Smart technologies became an integral part of all aspects of our lives, helping us with everything, from working and entertainment to the more mundane tasks of cleaning and cooking. Smart kitchen appliances save us a lot of time and effort – your food cooks itself while you’re working, relaxing or even away from home, and your fridge makes shopping lists and places orders online.
If you’re tempted to smarten up your kitchen, make sure you have a good, stable Internet connection first to be able to access your smart appliances and all those unique recipes from all over the world. Then decide which smart kitchen appliances are a good fit for you, your family and your lifestyle. Here are some of the most popular smart gadgets and devices for the kitchen, plus some practical advice that will help you “restart” your kitchen and make cooking a breeze:
Smart kitchen appliances – which ones do you really need?
Setting up a smart kitchen doesn’t mean you need to buy every gadget out there – they can be quite expensive, and no one really uses more than a couple of accessories. You need to determine which ones you should get, depending on how you’re using your kitchen, how much and how often you cook. Here are some of the most popular smart kitchen accessories – so pick the ones that your kitchen really needs:
- Smart fridge
Smart refrigerators do all sorts of cool things like allowing you to check what’s inside the fridge on your smartphone, keep track of expiration dates and send you reminders to eat your food before it goes bad, and send grocery lists to other devices. Most models have touchscreens and popular grocery apps installed – you can order the groceries and have them delivered in a couple of hours. Or you could look up recipes and have your fridge read the instructions to you – that really comes in handy when cooking.
Some models will help you coordinate your family’s schedule, create individual profiles for each family member and send them to do lists or other notes. Samsung smart fridges even let you see who’s at the door, check the weather and order an Uber.
Smart fridges have become more affordable in the past few years – but they’ll still a lot more expensive than a regular fridge. However, if you have a busy schedule and want to be able to easily coordinate shopping lists and dinner plans with all your family, this type of appliance could be a good idea.
- Smart coffee maker
It can be an espresso machine or even a coffee filter – what makes them smart is that they are wi-fi or Bluetooth enabled. You can access them through Alexa, Google Home Assistant, another virtual assistant or their own app. They have a lot of options – you can program them to make coffee at a certain time of the day so that you can wake up each morning to freshly brewed coffee. Most smart coffee makers allow you to select parameters such as water temperature or pressure, enabling you to experiment until you create the perfect cup. After using one for a few days, the virtual assistant learns your preferences, and you’ll always get your coffee just as you like it. You can also choose between preset coffee-based drinks recipes or create your own signature recipe. There are even models featuring geolocation capabilities – your smart coffee maker knows that you’re heading home so it will start preparing your coffee.
- Smart instant pot
Instant pots are already great in terms of time and effort saved while cooking – so what can a wi-fi enabled instant pot do? Well, you can control it via its app or through voice assistants, check the progress of your food as it cooks and receive alerts. It also gives you access to hundreds of pre-programed recipes. It’s not much more expensive than the non-smart one, so it could be a great investment if you love home-cooked meals but hate wasting hours in the kitchen.
- Smart air fryer
Air fryers are all the rage right now, and for good reasons – you can enjoy the crispiness and the amazing taste of fried foods without the hassle of frying them in hot oil and without all those calories. You can take things one step further and get a smart air fryer: you can control it from a distance via apps of voice assistants, you can check how your meal progresses, and you can program it to start cooking at a certain time. Most models also have a library of recipes to choose from.
- Smart indoor planter
Fresh herbs will take your dishes to the next level – but tending to the plants takes time, and if you’re not the green fingered type of person, you risk killing them before having the chance to garnish your food. Smart indoor gardens are devices that ensure your plants have everything they need to grow – the right amount of water, sufficient light, and nutrients. You simply plug it in al let it do its job – then, you can start harvesting herbs and other greens for your kitchen.
- Smart faucet
Most smart faucets come with voice activated software that helps you adjust water temperature, measure a precise amount of water or turn it on and off through voice commands. Such features are very useful when cooking, as your hands are usually busy or caked in food ingredients. Some models have more sophisticated features like freeze protection – if you leave home during the winter, you can activate the function, and the water will flow just enough to keep it from freezing.
Other ways to smarten up your kitchen
Don’t rely exclusively on high tech for a smart kitchen. Here are some smart tips and tricks that will turn your kitchen into a space that makes cooking and the subsequent cleaning up faster and easier.
- Comb through your cabinets to reduce clutter
You can’t really cook efficiently – and enjoy your smart kitchen appliances – if your cabinets, drawers and counter are cluttered with a variety of utensils you rarely, if ever, use. Go through all your possessions and decide which ones should stay and which should go. If you have large utensils and other items that you use only a few times per year – like a large roasting tray for the Thanksgiving dinner, or a set of fancy China plates you save for Christmas – you could put that in self storage. A 5×5 storage unit is just the right size to hold a few appliances and some boxes with extra kitchen items.
- Focus on your kitchen layout
Ideally, the areas destined for food preparation (your stove), food storage (fridge) and cleaning (the sink) should be arranged in a triangle, at approximately equal distances one from the other, and without any obstacles on the way (table, chairs, other furniture). This is the most efficient – and safest – kitchen layout. Try to replicate it in your home, by rearranging the furniture. If it’s not possible, at least make sure that you have enough space to move easily between these three areas of your kitchen.
- Go minimalistic with décor and accessories
Clutter-free counters, plenty of storage options behind closed doors (in your cabinets and pantry), easy to clean surfaces, décor and accessories should be kept to a minimum – these are some of the qualities of a kitchen where it’s easy to cook and clean up. It pays off to be a bit minimalistic in the kitchen, even if it’s not in your nature – extra space to move around is essential.
What other smart appliances – and organizational tips and tricks – do you use in your kitchen to make your work easier? Let us know in the comments!