A stainless steel fridge and badass range are your kitchen’s showpieces. But when it comes to preparing delicious food, you probably rely more on small helper appliances—especially if you’re only cooking for one or two.
Here are our most essential and most-efficient mini-appliances. Every one of them will save you time and money in the kitchen.
Panasonic Stainless Microwave with Inverter Technology
Space and energy constraints will dictate what kind of microwave you’re in the market to purchase. But setting aside those variables, this beauty from Panasonic features “inverter technology” that cooks or defrosts food quickly, evenly and thoroughly.
Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster
If you’ve bought many toasters, you know most are loaded with obnoxious sounds and features—but somehow fail when it comes to quickly and evenly toasting a bagel or slice of bread. Not this one. Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
THE TOASTER OVEN
Black & Decker Countertop Convection Toaster Oven
We’ve yet to find a toaster oven than toasts as well as a simpler slotted device. But if you want to save money and skip heating your whole oven, a countertop toaster-oven combo is a great thing to have on hand. From French-bread pizza to lasagna, this combo gets the job done.
Oyama Stainless Rice Cooker
You could spend hundreds on a rice cooker. But unless your goal is some Jiro-quality sushi rice, you’ll be extremely happy with this inexpensive but consistently great cooker from Oyama.
Jupiter Large Commercial Juice Press
A luxury—not a necessity—this juice press is just fun to have around. It’s heavy enough to hold still while you squeeze the sweet nectar out of your favorite fruits, and its design maximizes PSI with minimal effort.
COFFEE BEAN BURR GRINDER
Capresso Infiniti Stainless Steel Burr Grinder
It isn’t cheap. But this heavy, solid-feeling burr grinder provides the most-consistent grind for the price. It’s adept at both coarse and fine grinds. And unlike similar-performing burr grinders, it won’t take up half your kitchen countertop.
Cuisinart Elemental 8-Cup Food Processor
This powerful machine minces with ease and is a lot simpler to clean than most other food processors. Cuisinart makes this processor in a range of sizes. All are equally adept.
Presto Belgian Waffle Maker
Unless you’re a waffle fanatic, you’ll probably only break this out a few times a year after your post-purchase waffle binge. Don’t spend more for an appliance that doesn’t work as well as this well-designed wonder.
Oster Versa Performance Blender
Power, consistency and compact size for less cash than most comparably performing blenders. The seven-year warranty is also a great reason to opt for this Oster model.
Wabash Valley Farms Stovetop Popper
For some inexplicable reason, America loves chemically coated, horrible-for-your-health (and overpriced) microwave popcorn. Untreated bulk corn kernels are cheap, loaded with healthy antioxidants, and pop up in seconds in this tried-and-true stovetop popper.
Bonavita Stainless Steel Brewer
One of very few countertop coffee makers certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, this brewer is a near-perfect appliance. Small and good-looking, it heats water to the 195- to 205-degree range required for optimal coffee flavor. And unlike most thermal brewers, its carafe will keep your coffee hot for hours—even if you leave only a cup or two in the pot.