Got an absent-minded chef around the house? A forgotten pot might lead to the embarrassment of overcooked pasta, but in the worst case it can lead to a kitchen fire. That can turn into a house fire if everyone’s left the house and forgotten the stove, so the situation merits an ounce of prevention. With the rise of smart home gadgets, this problem has given rise to a new set of products that help keep those forgotten stoves off, and the latest and simplest is called Wallflower.
Wallflower is similar to a lot of smart home plugs we see — little devices the go between a plug and the wall outlet. While those are usually used to monitor electricity use and shut off power remotely, Wallflower gauges electricity use to detect whether or not the stove has been left on.
Wallflower is starting out with electric stoves, which is probably for the best. While some electric stoves glow red when they heat up as a safety feature, many others (especially older models) don’t — that can make it hard to tell whether or not the stove is on, and a lot easier to forget. But, they do plan to release a unit for gas stoves next year all the same.
The Wi-Fi connected device takes a little work to install — you’ll have to haul the stove out of its resting place to plug in Wallflower to your stove outlet, then plug your stove into Wallflower. The device can then be connected to your home Wi-Fi network using an app, and that’s about it — you’ve got an extra layer of kitchen safety.
If Wallflower detects the stove is on, it can send a few different notifications, and you can select which ones you want to receive in the app. You can be notified if the stove is on or if the stove has been left on past a cooking timer that you set within the app. The gadget has some smarts, too — over time it can learn how long you usually leave the stove on, although that doesn’t seem as useful, since cooking time is going to vary by what you’re cooking. More useful is the geofencing feature — if you leave your home with your smartphone while the stove is still on, you’ll be notified immediately so you can go back and shut it off.
It’s a device that probably gets more useful the larger your family is — especially if you’ve got elders or forgetful teens using the stove. The more cooks in the kitchen, the more likely your going to have a forgotten stove incident. With Wallflower, multiple phones can be notified if the stove is still on, so anyone in the family can instantly go turn it off.
Wallflower launched this week and costs $170. That’s pretty expensive for the tech that’s gone into this gadget, but it’s admittedly as cheap or cheaper than similar products on the market. But, Wallflower does have one big drawback — it can’t be used to shut the stove off remotely, something more expensive units can do. That might make it a non-starter for single people, but for large families that almost always have at least one person at home, it’s probably the more economical buy.