Kohler expands its smart home line with the decadent Infinity Experience soaking tub
The plumbing fixture company also demonstrated new touchless faucets and toilets during a virtual smart home tour.
By Michael Brown
TechHiveJan 8, 2021 5:00 am PST
Kohler has been expanding its presence in the smart home space since 2018, and the plumbing fixture manufacturer introduced several new products at CES this year, including its Stillness Bath line of Japanese-style soaking tubs, capped by the Infinity Experience.
If you’re remodeling your bathroom and have a healthy budget, Kohler’s Stillness Bath freestanding tubs promise to deliver a spa-like experience complete with aromatherapy and full-spectrum lighting options. The 48×48-inch tubs are a little more than two feet deep and fill from the bottom up. Kohler demonstrated its top-of-the-line Infinity Experience for us (you can see the video at the top of this story).
An Experience Tower fixture mounted on one side of the tub can be filled with essential oils—e.g., lavender or peppermint—which is dispensed in atmospheric fog that floats over the water. The water overflows over the edge of the tub into a Hinoki wood moat, where the water is reheated and pumped back into the tub. Lighting in the moat bathes the outer wall of the tub in user-defined colors. (Japanese custom is to bathe in a shower and soak in a hot tub afterward.)
The Stillness Bath line range includes the $6,198 Soak, available in May; the $8,698 Smart Soak, available in July; the $10,998 Experience, also available in July; and the $15,998 Infinity Experience shown in the video, which will be available in October.
Kohler also showed a new line of touchless bathroom faucets, which promise to reduce the spread of bacteria and germs by eliminating the need to touch the fixture during your bathroom routine. One model will have a touchless puck that mounts to the countertop. Waving your hand over the puck will turn the water on, and a second wave will turn it off. A second puck on the opposite side of the faucet will control the temperature, but it will not be touchless. Kohler also plans to release a second model where the touch sensor is mounted to the top of the faucet neck itself. This design will have a rotary dial on top of the faucet for setting the water temperature.
These are meant to be DIY retrofits that any homeowner can install. Unlike the Crue touchless kitchen faucet Kohler introduced at CES in 2018 (also shown in the video), these bathroom faucets will not be voice controllable. Kohler expects to ship the bathroom faucets in December, but has not announced pricing.
Kohler is expanding its line of touchless toilets with two mainstream models and a new entry-level intelligent toilet. The $1,000 San Souci and Tresham, and the $600 Reach and Corbelle models will be available in March. These toilets have integrated sensors in their otherwise conventional handles that flush the toilet when you wave your hand over them. The technology is powered by AA batteries, eliminating the need to have a power outlet in the vicinity of the toilet, which most homes don’t have.
Kohler’s Innate Intelligent Toilet delivers many of the smart home features of Kohler’s higher-end toilets in a somewhat more mainstream price: $3,100. It’s also designed to deliver a touchless experience, but it’s equipped with a sensor that automatically lifts its lid as you approach and closes it after you walk away. It comes complete with a heated seat and an integrated bidet and blow dryer. A discrete remote control that mounts to the wall next to the toilet lets you select the seat temperature as well as bidet functions such as water temperature, spray wand position, and dryer operation.
While you will need an electrical outlet nearby to power the toilet, Kohler says any homeowner comfortable with replacing a toilet should be able to install the Innate themselves. Kohler has developed a special trapway for its one- and two-piece skirted toilets that fits over the top of the toilet trap in the floor and then the toilet bolts to that. The Innate Intelligent Toilet will be available in June.
Finally, Kohler announced a new partnership with Phyn in which the company will offer co-branded versions of Phyn’s existing products. Our Phyn review ran in 2019. This device monitors your main water supply line for drops in pressure that would indicate a leak and can automatically turn off your water supply to prevent catastrophic damage. A second less-expensive model that mounts underneath a sink omits the shut-off feature. Kohler says it will offer a co-branded version of this product for $300 and a co-branded model with shut-off capabilities for $500, both of which will be available in June.
Updated shortly after publication when Kohler informed us they had moved the availability date of its co-branded Phyn smart shut-off valve from December to June.