Smart Homes have been in the news a lot recently; we have Smart thermostats, smoke alarms, and lighting. Smart home technology has crept its way into the kitchen too, I even reviewed the excellent Samsung WW9000 washing back in 2014 and I saw a prototype of the Haier smart fridge back in 2013. However, since then not a huge amount has happened in the smart kitchen world with only the occasional device here and there, and some of the smart integrations have been a little lack lustre like the PrimaDonna Elite with its poor Bluetooth connectivity.
In the past 12 months or so there has been a new push towards smart kitchens, this was especially true at CES this year with many manufacturers integrating Alexa into all their devices. However, most of these products are not available yet, so we have compiled a list of some great smart kitchen tech that you can get right now. A lot of it is painfully expensive and out of reach for most people, but it shows us the potential for the future.
Easing us into the smart home tech is an affordable option with the Vent Axia Svara extraction fan which is Bluetooth controlled, can work all day in trickle mode with a noise level of 17dBA which is less than most ambient noise. It has a maximum flow rate of 30l/s which is enough to clear steam from most kitchens or bathrooms in a short period of time. The fan has a built in PIR and humidity sensor and you can set up schedules for when it works in which mode. Priced at just £99.99 it is the bargain product on our list.
If you are a coffee lover we have reviewed the £1500 PrimaDonna Elite, and while it makes amazing coffee and is a great machine, the actual smart features were a little poor, with it relying on Bluetooth to connect which made it difficult/impossible to operate from different areas in the house. However, a cheaper and more effective smart solution was the Appkettle priced at a more affordable £129.99 and allows you to control your Kettle via WiFI
Starting to get into the pricey side of things we have the Bosch HRG6769S6B Single Oven with Home Connect. The smart oven allows you to connect your phone to it allowing you to turn it on remotely, set the temperature and set the timer. The app will also give you recipe ideas and tutorials. You pay for the convenience, though, at £ 1,389.00.
If you commit to the Bosch oven you might also want to pair it with a Dishwasher from Bosch that also has Home Connect, with a similar set of features, allowing you to control it remotely. Priced at £850
Samsung were one of the first companies to offer a smart appliance, with the Samsung WW10H9600EW Freestanding Washing Machine. This also allows you to stop start the machine remotely, and it will tell you when a cycle is complete. The washing machine can also intelligently dispense the correct amount of detergent and softener. It is priced at £1,499.00 but newer models are coming out under the AddWash name priced around £1k!
Last up is the most expensive appliance of them all, the Samsung RF56K9540SR/EU Family Hub Smart Fridge Freezer which has an RRP of £4,499 which a large LCD touch screen display and three internal cameras that take a photo every time you close the door. You can then access these images whenever you want via your smartphone, so you always know what you have or don't have in your fridge, making trips to the supermarket that much easier. Or if you don't have time to get to the shops, you can just order your groceries via an app on the touch screen, which also sends you notifications when your food is about to expire.
The Family Hub will become the centre point of your home. Sync everyone's calendar and coordinate schedules to never miss a game, training or meeting again. You can also send notes and reminders to the touch screen from wherever you are in the world, just by using your smartphone. This machine also lets you keep the age-old tradition of keeping family photos on the front of your fridge-freezer, with a slideshow displaying your favourite family photos on rotation.
Whether you're having people over or spending some serious time in the kitchen, the Family Hub will be there by your side with your favourite music and TV shows. With built-in speakers and access to Pandora and TuneIn radio you can blast out a party playlist for your guests or stream some calming tunes while preparing dinner. You can also wirelessly mirror your Smart TV on the touchscreen, meaning you won't miss a minute of your favourite show!
While some of these products are prohibitively expensive, I think that the Kitchen is full of potential for genuinely useful smart appliances. The idea of being able to start your oven before you get home from work is great. I still personally use the AppKettle, I mainly use the scheduling function so I have hot water the minute I wake up, but the remote-control function does come in handy occasionally. If the PrimaDonna used Wifi it would be a lust worthy gadget.