Smart kitchen: How can you configure it?

Your kitchen is full of appliances, but they are something "dumb." Technology, like smart speakers, lights, ovens and faucets, can facilitate cooking, cleaning and buying food. Creating a smart kitchen is not difficult, and everyone in the home can benefit. That's how.

Why a smart kitchen?

Your kitchen is a room of productivity and disorder. There you cook your meals, clean the dishes and maybe even eat in this place. Each cabinet, utensil and tool contributes to your cooking experience, for better or worse. So adding intelligence to your cooking space can improve your recipes and speed up the work.

The kitchens can house some of the most useful smarthome technologies in your home. You can buy smart ovens that lower cooking times and suggest recipes that you may not have tried. Or a smart tap that you can turn on and off by voice, or ask that you pour a fixed amount of water. But not everything is big and flashy new appliances.

A smart screen like Nest Hub or Echo Show can convert measurements for you, set timers or show the next steps of a recipe you're working on. Smart lights are an economical way to improve the lighting in your kitchen.

For example, smart light switches can save you money by turning everything off at scheduled times. In addition, smart LED strips can illuminate dark spaces under a cabinet. Each kitchen is unique, but the advantage of creating your smart kitchen is to choose only the technology from which you benefit and omit everything else.

Start with a smart speaker or a screen

The smart ovens and faucets are impressive, but the first thing we recommend for each kitchen is also the cheapest one: a smart speaker like an Amazon Echo or Google Home. Or, better yet, a smart screen like Nest Hub or Echo Show.

Echo Dots and Google Home Minis can usually be found in the range of 30 to 50 USD. Depending on the sales and the functionality they provide, it goes well beyond the price.

Google's Nest Hub, formerly known as Google Home Hub and Amazon's Echo Show cost a little more, at USD 129.99 and USD 229.99 respectively. But they add much more than a basic smart speaker.

With a smart speaker, you can set several timers with your own name to track food cooking times. If your prescription requires a measurement that it does not have, you can request a conversion. You just have to talk to the device.

Smart speakers also serve as an intercom if you distribute them throughout your home, so you can easily announce when dinner is ready. Also, to keep you entertained, you can listen to music while cooking.

And they can speed up the shopping list. Instead of spending an hour or two once a week checking what supplies you have to determine what you need to buy, you can make a shopping list as you go.

Speakers are excellent devices for smart kitchens

Every time you use something, you can tell Google or Alexa to add "Tomato Sauce" or "Cumin" to the shopping list. You will still have to recheck things when it's time to buy food, but the work will be shorter.

A smart screen, like Amazon Show or Nest Hub, is even better. Smart screens have all the features listed above, but the added screen gives you visual components to your timers, conversions and can also guide you through recipes with visible steps.

Do you have a Nest Hub? You can send a YouTube video to play with your voice for quick cooking instructions. And if you have a video doorbell, one of the best smart devices you can have, it's a smart screen that will allow you to open the door without having to stop cooking.

Some companies are also starting to launch smart screens designed specifically for the kitchen. At CES 2019, KitchenAid announced the 200 USD smart screen.

It is effectively a splash-resistant Nest Hub and comes with exclusive cooking content. And the GE Kitchen Hub, although expensive at $ 1,200, is a large touch screen that hangs just above your kitchen.

Smart lights that complete the kitchen

Every room in the house can benefit from smart lights and the kitchen is no exception. But you don't need to go as far with smart lights as you would in other rooms.

While colored light bulbs are excellent for your living room and bedroom, they won't add as much to the kitchen. Instead, you can consider white smart bulbs or a smart switch.

If you have several accessories in your kitchen and all controlled by a single switch, the last route can be profitable since smart switches generally have prices in the range of 25 to 60 USD. Some smart bulbs cost a lot for themselves.

If you have countertop cabinets, like most kitchens, smart LED strips run along the bottom of them to achieve excellent night lighting when you want something less bright.

Philips Hue LED strips are expensive, at USD 80 for six and a half feet, but have the benefit of the Zigbee range and local control. But if you prefer to save money, you can always buy standard LEDs and convert them to Zigbee. You'll spend something closer to the 50 USD range and get 16 feet of LED.

Smart ovens do the hard work for you

If nobody taught you how to cook, you can find this task intimidating or stressful. Even if you know how to cook, you may not enjoy it or it may take a long time. Smart ovens are designed to help with all those scenarios.

Most smart ovens look like a large toaster oven and work with similar principles. They usually house a camera that points to the food you place there. Artificial intelligence examines food, recognizes the ingredients and then determines an optimal cooking temperature and time.

Some smart ovens have automated cooking programs; you choose the dish through an application, and it guides you through the steps and finishes cooking for you.

Best of all, with some smart ovens, you can walk away and monitor your food by transmitting the camera's power to your phone or tablet. If you are the type of person who can never remember how long it takes to boil an egg, you will appreciate the simplicity of putting an egg in the oven, choosing the boiled in an application and leaving.

What you might not like is the price, but that is also improving. June Ovens used to cost the staggering amount of 1,500 USD. But the latest model reduced the price to 600 USD. The Brava oven, however, starts at a thousand USD and increases according to the accessories you want.

Most smart ovens are countertop units, and they will not replace your full-size oven. But you may be surprised at the amount of food that fits in a countertop oven. For example, those of the June manufacturer who can cook a 12-pound turkey.

For your smart kitchen; the best smart tap without using your hands

An essential part of the kitchen is your sink. You will use it to fill measuring cups, pots and clean the dishes. Inevitably, when you are cooking, you will need water, but your hands are full or dirty. A non-contact tap is excellent for those occasions, just move your hands in front of the sensor and the water will open.

A voice-enabled tap takes that comfort one step further. With the integration of Google Assistant or Alexa, you can say things like: "dispense two cups of water" or "turn off." You can even set custom measures, so if you regularly fill a container up to a certain amount, you can facilitate the process with a dedicated command.

However, voice-enabled faucets have some drawbacks and the voice commands are not very intuitive. In addition, you will need a convenient plug under the sink, preferably one that is not controlled by a switch.

However, the biggest drawback is the price. The Delta VoiceID tap costs just under 550 USD. And Kohler's Sensate, which is not yet available, will probably have a similar price, since it already has contactless keys for $ 500 without Alexa integration.

Extras for your smart kitchen

If you keep small appliances or lamps in your kitchen, you can consider adding a smart plug to get some voice control. Simply connect the lamp or device to the smart plug, then connect it to the wall.

You will manage the rest of the configuration through an application. Smart plugs are reasonably economical. They range between 15 and 30 USD and are an easy way to give common objects some limited intelligence.

For recipes that originate outside the United States, an intelligent scale can be useful. Usually, they connect via Bluetooth and give you a reading on your mobile or tablet. Simply pour and see the results on your screen. With around USD 20, a smart scale is not a significant investment, but you can save time and effort.

If you hate mopping the kitchen floor, the iRobot Braava mop robot will relieve some of your frustration. Think of this as a wet Swiffer that pushes and moves for you. It is also one of the cheapest robots offered by iRobot, with only 170 USD, plus refill pads.

The only device we do not recommend for your kitchen is a smart refrigerator. Manufacturers have done a bad job of keeping the "smart" part of the refrigerator, and your appliance that should normally last 50 years can be vulnerable and outdated in just three to five years.

Try and take the technological leap in your kitchen!

That general reasoning should apply to any intelligence you add to your kitchen. You want to make sure that what you use adds enough convenience to justify any complications.

And that additional technology does not make a device less secure and more likely to fail. But with easier access to recipes, conversions and voice controls, you can enjoy cooking in your kitchen more than before.