There’s more to a smart home than just thermostats and speakers, if you’re ready to make the plunge. From smart ovens and refrigerators to double-duty washer and dryers, the world of smart appliances is only growing to make everyday life as easy as possible. And that doesn’t just mean a notification when the laundry load is done. These connected devices all have something fresh to offer, from cooking your steak to the perfect setting to a dishwasher that orders its own detergent. Check out our favorite smart appliances to upgrade your home like never before.
The June Oven ($1,495) is gorgeous, yet friendly—like EVA from the movie Wall-E—down to its sweetly optimistic, globally pronounceable name. The pleasure of using it comes as much from the physical device as from the digital wizardry. The interior camera can identify what you’re making and suggest how to cook it, while carbon fiber heating elements make preheating a thing of the past. Instead of researching how long is the best amount of time to cook a roast and hoping that it works out, the June Oven lets you enter the ingredient how done you want it to be (e.g., rare vs. well) and monitors it throughout the cooking cycle to adjust length and temperature for the perfect cook. The June’s physical features are simple, but vast: the team has added an internal thermometer and a scale to the top of the oven, making every inch useful. The exterior never gets hot to the touch even when the oven is cooking—it’s just warm, like a human cheek.
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator (from $5,599) is its brain. On the fridge’s exterior is a giant touchscreen that acts as a digital whiteboard to keep calendars, leave notes, and upload photos, all from a smartphone. Inside the fridge, is a camera that captures a picture every time the door closes so that when you’re at the grocery store and open a corresponding app you’ll see exactly what’s in there and, more importantly, which items you need to pick up.
LG brings Alexa to your fridge, along with a huge range of additional skills, with the ‘Smart InstaView’ Refrigerator (from $4,199). With an LCD display on the door, you can see the weather, project a recipe, or knock twice on the screen for it to turn clear, allowing you to peek into the fridge without opening the door. Internal cameras let the fridge check if you’re running low on something, and you can ask the integrated Alexa to order groceries or track your shopping list.
At the end of the night, nothing’s worse than packing the dishwasher tight with dishes to discover you’re out of detergent. GE’s WiFi Connect Dishwasher (from $1,499) aims to take that worry off your mind by integrating Amazon Dash. Based off the cycles run, the dishwasher can determine when you’re down to ten or less detergent pods and automatically orders more. The dishwasher also connects with the GE Kitchen app, making it easy to check the dishwasher’s cycle status, lock it from children’s hands during the cycle, and see if rinse agents are running low.
The laundry room is a frequent stop after a number of activities, from cooking to the kids’ soccer game. By adding the SideKick to any of LG’s front-loading washers (together from $1,700), it’s easy to quickly wash that favorite jersey or tea towels in a pinch. The SideKick allows you to run a smaller load on the bottom of the washer, while running a regular-sized load up top. No need to stop the machine, or wait for enough laundry for a full load, to get items ready for action.
Here to save us from our most loathsome weekend chore is the Marathon Laundry Machine ($1,200), a washer and dryer in one. Founded by an Apple alum, this washer-dryer replaces manual buttons with a simplified touchscreen interface that focuses on what really matters for each wash load, the water temperature and cycle length.
Samsung’s latest laundry tech, announced at CES 2017, combines two washers and two dryers into one machine (price and availability TBD). You can use the front-loader to wash bigger loads, and the top-loader to wash smaller loads separately and on a different setting. With the FlexDry, you can dry larger loads, while drying delicates on the Delicate Rack zone on the top, which has a heated airflow. Plus, you can control the whole system with a smartphone, using the Samsung Smart Home app.
Looking for your Samsung fridge to notify you if the door is left open, or for your GE dishwasher to blink your smart lights when the cycle ends? All of these features and more are possible through the IFTTT platform, a free app that’s integrated with numerous devices to connect your appliances to both your phone and other smart home technology. IFTTT, an acronym for “If This Then That,” gives you the power to set up reactions to household events—for example, if your GE dishwasher senses low-rinse solution, then it can text you. Or, if you’re trying to track how many loads you’re running a week, have your LG dryer mark your calendar when it finishes a cycle. The platform adds a range of possibilities to your appliances to make the most of their intelligence.