Welcome to the Smart Products Review series, courtesy of Direct Energy. In this series, we’ll introduce you to the newest and best products in the connected home market, with a specific focus on introducing you to the right items to help you create your own smart home. While our recommendations aren’t specific endorsements of these products or companies, they do reflect what we feel are leading devices in the connected home space.
In the Kitchen
Let’s start with the most popular room in the entire house – the kitchen! From coffee machines and forks, to frying pans, fridges, and more, let’s start building your connected kitchen!
Smart Plugs (like the WeMo Insight Smart Plug) are the simplest devices you can use to get small kitchen appliances connected. With these plugs, you have the ability to control and monitor the plugged-in devices remotely and set up a schedule for how and when you use them. Some plugs also report the energy used by the plugged-in appliances, giving you more insight into your energy usage.
Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew connects to your home Wi-Fi and can be controlled with a mobile app. You can use the mobile app to turn on the machine from anywhere so you can enjoy hot coffee when you get home from work. You can also set up a schedule so you can have fresh pot of coffee ready by the time you wake up in the morning every day.
Smart Range and Oven
Appliances – like this Smart ThinQ range from LG – sit on the more expensive end of the dial in terms of a connected kitchen, but they will give you more control and peace of mind over your cooking processes. These can connect to your home Wi-Fi network and comes with a mobile app. With control of your appliances on your smartphone or tablet, you can check if you left the stove on after leaving home, and you can also pre-heat the oven before you get home to reduce cooking time.
Smart Refrigerators are also as expensive as the aforementioned range and oven, but they’re sure to drop in price as the technology driving the connected kitchen becomes more common and captures more people’s attention. Options like the SmartThinQ fridge from LG connect to your home Wi-Fi network and can send a range of alerts to your smartphone or tablet. For example:
- Get notifications if you left the refrigerator door open.
- Receive pictures of food (or the lack thereof) inside so you can make the necessary trips to the grocery store.
And a new fridge from Samsung allows you to connect your household communications on a 21.5-inch touchscreen that lets you monitor the home in one place (though it currently supports only SmartThings Hub and Sensors).
Similar to other large smart kitchen appliances, dishwashers like this device from Whirlpool also connect to your home Wi-Fi network and lets you control the dishwasher from a mobile app. It also lets you know what cycle the dishwasher is running.
Companies like Hapi have created forks to help you monitor your food consumption and eating habits. The forks measure the time it takes to eat your meal, how many servings of food are in a meal, and intervals between servings.
In the next installment of our Smart Products Review series, we’ll look at the bedroom!