If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we should probably be touching things less often, at least until everyone has been vaccinated. At this year’s CES, we’re seeing a number of products, from toilets to video doorbells, that no longer require you to touch them in order to use them.
While touchless products aren’t new, the pandemic certainly has accelerated their development over the past year. Here’s a look at the products announced at CES 2021 that are strictly hands-off.
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LG Instaview refrigerator
LG's Instaview refrigerator — the one with a large door you can knock on to see inside — now has a window that's 23 percent larger, allowing you to see more of what's inside. However, the fridge is receiving a few pandemic-related upgrades too.
First, you can ask the Instaview to open the refrigerator door. This is not only handy for keeping germs off the handle, but convenient if you have an armload of groceries. You can also use your voice for other purposes, such as asking for your calendar.
The other big new feature is a UV light built into the Instaview's water dispenser. The company says that it should be able to remove up to 99.99% of all bacteria after 24 hours.
There's no price or release date yet, but current Instaview refrigerators start at around $3,000.
Kohler Touchless Residential Bathroom Faucet
Kohler introduced the Sensate touchless kitchen faucet two years ago, but now the company is bringing the same technology to the bathroom.
The touchless bathroom faucet will come in two versions. One is natively voice-activated, but there's also a retrofit model that uses a button that controls any Kohler single-control faucet.
Pricing for both versions have yet to be released, but we’d expect them to cost less than $100. You’ll have to wait, though: Neither will be available until December.
Kohler Touchless Toilet
Kohler already has a number of touchless intelligent toilets, but they’re all exorbitantly expensive — upwards of $3,000 each. This includes the upcoming Innate Intelligent toilet ($3,100, available in June), which has a heated seat, a lid that opens and closes automatically, and a built-in bidet.
However, the company is also introducing more affordable touchless models that should cost between $600 and $1,000. If you wave your hand over the lever on the side of the toilet, it will flush itself. There’s even a blue LED light encircling the lever.
You’ll still have to lift and close the lid on your own, but you won’t have to wait as long, as these toilets should be available in March.
U by Moen Smart Faucet
Similar to Kohler’s smart kitchen faucet, Moen’s smart faucet is voice-activated so you don’t have to use your hands if they’re covered in dough or batter.
Aside from turning the faucet on and off, you can also command the Moen Smart Faucet to dispense precise amounts of water, ranging from 1 tablespoon to 1 gallon, and specify the temperature too.
In addition, you can use the Moen app to create presets for specific amounts, say for a water bottle or a pet’s bowl. You can tell it you're washing your hands, and the water will stay on for just the right amount of time. And yes, it’ll work with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Moen's smart faucet was launched last year, but the company has now expanded the number of finishes and styles. All start at around $650.
Arlo Touchless Video Doorbell
Arlo’s newest doorbell isn’t much different from its current offering, which is on our best video doorbells page. However, when this touchless model detects a visitor, it will emit a noise and turn on a light to let the person know that they don’t have to press the button on the doorbell itself.
Arlo did not say when this doorbell would be released nor its price, but given that the company’s other video doorbells cost around $150, we would expect this model to be in the same price range. Presumably, the company can also enable its current video doorbells to perform similarly to the touch-free version.
In addition to its poo-analyzing Wellness toilet, Toto has new Washlet models that can not only be operated hands-free, but have built-in bidets and other features to clean and sanitize the toilet — and your rear, too.
The Washlet models are available in several styles and can be floor- or wall-mounted. You can purchase them as both a bidet-and-seat add-ons (starting at $675) for other Toto toilets, or ones integrated with the toilet itself; these start at around $2,200.
Alarm.com Touchless Video Doorbell
This touch-free video doorbell looks very similar to the other video doorbell sold by Alarm.com, only this model has a faceplate that tells visitors they don’t need to push a button to activate it.
The camera has a resolution of 1080p, a 150-degree vertical field of view, HDR, and infrared night vision. Within the Alarm.com app, homeowners can draw a virtual zone that will trigger the video doorbell whenever someone steps inside that area.
The video doorbell’s price is less than $200, and will be sold through Alarm.com’s network of home security providers.
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Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.