A smart kitchen device typically refers to any appliance that can access the Web or interface with a mobile device to make its operation more convenient. These types of appliances can also be referred to as connected devices. The Samsung 4-Door Refrigerator with 8-inch Wi-Fi enabled LCD has a tablet-like device embedded in its door and includes the options to make phone calls from the device. Other devices, like the Escali SmartConnect Kitchen Scale with Bluetooth and the Crock-Pot 6 Wi-Fi Enabled WeMo 6-Quart Slow Cooker offer the ability to control the device from a smartphone.
How much of an investment you want to make and how much convenience you are looking to achieve in the kitchen determines just how many smart kitchen devices to acquire. The range is as vast as appliances themselves, and what you shop for should be guided by what you are looking to improve.
Smart Kitchen: What to Look For
If you are looking to invest in a new major appliance, or if you just want kitchen gadgets that offer some fun interconnectivity features, below are some guidelines to keep in mind when making your decision.
If you are looking to replace a major appliance, such as your stove, dishwasher or refrigerator, now is an interesting time to consider the types of smart features that would make your life easier. If you use a lot of online recipes, perhaps a refrigerator with a built-in Wi-Fi-enabled device is a must-have. This may be more convenient than dragging your laptop, tablet or mobile phone into the kitchen every time you try out a new recipe. Bluetooth connectivity can allow you to monitor cooking temperatures from another room in the house. You can also use a stove's proprietary app to send a recipe directly to the oven itself.
Android or iOS
Interconnectivity with these devices usually requires an app download. If you are an iPhone user and the device lists an Android interface, you want ensure there is an iOS version of the app. If the app isn't compatible with your phone or mobile device, you may not be able to take advantage operating it remotely or use any of its smart features.
Think about the tasks that are more difficult for you in the kitchen. If you are one to overcook food, a kitchen thermometer, for instance, can wirelessly monitor the temperature of your food and send you an alarm via Bluetooth when it hits a preset temperature. If you want coffee before you're out of bed, you can use your phone to send a message to your coffeemaker to start percolating. Bluetooth-connected scales automatically input food data into a food journal you access from your mobile device, making calorie counting a breeze.
The latest range of smart kitchen gadgets is nothing short of astounding. With a connected device, you can control cooking times and temperatures and keep abreast of cooking status via your phone. You could also watch any TV app from your refrigerator door. Consider the options that are the most vital to you and have fun experimenting with these appliances and gadgets that, like the rest of your life in the 21st century, are constantly connected.
Slow cooking is a busy cook's best friend, and crock-pots and other slow cookers have long been the go-to gadgets for working parents and busy professionals. Until now, slow cookers have not been included in the growing list of smart kitchen devices. Crock-Pot has introduced the first Wi-Fi-enabled slow cooker, embedded with Belkin's WeMo app. This app allows you to control start and stop times and temperature control settings remotely.
If your workday runs over or your errands are taking longer than expected, you can use the app to shut off this device from anywhere using the WeMo app. The intuitive design also allows you to start the cooking process at any time, control the time settings, including automatic shut off, from anywhere you have access to a 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi connection. The WeMo app has both an Android and iOS version, so you can use either an iPhone and Android tablet or smartphone.
This slow cooker has a 6-quart capacity, giving you plenty of cooking volume for large roasts, soups or stews. It has all of the conveniences of a traditional slow cooker. The lid and stoneware interior are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. The stainless steel exterior is easy to clean with a rag and warm water. The control panel has simple manual settings, so you can use it with or without the app.
Since this is the first smart kitchen gadget of its kind, it is reflected in the cost. Other brands and manufacturers could soon be coming out with similar functionality, so you are paying a premium for a first-to-market product. The primary convenience of this slow cooker is controlling cooking times. The app is essentially one way, meaning it doesn't communicate internal temperature readings or the progress of the food itself, just how much time is left on the timer, so you may not want to stray too far from home when cooking certain dishes that require monitoring.
The convenience of turning your slow cooker off and on from anywhere outside of the home may be appealing to very busy parents and professionals. This device offers all the features of a large slow cooker with the added ability to control its basic settings remotely. If you are willing to pay a premium for a cutting-edge product, this may be a fun smart kitchen device to start experimenting with.
Dacor Discovery iQ DYRP48DS Review
If you've ever wanted the power of a gourmet stove with a fully functional Android tablet embedded in the front, welcome to the smart kitchen appliance of the future. Dacor's iQ line offers a number of ranges and ovens that have interconnected smart devices built into the appliance. You can control your stove and oven, watch TV, or do anything else you could imagine doing online with a Samsung device that has a 7-inch screen, a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM encased in the range's embedded control panel.
Even experienced home cooks can take advantage of the iQ app's recipes, which can be synced to your smartphone, allowing you to control your oven's temperature or adjust the cooking time of a loaf of bread with just a press of a button on your phone. Besides Dacor's iQ app, you can download any app from the Google Play store to the range's smart kitchen device and enjoy a range of other functionality, including watching movies from your favorite streaming services. The interface makes cooking intuitive with easy-to-follow menus, and the stereo means you could even enjoy your favorite online streaming music services while cooking.
A six-burner cooktop puts out 18,000 Btu of either liquid propane or natural gas. Dual ovens include the range of features offered in Dacor's other ovens. A larger oven features a four-fan convection system with multiple cooking settings and 4.8 cubic feet of cooking space. Two racks slide on ball-bearing gliding systems and have added handles for convenience. The large oven has a broil feature that can harness up to 3,500 watts of power to sear and heat through thick steaks for even, quick cooking.
The second oven has 2.8 cubic feet of cooking space. The steam clean feature allows you to clean the oven, getting rid of light buildup in 30 minutes without the aid of extra-high heat or harsh chemicals. The stove has an output of 18,000 Btus. The set includes a cast aluminum griddle and a 10-inch wok ring, and comes in a range of finishes.
iPhone users, unfortunately, cannot access to the remote features of the app as it is compatible with Android devices only. In addition, this range measures 47 inches wide, which may be an issue for smaller kitchens.
If you are looking to make a significant investment in a cutting-edge smart kitchen device, the Dacor iQ range has a lot of features packed into a sleek, modern design. The Android tablet gives you access to internet browsing as well as interactivity with embedded recipes.
Dacor Discovery IQ DYO130S Review
Dacor has been in the business of making high-end kitchen appliances since 1965. The company has now entered into the smart kitchen market with its stainless steel wall oven. A built-in Android-powered app allows you to power the oven from remote locations and can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth to other devices in your home.
The 7-inch LCD screen functions as both a control panel and a Wi-Fi-connected tablet. You can download any app from the Google Play store, open your favorite cooking apps, check emails and basically do anything you can do on an Android tablet or phone, outside of making phone calls. The app itself lets you control the oven remotely and communicates with you via notifications. It can, for example, send you an alert at the end of the cooking cycle and then automatically keep the food warm at a preset temperature. You can turn the oven on via the app when you are away, allowing you to preheat the oven before you set foot in the door.
The screen also controls the oven's operations. You can swipe the screen and preset your cooking time and temperatures or use the preprogrammed cooking guide. If you do a lot of entertaining and want to check cooking times from any room in the house, you can expect this type of flexibility with the iQ Android app.
Dacor's convection oven has four fans and 10 alternate cooking modes, which include standard baking and broiling settings. The oven has a dehydration setting to preserve foods like dried herbs and fruit. It has 4.8 cubic feet of capacity, with racks that are designed to slide on a ball bearing system. The over features some environmentally friendly features, including a steam clean setting that cleans moderate build-up in the oven without harsh oven cleaners or high temperatures.
If you need quick dinner ideas or use a lot of recipes from online cooking apps, the ability use a built-in screen may be a huge convenience. If you are an Apple user, the iQ app only interacts with an Android device. You can select a standard stainless steel or black finish, but the company can also customize a finish for you for an additional fee. Based on the overall package you need, you can get a custom quote by inquiring online.
One in a long line of new smart kitchen appliances, Dacor has designed this oven to be state of the art with almost every possible modern convenience. The app gives Android users the additional connectivity of controlling their stove remotely from their phone.
Escali produces a range of scales for consumers and professionals. Their SmartConnect app interacts with several of these devices to measure and track health and nutrition data. Its SmartConnect Kitchen Scale is their first entry into the smart kitchen market. The scale interacts with the app via a Bluetooth or wireless connection to help you track calories and keep a detailed food journal almost instantly.
If you are trying to lose weight or just want to closely track the nutritional content and caloric intake of your diet, this scale is designed to make that process as automated as possible. It can work in tandem with Escali's bathroom scale to monitor trends in your weight, but it also works as a standalone product to measure and collect data about your meals. The app is available as a download in both the Apple iOS and Google Play stores.
Escali has indexed 8,000 different foods and ingredients within the app so that you can break down the nutritional content of almost any food by weight. Your digital food journal tracks up to 35 different nutrients for everything weighed on the scale. One convenient feature of the app is that it has a manual entry option, so you can add foods to your journal while you're dining out. Even if you are not actively tracking calories, looking at the nutritional analysis of the foods you eat, including overall grams of fat and fiber and nutrient composition, can be convenient for anyone wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The app can convert weights to measures, so you can gauge, for example, the equivalency of something in tablespoons or cups. The scale has a weight capacity of 11 pounds, so you can even weigh large cuts of meat or other large servings. The smooth glass surface overlaying the digital interface is designed for simple maintenance after use.
This is one of few smart kitchen scales on the market. Escali produces scales for professional laboratory environments. This scale can be used without the app as a standard kitchen scale. An embedded timer may also be a useful complement to your menu preparation. This scale offers a convenient method for gleaning sharp insights about your diet.
This scale, with its embedded smart kitchen capabilities, could be a dieter's ideal tool, and it can also help any nutrition enthusiast get more transparency into his or her diet. The app can be used remotely to track your food intake as well as entering food intake when you're on the go. This scale is a moderate investment and designed to promote a healthy lifestyle.
GE Cafe Series 30" Built-In French-Door Review
In 2015, GE entered the smart kitchen appliance market with its Wi-Fi-enabled ovens. Its Brillion app, available through both the Google Play and Apple App stores, gives mobile controls over various GE ovens and ranges whether you or in away from your home. The Cafe Series French-Door Wall Oven is enabled with the Brillion app, allowing you to check a range of oven functions while you are away from the kitchen.
The Brillion app can do a few things. Most conveniently, you can use it to control this smart kitchen appliance anywhere you have a Wi-Fi or a 3G connection. You can turn the oven on and off, preset the temperature, preheat and program cooking times. An included meat probe communicates directly with the app so that you can program the oven remotely per the meat probe's settings. You can modify these settings at any time with the app and override presets with a manual shut-off feature. The app sends push alerts based on any of these settings, and you can also check the timer status from your mobile device.
This oven also offers a range of gourmet cooking features. The convection oven settings utilize a downward fan to make efficient use of its heating technology. It has five cubic feet of cooking space. It has a dual broil element, allowing you to select settings based on the size of the dish. Parents may appreciate the digital lock-out controls to keep tiny fingers and hands out of the oven. Dual roller racks make it easier to check the progress of food while baking. A preset bread baking setting could take the place of a countertop bread maker, and the French door design allows for one-handed opening.
The oven's self-cleaning mode uses steam to remove baked-on food. Three interior halogen lights allow you to clearly see how your cookies or cakes are coming along without opening the door. The sleek exterior includes a glass touch display.
If you are a frequent baker who is looking to purchase an investment-grade appliance, GE has squeezed a lot of features into this oven. The feature that may justify the price tag is the app itself, which offers a lot of flexibility for the busy cook. As the smart kitchen market is still relatively young, note that less expensive options with a wider range of features could always be around the corner.
If you are comfortable with paying a premium as an early adopter, this GE oven seems to offer a decent range of features, both inside and out of the Brillion app, which could make cooking more convenient.
iDevices Kitchen Thermometer Review
iDevices makes several, mid-priced smart home devices and smart kitchen gadgets. Its range of cooking thermometers seeks to take the guesswork out of cooking and make cooking meat either on the grill or in the oven easier on the host. The kitchen thermometer connects via Bluetooth to your mobile device to monitor the internal cooking temperature of meat to ensure they and other dishes are prepared to the correct internal temperature, thereby reducing the risk of food borne illnesses. If you do a lot of hosting, or would like an alternative to traditional meat thermometers, this smart kitchen tool may be an interesting purchase.
The thermometer has two probes that can be inserted simultaneously into steaks, turkeys, roasts or hams. You can either monitor two temperature settings for two separate dishes or monitor two different sections of a large dish, such as a turkey, for instance. You can utilize the app's preset alarms or set your own on the app. You receive alerts when your food reaches a minimum temperature range or a maximum temperature setting.
The Bluetooth option has a range of 150 feet, which should give you plenty of room to mingle with guests or watch TV in the other room while you're cooking. If you ever step out of range, a display will engage when your smart device can be engaged again. This may help save the device's battery power. The thermometer itself has a convenient LCD display that connects directly to the internal probe and can be attached magnetically to your range. The company suggests tagging recipes with the popular #Foodie tag, which seems like a fun notion, but that hashtag has been co-opted successfully by millions of food lovers and is not a unique campaign for the device.
The iDevices thermometer was originally built for Apple devices and sold exclusively by Apple, but it now works with Android devices running 4.3 and up. It also runs on the iPhone 4S and up and all devices with iOS 7 and up. All of this functionality is convenient if you are cooking meats that require constant monitoring, like lean pork tenderloin roasts and smaller pieces of foul. It also can help you get more accurate readings on larger meats, like turkey, duck and large beef roasts.
It is a much more significant investment than a traditional kitchen thermometer, and it also happens to be the only smart kitchen thermometer on the market. The app seems intuitive to use, and the push notifications are a big convenience over analogue thermometers.
Overall, the iDevices kitchen thermometer marks a big step forward in cooking technology that is cost-effective to implement. This may be a simple way to start experimenting with smart devices and help you successfully cook meats to an ideal temperature while not having to hover over the oven or grill.
LG Smart ThinQ 6.3 cu. ft. Review
LG has designed its Smart ThinQ smart home appliances line to enable multiple device interactivity. This is LG's first foray into smart kitchen devices. The Smart ThinQ 6.3 cubic feet Capacity Electric Single Oven Range with Infrared Grill lets you control certain aspects of the range via a mobile device.
The Smart ThinQ app sends preset recipes to your oven via a Bluetooth connection. While this functionality is similar to other smart kitchen appliances, it has one major downside: The app does not actually turn the oven on. You must be physically present to hit "start," which seems like an obvious shortcoming of the app. The convenience of the app is that it communicates remaining cooking times to you remotely, so you can do other household chores within the home and keep an eye on what's in the oven or make a quick trip to the grocery store. Also, the app can be used to set a preset a self-cleaning cycle. If your utility company has any smart grid management capacity, the app may be able to interact with the grid to reduce electrical costs during peak hours. Check with your local electrical utility to confirm this range's compatibility. This feature may be more useful for smart home appliances like refrigerators that are constantly utilizing electricity. The app can be downloaded for both Apple and Android mobile devices.
The stovetop has an interesting dual coil feature on the two front burners. You can convert either burner into a full-sized burner for larger pots. A fifth burner features a low-temp warming element to keep prepared dishes warm. The oven uses infrared heating technology for the broiler. There are plates, not coils, within the oven to more evenly distribute the heat. The theory is that these plates generate more heat and can give meats a crispy sear similar to a grill. The oven has both convection technology as well as a regular baking setting.
This is a moderate price point for a range, with or without Bluetooth connectivity. You can only interact with the range when you are at home. The oven offers no remote capability, which nearly defeats the purpose of paying a premium for a smart device. If you like the idea of scrolling for new recipes and sending preset temperature settings to your oven while you're home, this may be an appealing feature.
While this range offers a lot of features, including five burners and infrared heating technology that reduces the amount of time it takes to cook your favorite foods, the ThinQ app has a few shortcomings that may be improved with future iterations of this device.
Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew w/ WeMo Review
WeMo is a smart app designed by Belkin that is being implemented by various electronics and lighting manufacturers. WeMo enables interconnectivity between smart home appliances and smartphones, giving a homeowner access to data, like monitoring electricity usage or setting start and stop times and more. The Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew Coffeemaker with WeMo allows you to control the brewing process in or away from home using your smartphone or tablet.
Coffeemakers a couple of years ago were considered the next frontier of smart kitchen appliances. The Mr. Coffee with WeMo was one of the first to hit the market, and it is designed with the avid caffeine consumer in mind. The company partnered with Belkin to embed its WeMo app into the machine, giving you ultimate control over when you want to brew a piping hot pot of coffee, whether you're upstairs in your bedroom or heading home after an early morning workout. You can use the app to control your brewing schedule up to one week in advance. The app notifies when your coffee is ready. You can also use the app to monitor the status of an individual session, although you have to be quick, because this coffeemaker brews an entire pot of coffee in eight minutes.
The advantage of the app over a timer is that an analog timer is linear and cannot be changed dynamically. It brews coffee at exactly the same time everyday unless you manually change the settings. If you sleep in or get up earlier, or if you just want the flexibility of controlling the brew times without having to set foot in the kitchen, the app allows you to do just that. The WeMo app has versions for both Android and Apple devices.
The coffee drips into a 10-cup thermal carafe, which can keep your coffee at optimal drinking temperature long after it's brewed. The carafe is insulated and engineered like a vacuum flask, so there is no need to keep the coffee on the heating element to keep it warm. If you host a lot of brunches or parties, this carafe can be elegantly set on the table to serve to your guests.
You do, of course, have to fill the filter basket with fresh ground coffee and fill the machine with water before brewing. Wi-Fi-enabled coffee makers are still relatively new and, therefore, there are not a lot of options on the market at this time. If you are a chronic early adopter, you may be willing to pay a premium versus waiting for less-expensive and increased functionality. There are models forthcoming that may allow you to grind the beans and adjust the strength of the brew remotely on command.
The Mr. Coffee WeMo Coffeemaker is the most recent smart kitchen appliance offering coffee lovers even more control over making their morning joe. The WeMo app is intuitive and easy to use. The carafe is sleek and can keep your coffee hot without being scorched.
PicoBrew Zymatic Review
The PicoBrew Zymatic was made possible by a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Crowdfunding has been a popular mode of fundraising for various smart kitchen devices, and the PicoBrew utilizes wireless technology to help streamline and simplify the beer brewing process. Home brewing is an applied science, and like all other types of cooking that involve chemistry, sometimes, it goes awry. The makers of PicoBrew are hoping to give home beer brewers the same technology utilized by larger brewing companies to produce consistent home brews time after time.
If you have ever entertained the idea of home brewing, the relative complexity of it might have scared you. The Zymatic is designed to make anyone a home brewer. This is, in theory, made more doable by the use of the Wi-Fi-enabled Web interface. Rather than purchasing a host of equipment and babysitting a process that can take up to a week, the Zymatic allows you to mix the ingredients, enter your settings and prepare your mash for fermentation in a matter of hours. The company's website allows you to upload and browse different recipes. This interface also lets you to calculate the amount and the ratio of ingredients to guarantee a good brew. Those ingredients are loaded into the brewer, attached to a keg filled with water and with a few clicks from your computer, the machine takes over and does the rest.
The existing recipes on the website takes a lot of the guesswork out of brewing, especially as many of them are based on award-winning microbrews. If you enjoy a brew the first time, the app remembers the recipe, allowing you to replicate it. Experienced brewers may enjoy the time-saving convenience of not having to set up the multiple brew stages.
Avid home brewers may shy away from the cost and nature of the machine. Different brews even with the same recipe can have varying characteristics, which is, in the minds of some, the joy of home-crafted beer and ale. However, the Zymatic is the first Wi-Fi kitchen appliance dedicated to home brewing. It allows novices who are willing to make a bit of an investment to become avid brewers and create different recipes with consistent results.
If you have never made your own home brew, and would like to employ a methodology that is partially automated, this is the first smart kitchen device of its kind to marry complex software with wireless integration. This may also be the first device to allow even the most inexperienced microbrew lovers to make batches of professional-quality beers.
Watch TV, shop online and mirror any Samsung Android device on the 8-inch Wi-Fi enabled screen of the Samsung 4-Door refrigerator. Fridges were among the first smart kitchen devices launched, and this Samsung refrigerator offers many high-end features, including the ability to pull your favorite recipe from the internet without having to subject your smartphone or mobile device to water and other messes in the kitchen.
What makes this refrigerator the cornerstone of a smart kitchen is its interconnectivity. If you have a Samsung device, you can use your phone to mirror the controls of the LCD panel. This includes recipe applications, like Epicurious, as well as weather apps, or watching live TV. Imagine browsing the internet on the door of your refrigerator. You can make phone calls from the fridge's LCD screen and receive calls, even if your phone is out of the room.
This French-door refrigerator has everything most people would want for a gourmet kitchen. It has 28 cubic feet of capacity, with a four-door design. A counter-height drawer provides additional organizational capacity, with four different temperature control zones in its compartments. The counter-height drawer is a good option for kids, so they can quickly grab their favorite refrigerated snack. The Samsung smart refrigerator has a door alarm, a stainless steel design and a top handle on the bottom freezer.
An in-door ice dispenser has a built-in filter, and the dispenser can accommodate tall pitchers and glasses. The ice maker has a storage capacity of 4.2 pounds. It is ENERGY STAR-rated, partly because of its internal LED lighting, which saves more space than incandescent bulbs and creates less heat. The door has 1-gallon storage capacity bins, and the interior includes collapsible shelves for larger items.
The app itself does not enable any controls of the fridge itself. Unless you have a Samsung device, the mirroring or Bluetooth features will be worthless to you, including the ability to make calls. However, if you want the convenience of internet browsing without the need for your smartphone or tablet, the LCD screen should make your life more convenient.
This high-end refrigerator may not offer a lot of control options, but the LCD screen is a big enhancement. If you want to shop online, watch TV or chat on the phone hands-free while you cook, this smart kitchen device may be a worthy investment for your home.