The device helps you scan and buy groceries, search recipes, and order takeout with the push of a button.

By Clara Olshansky
Updated June 19, 2017
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amazon dash wand
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

If you want a smarter kitchen, sure, you could shell out $3,000+ for a smart fridge. Or, you could just spend $20 on the Amazon Dash Wand

. The device, powered by Amazon's Alexa assistant, can buy new items for you from Amazon, answer your cooking questions, tell you the weather, and even order out for you.

Probably the most useful feature of the Dash Wand is the inclusion of a barcode scanner. If you're familiar with Amazon's Dash buttons, you'll know that they're a relatively convenient way to reorder commonly purchased items like paper towels or laundry detergent. The limitation, however, was that you'd need a different Dash button for each product. Now, if you're running low on any product, you can just scan the barcode with the wand, and it will automatically place the item in your Amazon cart. And you don't have to worry about accidentally ordering seven jars of mayonnaise though, as you can't actually place an order through the scanner function. You can, however, place an order with your voice (so make sure to find out the prices first).

Additional features of the Dash Wand include the ability to ask Alexa for recipes, search the Internet and place orders for takeout food. Considering Amazon's recent acquisition of Whole Foods, this could mean that the grocery chain's products might be available through Amazon Fresh, and thus, through the Dash Wand. Oh, and it even includes a magnet for easy storage on your refrigerator.

The device, like the Kindle Fire and other Amazon products and services, the Dash Wand is a loss leader: it may be inexpensive, but the point isn't for Amazon to profit on the sale of the wand itself (in fact you get a $20 Amazon Fresh credit when you make your first purchase). It's to get Alexa, Amazon's answer to Siri, into people's homes, and to get us all used to the Amazon way of making purchases and getting our groceries delivered. Basically, to Amazon-ify every part of our lives.