We live in a truly connected world. Communications, financial transactions, and even our entertainment are remotely controllable through our smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Even from a remote location, we can initiate or monitor many operations in our homes to minimize energy usage, activate security, or even begin to cook the evening meal.

All this connectivity has a place in our busy lives when work, play, and personal or family time are essential. Home designs integrated with “smart” systems that save time, money, and effort are now commonplace. And, more innovation is on the horizon for new homebuyers and remodelers.

Many innovations are happening in our kitchens. Smart kitchens offer features and appliances that connect through the Internet of Things technology, WiFi, and Bluetooth to allow owners to control devices remotely through their mobile apps, Amazon Alexa, and other capabilities.

Wireless Smart Home Charging Unit
Smart appliances can save time and money while even enhancing the safety and efficiency of your home. These allow you to connect and command from your smartphone or tablet to turn the device on and off. You can set it to activate at a specific time and any level of operation. You may start, end, or suspend operations remotely via your smartphone’s interaction.
And, the device can also provide information regarding the operating status of the appliance. The systems can even report malfunctions or disruptions in real-time

What Value Do Smart Kitchens Offer?

Smart Kitchen

While some traditional home meal preparers may be slow to grasp the value of some of the bells and whistles of smart kitchen designs, a Forbes article suggests five general advantages that these devices offer. They include:
Time Savings and Convenience: For anyone with a tight schedule, like a working parent, who still wants to serve interesting, healthy foods, smart kitchen appliances can make it happen. Multi-tasking is a way of life for many, so having devices that can do much of the work with only simple instructions from your phone or voice-activated systems can be a lifesaver.
Waste Reduction: Smart, camera-equipped refrigerators allow you to peek inside from a remote location to see what you have on hand for the coming meal. This capability eliminates the duplication of purchases and the resulting oversupply of perishable foods. Some appliances can even tell you when something is nearing its expiration date.
Improve Your Cooking: Food consistency is enhanced when the user can continually monitor connected thermometers and having access to proven food recipes and databases.
Serve Healthier Foods: Incorporate more healthy ingredients and be able to track the values through the interaction of your food preparation, fitness technology, and synchronization of your diet with your fitness regimen.
Increase Kitchen Safety: Managed properly, smart kitchens are safer. Manufacturers are building in shut-off mechanisms for stoves and ranges to ensure overheating and subsequent problems do not occur. Insurance companies are even offering premium discounts to homeowners with smart kitchen systems.

Also, the new smart appliances are sleek and stylish. Metal or chrome, sometimes mixed with wood features, new appliances and devices can coordinate to create a beautiful and modern ambiance to your kitchen.

Large Appliances Have Become Smarter

Smart Large Appliances
The appliances that do most of the heavy lifting and occupy the most space in any kitchen are the ovens and ranges, refrigerators, and dishwashers. The latest designs of these critical components include internet connectivity and the ability to respond to remote electronic and vocal commands.

Ovens

Smart Ovens
Smart ovens save time by allowing you to set an oven to preheat from afar, perhaps before driving home from work or other remote locations. This feature will enable you to remain wherever you happen to be a bit longer, yet the oven will be ready as soon as you get home.

You can also leave your home while the oven is roasting or baking, and the appliance will send a message when the internal temperature of the food has reached the target level. These appliances enable you to monitor the food and oven temperatures, turn the heat off or lower the temperature remotely while you are participating in other activities.

Some newer smart oven designs offer dual-range capability with twin oven compartments that allow the user to bake with two different oven temperatures at once. This innovation reduces energy use when only one chamber is active.

Range

Smart WiFi
A smart range incorporates WiFi or Bluetooth or pairs with your smartphone or tablet companion app to control every function from another location. Some even respond to voice commands via Amazon Echo or Google Home. Users can control meal prep times and temperatures completely.

Refrigerator

Smart Refrigerator

As the range and oven, smart refrigerators provide many time and energy-saving functions. These also offer the ability to access remotely through WiFi and a companion app.

Some smart refrigerator applications might unnecessary to some consumers. For those who are on the run or travel frequently, they can be quite useful.

Here are some of the more recent options presented by GE, Samsung, or LG with their latest designs:

View what you have on hand from another location via interior cameras. Also

  • Adjust interior temperatures with your smartphone
  • See inside without opening the refrigerator door through glass panels in the door
  • Sends a warning when the door is left open
  • Alerts when the water filter needs replacing
  • Signals when the ice cube level is getting low
  • Some compartments can convert from refrigerator to freezer as needed
  • Large screen display lets you make grocery lists, check the weather, create reminders, and more.

Some smart refrigerators even include bar code scanners to help you track your inventory.

Notably, some refrigerators are equipped with K-Cup coffee makers. By drawing water from the cold water dispenser, the system initiates the operation from your phone or voice command systems like Alexa. You will need to insert the coffee pod into the device beforehand.

Washer and Dryer

Smart washers and dryers
Smart washers and dryers will send a message to your smartphone or tablet that a cycle has completed. Owners can adjust settings remotely and even diagnose problems. You will be able to divert your attention to other areas while the laundry appliances let you schedule cycles that make sense. Some washers can automatically dispense the precise amount of detergent and fabric softener for each load and advise you when your supply is getting low.

Some Whirlpool® models offer access to troubleshooting videos to help manage issues and to avoid costly service calls.

In many instances, matching smart washers and dryers will cause the dryer to match its fabric settings to the washer setting automatically.

Integrating Smaller Smart Appliances

Smaller Smart Appliances
Smart kitchens are not only about the big appliances. A February 2020 House Beautiful article lists many smaller intelligent kitchen favorites to complement the larger devices. Their list includes:

Smart WiFi Instant Pot

An upgrade to your old-fashioned crock pot, the WiFi Instant Pot owns many identities. This equipment double as a pressure cooker, steamer, rice cooker, cake or yogurt maker, and even a food warmer. Connect through WiFi, and direct a voice command through Alexa. Your Instant Pot will take over.
You will need to prepare your ingredients in advance, and tell the Instant Pot what you would like it to do.

Smart kitchens are not only about the big appliances. A February 2020 House Beautiful article lists many smaller intelligent kitchen favorites to complement the larger devices. Their list includes:

Instant Recipes

If you are not sure of how to cook something, simply download an appropriate recipe app and ask for the recipe. You should be able to access the information through your Echo device using Alexa-initiated request saying, “Alexa, what’s a recipe for Sloppy Joes?”

Smart kitchens are not only about the big appliances. A February 2020 House Beautiful article lists many smaller intelligent kitchen favorites to complement the larger devices. Their list includes:

Instant Recipes

If you are not sure of how to cook something, simply download an appropriate recipe app and ask for the recipe. You should be able to access the information through your Echo device using Alexa-initiated request saying, “Alexa, what’s a recipe for Sloppy Joes?”

Smart kitchens are not only about the big appliances. A February 2020 House Beautiful article lists many smaller intelligent kitchen favorites to complement the larger devices. Their list includes:

Automatic Pan Stirrer with Timer

You have invited a crowd of guests, and you do not want to miss a minute of the conversation in another room. Unfortunately, some sauces and other recipes call for continual stirring to allow them to cook correctly and ensure the ingredients are well mixed.

Free up time to visit or do something else by setting the liquid on low or simmering heat and set the Smart Automatic Pan Stirrer for occasional or continual stirring to act as your assistant chef while you redirect your attention.

Smart kitchens are not only about the big appliances. A February 2020 House Beautiful article lists many smaller intelligent kitchen favorites to complement the larger devices. Their list includes:

Smart WiFi Air Fryer

With a smart air fryer with multiple cooking modes, you may control the settings and time by voice or phone. Have the food ready when you are.

Smart kitchens are not only about the big appliances. A February 2020 House Beautiful article lists many smaller intelligent kitchen favorites to complement the larger devices. Their list includes:

Sous Vide precision Cookers

Sous vide is a cooking process in which the food is placed in a plastic pouch and then cooked in a temperature-controlled water bath. The device, also known as an immersion circulator, simmers the food at a lower temperature. Sous Vide is practical for home preparation because the food can be consumed at once or stored in a freezer to be warmed later on a grill or stovetop. You can operate the appliance remotely and enjoy the food when you arrive at home.

Smart kitchens are not only about the big appliances. A February 2020 House Beautiful article lists many smaller intelligent kitchen favorites to complement the larger devices. Their list includes:

Who Does a Smart Kitchen Benefit the Most?

Smart Kitchen Benefits
For some, many of these devices seem like unnecessary gadgetry. Those individuals do not visualize the many benefits that smart devices and appliances bring. However, for many, smart kitchens make perfect sense.

Active Individuals

Do you work all day, but have other commitments in the evening? Don’t forego a healthy dinner by heading for the Drive-Thru at the local fast-food emporium. At the appropriate time, you can fire up your cooker from a distance and have your meal ready when you arrive home.

Working Parents or Couples

Don’t forego a proper dinner with your family. You can get the ball rolling by preheating the oven and having everything nearly ready to go when you arrive at home.

Dinner Party Hosts and Hostesses

Unless you employ caterers for your dinner parties, smart appliances allow you to create a multicourse dinner while you may continue to interact with your guests. Prepare in advance, set your timer or give a voice command as needed, monitor with your smartphone, and dart back to the kitchen when everything is ready to serve.

Multi-Taskers

For those with multiple priorities, having a smart kitchen allows them to focus on other activities while a delicious dinner is cooking. Exercising, mowing the lawn, working on a hobby, or even doing some extra work at home, individuals can still enjoy a typical dinner without having to spend spare time in the kitchen.

Or, perhaps, you might sleep a bit longer as your morning cup of coffee begins to brew, and your toast will be toasting while you are preparing for another new day.

How About the Impact on Homeowners Insurance Premiums?

smart home premiums
As more time and energy saving devices become commonplace in smart homes, insurance companies have taken notice of the safety improvements. As proof of smart kitchen safety, a Value Penguin September 2019 article notes that Travelers Insurance, working with Amazon, reduced smart home premiums by approximately 3%. This level of benefit provided those homeowners with premiums that averaged about $1,000 per year by about $30 per annum savings. Furthermore, Travelers Insurance is now offering free Echo devices to their home insured customers.
More substantial premium benefits are available from many home insurance companies for homes that also install smart surveillance and security devices.

Designing Your Smart Kitchen

Designing your Smart Kitchen
1. Figure Out What Smart Means: Research smart kitchen devices to identify what could add real value to your life—selecting the features that enhance your free time to do more of what you enjoy.

2. Identify What You Need: Just as you work with a designer or architect to build your home or design your remodel, contacting a smart home advisor can be an important step. These individuals stay abreast of industry developments and can advise how much value each technology can provide.

3. Start Shopping: With a clear idea of what you would like and the features that may be important to you, you can further your investigation online and at the local appliance stores. Some smart devices like smart coffee makers and some smart crockpot devices are available for under $250. Naturally, smart refrigerators, ranges, ovens, and dishwashers will cost much more.

You will need to decide whether the additional “smart” features (which are rapidly becoming standard) are genuinely worth the premium you will pay for the extra conveniences over the basic models. In most instances, the investment will be well worth the expense.