If you’re planning a kitchen renovation in the near future, one upgrade you should consider is your appliances. Smart appliances aren’t just about watching TV on your fridge – it’s about saving time in a world that is getting busier every day. They’re also about helping everyone become better, healthier cooks.

So get your mobile phones ready for some new apps as we take a tour through some of the features and benefits of smart appliances that are available now, and some that are on the horizon for the kitchens of the future.

Heating It Up: Cooktops and Ovens That Tell You The Next Step

“I wish my stove came with a ‘Save As’ button like Word has. That way I could experiment with my cooking and not fear ruining my dinner.” ― Jarod Kintz

Smart cooktops and ovens will soon be able to learn your preferences, but there are already features that can make cooking more efficient.

Some manufacturers like GE, LG, Samsung, Dacor and many others already have ovens available that can be controlled remotely through a smart phone app – including voice commands in the case of LD’s ThinQ line. You can preheat and monitor your meal without having to be in the kitchen, and you can even get cleaning cycle and maintenance alerts. Dacor’s Discovery has a built-in meat thermometer for safer roasting. Some can even figure out what temperature is needed when you send them a recipe!

At the Consumer Electronics Show 2014, lines between counters and cooktops started to blur with Whirlpool’s smart magnetic induction countertop. It not only helps you cook, but allows you to browse online content like recipes and Pinterest boards while you wait for the water to boil.

For those who find smart ovens and cooktops a little too pricey, there are smaller appliances like slow cookers that can be controlled and monitored via smart phone app, like the WeMo.

Cooling it Down – Fridges That Know What You Want

“If it weren’t for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any exercise at all.” – Joey Adams

One of the great advantages of smart refrigerators is the ability to entertain you while you cook. But some of the advanced features on some of the latest fridges will take advantage of the fact that in many homes the fridge is the communications centre for our families.

Most smart fridges have an LCD screen on the front panel, but they’re not just about watching a movie while you chop ingredients anymore. You can keep track of product expiration dates, leave voice and handwritten messages for family members, and add to your grocery list as soon as you run out.

For people who need music to put them in a cooking mood, some fridges have Bluetooth speakers built right in – the Whirlpool CoolVox was one of the first but there are probably many more since it debuted earlier this year.

Wine Storage That Cares

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” ― W.C. Fields

For serious wine collectors, getting temperature-controlled storage is serious business. If wine collecting is close to your heart, new wine storage units include features like inventory tracking via bar-code scanning, customizable temperature and humidity settings, and alerts if anything changes.

For those who can’t spend the money on a fully smart technology-enabled wine fridge like GE’s Monogram, there are app-enabled sensors you can add to your existing fridge for only a couple of hundred dollars.

Better Gadgets Help More People Cook at Home

According to a survey on the recipe site Allrecipes.com, more cooks rely on online recipes than cookbooks – 68% of us worldwide. 48% of us use our mobiles while shopping for food. People are also cooking at home more than in past years, because they are trying to eat healthier and save money. It looks like mobile devices like tablets and smartphones are a big part of the new foodie revolution.

Some may argue that some of the new technologies available are just bells and whistles. For some that may be true, but others may need a little more help in the kitchen. Making things easier will help many people cook more at home and cook healthier meals. As someone who loves cooking and kitchens, if something turns kitchen time into quality time, then I’m all for it! Just don’t forget to do your homework and read the reviews for the appliances you’re interested in.

Wondering how to work new appliances into your next kitchen renovation? One of our kitchen designers will help you get the perfect kitchen for your lifestyle.

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