After almost a month and two rounds of review, our six judges have finally settled on their selections for our fourth annual 2020 Most Valuable Products Awards.
This year marks a new format for our program. In previous years, every product published in our print magazine was automatically nominated. Our judges from different disciplines in architecture, design, and remodeling would then comb through the collection to find the winners. But this year, we asked manufacturers to submit entries.
Though the format was different, the difficulty the judges faced was the same. Still, they persevered. So, in no particular order, here are our 2020 MVP (Most Valuable Product) Awards.
[ For a list of the winners in the kitchen, bath, and surfacing categories, follow this link: MVP AWARDS: THE MOST VALUABLE KITCHEN + BATH PRODUCTS OF 2020 ]
NanaWall, SL84 Folding Glass Wall
NanaWall says its SL84 bi-fold door is the slimmest, most energy efficient bi-fold door available, with the intersection of two folding panels at 3-7/8 inches. Panels are capable of heights up to 11 feet 6 inches. A newly designed Gothic Arch roller system borrows design ideas from bullet trains so only the sides of the roller touching the track. This allows for smooth and easy operation. The patented TwinX enables the system to meet higher wind loads but also conceals the hinges.
What the judges say: “Love the slim lines and the large spans.”
Jeld Wen, F-2500 Folding Door
The F-2500 is a fiberglass folding patio door designed to fit a standard patio door opening, connecting indoor and outdoor living spaces for homes of any size. This two-panel folding system stacks to one side and creates a larger open space between indoor and outdoor living areas. The fiberglass panels won’t rot or crack, and the streamlined design offers more visible glass to maximize natural light and views. It works for retrofit and new construction.
What the judges say: “Affordable and nice looking.”
The ADAptive Sill System delivers the first ever water-rated ADA-compliant door sill system that improves performance and simplifies assembly, the company says. ADAptive helps overcome challenges related to design, assembly, and installation limitations that leave ADA-compliant systems vulnerable to persistent leaks. Utilizing a full-length caulking strip and jamb boot with an integrated sealing beak and pre-applied sealing gasket, ADAptive protects against leaks where other ADA-compliant sills fail.
What the judges say: “Solving for a persistent problem or failure (in this case a leak) always gets my vote.”
Skycove is a fully constructed glass alcove designed to provide a place to gather. With its steel structure and integrated bench, it can safely and comfortably seat one or more people and extends functional living space by up to 20 feet by projecting out from the side of the home. By harnessing thin sightlines (under 3 inches) and glass on all three sides and the top, the product creates a thoughtful space in which people can retreat. The unit is offered in two widths and two heights: 6.5 feet and 8.5 feet wide and approximately 5.8 or 7 feet tall.
What the judges say: “Easy to use, and a great product.”
Marvin, Awaken Skylight
The Awaken Skylight is an automated and customizable unit that maximizes access to light, air, and unobstructed views with smart features. Awaken is the first and only skylight to offer built-in, tunable LED lighting that mimics natural light, the company says. The product is made from Ultrex pultruded fiberglass, a material with a low thermal conductivity and one of the best insulators among window-frame materials, the company says. Featuring stainless steel hardware, the unit uses tempered glass with an interior laminated pane that prevents any glass from falling if it were to break. It offers additional features for ventilation, supplemental lighting, and shading.
What the judges say: “Products that help us live happier healthier lives get my vote. Well done. This is a skylight with a story."
Andersen Windows and Doors, MultiGlide
Andersen says its expanded MultiGlide door options offer more possibilities to homeowners seeking to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors. Now available in heights down to 48 inches and increased widths to fit openings up to 50 feet, it is configurable with automation to ensure easy opening at the touch of a button and offers continuously-adjustable synthetic rollers for a smooth operation. It also has flush hardware and thermally controlled panels, among other features.
What the judges say: “Great look, and the ability to size the window for the space is a bonus.”
Royal Building Products, Cedar Renditions
Cedar Renditions is a line of premium aluminum siding that provides curb appeal without the maintenance or flammability issues of wood, the company says. It combines thicker-gauge aluminum, wider board contemporary wood aesthetics, and streamlined looks. Cedar Renditions is available in eight realistic wood shades, including four premium colors and four traditional colors in dark, medium, and light options.
What the judges say: “I love this look.”
LG Electronics USA Inc., 365W NeON 2 ACe
The 365W NeON 2 ACe offers a sleek and modern aesthetic, in addition to a simplified installation process, thanks to an integrated built-in and factory installed inverter. Considered to be easier to install and monitor, the smart AC solar panel also provides a flexible array design and is an excellent solution for home installation, the company says.
What the judges say: “Making solar panels more discreet is my love language. I love the minimalist look and attention to taking up less space for the homeowner.”
AZEK Exteriors, AZEK Shingle
The trim brand now has a premium siding solution designed to reduce the installation frustrations of traditional siding materials while providing longer-lasting durability, the company says. AZEK Shingle Siding with PaintPro technology matches the texture of cedar shingles while adding the performance and low maintenance benefits of rot-proof engineer polymer building materials. It offers a faster dry time, superior paint adhesion, and long-lasting paint performance.
LG Air Conditioning, Art Cool Mirror
The LG Art Cool Mirror is a residential and light commercial system that uses a variable speed compressor that is energy efficient and quieter to operate than conventional air conditioning units, the company says. These duct-free systems feature sleek, charcoal mirror-finished indoor units, and outdoor units with energy-efficient inverter technology. The outdoor unit supports cooling operations down to the standard 14 degrees Fahrenheit and heating operations down to -4 degrees Fahrenheit. There is also a defrost feature, which removes frost from the condenser coil in frigid conditions. The system comes in a single- or multi-zone solution.
What the judges say: “Again, someone made an air conditioning unit look better? It's the attention to design detail and functionality that I appreciate so much. This one is slick.”
Broan NuTone, SurfaceShield
SurfaceShield is a technology that offers protection against bacteria, mold, and fungi growth in the bathroom or other humidity-prone environments. Offering a sound rating of 1.0 sone, the SurfaceShield 110 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan generates powerful air circulation with minimal background noise. There are two lighting modes in the SurfaceShield LED light: an everyday white light perfect for task lighting and the SurfaceShield continuous antimicrobial mode. The Roomside Series fans offer an EzDuct connector for hassle-free room-side installation with no attic access needed.
What the judges say: “I think prioritizing more ways to help us keep our homes from harmful bacteria are critical features to offer.”
Air King, QFAMD Fresh Air Machine
The QFAMD Fresh Air machine provides a continuous flow of fresh air into a home through a compact and easy to install unit. It does not require connection to the HVAC system, allowing it to operate independent of the typically less efficient blowers. The highly efficient DC motor can be set for airflows between 30 and 130 CFM, while still operating at a very low sound level. To make sure the impact of bringing outside air into the residence is minimized, internally mounted sensors provide limits preventing the intake of outdoor air that is too humid, too hot, too cold, or too dry.
K-Bana is a free-standing structure that lets homeowners create flexible outdoor spaces. This is a customizable structure from roof to floor, and comes with options for the floor structure, so there is no need to create a base, concrete slab, etc. and allows customers to use tiles, wood, or grass. Different K-bana can be attached to each other to create large covered areas such as outdoor kitchens and dining areas.
Aluvision, Outdoor Living Box
The Outdoor Living Box allows customization in any way clients see fit. Buyers can add a floor of their choice and play around with various materials and colors. Every unit is modular, allowing owners to create a pleasant lounge area. Buyers can create shade with the louvered roof and walls in aluminum and tropical wood. The integrated Ledline is an illuminated cover that will lighten up evenings. This decorative finish with evenly distributed light gives an extra touch to the design.
Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens, Elements
Elements is the latest collaboration between Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens and designer Daniel Germani. The modular, furniture-inspired collection empowers design professionals to create outdoor living spaces to fit any footprint. Embracing a European aesthetic, it blurs the lines between cabinetry and furniture with accentuated legs and a sleek, frameless design featuring nested drawers and integrated handles for drawers and doors. Pieces feature an ultra-durable powder coat finish that comes in various solid colors.
Ketra, A20 Lamp
The A20 Lamp is one of the company's most flexible lighting solutions, the company says. It’s a fully tunable, calibrated light source, providing tailored lighting solutions for any need. Each lamp is individually addressable, configurable and wirelessly controllable, and able to evolve over time without rewiring. The A20 is equipped with Ketra's full suite of solutions and can provide the most wide and precise range of tunable whites and colors available from a single source. Ketra’s A20 lamp produces uniform color across any available beam angle and indefinitely preserves the same quality of light, recalibrating 360 times per second with its Color Lock technology.
INOX Hardware, TwistLock
TwistLock is a two-in-one tubular lock for pocket doors. It is the industry’s first combination of a spring-loaded, integrated edge pull that rotates to convert into a lock bolt, the company says. TwistLock's patent-pending design features a hammerhead bolt that functions as both the spring loaded edge pull and the locking bolt. The bolt easily pops out and rotates to function as an edge pull, allowing for a more comfortable grip. When turned horizontally, a gear at the back of the lock body rotates the hammerhead bolt 90 degrees into a solid locked position. When the edge pull returns to the vertical position, the door can be opened and the edge pull can be pushed back into the lock.
Daltile’s RevoTile claims to install two times faster than traditional tile. The product installs in just three steps: Place underlayment—no mortar required—click tiles together, and grout with no wait time. RevoTile is waterproof, durable, stain proof, scratch-resistant, dent proof, fire-resistant, slip-resistant, and easy to clean, according to Daltile.
What the judges say: “Love the click-and-go installation.”
The AirDresser uses a powerful combination of steam and air to relax light wrinkles, remove dust, odors, and refresh clothes. The AirDresser features 22 cycles that refresh a variety of fabrics, including nine cycles tailored for specific garments, including leather, down jackets, and winter coats. It can provide a quick 24-minute refresh or a thorough Sanitize Cycle. A built-in dryer sheet compartment allows users to freshen up garments and reduce static cling as well. At less than 18 inches wide, its sleek design fits into most closets and laundry rooms.
What the judges say: “I want an AirDresser in my next closet. I'm in love with it.”
Crestron, Crestron Home
Crestron Home is the most powerful and responsive smart home platform that seamlessly manages all devices in the technology-driven homes of today, the company says. The user interface delivers an intuitive experience with animation to give homeowners control over everything remotely from their mobile device or on premises from touch screens, voice command, remotes, and more. Homeowners can start with a system in one room, such as the living room or kitchen, and expand to more rooms.
Georgia Pacific, DensDefy
DensDefy Accessories is a new collection of exterior waterproofing products that includes liquid flashing and transition membrane primarily used in concert with the company’s DensElement Barrier System. Using this innovative solution with the DensElement Barrier System furthers the time, labor, and cost savings by choosing integrated sheathing for wall assembly. DensDefy Liquid Flashing is gold-colored and comes in 20-ounce sausages, and the Transition Membrane is available in 6, 9, and 12 inch widths.
RoomMates Décor, Peel & Stick Wallpaper
RoomMates Peel & Stick Wallpaper is a fun upgrade for homes and apartments, the company says. These peel and stick wallpapers provide builders and consumers with color, and the removable wallpapers are also perfect for DIY projects. The products stay on for as long as you want, but always remove without sticky residue or damage to walls due to a proprietary adhesive that has been specifically engineered for wall applications.
Organized Living, Select
Select is an easy, fast, and strong storage solution providing homebuyers the affordable traditional built-in look they demand and allowing home builders the opportunity to profit. Available in white and chocolate pear, the built-in storage system features a range of accessories that include chrome baskets, shoe shelves, and flat or decorative drawers and doors. The patent-pending rail, furniture-grade wood, and proprietary hardware combine to create the strongest wood rail system available, the company says. Select addresses the nationwide labor crisis by developing products that are easier and faster to install without skilled labor and without sacrificing the high quality of Organized Living products.
Nudura Structural, XR35 ICF Forms
The XR35 ICF Form features a higher R-Value due to its 4-inch EPS panels. It is available with a 6- and 8-inch core as a standard form and a 90-degree cornere form. The fastening strips remain 5/8 inch below the surface of the EPS and are located at 8 inches on center. Nudura says the forms are high-tech insulated concrete forms that have proven technologies to make building easier and faster.
AeroBarrier, Air Sealing Technology
Creating a tight building envelope is critical for delivering energy efficiency, comfort, durability, and indoor air quality, which is why the AeroBarrier computer-guided, air sealing process is so innovative. The system dials in building envelope performance in residential and multi-family structures and is faster and more effective than the inconsistent nature of manual envelope sealing. The AeroBarrier system pressurizes the space being air sealed. It then emits precise levels of sealant mist that is automatically drawn to any leaks. The water-based sealant is safe and non-toxic, with no VOCs or off-gassing.