At a paltry $400, our first item doesn’t seem that bad, until you consider that it’s really just a big, bright light. Yep, $400 and you get a big lamp you can put into your garage. No Wi-Fi, no smarts, just LEDs. You get a lot of brightness from a bold, efficient package, but I have trouble imagining anyone spending hundreds for functionality you can easily get for under $50.
This classy-looking toaster costs $500 -- but it isn’t actually all that good at toasting. That’s right -- for 50 times the price of a bargain-bin model, you can get a fancy looking machine that does the exact same thing with no noticeably better results. Oh, but it does automatically lower your toast once you put it in the slot. So there’s that.
If we’re going by multiples in excess of the standard price, it’ll be tough to top that toaster, but $1,000 for a robot vacuum is still a lot. The Samsung Powerbot VR9000 packs in quite a few features and keeps up with the competition on performance, but it keeps up rather than bests, and that competition costs about half as much.
If you think $1,000 is a lot to pay for a robot vacuum, here comes Dyson. To be fair, we don’t have a confirmed US price for the Dyson 360 Eye yet, but the listed 130,000 yen converts to a hefty $1,250. The vac promises better navigation and more suction power than the competition, but it’ll need to make the most of the $8 million Dyson spent researching robotics to make that price feel worth the splurge.
The $1,045 Haiku ceiling fan with SenseMe technology features bamboo blades (which Big Ass Fans calls Airfoils, so you get extra-fancy lingo thrown in at no extra charge), as well as smart, energy-saving climate controls and sensors for motion, temperature, and humidity.The specs put this fan as the top of its class, but with standard models priced at a few hundred, tops, it’s still very much a purchase reserved for big ass spenders.
More toast! Though, in fairness, June’s $1,500 oven can do a lot more than simply brown bread. Its interior processor talks to its interior camera to recognize foods and recommend settings. You can check on your dish while it cooks via the iOS app, and June will automatically create time-lapse video of the process for social media sharing when the meal is done. Still, it’s the size of a toaster oven and functionally similar to the $250 Breville Smart Oven. You can even get a full-size smart oven from LG for less than June’s asking price.
The $2,000 PicoBrew Zymatic does something pretty new -- it automates parts of the process of brewing beer, theoretically lowering the barrier to entry for homebrewers. So unlike the other items in this list, there isn’t a glut of cheaper options that do the same thing. That said, you can get kits that’ll get you started with homebrewing for $50 to $100, and Picobrew won’t necessarily make the beer any better than doing it all yourself.
Yes, you might be able to save yourself some trips to Starbucks with the Wolf Coffee System, and yes, the built-in machine looks fancy and can pretty much clean itself after you make your espresso, or cappuccino or latte -- or anything, really. Given how particular people can be about coffee, I can imagine wanting an upgrade over a cheap drip machine, but you can get excellent, versatile machines like our Editors’ Choice-winning Bonavita for $190 or even splurge on a $300 Technivorm Moccamaster for much less. Those options put the $3,195 price of the Wolf system well into the designer stratosphere.
Of all the items on this list, I can most easily see the argument for the $5,000 Dacor 30-inch Double Wall Oven. Yes, the price is still jaw-droppingly high for an oven -- that’s why it’s here -- but its cooking prowess is still the stuff of legend in our office, and it’s been over a year since we reviewed it. It’s an awesome machine if you can spring for luxury in your kitchen.
Speaking of awe-inspiring, the $6,000 34-cubic-foot Samsung Chef Collection Refrigerator is a sight to behold. It’s actually priced beneath pro-level models from Viking and Sub-Zero, but $6,000 is more than enough to classify it as "big ticket." That said, it manages to justify the premium somewhat by oozing style from every crevice and packing in a number of surprisingly useful features.
At $7,500, the Lynx Smart Grill prompts the question: would you rather cook a steak on a highly capable grill with voice control, or buy yourself a decent used car? Yes, this grill can do a lot. You can control your cookout with your iPhone or Android as well as with your voice, and it’ll remember your settings from one cookout to the next if you find something that works particularly well -- but for the same price, you could also buy a normal grill and have enough left over to build a new deck to grill on.
Here we go. These last three prices soar up, up, and away. The $12,000 Dacor 48-Inch Dual-Fuel Range undoubtedly comes with the brand’s reputed cooking prowess, and it adds on smarts and recipe assistance, but my goodness, for $12,000 you can buy this oven or pay for a full year's tuition at an in-state university.
As a fervent food lover myself, I understand the passion behind cooking. The Miele Dual-Fuel 48-inch range even comes with a number of features to help you become better at it. It has recipe assistance, touch controls, and features like true convection to help you make a meal the right way. Taken on its own, it’s pretty awesome, and even includes a small speed cooker. But this model is intended for consumers, not professionals, and it costs $14,000. That’s a price I just don’t understand.
The Micro-Kitchen costs more than the Miele oven, but I have a clearer understanding of where it’s coming from. By packing every kitchen appliance into one six-foot-wide block with a customizable exterior, the $15,000 Micro-Kitchen brings designer-level capabilities to the high-end consumer who chooses to reside in smaller urban spaces. Nonetheless, at $15,000 it lacks any appeal whatsoever outside of the highest-end consumer market.