About a month ago, I was asked to review the Delta Pilar Faucet with Touch20 technology and provided the product by Delta. I knew this might be a perfect product for my son Independent Product Analyst to test in my apartment in Manhattan Independent Product Testing Laboratory.
Review aside, do you know what the chances are to get your college kid to return an email, let alone write about a piece of his life on his mom's blog? Reading his review (it was sent to me at 3 am-no surprise there) gave me much insight into features, benefits, and new, learned, behaviors surrounding this faucet technology. Without further ado, here is my son's manifesto comprehensive review (as well as evidence of where my college dollars have gone these past nearly four years-graduation in May 2010!) I think you will enjoy reading this as much as I did. I asked for a paragraph or two, but I couldn't edit it, it's too good!
We are a pair living in New York City, and we love to cook, which is a byproduct of our statuses as near-starving college students. Therefore, the kitchen is a very important place to us. It's a small space, typical of kitchens found in New York's cramped urban dwellings. We were thrilled at the opportunity to test the Delta faucet because, not only do we appreciate functional kitchen appliances, but we have a constant bone to pick with germs as well.
Our menus consist of a lot of meat, poultry, and fish, and before I met my girlfriend, cross contamination rarely, if ever, crossed my mind. Since this realm of enlightenment, for better or for worse, every time I touch meat or fish I wash my hands immediately after. Washing your meaty hands with a typical faucet is trickier than it sounds if you don’t want to spread any germs, as it usually involves a lot of elbows, wrists, forearms, sometimes even a foot, or a chin, in the attempt to maneuver the faucet lever higher or lower. As you can see, this was becoming an issue.
Enter shiny new Delta faucet with removable head. The faucet head can be toggled between two different water flows; spray and regular stream, and it is nice to have both options. There is a magnetic ring that holds the spout in place for easy removal and reattachment, although the head needs to be faced forward for it to take hold. In addition, the water pressure can go quite high which can be useful, and the temperature changes quickly between hot and cold, which means that unintentional scalding happens a lot less.
When we first started playing around with the touch feature of the faucet, we were like cave people at the dawn of time, touching and poking the object and measuring its responses. In our studies, we found that it could be slightly temperamental, mostly when the area of the faucet being touched is wet. This isn’t much of an issue since there is a whole lot of other area on the faucet from which the water flow can be activated and deactivated.
Since we are dish-glove wearers when doing the dishes, it was of utmost importance that we didn’t have to de-glove to turn on and off the faucet, and thankfully we were not disappointed. And you may ask “how do you move the faucet around then without activating it?” It is a logical question, but the engineers at Delta have accounted for that, and designed it such that if you touch or grasp the neck and maintain the touch for a few seconds, it will not turn on or off but stay in the same mode. This is subject to a certain amount of trial and error, however, and will most likely improve as the technology improves.
The old fashioned on and off handle is also “touchified,” which is confusing at times because you can turn the water on by touching and lifting it, although it must be in the lifted position for water to flow. This reality takes a bit to wrap one's head around, but in the end we think it’s best to leave it lifted all the time, since it won’t turn on otherwise and it would ultimately defeat the purpose of the “touch and go” aspect of the faucet.
An understandable concern with this, especially for city dwellers is "what happens when a cockroach (they have P.O. boxes in New York City) or rodent, or perhaps a pet, activates the faucet by accident?" This is entirely possible since it can be sensitive to a small touch, but there is nothing to fret about because it will automatically turn itself off after four minutes (should be half that). Editor's (mom's) note: We do not have said cockroach or rodent issue-if we did, someone's head would be on a platter!
Since Manhattan apartments are especially small, we are constantly in or moving around the kitchen area, so we had a lot of contact with the Delta faucet. Besides the whole germ thing, the touch feature was very convenient just for the fact that you don’t have to reach those extra few inches and lift up the on/off handle; a quick flail of the finger or forearm is all it takes to turn the water on and let us complete our objective.
The aesthetics of the brushed metal swan neck faucet are elegant, though I would like to see the touch on/off functionality migrate to different designs to suit a broader range of kitchen and bathroom décor. The soap dispenser is however surprisingly boring, and it would have been nice if Delta could have taken their mission of decreasing cross contamination a step further by implementing an easy touch soap dispensing system. Nevertheless, the faucet is the focal point of this unit, and deservedly so. Since our use began, we have denied millions, if not billions, of pesky germs and other toxic bio hazards from inhabiting the surface of our faucet, making it one less pit-stop the little buggers can hitch a ride from.
As the designated but proud germaphobes of the family, we are happy to have this newly found sense of cleanliness and convenience in our lives. It is a great start to something that I think will catch on for many. I now have the urge to tap every faucet I see to turn it on, which is either just muscle memory or the mark of a good product. I think it is the latter.
Editor/mom/Susan: Thanks for the review! My personal observations, after light use over a four day period, are also positive. It was a bit confusing at the start as to what position to leave the main lever in, but it's not rocket science. You figure it out. I felt the faucet spout was too long, falling toward the front of our normal sized sink, which means it should be mounted as far back as possible. As far as the concept behind the technology, although I'm a believer (unlike my son) that exposure to germs makes for a healthy immune system (to a point, trust me) I cannot deny the benefits of its time saving (I'm very impatient) attributes. I like efficiency!