Has it been awhile since you shopped for kitchen appliances? If so, there are some great new features we’re seeing people incorporate into their homes the past few years. They’re not quite George Jetson level, but they’re cool. Let’s look at some of the latest appliance technology that’s quickly becoming mainstream.
It’s been around since the 1970s, and available in a few household range and cooktop models since then, but induction cooking has really been cooking (see what we did there?) in residential settings for the past few decades. In April 2010, The New York Times reported that a survey by the market research company Mintel of 2,000 Internet users who own appliances, only 5 percent of respondents said they had an induction range or cooktop. Still, 22 percent of those said their next range or cooktop would be induction.” Its popularity has been steadily growing due to several factors:
- Reduced costs: The early induction cooktops were extremely expensive. Now, they’re not much more than comparable electric or gas stoves.
- Convenience: Induction cooking is quick. Like, super-fast. You can boil water 50 percent faster than a gas or electric surface and maintain consistent temperatures easily – great when keeping a sauce warm or simmering something for hours. Sure, you need ferrous pots and pans, but with speed like that, it’s worth the trouble.
- Efficiency: Induction cooking uses electric currents to directly heat pots and pans through magnetic induction. Instead of using thermal conduction (a gas or electric element transferring heat from a burner to a pot or pan), induction heats the cooking vessel itself almost instantly via a coiled copper wire underneath the cooking surface. The current creates a magnetic current throughout the pot or pan to produce heat.
Induction cooking is more efficient than traditional electric and gas cooking because little heat energy is lost. Like other traditional cooktops, the evenly heated pots and pans then heat the contents inside through conduction and convection.
See induction cooking for yourself, courtesy of our appliance guru Tom Marso:
Integrated Air Frying
The air fryer craze is one that really took hold for many American families. Not only do they save time and produce super-crispy foods, but they also help folks who are attempting to cut down on added fats and oils in their cooking. Just a few drops of oil (instead of deep frying in a sea of the stuff) yields marvelously crunchy food.
It works similar to a convection oven and can actually bake and roast dishes. But air frying enables faster, more even cooking for ultra-crisp results due to a fan rapidly circulating hot air through the frying basket or compartment.
In the beginning, air fryers were primarily countertop appliances, but now they’re available in ranges and wall ovens from most of the major manufacturers. Some offer no pre-heat air frying (another time saver!) and integrated models don’t take up valuable counter space. Check out this wall oven model with Tom:
Today’s ovens do some of the old standard tricks – self-cleaning and start/stop bake times. Lo, so many years ago, it was a huge convenience to be able to put dinner in the oven when you left the house, set it to come on at an appointed time and come home to a hot meal. Today’s ovens take that leaps and bounds farther. Using apps on a smartphone, you can control your oven from afar.
Running late and afraid dinner will be burned? Reduce the temp or turn the oven off from your cellphone. Or if tight schedules mean a quick dinner before zipping off to soccer games or ballet class, preheat the oven while waiting to pick the kids up from school. Pop dinner in upon your arrival and everyone’s fed before the evening’s activities begin. This technology can be a lifesaver for busy families or people on the go who still want to cook at home.
Tired of having a microwave taking up valuable counter space? Want to free up that space above the stove for a vented range hood above? Or maybe the shortest members of the household want to be able to warm up a beverage or snack. Enter the drawer microwave. Instead of a door that swings open, these microwaves pull out like a drawer so you can place food or beverage items inside for heating. They’re safer (no reaching or stretching to remove hot items!) and work especially well in ever-popular kitchen islands.
Kitchen appliances designed to simplify your life, save time, and produce great results are an asset to any home. Next time you update your cooking components, stop in, and see these terrific features. We’ll be happy to help you select the perfect model for your lifestyle and budget.