Tech the Halls: 8 Innovative Gifts for the Kitchen, Home and More
Spoil yourself or find the perfect gift for the techie on your list with new innovations for the kitchen, home and more. Photo: Jamie Hodgson/Getty Images
If there was ever a time to take advantage of the ways technology can make our lives — and those of our loved ones — easier, it’s now. And thankfully, there’s a plethora of innovative gadgets and appliances on the market that help ease the stress of everything from cooking to detoxing and even sanitizing.
So whether you’re looking to spoil yourself, or find that perfect gift for the techie on your list, check out our roundup of innovations for the kitchen, home and more.
Put on the red light. And we don’t mean the Police and their call to Roxanne. We’re talking red light therapy. Rouge, out of Montreal, has created pro-level LED red light treatment devices for use at home. Registered with the FDA as a Class II medical device, the Rouge combines red light therapy, which concentrates its power on the skin’s surface, and infrared light. According to Rouge, red light stimulates the skin’s cellular process, allowing it to regenerate, build collagen, reduce wrinkles and add firmness. Infrared light penetrates the skin to help break down fats and toxins, which can increase circulation, relieve joint pain, reduce inflammation and even boost metabolism. Rouge Tabletop, rouge.care
For downsizers and condo dwellers who have given up the yard or snowbirds who have decided to stay put but aren’t keen on braving the elements for a cookout, you don’t have to give up the grill. The Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill is ideal for small-space living or anywhere barbecue use is restricted. According to Ninja, the grill’s cool air zones and cyclonic grilling technology minimize smoke but still deliver char-grilled taste. It sears, sizzles, bakes, roasts and also crisps, all the while minimizing the amount of oil (by about 75 per cent) you might be tempted to use on fries or wings. And its removable parts are dishwasher-safe. Canadian Tire, www.ninjakitchen.ca
The All-in-One Kitchen
You had me at all-in-one. The Thermomix TM6 is like having the Mercedes Benz of countertop appliances in your kitchen. A stand mixer on steroids, it blends, cooks, steams, does sous vide, slow cooks, measures and weighs ingredients. It comes with bowls, whisks, steamer baskets yet still maintains a sleek silhouette. Powered by digital technology and sensors, this baby will even mill flour for sourdough or crush ice for your cocktails. Register online, turn it on and connect it to Wi-Fi, the touch screen prompts you on whatever recipe you choose (more than 50,000 of them). Imagine not having to measure everything out beforehand or stand over the risotto stirring for hours on end. Because it’s also priced like a Mercedes Benz ($2,099), we wish it could wash the dishes, too. thermomix.ca
If wearing a mask causes your eyeglasses to constantly fog up, you suffer from claustrophobia or asthma or you simply want to employ some extra protection against the risk of contracting COVID-19, a reusable face shield like the ViaGasaFamido unisex polyethylene style (below) may be your best option. It allows you to slip it on like a pair of glasses (and can be worn with glasses), so there’s no need to wrap a tight elastic around your head. Easy to clean, face shields are also an environmentally friendly way to protect from droplets reaching you. amazon.ca
We’re spending more time at home, which means we’re listening to our favourite musicians, streaming TV shows and movies or finally watching pro sports again! Theatre-quality sound, however, isn’t always what you get, even with the most modern flat screens. Pump up the volume with one of Sonos’ new speakers: Beam, a compact sound bar, brings the stadium vibes to your home. If music is your jam, Five (shown above) will enhance a vinyl enthusiast’s turntable listening pleasure. Or take it with you with the indoor/outdoor Move. sonos.com/en-ca
If you’re struggling to keep the everyday essentials – your phone, glasses, lipstick case, watch, even your keys – disinfected (let’s face it, those Lysol wipes or runny hand sanitizer can’t really be good for your phone), there’s a liquid-free solution. Portable sterilizers sized to fit your device and more use LED UV-C light to eliminate more than 98 per cent of bacteria in about five minutes. A caveat, however: the light can be harmful if eyes or skin are directly exposed to it, so ensure you look for a model that comes with an auto shut-off if the lid opens, so the risk is minimized. Two we like: PhoneSoap 3 UV sanitizer and charger (above), which allows you to also hear notifications while the phone is inside (bestbuy.ca); Newild portable sterilizer, with its aromatherapy capabilities. (amazon.ca)
Clear the Air
Our indoor atmosphere isn’t always as “fresh” as we’d like. The double-duty design of the JS Vanguard 2.0 2-in-1 air purifier HEPA and dehumidifier uses an industry-standard HEPA filtration system (the kind they use on airplanes) to remove airborne toxins and bacteria, as well as removing dampness from the air that can cause mould and mildew. It’s also Android-, iOS-, Alexa- and Google Home-compatible and, even though it’s diminutive, it covers 215 square feet of space. Just plug it in and breathe. bestbuy.ca
Your toothbrush is becoming as smart as, well, your smartphone. The new Oral-B iO Power Toothbrush relies on Artificial Intelligence (AI)to recognize your brushing patterns, sends feedback via Bluetooth to your phone and coaches you on proper oral hygiene. Combining AI with a digital interface that wakes you with a “good morning” and sends you off to bed with a “good evening,” it keeps you brushing on schedule, counts down the two minutes recommended cleaning time, comes in four colours and has seven modes, from whiten to sensitive to daily clean. So go ahead, smile and let them zoom in on that zoom call. Walmart, Shoppers Drugmart, amazon.ca
A version of this article appeared in the Jan/Feb issue with the headline “Life Simplified,” p. 22.