Pfister is taking its first step into hands-free faucets with the new Selia Touch-Free Kitchen Faucet with REACT technology. The company's stated goal is to focus on "technology with a purpose," rather than overwhelming consumers with cumbersome add-ons just for the sake of being high-tech. Thus, this new plumbing fixture will boast an impressive combination of the old and the new.
Indeed, the Selia is the first faucet to use REACT technology, or response-activated technology, which allows you to turn your faucet on or off by moving your hand or an object in front of it. The idea is you'll be able to keep your kitchen cleaner by not touching the sink or other areas with grimy hands. Additionally, you can control the water flow with the handle as you normally would. The Selia Touch-Free Kitchen Faucet with REACT technology will be available for $300 starting in November at select Lowe's retailers throughout the United States. Pfister is not planning on selling it internationally for the time being.
Motion sensing isn't a new ability for faucets. Plenty of public restrooms have used a variant of the skill for years. In fact, they helped give the idea a bad reputation. I have plenty of experience dashing from sink to sink in an airport bathroom, waving my hands every which way, hoping one will turn on so I can get the soap off of my hands and catch my flight. With the Selia, Pfister hopes to avoid that unfortunate situation. The fact that it has an actual handle is a great start. And since hands-free faucets hit the scene, plenty of other manufacturers have significantly refined the technology by honing it for higher-end faucets for the home.
Moen's Motionsense allows you to wave above the spout to turn on the water, and has a quick-on feature near the base that will only run when it detects something near it. Kohler offers something closer to the new Pfister faucet, with a single sensor near the base designed for quick responsiveness. Delta's version still requires a touch, but allows you to tap it on or off from several key points with the back of your hand or an elbow. All of these options include a familiar handle as well.
Pfister's advantage might come from price. Moen and Koehler models tend to cost as much as $600. Delta's Touch2O, which still necessitates some contact, can be had on products ranging from $400 to $600. At $300, Pfister's faucet seems to strike a balance between bargain and designer plumbing. Given the inclusion of a touch-free sensor, the Selia looks like a steal if it can perform up to the responsiveness of its competitors.
The Selia Touch-Free Kitchen Faucet will allow you to control the temperature of the motion-activated water separately from the standard handle. A dial under the sink gives you the ability to customize this preset temperature. Delta uses a different tactic, with water that comes on as hot or as cold as when you used the faucet last.
Both have potential pros and cons. Delta allows you to make adjustments without using a separate dial, and having to reach under the sink to make a change strikes me as tedious. Still, the most common uses for cold water, like filling up a drinking glass or rinsing a piece of fruit, let you use your hands without concern. Thus, the ability to keep your faucet at a comfortably warm temperature for washing off dirt, no matter how you use it in the meantime, could often prove handy.
Pfister also packed in a number of features outside of the motion sensor. A pull-out hose lets you clean corners quickly and boasts a system to help you dock the faucet back in place when you're done. The nozzle supposedly eases the removal of mineral buildup. You can tell the sensor to hibernate when you want to save power or when you want to clean it, and it includes an automatic timer that'll turn your sink off after 2 minutes so you don't accidentally leave it running. Though hopefully it's smart enough not to shut off while you're still using it.
Pfister's new tech will have a lot to prove. The sensor will need to be responsive and easy to use, but not so sensitive that the faucet turns on whenever you're moving in the kitchen. Placing the temperature control for the hands-free water under the sink is an interesting idea. I like the idea of setting and forgetting it, especially when I can control the temperature under most circumstances from the handle, but reaching into the cupboards will get tedious if I need to make frequent adjustments to the preset; I wonder if two different temperature dials will be able to function smoothly in tandem.
Without quick temperature control, the motion-sensing smarts remain limited in Pfister's new offering. However, the goal was to implement simple, helpful tech without adding complication to familiar functionality. There, the Selia Touch-Free Kitchen Faucet looks to be on path.