I've seen the future—and it will change the way you live at home. It's finding its way into your kitchen appliances, your plumbing, your cooking, and even your countertop. As Reviewed's major appliances editor and home design writer, I've had the chance to attend a number of design shows in the past year, always keeping my eyes open for the coolest home trends. Trust me, you'll want these for your kitchen and bathroom in the next year.
1. Sinks that wash the dishes
If you live alone or with one other person, chances are that you don't run the dishwasher every day—there aren't nearly enough dishes to fill it. Now, Fotile is making a tiny sink dishwasher that can wash about ten items at a time. Water use is minimal—about 1.6 gallons a cycle—the water force is powerful, and the temperature reaches about 160°. A few drops of dishwashing liquid will clean it all. Fotile has also developed a separate sink that washes fruits and vegetables using gentle vibrations to remove dirt and pesticides.
2. Wi-Fi devices to protect your home from water damage
When Flo by Moen is installed on your main water line, it uses AI and machine learning to learn typical water usage in your home. Then, if it detects a leak or anything irregular in your water system, it calls your phone. A running toilet, leaky faucet, a broken water heater—any of these can be expensive and potentially, damaging. For an under-$500 investment, Flo keeps the home safe by turning off the water when it needs to. Your homeowner's insurance policy might issue a rebate if you install one.
3. Ovens that replace your countertop air fryer
When we write about air fryers at Reviewed, we always explain that they are countertop convection ovens. Now, you can get air fryer functionality in an oven range, whether you choose gas, electric, or induction. Frigidaire has created a group of ranges that bring you crispy food without the guilt—and by that I mean oil. The oven includes a tray for the chicken, french fries, or whatever you want to prepare. Select the air fry mode and using a fan to circulate hot air, the oven temperature spikes to brown the food, and then gradually cools down to cook the inside to perfection.
4. Drier dishes right out of the dishwasher
Unloading wet dishes is gross, but some new machines can do a better job of drying. The Bosch 800 series dishwashers, our top-rated models, will include "magic" mineral zeolite to ensure dry dishes every time. Zeolite crystals absorb 30% of their weight in moisture from the wash cycle and undergo a chemical process that causes them to heat. This results in quick and efficient drying. The crystals live in a sealed chamber inside the dishwasher and never need servicing or replacement. Bosch has been perfecting this technology for years outside the U.S. and their sister brand, Thermador, is already using it in their high-end dishwashers.
Frigidaire is taking a different route: their models use convection to dry dishes. It's similar to the way convection works in the oven, with a fan that circulates heat. Dishwashers with this feature—the company calls it "EvenDry"—remove the moisture and leave dishes cooler and dryer at the end of the cycle.
5. Smarter bathrooms
The bathroom of the future is loaded with luxury features. If you have to go in the middle of the night, new fixtures can detect the motion and turn on soft lighting. Kohler's Veil products specialize in that. Voice control is great in the bathroom and U by Moen lets you tell Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri to start or stop the shower and turn it to your favored temperature. None of this technology is cheap but it's all fabulous.
6. Brewing better beer at home
The LG HomeBrew machine allows you to brew craft beer (an IPA for me, please) the way you make coffee, only the pods it uses contain yeast, hop oil, and flavoring. It's not an instantaneous brew like your Keurig, but in a couple of weeks, your favorite beer will be on tap, ready to serve. You can't buy the HomeBrew here yet, but we'll be eagerly anticipating its U.S. debut.
7. Refrigerators that keep produce fresh longer
Fruits and vegetables don't get along well in your crisper drawers. Ripening fruit gives off ethylene gas, a plant hormone that can cause veggies to rot before their time. That's not a good way to treat your produce. Now Bosch is putting an ethylene gas filter in their fridges to keep your vegetables crisp and delicious for a longer time.
8. Appliance colors to customize the kitchen
For years, all kitchen appliances were white—clean but uninteresting. Now, with appliances coming on the market in a wide variety of colors, you can truly customize your kitchen. Natural colors are roaring back into style, so complement them with appliances in warmer colors. Samsung's Tuscan Stainless and Champagne finishes are warm metallics. BlueStar offers refrigerators, ranges, and hoods in Living Coral, Pantone's color of the year. Italian appliance maker Smeg puts a hot yellow hue on its Portofino ranges. The GE Cafe line has matte black and matte white appliance finishes that you personalize with your choice of metal handles—I love the copper. And black stainless steel is still with us, accounting for up to 30% of appliance sales, according to Samsung.
9. Faster laundry with a SuperSpeed cycle
When we test washers, we always evaluate the Normal, Heavy, and Quick wash cycles. Now Samsung is introducing a SuperSpeed setting that finishes a full load of laundry in as little as 30 minutes. That will reduce your time in the laundry room and allow you to go back to living your life sooner and with clean clothes.
10. Scanning to cook
There's nothing glamorous about nuking frozen dinners. They're fast and easy to make, and we've all learned to lower our expectations as far as flavor goes. But maybe we're just cooking them wrong. Whirlpool has Scan-to-Cook technology that lets you use an app on your phone to scan the barcode on the product box. (There are thousands of UPC codes pre-populated in the system.) Press a button and the microwave or oven knows the right way to cook the meal. It sounds nonessential to me, but maybe it would be useful if the cooking takes multiple steps. I can't say whether it will make a frozen pot pie any tastier, though.
11. Super high-end coffee makers
If you've always coveted a Miele coffee maker, now they've gone over the top with an awesome model that grinds your favorite bean type (preferably, Miele's own brand) and cleans and descales itself when necessary. Oh, and the Miele app contacts Miele to refresh your coffee supply when it runs low. Is a coffee maker worth over $4000? That depends on whether you love good coffee as much as I do.
12. The wireless kitchen
Few kitchens have enough electrical outlets to accommodate all our small appliances—mixers, blenders, rice cookers, and everything else that lives on the countertop. A wireless kitchen works by powering specially made appliances using an inductive transmitter under the counter. Hundreds of familiar brands including Haier, Philips, Samsung, and Apple have formed the Wireless Power Consortium to develop cordless induction-based appliances. Say goodbye to power cord clutter.
These trends and products are about smart features that help manage your home and colors that spark joy. The technologies are about to up your home game and make life easier. Watch for them in the year ahead.