Half of house fires in the US start because something goes awry during cooking. A Wi-Fi-enabled device wants to curb those accidents by managing the power that goes to your stove and keeping an eye on you while you cook.
The $495 iGuardStove Intelligent automatically shuts off your stove if you leave your cooking unattended thanks to a two-part system of a power box and motion detector. And the built-in Wi-Fi can help keep you posted online about how often the system has to shut down off your stove and send you alerts if it's happening a little too often.
The product has its shortcomings, including the absence of a mobile app (the company said it's on its way) and a cost that makes it out of reach for a lot of people. But it's useful if you need an extra set of eyes in the kitchen of someone who may forget that they're cooking.
The iGuardStove is a simple device that smartens up your electric range with little effort on your part. You plug the iGuardStove's power box into into your wall and plug your range into the power box. You connect the box to a control panel that has a built-in motion sensor and mount that panel beneath an upper kitchen cabinet next to your range (or in a place that's not directly over the stovetop).
If you've started to cook something on a burner or in the oven and step out of the motion detector's range for more than 5 minutes, the iGuardStove will put your range into standby mode so that your food stops cooking. The device will turn your range back on if you step back into the motion detector's view within 30 minutes -- if you take longer, you have to press the reset button on the iGuardStove's control panel.
You can adjust all of these settings in your online account or directly on the control panel (a tricky feat thanks to some pretty small fonts). There's also a manual mode you can enable on the control panel if you need to cook something for a longer period of time and don't want your oven to shut down. And the child lock mode will require you to press a button on the control panel before the iGuardStove lets your oven come on.
Here's where the Wi-Fi comes in: You connect the iGuardStove to your home's Wi-Fi network, and the device will begin to keep a digital record of how many times you've turned on the oven and how often the iGuardStove shut off your stove.
The iGuardStove also sends you email alerts if it's turned off your range five or more times in 24 hours (you'll also get an email if someone presses an emergency button on the control panel or if the iGuardStove loses connection). The emails, which came into my inbox almost immediately after numerous tests, could provide a caregiver with valuable information on how often a loved one in a different home forgets to turn off the stove.
The iGuardStove's makers have other models of the device, including a $395 Smart version without Wi-Fi and an Intelligent model for gas ranges. It will also work with Wi-Fi-enabled ovens that you can turn on remotely.
And it isn't just geared toward the easily distracted. Its manufacturers say the device would work well in homes of people with physical disabilities or aging adults who still live in their homes. The iGuardStove also sends email alerts if it has had to automatically shut off the stove five or more times in 24 hours. This is a good feature if you are worried about a loved one who doesn't live in the same home as you.
The iGuardStove delivers on its promise to stop cooking if you step away from your stove for too long. Once you turn on a burner or begin to preheat the oven, "Protection Enabled" pops up on the control panel's LCD display to let you know it's keeping an eye on you. The timer begins to count down after you leave the oven's range (which is about 10 feet).
If you leave the default shut-off setting at 5 minutes, the iGuardStove will begin to beep loudly to warn you that it will turn off your oven if you don't get back in range soon. Your range goes into a standby if you don't return -- technically, it's still on (for example, the convection fan in the oven on which I tested the iGuardStove kept operating), but all of the heating elements shut down until you return.
There are drawbacks to the iGuardStove. There isn't a mobile app for the product yet, which seems like a feature that would be a given on a Wi-Fi-enabled device. The company says it has an app coming for both iOS and Android later in 2017, but it's not live right now. A promised temperature detection feature that can sense both high and low temps also isn't live yet. And $495 is a lot of money -- you can find stoves that cost around that price.
The iGuardStove works well in sensing when you use your oven and when you walk away. It could give you some peace of mind if you can afford it. If not, keep an eye on products like the Inirv React, a less expensive but similar system that fits onto your burner knobs and detects smoke along with fire.