Anova Nano Precision Cooker
A great design, intuitive and helpful app, and a low price makes the Anova Precision Cooker Nano the best sous vide machine.
The iGrill mini provides an inexpensive way to take the guesswork out of cooking meat.
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 (August 2019)
- Anova announced its newest sous vide machine, the Anova Precision Cooker ($199). Unlike the Precision Cooker Nano ($99), which is Bluetooth-only, the new Precision Cooker has Wi-Fi, and a more powerful 1000-watt heating element. The Precision Cooker is available for pre-order for $129, and will ship in late September.
- Based on several incidents of owners accidentally turning on their ovens, June will be adding two new features to its smart oven. The company is adding the ability to turn off remote preheating in a September update, and in 2020, the oven will also be able to turn off automatically if it doesn't detect any food inside.
- The Instant Pot Duo (starting at $45 for the Mini)—our favorite Instant Pot overall—now comes in four colors. In addition to the original black, it's now available in teal, red, and white.
- 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.
Best Sous Vide Machine
"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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.