The concept of a smart home is becoming more popular by the minute. Being able to control parts of your home via your phone is convenient. But should you make your entire home smart? Or are there rooms better left “dumb?”
Smart technology has slowly found its way into the heart of the home: the kitchen. You get smart refrigerators that can tell you what food you have available. You get smart ovens that can refrigerate your food until it is ready to be cooked. There are even smart faucets that you can control with your voice.
Unfortunately, many of these smart kitchen appliances have left consumers disappointed. In this blog post, I discuss 5 smart kitchen problems that you must be aware of. If you are considering upgrading your kitchen to a smart kitchen, you need to read this post first!
- Smart kitchen apps are generally terrible
- Some products don’t work without the app
- Recipe development is often sub-standard
- You don’t want to feel like you wasted your money
- There are easier solutions
- People spent more time in their kitchens during the pandemic
- Many people enjoy cooking
- People want to cook better food, themselves
1. The software is usually not as good as the hardware.
Smart products are called smart because they can be controlled with your phone. Many can also be connected to a smart speaker and controlled with voice commands.
Most brands produce apps along with their appliances. These apps are then used to connect your phone to smart products.
Smart kitchen apps are generally terrible
Unfortunately, smart kitchen brands often invest a lot less time and money into the development of the app than the appliance itself. This means that the apps often frustrate users.
Some brands haven’t even bothered to produce apps. These products need to be set up via a website.
Others have produced apps that are still in beta testing mode. The appliances are already being sold to customers. The apps controlling them aren’t even available yet.
If apps are available, they often disconnect from the appliances frequently. Appliances need to be re-paired to your phone often.
Some products don’t work without the app
To make matters worse, you can’t even use some products without the app. If the product has controls on the appliance, you can at least still operate it if the app disconnects. But if you have a product that can only be controlled via an app, you can’t use it when the app gets disconnected.
Recipe development is often sub-standard
Many smart kitchen appliances promise to make cooking easier. They are advertised to come with apps that source recipes for you. The recipes should prevent you from having to search for ingredients, and cooking times and temperatures.
Unfortunately, this recipe development is often not done sufficiently. Apps come with few recipe options, or the recipes have errors.
The promised features that made you buy the appliance might not be there!
Cooking with a smart appliance is a new way of cooking. You would want a cookbook along with the appliance, to learn how to use it well. But these cookbooks usually haven’t been written yet.
You don’t want to feel like you wasted your money
If you paid a lot of money for a smart appliance that you can control with your phone, you want the app to work. If it doesn’t, you are likely to regret your purchase.
The software can be updated
The good news is that software can be updated without having to replace the hardware. In other words, brands can produce better versions of their apps. Perhaps, in time, smart kitchen appliance apps will become better.
But you never have the guarantee of these updates happening. So, you may very well wait in vain!
2. Smart kitchens are very expensive.
Almost all smart kitchen products have a hefty price tag.
Many brands produce similar products in a smart and a “dumb” version. The dumb versions are often already expensive. Adding smart features increases the price further. (Even though the smart features often can’t be used because of malfunctioning apps).
Maintenance costs may be higher
Besides the initial cost, maintenance of smart kitchen appliances may also be expensive. If you have to pay for spare parts, those might be expensive as well.
If the appliance breaks, replacing it will again be expensive.
If the appliances become out-of-date in a few years, replacing them will once again cost a lot. This is a real possibility in this fast-paced industry.
The high prices make the kitchen less user-friendly
If you have young children in your home, you may be tempted to ban them from the kitchen. If they break something, the resulting costs might be too high. This could cost your kids valuable learning!
3. Smart kitchen appliances may take the joy out of cooking.
If preparing a meal for your family is your least favorite task, smart kitchen appliances might work very well for you. They can select the recipe you need based on the ingredients you have, and practically cook the food for you.
Some services, like the Suvie smart meal plan, even let you order pre-made meals. These meals come with a card that has a bar code on it. When you scan the card on the oven, it automatically cooks the meal correctly.
If you have an exceptionally busy schedule or get home very late, this could be the perfect solution for you.
There are easier solutions
Are you one of the people who doesn’t have time to cook? It would probably be easier (and cheaper) to buy ready meals. This lets you avoid the struggle with unreliable smart kitchen appliance apps.
Perhaps there is even someone in your neighborhood who you could pay to cook for you every day. Your food would be fresher, and you would be creating an income opportunity for someone else!
People spent more time in their kitchens during the pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic encouraged families to spend more time together in the kitchen. Many people had to learn to cook. They even learned to enjoy the process.
Many people enjoy cooking
If cooking meals is joyful for you, smart kitchen appliances often remove this joy.
Firstly, instead of looking at the food, you’re often looking at your phone to control the appliances. If your kitchen is a place where you can decompress after a long day, you don’t want your phone in there with you!
Secondly, these appliances often take away the aspect of experimentation with food. Since they practically cook the food for you, there is little room for you to play around with flavors.
Thirdly, cooking is often an expression of individuality and culture. These smart appliances remove this expression.
People want to cook better food, themselves
Most people don’t want an appliance to cook a meal for them. They want help to cook a better meal themselves.
How convenient is it to ask Google to turn on your oven if you’re standing right next to it? It would probably be a much better option for you to ask Google to find you the best stew recipe. At the same time, you can turn the oven on yourself.
4. Your guests may struggle with your smart kitchen.
If you don’t have guests often, this problem will be irrelevant to you.
But if you often entertain guests, a smart kitchen could become quite frustrating.
For example, if you have a smart kitchen faucet, the handle needs to remain in the “on” position for it to respond to voice commands. If your guests don’t know this, they will probably turn the handle off every time they use the sink.
5. Smart kitchen appliances may be less secure than other smart appliances
Many smart kitchen appliances brands already produce “dumb” kitchen appliances. These companies often don’t place as much importance on cybersecurity as other smart brands. Even if they do value security, they might not have the expertise of other tech companies.
This might make smart kitchen appliances more vulnerable to hacking.
Do you want a smart speaker listening in the heart of your home?
The kitchen is also often the room where a family spends the most time together. Your kids might do their homework at the kitchen counter while you cook. You might wind down with your spouse while cooking dinner together.
Many people are not comfortable with having a smart speaker in the kitchen. Smart speakers listen for voice commands constantly. If you are having private conversations, you do not want these picked up by Google or Alexa.
Both Google and Alexa offer the option to mute the microphone in your kitchen. But this would of course eliminate the ability to use voice commands.
Home Streamliner’s Take
I am not against smart homes. I LOVE smart homes.
But I am just not convinced by the concept of a smart kitchen.
Adding the ability to use your phone to control your appliances often removes the “warmth” of a kitchen. And if the apps on your phone don’t even work? Then you’ve quickly wasted your money on a non-functioning, albeit flashy, appliance.