6 Must-Have Hands-Free Gadgets for Your Kitchen
Hands-free appliances are a huge convenience in the kitchen. When you’re in the middle of prepping dinner or washing dishes, hands-free kitchen gadgets can take care of anything from looking up recipes to preheating the oven. Though we haven’t reached the point where our appliances will cook dinner and clean the kitchen for us, a growing number of kitchen devices can be controlled by motion or voice — a big help when your hands are covered in bread dough or touching anything would just make a mess.
Beyond convenience, hands-free gadgets help keep your kitchen clean. Not touching things means less chance to spread germs or bacteria. While it doesn’t mean you won’t have to clean the kitchen, it reduces opportunities to spread germs and other grime, which is good for the whole family.
Interested in making your kitchen hands-free? Here are our favorite smart kitchen gadgets that don’t take a single touch to use.
Simplehuman Sensor Pump Soap Dispenser
When you need to wash your hands, the last thing you want to do is touch a soap dispenser you’ll have to clean later (or worse, forget to clean later). The Simplehuman Sensor Pump automatically dispenses soap whenever you place your hand under the sensor. Both the sensor and pump work quickly, putting soap in your hand less than a second after you reach for it, maybe even quicker than pumping soap by hand.
The dispenser needs four AA batteries to run. Setup is simple. Configure how much soap to dispense with each pump, and you’re good to go. A silicon valve prevents drips and clogs, so there’s no hassle once it’s running.
While Simplehuman offers its own soap for this gadget, any non-foaming liquid soap will work. You could even use dish soap if you’d rather use the dispenser for washing dishes than washing hands.
If you love foaming soaps, Simplehuman has a foaming model, the Simplehuman Foam Cartridge Sensor Pump, which takes dish soap and hand soap cartridges. It also has a rechargeable battery, which lasts for approximately three months.
iTouchless Deodorizer Automatic Sensor Trash Can
With a hands-free trash can, there’s no need to touch a grimy trash can (except to change the bag). These cans use a motion sensor that cause the lid to flip open whenever you approach. When you place your hand six inches from the iTouchless, the lid opens automatically, and when you move away, it closes again. You can also open it manually via buttons on the top or deactivate the motion sensor entirely, which is helpful to keep pets from accidentally opening it while you’re out of the house. The motion sensor is powered by four D batteries that last up to a year, or it can plug into the wall with an A/C adapter ($22).
This is a standard 13-gallon kitchen can, with a fingerprint-resistant, antimicrobial stainless steel finish. While trash cans aren’t exactly a style statement, the iTouchless has a clean, modern look that should suit any kitchen. Another handy feature is a built-in carbon filter to absorb odors, though these filters do bump up the cost. The filters need to be replaced about every three months and cost about $10 each— no worse than buying air freshener.
Want to know what other hands-free trash can options are available? Check out all of our favorite touchless trash cans!
Innovia Hands-Free Paper Towel Dispenser
Nearly every time you reach for a paper towel, it’s to clean up a mess, which means your paper towel dispenser can very easily collect grime. This hands-free model from Innovia avoids that by dispensing paper towels when you wave your hand in front of it. All you ever have to touch is the towel itself.
You can use any standard paper towel roll with the Innovia. The sensor can tell what size the towels are and dispense just the right amount. If it does dispense more towels than you need, tear off what you want, and the dispenser will retract the rest.
Refilling the Innovia is just as simple as refilling any ordinary, low-tech paper towel dispenser. It snaps open easily, and there are no complicated fasteners to deal with.
The biggest difference between Innovia and a standard dispenser is that it needs power to operate. Use an A/C adapter if the dispenser is near an outlet or four D batteries if it’s not. If you use batteries, Innovia can be both hands-free and portable.
Moen Arbor with MotionSense
After cutting raw chicken for dinner, the last thing you want to do is put your grimy hands on the kitchen faucet. With a motion-sensing faucet, you won’t have to. Our favorite models are Moen’s MotionSense faucets. These faucets offer the best in flexibility, with three control options so you can use it in whatever way is most convenient.
Place your hands under the faucet to start the water running, perfect for washing your hands or washing the dishes. But if you want to turn the water on and leave it on for washing big pans or filling a pitcher, you can wave your hand over the faucet to activate it. A second wave turns it off again.
Finally, a lever on the side allows you use the MotionSense just like you would a regular faucet. The lever also adjusts the water pressure and temperature. Set it just the way you like it, and every time the water turns on, it will be just right. For spraying down dishes or watering plants, a spray head pulls down from the faucet and snaps right back into place when you let go, so there are no worries about tangling the hose.
Moen is a reliable brand, and this faucet features a five-year warranty on digital components like the motion sensor and a lifetime warranty on the faucet itself.
Want more faucet options? Check out our favorite hands-free faucets.
GE Wi-Fi Connect Appliances
Whether you need a new refrigerator, stove or dishwasher, GE has smart kitchen appliances covered. The company’s latest Wi-Fi enabled appliances can all be controlled by Amazon’s Alexa for a hands-free experience, though you’ll need a separate Alexa device like the Dot ($50), Tap ($130) or Echo ($180) to use those abilities.
Alexa’s 6,000 skills provide a wide range of kitchen-friendly features. Ask Alexa to set timers, look up recipes, check calories, make grocery lists, buy groceries from Amazon or just order a pizza for dinner. New skills are being added to Alexa all the time, so your kitchen assistant will always have new ways to help out.
When paired with Wi-Fi Connect Appliances, Alexa uses a skill called Geneva (download it in the Alexa app) to control your kitchen. If you have the right appliances, you can ask Alexa to make hot water for tea, preheat the oven and more. Almost anything you can do by pressing a button or turning a knob, you can now do using voice controls. And because these appliances are Wi-Fi connected, you can control any of these features from your smartphone, too.
A wide range of kitchen appliances are available in the GE Wi-Fi Connect line, including refrigerators, ranges, ovens and dishwashers. If it’s time for a kitchen makeover, why not upgrade your kitchen tech to go hands-free at the same time?
Price: From $1,499 to $3,999 at GE
LG Smart InstaView Refrigerator
Another great voice-controlled option for the kitchen is LG’s latest Smart InstaView Refrigerator. Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant comes built in, and just like with the GE Wi-Fi Connect appliances above, they can be a huge convenience in your kitchen. Unlike GE’s appliances, you don’t need to purchase a separate Alexa device; Alexa is built in to the fridge.
Another hands-free feature is Auto Open Door. A smart sensor at the bottom of the refrigerator projects a "Door Open" image on the floor and when you step on it the door gently opens.
Beyond Alexa and Auto Open Door, the InstaView’s high-tech features are well suited for a busy family kitchen. A huge 29-inch touchscreen shows you what’s inside the fridge and lets you add notes and expiration dates to items. Peek inside using your smartphone when you’re at the store trying to remember if you’re out of milk. The screen also serves as a family message board, letting everyone scribble notes, make to-do lists or jot down what you need from the store.
The downside to this smart fridge is its high price relative to standard refrigerators. While LG has yet to announce pricing, last year’s Smart InstaView models, which didn’t include Alexa, started at $4,500. These new models should be in the same price range. Expect to find them in stores later this year.
Price: Around $4,500 at LG when it's available later this year.
[Image Credits: Simplehuman, iTouchless, Innovoa, Moen, GE, LG]