You may not find everything he writes about available on this side of the pond yet, but the trends and technological advances are worth noting. Ask your local appliance guru about specifics that interest you. (I do need to note that I'm personally not in favor -- or favour, if you prefer -- of leaving appliances on when not at home. That's my paranoia, though, and it might be seriously dated... Just saying!)
Fifty years ago, kitchen appliances were about as technologically advanced as a pencil. If you were lucky, they did one thing and if they had feet, you’d be showing them off to your neighbour with a giant smile on your face. Wind the clock ahead to 2012 and kitchen appliances are like something you’d expect to find in a NASA Laboratory.
With washing technology turning to smartphones, users will be able to control their machine from a mobile app. You’ll set the wash so that it finishes as you arrive home from work and not have to stick a peg (JG: clothespin) on your nose because of the mouldy, damp smell from clothes sitting in water for a full day.
Siemens' machine has the I-DOS feature, which uses sensors to detect dirt levels and wash load. This allows it to manage the dosage of powder and softener needed for the best performance. It stores enough to run 20 wash cycles, which also saves time and effort.
Hotpoint’s Colour Care technology keeps the colour locked in, enhancing the life of your clothes. There’s nothing worse than buying a nice new shirt and having the colour fade in a couple of washes.
LG has been quiet of late but, this isn’t a bad thing. The Direct Drive technology on their F1480RD Washer Dryer means that there is no need for the drum to be belt driven, which reduces noise, wear and tear and allows the washing machine to have more control over the spin of the drum. This is great for hand-wash programmes.
Samsung’s Eco-Bubble technology means that stains can be cleaned better without the need for extra energy consumption. The suds gently soak into the fabrics first, which Samsung believes treats stains more effectively. The diamond drum, along with the protection from the bubbles, means that fabrics are treated with extra care.
|Photo Courtesy: Siemens|
Many fridge-freezers are becoming flashy centre pieces for the kitchen. Some have touch screen computers on the front, which can manage shopping lists, food expiry dates and help you know which day it is with a helpful calendar.
LG has a Smart Eco Door, which is a mini fridge built into the refrigerator door. It’s designed to hold drinks and other foods that are used regularly so that you don’t have to open the main door each time. This helps keep the temperature cool inside and doesn’t need as much energy to run the appliance. It also looks great!
Beko (JG: This brand is not generally available in the US yet) has created a great technology called Active Fresh Blue Light. This special light uses less energy, which will save on the bills and help reduce your carbon footprint. It’s also designed to keep the food inside the fridge fresher for longer.
Samsung’s Multiflow technology, which is similar to Multi-Air Flow technology from other manufacturers, cools the fridge freezer on all levels evenly so maximum freshness is supplied all over. Older methods would cool from one air vent which may not be able to get all the way down to the bottom of the fridge, which meant some foods would not be as fresh after a few days.
Maytag has gone one step further with their Intellisense technology. Having tiny sensors throughout the fridge freezer keeping the temperature constant, helps keep the food inside looking, tasting and smelling as fresh as the day you bought it (within reason).
|Photo Courtesy: LG|
Ovens have certainly become easier to use and more efficient, too. In the future, we’ll see ovens that can be controlled from your iPhone but, for now we have technology that can separate one oven into two compartments for different meats or foods that may need cooking on two separate temperatures.
Neff (JG: This brand is not generally available in the US yet) and a few other manufacturers have implemented the best technology, in my opinion, with Pyrolytic cleaning. This great feature means that you don’t have to clean the oven again. This feature burns the grease and grime off and all you have to do is sweep the ash pile away at the bottom. Not something for everyone but, the Sabbath Setting is designed for Jewish people (JG: who keep Kosher and) aren’t allowed to cook anything during Sabbath. It keeps the oven on a constant heat that allows for heating pre-cooked food, so that hot meals can still be enjoyed on that day.
Dual Convection can be found on Samsung’s new compact ovens. It allows for evenly-heated cooking throughout, meaning no burnt edges or unevenly-cooked foods. With Programmable Timers found on most ovens these days, you can set the oven to cook food for when you’re coming home from work so that you’re not wasting too much of your valuable spare time cooking when you get home. As you can see, there’s a lot to choose from when picking your kitchen appliances but, choose your appliances sensibly and it will pay off.
|Photo Courtesy: Neff|
Choosing an appliance these days requires a lot more time and thought than it used to. Some of these features may never get used by some families, whereas some families can’t live without them. Picking the best features and technology for your needs will make life in the kitchen easier, cheaper and more enjoyable.
This article was written by Alan Gregory. He writes for Appliances Online by day and hunts down new kitchen technologies by night. He likes cooking but hates cleaning and you can follow him on Twitter @AlanJGregory.