Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances

The top connected tech for your smart home kitchen

The best smart kitchen devices

The age of the smart kitchen is upon us and there are more connected devices available – and the list is growing.

AI is now capable of helping your appliances work smarter - but it's about more than that. The kitchen, for many, is where family and friends mix and mingle, so expect to see fridges and ovens double up as media and entertainment devices.

If you're not sure where to get started with upgrading your kitchen supplies, check out our pick of the best kitchen tech.


Smart kitchen ranges

Hoover AXI

Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances

If you’re tricking out your kitchen with smart appliances then Hoover’s AXI range has most of what you need. Hoover has emerged a leader in sales of smart appliances with 500,000 people registered to use its Hoover Wizard app.

Hoover has a connected oven in the form of the outrageous Hoover Vision – which has a full screen door with apps, recipes, cooking instructions and even streaming from an on-board cameras.

Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances

Our review found that while it's a great oven, and the on-screen features add so much to your cooking experience, the connected stuff is undermined by the need to have the oven in connected mode – which kind of ruins the convenience.

Essential reading: Hoover Vision oven review

The Hoover AXI Washing Machine, on the other hand, boasts washing settings accessible from the app and offers gives advice on stain removal. While the AI assistant needs a bit of work, you can select your washing cycles from your smartphone, and there's loads of information on how to get the most from each setting within the app.

However, it's the diagnostics that are really smart. The Hoover Wizard app will track when you need to descale or clean your filter, which should extend the life of your machine. There's Alexa control – although it's safe to say the skill is absolutely rubbish.

Essential reading: Hoover AXI washing machine review

And the Hoover AXI Dishwasher can adapt speeds for a better clean – both can be controlled via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

The company is still working on appliances with Direct Voice, its own smart assistant platform, which will be capable of doing more complex tasks via voice control - but for the basics Alexa and Google Assistant can work for you.

Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances

Samsung

Unsurprisingly, Samsung has been at the forefront of smart appliances, although it doesn’t have a coherent range of “smart” branded appliances.

Its huge Family Hub smart fridges are arguably market leaders in the space. The large screen hosts apps, which sync across smartphones, acting as a hub for notes, calendars, schedules. It turns the fridge into a central element of your home.

The Samsung connected range of appliances also extends across the Chef Collection, which builds AI into range cookers, extractor hoods and fridge freezers, enabling you to fine tune settings and have devices work in tandem. What’s more, Samsung QuickDrive washing machines enable you to monitor cycles from within a partner app.

Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances

Bosch Home Connect

Bosch’s Home Connect range unifies its devices with smart home control under one name – despite its appliances keeping control to a minimum. The Bosch Home Connect app offers basic status updates and control for the main, enabling you to control your devices remotely. The Home Connect range extends to ovens, washer/dryers, dishwashers and the company’s Benchmark fridge-freezers.

Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances

LG ThinQ

LG ThinQ is the name for the company’s AI technology, which unifies its growing range of smart appliances. Its SmartThinQ appliances include ovens, refrigerators, laundry, air purifiers and robot vacuums. You can find details on its LG InstaView ThinQ smart fridge further down.

LG SmartThinQ devices work with Alexa and Google Assistant, offer remote control and notifications of when your appliances have finished their cycles.

Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances

Whirlpool Smart Devices

When it comes to kitchen tech, Whirlpool has been working on an impressive array of appliances. It’s developed smart range ovens and wall ovens, with guided cooking, app control and voice control. Its washing machines offer laundry alerts, and microwaves can also be controlled via smartphone as well as scan-to-cook using a barcode reader.


Essential smart cooking accessories

Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances

Meater+ smart thermometer

Buy Now: Amazon / meater.com | $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+ - 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.


Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances

Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo

Buy Now: Amazon / crock-pot.com | $129.99

This smart Crock-Pot is WeMo-enabled, so you can adjust cooking settings from wherever you are. Using the free WeMo app (the same app that your WeMo smart bulbs and switches live in), you can check on the temperature, cook-time, change settings to warm or even turn off the device right from your smartphone.

It makes cooking with a crockpot more convenient than ever, especially if you're sitting in traffic on the way home.

Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances

AmazonBasics Microwave

Buy Now: Amazon | $59.99

Amazon's stock export might be its speakers, but its 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 upcoming 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 usher into the smart era - this one lands on 14 November.


Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances

Drop

Buy Now: Amazon / getdrop.com | $79.95

Drop scales will have you baking like Mary Berry in no time. You simply select your chosen dish from a companion app's recipe book and these connected scales will 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.

Connected cooking: The best smart kitchen devices and appliances

Francis Francis E&C BT Bluetooth Illy Y5

$299, Amazon | illy.com

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’s something of a matter of pride for Francis Francis: making machines that bleed cool.

The Y5 has a modern vibe. It’s neat and sleek with a water tank that’s conveniently positioned at the front, along with a touch-sensitive interface that’s as responsive as it sounds and easy to understand. Both elevate the basic black plastic body, as do the strategic pops of chrome.


Smart fridges

Samsung Family Hub 3.0

Buy Now: samsung.com | From $3,052

If you're looking for a Samsung smart fridge today, why not the wildly expensive range with Family Hub 3.0 built in - boasting a 21.5-inch screen and the ability to mirror a Samsung smart TV.

The Family Hub 3.0 series is essentially a giant tablet packed with apps. Whiteboard, StickiBoard and Shopping List all help you leave notes for yourself and your family, while others like Allrecipes and Club des Chefs offer recipes. Then there are entertainment apps, too, like TuneIn, Pandora and the screen-share for Samsung Smart TVs.

While you can tap to reveal the LG’s screen (detailed below), things on the Samsung are less whizzy. It has three cameras inside, viewable from the companion app and the device’s screen using the View Inside app.

The Family Hub 3.0 takes things to the next level in terms of smartness, though. It has Bixby – Samsung's smart voice assistant – built in, for entertainment, news briefings, note taking and the usual voice assistant features. Then there's Samsung SmartThings integration, which basically turns your fridge into a hub for the whole smart home. You can view home cameras, doorbells, turn lights on and off, all from the display.

LG InstaView ThinQ

$TBC, lg.com | Release date: TBC

While LG has been in the smart fridge game for a while, ThinQ adds AI to the mix, allowing it to talk to other LG ThinQ devices – informing the dishwasher that a big load is on the way, for example.

LG’s AI platform, the Instaview ThinQ, also has Alexa built in to read out recipes and enable you to add items to your shopping list as you run out of ingredients, as well as being a bit of an entertainment hub as well.

Back to the fridge – there’s a 29-inch screen on the front, running webOS. There are apps; some for making notes, leaving doodles for your family or inputting specifics on the contents of your fridge.

Two taps on the display will turn it transparent, so you can see inside, and check out how many beers you have left. This is definitely going to be your favourite feature. Inside is a panoramic camera as well, which you can view from your smartphone, so you can check the beer situation before you get home. It's due to hit shops later in 2018.

TAGGED   smart home

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