Technology continues to transform the heart of the home: the kitchen. Your basic kitchen appliances appeared in the American kitchen early on: range (oven and cooktop) and refrigerator. These have certainly evolved! Then along came automatic dishwashers and microwave ovens. A housewife of the 1950s would hardly recognize anything in today’s kitchen: drawers for refrigeration, microwaves and warming. Convection, induction and steam cooking. And each and every one is smarter and better connected than ever.
Smart Appliances & Digital Controls
Your phone can pre-heat the oven and your refrigerator can text you to let you know you’re low on milk. GE offers “Chef Connect” while the [email protected] app on your smartphone works wonders! Miele hoods can sense when the range is heating up and turn on automatically. With the swipe of your fingertip, you can control the temperature on your induction cooktop using the digital controls. If you love tech, there are several choices on the market and more coming.
The stand-alone cooktop and separate wall oven changed everything for the American kitchen. Most cooktops were electric coils and then electric elements covered with a glass-ceramic material were designed for a sleeker look. Now there are gas cooktops or dual-fuel cooktops combining induction with electric or gas with induction. There are many options available. But the whiz kid here is definitely induction.
Induction has grown in popularity because it is cool to the touch, easy to clean and energy efficient. A pot or pan is heated by magnetic induction, instead of by radiation or thermal conduction from an electrical heating element, or from a flame. You might need new cookware, however, as induction requires stainless steel or “ferrous” metal like cast iron. Just about every brand has a at least one or more induction cooktop models.
Steve Sheinkopf, at Yale appliance, explains that, in this day and age, “faster” is better: “Induction solves the waiting problem. Most induction products boast that water will boil in 90 seconds. Induction is faster than the hottest professional gas stove.” Read more about induction appliances here.
Specialty Accessories & Small Appliances
In this category we include warming drawers, microwave drawers, built-in cappuccino/coffee machines, and appliances that live on your counters or in an appliance garage. What we really love, however, are the new high-tech accessories that go with your other appliances. Three caught our attention:
- Opal – the chewable ice maker that everyone is talking about.
- Anova – Sous Vide is all the rage with chefs and now you can make your own sous vide creations at home with a small accessory/appliance that works on your cooktop with any pot. Use a vacuum sealed bag or a glass jar and go for it!
- PicoBrew – Counter Top Beer Brewing. Make your own. Cheers!
The icebox became the refrigerator with a small freezer compartment on the top and a larger space for the rest. Then came side-by-side models, and bottom freezer drawers. Separate beverage drawers and wine coolers are popular, too. Now there are refrigerators with very specific sections and uses. For example, the Samsung 4-Door Flex has Flex Zone – a customizable compartment that can switch from a refrigerator or freezer with the touch of a button.
Many of the homeowners we’re working with today are choosing one or, often, more of these amazing new products for their remodeled kitchens. These high-tech appliances go hand in hand with the new design trends in kitchen products that we wrote about previously. Available space and budget are the only things between homeowners these days and a technologically advanced kitchen.