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Not Your Grandmother’s Kitchen

Smart appliances save energy for the smart chef

Nov./Dec. 2022

Smart microwaves include scanning technology to send product-specific cooking instructions to the appliance from a smart device. PHOTO COURTESY GE

by Katherine Loving, Contributing Columnist

Whether you’re a master chef or a culinary novice, smart appliances add convenience to any kitchen. Smart kitchen appliances can guide you step-by-step or even guide the cooking themselves.

Smart appliances typically rely only on Wi-Fi, paired with a custom smartphone application, while others can work with common smart home systems like Google Home or Amazon Alexa. For smart kitchen appliances, routines could include preheating an oven or turning on a coffee maker. Let’s take a look at a few smart appliances for the home chef.


Induction cooking works by delivering energy directly to specially designed cookware, using a magnetic field. Induction cooktops are 32% more efficient than gas cooktops and about 75% more efficient than electric cooktops.

Like other smart cooktops, smart induction models recognize when a pan is placed on an element and automatically turn off when a pan is removed. Brands like Samsung and Bosch offer additional smart functions such as synchronization with a brand-matched smart ventilation hood that adapts to cooking intensity on the fly.

Smart ranges often feature a barcode scanning system that allows you to scan store-bought foods, prompting the oven to start based on the instructions.

Smart ranges can be controlled remotely to preheat, change and monitor temperatures through the companion app or an integrated home system. A few brands offer a Wi-Fi connected cooking thermometer to allow remote monitoring, leaving the home chef free to do other things while an app keeps an eye on cooking progress.

Smart coffee makers can connect to smart home assistants.


Manufacturers are adding smart functionality to their countertop cooking options as well. The June oven includes an in-oven camera that allows progress to be tracked from its app. The app also provides progress monitoring with push notifications to your phone when cooking is complete.

Tovala also offers a smaller, countertop oven for ready-to-cook meals. These ovens use barcode scanning technology for both Tovala meals and those from the grocery store. The Tovala app also uses push notifications to track progress.

Like Tovala, the Breville smart oven offers guided recipes and an app that directs cooking temperature and function, such as air fry or bake, as the recipe advances. The Breville smart oven also uses its on-board chip to monitor and stabilize temperature from all sides for more efficient cooking.


Other common kitchen appliances and small devices are getting smart, too.However, these devices feature a smaller set of functions.

Induction cooktops transfer heat directly to specially-made cookware.

Microwaves from manufactures like LG,Whirlpool, GE, Sharp and Toshiba include the barcode scanning function to allow product-specific cooking instructions to be sent to the appliance.

Smart kitchen scales, air fryers and pasta makers are also all available to connect to your phone for guided measuring and cooking.

If you’re looking for a smart kitchen gadget that won’t break the bank, try a smart meat thermometer. These handy little devices work with an app to specify optimal cook time and temperature, and they notify the chef when the meat is ready.

As our appliances and kitchen gadgets get smarter, home chefs will have more options for convenience and functionality. Bon appétit!

Katherine Loving writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.