HomeAdvisor recently surveyed 1,500 US consumers about their experiences with smart home technology. When we asked about the smart products they’ve installed so far, kitchen appliances rose to the top, beating out smoke alarms, thermostats, and security systems.
It makes sense: appliances are generally easy to install, so there’s no need to call in a professional, as you might with a smart lighting or security system. What’s more, smart appliances typically work the same as traditional models, with the technology serving as an added benefit, so homeowners can ease into them at their own time.
If you’re intrigued by smart home technology but afraid to take the plunge, a smart appliance can be a good first step.
Here are five benefits you could reap, whether you’re gearing up for a major remodel or just upgrading an appliance or two.
Check for milk from the dairy aisle.
The refrigerator is the appliance you interact with the most, so manufacturers have been investing heavily in its interactive intelligence. Samsung has led the charge with its Family Hub (above), a French-door refrigerator with a built-in LCD screen that serves as the home’s command central, with calendars, a message board, photo sharing features, and more. Coolest of all, cameras inside the fridge let you check its contents from anywhere via the smartphone app.
Going for the high-end look in your kitchen? Dacor, which was acquired by Samsung last year, offers a line of built-in column-style refrigerators with WiFi cameras.
Get perfect baking results every time.
More cooking appliances leverage smart technology to take the guesswork out of cooking. Bosch, for example, just announced a partnership with Drop, maker of a smart scale and recipes app that provides step-by-step instructions to hundreds of baking recipes. Combined with Bosch’s Home Connect app, which controls the oven’s cooking times and temperatures, you’re guaranteed perfect results with even trickier dishes, like scones, tarts, and puff pastries.
Whirlpool, meanwhile, is developing a range with scan-to-cook technology. Using the Whirlpool app, you’ll simply scan the UPC barcode on a food package, say a frozen pizza or TV dinner, and the recommended directions, temperature, and cooking time will be sent automatically to the appliance.
Never run out of detergent again.
You’ve probably seen the Amazon Dash button, which lets you order everything from soup to paper towels at the press of the WiFi-connected buttons. Manufacturers are taking the convenience to the next level by integrating Dash replenishment service into appliances that require regular reordering, including coffeemakers (for the coffee), dishwasher (for more dishwashing detergent), and washing machines (for laundry detergent). That means the items will be sent to your doorstep without you having to even lift a finger.
Put on a fresh pot of coffee from bed.
If you’re a little groggy before your first morning cup, smart coffee brewing technology can change in your life. One of the most impressive examples of this is GE’s French-Door refrigerator with Keurig Brewing System, which features Geneva, the manufacturer’s voice control assistant.
Using your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, you can tell the fridge to start heating the water from the bedroom so that your coffee will ready to go by the time you reach the kitchen. “It’s become the single most used application of the Geneva Skill,” says Bill Gardner, manager of connected integrations at GE Appliances. “Coffee is such an integral part of the morning routine, so it made sense to give people that connectivity.”
Not ready for a whole new refrigerator? The Behmor Brewer Connected Coffee Brew System combines pinpoint temperature control with the ability to control brewing remotely through the smart phone app.
Get a jump on meal prep.
The sous vide machine is one of my most valuable smart kitchen tools, especially when I’m cooking for a crowd. The smartphone-controlled device cooks steak, fish, and other foods in a temperature-controlled water bath, maintaining precise internal temperatures for hours at a time, without overcooking. That means I can make my main dish ahead of time, then flash sear it on the grill or fry pan, knowing the results will be perfect.
Dan’s Bottom Line
Smart appliances are becoming one of the most exciting smart home product categories. Both Samsung and GE told me they’ll be making major announcements in September related to their smart appliance lines. Stay tuned for those results.
If you’re a consumer in the market for new appliances, I wouldn’t shop by smart features alone. But they could help you choose between two similar models—maybe if you are someone who can never remember if there’s milk left in the fridge.
As for home service professionals, you might not be called on for as many smart appliance installs, since it is often a plug-and-play category. But as more kitchens take in smart technology, it definitely pays to keep up with the market.