Kohler smart faucet brings voice commands to the kitchen sink

Chris Monroe / CNET

There’s a smart version of almost every large device in your home. But what about your sink? You can also do this online with Kohler’s Sensate Faucet. This kitchen faucet fits from US $ 875 Google assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri for voice control. While it’s a big step forward for that smart kitchen – and a huge hassle for most of us – Kohler’s tap isn’t quite as impressive as I’d hoped it would be. I would recommend waiting for future updates or additional options from competitors before spending big bucks on this smart faucet.

Design and installation

Kohler’s Sensate voice-controlled faucet costs between $ 875 and $ 1,100, depending on the version. While that’s expensive, it’s important to note that Kohler’s standard version of this no-voice faucet also falls into that price range, so adding smarts doesn’t really cost you more.

Kohler sent me the oil-rubbed bronze finish for review, but the Sensate is also available in polished chrome, vibrant stainless steel, and matte black. The single hole design takes up little space on your countertop and the retractable nozzle helps the faucet reach every corner of your sink. You can control the faucet with motion by moving your hand under the arch to turn it on or off. You can also use the physical handle or a voice assistant.


Chris Monroe / CNET

Installation is similar to most normal kitchen faucets, except for the electrical power required. You need a special socket or switch that can be on at any time to power the motion detection and intelligent components. If cables are not yet available near your sink, this will need to be factored into your budget and installation plan. I suspect most people will want to call a plumber to help with the installation.

Voice control

Once your faucet is installed, you’ll need to download the Kohler Konnect app and create an account if you don’t already have one. Instructions are different for each operating system, but the app and associated smarts work with both iOS and Android devices. Follow the instructions in the box to link this account to the voice assistant of your choice, and you’re good to go.

Look at that:

Kohler’s Sensate faucet brings voice commands to …


When you’re ready to use voice commands, you need to physically pull the handle to the on position and then stop the flow of water with your hand for the faucet to work with voice commands. This makes sense from a power supply standpoint – it’s like leaving your light switch on to control smart lightbulbs. As with smart lighting, it can be difficult to properly configure the faucet in a house where several people use the sink every day. This has the potential to detract from the convenience of voice commands.

The voice control in my tests responded adequately, but at the time of testing, Kohler asked you to tell either Alexa or Google Assistant to “ask Kohler” before each command. So you’d say, “Hey, Alexa, ask Kohler to turn the tap on.” Kohler has since updated its app to remove this requirement so you can ask your assistant directly. That’s a good thing as this lack of native control made the Sensate faucet just a bit behind the times.

Chris Monroe / CNET

There is also no temperature control via voice, so the faucet will deliver water at the temperature indicated by the position of the handle. Voice-activated readings must be between 8 ounces and 6 gallons, and the faucet will turn off automatically after 4 minutes.

You can ask for ounces, cups, milliliters, quarts, liters, or gallons of water and the Sensate faucet will dispense the appropriate amount with accuracy, but it’s not really that simple. You can’t ask about fractions. So if you need 1.5 cups you have to ask for 12 ounces. Kohler informs me that faction compatibility is planned for future updates but is not currently available. I hope the company succeeds in this regard as the Sensate’s convenience factor largely disappears when I still have to do mental calculations to convert measurements before asking for anything.


Chris Monroe / CNET

Voice commands with Siri are very different from those from Google and Alexa. Apple’s voice assistant only allows you to turn the faucet on or off – you cannot request measurements. While you can turn the faucet on and off through your Home app, you can’t add the faucet to any Scenes.

Kohler Konnect app


Chris Monroe / CNET

The Kohler Konnect app is your basis for controlling your tap, displaying water consumption and adapting voice commands. It’s the same app that connects Kohler Verdera Voice illuminated smart mirrors.

In the Kohler Konnect app you can create and name presets, which are referred to as “experiences”. These experiences are customized voice commands. For example, you can name an experience “Coffee Pot” and set it to 8 cups.

The Kohler Konnect app also shows your water usage in a table and can notify you when the faucet detects a leak or water flow. You can display the consumption in daily, weekly, monthly and annual intervals via diagrams as well as the average running time. Here you can also set your preferred measuring system, your metric or your standard.


Yes, Kohler’s Sensate faucet is expensive. It has quirks and wrinkles to iron out. I don’t think I would recommend it to most people right now unless they were already planning to spend $ 800 to $ 1,200 on a new kitchen faucet. If you’re that deep already, then the extra smarts are sure to be entertaining. I can also imagine that it would benefit someone with a disability.

Motion controlled faucets are not a new thing, but the voice control aspect offers a whole new way to interact with your kitchen sink. It may be imperfect, but it feels like a real step forward for the smart home. For a cheaper price, the concept of a smart faucet might one day feel like a real convenience. At the moment it’s more of an expensive novelty.

Update, May 26th: Updated to reflect the removal of the “Ask Kohler” requirement for voice commands.

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