With appliances now able to play music while you cook dinner, send you pictures of what's in the fridge, or alert you to a leak, they certainly have the potential to make life a whole lot easier. But with all of that going on there must also be some cons—ones that just may make life a whole lot worse. Before you invest in a smart appliance, let's weigh the pros and cons so you can decide if it's indeed the smart choice for you.
Refrigerators are becoming smarter every year with the latest models even assisting you with grocery shopping and staying in touch with friends. The Samsung Family Hub is the latest one that does all of this and more, and other brands are trying to catch up. These smart fridges come with touchscreens that are more like tablets. In fact, they allow you to do pretty much everything you can do with a tablet and more, like controlling your refrigerator's temperature and humidity settings. On the display you can showcase your family calendar, type in notes and reminders, and display your favorite pictures. Some brands also include speakers and cameras, allowing the refrigerator to play your favorite music and and take pictures every time the door closes. These pictures allow you to see on your phone what you may have forgotten on your shopping list while at the store, or to let your spouse know just where the ketchup is without having to get up and find it for them. With some, you can even order groceries from a local store.
The first con is that these smart refrigerators are considerably more expensive than traditional ones—and so are the repairs. With WiFi capability, your smart refrigerator can be hacked or become infected with a virus—meaning that anything you gave it access to, such as your email or social media, could be at risk. The other issue with these extra features is that after only a year or two many brands discontinue any security updates as they develop the newest refrigerator and turn their focus to it. This not only makes it more vulnerable to an attack, but it can also eliminate the access to any services and features that were being offered at the time you purchased it.
Smart Washers and Dryers
Smart washers and dryers, like those made by GE and Whirlpool, can now be linked to your home control hub, which means a lot more control for you without having to go to the laundry room or garage. Power and water efficiency are excellent with the new smart models, especially since some are even able to connect with your utility company to determine which hours are most efficient for them to run. With the app or through your smart home hub, you can also keep your clothes fresh by allowing them to cycle twice, be notified when your cycle is done, set up auto-delay cycles, and alert you via an app if the lint filter is full.
Smart washers and dryers are still in the beginning stages and as such have been experiencing a lot of glitches with their apps, home hubs, and connectivity. Also, since this area is still growing, after a year or two a smart washer or dryer may no longer be getting security or firmware updates, meaning if there's a glitch to fix it may not be sent to your machine automatically and instead be something you have to pay to have repaired.
Although many of these smart features can make life easier, the same features can also make life more difficult should they malfunction. If you're considering purchasing a smart appliance, investigate the brand before investing in it and keep in mind that with most smart appliances, it's wise to wait until the brand has all the glitches out before jumping in and trying any new technology.
There are a lot of pros to a smart dishwasher. Some dishwasher brands, such as GE and Whirlpool, even allow you to connect wirelessly to them with their Wi-Fi smart app so that you can be alerted to any performance issues, including a leak. You can also monitor the cycle to see how long is left, lock or unlock the controls, or even check to see if you need to add more rinse agent. These dishwashers are also more energy and water conservative and much more quiet than others.
The main con for the smart dishwashers is price. They are often quite a bit more expensive than others and repairs and parts are also trickier and more costly as well. Extended warranties are usually encouraged when purchasing this type of appliance due to all that could potentially go wrong, which again drives the price up even further. Another con is that some people can become so reliant on the appliance alerts about leaks and malfunctions that they become relaxed in routine maintenance. Should there be an error that isn't reported and goes unattended, the damage could end up being to more than just to the dishwasher, such as a long-time leak that went unchecked and damaged the surrounding cabinets and floors.