These days, almost anything can be a “smart” device. Seriously. There are app-enabled coffee mugs. Creepy? A bit – we spent so long wondering if we could, we never stopped to ask if we should. But helpful? You betcha.
Here are some of the best smart kitchen devices we could find to help you get inspired.
People have been chatting about smart fridges for a few years now, and for good reason: They combine food and convenience, two things everyone loves. Manage your grocery list, check the weather, watch movies, play music – use your fridge for all the things your phone already does, but in bigger font and, y’know, on your fridge.
Even though they’re what we hear about most, fridges aren’t the only connected devices in the kitchen nowadays. Connected ovens and stovetop ranges can be controlled via smart phone apps, and most feature assistance and cooking tips for common meals (in other words: If you’re not Gordon Ramsay, there’s help for you). Smart microwaves can be accessed with voice technology, and some even include a barcode scanner to upload cooking instructions directly to the device.
Smarter dishwashers are also available to make cleanup a breeze: Select models can alert you to leaks or performance issues, allow for customized washing in different areas of the machine all within the same wash cycle, and be connected to Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices. Even the more budget-friendly dishwashers feature small touches of convenience, such as auto-opening at the end of the cycle to help your dishes dry quicker.
Not all upgrades have to be top-of-the-line technology, though; there are plenty of other ways to give your kitchen a sleeker design while also improving usability. One common problem in today’s age is not having enough accessible outlets for all the smart devices on top of the appliances; why not incorporate an outlet tower that rises out of the center of the countertop? Go the extra mile by getting rid of the ventilation hood and having an extractor fan that rises up from the counter behind your range.
Think about your cabinet planning as well. Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, as shown above, gives a smooth aesthetic; incorporating this paneling to cover your appliances can take things to the next level. Plenty of designers have also begun incorporating coffee stations and smaller countertops that can be hidden by cabinet doors when not in use. You also can get crafty with cabinet doors that swing up instead of out (there are event some that raise and lower like blinds!). And be sure that everything is designed with soft-close features to keep your kitchen both organized and quiet.
Finally, don’t forget about the lighting! Recessed lighting is common in modern design, but even if you decide to go with something more traditional such as track lighting, make sure the lighting is adjustable. Nothing says old-school and out-of-style like glaring fluorescents that only have one intensity setting. This is especially important if you’re going for the all-white look that has been popular in kitchens in recent years (although experts say color is making its way back into the kitchen), as the bright colors and lights will create a blinding effect. Under-cabinet lighting should be treated in the same way.
While some of the above options are available for a decent price, quite a few are only options available for the wealthy. How do you give your kitchen a tech upgrade without breaking the bank? There are a few products we can recommend.
The Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa is perfect for those that are looking for the ease of managing your grocery list and having Alexa around to ask questions. Although doesn’t feature the same range of abilities that an Amazon Echo or Studio might, it’s a more cost-friendly option for those that are looking for the barcode scanning feature to build grocery lists. As an added bonus, items are automatically added to your Amazon cart.
Don’t want Amazon controlling your life? Hiku is another option, a simple device to leave in your kitchen that will help with your grocery list. Scan items with the easy-to-use barcode scanner, or simply speak into the microphone, and items will be automatically added to the in-app list on your smartphone. Placing the device on your phone screen also enables you to easily share the list with anyone who may be doing the shopping for you.
There are also practical upgrades you can make to everyday devices to embrace technology. Think about a touchless hand soap dispenser, or a cutting board with a removable scale to make food preparation and measurement easy. If you’re a caffeine connoisseur, perhaps upgrading to a smart coffee maker so you can begin brewing a cup before you get out of bed is the way to go. There are even smart trashcans that can be motion or voice activated!
Technology is all around us, ready to make every moment of our lives easier. Whether you’re redesigning your entire kitchen in 2020 or just looking for a few items to add to your wish list this holiday season, there are plenty of smart devices to choose from.
Mia Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Mia is passionate about the written word and making connections. Outside of work, Mia also serves on the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas.