Kitchen faucets are the unsung hero of the culinary workspace, and there’s no shortage of stylish choices to get excited for those who prefer to personalize their kitchens. Lovely gooseneck faucets with extending heads make filling (and cleaning) big pasta pots a dream. They cost money, but the amount they save in time and, more importantly, convenience make them an absolute necessity in most kitchens.
Moen is one of the leading faucet makers, and their MotionSense Wave line takes style and usability to the next level by adding a motion sensor that flips the water on and off with a wave of your hand. This isn’t particularly new technology, of course. Public restrooms have been using motion sensors for years, while other kitchen faucets turn on when you tap the head.
We installed the Moen Essie Pull-Down Touchless Kitchen Faucet with MotionSense Wave ($625) in one of our test kitchens to take its hands-free technology for a test drive.
DIY installation fun
Installing any kitchen faucet can be a nightmare, as you’re dealing with tight space, water, and awkward positions. The Moen tries to make the process as pain free as possible, and it’s certainly doable for the general DIYer with an hour to spare.
Due to the tight space involved, having an extra pair of hands is only useful during the crucial stage of tightening the faucet base from below while someone above, preferably with a long reach, holds the Wave in place on top of the sink base. Because the faucet works with both the motion sensor and traditional handle (which controls the temperature), the installation has more parts than the average faucet. It must also be set on the sink base with the sensor on the left side only.
The control box clips onto the bottom of the faucet and has both power and water intake ports on it. A separate smaller unit power box clicks onto the side of the main controller box. Unfortunately, it pops off much too easily (especially when plugging in the power cords) and is challenging to click back on. A bigger issue, however, is that the faucet simply can’t work without power.
The MotionWave comes with a battery pack (and batteries) to power the unit, but the AC adaptor is strangely a separate $125 purchase, which seems rather extreme. Admittedly, this is a relatively minor inconvenience if the power goes out or the batteries die, but still a potential issue.
Beauty and brains
The innovation here with the Moen is the mix of style and functionality that improves your overall culinary experience. If you work with meat, washing your hands constantly is a must, and never having to touch the faucet to turn the water on is a huge plus. To turn the Moen on, just wave your hand in front of the sensor and wave again to turn it off. The faucet will even automatically turn itself off after a couple minutes. Sadly, the included soap dispenser is not motion sensitive.
The gooseneck and wide-headed spout are equally laudable. The faucet head is at just the right height for putting those large pots under. The head has a nice feel with both a shower spray and straight spray setting, which switch at the press of rubber button on the head.
The sensor has a limited range–about four or so inches–which needs to be kept in mind depending on how much stuff you keep on the sink. Most of the time, it felt like just the right range for our needs, and the faucet’s sensor worked flawlessly.
From a functional perspective, the Moen MotionSense Essie is a winner if you want to shell out an impressive amount for a high-tech and well-made piece of kitchenware. Moen has managed to add functionality in a mostly seamless fashion to their already stylish pull-down faucet.
Since no one is actually touching the faucet, it means the kids aren’t leaving a trail of dirt over all the hardware, and the chefs don’t have to bleach the handle down after a serious bout of sausage making.