Latest Home Appliances: New Innovations
Consider the lifespan of your typical household appliance. On average, a refrigerator can last up to 15 years. A dishwasher can function well for up to 10 years. The same goes for your washer and dryer.
Now think about how much can change in a decade. If it’s finally time to replace one or more of your old appliances, you’ll undoubtedly be amazed by the options available to you today. Thanks to innovation and technology, the standard devices that you and your family depend on now feature a host of bells and whistles that not only will delight you, but they’ll also help you streamline your daily living.
“There is truly an appliance for every need imaginable,” says Jeffrey L. Watson of Sewell Appliance. “And appliances have evolved, much like everything else in the 2000s.”
There’s An App For That
One of the most significant developments in modern household appliances involves connectivity.
“Technology, especially with the growing sophistication of electronics, has led to much more user control and friendliness,” notes Linda Hosea for Builder Specialties (BSI). Angela Smith of LG Electronics agrees, stating, “One of the biggest trends today is the connected home. People are looking for user-friendly products that cut down on time and make chores around the house more efficient. It’s not just about having a high-tech gadget. It’s about adding value to consumers’ lives and making their lives easier.”
The advent of smartphones and tablets has actually changed the way homeowners interact with their appliances. WiFi connectivity and the development of specialized apps now allow people to provide information to and gather information from their appliances. According to Jeffrey Payne of Howard Payne Company, “Some of the newest innovations include the ability of some ranges to connect to WiFi to allow homeowners to access the oven controls remotely, receive alerts when the oven hits certain temperatures and even provide safety information, such as when an oven door is being opened. Some will even text family members when the meal is finished and dinner is ready!”
For example, Hosea points to the new dual convection wall oven from Jenn-Air, which will be the brand’s first with wireless connectivity and a fully functioning application for IOS and Android devices. Available in September, the oven will give homeowners control of its functions from their smartphones and tablets, as well as access to Jenn-Air’s proprietary cooking innovations. “This new innovation of products benefits homeowners by giving them better control of their product, a better outcome of foods and a sense of pleasure when cooking,” observes Diane Coker of Sub-Zero Group SE.
And that control extends beyond cooking itself.
LG Electronics now includes LG HomeChat on its refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, dryers and cooking ranges, among other devices; the smartphone messenger app LINE connects to various LG products and lets you have a conversation with your appliances, giving you the power to control them remotely. The company also has incorporated Smart DiagnosisTM into its newest appliances; Smith notes that this feature allows your appliance to communicate directly with the company’s call center representatives or send information via WiFi to a smartphone app for quick diagnosis of a problem.
Saving time and saving energy are equally important to homeowners today. That’s why many appliance manufacturers have developed products that keep both in mind. “People spend so much time doing laundry, especially when they have more than one child,” Smith says. “With our TWIN Wash™ System, you can do two loads at the same time.” Used with the company’s front load models, the system includes a “mini washer” that sits in a drawer underneath the main washer unit. Because it also is used as a pedestal for the main washer, it saves space by maintaining the machine’s original footprint. It is ideal for washing delicates or items that require a unique setting, and it saves water because of the smaller drum size (one cubic foot). A great companion for the TWIN Wash™ System is LG’s EcoHybrid™ Dryer, which uses 53 percent less energy, thanks to the country’s first heat pump dryer. What’s more, the washer system and the dryer are both WiFi enabled and can signal you when your loads of laundry are done, giving you the freedom to get other chores done around the house without having to stop to check the laundry. Smith remarks, “We are always geared toward creating innovation that saves time and allows you to spend time on what you really enjoy doing.”
Technology has also streamlined the cooking process. According to Jennifer Hicks of Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, today’s kitchen appliances “allow more time for living and entertaining, even for the novice chef. With the incorporation of smart technology, the cooking is practically done for you.” One such advancement is the Jenn-Air Culinary Center, a gourmet guide found within Jenn-Air’s single and double wall ovens that “directs meal preparation for more than 50 food options, including desired doneness and even the type of pan used,” Hicks continues.
Developed with the direction of food scientists, professional chefs and home culinary artists, the Culinary Center features touchscreen technology—the same as used in smartphones—and a full-color LCD display with an image-based cooking manual. Not sure what medium rare prime rib looks like? The Culinary Center will display a picture and guide you through the cooking process.
If you want your fridge to be as high-tech as the rest of your kitchen appliances, LG Electronics also offers a Door-in-Door™ option that includes a smaller compartment for favorite foods. A flip of the magnetic switch, and the smaller door opens to provide access to those often accessed items, saving small amounts of time that really add up. Better still, the smaller door helps reduce the loss of cold air by 47 percent.
Organization is also key, says Andrew A. Maurer of Whirlpool.
“The new KitchenAid 5 door fridge, the industry’s first 5 door freestanding refrigerator, is a response to our consumer’s need for precise organization. Two drawers beneath the refrigerator compartment—one climate controlled and the other dedicated for produce storage—create a variety of storage options for fresh ingredients.”
Today’s cutting-edge kitchen appliances also appeal to homeowners who want to eat a healthier diet by offering a coveted steam cooking option. “Steaming preserves many of the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and micronutrients in food that are typically lost through traditional cooking methods,” Hicks explains. “And steaming allows for flavorful cooking without using butter or added fat. Since the food only absorbs the amount of moisture needed to cook, there is less chance of overcooking or drying out.” She points to the Thermador Pro Grande® Steam range, which offers steam, convection and combination cooking all in one.
Wolf also offers a steam option with its 24-inch E Series Transitional Convection Steam Oven, according to Watson. The Wolf Convection Steam Oven allows the customer to cook anything with or without moisture: artisan breads, the best tenderloin or brisket you will ever eat, pastries and desserts. It also reheats food.
Al Fresco Electronics
Who says that indoor household appliances are the only ones that can offer the best innovation? These days, outdoor living has become more coveted than ever, and the tools available are just as advanced as their interior counterparts.
“Outdoor living is almost year round in Atlanta,” Hicks says. “And outdoor living encompasses so much more than a grill. Many people are including multiple types of cooking elements: gas grills, infrared rotisseries, ceramic smokers, pizza ovens and single gas burners. People also include food preservation, ice machines, Kegerators and even clean up with outdoor dishwashers. Today, the outdoor kitchen is just an extension of your home. The possibilities are endless.”
Of course, the grill is often the centerpiece of the outdoor living experience. Fortunately, bells and whistles are available in this arena as well. Hicks notes the Lynx SmartGrill, which is voice activated or smart device controlled and supports iOS and Android operating systems. She explains, “The SmartGrill takes the guesswork out of grilling. Food is practically grilled for you with the MyChef™ operating system, built-in speech recognition technology, automatic ignition and heating, mobile notifications and emergency shutoff when instructions are not received for 30 minutes.”
Do Your Homework
Replacing major household appliances is an investment, so it’s important to educate yourself not only about the features offered, but also what it will cost to own such state-of-the-art products. Depending on the appliance (or appliances) you have in mind, the price tag could reach several thousand dollars. And the costs will skyrocket if you plan to replace several appliances at the same time. “Pricing for such items will begin around $4,000 and go as high as $12,000,” Watson notes. “And when someone is looking at spending upwards of $50,000 or more on appliances, they need to know what they are getting.”
The experts suggest consulting with highly trained and experienced appliance dealers to make sure that you get the right information before you make a purchase. They also recommend keeping a few important points in mind. “Performance is a key component in innovation,” Coker asserts. “Often, folks think the bells and whistles are the way to go, but in actuality, they often don’t work in the perspective that it was presented to them. It’s all about performance, performance, performance.” “Appliance purchases are an investment in productivity,” Hicks concludes. “Don’t simply replace an appliance. Select an option that is smarter, faster and stylish enough to last for years to come.”
Top It Off
Technology isn’t exclusive to major built-in household appliances. Wolf recently released a new line of countertop appliances called Wolf Gourmet. A countertop convection oven with an integrated temperature probe headlines the group of appliances, which also includes a state-of-the-art blender with pre-programmed settings and a four-slice toaster with advanced toasting technology, among other devices. The appliances range from $500 to $1,000. “For the luxury consumer, this is a fabulous add on. And for the consumer who would like to be a luxury consumer, here is their opportunity to own the best of the best at a price they can afford,” says Diane Coker of Sub-Zero Group SE.
Builder Specialties, Inc (BSI) | BuilderSpecialties.net
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery | Ferguson.com/branch/alpharetta-ga-showroom
Howard Payne Company | HowardPayne.com
LG Electronics | lg.com
Sewell Appliance | SewellAppliance.com
Sub-Zero Group SE | Subzero-Wolf.com