Since the pandemic began there has been a multitude of smart kitchen appliances entering the market, but are they worth it? 

When the pandemic started, restaurants began to close and the fear of contracting COVID forced people to cook for themselves. Fortunately, it also gave them the added free time to concentrate on this and even explore new avenues like baking.  This spike in home cooking created a growing market for smart kitchen appliances to make cooking easier and more connected.  

Many popular social media platforms –  like TikTok –  popularized fun, simple recipes. However, they also made smart kitchen gadgets go viral. The Revolution InstaGLO R180 Toaster blew up for its multi- food and toasting settings, the LED touch screen that shows photos of how dark each item can toast, and countdown timer. This smart toaster seems great, but with a hefty price tag of $400, is it really that much better than a $20 toaster with a pushdown lever? Most regular toasters allow you to choose between bagel or bread, fresh or frozen, in their settings so this is just a jazzier version of a standard device. 

While some everyday appliances are being marketed as being revolutionized with the newest technology, other new products are being released that combine and& streamline many different functions. Multo, is a countertop device that can mix, chop, knead, steam, weigh, sauté, and more. This all-in-one machine can replace many appliances and can be controlled from the smart hub, a tablet that comes with the machine. Although these new appliances seem revolutionary, are they more than a trendy kitchen gadget? 

Is there really a need for these tech products, or has the pandemic caused a surge of fad home cooking appliances? Let’s look at the overall history of a product like the Instant Pot which promised both revolutionary technology and multifunctional uses.  

Instant Pot was made into a billion-dollar business in under a decade and still has a cult following to this day. Their sales still continue to soar as Amazon members purchased more than 300,000 Instant Pots, 6 Qt 7-in-1, on Prime Day in 2018. There are several versions of the Instant Pot that all cost under $200, which makes it much more accessible than Multo’s present $900 price point. It will be interesting to see if these techy gadgets will last and be seen in many home cooks’ kitchens in the next decade, but if Instant Pot is any example, there is a definite consumer market for them.