Ah, the smart kitchen. It’s a beautiful goal.
Coming home to a fully cooked, healthy meal sounds great. And cooking easily with at-your-fingertips recipes and perfectly measured ingredients seems ultra convenient, too.
Of course, getting started with kitchen automation can be daunting.
What works together, and what doesn’t? What smart appliances are worth the cost, and what automated kitchen equipment works best for you?
You might start with a few smart kitchen gadgets, or you might go all-out and reinvent your whole house as a smart home. Ultimately, rest assured that building your smart kitchen at your own pace (and budget) is best — less stress, more convenience.
To help you reach that beautiful goal, we’ll look at kitchen automation, how the basic tech works and what you might need most. You’ll feel more comfortable knowing where to begin — and probably start dreaming up your ideal smart kitchen design.
Interested in automating your entire home one room at a time? Check out our guide to room-by-room automation.
Kitchen Automation Ideas: Where to Start
Before you start crafting your smart kitchen, ponder a few questions about your home, current kitchen space and ongoing needs:
- What smart tech, including basics like Wi-Fi, does your home already have?
- Is your kitchen compact, midsize or large?
- What cost range are you most comfortable with?
- How much time do you spend in the kitchen (say, weekly on average)?
- Which kitchen appliances do you use most?
- What smart kitchen gadgets would make your life easier and more enjoyable?
We know these might seem like common-sense questions.
Regardless, prioritizing the process lends order to a potentially overwhelming task! When you pinpoint what you can work with at the moment, you can find automated kitchen equipment as your needs dictate.
For example, knowing what’ll physically fit in your kitchen space helps you narrow your options (unless you plan to expand).
If you live in a small apartment, then a smart pressure cooker, smart kitchen faucet and kitchen smart TV may do the trick. The cooker and faucet save you time and money, and a smart TV pulls double duty (entertainment and information).
As another example, let’s say you spend a ton of time cooking and want a totally outfitted smart kitchen. In that case, it’s wisest to go ahead and call an audiovisual (AV) installation company.
AV consultants will advise on the equipment you need, complete the installation and offer tech support. In short, they’ll save you hassle — you simply sit back as they make your kitchen automation ideas a reality.
Then again, you might have lots of space and a broad budget, but you still want to take it slow. In that scenario, you can select a handful of gadgets that save you time and space. Before you buy, do a bit of online digging (we like Wirecutter from The New York Times).
On that note, always cross-check prices and reviews for the smart systems and appliances you’ll purchase. When smart kitchen devices actually help people and have a good cost-to-value ratio, reviews give you the lowdown.
When you simply don’t have the time (or inclination), AV consultants will do the research.
What You’ll Need for Your Smart Kitchen
Whether you’re going all in or taking it piecemeal, you’ll definitely need solid networking.
Smart tech works via an internet connection, so make sure yours is fast and reliable. It’s how you’ll check stats, adjust settings, activate systems and do much, much more.
Next, we suggest having at least one smart speaker, like Amazon Echo, Google Assistant or Apple Siri. In terms of smart design, kitchen tech becomes ultra-easy with a voice assistant. The speaker communicates with other smart devices via Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, and you get touch-free control.
Finally, it’s sensible to have a smartphone with plenty of room for apps — smart kitchen devices usually have accompanying apps. (We’re sure you already have a smartphone, but still.)
Pro tip: A freestanding or wall-mounted connected touchscreen gives you greater control and an all-in-one view of what devices you’re using — and how much you’re using them. Alongside an AV installation company, you’ll also have a central control hub for your smart kitchen and whole home.
[Related: Why You Should Work With a Contractor and Architect Early on in Your AV Project]
Smart Kitchen Gadgets and Appliances
All right — so, you’ve thought through the essentials.
Taking kitchen automation step by step puts your mind at ease and avoids spaces packed with appliances you won’t use.
Now, let’s check out which smart kitchen devices you might want most. Remember to keep your space and budget in mind. That said, smart tech saves money in the long term via energy efficiency, so the up-front costs generally balance out over time.
And like all smart devices, you’ll see basic to high-end versions when you shop around.
Kitchen Automation: Appliances
We’ll start with the big items — appliances.
Smart refrigerators are becoming increasingly widespread. Major manufacturers offer dozens of models, so you’re likely to spot one that fits your home. You can even find smart mini fridges if you’re looking for tiny smart kitchen design (or a luxurious bathroom).
Plus, smart refrigerators come with a massive assortment of time- and cost-saving benefits. Most smart models let you view the inside of your fridge from your phone (say, to check whether the milk’s still good). Others may log expiration dates and automatically reorder foods before those dates roll around.
Full-sized smart ovens offer similar advantages. From preheating the oven remotely to viewing cooking food from your phone, you have standard to cutting-edge IoT features. As with other appliances, your list of options depends on the model you buy.
Now, smart countertop ovens are more popular than full-sized smart ovens, and that’s for sensible reasons. Compared to full-sized smart ovens, they’re smaller and more affordable — and many can do most of the same tasks. Some models can do the jobs of multiple smaller gadgets, from pressure cooking to air frying to convection.
While we’re on the subject, smart microwave ovens are getting sharper, sleeker and more attainable. Whether you’ve got plenty of room or are a bit short on space, they’re a great place to start with kitchen automation.
Actually, you can find smart versions of practically any appliance:
- Smart dishwashers can ration water, control its temperature, reduce waste and monitor for leaks.
- Smart vents and smart range hoods can instantly filter air and remove excess heat.
- Smart coffee makers can grind your favorite beans, then brew the grounds when you give your voice assistant the go-ahead.
We could certainly go on. Long story short: You’ll save time and energy by finding smart versions of the appliances you use most — and that fit your space.
Kitchen Automation: Gadgets
This could be quite the list.
Because IoT tech is compatible with so many devices, you can find smart versions of your most-used kitchen gadgets:
- Ice cream makers
- Spice containers and dispensers
- Cooking oil and vinegar dispensers
- Meat thermometers
- Mugs with warmers
- Garbage disposals and composters
And that’s the tip of the iceberg, so shop at your leisure!
Pro tip: Really think through what would simplify your daily life. For example, if you use a blender every morning for a post-workout smoothie, picking up one would be useful. If it has a calorie tracker (and some do), that’s even cooler.
But if you can’t remember where you’ve stashed your blender, opt for a more practical purchase. As always, read reviews — and speak with an AV consultant when needed.
[Related: 8 Restaurant Tech Trends on the Rise]
Smart Kitchen Design
Your smart kitchen doesn’t have to end with major appliances, but that’s a fine place to start.
Let’s bounce back to those questions you asked yourself.
Are you dealing with limited space? Smart kitchen design is easier than you might imagine. In fact, IoT tech lends itself easily to small spaces — and interior designers are more than happy to offer advice!
The same goes for an expansive kitchen, if you have one. You can go for any look, from minimalist to maximalist.
Take a look around — the hardware in your kitchen can seamlessly accommodate smart tech.
Smart Kitchen Design: Hardware
No matter your kitchen’s size, automated kitchen cabinets save you more money and space than you might think. Smart kitchen cabinets can open via wireless motion sensors, automatically rise and fall, weigh goods and more.
Some models offer wood, glass or metal fronts — or alternate their appearance. Other models also open for only certain fingerprints. (You know that one person who sneaks your best chocolates in the middle of the night.)
Similarly, a smart kitchen shelf can assess when you’re running low on foodstuffs and order more on schedule. When you’re ready to bake that birthday cake, you won’t throw up your hands because you’re out of baking powder.
And of course, there’s more.
Smart kitchen lights can illuminate cabinet interiors, pantries and any other dark spaces without flicking a switch. You control when they turn on and off via motion sensor, voice assistant or touchscreen. Most default to switch off as soon as the door shuts — and trim your utility bills as a result.
You can use single smart light bulbs, small smart kitchen lights that stick to doors and panels and/or full-home lighting control systems. It’s your preference! We think smart lighting doesn’t always get the credit it deserves for ideal ambience, not to mention cost savings.
For added convenience and eco-friendliness, snag a smart kitchen faucet. Most sell at very reasonable prices, and you don’t have to worry with grimy knobs and nozzles. A smart touchless kitchen faucet turns on with the wave of your hand via motion sensor IoT tech.
Add a smart garbage disposal-plus-composter to smart kitchen faucets, and voila — a smart kitchen sink. You turn scraps into fertilizer while saving resources and space. For greater savings, a palm-sized smart water valve can check for leaks, log water usage and monitor water quality.
Smart Kitchen Design: Extra Goodies
Why should your smart entertainment tech end at your home theater?
A smart TV for the kitchen doesn’t simply let you watch your favorite flicks as you mix and measure. It does that, too, but you can also find touch- and voice-controlled units that search for and display recipes.
Maybe that souffle doesn’t seem quite right — follow along with a professional chef on your kitchen smart TV.
And in a fully connected smart home, a smart TV kitchen system notes what ingredients you have and suggests five-star recipes that contain them.
Imagine asking your voice assistant what dishes go well with asparagus (you know it won’t be crisp much longer, per your smart fridge). Then, you receive a list of recipes with asparagus and ingredients you already have (thanks, smart kitchen shelf). After telling your smart oven to preheat, you assemble the dish and wash up without smudging knobs, doors or handles.
Of course, you switch back to your crime drama as soon as you’re ready … or watch it concurrently.
If you prefer to samba while you stir-fry, opt for multi-room music. You won’t miss a beat from the kitchen to the bedroom.
Pro tip: We know it can get steamy in the kitchen. With a smart climate control system, your home’s temperature — kitchen included — stays constant. And you control all your IoT systems from that central home hub.
[Related: Design Considerations for Incorporating AV Into Your Home]
Get Your Dream Smart Kitchen With AV Smart Solutions
It’s fun to dream, but it’s even better to get real-life kitchen automation. Nevertheless, the process of selecting, moving, installing and connecting your smart kitchen pieces takes a lot of labor.
With that in mind, we’d love to help you make your dream real — and stress-free.
At AV Smart Solutions, we’re experts in the home, restaurant, hospitality and office sectors.
Whether you start with smart gadgets, find a smart home package or want custom smart home systems, we’re prepared to put your ideas to work.
Plus, we partner with you to ensure you get the smart systems you want — and feel confident while using them. We’ll take care of installation, and your home’s décor remains as you left it.
Give us a call at (425) 655-5052, or fill out our inquiry form. One of our AV specialists will be in touch!
Featured image via Pexels