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Best Small Appliances for your Kitchen

Appliances make life at home more convenient. Both large and small appliances save people effort and time every single day. Even though large appliances such as ovens and refrigerators are critical to a functional home, small appliances such as blender, panini maker, waffle maker, coffee maker, food processor, and toaster oven add to the functionality of any home. These top small appliances must be in any practical and functional home.

1. Coffee Maker

A coffee maker is a necessary small appliance. If you have the appliance at home, you can prepare a creamy and tasty coffee just like those made in restaurants. Most of us can't begin the daily grind before having a cup of piping hot coffee. If you are one such individual that must have a hot cup of coffee each morning, then you must consider investing in the right coffee machine. You may get a coffee machine from as low as $200, but if you want conveniences such as programmability, you will need to cough some extra cash.

2. Blender

A blender is important for anyone who needs to mix juices, sauces or soups. Should not be confused with food processors, blenders have the ability to blend or mix two or more ingredients. Blenders have motors that are less powerful compared to those of food processors. The blades of the appliance are also less sharp; hence the appliance is frequently used with ices and liquids. One of the good things about blenders is that they are easy to maintain and require less cleaning. Just like with any other appliance, you will find expensive high-end blenders (over $500) and moderately priced blenders (as little as $20) in the market. The high priced blenders are efficient and will effectively get the job done.

3. Waffle maker

Warm, fluffy, freshly cooked waffles are perfect on a frosty winter morning. Enjoy the aroma as well as the taste of freshly baked waffles by adding a waffle maker to your kitchen appliances. Before shelling out your hard-earned cash, think of style, shape, size, indicator functions, surface, heat/browning control and safety features of the appliance. Above all choose an appliance that is simple to use, easy to clean and can handle small or large groups of waffle eaters.

4. Food processor

This is a very vital appliance for all matters of kitchen tasks. The appliance makes quick work of repetitive kitchen activities such as chopping, pureeing, slicing, blending, mincing, and kneading. Before buying the appliance ask yourself the following questions:
  • Do you do so much mincing, chopping, shredding or slicing?
  • How often will you use the appliance?
  • Is your kitchen large enough to accommodate the appliance? (You need 1 to 1 ½ cubic feet of space)
  • Are you into homemade salsas and dips?
  • Do you own a dishwasher? (the appliance has so many pieces, some of which are sharp and may not be safe to clean by hand)
If your answer to at least three of the above questions is yes, you definitely need a food processor. You can get the appliance for as little $40 and as high as $400 for a tricked-out appliance.

5. Toaster oven

This appliance is more than a luxury in any functional kitchen. The appliance offers convenience and flexibility beyond making a toast or reheating food. A fully-pre-heated oven can bake cakes, cookies, pies and even pizza in less time. A good toaster oven has the following features:
  • Intuitive controls
  • Audible alerts
  • Automatic shut-off
  • A good number of presets
  • Auto-eject racks
  • A nonstick interior
  • Auto-eject racks
  • A removable, accessible crumb tray
Economizers can find good toasters from $35. There are also high-end products that cost more than $150. Needless to say, go for a product within your budget.

6. Panini maker

A panini maker allows you to bring the quality as well as the taste of a restaurant Panini or sandwich to your own kitchen. There so many panini makers in the market, making finding the right model a difficult task. Consider the following features before buying the appliance.
  • Components of the appliance
  • Temperature control
  • Hinges (the appliance should have floating hinges for flexibility)
  • Grill plates
  • Drip tray
  • Heating zones

7. Slow cooker

Even though preferred by most people, cooking meals at home is often hectic. However, if you want to save some time, a slow cooker is you best friend. A slow cooker is designed to simmer its content at low temperatures for a long period hence perfect for tough cuts of meat, soups, and stews. The prices of slow cookers range from $40 to $250. Cost may not determine the performance of a slow cooker. The feature of a given slow cooker will make it better, more convenient compared to another. Look at features such as:
  • Inserts
  • Capacity
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Shape
  • Lids
  • Temperature control

8. Rice cookers

Rice cookers save you time. Those who have less time for cooking should think of investing in a rice cooker. With a rice cooker, you can make perfect rice with the push of a single button. A good rice cooker has the following features:
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • An easy-to-clean bowl
  • An automatic keep-warm setting
  • A digital timer
  • A quick-cook setting
  • A compatible steamer basket
  • A stay-cool exterior
  • A compatible steamer basket
  • Specific modes for different kinds of rice
  • A removable or retractable power cord
  • An included measuring cup and rice spatula
Before you part away with your money, ask yourself the following questions:
  • How often do you plan on cooking rice?
  • Are you looking for a model that does more than just cooking rice?
  • What is the size of your family? (5- to 6-cup rice cooker is appropriate for a family of 4 to 6. Consider the 8- to 10-cup cooker if you have a bigger family of 7 people or more)

9. Electric grill

If you wish to grill meat without creating a nuisance to your neighbors, then the electric grill is just what you need. An electric grill is different from the traditional barbecue since it does not use charcoal. Get a perfectly grilled meat without odor or choking smoke. Even though the electric grill still produces some smoke, it is substantially lower compared to that of the traditional barbecue. Electric grilled food tastes better than pan-fried food. Look at the following features before buying an electric grill:
  • Temperature control (should have a built-in temperature gauge)
  • An adjustable thermostat
  • Price (should be under $200)
  • Size
  • Timer
  • Non-stick
Before you buy an electric grill consider the following:
  • What you will be grilling
  • Your community’s rules
  • The number of people you will be cooking for
  • The availability of storage space?

10. Stand mixer

If you bake frequently, a stand mixer is more than a basic home appliance to you. A stand mixer is much more convenient compared to a hand model. Unlike hand mixers that are cheap (you can get one for as low as $20), stand mixers cost a little more (you can cough up to $500). The basics of a stand mixer
  • Mixing bowl (for adding ingredients)
  • Beater
  • Wire whip
  • Dough hook (used for mixing/kneading yeast dough)
Here are some of the factors to consider when buying a stand mixer:
  • Capacity and bowl design
  • Power
  • Attachments
  • Design features

11. Pressure Cooker

Pressure cookers provide speed and versatility in the kitchen. Essentially any dish that is cooked with steam or in liquid is a candidate for pressure cooking. A pressure cooker works by trapping steam inside the pot. As the pressure builds, the boiling temperature of water increases to about 250 degrees for most cookers. The result is reduced cooking time due to the increased temperature. Recipes that are a great fit for a pressure cooker include:
  • Beans
  • Soups
  • Chili
  • Stews
  • Meat dishes that would typically be slow cooked
Slow cooked taste without the time investment! Just remember, there must be liquid available so steam can be produced to build the pressure.