How to make an Epic Smart Kitchen
What is a smart kitchen?
Your kitchen is becoming ‘smarter’ thanks to high-tech appliances from Samsung, Miele, and LG Electronics. The Smart Kitchen is likely to be the biggest part of your home in the future, a lot of
Smart refrigerators like LG’s allows you to scan your receipt after grocery shopping so that it can keep an inventory of your items, alerting you if an item is about to expire.
Smart Kitchen devices fall into two categories, Smart Devices, and Smart Home appliances.
So, a Smart Device which fits into a Smart Kitchen would be the Amazon Echo Show (Check out my blog post on the Echo Show 5 announcement) or Echo Spot, whereas a Smart Home appliance is anything which you would commonly have in a Kitchen like a Cooker or a fridge.
In terms of an all in one package, there’s not really anything out there at the time of me writing this, I personally only have a few bits and pieces.
Samsung does appear to be the leaders for an all in one system however with their “Family Hub” which is an American Style Fridge Freezer with Touchscreen, stock inventory, and internal cameras!
They have a Vapour Oven that you can control with your phone and always sends you notifications for when you’re cooking and tells you some Michelin-rated recipes.
To match, you have the option of the Hob and Hood with Smart Phone connectivity, again like the cooker it does all the work for you essentially, so you can keep on watching the latest season of your favorite Netflix show.
What are smart home appliances?
Since the dawn of time, man has wanted to create the best tools it can to make a job easier, we’ve come a long way, from sticks and stones to electricity and cars.
Smart Home Appliances take it to the next level, you’ll have the ability to turn on your cooker or the coffee machine from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection!
- Voice Controlled Kitchen appliances
- Smart Fridges
- Smart Microwave
- Smart Kitchen Thermometer
- Coffee Maker
- Smart Kitchen Scales
- Smart Dishwasher
- WiFI controlled Crock Pots
- GeniCan Scanner (Order stuff you throw automatically)
- Smart Drink Mixer for bartenders
- The June Oven (An all in one oven, air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, boiler, toaster and warming drawer which can be controlled via your phone)
What are Smart Ovens?
A smart oven is an electric kitchen range which utilises Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to connect to your home hub or companion app via your phone, this will allow you to control the appliance remotely or via functions, schedules, and routines. You’ll be able to adjust the cooking temperature without leaving your seat or even set a planned cooking schedule so it fluctuates based on your plans!
Your Smart oven and/or ranges may include some or all of these features:
- Wi-Fi connectivity to control some features from your smartphone or even with your voice using Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, or Samsung’s Bixby.
- Set oven to preheat, adjust cooking temperature, and turn the oven off from anywhere using your smartphone.
- Expanded oven cycle settings include bake, broil, warming, convection bake/roast, and proof to help yeast-based baked goods rise before baking.
- Multiple types of heating and cooking technology help foods cook more evenly and faster, including convection, infrared heating elements, and adding or relocating traditional heating elements for more precise cooking.
- Many smart oven range models offer two separate oven spaces that allow you to cook different foods at different temperatures at the same time.
- Connect to apps such as Yummly that provide recipe steps and can automatically preheat the oven to the correct temperature setting, cook food for the proper amount of time, and then turn itself off based on recipe instructions.
- Several smart range models offer a dual fuel option where the stove or cooktop is powered by gas and the oven uses electricity for the best of both worlds cooking experience
- Receive alerts when the oven is properly preheated, when the timer expires, or if there is a problem with the appliance.
- New grime-resistant coatings inside ovens and faster than ever self-cleaning cycles make cleaning your oven less of a chore.
Ovens that work with Alexa
As of right now, there’s not a whole lot that works natively with Alexa, it’s a huge investment, ranging from $1000 – $3500 in most cases, from the research I’ve found, LG is top of the market for this at the moment.
They offer all in one, Oven and Built-in Microwave systems which work with your Smart Assistant Alexa, it seems pretty cool, if you’re in the USA, you’ll find that Home Depot should have you covered.
If you’re in the UK you’ll either be importing or if you can hold out, later down in this post I will break down the Sage BOX820BSS Smart Oven. 🙂
Can Alexa Turn on my oven?
Yes! If you have a Smart Oven, if you have a ‘dumb’ oven, not so much. In theory, it’s totally possible. You would need to make some tweaks to the power for the Oven and use an Arduino to control the temperature changes, this would vary from oven to oven though so you’ll need to research this!
What are Smart Microwaves?
A smart microwave is like your standard microwave, except it connects over your Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connection, all controllable by your Smartphone, tablet and voice assistant.
One of the coolest features about most of these Microwaves is that they have a feature that allows you to scan product barcodes which will automatically input to cook time of your meals.
If you really want to geek out, you’ll find a lot of these Microwaves have moisture sensors which help you make sure your microwaveable food isn’t dried out when cooked.
Here are some of the perks of a Smart Microwave:
- LED touchscreen interfaces, which may not seem like much, but it’s 2019, embrace the technology our phones have had for years! This is great for users who need to increase the size of the display and whatnot.
- Wi-Fi Connectivity which allows you to control it anywhere whilst on your network
- You can control the smart microwave via your voice control such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
What are Smart Fridges?
Smart Refrigerators are pretty cool, I mentioned prior that the Samsung range has a feature which allows you to check stock, use cameras to see inside and scan products as you use them.
But a Smart Fridge is great for a lot of reasons, the Wi-Fi capability means you can access it when you’re out shopping and find what exactly is missing.
Some smart fridges allow you to change the cooling internally, so more product in the fridge turns into a lower temperature, probably one of the features I like most!
Some of the higher range Smart Fridges actually allow you to connect to other smart devices like Speakers, Smart Tvs and Smart Microwaves to share stock information, alert you on your produce and give you information.
Here are some of the features you can see in a Smart Fridge:
- Look up recipes based on your food inventory.
- Create a grocery list which syncs with your SmartPhone.
- Set Expiration dates for your food, so that you’re told before and when it goes out of date.
- Have individual profiles for each person stocking their own food.
- Transparent doors are often seen which allows you to look in without opening the door.
- Turn on the ice maker from your smartphone.
- Get alerted for when your fridge needs maintenance like water filters changing.
- Watch TV in the glass display!
- Use a whiteboard tool to leave messages on the fridge.
Other cool features of Smart Refridgerators
Depending on the model of Smart Refridgerator you get, you may find that it provides both hot and cold water, I’ve personally not experienced it so I can’t tell you how good it is, but from my research it appears you can select a temperature and the amount of water specifically you wish to be heated.
This is great for having a nice brew in the morning which isn’t too hot! Some of these fridges come with Keurig Coffee maker, which does mean you get into the Keurig coffee pod system. But this saves your counter-top space and makes your morning routine so much simpler.
Issues with Smart Fridges
Smart fridges aren’t pretty expensive, admittedly they’re a lot cheaper than before but that still doesn’t mean they aren’t expensive. There’s a lot of specifics with a fridge, how many drawers, what types of the door it has, the type of interface all of which will increase or decrease your fridge price.
What are Smart Coffee Makers?
There’s nothing better than having a morning routine pretty much bang on. Imagine having your coffee read exactly as you want it at the right temperature and coffee level for when you’re out of bed. Honestly, it’s great, a Smart Coffee maker makes this to happen.
Can Alexa turn on my coffee maker?
Yes, it is totally possible, dumb and smart coffee makers can both turn on via Smart Devices, this could be a Smart Coffee Machine directly or via a Smart Plug.
It’s worth noting, that the results vary with each Coffee Maker, some work better than others. Coffee Makers won’t replace the filters, fill the beans and water tank.
Smart Coffee Makers are great, but the novelty does wear off, as I mentioned preparation is frustrating, I check every other night so as long as it becomes part of your routine it’s fine.
Complaining about it is fairly redundant though as you’ll still have it ready and it does cut your morning wait!
Coffee makers that works with Alexa
I’m a massive coffee fan, I flew to Italy to try the coffee, I’ve ordered a ton of Death Wish Coffee (Great for staying awake), so other than pointlessly running around the local tech shops and playing around with coffee machines, I have tested my own over the last two years.
In the UK, finding a Smart Coffee Machine is a pain at the time of writing this, I’m not sure why, but it’s just difficult to find them!
How to turn your coffee maker into a smart coffee maker
My first suggestion, if you’re on a budget is to use a Smart Plug, this will allow you to turn on the coffee machine which you can do 5 minutes before a scheduled routine to then make the coffee.
The best 2019 Smart Coffee Makers
This is a list of my best suggested Coffee Makers, take this as my own personal list and not something I can say is official by any means.
Keurig K-Elite K-Cup Pod Maker
- Variable Cup Size Options
- Super quick boil time
- Energy Saving
- Brew multiple cup sizes
- Fall into the Keurig ecosystem, you’ll need to keep buying their pods
- There is no mobile app
- A little expensive for basic features
Behmor Temperature Control Coffee Maker
- Customisable, temperature control coffee
- Brewing profiles (Great for families)
- Holds 8 5oz cups per brew cycle
- Difficult to learn and not the easiest UI to use.
- Defective units have been sent out in the past, bit of a gamble when purchasing!
DIY Smart Coffee Maker
Get any coffee machine you want and make it semi-smart cheap and easy! And by semi-smart, I mean that it simply turns on at the right time allowing your coffee to brew when the signal is sent.
The downside is that you can’t customise these options, saying that, this is my most suggested choice, I will have a blog post in the future about making your own programmable Smart Coffee Maker soon!
- Really simple coffee maker, just works.
- The brewing cycle keeps it hot and ready between a specific time period.
- Overflow prevention
- A few cases of dying after 2 years.
- This particular model doesn’t automatically shut off