Are Smart Appliances the Right Choice for Your Kitchen?

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Are Smart Appliances the Right Choice for Your Kitchen?

These days, it seems that nearly anything you can think of comes in a “smart” version. It’s safe to assume that anything “smart” generally connects to Wifi or your home’s smart hub and that you can interact with it from another room or even away from home via an app on your smartphone. But is that all they do? When it comes to smart kitchen appliances, they do much more than just chat with Alexa. And as more brands bring out smart models, the price difference between “not smart” and the smart version is dwindling. Here’s what you need to know about what’s so smart about the three top smart kitchen appliances.

Smart Fridge Basics

The most popular kitchen appliance to go smart is the smart refrigerator. While the specific features vary by brand and model, here is a run-down of what you can do with a smart fridge:

  • Use the internal camera to look around in the fridge from your smartphone while you’re at the store wondering if you’re low on milk.
  • Customize temperature for different types of foods by drawer or by zone.
  • Open the fridge door hands-free using built-in bump sensors or sensors along the bottom of the fridge that respond to foot gestures.
  • Use the touchscreen interface on the door to leave notes for your family, sync calendars, look up recipes and keep a grocery list that syncs to your smartphone in real time.
  • Have your fridge read you the steps of a recipe while you cook.
  • Receive alerts on your phone about food that is close to expiring to avoid unnecessary food waste (and save money).

The primary smart refrigerator models on the market are by Samsung and LG, however many other manufacturers have smart fridge offerings that will be coming to market in the next year to two years.

Smart Cooking Range Basics

A smart cooking range combines a smart cooktop and a smart oven (or dual oven). Again, specific features vary based on brand and model but here is a good overview of some cool things you can do with a smart range:

  • Preheat the oven from anywhere and receive an alert on your smartphone when the oven hits the desired temperature.
  • Download custom oven cycles/settings, such as warming, proofing and convection frying.
  • Use multiple cooking technologies on your cooktop. Many smart cooktops include at least one induction burner plus standard seamless burners and even griddle space.
  • Customize burner size and configuration to fit any size or shape of cooking vessel without heat (and energy) loss.

Smart cooking ranges are a bit pricier than their not-smart cousins and start around $3,000. Smart range models are available from KitchenAid, Whirlpool, GE, LG and Samsung.

Smart Dishwasher Basics

One of the more useful appliances to go smart in the kitchen is the dishwasher. Smart dishwashers feature a number of functional/mechanical enhancements that clean dishes better and more efficiently, as well as adding in smart technology. Here’s what smart dishwashers bring to the table:

  • Shelves with bottle jets to thoroughly clean baby bottles, water bottles and other tough-to-clean drinkware.
  • Thin third rack provides a perfect flat area for loading platters, baking sheets and flat utensils for the best clean.
  • High-efficiency filters capture food particles throughout the wash cycle to remove them and prevent them from redepositing on your dishes.
  • Adjustable racks allow you to reconfigure your dishwasher to handle different size items, such as large pots and pans.
  • Dynamic wash arms spray dishes from more angles to get every bit of grime.
  • Water from the final rinse cycle is stored in a water recycling reservoir and is then filtered, heated and reused in the next load’s wash cycle.
  • Start and monitor wash cycles from your smartphone.
  • Download new custom cleaning cycles for different types of items, such as pots and pans or delicate stemware.
  • Models with a built-in detergent dispenser sense when detergent is getting low and can connect to the internet and order more detergent for itself from your Amazon account automatically so you never run out.

A smart dishwasher costs about double what an average, basic non-smart dishwasher does. However, the updated mechanical and functional features of smart dishwashers combined with the technology features add a lot of value. Smart dishwasher models are available from Whirlpool, GE, Samsung and LG.

Are smart appliances the right choice for your kitchen remodel? It’s helpful to consider the smart features of each that you would use on a frequent or consistent basis. Also consider if the features of a particular smart appliance solve an issue that often frustrates you in the kitchen. If a smart appliance has features you would use regularly and makes life easier, it could be worth the investment.

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