We made a big decision to renovate our kitchen during the pandemic. While I’ve got much better organization now, I also made sure to add some smart technology. I’ve been really wanting to install a smart faucet, specifically the U by Moen smart faucet. Why? In two words: voice control. This faucet, when combined with an Amazon or Google smart speaker and digital assistant lets you do things like ask for precise measurements of water, specific temperatures or a combination of each. I’ve had this faucet in for a few weeks and I’ll tell you what it’s like to use in my hands-on review.
What is U by Moen Smart Faucet?
The U by Moen Smart Faucet is a smart, connected faucet that offers touchless control. This one-handled model is called Essie, and that just refers to the design of the faucet itself. It has a pulldown head with hose so you can rinse with more precision, and this model also has what Moen says is an aerated stream for everyday cleaning; as well as different options for the spray head: there’s boosted rinse; boosted stream; and powerful rinse for heavy-duty cleaning.
U by Moen review
The reason why you’re likely looking to buy this faucet isn’t for that kind of standard stuff, it’s for this:
Say ‘Hey Alexa, tell Moen to dispense 1 cup of hot water. This tap and your smart assistant combine to give you precision measurements and temperature just by you asking.
The possibilities for this are many: it’s handy for baking, you can easily make a cup of tea, fill a baby bottle or dog dish, watering can, coffee pot and more without running the tap for too long, without wasting water, and without standing there holding the thing, waiting for the water to warm up and fill.
Installation and power: U by Moen
There is a very important component of this tap you need to know about: it needs power. You have two options for that – it takes batteries, 6xD cells to be exact, but there is also an optional AC adapter you can buy if you want to get more reliable power. As we were renovating, we made sure to have power installed under the sink and opted to plug it in, using the battery pack as backup.
If you’re using the batteries as your main power source you can expect the battery pack to last you up to 2 years.
While a DIY installation of this tap is definitely possible—and I can and have installed a smart tap like this one before—we had our contractor do this for us as part of the renovation.
Set up U by Moen smart tap with app
With the tap in, you’ll get things set up using the Moen app. You’ll need to create or log into an account, then you press the small reset button on the control box under the sink to put it into pairing mode. A small LED light on the tap will blink to confirm.
Then you go to your phone’s Wi-Fi setting and connect to the Moen Faucet you should see there. Seconds later a green light should confirm you’re connected. I was ready to go in minutes.
The faucet will do a series of tests and help you set up some parameters; it will run the water, turn it on and off and adjust the temperature.
Using U by Moen: handle or Motion sensor use
At its most basic, this faucet can be used with the handle, and the great thing about this is the smart control and the motion sensing will work if the handle is open or closed. With previous smart faucets with motion sensing would be disabled if the handle was in the off position. There’s also a motion sensor on the top curve of the handle for hands-free use. The responsiveness of the sensor is really good, and a small LED light will actually show you the water temperature using colour, at a glance.
I actually really like the placement of the sensor. In my old faucet it was on the bottom front; having it on top it means it doesn’t get triggered if you’re just putting something in the sink, for example.
Setting up Voice Control with U by Moen for Google or Alexa
Voice control is the biggie in this tap. You will need a separate smart speaker or digital assistant device to use it, and it helps greatly if that device is located near the tap.
U by Moen works with both Google and Alexa…With Google also you need to use the key phrase “ask Moen”… not “tell” Moen or “get Moen to…” So you’d say Ok Google, Ask Moen to dispense 1 cup of water. If you’re having any issues with Google Assistant it might be in how you’re asking for commands.
Next I tried linking Alexa and that worked also. Since I have the Amazon Echo Show 10 3rd Gen in the kitchen, so that’s the Assistant I went with mainly.
What can you do with voice assistant and U by Moen?
Using your voice assistant you can ask for the top to be turned on or off. The response time and delay is fairly quick, though there is a tiny bit of a lag, which you easily get used to and adjust for.
You can ask the faucet to dispense a set amount of water, a set temperature, like:
“Alexa, Ask Moen to turn water on/off
“…Ask Moen to dispense 1 L of water
“ Ask Moen to pour 1 cup of cold water”
Is U by Moen accurate?
I double checked the measurements of water against my measuring cups and spoons and they were accurate!
I also tested out the temperature measurements and while they are limited to some extent by how hot you allow your water heater to make the water, I found the temperatures were accurate also.
Creating custom water dispensing presets
A preset to fill the dog dish
You can also create custom Presets. I created a preset to fill the dog’s water dish, another for the coffee pot, one for the watering can, and another to fill the water filter pitcher.
When creating your presets you also have the ability to customize them. With the dog water for example, I want it to be cold, so the faucet will run the water until it’s cool, then stop. I wave my hand over the sensor and it will dispense just the right amount.
Inside the Moen app you also have the ability to control the highest temperature too.
My husband loved using the tap to dispense the exact amount of water needed for morning oatmeal, without getting out a measuring cup. You can also say “Ask Moen to wash my hands” and it will turn on the water to wet your hands, pause for 20 seconds while you soap up, then turn on again to rinse.
Finally, you can monitor water usage with the app so you can see how much water you’re using.
Overall review: U by Moen voice controlled smart faucet
Overall I love this tap. The voice control with Alexa and Google works amazingly well, though as I noted earlier, you do need to make your voice commands very specific. I love the convenience of calling out measurements, or adjusting water temperature with my voice. I found the U by Moen faucet is accurate too. I’m really glad we added it to our new kitchen, and I would definitely recommend it for your evolving smart home.
The biggest downside is that yes, there is a delay from ask to action when using a voice assistant. You do get used to it and there’s no real delay with motion sensing or manual use.
U by Moen smart faucet sells starting in the $600CAD or $400USD range, depending on the model you choose, and you can get it from places like Amazon or home improvement stores. You can get more info here.
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I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.