The Home Depot has announced the winners of its 2018 Product Innovation Awards, as well as the creation of an official Home Depot Innovation Seal. The seal, new this year to the awards, will mark each of the award-winners as “best-in-class” products and tools.
Makita’s Sub Compact Program was chosen as the Overall Winner of the Product Innovation Awards, with LifeProof Slip Resistant Tile by Mohawk and the Halo Color Selectable LED Downlight Retrofits by Eaton chosen as First and Second Runners Up. The Innovation Seal will appear on the products’ endcap displays in stores, as well as marketing materials and online store listings.
“At The Home Depot, we pride ourselves in our partnerships with vendors to offer the most innovative, home improvement products,” says Ted Decker, merchandising executive vice president for The Home Depot. “We appreciate the effort our vendor partners put into innovation each year. Today, we’re celebrating their work by recognizing the most innovative products and releasing a Home Depot Innovation seal so that our customers can find those products in-stores and online easily.”
Makita’s Sub Compact Line is designed to meet a long-standing consumer demand for cordless 18V tools in smaller sizes. The sub-compact tools are more than 25% lighter and 30% smaller than existing 18V Makita tools, and take the same 18-volt battery packs that power the entire Makita tool line.
Seven sub-compact tools are available, with many more to come in the future, according to Ken Hefley, senior vice president of marketing at Makita.
“This is exclusive to the Home Depot, and it’s a relationship that really started back with a motor,” Hefley says. “Making the motor smaller gives you a better form factor, and that form factor allows you to make a smaller, more compact tool. [And] we’re not going to sacrifice the power for the compact size. You talk to the pro contractor out in the marketplace, and they’re carrying around belts and bags full of stuff, working overhead. They don’t want more weight, they want compact power, and this is what that delivers.”
Mohawk's LifeProof Slip Resistant Tile addresses a common customer pain point with tile and hard surface flooring – a fear of slipping and falling. “It starts with the customer first. We ask our customers, what is the number one reason why you do not purchase tile or hard surface flooring? And one of the most common answers was their fear of slipping and falling on that hard surface,” says Tony Castellano, senior merchant for tile at The Home Depot. “So, working with the world’s largest manufacturer of tile, Mohawk, we actually sampled, tested, this new innovative coating that is 50% more slip-resistant than ordinary tiles. But it also still feels great, so it’s easy to maintain.”
The LifeProof tile is currently available in the wood-grain finishes, in keeping with current trends toward wood-look finishes in household products.
“We believe that this brand, as well as our business partner, will help us continue to leapfrog the competition for being on-trend. So, wood is very popular in tile today. But what’s been a mainstay in the look of tile has been stone. So working with Mohawk, we will be launching some 12 inch by 24 inch stone looks with the Lifeproof coating on it, and that will be next year as well,” says Castellano.
Eaton’s Halo Color Selectable LED Downlights allow users to change the light’s color temperature with a flick of a switch, bypassing the need for professionals to carry different lighting products for different color temperatures. The standard Halo downlight allows the color temperature to be set during installation, while the Halo Home allows homeowners to change their light’s color temperature at any time via smartphone app.
“Working with Eaton, we were able to deliver this at the same retail or less than the dedicated color temperature product before,” says Kevin Doughty, merchant of commercial and recessed lighting at Home Depot. “Just a great, huge, awesome innovation, and a great value for our customers that’s exclusive to Home Depot.”
Seven additional nominees were also recognized for their achievements in innovation:
- Behr Quick Dry Oil-Based Wood Finish, which dries in 60 minutes on damp wood
- Glacier Bay Faucets with ClickInstall and FastMount, recognized for its streamlined installation system
- EGO Carbon Fiber Powerload Trimmer, which features a durable shaft and easy reloading process
- Freud Full Range Carbide Reciprocating Blades, which offer a longer cutting life than bi-metal blades
- Arden CushionGuard, a stain and UV-resistant cover for outdoor furniture
- Kidde Red Cross Interconnected Smoke Alarms, a wireless, interconnected smoke alarm with a 10-year battery life
- B-hyve Smart Indoor Sprinkler Controller, which automatically creates watering schedules based on local weather
The Home Depot Innovation Seal is currently available online, and will appear in stores starting in November. “We’re honored to be in the top ten, let alone in the top three,” said Kraig Kasler, president of lighting at Eaton. “The number of products that Home Depot has, both online and in the stores, is staggering. And to be recognized as one of the top ten is very good, it helps shoppers narrow their choices and understand what Home Depot has recognized to be the leader in the category. So we’re very, very excited and honored to be recognized.”
The retailer also recognized Shaw Industries as its Environmental Partner of the Year for its use of recycled plastic bottles in carpeting, and Moen as its Marketing Partner of the Year for its social media campaigns.