A Toshiba smart microwave.
Toshiba

There’s no appliance in the kitchen that gets opened and closed in an impatient panic more often than the microwave. They build those doors tough for a reason. That’s also why there’s no kitchen device more in need of the smart treatment.

It’s easy to make fun of kitchen products like refrigerators and toasters having smart capabilities. Many of the features don’t simplify anything, adding an unnecessary bureaucracy and quasi-sophistication to performing a simple task, like I do with my articles.

But think about how often we burn things in microwaves, or realize the burrito we heated up is slightly frozen and eat it anyway because it’s two in the morning (just me?). Think about how often we open and close the door to check if something’s done, and stare at the microwave impatiently as if it’s somehow going to heat the item up quicker, like a person who presses an elevator button repeatedly, thinking it’ll speed up the arrival.

Smart Microwaves Know Their Audience

The only time I ever cook things properly in a microwave is when I’m melting action figures. So if there were a microwave that could somehow anticipate all the above impatience, wouldn’t you want one? Wouldn’t you want to buy me one? I hope my friends are reading this.

Smart microwaves can be controlled remotely through your smart devices, offer voice commands to start and stop the cooking or constantly ask how much time is left, and often use sensor technology to monitor a food’s humidity and adjust cooking levels midcycle.

Take the Panasonic Smart Inverter Countertop Microwave Oven. It operates with Alexa and can handle over 100 voice commands (I have 70), so you can tell it to “Reheat my coffee” and then tell it again 40 minutes later because you forgot about the coffee. A “Genius Sensor” (their words, not mine) automatically adjusts cooking times and power by sensing heat and steam.

Panasonic Smart Inverter Microwave Oven

The microwave that listens.

It acts like a microwave that knows you’re not always in the most rational state of mind when operating a microwave, and responds with, “Don’t worry, I got this.”

The GE Smart Countertop Microwave Oven features a scan-to-cook function that lets you scan the barcode on a package of food so the cooking time and settings are ready to go, and the Toshiba Smart Microwave even lets you mute so you don’t have to hear that piercing beep when the macaroni is done. Are you listening, laundry dryers?

Is Smart Worth it?

To call these microwaves timesavers is a bit silly, because all microwaves are timesavers. But because they’re all so fast, it’s easy to ruin food in them or constantly have to reheat it, and we’re often distracted doing other things when we come home tired from work and accidentally put our shoes in the microwave.

At least with a smart microwave, the guesswork is removed and your shoes would be cooked to perfection.

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Chason Gordon is a staff writer and editor for How-To Geek. His writing has previously appeared in Slate, Vice, Input, and The Globe and Mail, among others. He currently lives in San Antonio, but is on a month-to-month lease.
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