New kitchen technology: sleek, smart appliances
There’s an amazing technological revolution going on with cars, mobile devices, phones and the Internet. The same is happening in the home, especially with new kitchen technology. Soon we’ll explore homes with whole-house controls, referred to as “smart homes.”
Here we’re spotlighting the revolution in new kitchen technology in the room that is often the hub of family activity.
Innovations are coming fast from industry, including induction, convection, energy efficiency, touch screens, smart appliances, and new refrigeration options. Here we’ll give you links to great information, for example to articles like “2012 Appliance Trends: seriously sleek and smart kitchen designs are on their way.”
FYI, recent Master Remodeler’s kitchen remodeling clients are using induction cook tops… convection microwaves… touch on/off faucets by Moen and Brizo… sophisticated video and audio systems… sophisticated lighting control systems with LEDs… USB ports built into electrical outlets to charge mobile devices… and improved energy efficiency.
The digital revolution in home communication
Today the kitchen can be a hub of communication in the home. Computers and mobile devices with Internet access create many possibilities for communication (email, social media, phone), entertainment (music, video) news (breaking news, traffic, weather) and learning (recipes, homework). And some studies show that families spend more time together when there’s a computer in the kitchen, including a return to doing homework here. In keeping with strong trend toward mobile devices, one expert says:
“Intuitive touchscreen interfaces will be a major trend in 2012… They’ve been available in basic form for awhile, but the smartphone and tablet craze has spread like wildfire to the appliance category.”
New kitchen technology for cooking
Induction cooking is coming back, in part because of energy savings and speed of cooking. According to NKBA consultant Jamie Goldberg, “It uses electromagnetic energy to transfer heat to the cookware. These cook tops are much faster to heat than gas or electric and economical users of electricity.” Amazingly, the cook top stays cool—just the pot or pan gets hot, very quickly.
Some companies, like upscale Bertazzoni, offer combo cook top models with both gas and induction cook tops.
Steaming is growing in popularity and is a healthy eating option that better retains nutrients and vitamins. Microwaves like the SuperSteam Oven, can grill, steam and microwave all in the same unit. The Masterpiece Steam and Convection Oven multitasks, too.
The wide selection of range hoods today is amazing, including ones you’d never guess were hoods. One was even designed by a former Apple Computer designer. (some new hood designs)
Along the same lines, an NKBA consultant says “Ovens, microwaves and other wall-mounted appliances are becoming sleeker, more modular and hug their cabinetry more closely than ever before.”
New refrigeration options
If you’ve been to Lowe’s or Home Depot recently, you know how many options there are for door and freezer/’fridge configurations. You can sort that out on your own.
Note that some units allow you to switch compartments from ‘fridge to freezer functions and visa versa, depending on your need any given day.
And smart refrigerators are getting smarter every year, now offering touch screens that monitor energy, trouble shoot, offer apps like on smart phones, monitor your food for expiration, offer recipes and prep for special occasions.
And check out variety of specialty coolers for drinks, from wine to milk, and specialty freezers, too.
A Mt. Lebanon kitchen we finished last year included a pull out cool drawer, plus a separate wine cooler.
Small multi-tasking appliances: a caution
And on a final note, there are a variety of small, counter top appliances that perform several different functions. Some are a little bizarre, some are cute and maybe brilliant, like the UNOLD Snack Master, which combines toaster with a grill plate. Read what Consumer Reports cautions about a some of these types of multiple function counter top appliances.
Read more about kitchen technology trends by NKBA consultant Jamie Goldberg.
Take a look at some of our kitchen renovations with new technologies…
Give us a call to discuss new kitchen technologies and your kitchen remodeling project: 412-341-6585