I like my morning routine, which includes a breakfast of oatmeal and tea. Five days a week you can count on me sitting down to this meal before heading out on the office commute. And on at least one of those days you can count on me turning around halfway, convinced that I’ve left one of the stove burners on. If you’re a family with small children, or if you suffer from the same cooktop amnesia that I do, you might want to consider a cooktop unit with “smart” technologies. Pan-sensing technology is one such feature that detects the presence of a pan—remove the pan and the burner shuts off; return the pan and the burner turns back on. Thermador, one company offering this technology in their cooktops, calls it "Zone Smart". Zone Smart cooktops can also sense the size of the pan and activate the appropriate heating elements, and they are offered in both gas and electric versions. Pan-sensing technologies will save you money by limiting activated elements to only what is necessary, and pan-detection features will ensure that you’ll never again be driving off to work in the morning wondering if you've left the cooktop on. Prices for smart cooktops vary (and I’ve only come across a couple companies offering such technology), but I’ve seen a 36” four-burner electric for $1400, and a 30” for $1200.