For refrigerators and ranges, the future is here. While kitchen appliances have been incorporating smart, connected technology for the past few years, that tech is now making the transition from really cool to really useful.
“We’re at the point where smart technology is not just a gadget anymore. It’s actually helping us,” says Ryan Herd, CEO of the smart home technology consulting company 1 Sound Choice, in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. For instance, in addition to being outfitted with cameras that reveal their contents, some refrigerators can now notify consumers if their temperature gets too high or if they need maintenance.
Here are six products that are bringing the latest tech to today’s kitchens.
Smart Contemporary Handle Slide-In Gas Range
Whirlpool’s Smart Contemporary Handle Slide-In Gas Range cuts out routine, time-consuming steps from cooking. With frozen foods, consumers scan the bar codes using the Yummly app, which Whirlpool acquired in 2017. It then sends cooking instructions straight to the oven. There’s no waiting for the appliance to get to the right temperature; users just pop the food inside the oven, and the technology takes it from there. Once it’s done, the app sends consumers a notification and even gives them the option to keep the food warm for another 8 to 10 minutes—if, for example, they want to finish a Netflix episode before heading back to the kitchen. In addition, the Yummly app offers recipes and cooking tips and sends instructions straight to the oven.
Whirlpool hopes that equipping its appliances with cutting-edge tech will “move beyond performing tasks and deliver meaningful experiences for consumers,” says Jason Mathew, senior director of Global Connected Strategy for Whirlpool. With products like its smart gas range, Whirlpool is moving toward an assisted and even automated cooking experience, akin to driving a Tesla, according to Mathew.
French Door Bottom Mount Refrigerator
Bosch’s Home Connect app allows remote monitoring and operations. Need to cool or freeze some just-purchased items as quickly as possible? Select SuperFreeze or SuperCool. Going away on vacation and want to conserve the energy that the appliance consumes? Select HolidayMode. Or, if you use Nest, Bosch’s French Door Refrigerator will automatically let Home Connect know you’ve been away after three days. The Bosch refrigerator features a drawer with customizable and remote-controlled
freshness settings for various types of food, which the manufacturer claims keeps food fresh for up to three times longer, reducing a lot of food waste. Plus, the app allows for remote diagnostics and appliance evaluations.
Family Hub Refrigerator
Thanks to Samsung’s virtual assistant Bixby, the Family Hub Refrigerator touchscreen doubles as a graphic tablet that connects with other smart-home devices. Users can ask it for the latest news or weather updates, call an Uber, search for plane tickets, or set the appliance’s temperature. They can leave notes and doodles on the screen using their fingertips, or they can even send notes remotely that appear on the screen (“I’ll be home by 6 p.m.,” for instance). The dynamic screensaver displays personal photos or artwork or blends into the kitchen’s décor. The voice-activated screen also can distinguish each family member’s voice.
Smart Oven+ with Powered Attachments
This year, KitchenAid makes its smart-oven debut with this appliance. The KitchenAid Smart Oven+ benefits from the same Yummly app offerings of Whirlpool’s smart appliances. Through the app, consumers can remotely check and change the oven’s temperature. They can also adjust the settings via voice command and access recipes and instructions on the 4.5-inch, full-color LCD display. And like the classic KitchenAid mixer, the oven comes with interchangeable attachments so that users can bake, steam, and grill year-round.
LG’s InstaView ThinQ comes with Amazon Alexa built right in. With the voice-activated 29-inch HD LCD touchscreen, homeowners can engage in all their usual Alexa activities: shop for groceries, create lists, check the weather, manage calendars, and even play music via Bluetooth speakers on top of the fridge. Consumers can view the refrigerator’s contents with a panoramic camera, or they can make the touchscreen transparent to just look directly inside. While a lot of refrigerators now beep if the door’s left open, this one sends a smartphone notification. InstaView ThinQ works with Google Assistant as well.
Pro Grand Range
Using the Home Connect app, consumers can remotely start the Pro Grand Range and adjust its settings. That remote capability comes in handy when the appliance needs a tune-up. Service representatives can run diagnostics without having to make an appointment—or asking the consumer to wait around at home. The app offers recipe suggestions and how-to videos. Thermador also offers the Home Connect app experience with some of its refrigerators, including its 24-inch wine column.