Kohler’s K-72218-VS Sensate Touchless faucet brings smooth lines and simple operation to any kitchen it’s installed in. With a choice of three different finishes, you can tailor the color of this new faucet to your home easily. Made for touchless operation, you can wave your hand through the infrared beam and it will respond in 20 milliseconds. The company’s DockNetik system uses magnets inside the spout to bring back and lock the spray head in place, and features a surface coating that resists grime and dirt buildup.
This faucet has a magnetic head that returns it to its original position, and the on/off infrared sensor doesn’t require battery replacement. There are also three inserts available: an “eco-friendly” version for low water usage, a standard flow insert, and a “hi-flow” one as well. The on/off sensor is right at the crook of the neck, so it’s easy to turn on with grimy hands never touching the metal.
The Sensate Touchless requires a bit more work to install than some competitors’ faucets; it requires that the sensor be plugged in rather than using batteries. You’ll need a GFI outlet under the sink, and some older houses don’t have them. Kohler does have an optional power supply extension cable kit if you don’t have power under your sink, but it’s better to use an existing outlet or have one put in.
It’s obvious Kohler put some research time into this. Its new Sweep spray setting doesn’t just spray water straight down; instead, the water sprays in a fan pattern, making it much easier to get rid of food particles down the drain. The handle has an LED light on it that tells you whether the touchless function is enabled or not, with no light meaning it’s on manual. It has a single-lever handle which makes adjusting the temperature easy, and a nylon hose that’s easy to maneuver.
As usual, Kohler turns out a beautiful product. The Sensate Touchless has a simple arching spout like a swan’s neck with one lever, and it comes in polished chrome, stainless steel, or oil-rubbed bronze. It’s stylish and uncomplicated at the same time, and something that won’t go out of fashion in the coming years.
This is the first year of production for the Sensate Touchless, and there have been some problems. The largest one seems to be the solenoid that controls water delivery via the on/off sensor; once it goes out, the touchless system is gone. If you shut off the system it will still work manually, but most will buy the faucet specifically for the touchless system. Other than solenoid problems, even those complaining in reviews felt the faucet was well-made.
Kohler has equipped the Sensate Touchless with high-quality ceramic disc filters, a high-arch spout for cleaning large pots and pans, and temperature memory so the faucet will turn on and off at the previous temperature. It normally installs in a single-hole sink, but Kohler has a three-hole kit available on their website.
Warranty and Repair: 3/5
Kohler does have a lifetime limited warranty for the Sensate Touchless, which is excellent. It states that the faucet will remain leak and drip-free for as long as the original purchaser owns the home, and that all other aspects of the faucet (finish, handle, etc.) will be defect-free for the same amount of time. However, some customers had trouble dealing with the company’s customer service personnel if there was a problem. One customer described his problem to Kohler representatives, and they said they would send out a new solenoid and hoses. The hoses arrived after ten days—but not the solenoid. This type of problem doesn’t occur often, but when it does it seems to lie more with customer service than the replacement parts sent out—if they get sent out. Average replacement time according to those with problems ranged from ten days to two months, with the most common reason cited as the parts being on back order.
Our Overall Rating: 4.1/5
The vast majority of customers love the Kohler K-72218-VS Sensate Touchless. Even the ones who had problems with it remarked how beautiful the design was and how convenient the auto on/off feature is when working in the kitchen. But the solenoid that controls water pressure seems to fail occasionally; this sort of thing does tend to happen with brand-new products, no matter whether it’s a faucet or a car. Kohler could make up for that with excellent customer service and quick replacement parts, but it doesn’t seem to be trying to make up for lost ground with buyers, at least from the reviews online. I suspect that next year’s rating, once they’ve worked out the solenoid kinks, will be more on par with older Kohler products. For now, I just can’t give it a traditionally high Kohler grade.