Now, $69 sounds steep for an egg holder, but I had high hopes that Quirky's Egg Minder would be an elegant solution to a common food waste problem. After all, when I think of the number of eggs I've wasted because of uncertain freshness, it's not unreasonable to guess I might have disposed of them too liberally. If this device worked well, it might help recoup some of its cost by preventing wasted eggs. Alas, a glitchy app and inconsistent performance makes the Egg Minder a no-go. It's also not quite as smart as you might assume.
Is it better than a cardboard egg carton?
The Egg Minder is a AA-battery-powered tray that holds 14 eggs, or "a baker's dozen + 1" as Quirky quips on its packaging. It keeps track of how many eggs you have as well as the expiration dates of those eggs, based on both the date they arrived in the tray and how long you set the freshness period in the accompanying app.
Each individual egg cup comes equipped with a sensor and a small LED. The light next to the oldest egg will turn blue, indicating that you should use that one first. Once you remove that egg, the light beside the next oldest egg will light blue, and so on.The Egg Minder uses weight sensors to determine which cup contains an egg and when it arrived.
The Egg Minder then transmits this information to the Quirky Wink app, which works with iOS 6 and above and Android phones/tablets with version 2.2 or higher. With the app, you receive egg-based notifications and can change various settings like the freshness period.
The Egg Minder app page includes a pictorial representation of the inside of the device. You can click on each egg to see when it was added to the Egg Minder, as well as how many days are left until it expires. When an egg goes bad, a red ring should appear around the corresponding egg on the app. I appreciate being able to check on the dates of individual eggs, especially if I want to add new eggs to a tray where older eggs are still in the rotation. This is less useful if all of the eggs arrive on the same day.
The default settings are for a four-week freshness period. Under this default setting, the app will tell you that an egg has expired after sitting in the Egg Minder for 28 days. This number is calculated based on the average three- to five-week shelf life of refrigerated eggs. You can adjust this to meet your comfort level, however. For example, if you are especially brave, you can set the freshness period to five or even eight weeks. You can also dial it down to as short as two weeks.
Freshness period isn't the only element of the Egg Minder that you can customize. You can also program how many days in advance the app will alert you of your eggs expiring. In addition, you can customize the minimum stock alert settings, which reminds you to purchase more eggs once the app detects that you've used a certain number of them.
I always forget to check to see if I need eggs and, once at the store, always buy more just in case. Inevitably, I almost always already had a full carton plus one or two eggs from an older carton because of all of these "just in case" purchases. In theory, if I had this product in my home, I could see how many eggs I had left from the store and know whether or not to buy more. Unfortunately, my experience with the Egg Minder demonstrated that it's not always accurate.
But does it work?
Installing the app and connecting it to the Egg Minder is a simple process, made even easier by the quick-start card included with the device. I also like the app's interface and found it easy to locate the pertinent information and settings.
For the sake of test speed, I put a dozen newly purchased eggs into the Egg Minder on November 14 and set the freshness period to two weeks, or November 28. My first problem arose when, on November 20, the Egg Minder app indicated that I had used an egg even though I hadn't. It was still in the Egg Minder, but the app didn't recognize this. It never redetected the egg, either.