Mar 10, 2023

Amazon Smart Soap Dispenser Review

The COVID-19 pandemic drilled into us that effective hand hygiene requires 20 seconds of scrubbing with soap and water, but do you always stick to that rule? If your handwashing habits can use some help, or you're teaching a little one how to properly suds up, you might be interested in the $34.99 Amazon Smart Soap Dispenser. It's in the same price range as other touch-free, rechargeable soap dispensers and adds a couple of neat features other models don't have, including a 20-second LED timer and compatibility with Amazon Echo devices to play music while you wash. In testing, it worked well and made handwashing fun, earning it our Editors' Choice award.

The Amazon Smart Soap Dispenser features a simple yet attractive teardrop design and a 12-ounce capacity. Measuring 6.10 by 3.66 by 3.97 inches (HWD), it's made mostly of opaque white plastic, with a translucent frosted bottom that shows the color of your soap.

Using a built-in motion sensor, it automatically dispenses soap when you place your hand beneath the nozzle. The amount of soap that comes out depends on the distance you place your hand under the nozzle. Place your hand close to the nozzle for just a bit of soap, or farther down for more. Amazon calls this "variable dispensing," and there are three levels. If you like a lot of soap, you can enable a high-dispensing mode, which increases the amount that comes out for each of the three levels.

On top, the Smart Soap Dispenser features a circle of white LED lights that serve as a 20-second countdown timer, so you don't have to sing the ABCs in your head every time you lather up.

Here's the coolest feature: The Smart Soap Dispenser works with compatible Amazon Echo devices (sold separately) and supports Alexa routines to keep you entertained while you wash. You can, for instance, easily create a routine via the Amazon Alexa app (available for Android and iOS) to have your Echo speaker play your favorite song for 20 seconds, or tell a joke, when the Smart Soap Dispenser detects motion. A button on top of the dispenser lets you quickly pause your routine when you want to wash your hands without triggering your Echo.

According to Amazon's product listing, the Smart Soap Dispenser works with the Echo (second-gen and above), the Echo Dot (second-gen and above), the Echo Plus, the Echo Show, the Echo Spot, the Echo Input, the Echo Studio, and the Echo Flex. I can confirm it also works with the Amazon Astro household robot.

The dispenser features a separate indicator light on top that shines red when the battery is running low, orange when it's charging, and green when fully charged.

The Smart Soap Dispenser promises around three months of battery life on a charge, depending on use. When it's running low on battery, you can recharge it via an included micro USB cable. Amazon warns that pairing an Echo device and enabling high-dispensing mode will reduce battery life. When I plugged in the dispenser for the first time, it was already partially charged and took about 110 minutes to reach a full charge.

A power button on the back of the dispenser lets you turn it on and off, a useful feature to prevent accidental dispensing when you refill it with soap, pick it up, or move it to a different location. It doesn't have its own built-in microphone and isn't listening to you.

At $34.99, the Smart Soap Dispenser is priced in the same ballpark as models from Simplehuman(Opens in a new window) and Secura(Opens in a new window), neither of which has rechargeable batteries or smart features.

I had no trouble setting up the Smart Soap Dispenser and pairing it with a compatible Echo device. To get started, plug it in using the included micro USB cable and the indicator light should begin flashing blue, signaling that it's ready for setup. Note that you'll need your own USB-A wall charger because Amazon doesn't include one in the box.

Next, download and install the latest version of the Alexa app if you don't already have it on your phone and sign in or create an account. In the Alexa app tap More > Add a Device, then search for and select the Amazon Soap Dispenser and follow the on-screen instructions to finish the setup process. The app asks for permission to access your phone's Bluetooth (so it can discover and connect to your soap dispenser) and camera (so you can scan a QR code during setup).

When prompted, use your phone to scan your soap dispenser's QR code, which you can find in the quick start guide included in the box, as well as on the inside of the dispenser's lid. After locating your dispenser, the app will automatically connect it to your home Wi-Fi network and add it to your Alexa account.

If you have a compatible Echo device, the app will walk you through the steps to pair it with the soap dispenser and set up a handwashing routine. During this process, you need to make sure the dispenser and your Echo device are in the same room, within 20 feet of each other.

I paired it with the Amazon Astro and enabled the suggested handwashing routine, which plays the Amazon Music "Feeling Happy" playlist in shuffle mode for 20 seconds at volume 4, then dings and says "Nicely Done!" This configurable routine runs on the Astro every time the Smart Soap Dispenser detects motion, which I set between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. each day.

The Smart Soap Dispenser works with liquid hand soaps only—not foaming soap or alcohol-based products like hand sanitizer. I filled it with Amazon Basics antibacterial liquid hand soap(Opens in a new window) and it works fine, but you can use any brand.

After you fill the dispenser with soap for the first time, you need to prime it before anything will come out. To do that, just place your hand under the dispenser for a moment and remove it, then repeat the process several times until soap dispenses. It took about 10 tries before the dispenser started working for me.

The Smart Soap Dispenser works flawlessly; it always reliably dispenses soap when I place my hand under the nozzle. The dynamic dispensing feature works as advertised. When I place my hand close to the nozzle, just a small amount of soap comes out. When I place my hand farther away, it gives me more soap.

I also tested high-dispensing mode, which does significantly increase the amount of soap that comes out, but turned it off because I didn't want to waste soap. To enable/disable high-dispensing mode, just double-press the power button.

I worried that the motion sensor would be too sensitive and might accidentally dispense soap when I didn't want it to, but that hasn't been a problem. I can turn the nearby faucet handle without accidentally triggering the dispenser's motion sensor. It only dispenses soap when you actually place your hand beneath the nozzle.

I really like the built-in 20-second wash timer. After it dispenses soap, the LEDs blink in a circular pattern until the time is up, so you don't have to wonder whether you've washed long enough.

You don't have to connect the Smart Soap Dispenser to an Echo device to enable a handwashing routine, but doing so really adds to the experience. My routine reliably runs on the Astro without delay when the Smart Soap Dispenser detects motion. As soon as the soap hits my hand, the Astro starts playing upbeat music. It continues for 20 seconds, serving as an audible handwashing timer in addition to the visual LEDs on the dispenser itself, then it praises me when I'm done. This routine makes me smile every time I wash my hands.

The $34.99 Amazon Smart Soap Dispenser does more than simply dispense soap: It features a built-in 20-second LED timer to help you scrub long enough to get rid of germs, it adjusts the amount of soap that comes out based on where you place your hand, and it offers a high-dispensing mode for those who like a lot of suds. You can even pair it with a compatible Amazon Echo device and easily create an Alexa routine that plays music to entertain you while you wash—our favorite feature that adds a little bit of joy to an otherwise boring chore. It earns our Editors' Choice award because it's smarter than other soap dispensers in its price range and its connected features serve a useful purpose.

The touch-free, rechargeable Amazon Smart Soap Dispenser features a 20-second handwashing timer and works with compatible Echo devices to play music while you suds up.

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