The year 2019 saw a wide variety of cool building product introductions, but for us these 10 in particular stood out above the rest.
Whittling down the hundreds of new and innovative residential building products that we publish every year is no easy task. In previous years, we turned to the reader service cards that appear in print magazines. Based on the number of requested cards from readers, it was relatively easy to pull the top products.
But this year’s list is different. Because we no longer have the print magazine, the editors decided to take a hard look at every product that ran on the website in 2019 and come up with nine that met our criteria in a handful of areas. Does the product offer a fresh design? Does it make its category better? Is it innovative? Does is solve a problem? And does it offer an aesthetic or functional benefit to consumers or builders?
Here are the nine products that we feel stood head and shoulders above the rest (in no particular order):
United Kingdom-based Mighton Products says this is the first Apple HomeKit-compatible smart lock that works with multipoint door systems. Controllable from iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, keypad, or fob, the Avia lock is secured by raising the handle and can be unlocked using the app installed on an Apple iPhone or iPad; by using a key fob from a range of up to 98 feet; or via an electronic keypad. The company will add an optional facial recognition accessory. Read more about the product here.
Maximus Lighting says its Answer smart video doorbell will be the first product to feature dual cameras. The company says the dual-camera doorbell eliminates blind spots and provides increased home security. Effective at fully capturing video footage of people and packages at homeowner’s front door, Answer uses a 1080p high-definition camera to eliminate top or bottom blind spots and features a front-facing speaker that plays messages and customizable greetings. This also allows improved two-way communication with visitors. Maximus claims the doorbell uses less power than other video doorbells, provides lower latency and faster connection to the Kuna app to see and speak to visitors. Read more about the product here.
Daikin Industries says the One+ smart thermostat is the first on the market to offer two-way communication, allowing users to interact with the system in digital or analog mode. The unit is different from other smart thermostats in other ways, the company says: (1) It offers indoor air quality modules, including the Daikin One air cleaner, Daikin One home air monitor, and Daikin One zone. For example, homeowners are notified when a contaminant event occurs and have the option to run the HVAC system to help reduce contaminants. (2) It allows users to set different temperatures in different zones of a home. And (3), the thermostat interface lets a user decide how to control a home’s temperature in two different ways: digital or analog. Daikin claims it is the ony smart thermostat on the market that allows users to do this. Read more about the product here.
This year, Juno unveiled a portfolio of smart downlights that company says are the only products of their kind on the market to integrate three technologies. The flagship product in the Juno AI light collection is a ceiling downlight that incorporates an LED, Alexa, and a high-performance JBL speaker. Other products in the collection include the Juno AI LED Speaker Light and Juno AI LED Downlight. Available in a 6-inch size for retrofit or new construction, the Juno AI products are Wi-Fi-based and install like any retrofit recessed lighting kit. Read more about the product here.
Lighting controls and wiring devices manufacturer Leviton unveiled a new line of Pop-Up Floor Boxes designed to conceal electrical wiring devices in different flooring materials. The boxes provide convenience and easy access to power in rooms where traditional in-wall receptacles cannot be used, the company says, such as rooms with floor to ceiling windows, great rooms, and other architectural enhancements. Once installed, a simple press of a button makes the receptacles or data ports immediately available. Read more about the product here.
Vinotemp’s VinCave underground is a modular wine cellar that is designed to “leverage the cool temperatures found underground” to properly and efficiently store wine. Avaiilable in 200- and 450-bottle capacities, the units either feature a glass covering and push-button elevation that raises the wine collection above ground for easy access or a glass door that opens electronically for cellar access. Read more about the product here.
Door hardware manufacturer Designer Doorware’s new collection of products combine raw concrete with a variety of metals. The Bullet+Stone collection draws inspiration from Brutalist architecture, but it also meets the demand for concrete in home décor that’s trending at the moment, the company says. Available in handles and knobs, the collection is handcrafted with an artisanal concrete mixture formulated for durability, texture, and sustainability, the company says. Read more about the product here.
Power tool manufacturer Metabo HPT says this is the industry’s first 10-inch cordless and corded table saw. The company (formerly Hitachi Power Tools) says the table offers a working size that measures 28¾ inches by 22 inches with an out-feed support of 28¾ inches by 2 inches for additional material support. With its telescoping table extension set up on the right, it supports a maximum of 35 inches rip capacity and 22 inches when set on the left. Read more about the product here.
Italian lighting brand Oluce says its new ultra-thin fixture collection is cutting-edge enough for modern interiors but also ideal for more traditional spaces. Created by Madrid-based designer David Lopez Quincoces, the Ilo LED collection consists of an aluminum bar that is chromatically divided into two parts: The first is configured as a handle, while the second contains the light source. It comes in three options and Satin Bronze and Matte Black finshes. Read more about the product here.
Known for edgy light fixture and bulbs, the British brand Buster + Punch has introduced a new door hardware collection that carries on the brand’s design aethetic. The new door collection “injects attitude and personality into ordinary home fittings that are often disregarded,” the company says. Offered in two series of products—Architectural and Pre-Drilled (US Standard bore size)—the products are made from solid metal and feature the company’s signature diamond-cut knurled detailing on the lever handle and thumb turn. Each piece is available in steel, brass, smoked bronze, and black. Read more about the product here.