CES 2021 kicks off as a virtual event on Monday, but some companies are already offering a peek at their brand-new products. Kohler is ringing in 2021 with a host of new smart kitchen and bath products ranging from a smart water monitor to a $16,000 tub.
We've seen smart toilets and voice-controlled faucets from the established manufacturer in years past, and this year the focus lands squarely on relaxing and home and keeping our hands free from germ-ridden surfaces as much as possible.
If you'd rather buy a bathtub than a used car, Kohler's stillness bath might be right up your alley. This square tub combines light, fog and aromatherapy to create a spa-like experience at home.
The bath is based on the practice of Japanese forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Water fills from the bottom of the bath and overflows into a Hinoki wood moat. The tub is surrounded by lighting, but that's not all. You can also choose to envelop the surface of your bath with a fog and add essential oils for aromatherapy.
The Stillness Bath will be available this year in configurations ranging from $6,198 to $15,998 fully loaded.
Touchless Bathroom Faucet
If there's anything a global pandemic taught us, it's that touching stuff is not the best for personal hygiene, especially in the bathroom. Kohler released the Sensate touchless kitchen faucet in 2019, and this new bathroom-focused model offers the same hands-free interaction. Two styles will be available, one with built-in sensing in the faucet itself and another with a button beside the faucet.
Pricing isn't available yet, but Kohler says we should see the touchless bathroom faucet come to market by the end of 2021.
Innate Intelligent Toilet
This intelligent toilet doesn't technically have any smart home integrations, but it is pretty jam packed with extra features at a lower (but still expensive) price than the company's previous intelligent toilets. Innate includes a heated seat, auto opening and closing, a remote, as well as a personal bidet function. Kohler also says you can install the toilet yourself thanks to its DIY-friendly ReadyLock design.
The Innate Intelligent Toilet will be available this summer with an MSRP of $3,100.
Kohler is adding more touchless toilets to its portfolio for 2021, bringing us two new styles costing $600 and $1,000. A sensor in the flush lever of the toilet flushes with the wave of your hand. A built-in LED light can be customized through the Kohler app. Both of these toilets are slated for release in March of this year. I've never been so excited about a touchless bathroom as I am after living through 2020.
Kohler-Phyn Smart Water Monitor
Perhaps the most affordable and truly smart home-centric product from Kohler this year is the Kohler Whole Home Water Monitor powered by Phyn. Phyn, a spin off of gadget maker Belkin, has been in the smart water market for several years now, and Kohler's new partnership puts them in a better position to reach consumers looking for options from traditional bathroom and kitchen brands.
Kohler will launch two co-branded products with Phyn this year, the Kohler Whole Home Water Monitor Powered by Phyn, and a second version with an automatic water shut off. The monitor is a self-installed system that mounts under one sink in your home. From there, it detects water use throughout your plumbing system and notifies you if if a leak is detected anywhere in the home. It will also provide detailed insight into how each fixture uses water.
The model with automatic shut off uses high-definition pressure wave analysis to alert you the moment a leak is detected and shut off your water.
The basic Kohler Whole Home Water Monitor Powered by Phyn will cost $300, and the automatic shut off option will cost $500. You can expect to see the Kohler Whole Home Water Monitor in the second half of 2021.
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Sure, a $16,000 bathtub probably isn't within most of our budgets, but Kohler's idea of turning our homes into spa experiences echoes the striving for peace and relaxation at home many of us have felt in the last year. Smart water monitors, on the other hand, can be great additions to smart homes. With a more affordable price point and a practical application, it might be the smartest thing Kohler brought to CES.
Stay tuned to CNET as we follow these and more exciting new products on their journey to a smart home near you.