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.
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.
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.
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.
U by Moen Smart Faucet
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 U by Moen Smart Faucets. These faucets offer the best in flexibility, with three control options so you can use it in whatever way is most convenient.
A Wave Senor at the front of the faucet turn water on or off with a wave, making it, perfect for washing your hands or washing the dishes. But if you have an Alexa or Google Assistant device nearby, you can do a lot more. You can tell the faucet to dispense anywhere from a tablespoon to gallons of water with a voice command. And if you need the water at the perfect temperature for a baby's bottle or to activate yeast, you can add the temperature as well. So you could say "Alexa, ask oen to dispense two cups of water at 110 degrees."
Finally, a lever on the side allows you use the Smart Faucet 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.
Price: starting under $400 at HomeDepot
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 or Google Assistant for a hands-free experience, though you’ll need a separate Alexa device like the Dot ($50) or
Google Nest Mini ($50) 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?
LG Signature Smart InstaView Refrigerator
LG’s Signature InstaView Refrigerators (23 cu. ft counter depth and 31 cu.ft models) have an Auto Open Door feature, which provides hands-free access to your refrigerator. 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 Auto Open Door, the InstaViews have a door-in-door mirrored glass panel that illumates when you knock on it twice, allowing you to see what's inside without opening the door. It not only saves time, but also saves energy and keeps your food fresher by reducing the number of times the door is opened, or left open as you puruse what's inside.
Price: starting at $6,299 on LG
[Image Credits: Moen, Simplehuman, iTouchless, Innovoa, GE, LG]