Today, smart technology is integrating with every aspect of our lives — including cooking! Smart kitchens are the latest tech-savvy space in residential homes.
Smart appliances, lighting, and features add efficiency and style to your culinary adventures. And as a bonus, a smart kitchen can boost your home’s marketability when it’s time to sell.
For all the deets on smart kitchens, we spoke with top real estate agent Tobin Bossola, who completes more sales than the average Jacksonville agent by 16% and knows his way around the hottest kitchen trends.
Smart technology in the kitchen
Smart technology isn’t just clever; it stands for “self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology.” Smart kitchen features use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analysis to convey cognitive awareness to inanimate objects. These features connect to the Internet via the Internet of Things technology, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi by incorporating sensors, cameras, and microphones to collect information; some allow users to control the connected devices remotely via a mobile app or a voice-assisted service such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa.
Convenience and time savings have contributed to the growth of smart technology in the kitchen. Globally, the smart kitchen appliance market was estimated at $14.47 billion in 2019, about a billion more than the year before. With a predicted growth rate of 19.1%, it could reach $43 billion by 2027.
Disposable income and busy lifestyles along with interest in home renovations led to the U.S. making up more than half of the market share of smart kitchen appliances in North America in 2019.
How smart is your kitchen? If you’re looking for some intelligent upgrades, check out these product recommendations informed by customer reviews and insight from top agent Bossola.
Smart range hood
Kitchen range hoods are necessary for ventilation and removing odors and smoke. Smart range hoods connect to your smart devices so you can monitor what’s cooking in the kitchen while you are elsewhere. Some have voice activation for commands via a smart device. Others may feature microphones and speakers or allow connection of audio-visual media via an app so you can view step-by-step cooking instructions, have a video chat with a friend, or watch TV while you cook.
Heat sensors in the heat vent automatically turn on the fan. Additional sensors also turn on the hood fan if a prescribed level of impurities is detected, such as grease or steam. The fan automatically slows or shuts off as the impure air dissipates.
Some smart range hoods include a Perimeter Aspiration System to reduce the fan’s sound and energy consumption.
Save: GE 30 inch Smart Insert Range Hood with Light for $692
This stainless-steel range hood features an external or recirculating venting capability to remove smoke, grease, odor, and moisture. Additional features include:
- Dishwasher-safe filters
- Triple LED dimmable lighting
- Premium baffle stainless steel filters to remove odors and grease
- Wi-Fi Connect for use with a smart device or the sound of your voice
- Electronic backlit controls for an easy-to-use display
Splurge: GE 30 inch Smart Wall Mount Range Hood for $1,008
GE Profile products are known for their bold, dramatic look and state of the art features, including:
- LED-backlit glass touch control that’s easy to read and clean
- Perimeter venting that increases the capture area beyond the edges of the cooktop
- Triple LED dimmable lighting
- Duct cover extensions reach up to 10-foot ceilings and, with optional accessories, up to 14-foot ceilings
- Wi-Fi Connect for use with a smart device or the sound of your voice
- Hidden filter venting
- Chef Connect to automatically control the hood’s lights and fan by syncing with the range
- Four-speed fan control
Refrigerators have come a long way since the days of the icebox. Today’s smart refrigerators can display calendar entries and notes on the touchscreen, play music, and stream TV. Some models also keep track of expiration dates on your food (a safety feature as much as a financial assist), suggest recipes based on the food you have on hand, and even allow you to take and make phone calls.
More basic models do little more than send an alert if a door is ajar or let you use your phone to see what’s inside so cold air doesn’t escape while you’re deliberating. You can even remotely check what’s in your refrigerator while you’re doing your grocery shopping.
Save: Family Hub Side by Side Smart Refrigerator in Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel for $1,978
This relatively affordable refrigerator instantly upgrades your smart kitchen. Features include:
- Fingerprint-resistant finish
- In-door ice maker saves shelf space
- LED lighting
- Energy Star certified: eco-friendly and energy-efficient
- ADA-compliant with easy-to-reach controls for everyone
- Large capacity with gallon door bins
Splurge: Samsung 36-inch-wide 27.9-cubic-foot Energy Star Rated French 4-Door Refrigerator with SmartThings Features for $4,599
This smart Samsung refrigerator comes in stainless steel and black stainless steel finishes. Other features include:
- Family Hub can be synced to any family member’s calendar to provide expiration notifications and nutritional information
- Bixby voice allows for natural voice dictation to add items to your shopping lists
- Three internal cameras for checking contents from anywhere
- FlexZone drawer allows conversion from freezer to refrigerator with the touch of a button
Market size value for dishwashers globally in 2020 was $7.17 billion. If you’re already connected to the IoT, why not smarten up your kitchen with a smart dishwasher?
Some models can adjust to break down heavy food particles, detect leaks, and even remind you when the dish soap is running low.
Save: GE 24-inch Stainless Steel Portable Dishwasher 120-Volt for $683
This smart dishwasher is available in white, black, and stainless steel. Features include:
- 3-level wash
- Built-in hard food disposer for removal of solids
- Autosense Cycle uses a beam of light to measure soil levels and water temperature to adjust to the ideal cycle time
- Energy Star-qualified
- Quiet motor (54 decibels)
Splurge: Samsung Linear Wash 39-decibel Top Control 24-inch Built-In Dishwasher for $1,099
If you’re looking for a higher-end smart dishwasher, consider this sleek model from Samsung, which includes:
- Fingerprint-resistant Tuscan Stainless Steel
- Energy Star rated
- AutoRelease Door automatically opens at the end of a cycle to circulate air and improve drying
- Smartphone connection with Wi-Fi connectivity for remote monitoring and control
- Express 60 cycle for lighter loads
LED herb planters
What could be healthier and more flavorful — not to mention convenient — than raising your own herbs to add to your cooking? If your thumb isn’t a healthy shade of green, rely on smart tech to help you save some thyme.
Save: Smart Mini Indoor Herb Garden Kit, 2-in-1 Desktop Grow Lights for Indoor Plants for $42.99
This white mini herb garden is an affordable way to keep your herbs fresh. Check out the following product details:
- 360-degree adjustable arm for even lighting
- Perpendicular 180-degree rotary adapts to plants of different growing heights, up to 17 inches
- Auto-timed 16 hours lighting time + 8 hours sleep time every day
- Automatically turns on/off
- Compact garden size LED Grow Lights for indoor plants to grow an indoor herb garden without natural light
Splurge: Bounty Basic Smart Indoor Garden with LED lights for $199.99
The Bounty Basic Smart Indoor Garden has a streamlined design and many plant care options:
- Grow up to nine plants five times faster than soil
- 30W LED grow light for a full spectrum of light
- Accommodates plants up to 24 inches high
- High-resolution display with water and plant food reminders
- Vacation Mode with an automatic light timer and a larger water tank
The smart technology Bossola sees most often is the touchless faucet. Motion-activated, voice-activated, and one-touch smart faucets are a blessing to cooks and bakers who can turn on the water without getting ingredients all over the faucet.
Incorporating a sensor or Google Assistant, smart faucets recognize commands or movements. Voice-activated smart faucets can even adjust water temperature to a specified degree and fill a container.
Save: Delta Essa 9113T-DST Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet with On/Off Touch Activation and Magnetic Docking Spray Head for $296.53
This faucet’s sophisticated design combines with smart technology to simplify your kitchen’s look as well as your meal prep.
- Insulated pullout spray faucet head
- MagnaTite Docking keeps faucet head in place when not in use
- Spout swivels 360 degrees to allow for sink access
- High-arch gooseneck spout allows for unobstructed sink access
- Automatic water flow shut-off after four minutes if the water is left running
- Battery operated
- TempSense Technology LED light indicates water temperature
- Operates with Touch2O functionality and manually (with handle)
Splurge: U by Moen Nio 1.5 GPM Single Hole Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet with Voice Control for $700.39
Moen offers the only faucet commercially available with voice activation and hands-free activation no matter what position the handle is in.
- Precise temperature control
- Dispenses water at exact volume and temperature, from as little as 1 tablespoon to as much as 15 gallons, and up to 120 degrees
- Fully customizable presets for exact measurements and temperatures
- Personalized presets options in the app to facilitate quick delivery of common tasks, for example, “Alexa/Google, tell Moen to fill the baby bottle”
- App for custom settings and remote faucet control
- A wave sensor positioned at the front of the faucet starts and stops the water flow with a simple hand movement
- Works with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant smart speaker
- LED temperature indicator
Smartphone-activated coffee maker
Coffee makers have had timers for decades, but smart coffee makers do more than simply control the timing of your morning java via smartphone.
Smart coffee makers include options for multiple coffee recipes, such as hot chocolate and steamed milk. Some models even pre-mix the beans, preheat the cup, and foam the milk for you.
Save: Cuisinart Coffee Center Coffee Maker & Single-Serve Brewer for $199.99
Have a little or a lot: coffee for one with K-Cup compatibility in three sizes or serve a crowd with the 12-cup carafe.
- Brew an entire pot or a single serving
- Three single serving sizes: 6, 8, 10 ounces
- 12-cup glass carafe with stainless steel handle
- K-Cup compatible
- Removable 40-ounce reservoir
- Energy Save mode
- Removable drip tray for travel mugs
- Charcoal water filter
- Brew Strength Control, select “bold” for stronger coffee flavor
- Adjustable carafe temperature
- Brew Pause feature allows you to pour a cup before the brew cycle ends
Splurge: Keurig K-2500 Plumbed Commercial Coffee Maker for $449.99
Save time by plumbing this coffee maker directly to a water line, or choose the optional 110-ounce reservoir.
- Plumb directly to a water line or use the 110-ounce water reservoir
- Five cup sizes (4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 ounces)
- “Strong” button increases the coffee’s strength
Color adjustable LED track lights
Adjust the lighting in your kitchen even before you arrive home (or if you don’t want to get up off the sofa) with smart lights, using your smartphone and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or wireless radio. With today’s smart lighting options, you can do more than dim and turn on and off lights; you can change the color of the lights to suit your mood or set the mood.
Smart LED bulbs can be six times more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs and last for 25,000 hours or more. Some smart fixtures incorporate motion sensors, so lights in unoccupied rooms automatically turn off, saving additional energy.
Save: Globe Electric Wi-Fi Smart 4-Light Brushed Nickel Multicolor Changing RGB Tunable White LED Integrated Track Lighting Kit for $113.72
Check out the features of this voice-activated LED track lighting kit:
- Compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri
- No hub required
- Multicolor changing RGB feature adds ambiance
- Control your track light from anywhere or schedule on/off times
Splurge: LED Flight Track by Bruck Lighting for $1,121.25
Add drama to your smart kitchen with this fabulous matte chrome lighting fixture. For the splurge, you’ll benefit from several features, including:
- Join sections to create the length you desire
- Matte chrome
- Mounting options of semi-flush or suspended track
- Free-flowing design for custom curves
- Lightweight aluminum construction
Smart plugs and power strips
Energy-saving plugs and power strips allow remote control, monitoring, and management of devices. They’re the perfect bonus addition to smart kitchens and the rest of your home.
Save: WYZE Outdoor Smart Plug with Dual Outlets Energy Monitoring, IP64, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Black for $15.98
A weather-resistant outlet lets you control outside lights and other electrical devices with voice commands or app control for safety and energy efficiency. Additional features include:
- Long-range Wi-Fi extended range to 300 feet in open space
- IP64 Weather Resistant for safe use outdoors
- Two outlets in one with independent control of both outlets
- App and voice control are compatible with Alexa and Google
Splurge: Kasa Smart Plug Power Strip HS300, Surge Protector with 6 Individually Controlled Smart Outlets and 3 USB Ports for $53.99
Protect up to six devices from power surges and control them remotely via app or voice.
- Six smart outlets
- ETL-certified surge protection
- Energy monitoring of devices connected to the power strip
- No hub required
- Remote control and voice control with Alexa, Google Home, or Microsoft Cortana
The risk vs. reward of smart kitchen upgrades
With appropriate precautions in place, most smart devices are safe to use. However, anytime the internet is involved, security concerns can arise.
Data mining is a fact of online life — do you know how companies are using your information? Currently, California is the only state with a law protecting consumer rights relating to the access, deletion, and sharing of personal information collected by businesses.
Hackers are almost as unavoidable, but many IoT hacks can be prevented with stringent security protocols, including creating secure passwords (or using a password manager) and proper Wi-Fi management. Some manufacturers are tightening up security and diligence regarding operating system updates.
Many homeowners consider the rewards of convenience and savings worth the minimal risk of hackers and data mining.
A final note on selling a home with a smart kitchen
While smart kitchen appliances may sweeten the deal for buyers, sellers must disclose if the technology stays with the house or goes with the seller. Bossola recalls a sale that was almost killed because the seller damaged the home when removing smart technology that the buyer assumed was staying. “You’re better off leaving it,” he observes. “It’s inexpensive.”
Header Image Source: (Daniel Krason / Shutterstock)