Smart showers, smart toilets and smart sinks: Should you put your plumbing online?

There are now networked products for almost every corner of your smart home. Security, lighting, cooking, cleaning, and entertainment are voice-controlled when you’re ready to spend the money and swap out your stupid systems. Smart plumbing is no different.

There is a steady stream of products aimed at improving your water supply from all angles. But which ones are worth it? Are they all luxurious add-ons or ways to really improve the efficiency and comfort of your home? This can depend on the category. Let’s take a look at where smart sanitary ware is popping up in your home and what they offer.


Smart water in the kitchen is centered around the sink. Kohler and Delta both offer smart faucets that connect to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice commands. Kohlers Sensate faucet comes with voice commands and Delta’s VoiceIQ module enhances compatible Touch2O faucets.

For example, you can ask your faucet to dispense a certain amount of water or turn the faucet on or off. Both models require a power supply that is always on. You must move the handle to the “on” position and then turn off the water with motion detection to activate voice commands. Both models are also expensive.

The Kohler Sensate faucet with voice commands works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Once you’ve installed your faucet and connected it to your voice assistant, there are some handy features. You can ask for 12 ounces of water, ask your voice assistant to turn on the faucet, or in Delta’s case, ask to heat your water.

However, these faucets are not perfect. You have to use a clunky command like “Hey Google, ask Kohler to pour out 8 ounces of water,” and the custom commands for things like “Fill Spaghetti Pot” can be tricky to find just right. However, if you are already in the market for a high-end faucet from Delta or Kohler, getting a model with these Smarts doesn’t come at an additional cost.


Phyn’s new Smart Water Assistant attaches to the water pipes under your sink.


There are other ways to monitor the water in your kitchen. Phyn’s newest water monitor, the $ 299 Phyn Smart Water Assistant, plugs into the hot / cold water pipes under your sink and doesn’t require professional installation. You can use the Phyn app on your mobile device to see if your pipes are starting to freeze, monitor your home’s water pressure and view your water usage. We haven’t tested this system yet, but it seems to cross the line between the leak detector and the whole house water monitor.


Smoothing the water in your bathroom can take several forms. Let’s start with shower systems. A smart shower can mean an entire system or just a connected shower head. Prices range from less than $ 100 to several thousand dollars.

The U from Moen Smart Shower System has an MSRP of $ 1,225 and can profile people in your household with information on temperature. It can heat your shower and then stop the flow of water until you are ready to enter. This is one way to potentially reduce your water usage. However, a professional is required for installation. The high price does not include any special shower heads or premium hardware, just the digital thermostatic shower valve and control panel.

Continue reading: Best shower filters for 2019


Chris Monroe / CNET

Kohler has a similar DTV + shower system that works with the Kohler Konnect app. You can create presets for sound, water, steam and special lighting if you have them installed. Smart commands with Kohler’s shower also work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Smart showers like these are for the most part luxurious and not geared towards saving water. While there are some economics, you mainly pay for the convenience of getting your shower running to the sound of your voice.


The Hydrao shower heads from the French company Smart and Blue are equipped with LED lights, the color of which changes from green to blue to purple to red, depending on how long you have showered.

Of course, there are cheaper ways to spruce up your shower, like Kickstarter’s Livin shower head, a device that monitors water usage and allows you to press a button that stops the flow of water.

This is not yet in retail stores, but you can buy models under $ 70 at WaterHawk and DreamSpa with built-in LEDs that change colors based on temperature. The Hydrao Smart shower system is fully powered by the water flowing through it and lights up in different colors to show how much water you have used. These easy-to-install, affordable alternatives are a great way to shower intelligently.


Kohler’s Numi Smart toilet works with the Kohler Konnect app.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Then there are toilets. Yes, smart toilets are one thing. In addition to making a smart toilet, Kohler also makes several versions. The newest $ 9,000 mega-toilet can play music, heat the seat, heat the floor underneath, put on a light show, raise and lower the lid, and of course, automatically flush. Presets can be saved for up to six people for custom experiences.

We’ve had the Numi Smart Toilet in the CNET Smart Home for a while, and while it can go a long way, I never felt like I had $ 9,000 in experience. Neither does Numi do anything to save you water beyond the 1.28 gallon flush rate. So if water-saving technology is your goal, this toilet isn’t going to make a big difference.

Leak detector

Of all the smart water products, leak detectors are the most affordable and portable. Put them wherever you are worried about leaks.

They are ideal for basements, under kitchen or bathroom sinks or behind toilets. These battery-powered little devices connect to a mobile app via a smart home hub or WiFi to alert you when water hits the sensor. You will receive a push notification to direct your phone.


You have many options when it comes to these handy water watchers. SmartThings, iHome, Honeywell, Fibaro, and Roost all make a version of a water sensor.

These are great for monitoring places prone to water, but they can’t tell you much about what’s going on in your pipes. To get a closer look at the temperatures, pressures, and flow rates in your home’s water supply, you need a whole house system.

Water monitoring systems for the whole house

There are systems out there that can monitor the water supply to your entire home. Some can even turn off the water in the event of a catastrophic failure. These are usually installed on your water meter or on the main water supply of your home and require a Wi-Fi connection and an app.

Some can be DIY, but most recommend at least professional advice. With these systems you can view all kinds of statistics, from your daily, weekly and monthly consumption to water pressure, temperature and flow rate.

Moen recently partnered with Flo, a whole house startup that does just that. You can install Flo yourself, but it is recommended that a Flo professional come to your home. You must be very comfortable with your own plumbing if you want to install this $ 500 system yourself.

flo-product photos-2

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Once installed, Flo can monitor the water pressure and flow in your home. It can also remotely turn off your water if something goes wrong. Of course, you will receive notifications of everything Flo is doing, as well as the ability to run health tests on your system.

A similar system, Flume, encloses your home’s existing water meter and connects to your WiFi via a bridge. In contrast to Flo, it should be installed by yourself. Once set up, it will provide you with information on water usage, pressure, and any issues that are found in your home. This system costs $ 200 but won’t turn off your water in an emergency like Flo can.

For most people, these expensive systems are overkill, but if you live in an area where pipes can freeze, or if you’re trying to keep an eye on an unreliable plumbing system, home systems can save you from a lot of damage. When it comes to smart water, these are probably the most practical and data-driven devices.

Is any of it worth it?

Monitoring your water isn’t the most luxurious smart home feature. It’s not the cool, connected thing you show your friends when they come over. However, if you have constant problems with leaks in your home or are frequently on the go, a leak detector can be a great deal of security.

The smart water value really depends on the category. Sensors, especially the cheaper and more portable options, are a worthwhile return on a relatively small investment. A $ 9,000 toilet or a $ 1,200 shower system? These luxury goods, and they are obviously not for everyone. The concept behind smart kitchen faucets is fascinating and useful in some cases, but has not been perfected and is still expensive.

That doesn’t mean the average consumer will be forever locked out of smart water. This corner of smart home technology continues to grow and seems to be working towards real innovation and usefulness. It has the potential to make our homes more efficient and solve problems before they start. For this reason, it is worth keeping an eye out for.

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