The truly smart kitchen, that Jetsons-esque dream space where robots whirr and Michelin-starred meals appear with the push of a button, is, sadly, still some decades away. But kitchen appliances, after years of being teased as brainy, are finally intelligent additions that make everything from coffee making to slow cooking a bit better.
Now, the kitchen is a place full of hyper-specific tools that don’t need to exist (looking at you, avocado slicer and cherry pitter). These new appliances are not that. Thanks to app-controlled interfaces and more fine-tuned tech, they make it easier to perform daily kitchen tasks and even help your family eat healthier. They’re not just smart — they’re intelligent. Here are our favorites.
Breville Precision Brewer Thermal
The coffee pot was the first thing we ditched when we got into craft coffee. The Precision Brewer Thermal made us reconsider. It has six automated modes to brew up to 60 ounces in its insulated pot (including a cold brew setting which steeps grounds up to 24 hours), as well as manual mode, which allows for custom brewing temperature, bloom time, and flow rate. For those who still love their pour-over when time allows, there’s an adapter kit ($35). It’s brilliant.
Crock-Pot WeMo Smart WiFi-Enabled Slow Cooker
A crockpot is already a low maintenance appliance. But with a wireless WeMo controller built in, Crockpot’s Smart wifi-enabled Slow Cooker can be activated and adjusted from wherever you have cell service. Use the app to toggle between the three temp settings when soccer practice is going late, or turn it off when a quick errand turns into dinner out. Bottom line: It provides complete access to your slow cooker so you can adjust with every change of plans.
Sous vide cooking is nearly idiot-proof, making perfect meats via precisely controlled hot-water temps that intrinsically protect from overcooking. But like everything else in the kitchen, you’re only as precise as your instrument, which is why we love the Joule. The immersion circulator has a margin of error of .2 degrees. Via its smartphone app, you simply select your meat and desired rareness, affix the magnetic base to the bottom of your pan, drop the bag in, and wait for the perfect meal. If your hands are a mess, the app responds to voice commands.
With counter space limited, any appliance you bring into the house has to punch above its weight. Enter the seven-in-one June Oven, which has the functions of a convection oven, air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, broiler, toaster, and warming drawer. Recognizing more than 65 types of food, it will automatically cook them to perfection, utilizing an included internal thermometer. It also includes more than 100 programmed options for everything from steak to asparagus. With wifi connectability, you can view a live stream of your food, receive notifications when it’s done, and even start cooking remotely.
When there’s one egg left in the house or a handful of flour, we normally would be faced with either a trip to the supermarket or starvation. The Drop Scale provides a third option of making something with what we’ve got. Utilizing a weight-based system, it scales the ingredients you have on hand and adapts them to its accompanying app’s treasure trove of recipes. If you’re completely out of something, it provides substitution options.
With the performance of your favorite cookwear and the brains of your iPhone, SmartyPans is a smart way to keep track of what you’re putting into your family’s stomachs. Each ingredient, selected in advance, is recorded by weight as it goes into the pan, allowing you to calculate exact nutrition information after the fact. That info can even be synced with fitness trackers for a clear picture of how long you’ll be on that rowing machine tomorrow.
PUR Bluetooth Ultimate Faucet Filtration System
The Flint water crisis had the country talking about what comes out of our faucets, which is why we insist on some filtration between us and the water treatment plant. From the ease of installation, the removal of 99 percent of lead, and app updates as to our filter’s health, PUR makes it easy to stay aware of what we’re drinking. Bonus: It also improves the quality of our coffee and helps reduce our use of disposable plastic bottles.
Saeco GranBaristo Avanti Espresso Machine
From whole beans to hot beverage, the GranBaristo Avanti is luxury on a countertop. Insert components of coffee and milk, and, with the push of a button, espresso drinks including cappuccinos, macchiatos, and a dozen more are quickly dispensed. Many of its middle steps, including brew pressure, grind diameter, and aroma are customizable, as well as storable, thanks to a maximum of six programmable user settings. With its chrome and matte black finish, it’s a beautiful addition once you get over the price. But hey, think about how much you spend on cappuccinos during the year.