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.
1. 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, 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 your smartphone.
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 Wi-Fi cameras.
2. Cook meals to perfection every time.
More cooking appliances leverage smart technology to take the guesswork out of cooking. Bosch, for example, 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, introduced a microwave and range with scan-to-cook technology. Using the Whirlpool app, you’ll simply scan the UPC bar code 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.
3. 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 your life. One of the more 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 simply tell the fridge to start heating the water from the bedroom so that your coffee will be ready to go by the time you reach the kitchen.
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 smartphone app.
4. Never run out of the essentials.
You’ve probably seen the Amazon Dash button, which lets you order everything from soup to paper towels at the press of the Wi-Fi-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), dishwashers (for more dishwashing detergent) and washing machines (for laundry detergent). That means these items will be sent to your doorstep without you having to even lift a finger.
5. Minimize smoke and odors — and fire, too.
Some of latest smart appliances can talk to each other, which simplifies meal prep, and can also make the home a safer place. Take Samsung’s new Bluetooth-enabled vent hood, which can be paired with a Samsung range so that anytime you turn on the cooktop, the ventilation automatically kicks in. That helps control smoke and odors, as well as grease buildup, which can lead to cooking fires.
The latest gas cooktop from Monogram, GE’s luxury line, is another example of a safety-enhancing smart appliance. The cooktop will send an alert to your phone when a burner is left on longer than normal — for that simmering pasta sauce that you forgot to turn off before leaving the house, for example.