The mighty Amazon has just launched a new product called the Amazon Dash. This little gizmo is a clever wireless barcode scanner which links directly into the Amazon store and lets you add items to your shopping list instantly. You can either scan or use the voice memo function, and all orders will be fulfilled by the AmazonFresh delivery service. Hear that sound? It’s grocery stores trembling in their boots.
But this new product is not the first of this type of ‘pantry manager’ to hit the market by any stretch. We’ve got a quick round-up of five cool alternatives for you to check out before you stampede to the Amazon basket.
1. Out of Milk
This cool little smartphone app lets you scan or manually enter in items for your shopping list, but it also gives you notification of special offers in your local store (US only at the moment), as well as having cool features like online cloud storage (access anywhere), sharing lists between family members and lots more. We particularly like the price history, which is a scary but useful way to track shopping basket inflation as it happens. Free or Pro versions available.
This iPhone app gives you home inventory scanning, shopping lists and a recipe finder all wrapped up in one interface. Not only can you keep track of what food and stuff you have in your house, but it will also cope with things like expiry dates to make sure you eat it all up before it has to go to waste. Nice touch. We like the fact that it has a location based reminder function, so if you try to leave a store having forgotten to buy something on the list there, it will remind you. Free and cool.
This iPhone and Android app lets you scan in your food and get info from the 1.5 million item database, and you can locate older items by their position on a shelf or in a cupboard, which is handy for those with very large kitchens. It can even track coupons if you’re one of those thrifty types. Available in both free (lite) and Pro versions.
This $3.99 iOS only app offers up the same kind of barcode scanning as our other examples, and also hooks up with an online cloud account for syncing between different devices. The developers seem to have focused on tablets as well, which might suit those who are wedded to their iPad tablet. You can save photos of your items, email the list to other family members and even export lists into a spreadsheet for totally OCD processing.
This product is probably the closest to the Amazon Dash one, in that it incorporates a dedicated hand held scanner as well as software. The interesting thing about this system though, is the fact that it comes with things called ‘asset tags’ which are pre-printed with unique codes. This means you can tag anything in your house and then scan it into the database, which is a great way to keep track of more than just eggs and milk. The whole system, which includes book, media, and software scanning as well as kitchen, costs $179 including the scanner.
Well that’s our selection, let us know if you have any more to add to the list in the comments. Of course the one excellent option we didn’t mention was the good old pencil and paper. It’s fast, easy and recyclable (just turn over the sheet for the next week), which makes it a solid choice for most family members. And no charging up to worry about.