Are Smart Appliances Right for Your Home?

If your house is compatible with these devices—and you can financially support their repair—these high-tech machines are a worthwhile splurge.

Smart home appliances can make your life easier, and if you're renovating your home, you're likely wondering if they're a worthwhile addition to your new-and-improved space. They have plenty of benefits: Everything from smart refrigerators, oven ranges, thermostats, monitoring systems, plugs, light bulbs, and even locks can offer you complete remote control over the things you use most. They allow you to set schedules, create routines, and program them to work while you're away—and they're typically user-friendly enough that just about anyone can effectively utilize them. However, not all smart home appliances were created equal, which is why you should investigate their pros and cons thoroughly before bringing one (or several) into your house.

modern kitchen with kitchenaid smart oven+
Courtesy of KitchenAid

Check if your home can support these devices.

Different appliance types have unique needs, and not every smart device will work in everyone's home. "You need to know what requirements are necessary to make the models operable," explains Deana Neely, the CEO of Detroit Voltage, a local business that wires and installs these machines for homeowners. "Check that the machines are compatible and can communicate with each other if need be." To do so, ensure that you have a specific Internet speed or downloading a special app that your smart phone can support (these devices are often connected to your phone or tablet via Wi-Fi, giving you remote access). "The appliances are tethered to a hub or central system which allows you to control the appliance, receive notifications, and track its progress," adds Neely.

There are many advantages to smart home appliances, especially in the kitchen.

If you're renovating your kitchen, investing in smart appliances (including refrigerators and freezers, electric oven ranges, coffee makers, blenders, and slow cookers) can vastly improve your culinary efficiency. Think about the benefits: Being able to remotely pre-heat your oven from the office, or even from the grocery store, allows you to get dinner on the table much faster. According to Neely, homeowners (and chefs!) who enjoy technology, accessibility, and efficiency absolutely should consider smart appliances in this space: "Ultimately, they save money and time, and allow you to track, monitor, and adjust as needed."

Fixing these machines can be costly, so make sure they're right for you.

While there are plenty of benefits to owning smart home appliances, there are also some downsides. "Smart appliances can be expensive to replace, which is why I always recommend getting a warranty," says Neely. And if you aren't tech savvy? You might want to stick with traditional models. Regardless of your preferences, it's imperative to conduct "research [and] read reviews before purchasing any device," she concludes.

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