High-tech devices for a digital kitchen

Yahoo Contributor Network

There's a reason that a kitchen can change the value of a home more than most rooms. We spend a lot of time in our kitchens, so it's well worth our money to find kitchen gadgets that are as high-tech and fun as the gadgets in our living rooms.

To me, high-tech kitchen devices are only worth the money if they do something that standard kitchen appliances can't. Here are some useful appliances and gadgets that feature new technology to make a kitchen a more exciting and fun place.

High-tech refrigerators

If you've been to a hardware store recently, you've seen refrigerators with built-in TVs and music players. They're a great way to keep up with your favorite shows while you're in the kitchen.

I don't really watch a lot of TV, however, and I couldn't see a refrigerator TV changing that. Instead, I opted for a fridge with a built-in grocery management system. It keeps track of its contents and lets me know when I'm about to run out of something. Thanks to built-in Wi-Fi, it can also help me save money by looking up coupons for the stuff that I'm buying or by looking up recipes that match my inventory.

An Internet-equipped refrigerator is an expensive purchase (mine cost more than $3,000), but it's a great talking point and one of the few appliances that can improve your home's staging when you decide to sell.

Handheld food smokers

I love the taste of a good barbecue, but I rarely have time to strike up a grill. Handheld food smokers fix that problem by adding a touch of smoky flavor to any food. They look like soldering guns and heat up to the perfect temperature to inject a bit of applewood or hickory flavor into your favorite foods.

Food smokers are great for cooks who need to add a little something extra to tired vegetable and meat dishes, and they're one of the most popular and useful high-tech gadgets for your kitchen. At about $100, they're an affordable add-on to any kitchen.

Kitchen-friendly computer tablets

A kitchen can really benefit from a Wi-Fi-capable computer tablet as they're ideal for displaying recipes and entertainment while you're cooking. Fortunately, a few tech companies have created tablets specifically for cooks, with splash- and smudge-resistant screens and preloaded cooking apps. These tablets typically cost $300-$400.

If you already own a computer tablet, such as an iPad, you can make it safe for use in the kitchen by purchasing a clear screen protector that will keep the flour and olive oil off of your screen. These usually cost $25-$50. Several companies also sell durable kitchen stands that can hold your tablet computer along with a special control rod that will let you navigate the tablet without having to touch the screen with your dirty hands.

Wi-Fi coffee machine

Why would you need a coffee machine that hooks up to the Internet? Well, if you're a serious caffeine addict, you'll love the ability to control your coffeemaker from an iPhone app.

All newer coffee machines have timers, but if you're not on a regular schedule, a timer is as useless as that "decaf" stuff. Controlling your coffee machine from anywhere in the world makes it much easier to get your fix when you need it.

Wi-Fi coffee machines also make better coffee because they digitally check the temperature of the water, grind the beans for the exact right amount of time, and filter the water perfectly. All of that tech will set you back about $150-$200, however, so this gadget is only for serious coffee fans.

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