Keen Home is adding a filter to its smart vent system. A logical next step to the Keen Home Smart Vents the company showed at last year's CES, the Keen Home Smart Filters snap into the vents, monitor air quality, and keep users informed about when they need to be swapped via the Keen Home app.
By partnering with filter company 3M, Keen Home obtained the pedigree to make me optimistic about the quality of these new smart filters, but the price leaves me skeptical about their value. The filters are an upgrade to the Vents, but you'll need to buy them separately and use them with the vents to make the most of their smart features. Each vent costs $80, and each filter runs $30, or you can pay a $3 per month per filter subscription cost and get replacements when you need them. For those in the UK and Australia, the vent price converts to roughly £55 and AU$113, respectively. The filters will cost £20 and AU$42, with the subscription £2 and AU$4
As a recap, the vents replace your existing vents and connect to an app, letting you open and close them remotely. They also include temperature sensors and can open and close automatically to help you adjust specific rooms to the temp of your choosing.
Since the vents were announced, they've been featured on "Shark Tank" and will now integrate with the Nest Learning Thermostat for a completely smart customized cooling system. The $80 vent price makes sense to me. It's a one-time cost that's a little expensive, but Keen Home recommends replacing only a third of your vents in key areas of your home. This avoids putting stress on your HVAC system, so setting up your whole place isn't as pricey as it might seem. Plus, once you're up and running, the system is supposed to save you plenty off your heating and cooling bills and make the rooms you inhabit that much more comfy.
Paying an extra $30 per filter, though the filter certainly makes sense as part of the system, dampens the long-term cost benefit of the Keen Home system. Most nonconnected filters, including those by 3M, cost around $10 to $15. If Keen Home's filters were to last a particularly long time, that would help alleviate my concerns.
If they're effective, the filters could still prove worthwhile for those with sensitive allergies. The Keen Home Smart Vent nonetheless stands as one of the products we're most excited to test out in the CNET Smart Home. The vents, along with the competition such as Ecovent, stand to potentially revolutionize how smart thermostats can be. The filters are a nice upgrade in theory, but they have a longer way to go to convince me that they're worth it.
Check out the rest of CNET's CES 2016 coverage here.