5 “Smart” Kitchen Gadgets That Make Your Cooking Experience Stupider

A woman sits on her kitchen floor in disbelief.
Aaron Amat/Shutterstock

Wi-Fi enabled gadgets and appliances have the potential to make cooking safer, easier, and a lot more fun. But some smart kitchen devices aim to solve problems that don’t exist. And these smart gadgets make your cooking experience stupider.

By the way, we’re not dunking on inventions just because they sound silly. The Squatty Potty sounds silly, but we are physically and mentally obsessed with that beautiful piece of plastic. We’re setting our sights on devices that add frustration and nonsense to the kitchen without solving any problems along the way.

HAPIfork: The IOT Fork

A screenshot of the HAPIfork website.
HAPIlabs

The HAPIfork is a smart fork that vibrates when you’re eating too fast. According to HAPI, “satiety is felt after about 20 minutes” of eating. So, if you take twenty minutes to eat dinner, you’ll eat less food. Naturally, the HAPIfork can connect to your phone and show you stats, like how many forkfuls of food you eat per minute. You can compare these stats with friends, but sadly, you can’t compete in online slow-eating competitions.

As far as we can tell, the HAPIfork is a rebranded version of the Slow Control fork. And in the words of Slow Control, this smart fork forces you to “naturally adopt the right tempo,” so you can “eat more slowly and masticate more.” We could all use a bit of mastication in our lives.

We’re not sure if these ideas about mastication and satiety are backed by science. Maybe the idea is that your dinner will get so cold you’ll just give up on eating it—that makes sense. We tried to read the scientific “bibliography” that HAPI links to on its website, but the page is broken and written in French. That’s a bummer.

GeniCan: The Smart Garbage Can Attachment

Screenshots from the GeniCan website. These photos show the device fixed on the end of a garbage can, pointing its barcode scanner in the air.
GeniCan

The GeniCan is a Wi-Fi connected barcode scanner that attaches to your trash can. It keeps track of what you throw away and automatically creates a grocery list, because why not? You can even program the GeniCan to automatically order your groceries from Amazon, if you’re comfortable giving a garbage-sniffing robot your credit card info.

We know what you’re thinking, “What if my trash doesn’t have a bar code?” Well, you can just hold your orange peels in front of the GeniCan and yell “ORANGES.” Then, it’ll add oranges to your grocery list. Super.

iSommelier: A Smart Decanter That Bubbles Your Wine

The smart wine decanter aerating a ton of wine.
Wine Enthusiast

Everyone knows that decanting wine is a difficult, time-consuming process. First, you need to pour wine from a bottle into a decanter, making sure any sediment stays in the bottle. Then you pour the wine from the decanter into a glass and serve.

Yes, a very difficult process. And that’s where the iSommelier smart decanter comes in. It’s a smart gadget that aerates your wine using one of those oxygen bubblers for fish tanks. That way, your wine gets exposed to a bunch of oxygen—more than it would be exposed to if you left the decanter sitting out in the open for two hours (which, by the way, is a great way to catch flies).

Of course, you could just swirl the wine in your glass. Or stick a straw in it and blow.

Drop Scale: A Smart Kitchen Scale with No Display

The Drop smart scale in use. It has no display, and it's the size of a small tupperware container.
Drop

All right, so a company called Drop has a smart kitchen scale. It connects to a recipe app and takes you through recipes step by step, weighing ingredients along the way. Most of these recipes only require one bowl, so they’re easy to clean up. The scale can even be used to make mixed drinks.

Fine, that’s useful to somebody. But why is this scale so small? Why doesn’t it have a display? Do you really need to have a phone or tablet on hand every time you want to use this sale? What if your hands get dirty and you can’t touch your phone screen? Can’t you follow a recipe with an $8 scale that actually has a display? Is down up? What’s the meaning of life? Can this scale weigh me?

A Smart Kitchen Scale

Drop Scale - Connected Kitchen Scale and Step-by-Step Recipe App

This smart kitchen scale is small, and it doesn't have a display. But, it connects to an app and helps you bake pastries with the perfect amount of ingredients.

The AmazonBasics Microwave: It’s an Affordable Microwave

The AmazonBasics Alexa-Enabled Microwave
Amazon

Yeah, Amazon has a smart microwave. It’s basically just a $60 microwave that can be programmed with your voice (or used as a regular microwave). Simply press the “Echo Button” on the microwave and tell it what you want. (“Cook for 2 minutes,” “Reheat coffee,” “Tea, earl gray, hot” etc.) You can also connect the microwave to an Alexa smart speaker like the Echo Dot for totally hands-free microwaving action.

Sadly, this microwave doesn’t have a built-in speaker. It can’t be used for playing music or talking on a speakerphone with grandma. But hey, if you want a super cheap microwave. . . this one exists. It’s hard to say no to a $60 microwave (stockpile now, they might come in handy later). And to be fair, this kind of microwave could be useful to someone with visual or physical disabilities.

A Smart Microwave

AmazonBasics Microwave, Small, 0.7 Cu. Ft, 700W, Works with Alexa

The AmazonBasics Alexa-Enabled microwave is extremely affordable, and it can be controlled via the Alexa assistant. Useless? Probably. But it's cheap.


Again, we’re not dunking on these products because they sound silly. We’re just not sure who these products are meant for. In some situations, smart microwaves and garbage can attachments might make sense. And there’s always the possibility that these products will develop into something more useful over time (like how Google Assistant and Alexa have gotten more useful).

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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