There are ways to cook with your phone that don’t involve ordering delivery through an app. If you love cooking and technology, connected appliances and kitchen devices are the ideal gadgets for your smart home. They can automate parts of the cooking process, keep you updated on the progress of your food, or simply make sure you’re following a recipe correctly.
Smart kitchen gadgets are as varied as any kitchen appliance. There are broad, multi-purpose devices like ovens. There are specific but common tools like coffee makers. And there are unique but incredibly useful appliances you might not have heard of before but won’t know how you lived without, like immersion circulators. Whether you live in the kitchen or just brew coffee and toast bagels, there’s an appliance that can make your culinary life easier.
You don’t need to replace your appliances to make your kitchen smarter. Inexpensive, easy-to-store devices can improve your cooking and help you out with cleanup. They’re usually under $100, and tuck into kitchen drawers and cabinets when you’re not using them.
For baking and mixing drinks, the Perfect Bake Pro is equal parts fun and useful. it’s a connected scales that work with an app on your smartphone or tablet to make sure you use the right proportions of ingredients. The scale monitors your mixing bowl in real time, telling you how much to pour and even make adjustments on the fly if you accidentally dump in too much of one thing. The apps come filled with recipes, and you can add your own.
The Weber Kitchen Thermometer, meanwhile, is a Bluetooth-connected monitor that uses wired probes to measure the temperature of up to two different dishes as they’re cooking. You don’t need even need to stick around the whole time to watch the numbers rise, since it connects with an app on your mobile device to let you know that something has reached its desired temperature.
If you have the space on your counter, you can get high-tech cooking devices that do all the work for you. The Tovala Steam Oven, for instance, is a super-functional multi-purpose smart oven capable of baking, broiling, and steaming foods through app control and QR codes. The Brava Oven is similar, with a touch screen and an app that let you access a library of recipes and cooking presets.
The AmazonBasics Microwave, meanwhile, costs about the same as any other small 700-watt microwave, and instead of direct app control, you can simply use Alexa voice commands to cook. It isn’t terribly powerful, and you need a separate Echo device in order to use the voice functionality, but it’s priced similarly to models that don’t do nearly as much, making it a great buy for Alexa users.
If you have the money to spend, you can get smart versions of large appliances, too. Companies like LG and Samsung have been working on connected refrigerators and ovens for a few years now. Some, like LG’s SmartThinQ fridge, let you check their status through your phone so you can make sure things are working properly and that you have enough ice. Others, like Samsung’s Family Hub fridge, have their own touch screen and can function as a communication center for your home, and even have cameras inside so you see what you’re low on while you’re out shopping. We’ve yet to test either of these refrigerators, but they look very promising based on what we’ve seen so far.
These larger smart appliances carry a significant premium, and you can expect to spend several thousand dollars on each. On the bright side, they tend to be equivalent to the highest-end non-smart appliances from manufacturers, in terms of design, build quality, and features. You can expect stainless steel finishes and other very nice touches you won’t find on cheaper options.
Best Smart Kitchen Appliances Featured in This Roundup:
Pros: Convenient Alexa voice controls. Lots of automated options. Costs about as much as a non-smart microwave.
Cons: Too small for a family. Alexa voice command syntax is occasionally awkward and stiff. No microphone; requires an Echo device for voice commands.
Bottom Line: The AmazonBasics Microwave is a small, simple microwave oven that responds to Alexa voice commands without costing more than a traditional model.
Brava Oven Review
Pros: Cooks food rapidly and thoroughly. Lots of automatic cooking settings that work well. Easy-to-use touch screen. Built-in cameras for remotely watching your food cook.
Cons: Expensive. No window for simply looking in on your food.
Bottom Line: The Brava Oven is a fast countertop appliance that can bake, sear, toast, air fry, and even dehydrate food, with loads of automatic cooking settings and internal cameras for watching your meal as it cooks.
Weber Kitchen Thermometer
Pros: Sends notifications to your phone when your dish is done. Lots of preset temperatures to choose from. Clear display. Allows you to set timers. Accurate temperature readings.
Cons: Pricey. Drab app design.
Bottom Line: The Weber Kitchen Thermometer uses Bluetooth connectivity to great effect, allowing you to cook just about any dish to temperature without needing to keep an eye on it.