Top 10 home innovations from IFA 2011Which? reveals the most exciting new home trends
03 September 2011
From an iron that can’t burn your clothes to a Twitter-enabled fridge, Which? reveals the top ten home innovations from the IFA technology show in Berlin.
We had a sneak preview of new technology on display - here's our round up of top home product trends:
For more new products as they're unveiled, follow our live IFA 2011 coverage on the Which? Tech blog.
Top ten home trends
1. Bigger is better
Size matters this year at IFA. Giants we spotted include LG's biggest washing machine, which can wash a massive 12kg of laundry, and Samsung's biggest capacity (standard-sized) fridge freezer. It can hold a whopping 400 litres thanks to its 'EcoSlim' technology which makes the fridge walls thinner.
2. Smartphone savvy
Keen to appeal to the growing number of people with smartphones, big home brands are now offering new ways of connecting you with your home appliances – wherever you are. While Samsung highlighted the benefits of being able to switch on your robot vacuum remotely, LG showed how your smartphone can be used to control your washing machine.
3. Making life easier
Could any of these gadgets make your life simpler? Bosch's i-Dos washing machines, for example, measure out your detergent for you, while a steam dishwasher from LG does away with the need for pre-washing. Philips, meanwhile, says its Perfect Care steam generator iron can be used on any fabric, on the same setting. Its cool base won't burn material, apparently - even if you leave the iron sitting on it for five minutes.
4. Silence is golden
Peace and quiet is top priority to Beko and Bosch this year. The former revealed its quietest ever 'Silent Tech' washing machine, while the latter whispered about its ProSilence vacuum cleaner. At a claimed 71 decibels, it's a quiet vac - but not the quietest we've tested in the Which? lab.
5. Smart grid technology
Several companies including Bosch, Samsung and LG revealed they're developing technology to make their products compatible with smart energy meters. In practice, this means that if energy suppliers introduce new 'time-of-day' tariffs - where energy is cheapest during specific hours - the machines will be able to automatically re-adjust to operate at the most efficient time, when electricity is cheapest.
6. Even more energy efficient...
All the big brands showed off their most energy efficient technology. Samsung celebrated its EcoBubble washing machines – which use 70% less energy than standard machines and 'let bubbles do the rest' - and Beko announced that its DFN 71046 X30 dishwasher had broken the world record for energy efficiency. LG also demonstrated its 'linear compressor' technology which helps fridge freezers save energy.
7. ...And water efficient, too
Big brands were also keen to show off their water-saving credentials, too. This year, Bosch revealed its Eco2 dishwasher. This model uses just seven litres of water per cycle, thanks to a water tank on its side which stores the last three litres from the rinse cycle to start the next wash off with.
8. Clever cooking
Beko revealed some interesting interactive recipe functions on its new oven, while LG showed off its new microwave cooking technology – Lightwave – which it says 'cooks like real charcoal', keeping food moist and full of flavour. For after your meal, if you fancy ditching the dental floss, you might like to try Philips' new Sonicare Air Floss. This nifty gadget shoots out water and air at 70km per hour and removes plaque from between teeth. It certainly looks more fun than dental floss.
9. Self-diagnosing machines
Both Samsung and LG have developed new 'smart' ways to diagnose problems with their products which could save you the hassle of getting a repair person to visit. While LG's products will produce a series of beeps that can be diagnosed by a customer service team over the phone, Samsung's will display smart phone scannable error codes that will serve up a diagnosis.
10. Extra interactions
Interactive panels are all the fashion at IFA 2011. The panel on Beko's new interactive oven offers recipes at the touch of a button and can be used as a digital photo frame, while Samsung's smart fridge freezer gives access to recipes, lets you write yourself notes and even offers access to Twitter. Whatever next?
IFA 2011 is a global show, so some of these products might not make it to the UK. We'll be keeping an eye out for the ones that do, and seeing how these trendy features measure up in the Which? test lab.