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Best Smart Kitchen Gadgets for Home Cooks

Mike Prospero

Smart kitchen appliances give home cooks an edge in a number of ways. First, when you connect a kitchen gadget to your smartphone, you can more easily schedule when something should start cooking and monitor its progress remotely. For example, if you have a smart coffee maker, you can set it to start brewing a cup when you say "Alexa, good morning." Another advantage is that many smart kitchen gadgets, like the Anova sous vide, have recipes built into its app, which takes the guesswork out of knowing how long you need to cook a steak to make sure it's perfectly medium rare. 

From Instant Pots to coffee makers to home beer-brewing machines, here are our favorite smart kitchen gadgets.

Latest News & Updates (July 2019)

  • Amazon Prime Day is coming on July 15. The Prime member exclusive sale (sign up for a free 30-day trial here) is likely to include deals on all sorts of kitchen tech, especially Instant Pots. Make sure to bookmark our Amazon Prime Day survival guide for the latest news and deals. 
  • For those for whom brewing is not enough, PicoBrew has a new accessory for its Pico C home-brewing machine. The PicoStill ($349) lets you distill alcohol such as vodka, gin, and whiskey, or, if you don't have a distillation license, cocktail bitters, hop, and other essential oils. PicoBrew is currently offering the Pico C and PicoStill as a combo kit for $529.
  • Anova's newest sous vide, the Precision Cooker Pro ($399) is designed for professional chefs. It can run for 10,000 hours continuously, has 1200 Watts of power, and has a flow rate of 12 liters per minute. It also has a large touchscreen display with Wi-Fi built-in; it will connect to a new Anova app, which will launch this summer.

Best Sous Vide Machine

Anova Nano Precision Cooker

Anova Nano Precision Cooker

Best Sous Vide Machine

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Smaller than previous model

Efficient at cooking

Good on-device controls

Excellent app

Bluetooth only

"Sous vide" is a process in which you vacuum-seal something — say, a steak — in a plastic bag, then immerse it in a hot water bath for a long time. This low-and-slow cooking method results in amazingly tender and juicy meat. Anova's Nano Precision Cooker takes the guesswork out by connecting to your smartphone via an app, and alerting you when your food is ready. Plus, the app has recipes and tips from Serious Eats, one of the better cooking sites online. The Bluetooth-only Nano, Anova's newest model, is smaller than the original, yet has better on-device controls, and heats water and cooks your food just as fast.

Best Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot Duo

(Image: © Future)

Instant Pot Duo

The Best Instant Pot


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Intuitive controls

7 cooking modes

Great price

Fewer program settings than other models

Instant Pot has almost single-handedly popularized the pressure cooker market, and with good reason. Its programmable device can not only make 5-minute risotto, but can also be used to cook eggs, cakes, yogurt, and more in the fraction of the time it takes traditionally. After testing all of Instant Pot's models, our favorite is the Instant Pot Duo. It was the best at making eggs, chicken, rice, pork, and more, and it's reasonably priced. too. This model is available in 3-, 6- and 8-quart sizes.

Best Smart Thermometer

iGrill Mini

iGrill Mini

Best Smart Thermometer

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Small

Easy setup

Long temperature probe

Only one temperature probe port

How do you know if the turkey is done? You could keep opening the oven and sticking a thermometer in the bird, but what if you could simply sit back and watch the football game and get an alert on your smartphone when the bird is cooked? That's where the iGrill2 comes in handy. The Master Kit comes with three meat probes as well as an ambient temperature probe, which makes it great not just for grilling, but smoking meat as well, too. The iGrill2 works over Bluetooth (it has a 150-foot range), and its app has recommended temperatures for all sorts of meats and doneness levels (rare, medium rare, etc.), and can send you alerts when what you're cooking hits a preset temperature.

Best Smart Espresso Maker

Illy Y5 Espresso and Coffee Machine

Illy Y5 Espresso and Coffee Machine

Best for Espresso

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Attractive design

Brews good espresso

Can customize brews

Expensive

Bulky capsules

Involved recycling process

A smartphone app (Android and iOS)  lets you customize your brews when using Illy's Y5 Espresso and Coffee Machine. This stylish but pricey machine uses coffee pods which are recyclable, but you have to ship them back to Illy. The Y5 also has Amazon's Dash Replenishment system built in, so it can automatically order you new coffee pods when it senses you're running out. Oh, and it makes a great-tasting espresso, too.

Best Smart Coffee Maker

Smarter Coffee Machine

Smarter Coffee Machine

Best Smart Coffee Maker

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Makes good coffee

Lets you use grounds or beans

Allows you to adjust the grind

Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT

Scheduling needs to be easier

Price is on the high side

If you want to make coffee for a crowd, the Smarter 12-cup Coffee Maker ($249) is the way to go. It both grinds beans and brews, and its companion app lets you customize the strength of your brews, the grind, and more. It also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can have it activate using voice commands. We just wish it was a bit easier to schedule.

Best Smart Kitchen Scale

Drop Scale

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Drop Scale

Best Smart Kitchen Scale


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Accurate

Non-slip top

Automatically changes recipe proportions

Requires smartphone to view weights

If you don't use exact measurements when baking, your pie or cake could turn out to be a disaster, which is why a kitchen scale is essential. Drop's connected scale makes baking easy for newbies, guiding you through recipes on your iPhone or iPad, ingredient by ingredient. If you want to double the recipe, a clever feature in the app will automatically change the amount of ingredients proportionally.

Best for Barbecue

Traeger Ironwood 650

Traeger Ironwood 650

Best for Barbecue

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Easy to use

Helpful app

Maintains a steady temperature

Well built

Expensive

Can’t view cook history in app

Hard to clean out fire pot

The one thing that will mess up a brisket, or any smoked meat, are spikes in temperature inside the smoker. Traeger's Ironwood 650 is a Wi-Fi-enabled smoker that not only monitors, but regulates its temperature automatically. You can also control the grill using an app, which is also packed with recipes. The Ironwood 650 uses wood pellets, so fuel costs are slightly higher than traditional charcoal smokers. However, we can't argue with the results: delicious, delicious barbecue.

Best for Beer-Making

PicoBrew Pico C

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PicoBrew Pico C



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Brewing your own beer can be a messy and inexact process. The PicoBrew looks to make doing so as easy as pressing a button. All that you need to do with this machine is insert packets of hops, yeast and grain, and the machine (mostly) does the rest. A few weeks later, and you've got 5 liters of beer. PicoBrew also partnered with more than 50 breweries, so you can replicate that awesome IPA that you can't find in any store. Plus, a new PicoStill attachment lets you distill spirits, too.

Best Smart Oven

June smart oven

(Image: © June)

June Smart Oven

Best Smart Oven


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Automatically recognizes food

Clear door lets you see food cooking

Records time-lapse video of cooking

Expensive

Monthly subscription

A camera built inside the June smart oven not only lets you watch from your smartphone as your food cooks, but this oven has AI, which uses the camera to identify what you put in, and immediately suggests the optimal cooking time and temperature. At $600, this large device isn't for everyone, but it'll give you a taste of the future.