Until now, ovens haven't played nice with other smart-home products. Manufacturers have added Bluetooth, NFC (near-field communication), Wi-Fi and even tablets to their stoves. They've created apps that have ranged from somewhat useful to headache-inducing. And for the most part, these ovens aren't talking to any other gadgets.
The $5,300 Jenn-Air JJW380DP electric double wall oven is the first oven we've tested that talks to other smart home products outside the kitchen (GE Appliances recently announced that its Wi-Fi large appliances will work with Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant; we'll review one of these stoves soon). The Wi-Fi-connected double oven works with only one other device, but it's an important one: the Nest Learning Thermostat, the popular, smart heating and cooling control system. This connection means that you can set a rule for your Nest to adjust the temperature of your home when one of the Jenn-Air ovens reaches a certain temperature.
The Jenn-Air double oven has a few more worthwhile tricks when it comes to cooking your food well. The unit has a built-in Culinary Center that sets cooking temperatures and makes suggestions for certain dishes based variables such as the cut of meat you are cooking and the type of pan you're using. And the oven turned out delicious food when I cooked with our usual test recipes and when I used the Culinary Center.
This Jenn-Air double oven does have a few drawbacks. Plenty of households won't be able to put down $5,300 for an appliance, and there were some inconsistencies in the way the top oven and bottom oven bake. And I admit that Jenn-Air's partnership with Nest is a one-trick pony. But the usefulness of that trick, the double oven's pronounced cooking skills and Jenn-Air's ambitious jump to connect the kitchen to the rest of the smart home make it worthwhile to add the Jenn-Air JJW380DP to the top of your wish list.
Turn up the oven, and it turns down the thermostat
The Jenn-Air brand is owned by Whirlpool, a manufacturer that has made big moves in advancing its products' presence in the smart home. The company's smart Whirlpool brand products include app-connected washers and dryers, a dishwasher that will connect with Amazon Dash replenishments and a range that, like the Jenn-Air JJW380DP, will connect to Nest. Whirlpool also announced that it would partner with a Silicon Valley startup for the software in its Jenn-Air smart ovens.
The Jenn-Air double wall oven establishes just how seriously its parent company takes its smart large appliances and how they work with other smart products. The oven's Nest capabilities are impressive and easy to set up within Jenn-Air's iOS- and Android-friendly app. After you set up a user account and connect the oven to the app, you select "Works with Nest" from the settings menu. You can opt for the app to notify you if the oven is on when the Nest is set to away, the setting you use when you've left your home. This provides a virtual answer to the question, "Did I leave my oven on?"
The highlight of the Nest connection is that you can enable a rule to change your Nest's temperature setting based on the temperature of the oven. For example, you could have the Nest lower its setting by 2 degrees Fahrenheit every time the Jenn-Air oven reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. During testing, the Nest quickly adjusted its settings as soon as either of the double oven's cavities hit the temperature at which I wanted it to adjust. And the Nest automatically returned to its original temperature settings once I turned the oven off.
On the surface, this doesn't sound like a very fancy feature. But if you've ever been busy in the kitchen, you know that it can get hot. The Nest's automatic adjustment of your house's temperature would make cooking a little more pleasant without having to leave the room to adjust the thermostat. Now, you can only set one rule at a time between the Nest and the Jenn-Air, which is limiting if you want different adjustments for higher temperatures. But this compatibility is effective, and I look forward to seeing it expand.