Editor's Note: Keen Home has released some hardware and firmware updates that have significantly changed the product experience. Our review has been updated to reflect those changes.
A few months ago, I tested Keen Home Smart Vents and gave them a poor review. Terrible connectivity made some of the features practically untestable, and a design flaw made ceiling installations dangerous. With ample feedback from users and reviewers, Keen Home continued work on its product. Now, these $80 smart vents are beginning to look compelling.
The idea behind Keen's vents is that you can personalize the temperature of individual rooms around your house. If one room tends to get colder in the winter, the vents can direct more heat to it, or if you like your bedroom cooler, you can divert warm air away from it. On a basic level, Keen performs. If you're interested in smart vents, or you have a compatible smart thermostat, Keen Home Vents are definitely worth checking out, especially as their features continue to develop.
The Keen Home system takes some time to set up, but it's hard to imagine how anyone could make it much easier. The real hassle is actually perching on a ladder to install ceiling vents, if you have them, or screwing the fixtures into the wall. Keen has also remedied most of the old connectivity problems, so syncing the vents to the hub is a breeze.
In my experience, the installation takes 15-to-20 minutes per unit. Depending on how many you install, it could take an hour, or an afternoon.
Once the setup is complete, using the Keen Home app is intuitive. The app is streamlined, and now, when you run into connection problems with a vent, the app realizes it and automatically pulls up troubleshooting recommendations. I like this addition, especially after my original experience with the system that left me confused and exasperated.
Where Keen Vents excel is in design. Now that the falling-from-the-ceiling problem is fixed, users are left with a minimalist aesthetic that works with almost any decor. The white faceplates attach magnetically onto the vent itself, so unlike traditional vents, you can simply pull off the plate to clean the slats or change the batteries.
Even without the faceplate, the vents look slick. A small LED light recessed in the structure of the vent itself is the primary means of communication between user and device. And for the most part, its blinking patterns are easy to understand: green for "connected", yellow for "searching for connection," and so on. But just in case, I found it helpful to keep the included translation card handy while setting up.