated technology.

And, innovative Japanese bathroom fixture manufacturer Toto—have you seen its futuristic toilet yet?—combines its touchless technology with energy savings using its Ecopower platform. The energy expended by running water through the faucet charges the hands-free unit and reduces electricity use.

In 2021, Toto will be introducing eight different styles, including the GC Touchless Faucet, which was nominated as a finalist for 2021 Best of KBIS.

Hands-free faucets already on the market

Aside from Moen, Kohler, and Toto’s big announcements, plenty of popular kitchen and bath brands have hands-free faucets for kitchen and bath on the market already—albeit less, well, fancy.

In the bathroom, Delta offers the everyday consumer a battery-powered, motion-activated hands-free option in a variety of different models, which automatically shuts off when you are out of range. In the kitchen, Delta also features a voice-activated smart faucet via its Voice IQ technology that can control temperature, on-off functionality, and quantity.

With a more clean-lined European look, Grohe offers infrared sensor faucets with preselected water temperatures for both kitchen and bath.

Pfister features two styles of its hands-free React sensor faucet for the kitchen. It turns on with a wave and automatically turns off after three minutes of inactivity.

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