I’m a big believer that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Yet, many people often don’t think about buying technology for their kitchen. Instead, they shop for gadgets that wind up in their living rooms or bedrooms.

Here’s why your kitchen could use a tech upgrade and how it will have a positive impact on you and your family.

Get Yourself A Virtual Sous Chef

Wouldn’t it be great if you had an aid in the kitchen that could answer any culinary question you ever had? How convenient would it be if this assistant could run to the store and pick up any household items that you needed? Meet your new best friend: a virtual “sous chef” today that has either a smart speaker or a tablet.

There are now multiple smart speakers available to help you in the kitchen. They look like normal speakers and yes, can play music, but what makes them special is the voice interaction feature. These devices passively listen for trigger words, which activate their responses. Once a trigger word is heard, you can have the smart speaker answer questions, order items, and more.

This can be extremely useful in the kitchen, especially when your hands are often covered in ingredients. In the last week, I’ve used my kitchen smart speaker to set a timer for cookies in the oven, to remind me how many tablespoons are in a half cup, to order more trash bags, and to offer advice about how to filet a fish. At the same time, it has filled my kitchen with music and local talk radio—which makes cooking an even more pleasant experience.

It’s nice to hear a smart speaker tell you how to caramelize onions, but it’s even better to have a visual reference when cooking. That’s why I’ve added a tablet to my kitchen.

The best part is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to outfit your kitchen with a tablet. All you really need is to make sure that the tablet can access apps and video-sharing sites. I bought a tablet and supporting tablet stand for under $70.

I use the tablet for a variety of functions such as watching videos on cooking techniques, easily tracking digital recipes or meal plans, and even placing food orders through a delivery app, if I don’t feel like cooking that night—which happens more often than I’d like to admit.

Although things can get kind of messy since you have to physically interact with the tablet, you can buy a stylus that’s specifically designed for the kitchen. What’s great about these tools is that you can easily pop them into a dishwasher after cooking.

Do You Really Need Connected Appliances?

Nearly every kitchen appliance now comes with WiFi if you’re willing to pay a premium. Although there’s a certain convenience about being able to turn appliances on with a tap of your phone, I don’t think most are worth the additional cost. But there’s one big exception: a WiFi-enabled slow cooker.

I believe slow cookers are really undervalued because they offer a simple tool to make delicious, cost-effective meals. The one downside is that most recipes have long cook times that can be hard to stick to if you work outside of your home. However, a WiFi-connected slow cooker offers a solution to this problem.

With this type of slow cooker, you can remotely connect to it using your smartphone. This function is very convenient when unexpected issues pop up. For example, if you have a meeting that runs late or if you hit nasty traffic on your commute home, you can use your smartphone and adjust the cooking times with the touch of a button. Some WiFi slow cookers even come with apps that provide reminders and recipes.

So no matter if you have a delay in your day, you will always have a way to control that you’ll have a delicious, perfectly-cooked meal waiting for you and your family.

When You Should Invest In Kitchen Tech

Like many of you, I have a clear picture of my dream kitchen. I can tell you that it involves a full kitchen remodel and wall removal to make room for a brand new stove, sparkling refrigerator, and an island.

But for the short term, all of that seemed pretty out of reach. Instead, I found some smart gadgets to provide immediate improvements for my kitchen.

That’s why I encourage you to always look for ways that tech can make your kitchen experience even better. Finding gadgets to make the cooking or cleaning process easier is a nice way to tide you over until you have that kitchen of your dreams.

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Marin Perez

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Marin Perez

Marin is passionate about how technology is changing the way we work and play. He's swimming in the startup waters now but formerly blogged about iPhones, Android and anything else that caught his attention for publications like CNET, InformationWeek and IntoMobile. When not working on his craft, Marin plans trips, practices yoga and watches too much professional basketball.

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