How to Set Up a Smart Kitchen

Hi-tech modern black and white kitchen, sleek interior design, open hearth with open door
Serghei Starus / Shutterstock

Your kitchen is full of appliances, but they are stupid. Technology, such as smart speakers, lights, ovens and faucets, can make cooking, cleaning and shopping easier. Creating a smart kitchen is not difficult, and everyone at home can benefit from it. Here's how.

Why smart cooking?

Your kitchen is a piece of productivity and waste. You cook your meals, clean your dishes and maybe even eat in your kitchen. Every cabinet, every utensil and every tool contributes to your cooking experience, for better or for worse. And adding intelligence to your cooking space can improve your recipes and speed up the work.

Kitchens can accommodate some of the most useful technologies in your home. You can buy smart ovens that reduce cooking times and suggest recipes that you may not have tried or a smart tap that you can turn on and off using the voice or ask for pour a definite amount of water. But they are not all big flashy devices.

A smart screen, such as the Nest Hub or Echo Show, can convert your measurements, set timers, or view the next steps of a recipe you're working on. Smart lighting is an inexpensive way to improve the lighting in your kitchen. For example, smart light switches can save you money by turning off everything at the scheduled time, and smart LED strips can illuminate dark spaces under a cabinet.

Each kitchen is unique, but creating your smart kitchen has the advantage of choosing only the technology you benefit from and avoiding everything else.

Start with a speaker or a smart screen

An echo next to a teapot, a SimpliSafe and two chopping boards.
This echo really helped reduce the time needed to make a grocery list. Josh Hendrickson

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

Echo points and Google Home Minis is typically between $ 30 and $ 50, depending on sales, and the features they offer go well beyond cost. Google Nest Hub (formerly Google Home Hub) and Amazon software Echo show costs a little more expensive at $ 129.99 and $ 229.99, respectively, but add a lot compared to a basic smart speaker.

With a smart speaker, you can configure multiple named timers to keep track of your food cooking times. If your recipe requires a measurement that you do not have, you can ask for a conversion, such as "how many teaspoons in two tablespoons?" Or "how many cups per liter?" When you need to convert another measurement system.

The smart speakers also serve as an intercom if you distribute them throughout the house, so you can easily announce when dinner is ready. And to entertain you, you can listen to music while you cook.

And they can speed up the grocery list. Rather than spending an hour or two once a week reviewing the supplies to determine what you need to buy, you can create a grocery list as you go. Whenever you use something, you can tell Google or Alexa to add "ketchup" or "cumin" to the shopping list. You will still need to check twice when you will need to buy groceries, but the work will be shorter.

A smart display, like Amazon Show or Nest Hub, is even better. Smart screens have all the features listed above, but the added screen provides you with visual components for your timers, conversions and can also guide you through recipes with visible steps. Do you have a hub nest? You can call a YouTube video with your voice for quick cooking instructions. And if you have a video doorbell, one of the best compact gadgets you can own, a smart display will allow you to answer the door without having to stop cooking.

Some companies are also starting to publish smart screens specifically designed for the kitchen. At CES 2019, KitchenAid announced the payment of $ 200 Smart display. It's a splash-proof Nest Hub with exclusive cooking content. And from GE Kitchen Hub, although expensive at $ 1,200, is a huge touch screen that sits just above your stove.

RELATED: Why video doorbells are the best Smarthome gadget

Smart lights complete the kitchen

Three light switches, one with a blue light revealing that he is smart.
Sometimes it's easier to replace a single switch instead of a bunch of bulbs. Josh Hendrickson

All rooms in the house can benefit from intelligent lights and the kitchen is no different. But you do not have to go as far with smart lights as in other rooms.

Although colored bulbs are perfect for your living room and your bedroom, they will not add as much to the kitchen. Instead, you might consider either white smart bulbs or one smart switch. If you have several appliances in your kitchen, all controlled by a single switch, this last route can be profitable as smart switches usually between $ 25 and $ 60. Some smart light bulbs, like those of Philips Hueit's expensive by itself.

If you have cabinets above countertops, as in most kitchens, smart LED strips run down cabinets for excellent night lighting when you want something less bright. Philips hue LED strips are expensive, at $ 80 for 6 and a half feet, but they have the advantage of the Zigbee range and local control. But if you prefer to save money, you can still buy standard LEDs and convert them to Zigbee. You'll spend something closer to $ 50 and get 16 feet of LED.

Smart ovens do the hard work for you

Woman taking a turkey at the kitchen of a smart oven in June
June

If no one has taught you how to cook, the task can be daunting or stressful. And even if you know how to cook, you may not like it or find that it takes time. Smart ovens are designed to help you in all these scenarios.

Most smart ovens look like oversized toaster ovens and follow similar principles. Generally, they house a camera pointed at the food you put in the oven. The artificial intelligence examines the foods, recognizes the ingredients and then determines an optimal temperature and cooking time. Some smart ovens have automated cooking programs; you choose the dish via an application, which guides you step by step and finishes cooking for you.

Best of all, with some smart ovens, you can get away and keep an eye on your food by transmitting the flow of the camera to your phone or tablet. If you're the kind of person who never knows how long it takes to cook a boiled egg, you'll appreciate how easy it is to put an egg in your oven, choose a cooking in an application and get out of it.

What you may not appreciate is the price, but it will also improve. Ovens of June cost $ 1,500, but the latest model brought the price down to $ 600. the Four BravaHowever, starts at $ 1,000 and increases depending on the accessories you want. Most smart ovens are countertop units and will not replace your normal size oven. However, you may be surprised at the amount of food that a countertop oven, from June's manufacturer, provides for a 12-pound turkey, for example.

Beyond the strictly intelligent ovens, Amazon Basic microwave and some Instant Pots Come with Alexa skills to control or guide the recipe too.

Add a smart faucet for measured, hands-free water

A delta tap controlled by an Amazon Echo
Delta

Your sink is an essential part of the kitchen. You will use it to fill measuring cups, pots and to clean dishes. Inevitably, when cooking, you will need water, but your hands are full or dirty. A contactless faucet is great for these occasions, just wave your hands in front of the sensor, and the water turns on.

A voice-activated tap goes even further with this convenience. With Google Assistant or Alexa integration, you say "distribute two cups of water" or "turn off". You can even define custom measures. So, if you regularly fill a container to a certain amount, you can facilitate the process with a dedicated order. Imagine saying "fill the pitcher" every time you make Kool-Aid for your kids or iced tea for yourself. You can set the pitcher in the sink, use voice control and move away to work on something else without worrying about overflow.

However, voice-activated faucets have some disadvantages. Voice commands are not very intuitive. For Alexa, you said, "Tell Delta to dispense a cup of water." In addition, you'll need a convenient outlet under your sink, preferably not plugged in through a switch. The biggest disadvantage, however, is the price. The Delta VoiceID tap runs a little under $ 550. And Kohler's Sensate, which is not out yet, will probably be priced in a similar area, given contactless faucets for $ 500 already without Alexa integration.

Extras for your kitchen

IRobot Braava Cleaning Robot
I robot

If you keep small appliances or lamps in your kitchen, you may want to consider adding a smart plug to get voice control. Simply plug the lamp or the device into the smart socket and then plug it into the wall. You will manage the rest of the configuration via an application. Smart plugs are reasonably inexpensive, between $ 15 and $ 30, and are a simple way to give stupid objects a limited intelligence.

For recipes that come from outside the United States, a smart scale can be useful. They usually connect via Bluetooth and give you a reading on your phone or tablet. Just pour in and watch the results on your screen. At around $ 20, a smart scale is not a big investment, but can save you time and effort.

If you hate to mop the kitchen floor, iRobot software Braava cleaning robot will relieve some of your frustration. Think of it as a wet swiffer that grows and moves for you. It's also one of the cheapest robots offered by iRobot, just $ 170, plus charging blocks.

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

This 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 complication. And that the extra technology does not make a device less secure and more prone to failures. But with easier access to recipes, conversions and voice commands, you can enjoy cooking in your kitchen more than before.

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