Kitchen technologies we're looking forward to in 2020
From dishwashing to dining, here's the latest kitchen innovations we've got our eyes on
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
So far, 2020 has been a big year for innovations in kitchen gadgetry. Whether you're trying to find some good cooking gear for a small apartment kitchen or remodeling your cabinetry, chances are there's a great option that's come out in the past few months. So before you invest in that Insta-Pot or invest in a full set of stainless steel appliances, check out these 2020 game-changers for your kitchen.
1. Perfectly dry dishes, right out of the dishwasher
We've reviewed hundreds of dishwashers over the years, which means a lot of in-house testing and a lot of researching user reviews. The most common complaint from dishwasher owners, by a huge margin, is that dishes finish a cycle wet. While there are myriad reasons why older dishwashers were better at delivering dry dishes, Bosch is attacking the problem with some legitimately interesting science: leveraging a mineral that can turn water into heat.
The mineral is called zeolite, and it works through a chemical reaction which bonds the water atoms to its surface and releases heat. Another incredible property? It's self-replenishing. Using zeolite, Bosch dishwashers like the Bosch SHPM88Z75N are able to use excess water to generate heat far more efficiently than more conventional means of drying dishes. This means your dishes will come out bone dry at a much lower energy cost—it'll even get your plastics dry too, which is something even older dishwashers had difficulty with.
2. A sink that washes the dishes
For those living alone or who don't have the space for a new dishwasher filled with magic, dish-drying minerals, there's another option out there: a sink that can wash dishes for you. While it's not out yet, Fotile's sink dishwasher can clean about ten items at once. According to specs, it should be fairly efficient with water usage, only consuming about 1.6 gallons per cycle. Fotile is also working on sink-based gadgets for washing fruits and vegetables automatically. We've been watching this one develop, and we're eager to get it into our labs—it might be a decent alternative to a good countertop dishwasher.
3. Refrigerators that provide better protection for produce
A new innovation in the realm of refrigeration might help your fruits and veggies stay fresher for longer. This new technology will help filter out ethylene gas, a plant hormone released by fruits that can cause veggies to rot before their time. While this new approach technically made its debut last year with the Bosch B36CL80SNS, the genie is out of the bottle now and should be available in more models and from more manufacturers in 2020. If you tend to keep your fridge full of fresh fruits and leafy greens, consider checking out fridges equipped with one of these new ethylene filters.
4. Ovens that air fry, steam, and sous vide
Ovens are doing more and more in 2020. Not content with a simple cooktop-and-oven combo, modern models are coming equipped with additional methods for preparing your favorite meals. Standalone air fryers have been ridiculously popular this past year, so it's no surprise the technology is getting integrated into traditional oven design. Air frying is a good way to cook all the crispy favorites you love without the added fat from frying something in oil. Just select the air fry mode and, using a fan to circulate hot air, the oven will quickly crisp the outside of your food before cooling down to thoroughly cook the inside to perfection. If you rely on frozen foods, a built-in air fryer is a game-changer.
The innovations don't stop with air frying, though—this year we've been seeing more and more extras integrated into full-size oven design. One such feature, steam, has already made its way into countertop ovens, giving owners a tastier alternative to microwaving or using dry heat to warm up meals. We're looking forward to testing the new batch of full-size ovens equipped with steam features to see if they can outperform their countertop counterparts. In a similar vein, sous vide machines have been very popular as small, standalone units. This year, we're starting to see the popular preparation method integrated into full-size ovens. Early adopters will need to be fairly well-funded, however, as many of these new models can run well over $10,000. We actually do have a sous vide oven in-house, so stay tuned for our results on whether these new ovens are a must-have or just a flash in the pan.
5. Smart connected everything
While appliances have been coming with app support for years now, kitchen smart devices keep getting smarter. While connecting to your favorite smart assistant can be handy, it's nothing compared to what's on the horizon. Newer fridges, like the LG ThinQ fridges, will incorporate LG’s smart compatibility and InstaView technology, allowing the fridge to keep inventory of your groceries for you, giving you alerts on what's about to go bad and offering up recipe suggestions based on what you actually have in stock. Samsung has a fridge with similar capabilities as well, and we're eager to get both into our labs for testing.
You'll really enjoy them in your 2020 kitchen. Your Google Home or Amazon Echo device will read you recipes, order groceries, answer cooking questions, set a timer, serenade you while you’re meal prepping, and lots more. You can buy a WiFi connected multi-cooker to cook your dinner and tell an Alexa-enabled microwave to make you popcorn. Newer smart robot vacs rock onboard cameras, so they’re security devices as well as vacuum cleaners. And instead of sweeping the kitchen floor after dinner, just tell the smart vacuum to clean up and get on with the rest of your life.
We were also impressed by the GE Kitchen Hub—a smart, over-the-range hood with a huge display. This device does what you'd expect, such as enabling video chatting and allowing easy recipe look-up, but it also has a downward-facing camera to help you get a better look into your taller cookware. Recent models have a microwave behind the screen, with another camera dedicated to food sensing and monitoring. That means fewer burned dishes and a lower rate of accidental food waste.
And there's still more on the way!
While we're excited for these 2020 innovations, they're just the most recent tech to register on our radars. Keep checking back with us for the latest in tech, be it the latest in luxury for kitted-out kitchens, or a new breakthrough that makes exciting, high-end features more accessible for the rest of us.