With so many of our daily chores taking place in the kitchen—not to mention its central role in entertaining—it's arguably the one room in the home that can stand to see more automation. To expedite the cooking, cleaning, organizing, and hosting that happens in the kitchen, just implement one of these smart gadgets that range from AI assistants to intelligent food scales.
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A smart Bluetooth speaker equipped with an AI assistant named Alexa, the Amazon Echo can play music, read top news stories, define terms, perform web queries, and more. Alexa has other tricks up her virtual sleeves, too; you can, for instance, ask her to order new items from Amazon as soon as you run out, set cooking timers, read recipes, and even look up ingredient swaps. When you have your hands full preparing food or putting items away in your pantry, Alexa is indispensable.
Pricing: Amazon Echo: $99.99 | Amazon Echo Dot: $49.99 | Amazon Echo Plus: $119.99 | Amazon Echo Spot: $129.99 | Amazon Echo Show: $229.99 | Amazon Echo Look: $199.99
Google’s answer to the Amazon Echo is Google Home. As you might expect, you can use voice commands to do Google searches, but Google Home can also set timers, offer recipe ideas, review calorie counts, build a shopping list, convert units of measurement, control other gadgets or appliances, suggest food and wine pairings, and much more.
Pricing: Google Home: $129 | Google Home Mini: $49 | Google Home Max: $399
Drop is a smart food scale designed to help you keep your portions in check and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It also has an excellent companion app that offers some of the best recipes around, walking you through the entire preparation, cooking, and plating process.
If grocery shopping is one of your dreaded errands, Hiku is the answer for you. The button-shaped device can scan barcodes and recognize voice commands in order to create a dynamic shopping list that the whole household can access through a companion mobile app. It can also connect to select online stores to do your ordering for you.
A smart thermometer that sends remote alerts to your iPhone or iPad via a mobile app, Range helps you monitor your food while you take care of other tasks. It takes a calibrated temperature reading of your food and uses USDA and gourmet-recommended presets to let you know when everything’s cooked to perfection.
Pricing: Ember Range: $59.95 | Aqua Range: $69.95 | Both models: $119.95
Smart plugs allow you to upgrade your home without buying all-new appliances. For example, instead of pairing a smart coffeemaker with your phone to turn it on and off, you can just connect your existing pot to a smart plug. Remotely control your lights and appliances with a system like the WeMo smart plug and switch series from Belkin.
Pricing: Dimmer: $79.99 | Mini Smart Plug: $34.99 | Insight Smart Plug: $49.99 | Light Switch: $49.99
The HAPIfork is a smart, Bluetooth-enabled piece of cutlery that monitors how quickly you eat your meals, the number of forkfuls making up each meal, and the interval between forkfuls—flashing or buzzing if you're in a rush. By slowing you down and making you more mindful of your eating habits, HAPIfork promotes better digestion and weight control. It builds a unique profile for you, which is accessible through the companion app or the online dashboard.
A kitchen no-brainer, the Crock-Pot makes it possible for you to arrive home to a freshly prepared meal. The WeMo-enabled version takes the convenience a step further by allowing you to remote control and maintain your slow-cooked dishes from an iOS or Android mobile device by adjusting temperatures or cooking times.