The kitchen is already one of the most technologically advanced rooms in our homes; with so many gadgets and gizmos already taking up precious counter space, it's not surprising that the "smart kitchen" has been the slowest room in the smart home to catch on.
But while there are some things that don't need a Wi-Fi chip in them (remember the connected egg carton? Yeah, exactly), there are plenty of ways smart tech can help in the kitchen.
Really good smart kitchen devices aren't just smart because they're connected to the internet; they're smart because they're innovative, genuinely helpful, and use technology to make our lives better.
The old saying "work smarter not harder" applies in buckets when it comes to slaving away in the kitchen. From smart fridges that can tell you what to cook for to dinner to voice-activated kitchen faucets that can fill that baby bottle in a snap, the connected kitchen is one that saves you time by lending a helping hand.
Here, we've rounded up the best connected gadgets available today, to help you find the right devices for your smarter kitchen.
Best smart fridge
Samsung Family Hub refrigerator
Buy now: Best Buy | $3,399
Samsung's range of Family Hub fridge/freezers are the original smart fridges. Boasting a 21.5-inch screen with the ability to mirror a Samsung smart TV, the Family Hub is up to its sixth generation of chilled smarts.
Designed to be the "hub for your family" the fridge features a smart display that boasts five screens: a digital pinboard/photo display/calendar, a cooking screen for your recipes and shopping lists, an entertainment screen, a smart home screen, and one for anything else you fancy adding.
On the Entertainment screen built-in streaming music apps - including Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio and Amazon Music, let you use the fridge to play your fave tunes. The speaker isn't huge but it's enough to rock out to.
You can also watch TV on your fridge - as it can screen-share from any compatible Samsung smart TVs. Super handy for watching The Great British Baking show while you burn your cookies. But there's no integration with Netflix, Hulu et al.
However, the Hub is more than just a fancy smart screen. Three cameras inside let you see the contents of your fridge from the companion SmartThings app as well as through the device‚Äôs screen.
Using AI the cameras can also identify what's in your fridge and offer up suggestions for recipes you might want to try. The new SmartThings Cooking platform powered by Whisk can also create weekly meal plans, put together a shopping list for you, and even get your groceries delivered. If you don't fancy cooking, Grubhub is also built-in.
While Samsung's Bixby is an option (if you're mad), Amazon's Alexa voice assistant is also on board, turning your fridge into a giant Alexa smart speaker.
Here, you can have Alexa do everything from report on the weather and read your daily briefing to play your favorite music playlists and control your smart home devices just with a voice command.
This appliance really does fit the description of "all-singing, all-dancing", even if it doesn't actually throw down shapes in the middle of your kitchen.
The fridge can also double as a command center for your Samsung SmartThings devices. From here you can control your lights, cameras, thermostat, and more by swiping on the display panel to the Smart Home screen. But you do need a separate hub to do the actual connecting.
There is also a separate Ring app to access any cameras or video doorbells you have - so you can see who is at your door from your fridge. (There's a sentence we never thought we'd type).
Best smart blender
Buy now: Thermomix | ¬£1,099
This all-in-one workhorse fills multiple needs in the connected kitchen. At its heart, it's a blender, but the Thermomix TM6 is oh so much more.
Able to cook, chop, whisk, caramelize, brown, steam, saut√©, stir, blend, boil, knead, emulsify, grind, simmer, and grate, the Thermomix can also be a kettle, slow cooker, and sous-vide. Yes. Seriously.
Honestly, it's probably easier to say what it can't do - which is bake or grill. Meaning if you have an oven, a cooktop, and a Thermomix you're basically sorted.
The connected smarts come from its built-in touch screen, which hooks you up with Cookidoo, Thermomix's digital recipe portal, meal planner, and shopping list. It's especially handy for browsing recipes on the Cookidoo app on your phone and then sending them to the gadget when it's dinnertime.
Cookidoo costs $39 a year, but you don't have to subscribe to use the Thermomix - you can go with "classic cooking," which lets you use all the features of the gadget. There's a bit of a learning curve with this method though, as it cooks so much faster than you're used to.
We definitely recommend the guided cooking experience Cookidoo enables, it's hands down the best we've tried (and we've tried many). Basically, it sets the time, temperature, and speed so all you have to do is push a button. It's intuitive to use, easy to follow, and super flexible - so you can tweak a step if you want.
From a cooking standpoint, making meals in this thing is a dream. This is in large part due to its built-in scales and ability to chop. You don't have to measure anything, just pop the ingredients into the stainless steel jug and the Thermomix knows how much you've added, showing you on the screen.
You also don't need to get out a knife and chopping board as it can cut up everything using varying levels of speed for its razor-sharp blender blades. All this means there's practically nothing to clean up - literally every chef's dream. Plus, the Thermomix can even clean itself.
What makes this the ultimate smart kitchen gadget in our eyes is its speed. Because it can handle multiple tasks and do them in around half the time it would take you to, the Thermomix cuts down the time you spend cooking.
This makes it worth that high price tag for those with super-busy lives. Case in point - we were able to cook an entire chicken and rice dish for the family one evening in the Thermomix and it took just 20 minutes of prep time with zero clean up (you can put everything but the base right in the dishwasher).
Then, on a Sunday morning when we fancied some eggs benedict, we were able to whip up a hollandaise in 10 minutes without making a giant mess. All of which meant more time hanging out on the sofa - a smart move in our books.
Best smart instant pot
Instant Pot Smart WiFi 6 Quart
Buy now: Amazon | ¬£129.99
No smart kitchen tech round-up would be complete without Instant Pot. A mutli-tasking marvel the Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and yogurt maker in one.
The beauty of the Duo Evo Plus is its simplicity. There are 48 pre-sets on board, allowing for easy cooking and prepping for things like rice, slow cooking, soups sous vide, fermenting, and proofing. There are also eight one-touch buttons for the most popular functions, making it even easier.
The large LCD display provides everything you need to know about cooking time, temperature, pressure, and status, among others.
Wi-Fi onboard allows you to control the gadget with your voice using Alexa.
Best smart oven
Buy now: juneoven.com | from $599
Speaking of more ways to cook, the June Oven packs a convection oven, air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, broiler, toaster, and warming drawer all into one appliance. A smart countertop oven, June brings the convenience of connected cooking in a smaller, more easy-to-install package.
An Alexa skill lets you pre-heat your oven with your voice, or use the app and have it ready when you get home. Carbon fiber heating elements preheat three times faster than other ovens, and a built-in HD camera not only lets you keep a close eye on your food, but also uses AI to recognize over 50 common foods and suggest the correct automatic cook program for you.
A small, Android-based touchscreen gives you control of everything right on the device, and features pre-set cooking recipes for everything from cookies to steak, plus one-tap cook programs for over 200 types of food, guaranteed to help even the most useless of cooks prepare a decent meal.
Best smart faucet
U by Moen Smart Faucet
The most used, touched, and fingered fixture in your kitchen, the faucet is a workhorse. But with some built-in intelligence, it can go from functional to fantastic.
The U by Moen Smart Faucet is a touchless tap that lets you activate the water flow with a wave over the sensor. But the real smarts come when you connect it to the app and enable voice control through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Being able to yell "Alexa, ask Moen to turn on the faucet" as you approach with a big pot, or "Hey Google, ask Moen to dispense two teaspoons of 100-degree water" is quite the feeling of power. (Although it would be marginally better if we had native control and didn't need to add the word Moen in every time).
We also love the presets you can set in the U by Moen app. We set up one for oatmeal, one for coffee, and one for filling up our dog bowl.
Now with a few words to a voice assistant, we can get 48.5 ounces of the coldest water possible to fill up our coffee pot, or 2 cups of the hottest water to kick start our morning oatmeal, or a nice bowl of tepid water for our fussy pet.
The Moen app also shows you how much water your tap has used, and lets you program a timeout to shut the water off after a set amount of time.
Another excellent feature is the option to remotely set the tap to trickle water to prevent pipes from freezing. Handy if you're on holiday and get word a cold front is moving in back home.
Best smart sous vide
Anova Precision Cooker
Buy now: Amazon | ¬£159
If you haven't cooked with sous vide you haven't lived. This pro-chef technique uses precise temperature control to deliver consistent, restaurant-quality results when cooking fish, meat, eggs, veggies, basically anything you can bung in a bag.
The Anova Precision Cooker brings smarts to sous vide, which means ‚Äúunder vacuum‚ÄĚ in French and refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food in a bag, then cooking it to a very precise temperature in a water bath.
A Wi-Fi-connected sous vide immersion circulator for home cooks, the Precision Cooker replaces Anova‚Äôs previous versions and comes with more power, an IPX7 rating for water and steam resistance, and a more compact design.
Put the wand-like device in a pot of water and control the temperature, follow step-by-step directions for recipes right from your phone, to take the guesswork out of this unique cooking method. You can also control it remotely, set up your meal in the morning, and have it ready and waiting for you when you get home.
Best smart microwave
Buy now: Amazon | ¬£75.99
Amazon's stock export might be its speakers, but it's slowly but surely making its way into every aspect of the home and upping its connected smarts. And perhaps no example makes that clearer than the AmazonBasics Microwave.
Alexa isn't baked in here, but it can hook up to a compatible device in order to take your cooking commands. Think of this as the first of many appliances Amazon and its partners are ushering into the smart era.
Best smart oven hood
GE Kitchen Hub
Buy now: geappliances.com | From $1,199
Designed as a hub for your kitchen and your connected home, the GE Kitchen Hub is a 27-inch Android-powered touchscreen and ventilation system.
Alongside the giant screen, two cameras ‚Äď one for video chatting and another for viewing food on your cooktop ‚Äď help you bring your cooking into the modern age. Video chat with your mom while whipping up dinner, or share pictures of your food over social media.
The Hub also features voice-command capabilities via Google Assistant, as well as access to Android apps for recipes, music, movies, and social media. It's essentially a really big Android tablet in the middle of your kitchen ‚Äď but it's not taking up any counter space and its sucking up all the VOCs from your cooking exploits.
The Hub works with GE's U+ Connect platform to integrate with other Haier/GE appliances including washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, air conditioners, wall ovens, cooktops, microwaves, and ranges ‚Äď so you can control them all from the screen.
Best smart scale
Buy now: Amazon | $79.95
The Drop scale will have you baking like Mary Berry in no time. Simply select your chosen dish from a companion app's recipe book and these connected scales help you put together the exact ingredients to make your bake a great success.
The recipes are all one-bowl affairs, so less washing up after, and the app will even offer up alternatives ('smart substitutions') if you haven't got quite enough of one ingredient.
Best smart thermometer
Meater+ smart thermometer
Buy now: Amazon | From ¬£99
If you keep poisoning your dinner party guests with undercooked meat, you need Meater in your life. Touted as the first wireless smart meat thermometer, the startup is now back with its second-generation Meater+ ‚Äď much more than just a digital reader with Bluetooth.
Its big strength lies in the app that accompanies it. Simply insert the Meater+ probe into whatever you're cooking (pork, poultry, fish, or really any meat), leaving the ambient sensor an inch or so of room, and then select the meat type, cut, and desired finish in the app. The app will then tell you the target temperature, the current temperature, and the ambient temperature, giving you alerts on cooking times along the way (you leave Meater in while you cook).
Suitable for oven cooking, the BBQ, and more, the Meater probe actually charges within its own box through an AA battery. Its newer model also has a range of 50m from the phone (up from 10m in the first generation), using its case as a signal repeater.
The Meater Block is a handy accessory that stores and charges four probes, allowing you to monitor a quadruple of meaty treats at once. The Meater Block also includes a touch control screen, showing you stuff like remaining time, temperature, and so on, so you don't even need to bother with the app if you're feeling lazy.
Best smart coffee maker
Francis Francis E&C BT Bluetooth Illy Y5
Buy now: Amazon| ¬£175,
The Y5 capsule machine combines top-notch tech with an outstanding reputation for perfect brewing, all squeezed into a svelte and minimalist piece of kit. That‚Äôs something of a matter of pride for Francis Francis: making machines that bleed cool.
The Y5 has a modern vibe. It‚Äôs neat and sleek with a water tank that‚Äôs conveniently positioned at the front, along with a touch-sensitive interface that‚Äôs as responsive as it sounds and easy to understand. Both elevate the basic black plastic body, as do the strategic pops of chrome.
On the coffee front, as you‚Äôd expect from Italian brand Illy, whether you make an espresso-style or filter-style cup, both deliver high-quality, deep-flavored brews. The smart elements are from the My Illy Espresso app. Pair the app with the machine via Bluetooth and you can request a coffee whenever you feel like it.
The app lets you customize the ‚Äėlength‚Äô or water volume of either drink, so you can get the exact cup size each time (it comes programmed with a 55ml and a 240ml drink). You can also pre-program a time for the machine to switch on so that it‚Äôs ready to start brewing the minute you wake up ‚Äď and it's Amazon Dash Replenishment-enabled too.