7 best smart kitchen appliances
You might not necessarily need an app on your coffee machine to be able to reorder your favourite refill pods, but it sure is useful
Kitchen innovations have arrived thick and fast in recent years, from appliances that can be operated via smartphone, to new solutions for simple tasks like dispensing ice cubes.
Over the last year, IndyBest has visited leading European appliance shows including IFA 2018 and LivingKitchen 2019, to discover the most impressive new tech available to UK consumers today.
This article highlights advanced solutions for everything from cooking and cleaning to coffee- and juice-making.
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We hope you’ll leave feeling inspired to boost your kitchen’s IQ.
Francis Francis E&C BT Bluetooth Illy Y5 Espresso and Coffee Machine: £175, Amazon
The Y5 from Francis Francis is a pod coffee machine with a difference: it’s operated via an app. There’s a certain delight to setting a coffee pouring using your smartphone – just so long as you’ve remembered to place a cup under its stream before you activate the machine. The process is made all the more satisfying by the fact the Illy coffee pods that go with the machine are among the tastiest we’ve encountered.
Another technological string to the Y5’s bow is Amazon Dash replenishment. When your stock of coffee pods is running low, the My Illy Machine app automatically triggers an order for a fresh batch from Amazon.
Candy CSC8LF 8KG sensor dry condenser tumble dryer: £199.99, Argos
This smart tumble dryer from Candy has been a smash hit with us Brits, garnering an average rating of 4.7/5 from Argos customers. We can see why. Part of the Candy Smart Touch range, it uses wifi and NFC connectivity to hook up to your phone, enabling functions such as machine status checks and delayed cycle initiation. You can set it back by as much as 24 hours, if you like to plan your chores that far ahead.
Another interesting feature of the CSC8LF is its sensor dry technology, which can detect when your washing is dry and deactivate automatically.
ICEBREAKER urban mini hand-held ice cube maker machine: £44.90, Amazon
Here’s a refreshing reminder that a device doesn’t need a computer chip to make it smart. The ICEBREAKER Urban Mini is a kitchen innovation in the classic mould. It makes the traditionally tricky task of serving ice cubes simpler.
Extricating ice cubes from an old-fashioned tray is about the closest most hosts will come to engaging in hand-to-hand combat at a dinner party. With the urban mini, a simple half-twist of the device dispenses one cube at a time. Much easier. The device has capacity for 12 ice cubes, and has the added benefit of preventing freezer odours from infiltrating the ice.
Candy CDP1DS39W smart touch 13 place dishwasher: £249.99, Very
As affordable as it is advanced, the Candy CDP1DS39W dishwasher is a fabulously accessible option for households looking to try out smart kitchen tech.
It connects to your phone via the Candy SimplyFi app, allowing you to set and control cycles wherever you are. This could be a particularly useful feature if you’d like to adjust the machine’s controls remotely. For example, if you’ve left the house early for work at a time when setting it off would’ve woken people up, you can simply load before you leave then set the cycle off at a more considerate time. Handy.
Miele PureLine CVA 6805 bean-to-cup built-in coffee machine: £3,925, Idealo
This dazzling built-in coffee maker from luxury brand Miele doesn’t so much represent a new leap in technology, as a step up in execution. It does just what you’d expect of a bean-to-cup coffee machine, exceptionally well.
Exhibit A: the “M touch” clear text touch screen display, which provides clear, concise controls while at the same time blending into the sheeny front panel of the machine. We also appreciated the CVA 6805’s system for loading milk, by simply clicking it into place behind the front door of the machine. For an alternative option costing roughly a quarter of the price of this machine, see our review of the Miele CM 6150 in our bean-to-cup coffee machines roundup.
Sharp QW-GD54R443X fully integrated standard dishwasher: £399, ao.com
With family-sized cycles as quick as 14 minutes, the Sharp QW-GD54R443X has raised the bar for dishwasher efficiency.
That’s not to say it’s just a speed merchant. In fact, the QW-GD54R443X has plenty of features focused on doing a more thorough and/or more efficient job of washing the dishes. One highlight is its AutoDoor mechanism, which pops open the door as soon as the cycle finishes, to help with drying. There’s also an IntelliWash cycle, which automatically detects the level of cleaning requires, and chooses a cycle to match. Small wonder this dishwasher holds the coveted A+++ energy efficiency rating.
NutriBullet balance smart food blender: £149.99, John Lewis & Partners
You’ll either love or hate the NutriBullet Balance. This world-first smart blender augments the smoothie-making process with stats on the ingredients you’re using, and healthy recipes based on your dietary preferences. Using the blender’s proprietary app, you can choose from a library of recipes to follow step-by-step. The blender takes weight measurements as you add each ingredient, to create an accurate nutrition reading on your smoothie in-progress.
Critics might say the whole process is a bit creativity-stifling – but if you’re keen to track your diet closely, or if you like working to recipes, the Balance could make a useful addition to your kitchen.
Verdict: Smart kitchen tech
All the devices featured in this roundup provide novel solutions or benefits, and in that sense, they’re all winners.
That said, our pick of the bunch would have to be the Francis Francis Y5 espresso and coffee machine. Its app operability is both outstandingly simple and outstandingly effective – a pairing of traits that will help newcomers to smart tech get along with the machine from the off. It also, thankfully, makes great coffee.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.