Through Wi-Fi-ready models or specialist apps, we can now operate many kitchen appliances from our phones or tablets, whether it’s from the comfort of our sofas or on the go.
But if you don’t want to buy all new appliances just yet, a smart plug can convert many of your existing ones so they can be operated remotely.
Advanced function washing machines
An appliance app can choose the best programme for your washing machine’s load, but some new washing machines also include automatic dosage systems, which reduce waste by measuring the detergent for you. Modern washing machines can also save you money at the dry-cleaner’s. Some now have a function that uses active oxygen to hygienically refresh fabric without the need for water or detergent. It’s suitable for most dry-clean-only materials, and also cuts down on time and energy spent washing and drying clothes.
Not only can modern ovens be set up to operate at the touch of your phone or tablet, they’re also making the cooking part even easier. Now you can simply select the type of food you’re cooking, add in its weight and, if relevant, whether you’d like it medium, rare or well done. Your oven will then calculate the right temperature and cook time, switching itself off once your food is done. This function is great if you lack confidence in the kitchen, ensuring meals are cooked to perfection every time.
Perhaps the most luxurious of modern oven inventions is the pyrolytic self-cleaning function, which uses incredibly high temperatures to burn off grime and grease. Once the process is over, you simply wipe away the resulting ash with a damp cloth, using zero elbow grease!
Steam ovens are rapidly replacing microwaves as a fast and affordable means of cooking food, but they have other benefits too. Steamed food doesn’t dry out during cooking, which results in a better colour, texture and taste. Food cooked in a steam oven also retains more of its nutrients and vitamins. And because it’s not a dry heat, there’s no need to use cooking oil, which reduces the fat and calorie content of your meals.
If you’re considering a steam oven be aware that, due to the lack of dry heat, it can’t brown or ‘crisp’ food – so it’s not ideal for your Sunday roasts. But there is a solution: a steam combination oven. As well as steam cooking, this larger oven also includes a traditional hot-air cooking function, enabling you to cook different types of food at the same time, including anything you want crispy.
Think of this clever device as a modern-day hostess trolley and, if you love to entertain, it’s just as handy. These integrated pull-out drawers will keep your freshly cooked food nice and hot until you’re ready to serve it – it’s also ideal for keeping meals warm if someone’s late home or you’re cooking several dishes at once. You can change the temperature to suit your needs, so you can warm croissants, prove bread or even melt chocolate.
Many fridges now come with in-built technology designed to keep your food fresher for longer. These freshness systems ensure optimal temperature and humidity for storing food, and different compartments can be put to different settings to suit the food kept there.
For example, vegetables are best stored in high humidity, unlike meat, fish or dairy products. Depending on the model, foods can be kept with freshness and vitamins intact for up to three times longer than in a regular fridge.
If you do accidentally leave something long enough that it’s past its best, the separate compartments will minimise the transfer of bad smells into other areas of your fridge.
Boiling water taps
Boiling water taps are becoming an increasingly common sight in modern kitchens, and with good reason. Whether you use one for making your morning tea or coffee, to speed up cooking veggies or pasta, or for filling a hot water bottle on a cold night, these taps mean never having to stand around waiting for your kettle to boil. Instead hot water is instantly available, which saves time, and in the long term, after the initial cost, could save you money, as the taps are more energy efficient than boiling a kettle.
Newer models now incorporate hot, cold and boiling water in just one tap (with safety devices to ensure you don’t get burned). Some even deliver chilled and sparkling filtered water too.
Fast, safe and with a clean, sleek look, these hobs are the ideal cooktop for busy modern lives. The simple controls make them incredibly easy to use, and they’re instantly responsive, so you can quickly change the temperature at any point during cooking. They’re more energy efficient than gas or electric, and because the surface doesn’t get hot, it also means that as well as being safer, you don’t have to wait for them to cool before wiping down after use.
Clever coffee makers
Coffee makers are now smarter than ever: some can even remind you when you need to order more coffee, while others offer an automated pre-soak for beans to enhance the flavour and, if you’re feeling really lazy, some let you send your coffee order via a smart app, so you don’t even have to get up from your sofa until it’s ready to drink.
Dishwashers can now automatically decide the temperature, time and volume of water required based on your load. They can also heat up by themselves, complete a cycle quicker or be controlled from an app – and they’re also changing shape.
Also known as downdraft extractors, pop-up extractors are designed primarily for kitchen islands that feature a hob. At the touch of a button, the extractor rises smoothly upwards from the surface of the island, ready to protect your surfaces from grease and smells during cooking, yet never high enough to obstruct your view. When you’ve finished, the extractor will gently retract back into your worktop until hidden from sight again. This type of extractor is a great way to maintain the clean lines of your kitchen and is especially popular in modern, minimalist schemes.