Baking Tools – Best Of The Best (The Complete List)

OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk

Whether you are a beginner baker just starting out or you are interested in experimenting with some more ambitious pastry projects, there are a few must-have baking tools you need to have in your kitchen at any time.

To help you find your motivation and start building your essential baking toolbox, we’ve done extensive research and picked a few super-useful and highly efficient tools that will help you make your cakes fluffy and your pie crusts flaky every time.

Quick Overview

FEATURES

5/5

MATERIALS

4.7/5

COST

4.7/5

So, let’s begin.

OXO Good Grips Glass 9″ Pie Plate Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk 10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan Steel 9x2 Inch Round Layer Cake Pan
OXO Good Grips Glass 9″ Pie Plate
Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons
Cuisin art Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set
OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk
Original 10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan
9x2 Inch Round Layer Cake Pan

1. The Best Pie Plate – OXO Good Grips Glass 9″ Pie Plate

How we chose the plate?

OXO Good Grips Glass

If you have the right technique and a goodwill, any kind of plate will serve you well and produce great results.

However, with a great pie plate, you can make a pie without having to babysit it.

Also, a great pie plate you spread the heat evenly to achieve the best results.

To help you get a clear view of all the things you need to take into account when choosing your pie plate, we’ve done extensive research and discovered a few important factors you need to keep in mind when choosing your pie plate.

Besides this, there is a number of factors we took into consideration when we were researching pie plates.

Here are some of them:

Size

We mostly focused on plates that are 9 and 10 inches in diameter because this is the most common size.

We also discovered that 9 inches in diameter are a perfect size, but we took into consideration that most manufacturers are not so clear about whether those dimensions include the width of the rim.

This is the reason why we have also included some larger plates.

When it comes to the depth of the plate, we realised that it can significantly affect its capacity which is why we believe that dishes between 1½ and 2 inches deep that have the capacity between 4 and 6 cups could be a great option for most of the pie recipes.

It’s always good to pay attention to the dimensions because there are producers who describe their plates as deep dish.

But, we have discovered that there is no a specific definition that differentiates a deep dish plate from a standard-size pie plate.

So, we consider anything 2 inches or deeper to be deep dish.

Whether you will choose a deeper plate or a shallower one depends highly on your personal preferences.

Shallower ones are a better option if you are more interested in making cream pies and graham cracker crusts.

But, make sure you don’t go too shallow or too deep to be able to make pies in either style of plate.

Shape

There are many variations of baking pie plates from the design of the rim to the slope of the sides and width.

We mostly focused on classic-looking plates with gently-sloped sides that would help prevent a crust from slumping.

A wider rim is also a huge benefit as it enables you to better grasp when moving a dish to and from the oven.

Wavy rims seem to be the most effective ones, but we also found out that rippled rim and creative crust designs are highly effective.

Material

There is a whole range of plates like glass, ceramic, and metal, so we decided to test dishes in all three materials just to see which one is the top-performing one.

But there are a few specific qualities we ruled out along the way:

We tried to avoid metal plates that have nonstick coating because we don’t consider it to be practical for some longer use.

You will definitely want to cut your pie in the pan which would scratch the surface and lose its effectiveness.

We also wanted to avoid cast-iron pie plates because they are quite heavy and they cannot easily go into the dishwasher and they generally require extra care.

So, we focused on lightweight aluminium or steel plates

There are also a few unglazed ceramic pie plates, but they are not so common as other plates.

These absorb rather than trap moisture.

However, we don’t think they are very practical for most people because they stain easily and usually require hand washing without soap.

How to choose the right plate?

After testing plates made of different materials like aluminium steel, glazed ceramic and glass we don’t consider one specific material to be better than others.

Each one of them has its own pros and cons.

For example, clear glass pie plates lets you see whether the bottom of your pie is browned and fully cooked.

But one of the biggest downsides of the glass plate is that it breaks and can then shatter in hundreds of small pieces which is something you definitely want to avoid.

Also, sudden changes in temperatures can have a bad effect on the plate.

For example, some people may decide to put the plate from the fridge directly into the oven and cause damages or even sometimes disasters like injuries.

On the other hand, borosilicate glass is a bit different as it is more resistant to breaking from such thermal shocks which means that it is safest for baking.

However, it is really fragile and more likely to break if you mistakenly drop it.

Glazed ceramic distributes heat more evenly and gently.

Also, ceramic plates vary more in density and thickness than other glass plates and in our experiments, some ceramic dishes took longer to fully bake a pie.

All in all, we recommend avoiding anything that is thick or heavy.

Ceramic dishes can also break if we drop them and they may even crack when exposed to extreme temperature changes.

Also, we tested some ceramic plates and discovered they are safe to go under the broiler.

Finally, metal pie plates regardless of whether they are made of aluminium or steel conduct heat more efficiently than plates that are made from ceramic or glass.

But, you need ot take into account that they may be more likely to overcook some pies that take a longer time to cook like juicy deep-dish fruit pie. Also, bare metal pie plates may be sticky and more difficult to clean than ceramic or glass dishes.

How we tested?

We tested 19 different pie plates.

Though the specifics have varied slightly over the years (for instance, we went from making peach pie to apple pie), we’ve mainly conducted the same set of tests each time.

We did all our baking in two identical ovens.

Each of them was outfitted with a thermometer to confirm that it reached the correct temperature.

We started by blind baking a store-bought, frozen pie crust in each pie plate.

Since mass-produced crusts are more consistent than any homemade dough, this test allowed us to quickly judge how evenly each plate distributed heat.

We chilled the crusts in the pan before baking, pierced them with a fork, and weighed them down with dried beans to prevent the sides from slumping or the bottom from puffing.

After baking, we popped each crust out of the pan to see how evenly it had browned on the bottom.

We then performed the same blind baking test with homemade, all-butter pie dough to learn how evenly each dish could bake a less consistent dough.

To determine how each plate handled a custard filling, which requires a gentle distribution of heat to prevent the delicate custard from curdling or cracking, we prepared a pumpkin pie using homemade crust and the classic Libby’s recipe from the can.

We noted whether the pies baked within the time the recipe specified, we checked the bottom of each for undercooked spots, and we tasted the results.

Finally, we made peach pies (using frozen peaches) to see how each plate handled a thick fruit pie, which can easily turn soggy and needs a long time in the oven—at least an hour—for the fruit juices to gel.

We again noted how long each pie took to bake and whether it was within the range the recipe gave.

Once the pies were cool enough to handle, we flipped each one out of the pan to check for underbaked patches.

Making peach pies also helped us test each plate’s ability to handle extreme temperature fluctuations, since we chilled the bottom crust in the freezer for an hour before filling it, adding a top crust, putting it on a baking sheet, and immediately placing it in an oven set to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although this test went against manufacturer instructions in some cases, none of the plates broke, likely because the baking sheet prevented direct contact between the cold plate and the hot oven rack.

Between tests, we washed each pie plate by hand to see if any were particularly hard to scrub, and we noted any discolouration, scratches, dents, cracks, or warping.

We also measured each pan’s width, height, interior depth, and thickness, and we then filled it with water to determine its capacity.

Our choice – OXO Good Grips Glass 9″ Pie Plate

The OXO Good Grips Glass 9″ Pie Plate conducts heat very well, and in our tests it baked some of the most evenly browned crusts.

OXO Good Grips Glass 9″ Pie Plate

At 2 inches deep, it’s one of the few glass dishes we found that qualify as deep-dish plates.

It fits thick fruit pies better than shallower glass plates but isn’t so deep that custard pies look skimpy.

The rim is wider than most, which makes shaping a pretty crust easy, while the clear glass lets you see when your pie is done.

And unlike with some other glass plates, you can transfer this one directly from freezer to oven since it’s made of borosilicate glass.

Among the 19 pie plates we’ve tested over the years, the OXO dish (along with the Emile Henry) produced some of the most evenly browned crusts.

In every test crusts baked up golden from edge to edge, with no pale spots as we saw on the bottoms and sides of pies baked in other plates.

The pumpkin pie we baked in the OXO plate set into a smooth custard with a few small crinkles around the edges, while the peach pie emerged jammy and juicy with a neatly crimped edge and a crisp, golden-brown crust on top and bottom.

Both pies cut neatly and didn’t stick to the pan.

The OXO plate measures 9 inches in diameter from the inner edge to inner edge and just about 2 inches deep, with a volume of about 6¾ cups.

That’s about 2¾ cups more than the similar-looking Pyrex plate (our runner-up) can hold, making the OXO better for deep-dish lovers.

That said, we found that the OXO plate worked better than some other large-capacity plates for both standard recipes and those that called for deep-dish pie plates.

Although the pre-rolled, store-bought crust we tested in the OXO just barely fit, the pan’s slightly larger-than-average size worked well with homemade pie crust recipes and is deep enough to fit most deep-dish filling recipes, too.

In comparison, plates that were larger (such as the 7½-cup Nordic Ware aluminium pan) or wider (like the 9½-inch Pyrex Easy Grab plate) caused overstretched crusts to slump and produced custard pies that looked underfilled.

The generous ⅞-inch rim on the OXO is one of the widest among the plates we tested (only the Pyrex Easy Grab plate has a wider one).

It gives you plenty of room to crimp or to add some other decorative edge to your pies, and we found that it helped crusts stay in place as they baked.

The rim also makes it easier to grasp the hot pie plate with oven mitts.

Because the OXO pie plate is clear, you can monitor your pie’s crust as it browns in the oven—no soggy bottoms here.

OXO’s dish is made from borosilicate, a thermal-shock-resistant glass that won’t shatter from the rapid expansion or contraction of the glass that happens when it goes abruptly from cold temperatures to hot or vice versa (a problem with tempered-glass Pyrex dishes that publications such as Consumer Reports have reported on).

There’s nothing fancy about the OXO pie plate, but its simple design won’t clash with other serving ware.

It’s dishwasher safe, and easy to clean by hand.

You can also opt to buy the pie plate with a lid if you plan to transport your pies to parties and potlucks.

This pie plate comes with OXO’s Better Guarantee, meaning OXO will replace it if it breaks under normal use due to any defects, and we’ve always found OXO’s customer service to be very good.

We’ll also continue to long-term test this plate to see how it performs over time.

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2. The Best Measuring Spoons – Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons

How we chose?

Although accuracy is the most important aspect of a spoon, there are a number of other features we looked for when deciding which sets to test.

Sur La Table Spice

Includes four main spoon sizes: We considered only those sets that included at least a tablespoon, a teaspoon, a ½ teaspoon, and a ¼ teaspoon.

We considered any additional spoons a bonus: A ⅛ teaspoon can offer extra accuracy, but for amounts that small, it usually won’t hurt to just eyeball half of the ¼ teaspoon.

Other sizes, like a ½ tablespoon or a ¾ teaspoon, let you measure more efficiently but aren’t strictly necessary, since you can make those measurements with other spoons (a tablespoon equals three teaspoons, so ½ tablespoon is the same as 1½ teaspoons).

Easy to scoop with: We preferred spoons with oval or rectangular bowls, which are easier to fit into the narrow mouth of a spice jar.

It’s much easier and more efficient to scoop spices from a jar than to try to pour them out onto the tiny surface area of a teaspoon.

That said, we did include a few sets of particularly well-rated round spoons in our tests.

We ruled out any of those cute novelty spoons shaped like hearts or Mason jars, which in our experience tend to favour design over accuracy.

Gimmicky adjustable spoons were also out, since they tend to leak liquids and have to be cleaned between every measurement.

Made of sturdy stainless steel: After testing one set of plastic measuring spoons in our first round of testing, we decided to test only those made primarily from stainless steel.

One of the experts told us, “Plastic spoons are bulkier, and they don’t store as well.”

They’re bulkier because they have to be: If a plastic spoon were as thin as most metal ones, it would be liable to snap.

Another expert points out that at least one of her sets of plastic spoons seems to have warped in the dishwasher.

Plus, plastic spoons usually have painted-on measurement markings that can wear off over time, whereas most metal spoons have stamped or etched measurements.

Anything ceramic was also out of the question, since that’s breakable.

You should be able to toss your spoons into the sink without a second thought.

Easy to keep together: We looked for sets that came with a ring, magnets, or another mechanism to hold the spoons together.

Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before one spoon disappears.

On the best sets, the mechanism made it easy to quickly separate or reattach the spoons.

Although it’s always possible to use spoons still attached to a ring, it can be irritating to have the entire set dangling in your way as you cook.

With those criteria in mind, we combed through Amazon and other retail sites, and compiled a list of well-reviewed, well-rated sets to test.

We’ve tested 15 sets of measuring spoons since 2016 and considered many more.

How we tested?

Accuracy is important, especially for the baker, and not all measuring spoons are equally accurate, even within a single set.

So we tested the accuracy of every spoon in each set by using each one to measure out water onto the American Weigh SC-2KG digital pocket scale, which is sensitive to differences of 0.1 gram.

We used water because its density is consistent (at least in the conditions of our testing), and the conversion from millilitres to grams is easy (1 mL = 1 gram).

We filled the spoons as precisely as possible, repeated the measurement 10 times for each spoon, and calculated the average in order to account for inevitable human variability.

We then compared that average to the standard weight (in millilitres), defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, of each spoonful of water.

Then we used each spoon to measure a variety of ingredients: baking powder, caraway seeds, clumpy curry powder, slippery dried oregano, staticky dry yeast, and thick, sticky corn syrup.

We looked at how easy it was to scoop and level each ingredient, and to scrape all the corn syrup from the spoon.

We also tried reaching each spoon into the bottoms of two different-size spice jars, one with a narrow mouth, one with a wider mouth, noting which spoons (if any) were too big to fit.

And for sets that came with a ring, we tried using each set with the spoons still attached to test how easy or awkward they felt to use that way.

To test durability, we tried bending each spoon, and finally gave them all a wash and let them sit damp in a sealed bag overnight to check for signs of rust.

Our choice – Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons

The Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons were the most accurate we found, regularly hitting the exact measurements in our tests.


Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons

The rectangular ends fit easily into narrow jars, and the spoons felt substantial and were sturdy enough to resist bending.

Despite their heft, these spoons were still balanced and comfortable to manoeuvre, even when attached to the ring.

And the set comes with both ⅛ and ¾ teaspoons, which you won’t find in every set.

In our accuracy tests, Sur La Table’s spoons were either dead-on or mere milligrams off the mark.

This is as close to perfect as we found with any set we tried, and it’s precise enough for anything you’d want to measure.

By comparison, the tablespoons in a couple of other sets we tested were off by as much as 5 grams—the equivalent of a teaspoon (or a third of a tablespoon!).

In our tests, the slim, rectangular Sur La Table spoons fit easily through the mouths of even the smallest spice jars, something that round measuring spoons, and even some oval-shaped tablespoons, couldn’t do.

The Sur La Tablespoons’ handles are also long enough to clear the length of a jar.

Not so the stumpy grips on some other spoons, which left our knuckles dusted with curry powder.

A frequent issue with rectangular spoons is that ingredients can get trapped in the corners, something we encountered with a few spoons we tested.

Sur La Table’s spoons, however, released cleanly each time, even when we were working with sticky corn syrup.

We also like that the bowls aligned with the handles perfectly (it’s all one piece of metal), so we could easily sweep a knife across to level ingredients.

Spoons that dipped down where the handle met the spoon made levelling slightly more difficult.

The Sur La Table set is made from heavy-gauge stainless steel, which didn’t rust or bend under pressure in our tests.

These spoons will easily survive many trips through the dishwasher, and they will allow you to confidently scoop stiffer ingredients like packed brown sugar or cookie dough.

By comparison, a surprising number of other sets we tested folded under just a little pressure.

Only two other sets we tested in 2019 had a comparable heft and strength.

Like all of the other purely stainless steel spoons we tested, the Sur La Table spoons have measurements stamped into them, so there’s no risk of measurements fading or disappearing.

We also like that the measurements are labelled in millilitres as well as in teaspoons and tablespoons—it’s not a crucial feature, but it doesn’t hurt.

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3. The Best Mixing Balls – Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set

How we chose?

In deciding which mixing bowls to test, we immediately dismissed those made from plastic, silicone, or ceramic.

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set

Plastic bowls can’t function as a double boiler, while bendable silicone lacks sturdiness and can harbour off smells that may transfer to food.

Ceramic bowls are pretty but also very heavy and prone to chipping along the rim.

We also excluded stainless steel bowls with rubber-coated bottoms because, judging from our experience, the seam between the nonskid coating and the bowl can harbour bacteria and mould.

A great all-purpose mixing bowl is nonreactive and lightweight yet sturdy.

Beyond that, we had a short and simple list of criteria for mixing bowls we wanted to test:

Efficient mixing, folding, beating, and tossing – A great mixing bowl has sloped sides that allow you to cleanly toss nuts or chopped veggies without utensils, has deep walls that contain splatters, and has a wide shape for folding delicate batters.

Wide, shallow mixing bowls are great for folding and tossing, but they often can’t contain splashes from a hand mixer.

Although deep and narrow bowls help contain ingredients when you’re using a hand mixer or vigorously whisking vinaigrette or cream, narrow bowls don’t allow for the wide range of motion needed to quickly fold whipped batters, and the extra mixing can deflate your end result.

The importance of the rim – If you’ve ever struggled to get a secure one-handed grip on a mixing bowl while scraping the last bit of cake batter into a pan, you understand the importance of a wide rim.

The rim on a mixing bowl gives your fingers something to hook onto so you can easily pick up the bowl or hold it in place even when one of your hands is busy mixing, whisking, folding, or scraping.

We prefer rims that jut straight out to the side with a rolled or slightly bent edge to help anchor your fingertips.

A bowl’s surface texture is also important – Glass and mirror-finish stainless steel can get slippery when your hands are greasy or wet.

In our tests, we found that brushed stainless steel bowls added traction for fingertips.

Size options

Though we saw bowls ranging in capacity from 1 ounce to 20 quarts, the most common sizes for home cooks are between 1 and 8 quarts.

For stainless steel bowls, we think a set of three with capacities of 3, 5, and 8 quarts is perfect for most home cooks.

A 3-quart bowl is appropriate for small jobs like whisking dressings.

A 5-quart bowl is the right size for whipping up cakes and cookies with a hand mixer.

And a big 8-quart bowl is ideal for making potato salad, coleslaw, and stuffing.

A great all-purpose mixing bowl is nonreactive and lightweight yet sturdy.

Tempered glass is a different story: Most glass bowl sets max out at 4 quarts.

But that isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker.

A 4-quart bowl is plenty big for most home dinner prep and simple baking projects that don’t involve a hand mixer, and anything bigger can be too heavy. (For example, we dismissed this open-stock 6-quart bowl because it was too bulky to be a convenient, everyday kitchen tool)

Tempered-glass mixing bowls are a good option if you don’t do a lot of big-batch cooking or if you’re short on kitchen storage space and want a more attractive bowl that’s useful both in the kitchen and on your table.

Stability

A sturdy build and a flat base will keep your bowl in place while you mix.

Glass and thicker-gauge stainless steel bowls are more stable because they’re heavier.

And wider bases are less likely to wobble or tip.

But Jürgen David of the International Culinary Center gave us a great tip to keep bowls stable: “Just stick it in a cake ring or a small pot to hold it in place.”

A wok ring or a rolled-up dish towel tied into a circle works well, too.

How we tested?

We conducted the same tests on all the bowls.

We first whipped up airy genoise cake batter, which allowed us to perform several important tasks in each bowl.

The recipe for this classic French sponge requires cooking in a double boiler, high-speed whipping with a hand mixer (ignoring our own advice, we even did this in the glass bowls), and folding in sifted cake flour and melted butter at the end.

We looked at how well each 4- to 5-quart bowl fit in a standard 2-quart saucepan for a double boiler, contained splatters from a hand mixer, and allowed for a broad range of motion when we folded ingredients.

As we scraped the batter into cake pans, we gauged how comfortable and manageable it was to hold each bowl in one hand.

To see how easily and cleanly we could toss together ingredients without the use of utensils, we tossed two cups each of Rice Chex and Wheat Chex together in 4-, 5-, and 8-quart bowls until they were incorporated.

Then we checked for pieces of cereal on the floor and countertop.

In our top-performing bowls, we did a second-hand mixer test: whipping cream.

Since genoise cake batter is pretty vicious to begin with, we wanted to see how our favourite mixing bowls contained splashes from thinner liquids.

The best way to mitigate splatters when using a hand mixer is to start slow and gradually build speed as your mixture thickens.

But we wanted to see the worst-case scenario in terms of the bowl’s ability to contain ingredients, so we whipped the cream on high speed from beginning to end.

Our choice – Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set

The Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set is durable, attractive, versatile, and the best choice of all our picks if you use a hand mixer when you bake.

 


Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set


They do a better job at containing splatters from the whirring beaters better than our also-great pick, the Thunder Group bowls.

The Cuisinart bowls are also lightweight enough to easily hold with one hand and have tight-fitting lids for storing leftovers.

But some folks might find the three-piece Cuisinart set limited in capacity with 1½-, 3-, and 5-quart sizes.

If you frequently cook big batches—like pasta salad for 20 people—consider our also-great pick, the Thunder Group mixing bowls.

We’re not saying that those who use hand mixers are the only folks who should get the Cuisinart set, just that if you frequently deploy an electric mixer for baking jobs, this is the best choice of our picks.

The 5-quart Cuisinart bowl contains bits of food flung from the beaters better than the shallower Thunder Group ones.

And as we stated earlier, glass weakens with each bump, scrape, and clank.

The Cuisinart bowls are durable enough to handle everyday use and abuse.

We dropped them on the floor, tossed them in the sink, and subjected them to multiple cycles in the dishwasher on the “pots and pans” setting.

And after all that, we never saw a single dent or rust spot.

In terms of aesthetics, the Cuisinart bowls are an objectively attractive set, much more so than the institutional-looking Thunder Group bowls.

The Cuisinart bowls have a brushed finish that not only looks good but also provides texture that helps you get a good grip.

That brushed metal, paired with the rolled-edge lip, helped us get a secure hold on the bowl with one hand while we scraped the last bit of cake batter into the pan.

The plastic lids included with the Cuisinart bowls snap snugly inside the lip.

This feature makes the Cuisinart bowls good for transporting food for potlucks and storing leftovers in the fridge.

We tested a similar-looking Amazon Basics set with lids that sat loosely in the bowl.

They were leaky and would pop off if you knocked over or dropped the bowl.

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4. The Best Whisk – OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk

How we chose?

Our first task was to decide which shapes and sizes of whisks were worth testing.

11-Inch Balloon Whisk

Although you could go out and buy many different whisks for many different tasks, we think most people really need just one good multipurpose tool that can whip cream, whisk salad dressing, or stir a lump-free sauce with equal efficiency.

Since a whisk in the classic balloon shape can handle the widest variety of tasks, we didn’t test flat whisks (for use only in sauté pans) or dough whisks (just for stirring thick bread doughs).

We also ruled out the many novelty shapes—tornadoes and cyclones, coils and springs, whisks with balls inside them and balls on the tips—that reinvent the wheel without actually improving on it.

We did consider French whisks, which look similar to balloon whisks but are narrower and meant to reach the corners of a saucepan.

And we found some balloon whisks that were particularly fat and bulbous.

But the most versatile balloon whisks fall somewhere in between, neither too fat to reach the corners of a pot nor too skinny to properly aerate egg whites or cream.

We tested only whisks measuring from 10 to 12 inches long (most were 12 inches), since smaller whisks won’t reach into deep pots or whip ingredients as quickly and larger whisks can be awkward to use.

And we ruled out anything that cost over $20, since you won’t find any features on a $30 or $40 whisk that you can’t also find on a $15-or-under whisk.

Beyond basic size and shape, a few features help some whisks perform significantly better than others:

Strength and flexibility

A good whisk should have some bounce.

Springy wires reverberate as you whisk, amplifying the speed and power of each stroke.

Wires that are thick and stiff don’t give you any of that extra force, making whisking more laborious.

But thin, floppy wires can be frustrating to use, too: They get bogged down in thicker mixtures, bending when they should be stirring.

The best whisks are somewhere in between, with wires that are strong enough to muscle through pancake batter but springy enough to vibrate for a couple of seconds when you smack them against the edge of a bowl.

Number of wires

As you stir or whip with a whisk, each individual wire blends the ingredients and pulls in air.

So it only stands to reason that the more wires your whisk has, the faster and more efficiently it will aerate and emulsify.

The folks at Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required) found that their favourite whisks all had at least 10 wires, so we ruled out anything with less—ultimately testing three whisks with 10 wires, two with 12, and one with 11.

Handle comfort

A comfortable handle is especially important for laborious tasks like whipping cream.

When you’re whisking away at a bowl of cream for three or four minutes, you’ll appreciate a handle that’s not too heavy, too bulky, or too slippery. Ideally, the handle should make it easy to hold the whisk in several positions.

– You can also hold the whisk pointing down from your fist, like this.

In this position you can stir using mostly your forearm, keeping your elbow closer to your body than if you held the whisk sticking up from your fist.

– Many people hold a whisk in their fist, as they would a spatula.

But this is not the most efficient way to whip ingredients since it requires you to stir with your whole arm.

– Holding the whisk sort of like you would a pencil is a more efficient way to whip, allowing you to get good rotation using just your wrist.

– You can also hold the whisk pointing down from your fist, like this.

In this position you can stir using mostly your forearm, keeping your elbow closer to your body than if you held the whisk sticking up from your fist.

– Many people hold a whisk in their fist, as they would a spatula.

But this is not the most efficient way to whip ingredients since it requires you to stir with your whole arm.

In our testing, we found contoured handles to be the most comfortable for all grips.

But whisks with plain, cylindrical metal handles are far more common, and are comfortable enough as long as they’re around 1 inch in diameter (skinnier is hard to grip firmly in a fist; thicker is uncomfortable in a pencil grip).

Though whisks with wooden handles can also be more comfortable and less slippery than metal, we didn’t test them because wood can crack if you leave it in the sink or run it through the dishwasher.

Durability

Though it’s not a huge burden to replace a $10 whisk, a good one should last you many years.

Look for whisks with visible epoxy surrounding the wires where they enter the handle: Though some people might mistake it for sloppy construction, that glue is essential for keeping the handle tightly sealed against water and gunk.

A whisk’s wires will inevitably bend a little over time, but they should be resilient enough not to splay out like the bristles on an old toothbrush the first time you shove your whisk in a drawer.

Some whisks come with a little ring around the tip of the wires to hold them in place, which is a nice bit of extra insurance but not essential if your whisk is strong and you take good care of it.

How we tested?

Comfort and efficiency were the qualities we wanted most in a whisk, and we could test for both at the same time with a couple of simple tasks: whipping egg whites and whipping cream.

We whisked three egg whites together with each stainless steel whisk, timing how long it took to whip them into soft peaks.

Then we repeated the process with a cup of heavy cream (in between each whisking task, we rested a few minutes to make sure arm fatigue didn’t throw off the timing).

The timer gave us a rough idea of how efficient each whisk was, but we also paid a lot of attention to the feel of the tool.

Did it spring off the sides of the bowl or clunk against them?

Was the handle uncomfortable to hold in a pencil grip or a fist?

Then we used each whisk to cook a basic pastry cream in our favourite saucepan, noting whether it was strong enough to stir through thick custard or narrow enough to reach into the tight corners of the pot.

As mentioned above, we also attempted (rather unsuccessfully) to make béchamel in a nonstick pan with each silicone whisk.

Finally, to check for durability, we ran both silicone and steel whisks through the dishwasher several times.

And after accidentally melting the handle of the OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Silicone Balloon Whisk, we heat-tested every non-steel handle by resting it on the edge of a hot pan.

Our choice – OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk

For just about any task, from whipping cream to whisking vinaigrette to stirring pancake batter, the OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk is an all-around great tool.

 

OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk

It has 10 strong, springy wires, and is just the right width to excel equally at whipping up cream and reaching into the tight corners of a saucepan.

It’s bulbous, grippy handle is also the most comfortable of any we tried, no matter how you hold your whisk.

Of all the whisks we tested, this OXO model was the easiest and most efficient to use.

A lot of that was thanks to its lightweight wires, which were bouncy and agile rather than wimpy.

In comparison, whisks like the Best Manufacturers 12-Inch Balloon Whip had much thicker, stiffer wires that made whipping feel laborious.

With its springy wires, the OXO was one of the fastest to whip both egg whites and cream.

It took about 3 minutes, 50 seconds to whip egg whites, while most of the other whisks we tested took well over 4 minutes on egg whites.

It took just over 3 minutes to beat cream, not quite as fast as the Winco 12-Inch Stainless Steel Piano Wire Whip (our runner-up) or the Vollrath 12-inch Piano Whip, but still close to 30 seconds faster than everything else we tried.

When we whisked pastry cream, we found the OXO model’s narrow balloon shape easy to manoeuvre around a small saucepan.

The wire end is about 2¾ inches across at its widest, able to reach most of the way into the corners of a pot and keep things from sticking (a narrow French whisk does even better but whips less efficiently, so it’s not a good all-purpose whisk).

Whisks we tested that were 3 or more inches wide—like the Best Manufacturers whisk and the Kuhn Rikon 12-inch Balloon Whisk—had a harder time getting into those tight corners.

The OXO is also an inch shorter than almost all the other whisks we tested, which made stirring in tight circles around a small pot easier (though anything shorter would have put our hands uncomfortably close to the heat).

In the end, we whisked up a thick, silky, lump-free pastry cream with minimal fretting.

A small amount of epoxy around the base of the wires keeps water from getting into the handle.

The comfortable handle is one of our favourite things about the OXO.

The bulbous end fits nicely in your palm but tapers toward the wires so you can hold it in a pencil grip.

And if you do like to use a pencil grip, the soft TPE (thermoplastic elastomer, a rubber-like material) coating is much gentler against your knuckles than hard stainless steel during a vigorous bout of whisking.

The TPE also keeps the OXO’s handle from getting slippery when wet or covered in grease.

The handle on the OXO is tightly sealed to keep water and bacteria out, and in our tests, the whisk survived multiple rounds of hard whisking and trips through the dishwasher without a bent wire or speck of rust.

Beyond that, it’s also covered by OXO’s lifetime satisfaction guarantee.

And it usually costs a reasonable $10.

While we think most people will be best served by the 11-inch model we’ve been writing about, OXO also makes a whisk in a 9-inch size.

It might be a better fit if you do most of your whisking in a smaller bowl.

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5. The Best Bundt Pan – Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Original 10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan

How we chose and tested?

The most common bundt pan shape is fluted, yielding a ring-shaped cake segmented by ridges.

10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan1

In order to make a more accurate comparison across brands, this was the only shape we tested.

But even this one shape varies widely from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Some pans are small enough to hold only 6 cups of batter, but most will hold between 10 and 15 cups.

Most recipes are designed for a 10-cup pan, so you’ll want to get something that holds at least 10 cups to accommodate all options.

It’s also better to have a pan that doesn’t get its volume primarily from width: a wide pan will bake a wide, squat cake.

There are a few things to look for in any pan.

A good cake pan, no matter what the shape, should be sturdy and resistant to denting or warping, otherwise you risk ending up with a misshapen bundt or a leaning layer cake.

The large majority of cake pans are made of metal—either aluminium or coated steel—and I think it’s best to stick to those that are.

Metal is more durable than ceramic or glass, and it’s what most recipes are designed for.

Ceramic and glass conduct heat less efficiently, which will bake your cake more slowly and potentially throw off baking times.

Thin, flimsy metal pans or pans with a dark-coloured nonstick coating (pan coatings come in many shades of grey; “dark” means anything closer to black than silver) should also be avoided because both conduct heat too quickly.

They’ll completely bake the outside of your cake well before the middle is done, so that by the time the middle is done, the crust will be dark and dry, if not burned.

I chose not to test silicone bakeware because all of the experts agree that it will only lead to frustration.

For one thing, silicone pans are floppy, and very difficult to manoeuvre in and out of the oven when full of batter.

A few experts pointed out that cakes baked in silicone tend not to brown at all on the outside.

The best cake pan will bake the outside of a cake to an even golden brown, which gives it some sturdiness and a little caramelized flavour, and also just looks better than a pallid, crustless cake.

Most bundt pans, including all the ones we tested, come with a nonstick coating.

A nonstick surface is especially useful in a bundt pan, which is full of hard-to-grease crevices that can cling to chunks of cake.

It’s also especially important that the pan be thick and not too dark, because bundt cakes are big and need to bake a long time, so they are at high risk of overbaking if those sides heat up too fast.

That being said, nonstick pans can be easy to scratch—you’re not supposed to use metal utensils on them, and most are not dishwasher-safe—and the coating can wear off over time. Some people are also reluctant to use nonstick cookware because they think the Teflon on it can transfer carcinogens into their food, but this is not true.

And, for that matter, most nonstick bakeware doesn’t use Teflon. In fact, as Nordic Ware explains on its website, “An entirely different formulation is necessary to release sugars (associated with baking) than proteins (associated with meats and dairy).”

Most nonstick coatings on bakeware are instead silicone-based and generally considered to be safe.

To test each pan, we baked this dense cream cheese pound cake.

We baked each cake individually in the oven (to avoid uneven baking) for the same amount of time.

Then we checked to see how easily it released from each pan, which we had buttered and floured before filling.

We looked at how evenly the crust browned and paid attention to the shape, the height, and the definition of the ridges.

We also paid attention to how easy each pan was to clean, and whether it was hard to remove crumbs from any of the smaller crevices.

Our choice – Nordic Ware

Out of all the pans we tested, the Nordic Ware produced by far the most beautiful cake.

It’s narrow and deep, so the cake came out taller than any of the others.

None of the bundt pans came close to the definition of the Nordic Ware, which was the only one to alternate angular ridges with rounded ones, and to leave sharp, clean lines between each ridge, rather than shallow, curved divots.

The Nordic Ware is made out of hefty, durable aluminium and has easy-to-hold handles.

It browned evenly and released cleanly, performing significantly better than any other bundt pan we tried.

The cake baked in the Nordic Ware pan came out an even chestnut brown, whereas the cakes produced by the Wilton and the Farberware pans were paler around the centre hole.

We also ruled the Farberware pan out because its centre tube is lower than the outer lip.

All the others have a centre tube that rises above the rim, which is necessary, as we learned from the Farberware pan, to keep the batter from overflowing into the tube and onto the floor of your oven.

We liked the handles on the Nordic Ware pan; they were easier to hold onto than the slippery, curved sides of the handle-less Wilton pan, and it was easier to turn the Nordic Ware upside down to release the cake.

The cake came out cleanly, but that was the case for all of the pans, which are all nonstick.

Still, the clean release only adds to the crispness of the lines on a Nordic Ware cake.

In comparison, the Wilton Recipe Right Fluted Tube Pan and the Farberware Nonstick Bakeware Fluted mould both produced particularly squat cakes.

The Wilton also had the least defined ridges of the bunch.

The thick cast aluminium of the Nordic Ware pan felt nearly undentable, which was not the case for any of the other pans, particularly the Wilton.

Anolon and Farberware both used a relatively heavy-gauge metal, but the Wilton pan felt flimsier.

At least it wasn’t as bad as the Baker’s Secret Basics Nonstick Fluted Tube Pan, which arrived with so many dents around the inner tube that we decided not to test it, since a dent can ruin the look of a bundt cake.

Nordic Ware is also the only manufacturer to offer bundt pans in an abundance of different stunning shapes.

The pan we recommend here is the classic shape, and one of the few with handles, but any of Nordic Ware’s other cast-aluminium pans should also turn out a beautifully browned and perfectly formed cake if you’re looking for something more exotic.

Our pick, the Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Original 10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan

The nonstick coating on the Nordic Ware pan means that it does have to be treated with care.


10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan

Though the coating is strong, like any nonstick finish it’s not impenetrable, and it can be scratched, shortening the lifespan of the pan.

It also can’t be put in the dishwasher.

But a nonstick coating is particularly worth it on bundt pans, which have so many angles and corners that might stick.

And as long as you wash this pan by hand and avoid using metal utensils on it, it should last a good, long time; Tish Boyle said she’s had one of her Nordic Ware pans for 25 years.

The pan also comes with a lifetime warranty.

At around $30, it’s on the expensive end of bundt pans, but the price is by no means outrageous for a pan that performs significantly better than all of the others we tried.

Nordic Ware is actually the original maker of the bundt pan (which was modelled after a traditional European kugelhopf pan), and it still holds the registered trademark on the name, so it stands to reason that it would be the standard-bearer in quality.

The Platinum Collection pan is the favourite of Cook’s Illustrated, and Rose Levy Beranbaum says she “wouldn’t even consider anything other” than one of Nordic Ware’s cast-aluminium pans (the company also makes some formed pans out of a sheet of aluminium, but these are thinner and bake less evenly).

Tish Boyle also considers Nordic Ware pans the “best quality.”

The 4.8-star rating across a whopping 1,480 reviews on Amazon backs that up.

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6. The best cake pans – USA Pan Aluminized Steel 9×2 Inch Round Layer Cake Pan

How we picked?

Certain qualities are unique to a particular type of pan, and we saved those for the individual sections on each below.

Steel 9x2 Inch Cake Pan

But there are a few things to look for in any pan.

A good cake pan, no matter what the shape, should be sturdy and resistant to denting or warping, otherwise you risk ending up with a misshapen bundt or a leaning layer cake.

The large majority of cake pans are made of metal—either aluminium or coated steel—and we think it’s best to stick to those that are.

Metal is more durable than ceramic or glass, and it’s what most recipes are designed for.

Ceramic and glass conduct heat less efficiently, baking your cake more slowly, and potentially throwing off baking times.

Thin, flimsy metal pans or pans with a dark-coloured nonstick coating (pan coatings come in many shades of grey; “dark” means anything closer to black than silver) should also be avoided because both conduct heat too quickly.

They’ll completely bake the outside of your cake well before the middle is done, so that by the time the middle is done, the crust will be dark and dry, if not burned.

A good set of two or three round pans is essential for most layer-cake recipes.

We chose not to test silicone bakeware because all of the experts agreed that doing so would only lead to frustration.

For one thing, silicone pans are floppy, and very difficult to manoeuvre in and out of the oven when full of batter.

And as Rose Levy Beranbaum and Tish Boyle both pointed out, cakes baked in silicone tend not to brown at all on the outside.

The best cake pan will bake the outside of a cake to an even golden brown, which gives it some sturdiness and a little caramelized flavour, and also just looks better than a pallid, crustless cake.

The shape of the corners on non-round pans can vary—some are rounded, some are sharp—but we didn’t rule out either.

Sharp corners look more professional, but it can be hard to clean crumbs from their crevices.

Round corners are easier to clean and to butter, but they can be shallower than the rest of the pan, leaving you with a dry piece of cake or a burnt brownie.

A good pan should release a cake effortlessly, and clean up easily.

Many cake pans these days come with a nonstick coating, though a few widely used varieties don’t.

We chose to test both because each has its pros and cons. Both Boyle and Beranbaum told me they like nonstick pans best, because they release cakes like a charm and can be quickly wiped clean with a sponge.

As Boyle explained, “You really want any little bit extra that’s going to ensure that the pan is not going to stick.”

That being said, nonstick pans can be easy to scratch—you’re not supposed to use metal utensils on them, and most are not dishwasher-safe—and the coating can wear off over time.

For that reason, you’ll never see them in professional kitchens, and Nick Malgieri told me he “would never trust them.”

He prefers uncoated pans, which may be prone to sticking, but will work just fine if lined with parchment.

Some people are also reluctant to use nonstick cookware because they think the Teflon on it can transfer carcinogens into their food, but this is not true.

And, for that matter, most nonstick bakeware doesn’t use Teflon.

In fact, as Nordic Ware explains on its website, “An entirely different formulation is necessary to release sugars (associated with baking) than proteins (associated with meats and dairy).”

Most nonstick coatings on bakeware are instead silicone-based and are generally considered to be safe.

For round pans, we limited our testing to pans 9 inches in diameter and 2 inches tall.

All of the experts we spoke to agreed that this is the most common size a recipe will call for, and the best choice if you’re going to buy only one size.

The most common square and rectangular cake pan sizes are 8 by 8 inches and 13 by 9 inches, and these are the ones we chose to include.

For loaf pans, we chose to test 9- by 5-inch pans, since they’re better for handling voluminous yeast breads as well as quick breads.

They’re also what both Tish Boyle and Malgieri recommend as the “most common.”

How we tested?

To test the round pans, we first baked a simple yellow cake, using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, with a buttered and floured pan (Fine Cooking has a good video demonstration of how to do that).

We baked cakes one at a time to ensure even baking in the centre of the oven, and bake each for the same amount of time.

We then baked a batch of cinnamon rolls—using the canned Pillsbury kind for ease and speed—in each buttered pan to see how much sugar stuck to the bottom, and how difficult it was to clean.

To test square pans (to save time, we tested only 8-inch pans, and assumed that their 13- by 9-inch counterparts were of the same quality), we baked the same yellow cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen that we used to test the round pans, after first buttering and flouring each pan.

Again, we baked cakes one at a time to ensure even cooking.

To test loaf pans, we baked two recipes.

First was a basic banana bread recipe from Cook’s Illustrated (also available without a subscription from Leite’s Culinaria).

We looked for a crust that was chestnut brown, not nearly black, and had a fully cooked centre.

We also looked for bread that rose into a nice dome and came out looking like a loaf, not like a brick.

Then we baked a simple white sandwich bread in each pan, using this recipe from King Arthur Flour.

Ideally, a loaf of yeast bread should balloon above the edge of the pan and bake quickly enough that the crust sets while it’s still tall and puffy.

That will yield the most attractive loaf, with slices taller than they are wide and mushroom-like in shape.

The crust should be an even golden brown, and the loaf should pop out easily from a buttered pan.

For all pans, we ran both a butter knife and a paring knife over the surface of each, to see how easily it would scratch.

Though all of the manufacturers of nonstick pans say you shouldn’t use metal utensils on them, we know that this is sometimes hard to avoid, so during our testing, we wanted to find out how durable each pan really was.

And when washing each pan, we inspected the corners to see if any crumbs had gotten jammed in there.

Our choice – Aluminized Steel 9×2 Inch Round Layer Cake Pan

After several hours of research and two rounds of baking in eight different cake pans, we think the USA Pan Aluminized Steel 9×2 Inch Round Layer Cake Pan is the best choice for any baker.


Steel 9x2 Inch Round Layer Cake Pan

It releases cakes effortlessly, and it turns out layers of yellow cake that are evenly browned to just the right golden hue.

It’s sturdy, and though its nonstick coating isn’t impenetrable (none are), it holds up well even under a paring knife.

And at a little under $13, it won’t break the bank, even if you buy two or three.

The cake made in the USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel 9×2 Inch Round Cake Pan baked up almost flat on top, popped out effortlessly, and was a beautiful golden brown.

Though the four other nonstick pans we tested also released their cakes effortlessly, not all baked such a beautiful cake.

Worst was Cuisinart’s Easy Grip Bakeware pan, which produced a dark crust thanks to an exterior coating that is almost black.

That pan was also only 1½ inch deep, which could be a problem with recipes slightly larger than the one we tested.

On the other end of the height spectrum was Nordic Ware’s Natural Aluminum Nonstick Commercial pan.

It baked an evenly golden cake, but it was half an inch taller than any other pan, tall enough to bake the top of the cake darker than any other.

Of the three uncoated pans we tested, some performed better than others, though none as well as the USA pan, or even some of the other nonstick pans. Both the Parrish Magic Line pan and Williams-Sonoma’s Traditional touch pan released the cake in one piece (though a thin layer of cake got left behind in both), but both cakes came out very pale and with a nearly underdone, slightly sunken centre.

It seems that the uncoated aluminium of both reflects much more heat away from the cake, baking it more slowly.

The anodized aluminium Fat Daddio’s pan did a better job of browning the cake, but the cake stuck terribly, leaving a big chunk behind.

The cinnamon roll test was where the USA pan really proved its nonstick power.

The rolls left a swirl of sugar residue in all but the USA pan, and though that sugar cleaned off easily from the other nonstick competitors, that still put the USA a notch above.

The difference, according to the manufacturers, is the pan’s slightly corrugated bottom.

Tish Boyle, who uses USA pans regularly, agreed, “The ribbed surface makes a difference.”

USA also claims the texture makes the pan more sturdy, but we’ll only know that after long-term testing.

In the scratch test, USA, Williams-Sonoma’s Goldtouch, and Chicago Metallic were the most difficult to damage, though not impenetrable.

The Goldtouch, which is ceramic-based and claims to be “more resistant to abrasion than normal nonstick surfaces,” actually felt a little harder than the other two.

But scratches were still not deep on the USA pan (which uses a silicone-based coating), and its ridges kept the knife off of half the surface.

The uncoated pans weren’t scratch-resistant either, but it shouldn’t affect the lifespan of the pan or cause cakes to stick more.

Overall, the USA wins out for a few reasons.

First, we think the corrugation does give it a slight edge in the nonstick department, as demonstrated by the cinnamon roll test.

Second, it also comes in an 8-inch or a 10-inch size, whereas the others have only an 8-inch alternative.

It’s good to have options, and if you’re a frequent baker you may want more than one size. Finally, it’s affordable.

So is the Chicago Metallic pan, but the Williams-Sonoma is not: At nearly $25, it’s a good $10 more expensive (plus shipping) than either of the others.

And as it turns out, Williams-Sonoma’s pans are actually made by USA Pan (as Cook’s Illustrated notes), so why splurge when you can get nearly the same thing for significantly less?

One unfortunate inevitability of pans with perfectly straight sides is that they don’t nest inside each other.

This can make them a pain to store because they take up a lot of room, but it’s worth clearing space if you really want to make beautiful layer cakes.

If you have a shelf big enough, try storing them on their sides, like books.

And, as with all nonstick pans, you do have to be careful. USA recommends you use only non-metal utensils on it, and never clean it with an abrasive sponge.

It’s also not recommended for the dishwasher, but few of these pans are.

Still, it’s sturdy enough that it should, with proper treatment, last a long time.

The USA pan is made in America and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

One of our best experts says that it is her “favourite pan”.

It’s highly rated on Amazon, with 4.8 out of 5 stars over 136 reviews, and it was recommended by Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required).

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Why Should You Trust Us?

Our experts are people with extensive experience.

They have spent many years working aps professional bakers and getting familiar with all the latest trends in baking and cooking.

They are also familiar with all the ins and outs of making everything from bundt cakes to cupcakes and will use any excuse to bake a fancy layer cake.

They frequently read reviews and recommendations from some of the most popular magazines like Cooks’ Illustrated, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Fine cooking and the Kitchn.

The yalso follow forums like Food52, Chowhound, Cake Central.

They also frequently interview other experts all of whom hae extensive experience in baking.

Therefore, we invested a lot of our time, knowledge and experience into researching the baking tools and focused on providing the most relevant information and all the things you need to know to choose the tools that will perfectly suit your needs.

We believe that creating magic in the kitchen is not possible without the right baking tools.

We hope that this review will help you in your decision-making process and help you become a professional baker.

If you would like to find out more information on which baking tools would help you create the best possible cakes, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to help you and answer all of the questions you might have.

In the meantime, you can read some of our other reviews and learn about the best kitchen products that will perfectly meet your needs.

The Top 6 Must-Have Large Kitchen Appliances

KitchenAid

Choosing the right large kitchen appliances can add some groove to your kitchen.

However, like with any small or big appliance, choosing the one that will perfectly meet your needs is a challenge.

That’s why we’ve done thorough research and compiled a list of the most popular and essential large kitchen appliances every kitchen should have.

Quick Overview

FEATURES

5/5

MATERIALS

4.7/5

COST

4.7/5

So, here we go!

bosch machine GE Adora JGB720 KitchenAid KRFC300E GE JVW5301 GE JGS760
Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N
The best Gas Stove - GE Adora JGB720
Refrigerator - KitchenAid KRFC300E
Range Hood - GE JVW5301
Wall oven - Café CTS70DP2NS1
Slide-in gas range - GE JGS760

1.The best dishwasher – Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N

How we chose the dishwasher?

bosch machine

First, there were a few essential requirements that we focused on when choosing the dishwasher.

These features included:

1. Nylon-coated racks – unlike vinyl or PVC which can easily crack over time, nylon is much more resistant and is unlikely to expose the wireframe underneath.

2. A soil sensor – this sensor is also known as turbidity sensor. It tells your dishwasher when it should extend or end the cycle.

This depends on how much junk is floating in the wash water.

3. A stainless steel tub – Unlike a plastic tub, this tub dampens the noise and speeds up the drying process.

Apart from these, there were also a few very important features we paid close attention to:

Flexible and intuitive racking – there is a height-adjustable upper rack as well as a couple of folding tines that allow you to make space for both larger and smaller items like pots, trays or large bowls.

There is also a third rack for utensils that makes room on lower racks.

When researching, we also focused on the rack layout and tine spacing.

While some racks have obvious zones, other racks are more free form.

Zone approach attracted more of our attention, but it also has some downsides we kept in mind during our decision-making process.

Quiet an operation – like with many appliances and devices, the noise a certain device makes is also important when choosing the one that will fit your needs.

That’s why we have focused on quiet operation.

Anything less than 45 decibels is essentially inaudible unless you are standing right next to the machine.

This means that if you are in the room next to the kitchen you practically won’t be able to hear it.

Today, you can easily find a practically silent dishwasher.

A good reputation when it comes to customer service and reliability – one of the essential things you need to keep in mind when choosing almost any appliance is customer support.

In case something breaks, you need to be able to communicate with someone who can help you solve the problem instantly.

One of the easiest and the best ways to check the quality of the product is reviews.

Through reviews, you can find our if there are some recurring issues you need to pay attention to.

There were also some less important features we ere aware of but didn’t focus so much on:

Cleaning ability – while it is very important that cleaning is done as easily as possible, it is not one of the crucial features a dishwasher should have.

Why?

Because most dishwashers are excellent cleaners.

To check the performance of each dishwasher we load them with dishes and not just smaller ones but also bigger ones.

These dishes are very filthy which makes them even harder to wash and clean.

It turns out that almost 100 per cent of dishes come out super clean.

Of course, some designs might work better than others.

However, basic designs already work very well, so we didn’t favor any extras.

Drying style – almost half of the dishwashers have a heat – dry option, which washes any moisture off the dishes.

The other half of the dishes are designed to rely on condensation, which means that there is no point adding some extra heat after the final rinse.

Although heat drying works much better on plastic it generally uses more energy.

Condensation drying is good for metal and ceramic and uses very little additional energy.

Which one you will choose depends highly on your preferences.

Cycles and options – Most people use normal/auto, heavy, and rinse cycles.

During the process of the election, we slightly favored models that have options to run a faster, normal – powered cycle.

However, we didn’t pay much attention to these details.

Advertised capacity – this is another feature we focused on when choosing the dishwasher.

This capacity is measured in several place settings.

The fact is that this is measured in several place settings.

It’s an antiquated concept so we generally didn’t pay much to it either.

Generally speaking, most machines hold somewhere between 14 and 15 lace settings.

Efficiency – although efficiency is, by all means, an important criterion, we didn’t prioritize this because most of the machines are super-efficient.

However, one thing we took into account is the Energy Star Badge.

This is something most dishwashers qualify for.

It’s important to know that the most efficient dishwasher will save around $10 of electricity per year compared to a typical Energy Star model

Waste disposal – In most cases, dishwashers use filters to dispose of food junk.

These filters rarely break meaning that this feature does not play a major role when choosing a dishwasher.

Also, they have to be clean just a few times a year.

There are also models with masticator that pulverizes the food waste.

However, only a few models still have this, so it’s not such an important feature.

Warranty – last but not the least, is the guarantee that your dishwasher will work for many years to come regardless of the circumstances it is in.

Most of the dishwashers come with a one year warranty that covers labour and parts.

However, these are not the parts that tend to break often. When it comes to the cost of labour, most producers don’t offer warranties beyond one year.

All in all, a good dishwasher that has all of these features costs between $650 to $850.

Of course, the best models are the most reliable ones offering plenty of reliable and rack space and are pretty silent.

However, you can find a decent well – functioning machine for less money that has most of these features and meets the main criteria when it comes to noise, solid construction, and stainless tub.

These mostly don’t have soil sensors.

But, you need to bear in mind that spending a few extra dollars could get you a super-efficient dishwasher with better reliability and longevity.

Our pick: Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N

This dishwasher is probably the best choice for most people for several reasons.

Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N

It’s much more spacious than the rest of the dishwasher we have tested and you can load different kinds of dishes of all shapes and sizes easily.

Customer service is more helpful than other customer services.

It is also super – quiet that you can barely hear it when sitting in another room.

This model uses less energy than other models and it is great at drying plastic.

Also, the one-hour wash-and-dry option is simply unique at this price.

When it comes to racks, they are the best thing about this dishwasher.

They are much larger, more convenient and easier to lead when compared with other competitors.

So, if you have a big family and need to wash piles of dishes daily, this machine is just what you need in your kitchen.

Plus, you can load several oddly-shaped dishes which usually don’t easily fit into another dish washer which is also a huge advantage and one more reason why this machine should be your pick.

Another thing that caught our attention is the v-shaped third rack that is tucked at the top of the tub.

According to many reviews that we have read this is ultimately the biggest advantage of this dishwasher.

The third rack is usually ideal for shallow trays.

In this way, you will be a bel to take out cutlery basket and make some space for plates and pots.

Another great thing is that this rack in 300 series has a dip in the centre that creates extra space allowing you to load spatulas, measuring cups, whisks, sippy-cup lids, and others.

This series also has a handy height-adjustment feature on the middle rack that allows you to load tall items.

Since this machine is very quiet and almost impossible to hear when it finishes washing the dishes, some of the models project a red dot on the floor so that they would let you know they are running.

If this machine needs repair, it is covered by one of the best warranties you can find with this model.

Bosch covers parts and labour for a year which usually comes with most models.

When it comes to customer service, it’s much better than the customer service you might get with other models.

By reading through thousands of reviews we can only say that that the Bosch service seems to get most of the compliments.

Of course, it is not perfect, but far better than the others.

We have already mentioned that this model is super quiet which is another big plus.

It runs at the volume of 44 decibels which means that people standing in the room where the dishwasher is won’t even be able to hear it.

On top of this, this model has a few options you usually don’t find with other models.

Also, it is super efficient as it uses about 2.9 gallons per load and uses 269 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.

There are a few midrange dishwashers and several high-end dishwashers that use even less energy, but very few use less water.

The 300 series comes in 17 variant.

Most of the differences are esthetic, but they all generally perform identically.

The best variant has a recessed handle with a stainless finish and visible controls.

All of them come in black, white and panel-ready finishes and with scoop handles.

All in all, great value for money.

Variants

The 300 Series (our main pick) comes in 17 variants.

The differences are mostly aesthetic, and they all perform identically.

The best-selling variant has visible controls and a recessed handle with a stainless finish.

(That’s the one we’ve linked to most often in this guide)

But they also come in black, white, or panel-ready finishes, and with scoop handles or bar handles.

Some retailer-specific models come with extra features, but most of them aren’t very important.

Young children might mess with the buttons on front-control models, or hang from the bar handle like a jungle gym.

But apart from those practical considerations, your choice should mostly boil down to personal taste, so you should pick whatever you’re comfortable with.

Here’s a chart to help you sort through all the options.

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2. The best Gas Stove – GE Adora JGB720

During our research, we mainly focused on gas-powered stoves, 30 inches wide, because this seems to be the most common size used widely.

GE Adora JGB720

All the stoves we researched have finished sides and backgrounds and they are not as expensive as some other models.

How we chose our model?

As with all the appliances, we focused on a few important features when analyzing which gas stove would perfectly fit anybody’s needs while paying attention to the price.

We have compared almost 60 models and consulted a bunch of experts to find the perfect one.

So here are the features we consider to be the most important when choosing a gas stove:

Cooktop

When it comes to the power burner, you can expect to have 17000 or 18000 Btu on better models.

The fact is that the stronger burners will heat your cookware much faster, so you will need to wait just a couple of minutes for the water to boil or for a pan to get hot enough.

According to most readers, it is better to have the strongest burners in the front row of the cooktop, but then again, some other people think it’s better to have the strongest ones at the back of the cooktop so that kids would not be able to reach them.

Most gas ranges also have a 500 Btu simmer burner which is useful when you need to simmer, hold or melt or even minimize the risk of scorching.

Plus, gas ranges usually come with a central griddle that comes useful when cooking bacon, eggs or making pancakes or grilled cheese without a pan.

Another great feature is continuous grates as they make it easy to slide cookware around the surface of the cooktop and helps you balance larger items better than the smaller ones.

Also, a lot of people think that smaller grates simply look much nicer.

Most of the stoves that have this feature cost around $700.

Ovens

Another thing you need to bear in mind is, of course, the capacity of the stove.

Most ovens are larger than 4.8 cubic feet, which gives you plenty of room to prepare meals like Thanksgiving turkey a huge pizza.

Almost an oven comes with two racks, but some models have three racks which enable greater flexibility.

If you decide to spend more than $700 on a stove, you need to make sure you have a convection fan.

If you decide to turn it off, you may expect to cook it at lower temperatures for less time.

Most of the gas ranges come with a broiler.

With high-tier and mid-tier ranges, this is an overhead boiler that you can find in the main cavity.

On the other hand, cheaper models mostly have a dedicated broiler drawer beneath the oven which might be difficult to reach and in most cases, it doesn’t work like with the integrated rollers.

So, you might want to avoid models that are cheaper than $700 if you are intending to use a broiler a lot.

From our point of view, it’s great to have a self-cleaning mode.

Repair technicians believe that high-heat cleaning models will significantly shorten the span of your model by damaging the electronics or heating the lament.

However, this is also one of the easiest ways to clean the oven which is a big advantage.

Manual cleaning is pretty hard, demanding and time-consuming.

Some of the ranges also have a steam-based, pseudo-self-cleaning feature, but this is not effective according to most reviews that we have read.

All in all, f you decide to spend more than $700 on a range, it should have a high-heat cleaning mode.

Quality and design

When it comes to quality and design, we believe that one of you should go for when choosing a stove is stainless steel.

During our research, we mainly looked for models that have knobs that felt securely fastened at the front of the range, without a large gap between the body and the dial.

Also, we looked for ovens that opened smoothly but not too lightly.

We also looked for models where racks and drawers glided and that have a tightly laminated control panel.

We also jiggled the grates just to see how securely they were on the cooktop and how easy it is to remove them from the cooktop.

Reliability and customer service

As we have already mentioned, another important feature is definitely customer service.

We don’t say that the model you choose will necessarily break down, but you need to keep in mind that there is a possibility you will have to consult customer service in case something happens.

This is why customer service plays a major role here.

We favored slightly older and more popular models because we know that they have a bunch of user ratings, which gives us more insight and helps us learn more about them.

Since we have extensive experience in consulting experts in various things and features regarding each appliance, smaller or big one, we have also gathered invaluable feedback from repair technicians about the brands they consider to be most reliable.

Of course, this is only contributing to our decision – making process and doesn’t play such a big role.

Less important features

Besides the essential features that we believe any stove should have, there are also some less important nice-to-have features which we didn’t focus so much on when choosing our stove.

Many gas stoves come with a wok grate, a temperature probe or any other cooking accessory which can be cool and useful.

However, you can buy each one of them separately as well.

There are some extra cooking modes such as food-specific presets, scan-to-cook modes and delayed starts but we honestly doubt that anyone would ever use them.

We considered these models because it is really hard to avoid them, but this is not something that we put on our list of priorities and we didn’t favor them so much.

Wi-fi connectivity is also a nice-to-have feature, but let’s face it – it won’t baste the turkey, or turn the turkey sheet.

There are a few cases when internet connectivity might come in handy but these cases are so rare that we don’t have to list it on our list of the most important features.

Our pick – GE Adora JGB720

Once we have done all the research and analyses a variety of gas stoves, we have concluded that the best option would be GE Adora JGB720.

Our pick - GE Adora JGB7201

This is a freestanding gas range, which seems well-built and sturdy with almost no signs of defects or some kind of malfunction.

Also, it is available in more, better-looking finishes that most ranges at this price (below $1000 roughly).

As for the cooktop, it is versatile and it has a decent-sized oven with a self-cleaning mode and convection.

On the other hand, this oven doesn’t have a number pad.

It comes with two racks and only one retailer offers it – Home Depot.

However, we consider this model to be the most freestanding out there on the market.

We had an opportunity to check models at home Depot and we didn’t find any signs of wear and tear or with the build quality.

The control panel was tightly laminated and the knobs felt pretty secure.

Also, the racks and the storage drawer slid rather nicely and easily in and out.

Also, they extended nicely to the edge of the cooktop which allows you to have more room to work.

Finally, they are made of cast iron which is a huge plus if we take into account that it is more heat retentive than steel.

To get all the bits and pieces and find out about its performance, we dived deep into numerous reviews we could find and found no evidence of reliability problems or anything similar.

Most of the problems we encountered were about either shipping or installation, defective units or some issues that could be said almost about any kind of gas stove.

This model comes in four finishes: stainless steel, slate, black stainless steel and black slate.

Most ranges come in just stainless or glossy black and white.

Luckily, Adora gives you more options to choose from and find the one that will perfectly fit into your kitchen and the interior.

This specific model has 18000 Btu power burner which means that it is as efficient as any other gas stove at lower or higher prices.

To put it simply, it should be able to boil a gallon of water in 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the pan and other materials used.

Cooktop layout is another thing we especially like when it comes to this model.

It has the two most powerful burners upfront – 15000 Btu burner on the right and 18000 Btu power burner on the left.

Most people use these burners most frequently and a lot which means that it’s great to have them in the front row.

Surprisingly, this is not the case with most of the competing ranges.

In the back row, there is a 5000 simmer burner on the left and 9500 Btu burner on the right.

We cannot be certain, but we believe that the simmer burner is low enough to handle tasks like eating butter without burning it too easily.

On top of this, there is also an 8000 oval-shaped burner in the centre.

It also comes with the griddle you can use over that burner.

Finally, the whole cooktop surface is covered with continuous iron-cast grates making it easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

This oven is also quite spacious allowing you to place a Thanksgiving turkey easily.

A single-fan convection mode spreads the heat more evenly and allows for more uniform cooking temperatures.

Its size is 5.0 cubic feet.

Also, it offers a high-heat cleaning option plus a steam-and-wipe mode.

On Home Depot, most users gave this model four stars which makes it the most positively reviewed gas stove we have seen.

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3. The best counter-depth refrigerator – KitchenAid KRFC300E

A refrigerator is another big appliance that you simply must-have in your kitchen.

KitchenAid KRFC300E

It is one of the most essential appliances as it does the most important thing – it stores food.

We did some in-depth research, analyzed numerous reviews, paid close attention to the most important features and decided that Kitchenaid KRFC300E is the best pick.

Here’s why.

How we picked Kitchenaid KRFC300E?

Most fridges work well.

This is why we focused on the things that make them pleasant to live with:

No obvious signs of malfunction: like most appliances, fridges work well for some time and then they simply break.

Since we are not able to predict how long they will last, we dived into a bunch of reviews and read about other people’s experience so that we would know what models and functionalities we should focus our attention on.

For instance, if it turns out that there are a lot of complaints about certain issues like faulty doors, ice-maker leakage, compressor failure, etc. we definitely won’t recommend that specific model.

High-quality built and layout – another thing we focused on is naturally the design.

Since you will be using your fridge many times per day, it must be pleasant to use and that it can withstand heavy use.

In a counter-depth model.

The whole layout and use of space are particularly important because the models generally have 20 per cent less capacity than typical types of fridges.

We also thought about whether it is easy to pull out drawers, whether the shelves feel sturdy and thick.

We thought about whether the design is intuitive and whether the fridge takes up a large amount of interior space.

So, we considered a wide range of factors before making our final decision.

Style – besides functioning, performance, size and quality, we also paid attention to the style.

This is something that most people consider very important because it has to fit nicely into the interior.

This is why we prioritized models with professional look handles, bright lighting, clean lines, etc.

When it comes to the price, we wanted to narrow our choice, so we set a price cap of around $3000.

We examined around 11 models at this price.

Our pick – KitchenAid KRFC300ESS

There is a whole list of reasons why we have chosen to buy this specific model.



Let’s begin from the beginning.

It has an amazing look.

It has a sturdy build, aesthetic appeal, and super handy features.

It’s a spacious fridge with a minimalistic, sleek exterior and subtly textured handles.

This specific model has some extra features included that you can rarely see with the fridge of this type which is another major reason why this one should be your pick.

For example, it includes a produce preserver which captures ethylene (a gas that causes food to ripen and rot) and a metal wine rack.

In this way, your food will stay well-preserved without producing bad smell.

Also, your fruit and vegetables will taste good for a longer period.

This is a huge benefit as one of the biggest problems with most refrigerators is the bad smell the food produces over time.

When it comes to size, it has a 20-cubic-foot capacity which is standard for a counter-depth fridge of this price range.

Since this model is tight on space, it’s better to choose the model that a water dispenser that comes through the door as it will take up much space.

Luckily, this model has a small dispenser on the inside of the fridge and there is an ice-maker inside the freezer.

Pretty awesome, isn’t it?

There is a whole range of other features which are more or less the same as with other refrigerators.

Some of these include five glass spill-proof shelves, a butter tray, two sliding wire baskets in the freezer, digital temperatures control and five transparent door bins.

There are three finishes of this model: white, stainless steel and trendy black stainless.

A few minor drawbacks

Like with most big home appliances, there are various issues you can encounter sooner or later.

This model is no exception. However, those issues are so small that you don’t really have to worry about them.

For example, there might be some issues with cooling, ice-maker breakage, door closure, etc.

However, be mindful that ratings for this fridge are absolutely above average.

Also, you may find it hard to operate the internal water dispenser but this is also not a deal-breaker.

Who should get this fridge?

Here we cover only freestanding counter-depth fridges which are noticeably shallower than standard-depth fridges.

Shallower fridges can be really practical because they are much easier to clean as the back of the fridge is within reach.

Standard depth fridges can be difficult to handle because their extra depth simply doesn’t fit well into some kitchens.

These fridges don’t look so sleek because they are not built-in but they are still rather stylish and easier to install.

Also, note that most freestanding fridges come in French door design which is a huge advantage as this kind of fridge can accommodate large items.

There are also many other designs available.

However, one of the essential things most people focus on when buying a fridge is how spacious it is.

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4. The Best Range Hood – GE JVW5301

Why do most people need a range hood?

GE JVW5301

To get rid of smoky air and bad smells from your kitchen.

To find the one that will perfectly meet your needs, we spent around 30 hours researching all the important features and the best hoods out there on the market.

Our choice is definitely GE JVW5301, and here is why:

How we picked the range hood?

We have talked with a bunch of experts to find out what things we should pay close attention to.

So we narrowed our search to the models with features that should make you happy and help you get the fridge that you deserve.

Crucial – minimal features:

First, we eliminated all the models that didn’t meet basic requirements like the following:

Between 300 and 400 CFM of air movement – According to experts, you should have a typical 30 or 36-inch range of a cooktop, a hood in the 300 to 500 CFM range which is adequate.

There is no need to choose anything more than that, only if you use very smoky cooking methods (like, for example, if you tend to cook at high temperatures).

Also, keep in mind that too much air can complicate things.

In this way, you are not only wasting a lot of air, but you are also creating negative pressure in your home which is something you want to avoid because it draws in unheated or uncooled infiltration air from outside of your house. So, in most cases, you won’t need such a powerful fan.

HVI certification – while doing our research we only considered hoods that are certified by Home Ventilating Institute.

These HVI tests assure you that any power, noise ratings and other specs of any hood you have chosen or are planning to buy are in accordance with the producer’s report.

At least three fan speeds – performance and efficiency play a big role when it comes to the range hood.

Three speeds should be the minimum number of settings one range hood should have.

For example, the lowest speed is usually good for boiling water and medium speeds are good for low-powered frying like grilled cheese or making an egg.

And it should not be too loud.

Higher settings are ideal for some more demanding cooking like searing or stir-frying or even for smelly kinds of foods like fish.

Although it can be quite loud, you won’t need this option so much.

A variety of finishes – one of the things we also focused on ways to find different types of finishes so that everyone can a fridge that is a perfect fit for their home and kitchen designs and styles.

Adjustable lighting options – different types of hoods come with different lightening.

However, some sorts of hoods have better lighting than others.

From our point of view, the best hoods have one bulb or even more bulbs or that have adjustable lighting levels (like, for instance, medium, low, off).

There are producers of some models that call their low setting night light because some people like to leave this light overnight.

This is why we mainly searched for hoods that have dim lighting options.

Important features

There are a few features that make hoods more pleasant to use and this is why they are considered as essentials when it comes to choosing the right hood.

Automated fan – some models come with a heat sensor that automatically turns the hood on once the cooktop reaches a certain temperature.

Also, this might automatically adjust the speed based on the amount of heat or grease it senses, and then automatically turn off once the air is cleared.

Less noise – if hoods have higher fan speeds they can be incredibly loud.

This is why we mostly opted for the much quieter models.

The noise is measured in sones – units of loudness that account for perceived sound.

Most range hoods tend to fall somewhere between 5 and 8 sone range at their highest speeds.

This is around 60 70 decibels (which is about some noise TV makes when it is turned up high).

Standard features

Besides these great and important features, there are also standard ones that almost any hood should have.

These include:

Warranty – in most cases, hoods come with a one-year warranty that covers the motor if it breaks, although this rarely happens.

Efficiency – efficiency plays an important part when choosing a hood.

Most of the hoods we analyses are highly efficient and meet the most important requirements.

They are not big energy users.

Washable filters – when buying a hood, you need to pay attention to whether it has washable filters because this allows you to wash it in a dishwasher

The best value for money when it comes to hoods is somewhere between $300 and $600.

Most hoods in this price have enough fan power to clear your kitchen and make it devoid of any smells.

Also, hoods from this price range have lower volume as well as adjustable fan speeds and lighting.

They also can look pretty nice and add some value to the interior.

Certainly, spending more money can yield even better performance and a much more powerful fan.

Range hood styles

If you are about to remodel your kitchen and make it more modern and sleek, then you should especially focus on the design and the type of your hood.

There are different styles that can perfectly fit into your interior and you may as well have a difficult time deciding which one to choose.

To help you make up your mind we have compiled a list of the most popular and most often used hoods.

Wall-mounted chimney – this type of hood is the dominant type.

It is mounted against a wall over your range or cooktop.

However, this kind of hood can take up a lot of space where you might otherwise have cabinets installed.

Another good thing is that they come in various shapes and sizes, but the most popular designs are convex-glass and pyramid-style.

Over-the-range microwave – these hoods usually do not extend over your cooktop, which means they cannot be as effective as some other hoods.

Microwave hoods tend to work best when ducting has a short run, directly behind the intake.

Island – these hoods can be quite expensive.

Most options cost more than $1000.

They mount to your ceiling, hanging down over a kitchen island.

Downdraft – this type of hood is installed in kitchen islands, which means that you cannot see them when you do not use them.

Most people who use them believe that they are ineffective since they can struggle to suck up particles as they float up and away from the intake.

Recirculating hoods – these types of hoods can come in any style of the ones we have just listed.

In essence, they are decorative and they are not good at removing pollution that can come from your rooftop.

Be mindful that having a hood in a flat over the stove that vents directly outside of the apartment are very important if you want to get rid of bad smell and keep you home clean and not polluted.

Hood insert – if you decided to have a custom hood built in so that it would match your interior and your cabinets, you will have to get a ducting and the fan to put inside of it.

Professional – finally there are professional hoods that are high-powered and that are sometimes with more than 1500 CFM.

These can come in a whole range of blower setups and are a good choice.

However, if your house is not a restaurant there is no need to get one of these as they would be overkill.

Our pick: GE JVW5301

Why have we chosen GE JVW5301? For a number of reasons.

GE JVW53011

First of all, it has all the important features a hood should have to keep your kitchen comfortable, clean and less polluted.

It has enough power to clear out smoky air, it is not too loud, it has lighting settings and an adjustable fan.

But when compared to dozens of other models, we would definitely recommend this one as it has the best reputation among owners as well as the sleek and simple design that would fit into almost any kind of a kitchen.

This model can move enough air to keep up with different types of home cooking.

When it is at its highest speed, it moves 350 CFM.

And, when it is on its lowest setting, it will clear 150 CFM which is enough when you are boiling water.

In this way, you can easily remove pollution.

This hood is relatively quiet compared to the rest of the models at the same price.

At the highest fan setting, it can be as loud as your TV when it is turned up high enough so that you have to shout a little bit.

In most cases, you will not have to turn it up so high which means that you won’t have to listen to that loud noise.

When it is set on the lowest level, the sound is pretty comfortable as it equals the volume of your speaking voice.

Another reason why we have chosen this particular hood is that it has numerous reviews which give us a lot of insight into how it works for most people.

It has hundreds of ratings spread all over different retailer’s sites.

The average rating is 4.1 stars, which is definitely not outstanding but it is a pretty nice rating when compared to the others that we have analyses.

Most of the users like the fact that they do not make much noise as well as how effective they are when it comes to removing smoke and odours while cooking.

Next, we liked the pyramid style of this model as well as the functional buttons it has.

Interestingly, users said how much they liked that this particular model because it doesn’t, have prominent logos marked on the outside.

Also, this model has backlit push buttons for powering the hood on and off as well as individual buttons for changing fan speeds as well as one for the lights.

This model should perfectly fit into a 30-inch cutout.

Also, if you need it, this model comes with the extension ducting for the ceiling that is up to 10 feet.

However, if you want to buy this hood because it fits perfectly into the interior but you do not have exhaust ducts, you might as well use this hood as a recirculating fan.

This hood has a one-year warranty and is HVI-certified which is also important info you need to consider.

There is also a remote you can get if you want to control the lighting and fan speed from anywhere in your kitchen.

This is optional.

You can remove the filter if you want and it is washable.

Although this hood has a high performance, it uses very little energy and it is not Energy-star certified.

Also, you can get 36-inches version and it comes in two finishes – slate and stainless steel.

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5. The best wall oven – Café CTS70DP2NS1

Another large appliance that anyone should have in their house in the wall oven.

Café CTS70DP2NS1

There are many different wall ovens on the market, but there is just one that will add value to your home.

We picked Café CTS70DP2NS1 because it shows remarkable features and meets the expectations of many users.

First, let’s see how we picked it.

How we picked it?

While most ovens will work just fine, that is to bake or roast your food, there is a whole range of differences in how well they perform and what features they have.

Based on our extensive experience, a lot of conversation we had with experts and numerous reviews we have read we decided that the best oven is Café CTS70DP2NS1.

We compared 25 single oven models and decided that these are some crucial features any well-performing oven should have.

Cooking features – an oven that has 5-cubic capacity is just spacious enough to accommodate a large Thanksgiving Turkey or a large cookie sheet.

This means that essentially you don’t need more space than that.

Most of the ovens have an optional convection cooking mode which uses a fan, and, in most cases, additional heating element to make the cooking faster.

Also, most ovens have a feature that allows you to automatically convert the temperature for a non-convection recipe to one that will work best with the convection fan turned on.

Many models have three racks, but every oven comes with at least two racks.

This is an excellent feature when you are baking cookies or preparing some food during holidays when you need to place many dishes at once into your oven.

There are models which also have gliding racks which makes the whole process of cooking food so much easier than typical wire racks.

This can also be super useful whenever you need to stir a pan of vegetables or check the temperature when baking a chicken, etc.

The self-cleaning mode is also something that brings additional value to this oven because it makes the whole cleaning process so much more efficient.

While a few repair technicians told us that this feature may cause damage to electronic components, we haven’t’ seen that any wall-oven owner is complaining about it.

However, if you are worried that this feature will have a bad impact on your oven, you don’t have to use it.

However, you should keep in mind that there is no simpler way to clean the oven than this one.

Doing it manually will take much of your time and can be a rather unpleasant experience.

Some ovens have a steam-based cleaning feature.

But we have learnt from experience that this is not such a big plus as it leaves you with a lot of water and baked-on messes.

So maybe you should think twice when choosing an oven with this option.

There are also ovens where you can leave racks during the self-cleaning process and this is also a huge advantage.

Design and aesthetics

As mentioned before, one of the things that most people have in mind when choosing an oven is naturally a design because they want the oven to add up to the looks of their kitchen.

This model is installed at eye level which is why its aesthetics is essential.

For instance, stainless steel looks pretty good in most kitchens because it is essentially a neutral color.

While researching the ovens we realized that most of the wall ovens come in this finish.

However, we focused more on the models that offer a few finishes because different people have different tastes and preferences, so it was important to us that we satisfy everyone’s need.

Overall, round commercial-style tower-bar handles seem to more popular and this is an important feature of every upscale model.

Also, if your goal is to remodel and aim for high-end aesthetic, you should always opt for ovens with a flush feature.

We also checked each ovens controls to see how intuitive they are.

Most wall ovens come with digital control panels, and some also have color screens that give the oven a sleek look and help enable some additional features like assisted and automatic cooking modes, which might come in handy if you want to use them.

Knobs are usually found on high-end models of ovens.

Some people prefer models with knobs because these models allow people to choose oven settings more easily.

We also checked oven doors to see how smoothly they would open and close and in most cases we ere satisfied because they didn’t close with a bang.

Reliability and customer service

As with any appliance out there on the market you should always check other people’s experience and see if there are any issues people complain about constantly.

Like for example, you should check how responsive and reliable the customer service is.

And this is exactly what we did.

We concluded that it is really difficult to pin down both customer service and reliability, so we gathered feedback from many repair technicians because they seem to have the most experience in this area.

The feedback we got was quite consistent which helped us get some valuable insight into how the ovens work.

Also, we checked a few reviews to see if there were any widespread defects, design problems or bad product support we should be aware of.

Less important features

Also, there were a few features we considered but didn’t focus so much as they don’t bring any huge value.

For example, some models come with a temperature probe which, in theory, is a useful feature but seems to come only with high-end ovens which something we tried to omit because of the price.

Also, they are quite rare, so we didn’t consider them so essential.

There are a few extra cooking models like delayed cooking, Sabbath mode, preset cooking programs for specific foods.

We didn’t get an impression that people use them so much so we didn’t focus so much on them.

Still, they are nice to have.

Furthermore, some ovens offer semi-automated and assisted cooking programs which give you step-by-step guidance on how to prepare some food including the photographs on how your food should look like once it is prepared.

While this is not a crucial feature and something you should put on your list of preferences when choosing an oven, it’s nice to have that option as it gives you a few recommendations on the cooking time, Rack positions, right pan to use, etc.

Wi-fi connectivity is a feature you might once in while as like when you want to preheat your oven using your mobile phone.

Also, this feature might help you if there is something wrong with the oven and let the repair technician know what’s the problem before he even comes to your flat to check the oven.

Interestingly, this feature is increasingly popular as the whole world is going digital so maybe you should put this feature on your list of preferences.

Our pick – Café CTS70DP2NS1

This particular model stands out as one of the most popular and best functioning models out there on the market.

The best wall oven - Café CTS70DP2NS1

It is customizable, it has a pro-style design and amazing reputation when it comes to cooking performance.

Here are a few defining features of the Cafe: self-cleaning mode, clean styling, there are no visible knobs or buttons and there is a 7-inch color display whose touch controls light up when you turn on the oven.

There is a round handle that contributes to the look of the oven and you can choose among four finishes of the oven like copper, bronze, stainless steel and black stainless.

There is a large window and two halogen lights that give amazing visibility into the interior.

To get such a sharp-looking model you need to pay more money.

Cooking performance is another plus.

According to the dealers, GE models always excelled at baking and roasting.

Technicians we consulted didn’t report any serious issues and it seems that this model is highly reliable as it has better performance than other models.

It should be quite easy to use this model as it is pretty easy to set the oven using the touchscreen.

Also, it has several features that make it easy-to-use.

It has a slide-out rack that allows you to easily load and unload large trays, casserole.

Plus, there is a precision Control roasting assistant which lays out common dishes on the touchscreen and automatically set the right temperatures which means you don’t have to worry about whether a certain dish will burn or not.

It also gives you a few tips regarding which rack position as well as what type of bakeware you should use.

Of course, you don’t have to use this feature if you consider it to be unnecessary but it can be rather helpful, especially if you are cooking without a recipe.

There is also a setting that lets you automatically adjust temperatures and times from standard recipes.

This model has very good size – 5 cubic feet, which means it can easily accommodate a larger bird or an Easter ham.

There are also several convection modes to promote heating as well as warm settings and proofing, and there is a temperature probe it comes with.

On top of this, there is a steam-cleaning option that lets you remove a few spillovers after making a pie or lasagne.

During the high heat, the racks can remain in the oven.

This model also lets you connect to wi-fi meaning that you can control the oven through the app or even by using a voice command which is pretty awesome.

So, if you forgot to check if you turned off the oven or not, you can easily check it from the mobile app while driving a car.

This model comes with a one year warranty which is the case with most models.

Also, it comes with GE Appliances Fit Guarantee.

This means that the brand will credit you $300 in case the oven doesn’t fit your existing cutout.

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6. The Best Slide-In Gas Range – GE JGS760

If you are looking for a stove that will give your kitchen a refined look and have an affordable price, you should opt for a slide-in range.

GE JGS760

To help you come to the right decision and pick the one that suits your needs, we analyses around 60 models, consulted many experts and read a load of reviews.

Here is what we have found out.

How we picked?

Here are some of the essential things you should have in mind when choosing your slide-in gas range stove.

Cooktop – like with any stove, you should consider the look and the functionality of the cooktop.

You should expect the power burner to have at least 17000 Btu, if not even a little stronger.

The stronger the burner, the better the performance.

Pots and pans heat up much faster if the stove has a stronger burner which will save you plenty of time waiting for water to boil.

Also, you will get a simmer burner in the back row which will allow you to warm, melt and simmer with ease.

According to Frigidaire, simmer burners can get low as 500 Btu, and other stoves can also reach similar numbers.

Also, some of the readers said that they prefer to have the strongest burners in the front row as they use these burners most often, so we favored stoves with this kind of layout.

However, it is also useful to keep in mind that many pediatricians think that it is better to have a stove that has a back burner, which is out of reach for small kids and therefore ensure their safety.

If this is what you worry about, there is a whole range of stoves offering strong burners at the back row.

Most slide-in range stoves have five burners.

Sometimes the fifth burner is in an oval shape which turns out to be a great fit for a griddle.

While some people consider the fifth burner to be quite useful others don’t use so much.

This highly depends on cooking habits.

There are also continuous grates that are in most cases made of either cast iron or steel.

They come standard or slide-in ranges.

This surface makes it quite easy to slide cookware around the surface of the cooktop.

Also, in this way, larger items are balanced better than smaller, single-burner grates can.

Oven

When it comes to the oven, capacity plays an important role.

Most slide-ins have an oven larger than 4.8 cubic feet, thus making it quite spacious for baking different kinds of portions and foods like 16-inches pizza stone or a Thanksgiving turkey.

All ranges come with three oven racks, only maybe the cheapest ones don’t.

Some of the pricier ones even include one rolling rack, which helps the dishes glide in and out more easily.

Also, a vast majority of ovens have some kind of a convection cooking mode that turns on the fan at the back of the oven cavity.

If this convection works well, the cookies that you bake will bake more evenly, roasted veggies and meats will become crispier and pastry crusts will be flakier.

Some models even have an extra electric heating element that is usually near the fan, commonly known as European convection or “true” convection.

According to some people, this feature makes baking even more convenient, but we cannot say that we have any specific data about whether this is true or not.

However, we believe it’s worth having some kind of convection regardless of which type you choose.

Another thing that you should have on your list of priorities when choosing your oven is the self-cleaning feature.

This will save you lots of time and effort as you won’t have to do it manually.

While some of the repair technicians believe that self-cleaning option might damage your oven as it may have a negative impact on the electronics, it is by far the best way to clean your oven.

Also, manual cleaning can be a rather unpleasant job you would definitely like to avoid.

Some models even have a steam-based, pseudo-self-cleaning feature, but it is not effective according to many users and their reviews.

You should definitely use this option.

If you are afraid that it may damage your oven, use it sparingly.

Built quality and design

Finally, think about the design when choosing your oven.

When analyzing the models we would be able to see them live and check whether they have knobs that are made of metal and that are securely fastened to the front of the range.

We also checked if the doors opened smoothly and whether the drawers and racks were easy to slide out or remove.

Plus, we jiggled the grates around just to see how secure they were as well as how easy it is to remove them.

Another thing we paid close attention to was the finishes.

The more finishes the oven has the easier it is for the users to design their kitchens.

This is why we gave a slight preference to the ones that had at least three options, although most people see to prefer stainless steel finish.

Reliability and customer service

As mentioned before it is really hard to know how reliable the product is and how responsive customer service is.

To know that you have to buy the product, use it for some time and wait for some potential damages, malfunctions, etc.

For this reason, we mostly relied on the more traditional and older and popular products because they seem to have more reviews and we definitely know more about them.

Also, many repair technicians gave us feedback n many models.

However, this feedback is highly inconsistent, so we don’t rely so much on it.

Less important features

Like with all the products thaw we analyst, we also looked into some less relevant but still present features.

Here are some of them:

A wok grate – temperature probe and any other accessory seem like an additional value but they are not something that you have to focus so much on because you can buy them all separately if you want.

Extra cooking modes – food-specific presets, proofing modes, delayed starts and other modes are good to have, but we honestly doubt that many people use them a lot.

So, we believe that having these extra cooking modes is something that can add value, we didn’t focus on them so much because we don’t consider them to be essential.

Wi-fi connectivity – like with other appliances, this features can help a lot when it comes to checking whether you have left your oven turned on or not as well as to diagnose malfunctions so that the technicians would know what to focus on before reaching your apartment.

Some models allow you to control the oven setting with your voice control, but we are not convinced that this feature can ensure 100 % of security.

However, even if you believe that this feature is something that you should not look for when buying the oven, it’s unquestionably that with the rise of digitalization all around the world, this feature will simply be unavoidable.

Of course, you can always choose not to set up wi-fi at all.

Our pick: GE JGS760

Why have we opted for this specific oven?

GE JGS76011

Slide-in ranges all have amazing features and they all work very well.

We liked this particular appliance because the brand has a well-known reputation, and this specific model is well-reviewed with no obvious defects reliability concerts or design flaws.

It comes in six different finishes which is something that should help the stove look good in almost any kind of interior.

It has a large oven with convection and a cooktop which is nicely laid out.

There were a few complaints about defective units, but all of them were not enough to suggest a widespread problem with the quality of this model.

The control knobs were all fairly secured and the storage doors, as well as the oven, open rather smoothly.

There is also an electronic touchpad which is sealed by a plastic membrane.

Membranes are rather typical for the oven at this kind of price.

There are cast-iron grates on the cooktop surface.

This model comes in six finishes including fingerprint-resistant black stainless steel, fingerprint-resistant black slate, black and white, stainless steel, fingerprint-resistant slate.

Keep in mind that this is the front-control range and not a true slide-in.

While we were going through numerous reviews we couldn’t find any defects or any proof of malfunction, or some kind of errors.

The only bad reviews we came across were written by people who received a defective unit which is always a risk with almost any appliance.

Another thing that cough our attention is the fact that this particular model put the power burners at the front part of the cooktop and the secondary burners at the back, plus they put an oval-shaped burner at the centre of the griddle.

This power burner is a little bit more powerful than what you will find on some other similar ranges and should boil a half-gallon of water in about 8 to 10 minutes (depending on the pot and other factors).

It sits next to another 15,000 Btu power burner, which will boil a little slower but is still quite strong.

The weaker burners are in the back row, including a 5,000 Btu “simmer” element.

The cast-iron grates extend to the side edges of the stove, and the surface separates into three parts so that they’re easier to carry to the sink or dishwasher for cleaning.

The JGS760’s 5.6-cubic-foot oven is big enough to fit the largest Thanksgiving turkey you’re likely to find in stores, a large 16-inch pizza stone, or a three-quarters baking sheet.

It includes a standard convection mode with options for convection bake and convection roast, which refers to which elements are engaged during the convection cycle.

There are three removable racks with six height options, offering plenty of room to fit a variety of items, and the oven has both a high-heat and steam-based self-cleaning option.

And there’s a number pad for inputting temperatures or countdown times.

The product does not have any disadvantages.

The only thing we noticed was a few one-star owner reviews complaining about the oven shutting off during the preheat cycle.

This is definitely something that might be pretty annoying and a thing to deal with, but it appears to be a relatively uncommon defect.

This is why it hasn’t changed our minds and we would always recommend this model as the best one in its range (If we see a lot more one-star reviews start to roll in citing the same problem, we may reconsider).

Do note that The JGS760 doesn’t come with continuous cast-iron grates, the central portion of the cooktop is a griddle.

However, a good thing is that you can buy a central grate separately if you want one.

Many similarly priced ranges have at least one upscale feature, like glass touch panels, heated-fan convection, or a gliding rack, but the JGS760 has none.

Why Should You Trust Us When It Comes to Buying These Large Appliances?

With extensive experience in researching and reviewing numerous products, from smaller ones to the largest ones, we can say that we have a deep insight into the things that matter and don’t matter when searching for an ideal kitchen appliance that will perfectly fit into your home.

Each time we start doing an in-depth analysis of every product on the market, we gather a certain number of models of that specific brand and then we check if it has some basic and crucial features that as well as those less important but nice to have features.

We also consult several users and repair technicians and ask them to give us feedback on the performance of each appliance so that we could see if there are any malfunctions, damages and other issues we should keep in mind.

We also like to see the product live so that we can open the doors, check the handles and all other things that will help us have a clear picture of what the product is really like.

We invest many hour and a lot of our effort into this research with the aim to achieve the best results and help you in your decision-making process.

Hopefully, we helped you pick the right large appliances that will perfectly fit into your interior and work efficiently for a long period of your time.

We know that choosing the appliances for your kitchen can be quite time-consuming and stressful, so we’ve decided to do an extensive research and provide you with all the bits and pieces you need to make the right decision.

We will continue to do our best and provide you with all the necessary info that you need to get the best products on the market at affordable prices.

Stay tuned!

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AMAZING Kitchen Products You CAN’T Live Without

Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor2

Whether you are crazy about cooking and preparing food, or you spend little time in the kitchen, we are here to help you fall in love with it even more.

Once you equip your kitchen with the tight tools and products, it becomes a world of magic, where the most amazing things can happen.

Quick Overview

FEATURES

5/5

MATERIALS

4.7/5

COST

4.7/5

To help you choose the right products that will make your cooking experience unique we’ve compiled a list of the top kitchen products that will help you prepare them most delicious meals your entire family and friends would enjoy.

Let’s dive right now!

Tramontina Gourmet Tri Frigidaire EFIC108 Whynter ICM-15LS Duxtop 9100MC Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster Dehydrator Fissler Vitaquick 8.5-Quart Pressure Cooker Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor2 Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart
Tramontina Gourmet Tri-ply Clad 2-Quart Covered Saucepan
Frigidaire EFIC108
Whynter ICM-15LS
Duxtop 9100MC
Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster Dehydrator
Fissler Vitaquick 8.5-Quart Pressure Cooker
Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor
Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart

1. The Best Small Saucepan – Tramontina Gourmet Tri-ply Clad 2-Quart Covered Saucepan

Tramontina Gourmet Tri

How We Tested?

To get all the details and the right info about the best saucepan, we conducted a number of tests and experiments.

For instance, we made pastry cream to see how easy it is to whisk creams and sauces as well as to test them for heating.

We also checked for any hot spots and made a heat map by coating the surface of each pan with a thin film of oil and sprinkling it with some flour.

Then we heated it on medium for three minutes just to see where flour darkened.

Then we measured the surface temperature of each pan that we have tested using an infrared thermometer.

Finally, we measured the time it took to boil water.

Also, we wanted to test the ergonomics of the saucepan, so we poured the water out of each pan and to see if the liquid drippled or splashed.

Finally, we used a towel to see how easy or hard it was to get a secure grip.

To check the capacity, we cross-checked each pan’s specifications and weighed each saucepan.

But, we also figured it would be useful to know how easy it would be to use those saucepans in real life, so we washed all of them by hand several times.

How We Picked This Saucepan?

Taking all the previous things into consideration, we focused on a few criteria when picking the right saucepan.

Here are the things we focused our attention to:

1. Fully-clad tri-ply – we mainly examined tri-ply saucepans because they consist of an aluminium core sandwiched between layers of stainless steel.

The good thing about aluminium is that it heats more evenly than steel.

On the other hand, steel is more durable and holds heat better.

So the combination of the two is what will give the best results.

Also, fully clad pans have an aluminium core which heats more evenly throughout than pans with encapsulated bottoms.

There are also other multi-ply pans which are definitely more expensive, but they are also much heavier and it takes more time to heat them up so we tried to avoid them.

So, we generally considered tri-ply to be the best option so we tested them mostly.

Also, keep in mind that there are other aluminium-based pans that are not of such a good quality so we focused on tri-ply as the best option.

Another thing you should be aware of is that aluminium is reactive to acidic foods such as tomatoes and can leave a metallic taste is your mouth.

2. Uncoated – another type of saucepans we skipped are the pans with nonstick coatings because they scratch easily and degrade over time due to heat and will definitely deteriorate over the years even if you take care of them.

3. Saucepan or saucer – when choosing our saucepan, we tested two types of different pans: curved saucers and straight-walled saucepans.

On the one hand, sauciers are more expensive and have curved sides and wide openings which makes them easier to handle.

It’s easy to stir foods like risotto or oatmeal in them and they can speed up evaporation for reducing sauces.

On the other hand, saucepans have narrower opening and straighter walls which means they will work perfectly for the most basic tasks.

Also, they are much cheaper.

4. Ergonomic handles – we searched for pans that have handles that can easily fit into our palms without using a towel to wrap around them which is really a huge benefit.

Plus, we paid closer attention to lid handles that were large enough to hold.

5. Rounded corners – another thing you should keep in mind when choosing a pan are the sides.

Good saucepans should have slightly curved corners so that you can easily reach sauce while whisking or stirring.

Pans which have rounded corners are much easier to clean and scrape out.

6. Pours cleanly – we also referred to saucepans with a bent lip because it makes pouring liquid out of the saucepan much easier without splashing.

However, we also included pans with a straight rim.

7. Metal lid – we took into consideration only pans with metal lids.

Although a glass lid lets you see what’s cooking inside, in reality condensation will collect on the lid and make it much less see-through.

Also you are much safer with a metal lid because it won’t break and shatter when you accidentally drop it.

8. Easy to clean – of course, we thought about how easy it is to clean the pot so that it will not take you much time every time you want to wash dishes.

Why We Have Chosen Tramontina Gourmet Tri-ply Clad 2-Quart Covered Saucepan?

One of the reasons why we have decided that Tramontina is ultimately the best pick for your kitchen is that it is the easiest to maneuver of all the types we tested.

Also, in both thermometer and cooking tests, Tramontina proved to be the best because it distributed the heat evenly.

There were no signs of scrambled eggs and hot spots.

We could reach all the corners of tramontina with our whisk, so we could easily incorporate all of the ingredients into a smooth and evenly cooked cream.

We also carried out heating tests a few times just to see whether flour browned evenly across the pan.

Each time we heated Tramontina, there were no hot spots.

It only started browning closer to the pan’s handle.

However, the colour disappeared over time, while other pans had some hot spots on them.

Plus, when compared to all the pots tested, Tramotina was the easiest to hold and super-easy to handle when pouring and stirring, especially when it was full of water.

It has rounded handles that extend from the pan and conform to your palm.

You don’t have to use a towel or some other cloth to grasp Tramontina’s handle which is another benefit you should keep in mind.

Even though Tramontina is not as wide and rounded like a saucier, it was quite easy to scrap the food out of it.

We used a scrub rush to clean off flour and oil, but we struggled to scrub oil off some other pans we tested.

There were no heat scorch marks left on Tramontina, while some of the other pans we tested blackened easily.

Although you can wash Tramontina in a dishwasher, we recommend washing it by hand and giving it some serious scrubbing.

Like most of the pans, Tramontina works well on induction cooktops.

It has a lifetime warranty and it can withstand the temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit.2.

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2. The Best Portable Ice-Maker: Frigidaire EFIC108

Although you might think you do not need a portable ice-maker, it’s actually a good idea to have it, because you never know when you might need it or not.

Frigidaire EFIC108

To help you find the right portable ice maker that will perfectly suit your needs, we did the research and made and carried out experiments.

So our pick is Frigidaire EFIC108.

Let’s see why.

How We Tested The Product?

Like with other kitchen products, we took a few portable ice-makers and tested some of their basic characteristics.

For instance, the most important thing was to measure the time it took the ice-maker to make the ice.

So, the best ice-maker made the ice in only 7 minutes while the worst one made ice in 13 minutes.

Once they made their first batch, we let the machines work to see how long it took them to use all the water in their reservoir or totally fill its bin.

This typically took a little over two hours for larger machines and a little over an hour for smaller machines.

We also weighed the ice after the process was completed.

The result of this test, however, didn’t impact our final choice.

During the capacity test, we also measured the temperature of the ice.

First we measured it immediately after the first batch, then we took the temperature after the fourth batch, and finally we measured the temperature once the machine reached its capacity.

In almost all of the cases, temperature was just above freezing, which means that the ice was melting in the bin.

Another thing we wanted to test was the noise the machine made during the process.

We don’t want to pick an ice-maker that is loud and uncomfortable to use.

Luckily, most of them produce the same sound as the window air conditioner, in a quitest setting.

Next, we also tested how easy it is to clean all of the machines as well as how intuitive indicators and a control pad were.

How We Picked Frigidaire EFIC108?

There were a few important criteria that we focused on during the process of selection.

We tested a few models, but we have discovered that many of them are quite similar to one another.

And, here are the features we took into consideration when picking he one that will perfectly suit your needs:

1. Speed – the faster these ice-makers are, the better.

We wanted to choose the most efficient one, so we found out that those quickest ones made a batch of ice in just a few minutes, while it took slow ones at least 15 minutes to make ice.

2. Colder ice – we discovered that smaller units can make colder ice than larger units and can also maintain lower temperatures for a longer period of time, as long as the ice stays inside the machine.

3. Smaller footprint and light weight – another thing we also paid closer attention to is the weight of the product.

The most common place where a portable ice maker would be used are the boats and RVs, so it’s important that an ice-maker doesn’t take up too much space overall.

The sizes vary.

While some are large as subwoofers, others are small as coffee machines.

Also, keep in mind that smaller models are more efficient as they work faster and make it much colder than bigger ones.

4. Underside drain plug – when it comes to draining, because you need to drain your ice maker when you finish using it, we discovered that it is much easier to empty models that have a drain in the bottom.

5. Mesh filter – If you wish to keep the ice free of residue, hair or dirt, you need to look for ice makers that have a mesh filter.

Also, it’s much more effective to filter your water before you put it into an ice maker.

6. Capacity – by capacity, we mean the amount of ice an ice-maker can produce during the day.

Most models can produce between 26 and 28 pound of ice per day.

This is why this feature is not as important as speed.

7. Cube sizes – while there are ice makers that have two size options, there are also makers that have three size options.

Smaller ice cubes are made much more easily.

At the end of the day, the size doesn’t really matter, because, in most cases a difference is just a few millimeters.

8. Timer – although this feature is nice to have, it is not essential and we doubt that any of the users would really like their ice maker to have it

9. Self-cleaning cycle – this feature is interesting but also less relevant that other the above mentioned features, because you will also have to clean it afterwards with some cleaning solution.

Why We Picked Frigidaire EFIC108?

If you are looking for portable ice-makers that will perfectly meet your needs, Frigidaire EFIC108 is just the product you should be looking for.

It is ultimately the most efficient ice-maker and it cracked the ice at the fastest speed.

The great thing about this ice maker is that it is probably one of the most lightweight of all the ice-makers we tested.

It’s super-easy to move around and won’t take up much space on the counter in the kitchen.

Plus, this product is much cheaper than the rest of the models we tested.

There is a small downside – it only makes hollow-bullet ice, in only two sizes.

However, you need to keep in mind that this is typical of this kind of a product, which means that not many people will take that into consideration.

During our experiment, this ice-maker cranked out its first nine-cube batch in approximately 7 minutes, which is enough to make two small drinks.

Basically, this is enough ice for 10 drinks or even 15 if you are throwing a party or some kind of gathering.

This ice-maker weighs around 20 pounds with a footprint of 14.5 by 9.8 inches.

Its relatively small size allows you to handle it with ease and it also keeps the ice colder than in most machines.

When it comes to the price, it is definitely one of the cheapest ones we encountered during our research, yet it outperformed the most of products we have researched.

The EFIC108 also has an underside drain plug, which makes it easier to empty at the end of your session than side-drain models.

The interface is simple, with just a few buttons and indicator lights for when the unit is at capacity or needs more water.

Like most (but not all) of the models we tested, it also has a mesh filter to keep debris and hair out of your ice.

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3. The Best Ice Cream Maker – Whynter ICM-15LS

After researching for 95 hours, testing 16 machines, talking with pro ice cream makers and a food scientist, and churning gallons of the frozen stuff since 2014, we think the Whynter ICM-15LS is your best bet for making consistently great ice cream at home.

Whynter ICM-15LS

It’s not cheap, but because it’s so easy to use and it essentially guarantees success, it would likely get a lot more play in your kitchen than cheaper, more finicky machines.

How We Picked And Tested?

The primary task of an ice cream maker is to produce creamy ice cream with few ice crystals.

The faster the mixture freezes, the less time ice crystals have to form.

Although machines will do this in about 20 to 40 minutes, there’s no optimal time cycle—you just want the mixture to freeze as quickly as possible.

That’s why compressor machines tend to make smoother textures: They churn and freeze the ice cream base faster than those that rely on frozen inserts or ice and salt.

A good compressor machine will freeze at around -32 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain that temperature until the end of the cycle.

A machine that uses a frozen bowl will only get warmer as the mixture freezes (and if your freezer is at the end of a defrost cycle when you take the insert bowl out, you’ll end up with a milkshake rather than actual ice cream).

You can improve results in any type of machine by making sure your ice cream base is as cold as possible (see our ice cream making tips for how to do this).

While the ice cream base freezes, the dasher—a paddle in the machine—stirs the mixture.

Home machines generally have plastic dashers, while pro-level machines (and a few high-end home models) use metal versions.

The rate at which the dasher turns, in part, determines overrun: the amount of air whipped into ice cream, measured as a percentage.

The faster the dasher moves, the more overrun you have (think of it like a whisk whipping cream).

The fat and egg content in a recipe also affects overrun, which we’ll get into later.

We tried nine ice cream makers of all types: specialty hand-cranked, electric high-capacity ice-and-salt, frozen insert, and compressor.

The only kind we knew we didn’t want to try was the large-capacity hand-cranked ice-and-salt type.

Those machines are too much of a pain to churn, since they require a strong arm to constantly crank for 20 to 30 minutes.

We also brought in only self-refrigerating compressor ice cream makers.

We decided to leave out gelato makers, since gelato is a different animal.

It differs from ice cream in that it is mostly milk and sugar with little cream and little to no egg yolks, sometimes using cornstarch to thicken instead.

You need to churn gelato slower and at a higher temperature to maintain that “stretchy” quality, which is why ideally you should use a gelato-specific machine for the task.

The result is a product with little to no overrun that resembles a custard more than ice cream.

Don’t get us wrong—gelato is delicious, and we love it.

But it’s just not the same.

Our Pick

Whynter ICM-15LS is one of the easiest machines we’ve found to use, scoop from, and clean.

What we like about it is that it produces smoother ice cream in a shorter amount of time than most of the other models.

Although it didn’t create the absolute smoothest texture in our tests, it does produce great results at a reasonable price.

It’s also one of the quieter machines we tested, and very simple to use, scoop from, and clean.

The compact, simple design makes it easy to store, as well.

And because this Whynter model is a compressor machine, there is no need for preferring of any kind.
In all rounds of testing, this product made some of the best ice cream, creating a pronounced creaminess with very few ice crystals.

Overall, the mixture was quite airy but still very rich.

As for freezing time, it took the ICM-15LS to churn out creamy ice cream, falling into second place after the Musso Lussino.

In 2015 we learned that the cost of the compressor machines was directly proportionate to the quality of the ice cream they produced.

The cheapest machine, the Sunpentown KI-15, literally stopped working halfway through the cycle and didn’t completely freeze the ice cream.

Part of the mixture was still liquid, which resulted in uneven, icy ice cream.

For just a bit more money, the Whynter ICM-15LS made a far creamier ice cream.

The Whynter ICM-15LS hits the right balance of making really good ice cream at a decent price.

One of the great things about the Whynter ICM-15LS is the lack of noise.

It was one of the quietest machines we tested, in stark contrast to our previous runner-up, the Cuisinart ICE-100, which was high-pitched and loud.

The machine itself is pretty compact: Measuring 8½ by 15 by 9¼ inches (height by length by width), it’s the smallest of our recommendations.

That small size makes the ICM-15LS easier to stash under a workbench or in a cabinet while not in use.

Compare that with the Breville Smart Scoop, which measures slightly larger at 9½ by 16½ by 11½ inches, and the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino at 10½ by 17½ by 12 inches. At 32 pounds, it’s pretty heavy, but it’s easier to pick up and move than our upgrade pick, which weighs 40 pounds.

Nevertheless, it’s better stored in a low cabinet than on a high shelf.

The ICM-15LS is simple to use. The 1½-quart removable bowl is easy to lift out, thanks to a built-in handle, so you can scrape out all the ice cream with ease.

The Musso Lussino, on the other hand, doesn’t have a removable bowl, so scooping out the finished ice cream and cleaning the machine both get pretty messy.

In our tests, setting up the Whynter machine was effortless and took less than three minutes.

The Breville was more difficult to navigate; we had to give the manual a once-over and figure out the many buttons and functions before we could start churning.

This machine is also very convenient.

It’s a compressor model, so it doesn’t require ice and nothing needs to be frozen in advance; just pour in your chilled base and turn it on.

It isn’t any different from the other compressor machines we tested, but it does stand leagues ahead of the insert and ice-and-salt models we triedB

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4. The Best Portable Induction Cooktop – Duxtop 9100MC

After putting in more than 60 hours of research and testing, we’re confident that the Duxtop 9100MC is the best portable induction cooktop, and a reliable extra burner for small or busy kitchens.

Duxtop 9100MC

This moderately priced model heats quickly and cooks more evenly than the competition.

Its easy-to-use interface allows you to choose between a power mode for general cooking and a temperature mode for specific tasks such as frying.

How We Chose Duxtop 9100MC?

For our 2019 review, we looked for new or updated single-burner induction cooktops.

Single induction burners are very efficient because they use a full 1,800 watts at their highest heat setting, whereas dual burners split 1,800 watts between two burners if both are in use.

As a result, we found that dual burners are less powerful overall, so we ruled them out for further updates to this guide.

To decide which models to test for 2019, we read the latest reports from other review sites and looked at the best sellers on Amazon and other retailer sites.

We also paid close attention to reader comments as well as Amazon customer reviews, noting the features that people loved or hated.

Taking all of that into consideration along with our past research, we established the following criteria for a good portable induction cooktop.

Wide Range Of Settings

We looked for induction burners that offered a range of heat settings so that they could maintain a low simmer yet still get very hot to boil water quickly.

Having the option to switch between power levels and specific temperatures was also important in our decision: If you’re familiar with gas or electric burners, you’ll probably be more comfortable using the power settings on an induction burner, but having the option to choose set temperatures is convenient when you need to maintain a specific temperature, such as when you’re frying.

Helpful safety features

We wanted models with a cookware-detection feature that can alert you if you don’t place a pan on the burner or try to use pans that aren’t induction compatible (aren’t magnetic), such as copper or aluminum.

Also, we preferred models that allow you to lift the pan off the cooktop without its shutting off after a few seconds, which can be particularly annoying when you’re tossing vegetables for a stir fry.

Most of the models we tested shut off automatically after a specific period of time.

Some have lock buttons to prevent you from accidentally changing the temperature or to keep a child from turning the unit on.

Stability

We also took into consideration how stable each model was on a counter.

Working with hot pans can be dangerous, so having a stable unit with substantial weight and rubber feet is important.

All of the induction burners we tested had feet that prevented them from sliding.

However, be sure your counter is clean before operating your burner—greasy countertops can make even the most secure units less stable and prone to sliding around.

Easy-to-clean design

One of the advantages that induction burners have over gas or coil-electric burners is that they are easier to wipe down because they usually consist of one smooth surface.

We searched for models that had minimal grooves and crevices where food and grease could build up easily.

Ideally, we wanted burners with a single ceramic-glass top.

For our original guide, we tested four single-burner induction cooktops and two dual-burner models. For our 2019 update, we tested an additional four models against our top picks.

Our Pick

If you need an extra burner for your kitchen, the reasonably priced Duxtop 9100MC is the best induction cooktop we tested.

It has a control panel with large, easy-to-read buttons that allow you to very simply adjust the power mode, temperature, and timer.

The Duxtop cooked more evenly than other models we tested.

In addition, it comes with a number of user-friendly safety features, including those that can prevent overheating or alert you if you accidentally use the wrong kind of pan.

The Duxtop 9100MC has a straightforward interface, with controls that allow you to choose between the power and temperature modes.

The power mode, with 15 settings ranging from 200 to 1,800 watts, is ideal for situations when specific temperatures aren’t necessary, such as when you want to quickly bring water to a boil or sauté vegetables.

The temperature mode has 15 preset temperatures ranging from 140 to 460 degrees Fahrenheit.

When we simmered tomato sauce, the 9100MC kept it at a consistent temperature for an hour, although at about 10 degrees lower than the 180 °F setting we had selected.

We had similar results on the more expensive Duxtop 9600 and Max Burton 6400 models, but other cookers we tested could not hold steady temperatures.

You can set the 9100MC’s timer for up to 170 minutes on both the power and temperature modes, and the appliance automatically shuts off the burner when the time is up.

If you don’t use the timer, the unit shuts off after two hours.

In our tests of the Duxtop 9100MC, 1 quart of water came to a boil in just under 5½ minutes in a disc-bottom pan and took about 30 seconds longer in a clad pan.

Although the 9100MC wasn’t the fastest model we tested, for the most part the differences in boiling times between burners varied by only about a minute.

In our flour test, the 9100MC heated evenly, allowing for deep browning across the entire bottom of our Fissler Profi 9½-inch fry pan and a smaller circle of browning in our All-Clad 10-inch skillet; this result was similar to what we saw from every induction burner we tested.

Onions sautéed fairly evenly without scorching and required less stirring than on other burners.

When we seared a sirloin steak, it came out with a deep-brown crust.

The control panel on the Duxtop 9100MC is sloped downward, which means you won’t risk heating and damaging the controls when using a large skillet; the design also makes them easier to access.

This is an improvement over the panel on the Duxtop 8100MC, our previous top pick, where the controls are on the same plane as the heating element.

If you try to use incompatible cookware, the pan-detection feature on the 9100MC shows “E0” on the digital screen and beeps to alert you.

Although the appliance also beeps whenever you lift the pan off the cooktop, the burner won’t shut off for up to a minute, so you can toss vegetables in a pan without having to restart it.

The 9100MC comes with a helpful user manual that includes an error-code chart to help identify any problems that may arise, including overheating or an improper voltage supply.

A Few Disadvantages

The rim around the perimeter of the Duxtop 9100MC collects grease and thus requires some detail work during cleaning.

This is a minor annoyance, however, and the cooktop and control panel are both easy to wipe clean.

Like all induction burners, the 9100MC has a cooling fan that runs while the appliance is on, which can be somewhat noisy.

Although it is louder, it’s not noisy.

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5. The Best Food Dehydrator – Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster Dehydrator

After prepping 126 pounds of apple rings, crying through 15 pounds of onions, and pureeing 6 pounds of berries, and then spending 150 hours watching them shrink and shrivel inside 13 food dehydrators, we’re confident that the Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster Dehydrator is the best dehydrator for home use.

Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster Dehydrator

Batch after batch, the FD-1018A Gardenmaster consistently dried food the most quickly and evenly of all the competition.

How Did We Pick?

Dehydrators are deceptively simple machines, involving little more than a low-wattage heating element, a fan, and open racks that let air flow throughout.

But some models perform much better than others (and price isn’t necessarily an indicator of performance).

To find the best dehydrator, we considered these factors:

Even drying

The best dehydrators are ones that evenly dry food without requiring you to rotate or rearrange the trays much, if at all.

The amount of work and attention you have to invest throughout the drying process depends on how well your dehydrator circulates air.

We found that the best results came from round vertical-flow dehydrators with the motor at the base.

This makes sense because heat rises, and a bottom-mounted motor pushes hot air where it naturally wants to go (up, it wants to go up).

Top-mounted dehydrators struggle to push heated air down to the lower trays and require more attention and rotation.

In general, horizontal-flow dehydrators dry unevenly and require you to rotate the trays throughout the process.

Jeff Wilker, engineering and QA manager at The Metal Ware Corporation (Nesco’s parent company), told us that the hard right-angled corners on these box-shaped models don’t promote even airflow.

The result: dead spots of stagnant air, usually in the corners.

How often you have to rotate the trays depends on a few factors, the most important being what you’re drying and the dehydrator itself.

The best horizontal-flow dehydrators have bigger fans that move more air, which means less tray rotation—once or twice during the entire process versus every hour.

But the best horizontal-flow dehydrator still doesn’t dry food as evenly as a round vertical-flow model with a base-mounted motor.

Size and capacity

It takes a lot of time to prep and then dry your own food, and the results shrink to just a fraction of the weight you started with.

So you want to be able to dehydrate a lot at once.

But that doesn’t mean you have to deal with a giant space hog.

We prefer dehydrators that strike a good balance of bulk and drying volume.

This boils down to smart design.

For example, we tested two round, vertical-flow dehydrators that had 15-inch-diameter trays—but one offered 1 square foot of drying area per tray while the other had only three-fourths of a square foot per tray.

That’s because the latter model had a wider gap around the perimeter of its trays that took up valuable usable space.

Accessories

Extra pieces like fine-mesh mats and fruit-roll trays are handy accessories for your dehydrator.

Fine-mesh mats keep small items like herbs from falling through the trays as they dry.

And fruit-roll trays aren’t just for making fruit leather; they’re also handy for hikers and campers who want to dehydrate lightweight packable meals.

Some companies include these accessories with the dehydrator, while others charge extra.

Think about how you’ll use your dehydrator so you’ll get the most for your money.

Cleanup

The most common dehydrator trays are made from plastic and can be a bear to wash because they have lots of nooks and crannies to clean.

Generally, plastic trays also aren’t safe to run through the dishwasher, because the excess heat can warp them.

If you have a spacious sink, a good soak in hot soapy water followed with a dish brush will do the trick.

If you require dishwasher-safe trays, your choices are limited to horizontal-flow dehydrators with stainless steel racks either included or offered for extra cost.

We haven’t come across a vertical-flow dehydrator with stainless steel trays

Automatic shutoff

Some folks might prefer a dehydrator with an automatic shutoff feature.

But we found that dehydrating times varied by batch, so this feature is useful only if you have a lot of experience dehydrating or will be away from the machine for a very long time.

Otherwise, if the machine cuts off before the food is adequately dried, you run the risk of mold growth or spoilage.

There’s really no such thing as overdrying from a food preservation standpoint.

But snacks—such as jerky and fruit leather—are much more enjoyable when they’re still a bit pliable and chewy, and not yet dried to a crisp

Temperature settings

Different types of foods have their own sweet spot when it comes to drying temperature.

We found that most dehydrators have six to seven temperature settings, ranging from 90 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which is enough flexibility to dry most foods.

Although you need not worry about the exact temperature inside your dehydrator, you should stay within the correct range for the type of food you’re drying.

For example, you can’t dehydrate fruits and vegetables above 140 degrees because you’ll run the risk of case hardening (when the surface dries too quickly and prevents moisture in the center from escaping).

Low temperatures—90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit—are best for delicate herbs and flowers.

Nuts also dehydrate best in this zone because hotter temperatures can cause the oils to go rancid. Most vegetables and fruits dry between 125 and 140 degrees.

Meat and fish require the highest temperature setting on your dehydrator, which is usually around 160 degrees.

Dehydrators with digital control panels and dual-stage capabilities (the option to start at a higher temperature for an hour to speed up the drying process) look modern and sound useful, but we found that neither of these things are worth the extra cost that comes with them.

Some digital dehydrators let you set the temperature to the exact degree, but that kind of precision isn’t necessary for successful and even drying.

And we found that dual-stage drying doesn’t shave more than an hour off the total time.

When you’re drying something for 10 hours, that time savings is a drop in the bucket.

Noise

All dehydrators use a fan, so if you’re sensitive to the sound of a room fan on high speed droning on for hours on end, consider the noise factor.

Running the dehydrator in your garage or laundry room with the door closed is an easy fix.

But folks with limited square footage might not have that option.

You can opt for a quieter dehydrator (one of our picks is pretty quiet), or you can put yours in the location farthest from your bedroom door and dehydrate at night.

How We Tested?

For the first round of testing, we peeled, cored, and thinly sliced apples because they’re super easy to dehydrate.

Apples have the ideal moisture level and cellular structure for quick (ish) and successful drying, and they don’t require any pretreatment.

Starting out with something simple allowed us to keep variables low so we could gauge each model’s performance.

From looking at the drying patterns and the browning of the apple slices, we got strong visual evidence of how thoroughly each model circulated air around the trays.

Poor-performing dehydrators yielded dreadfully inconsistent results, with pale, half-dried fruit and brittle, dark-brown slices sitting side by side on the same tray.

After we eliminated the models that failed the apple test, we made beef jerky in the remaining contenders.

We sliced 20 pounds of eye of round into thin strips by hand and then marinated it in a simple spiced salt mixture, using Michael Ruhlman’s recipe as a guide. (Soy-based marinades are popular for beef jerky, but we hope you can empathize with our aversion to scrubbing dried brown sauce from 30 trays)

Here, we compared how well round drying trays fared versus square ones at fitting long strips of beef.

But the tray shape didn’t matter much since our strips were varying lengths, and there’s always a runty little piece that’ll fit in an odd space.

Kind of like a mosaic.

Since most dehydrators are made from plastic—a porous material—we dried onions and garlic to see if the trays or walls of the unit retained smells.

After a six-hour drying cycle (give or take an hour), we washed the trays with hot soapy water and wiped down the dehydrators with a mild vinegar solution.

We’re happy to report that none of the models retained any off odors after cleaning.

We made fruit leather as our final test for one last look at how consistently the models dried across each tray.

Fruit leather is best made in a dehydrator that dries evenly because the entire sheet of puree must be fully dry before you can peel it away from the plastic (whereas with something like apples, you can remove pieces as they dry if the machine is uneven).

As with the apple test, we found that the best dehydrators produced a homogenous dried, pliable fruit leather with little to no tray rotation.

Our Pick

The Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster Dehydrator is the fastest, most consistent food dehydrator we tested, and it’s the only model that never required tray rotation.

This round vertical-flow model has a 1,000-watt motor in the base that pushes hot air evenly through each tray for consistent drying.

The eight-tray FD-1018A Gardenmaster is also the best deal we found, offering ample drying capacity and useful accessories—fine-mesh mats and fruit-roll sheets—at an affordable price.

And it’s expandable to up to 30 trays, so beginners can rest easy knowing that their dehydrator can grow with their needs.

No one is as surprised as we are that the Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster outperformed dehydrators from popular high-end brands like Excalibur and Tribest.

Food-dehydrating enthusiasts from every corner of the Internet boast about the merits of their Excalibur models, but those and other horizontal-flow dehydrators required us to rotate trays frequently throughout the drying process.

The Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster consistently dried apples, beef jerky, and fruit leather faster and without the need to rotate trays.

The time it takes a dehydrator to adequately dry a batch of food depends on a few variables: the moisture content and thickness of your raw ingredients, and the batch size.

But we tested all the dehydrators, fully loaded, with the same uniformly sliced produce and meat, and the Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster consistently dried every batch two to four hours faster than the competition.

In our tests, the Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster dried foods the best and fastest because of three important factors working in tandem: its airflow, its round shape, and its bottom-mounted fan.

Nesco’s airflow design—branded as Converga-Flow—guides warm air up from the base through channels in the outer rims of the trays, then inward over the food.

Each tray’s drying surface slopes up toward the middle so that items at the outer edge don’t block airflow to the middle.

We found that Nesco’s round trays, which allow air to flow over food the same distance from all directions, produced the most consistently dried results, without any pockets of raw apple slices or beef.

By contrast, a competing vertical-flow dehydrator with rectangular trays dried irregularly in our tests because air had to travel different distances depending on whether it was coming from a long or short side.

Even with frequent tray rotation, this variability yielded a random mishmash of food in various stages of doneness.

Horizontal-flow dehydrators also dried unevenly in our tests, but for different reasons: The boxy shape didn’t promote even airflow throughout the unit, and the wonky drying pattern plainly illustrated where the pockets of dead air were.

Another reason the FD-1018A Gardenmaster dries food more evenly is that the fan in the base sends hot air up, where it naturally flows.

In our tests, the round Nesco dehydrators with a top-mounted fan—like the FD-77DT Digital and FD-75A Snackmaster—didn’t evenly dry food from the top to the bottom.

In those models, because the fans are working against physics to force hot air down to the lowest tray (remember, heat rises), the airflow is significantly cooler and weaker in the bottom half of the unit.

This is in spite of the fact that all Nesco dehydrators have the Converga-Flow design.

One interesting engineering detail about the Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster is that it recycles some of the hot air through the center cone in the base.

Each tray has about 1 square foot of usable surface area, for a total of 8 square feet of drying capacity. Practically speaking that equals up to 5 pounds of thin beef strips or 6 pounds of apples in one go.

That’s a lot of capacity, especially for beginners.

But if you start to outgrow those eight trays, the FD-1018A Gardenmaster can handle up to 30 at a time.

Extra trays are available on Amazon and the Nesco website, but I also frequently see them at thrift stores and yard sales. Just understand that more trays will add to the overall dehydrating time.

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6. The Best Stove-Top Pressure Cooker – Fissler Vitaquick 8.5-Quart Pressure Cooker



Fissler Vitaquick 8.5-Quart Pressure Cooker

 

How We Picked?

A pressure cooker is a great kitchen tool because it can cut cooking times in half.

But quick cooking times don’t mean much if the cooker is a royal pain to use.

Top-performing models are easy to use, versatile, well-designed, and simple to clean and maintain.

To find the best stovetop pressure cooker, one that suits both experienced cooks and novices, we considered these features:

Shape and size

The ideal pressure cooker will let you caramelize onions, sear meats, and cook a variety of dishes.

Cookers with a wide, low profile allow for better evaporation when searing and sautéing.

A deeper pot has a smaller cooking surface, so browning meat takes longer because you have to work in smaller batches.

When deciding what size to get, you want to take an honest look at your cooking habits and the number of mouths you regularly feed.

A two- to four-person household can easily get by with a 6-quart capacity pressure cooker for dinners, but that volume is limited for large-batch cooking and stock-making.

For us, the sweet spot is 8 quarts.

It’s big enough to make a decent amount of stock and can cook as little as 1½ cups of liquid.

But we also understand that one size doesn’t fit all, and our top pick is available in four sizes to cover a wide breadth of needs.

Easy to use

Pressure cooking can be a nerve-racking affair for some, so we prefer pots that eliminate most of the guesswork.

The lid should lock on smoothly and tightly.

Not knowing if your pressure cooker is sealed properly or struggling to get the lid in the right placement is frustrating.

Looser-fitting lids will still allow the pot to come up to pressure but may jiggle, causing you some uneasiness in the process.

We especially liked cookers with easy-to-spot pressure indicators.

Our favorite model has a large, bright blue spring valve with white rings as pressure markers (one for low, two for high).

Cheaper cookers have recessed indicators that are more difficult to see from a distance.

Even heating

All pressure cookers perform similarly when the lid is sealed and the built-up steam is doing its thing.

But the best should heat evenly enough to sauté or sear aromatics and meat without scorching—otherwise you have to do those tasks in a separate pot.

Most pressure cookers are made of stainless steel, with a tri-ply disk (aluminum sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel) at the base of the pot.

The best pressure cookers, ones that deliver the best searing action, have thicker, wider disks that distribute heat evenly and lessen the chance of scorching.

Parts and warranty

Small things on pressure cookers should be replaced occasionally.

The gasket (silicone ring in the lid), and valve base seals will wear out with use and age.

You’ll know if these parts are worn out because your cooker will take longer to come to pressure, and you may notice steam escaping where it didn’t before.

For this reason, we looked for pressure cookers from companies with easy-to-purchase and affordable replacement parts.

Warranties on pressure cookers usually cover only the pot and lid for an extended period of time.

Soft, rubbery parts that degrade with use, like the sealing gasket, are considered consumables and not covered under warranty.

How We Tested?

Our kitchen team examined the quality of the food we cooked in each model, as well as their user-friendliness.

We cooked unsoaked black beans, brisket, and brown rice to see if some models took more time or babysitting than others.

We sautéed onions and aromatics, and seared some beef to test heat distribution across the cooking surface.

After all of our testing, the end result was more or less the same.

Any pressure cooker will cook basic dishes, like beans and braised meat, no problem.

After all of our testing, the end result was more or less the same.

Any pressure cooker will cook basic dishes, like beans and braised meat, no problem.

The difference was how usable they were and how well they seared meat and sautéed vegetables.

Flimsy stovetop cookers scorched while searing meat, and had lids that were difficult to attach.

Our Pick

After all of our testing, the end result was more or less the same.

Any pressure cooker will cook basic dishes, like beans and braised meat, no problem.

The difference was how usable they were and how well they seared meat and sautéed vegetables.

Flimsy stovetop cookers scorched while searing meat, and had lids that were difficult to attach. 2 inches more than the Presto.

We really appreciated the extra breathing room for searing and sautéing.

The thicker, wider disk in the bottom of the pot also allowed us to use larger flame to get the cooker up to pressure.

The disk covered our high flame so there wasn’t any concern about heat damaging the handle or locking mechanisms.

This cooker is very easy to clean. Just remove the gasket from the lid and hand-wash all the parts in hot soapy water.

Fissler offers a limited warranty that covers manufacturer’s defects, but the warranty doesn’t cover misuse or parts that are subject to wear—including gaskets, valve parts, and silicone membranes.

 

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7. The Best Food Processor – Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor

If you’re a cook who needs to get dinner on the table quickly, a food processor can feel like a second pair of hands in the kitchen.

Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart

It will allow you to prep a range of food—whether you’re grating cheese, chopping nuts, slicing vegetables, or kneading dough—at lightning speed.

We’ve been testing food processors since 2013, and we remain convinced that the simple, sturdy, and powerful Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor is the best choice for most home cooks.

How We Picked?

After speaking with experts and spending years long-term testing several models, these are the qualities we look for in a good food processor:

Sharp, useful attachments, few extras: All food processors come with an S-shaped blade for chopping, and most full-size models also include a couple of disks for grating or slicing.

In our tests, we looked for blades and grating disks that were sharp out of the box and durable enough to remain sharp over years of use, so that they could chop delicate herbs and tough nuts evenly, grate cheese uniformly, and slice vegetables cleanly.

Beyond the main blade and one disk each for shredding and slicing, you don’t need much else.

Many food processors also come with a dough blade made of plastic, but we found that a metal blade mixed dough just as well, so we don’t think the dough blade is essential.

You can usually purchase everything from a juicing attachment to julienne disks separately, but such extras often go unused.

Both cookbook authors we spoke with essentially said these add-ons were a waste of money, so we didn’t test any.

Large capacity or mini, nothing in-between: In the past we tested food processors ranging in capacity from 11 to 14 cups, which cookbook authors Jean Anderson and Norene Gilletz told us was the ideal size for most home cooks.

But after a couple rounds of testing, we decided to focus on full-size models that were 14 cups or larger, which we found to be more effective and useful.

As Gilletz said, “It’s always better to go a little bigger than a little smaller.

It’s one investment that’s going to last you a lot of years.

You’ll regret getting one that isn’t big enough.” If you cook for a family or simply cook a lot, a bigger machine makes more sense.

That said, we also looked at mini food processors (also called a mini choppers).

Some full-size models come with an extra, smaller bowl that essentially acts as a mini food processor, but in most cases, we found that a dedicated mini processor did a better job.

Mini food processors have bowls ranging in capacity from about 1½ cups to 6 cups, but we focused on those with a capacity of about three cups.

Models smaller than that are too limited, and if you think you need one that’s larger than three cups, you’re probably better off with a full-size model.

Easy to use: Most food processors we looked at were relatively simple to operate, with not much more than an on/off button and a pulse button (good for roughly chopping things).

But the way the bowl is put together can make a huge difference in how easy a processor is to use.

Bowls with fewer parts and accessories are easier to assemble and clean, as are bowls with fewer nooks and crannies between the parts.

The size of the feed tubes in the lid (used to insert potatoes, carrots, or other hunks of food to be sliced or shredded) also makes a difference.

Most full-size processors come with a wide feed tube that’s fitted with a food presser, which has a narrower feed tube (with its own presser) in the center.

The larger tube should be big enough to easily fit a block of cheese or a potato, so you don’t have to spend time cutting food into pieces that are small enough to fit.

But the smaller tube needs to be narrow enough to keep carrots and other thin items upright during slicing.

Heavy base: A good food processor will have a strong motor and a heavy base that anchors it to the counter so the processor can mix sturdy yeast doughs.

Low-quality machines, which are typically lighter, often skid across the counter when processing dough, or the motor may even seize up.

How We Tested?

To start, we tested how evenly each food processor could chop a variety of ingredients, including onions, fibrous carrots, soft tomatoes, delicate parsley, and whole almonds.

We also made a 1-cup batch of mayonnaise in the processors to see how quickly and evenly they could produce a stable emulsification.

We made pizza dough in each full-size processor to see if the motor could withstand the rigors of kneading.

With the processors that came with a disk for grating, we also tried shredding both carrots and soft mozzarella cheese (which can turn to mush if the grater blades aren’t sharp).

Finally, we cleaned the bowls, lids, disks, and food pressers of each model by hand—eight times.

This test revealed more difficult-to-reach nooks and crannies than we’d expected to find in some machines.

Our Pick

The reasonably priced Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor has been our top pick since 2013 because it does everything a great food processor should do, without any unnecessary extras.

With one blade, one grating disk, and one slicing disk, this 14-cup processor excelled at nearly every chopping and shredding task we attempted, working as well as or better than costly machines with more attachments.

Unlike those of some other models we tested, the Cuisinart’s base remained stable on the counter, even when processing double batches of dough.

This model is easy to clean, and the attachments store neatly inside the bowl, preventing clutter.

In our tests, the Cuisinart evenly chopped almost everything, including juicy tomatoes. (The only exception was almonds—more on that in the Flaws but not dealbreakers section, below.)

The grating disk also shredded soft mozzarella cheese without getting gummed up.

And we made a firmer, more stable mayonnaise in the Cuisinart than in any other full-size model we tested.

The Cuisinart has a strong motor and a heavy base (roughly 18 pounds with the bowl on) that keeps it stable.

Though its 750-watt motor is less powerful than those on some other models we tested, such as the 1,200-watt Breville Sous Chef (our upgrade pick), this didn’t negatively affect the Cuisinart’s performance.

Making pizza dough was our most motor-intensive test, and the Custom 14 kneaded it effortlessly, without wiggling across the counter like some other processors we tried.

We also appreciated the Cuisinart’s large, 14-cup work bowl, which offers a lot of room for grating cheese or shredding big batches of coleslaw ingredients.

By comparison, we found that the 11-cup Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus was a little too small, particularly when processing wet ingredients. (Liquid tended to leak out of the Prep’s bowl.)

At first the Cuisinart seemed kind of puny next to some other models, which boasted nesting bowls, taller bases, and big boxes of attachments.

But after years of using it in our test kitchen and our homes, we continue to be won over by the Cuisinart’s simplicity.

We love that it comes with only one bowl and two operating buttons: pulse and on.

It also comes with only the most useful attachments: a stainless-steel chopping blade and disks for shredding and slicing.

Earlier versions of the Cuisinart Custom 14 included a dough blade, and you can still purchase one through the Cuisinart website.

But we find dough blades unnecessary and have successfully prepared doughs using regular chopping blades for years.

Finally, the Cuisinart Custom 14’s work bowl was easier to clean than the bowls of most of the other models we tested.

We cleaned each model eight times, so we were achingly familiar with the gunk that can get trapped in more-complicated lids.

We also appreciate the Cuisinart’s hollow handle, which doesn’t trap food particles and moisture as much as the Breville Sous Chef’s enclosed handle.

With some careful layering, you can store all of the Cuisinart’s blades and disks in its work bowl, with the lid on, which saves a bit of storage space (and keeps you from gouging a hand on a loose blade in a drawer).

By contrast, our upgrade pick, the Breville Sous Chef 16 Pro, comes with a plethora of disks and accessories, requiring more storage space.

At only 15 inches tall, the Cuisinart should also fit under most cupboards.

We like its slightly retro, sleek design, and the base is also available in several colors (each of which has a different model number).

The Cuisinart’s three-year warranty on parts and five-year warranty on the motor aren’t the best among the models we tested, but they’re still pretty good.

And Cuisinart’s food processors have a solid reputation for overall durability—anecdotally, we know of some that have lasted for decadesP

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8. The Best Electronic Pressure Cooker – Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart ’s

An electric pressure cooker—more accurately called a multi-cooker because it can also slow cook, sauté, and more—can help get dinner on the table quickly and easily even when you’re swamped.

Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor2

Of the 15 models we’ve tested since 2016, the Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart is our favorite.

It offers great performance at a reasonable price and its tried-and-true design makes it easier to use than gimmicky smart or multi-cookers.

How We Picked?

A great electric pressure cooker should be versatile, simple to use, durable, safe, and easy to clean.

To find the best electric cooker we prioritized the following criteria:

User friendliness: Electric pressure cookers can have a lot of intimidating buttons and sounds.

We looked for models with intuitive user interfaces that are easy to use right out of the box, with clear digital displays that show exactly what’s happening during cooking.

Versatility: Our favorite electric pressure cookers are actually multi-cookers, with more cooking modes than slow cookers or rice cookers.

They can successfully pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, steam, make rice, and even make yogurt.

We searched for cookers with the most pressure modes and cooking programs to fine-tune cooking.

Materials and construction: Electric pressure cookers have removable cooking pots or inserts.

We prefer uncoated stainless steel inner pots because nonstick coatings will wear out after a few years, even if you don’t scratch them up sooner with metal tongs and spoons.

We also looked for cookers with detachable lids that you can submerge in soapy water for easy cleaning.

Warranty and replaceable parts: A good warranty will at least cover the electronic housing and inner pot for one year but may not include gaskets, valve parts, and seals.

Whether or not those small parts are covered by the warranty, it’s important to be able to buy them separately, since you’ll need to replace them every one to three years, depending on use.

How We Tested?

We’ve been testing electric pressure cookers since 2016.

For every round of testing, we’ve started by tackling a few basic cooking tasks: making beans from scratch, cooking brown rice, and sautéing onions.

Over the years we’ve also cooked a range of other dishes, including brisket, pork, risotto, butter chicken, sushi rice, and even cake.

To test the air-frying and crisping abilities of the Ninja Foodi (a combined air fryer and electric pressure cooker) we roasted a chicken and air-fried mozzarella sticks and french fries in addition to our usual tests.

We’ve learned in our testing that any pressure cooker will cook basic dishes, like beans and braised meat, about the same.

The biggest differences between models lie in how easy they are to use and in the range of features they offer.

Great pressure cookers are simple to operate and clean, have multiple cooking modes, decent sautéing capabilities, and durable stainless steel inserts.

Poorly designed cookers have complicated interfaces, nonsensical instruction manuals, a mess of small pieces to clean, or are poorly designed.

Our Pick 

The Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart is our favorite electric pressure cooker because it offers the best combination of great performance, versatility, and price.

Firing up the Duo is more intuitive than starting other cookers and it churns out delicious recipes like butter chicken, risotto, and brisket quickly.

It’s one of the easiest cookers to clean, too.

The Duo’s durable stainless steel pot will last longer than nonstick inserts, and replacement parts are readily available.

Despite its many buttons and spaceship-like appearance, the Instant Pot Duo is simple to use.

We were cooking beans within minutes of scanning the instructions.

By comparison, the controls on competitors like the T-fal were complicated, and the manual for the Cuckoo iCook Q5 Premium was impenetrable.

Similarly, intuitive models like the Ninja Foodi and the Breville Fast Slow Pro cost more or take up a lot more counter space.

The Instant Pot Duo has 14 settings (including preset programs for foods like rice, stew, or yogurt, as well as manual programs for sautéing, slow cooking, or pressure cooking).

You can also adjust the time and pressure level within the programmed functions and the machine will remember these adjustments the next time you turn it on.

We like that the Instant Pot has three temperature settings for both pressure cooking and sautéing, whereas the other cookers in its price range offer only one or two.

You can make a sofrito for soup base using the low-heat setting, or caramelize onions and garlic on the high setting.

The Instant Pot also has two pressure settings—low or high—whereas some other models we tested have only one.

The Instant Pot is one of the only electric cookers we tried with an uncoated stainless steel inner pot, which gave us better color on onions and beef than the nonstick pots that come with other models (although it’s not nearly as good for searing meat as a pan on the stovetop).

Most other cookers have nonstick-coated inner pots, which you can easily scratch while cooking, and which will eventually wear out even with careful use.

The Duo’s pot also has a tri-ply bottom disk to help cook evenly.

The lid on the Instant Pot detaches for easy cleaning.

It has tabs that fit into a slot in either handle, so you can park it where it’s most convenient.

In comparison, the T-fal and Ninja Foodi have attached, hinged lids that make both cleaning and storing the cooker difficult.

Like all modern pressure cookers, the Instant Pot has multiple safety mechanisms to keep the pressure at a safe level and to prevent you from opening the lid while the pot is still under pressure (which could lead to a dangerous eruption of hot liquid).

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Top 8 Kitchen Products You’ll Go Crazy About

All-Clad Stainless 12″ Covered Fry Pan’s

Given the fact that products vary in sizes, prices, a number of functionalities and many other things, you might need to invest more time and effort into picking the one that will perfectly fit into your kitchen. 

Luckily, we’ve done extensive research and compiled a list of the most amazing products you will want to have in your kitchen without having to go through a number of different sites.

Quick Overview

FEATURES

5/5

MATERIALS

4.7/5

COST

4.7/5

We’ve covered all the things you need to know about each product and answered all the questions you might have when choosing a product. 

We’re confident that these pieces will last a very long time. 

Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Covered Fry Pans Dutch Oven VacuumSealer Clad Cookware Set BaratzaEncore Handy Mix Scraper Fizzi OneTouch Zojirushi2
All-Clad Stainless 12″ Covered Fry Pan’s
6-Quart Color Enamel Dutch Oven
Harvest VS-12 Vacuum Sealer
12-Piece Tri-Ply Clad Cookware Set
Coffee Grinder: Baratza Encore
Mixer: Breville Handy Mix Scraper
The Best Soda Maker: Fizzi OneTouch
Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy NS-ZCC10

1. The Best Skillet: All-Clad Stainless 12″ Covered Fry Pan’s

After doing an in-depth analysis and carrying out a number of tests, we’ve come to a conclusion that ultimately the best skillet you can find on today’s market is All-Clad Stainless 12″ Covered Fry Pan’s.

Here is why. 

All-Clad Stainless 12″ Covered Fry Pan’s


How We Tested The Product

We took many important factors before we started our tests.

Primarily, we focused on the size, weight, overall shape of pans as well as the handle angle.

We heated each pan and measured the temperature variations inside of each pan.

Then we waited for about nine minutes and did our measurements again so as to see how well they retained heat.

We even made a small experiment with flour.

We dusted each pan with flour to see how evenly the flour browned.

In this way, we could find out if the surface of each pan was heated evenly or they were prone to hot spots.

Of course, after conducting this test, we eliminated a few pans and chose just a tree of them that we thought had the best performances.

Then we conducted another experiment.

We roasted a chicken in each of them and then compared how evenly chicken skin browned in each skillet.

This gave us a pretty much insight into which skillet had the best performances. 


Why We Chose It?

After testing this pan for two years we have come to the conclusion that this pan is the best value for the money we can get.

Covered Fry Pan

It has an excellent heat distribution, flared sides and a roomy cooking surface.

All of these features make it stand out from the rest in the market.

Also, its comfortable weight and a well-angled handle make it great for tossing food.

The good thing about this skillet is that it also includes a lid which is not the case with other skillets we have tested. 

On top of this, this product offered the most consistent heat mapping when compared to other products that we have tested.

For instance, some skillets had a temperature difference of 80 °F.

All those measurements reflected also on the quality as well as the quality of baked food – chicken pieces browned deeply and white wine reduced without scorching.

So, yes, the results were amazing.

Like with the most pans we have tested, the handles on this pan stay cool even when you are searing.

Also, the angle of the handle is very handy giving you more control when tossing and turning food.

One more reason why we decided to choose this skillet as one of the best on the market is that it is one of the lightest skillets we have found weighing just under three pounds.

Light skillets allow for easier cleaning, handling but also temperature control.

After washing All-Clad skillet, we realized that it didn’t discolor from the high heat in our tests.

On the other hand, all the other skillets that we tested acquired a dark grey and irrestitent patina inside the pan as well as outside after they have been used. 

All of the food experts we consulted said that they simply love this skillet because it cooks evenly and it’s really easy to clean and wash.

Also, this pan comes with a limited lifetime warranty that helps you ensure that the company will replace a pan if there is some kind of deficiency or any other kind of problem. 

While the price might be a bit higher than with other skillets, it’s definitely worth the money. 


The Basic Characteristics:

  1. It has timeless professional appeal – there is a good reason why this pan caught our eye.
    Anyone who loves to cook will choose kitchenware pieces made of stainless steel.
    Also, this well-constructed and high-performance pan is just the right product for anyone, from a beginner to a culinary artist.
  2. Can be used for a variety of things in cooking – it has low sloped sides for easy flipping and turning and a wide flat surface for browning and searing so you can fit 3-4 chicken breasts at once.
    Quality materials are used for this pan so that the heat is distributed evenly throughout the pan.
  3. Made to last a long time – stainless steel handles are permanently secured with stainless steel rivets and the skillet is tested to ensure lifetime performance and beauty
  4. Lifetime warranty – as previously mentioned, this product comes with a lifetime warranty making it an ideal product for anyone who likes investing in the products that they intent to have for many years
  5. This construction consists of durable steel with aluminium core which is an ideal solution when heating throughput

What Features We Focused On?

There are a few factors we kept in mind when testing and choosing the best skillet. 

Optimal size and shape 

Based on the research, 12-inch skillet is the ideal size for most kitchens.

This means that it will have 9-10 inches in diameter, just enough space to sear a large steak or cook an entire broken-down chicken so that it has some room to breathe.

Plus, a skillet with sloped sides is always a better option than a skillet with straight sides because it makes preparing sauce so much easier to handle.

Also, this kind of pan allows moisture to evaporate quickly which means that meat and vegetables won’t stew in their own juices for long. 

Comfortable Weight 

As we have mentioned before, one of the good things about this pan is that it is lightweight making it super-easy to handle as well as toss and turn the food you are preparing.

However, it is important for a pan not to be too heavy as it may lead to uneven heat distribution.

Also, you need to make sure that the pan you choose is not heavy as well as it will be very difficult to use on a daily basis.

All-Clad Stainless skillet has just the right weight that makes the cooking experience comfortable and exciting. 

Comfortable, Oven-Safe Handle 

When it comes to choosing a pan, it is very important to pay attention to the size and the shape of the handle.

Even if your pan is a bit heavier, an appropriate handle will make the process of cooking food with the pan much easier.

Namely, a pan handle needs to be easy to handle which means that handle preferences will be different for everyone. 

Resistant To Heat

A pan that you choose needs to withstand high temperatures of at least 500 °F.

They should also be durable so that they do not warp over high heat on the stovetop. 

Easy To Clean 

Finally, you need a pan that won’t take you much time to clean and maintain on a daily basis.

Most of the skillets we tested lost their color only after we cleaned it just a few times.

Naturally, the discoloration will not affect the performance but it will have a bad impact on the aesthetics of the product. 

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2. The Best Dutch Oven: 6-Quart Lodge Color Enamel Dutch Oven

Having a Dutch oven in your kitchen is imperative if you want to make super-tasty food.

Dutch Oven

After 70 hours of research deep analysis and testing, we came to the conclusion that 6-Quart Lodge Color Enamel Dutch Oven is the best oven you can get as it braises, steams and caramelized food in the best possible way.

Also, it is much more affordable than its competitors.

So, here is why we have chosen this particular oven. 

How We Tested The Product?

To get all the deets regarding this product we had to carry out extensive research and test its performance by comparing it with the performance of other ovens.

First, we focused on enameled cast-iron ovens because they are easy to care for and clean and use over time.

When it comes to size, we mainly focused on ovens that range from 5.5 to 6.5 quartz which is a size big enough for various kinds of preparing foods including searing, braising frying, etc.

Also, we paid attention to the overall capacity of the oven, and we figured that ovens that are wider and shorter are much more efficient as opposed to narrower and taller.

A wider pot can save you loads of time.

On top of this, experienced cooks recommend ovens of at least 8 inches in diameter. 

So, we chose around 10 models, ranging from 5 to 7 quartz, and tested their qualities, flaws and overall performances.

To evaluate how good they are at preparing food, we made identical batches of long-grained steamed white rice in each pot.

With minimal stirring involved, we wanted to see how well each duch oven will distribute heat across the bottom surface.

Once it was ready we left it on the burner over low heat for a few minutes just to see whether scorching would occur.

So, after eliminating some of the ovens based on what we have learned during the test, we made a simple beef stew in the remaining ovens to see how ell they will perform.

It cooked for about three hours which gave us much insight into how difficult it is to clean ovens after longer cooking sessions. 

Why We Have Chosen It?

First of all, we have chosen this oven as our top winner because it allows us to make awesome food which is equally good as the food made in other ovens but for a much more affordable price.

It works great form most of the cooking tasks and it is super-easy to clean and maintain regardless of the type of cooking or food prepared in it.

Also, it has ample handles making it easy to handle and carry. 

The shape of this oven makes cooking especially easy and procatical.

At 10⅝ inches wide and 4¾ inches tall, the Lodge is wide and squat enough to allow for searing (rather than steaming) meat and also browning larger batches at once.

Also, this Lodge has a very gentle curve from the bottom to the side of the oven that prevents the onions from getting trapped in corners and produces even more browning.

During the testing we also determined that the ligh-coloured interior of this Lodge made it much easier to judge the colour of meat-browning and onions.

On the contrary, the dark surface of an oven makes it quite difficult to determine the colour as it develops.

Lodge cooked the best stew. 

Once the stew was prepared, and the meal was served, we cleaned up Lodge and discovered that it cleans perfectly and easily.

Lodge’s loop handles are much easier to work with than with the handles of other lodges.

In this case, we have loop handles which come pretty handy when it comes to stirring contents or moving the oven. 

When it comes to warranty, this product offers a “limited lifetime warranty”, and this company is well-known for excellent warranty policies so you don’t have to worry in the long run.

Basically, a limited lifetime warranty covers any damage received within regular use.

So, as long as the lodge has been used according to instructions and recommendations listed in, Lodge will cover the replacements of the enamel.

This also includes cracking or random chipping of the enamel. 

Some Basic Information And Qualities 

– This lodge is red and it is a perfect match of the form and function.

It is enameled cast iron classic and it is great for serving and preparing different kinds of food. 

– It has porcelain enamel on cast iron.

Essentially, this is glass that becomes bonded to the cast iron at high temperatures which is why this kind of lodge is super popular. 

– Its dimensions are 13.56 L X 10.98 W X 4.68 H inch

– This product is family-owned – Lodge is much more than just a product.

It’s a product developed by a family founded company which brings much more value to the quality of the product. 

Care And Maintenance 

One of the biggest benefits of Lodge is that it is a cast-iron piece of cookware, and there is a good enough reason why this particular quality is so special.

Cast-iron cookware is durable and is handed down from a generation to a generation.

Also, cast-iron is easier to maintain and handle no matter the circumstance it is in.

However, make sure you don’t use metal utensils in an enameled piece as it will damage the lodge.

Instead try using wood, silicone and their soft tools.

This oven can withstand temperatures of up to 500°F, but it is recommended to heat it moderaley from low to medium.

Also, make sure you don’t heat an empty oven.

Of course, like with many other cooking utensils, you need to keep in mind not to take a hot pot and toss it into a sink of cold water.

So before washing it, let it cool.

On top of this, Lodge recommends cleaning with scrapers and nyon pads instead of metal ones. 

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3. The Best Vacuum Sealer: Nesco American Harvest VS-12 Vacuum Sealer

Vacuum sealer is simply a must-have if you want to keep your food fresh and protected from all other smells in your fridge or a freezer.

VacuumSealer

A good vacuum sealer will keep your food fresh for a longer period of time which is a big plus especially if we take into account the fast pace of modern living when we don’t have enough time to think about every little detail concerning the food preparation.

So, after months of sealing fruits, nuts, crackers, meat and other groceries, we decided that the best vacuum sealer currently on the market is unquestionably Nesco American Harvest VS-12 Vacuum Sealer.

This unique product offers the best combination of useful features and powerful suction. 

What Factors Did We Take Into Consideration?

To decide which vacuum sealer is best on today’s market, we had to test a few and measure their performances and qualities.

Here are a few factors we kept in mind while testing:

InHg

When it comes to producing vacuum sealers, most manufacturers focus on inches of mercury. (inHg).

This measure tells us much about the vacuum strength of the sealer.

For example, the more inHg attained the stronger the suction will be.

Be mindful that vacuum sealers may function differently depending on the altitude and atmospheric pressure. 

A Wide Range Of Controls 

A button is a very important element when it comes to vacuum sealer.

When sealing foods including berries, chips and crackers with a sealer, the button allows you to slowly pulse the sealing.

This is also excellent when trying to seal delicate foods like angel food cake.

Also while some products let you control the vacuum pressure, others include some useful modes like moist and dry modes where dry mode seals are normal and the moist mode extends the seling time. 

Reasonable Size

Like with any other product, size matters.

The sealer should accommodate a rage of different bag sizes.

However, for most home cooks an 11-to-12 inch sealer is just enough.

There are also sealers that offer dedicated slots for storing some extra bag rolls as well as a bag cutter to customize bag sizes.

While all of these features make the entire unit a big bigger, it’s worth the price. 

Moderate Noise Level

Although noise level might seem less important than the rest of the factors, it actually plays and important role when choosing the right seller.

External models are generally much louder than chamber models.

External models measure between 70 and 83 decibels which are as loud as a vacuum cleaner.

Also, many people who have used chamber vacuum sealers say that they are much quieter than external ones.

However, to get a clear view of the noise level of both types of sealers, we’ve read a lot of reviews and saw many videos on this topic. 

Good Price

Another thing that helped us decide which sealer is the best is the price.

A vacuum sealer is generally a product that can be found at a pretty affordable price.

Although most of them range from $25 and $750 we mainly focused on vacuum sealers that cost between $70 and $400.

In a nutshell, cheaper models usually lack components like a built-in bag cutter as well as the space to store the bag roll.

All in all, products that range from $100 and $200 proved to be the best option as they often have larger motors, more control options, storage for the bag roll and a built-in bag cutter.

More expensive products have larger motors that generate more vacuum strength which is not necessary for home use. 

How We Tested The Product?

To see which vacuum cleaner had the best performances we tested 5 different products.

For starters, we sealed hamburger meat and bone-in pork chops.

After all of these products with the sealed food spent 2 months in the freezer, we checked them to see the state of the food or if any of these had failed.

We also tested the bags by putting ice in them and checking how long the bags could hold the liquid after the ice melted.

Plus, we sealed a few pieces of seal delicate items like crackers and chops to see whether they can be properly sealed without crushing them.

Finally, we used a sound meter just to check how loud the vacuum sealers are for the home environment and we tested the products by different manufacturers. 

There were a few more things we kept in mind.

We wanted to find out how much counter space each vacuum sealer occupied as well as how much plastic was wasted between the seal and the edge of the bag.

Also, we examined how different bags by different producers performed and how they affected the vacuuming performances. 

Why We Have Chosen Nesco American Harvest VS 12-Vacuum Sealer?

This vacuum sealer proved to be the best one because of the wide variety of controls, including the option to create a double seal on bags as well as its powerful suction capability.

This vacuum sealer also had a slot for storing a bag and a built-in sliding bag cutter.

Plus, there is the wide handle on the slip which makes it much easier to close than other vacuum sealers that require a lot of effort to push and snap into one place.

The great thing about this product was definitely the size because it doesn’t take up much space on the counter. 

As we have mentioned, one of the biggest advantages of Nesco is that it offers a number of controls for a reasonable price which is not the case with the rest of the products of the same kind.

For instance, it has the option to choose between moist and dry sealing and normal or gentle pressure.

When it comes to fragile foods like crackers or chips it has a pulse button so that it can control the vacuum manually.

If this button didn’t exist, all these foods would smash instantly by vacuum’s suction.

The cancel button, on the other hand, allows you to stop the machine at any time.

All of the controls light up when activated and turn off when the cycle is completed so that you would know when the process is finished and when it is safe to open the lid. It’s very easy to maintain and clean the entire sealer. 

What makes this sealer special when compared to the other sealers is that it has a double seal on bags, meaning that you can securely seal the food that has a lot of liquid.

You can use it to seal other bags like, for example, chip bags. 

We were fascinated with Nesco’s powerful vacuum which, according to one of the users of the product, can attain 25.1 inHg.

This means that it has amazingly strong suction which is unquestionably one of the most important features when it comes to vacuum sealers.

When it comes to the food we sealed, after two months they appear to have minimal freezer burn.

We were also impressed by many other features including the slot for bag storage including the built-in sliding bag cutter, which was much faster and easier to use than using scissors to cut the bags.

Also, it has a pretty manageable size as it measures approximately 15¾ by 8 by 6⅛ inches.

In addition, it is pretty lightweight which also plays an important role when choosing a vacuum sealer.

It weighs just over 6 pounds which is great especially if you are storing it in a large cupboard or some other place that lacks space.

This product comes with two starter bag rolls. Of course, you can purchase additional bags on the product’s website. 

In case some of the parts breaks or something goes wrong, the company offers a replacement of all parts and it offers a one-year manufacturer’s warranty which covers the cost of the replacement of any new part. 

Here Are Some Basic Features: 

This product has a double line sleals for added strength, hands-free sealing with locked handle, double vacuum pump, variable settings (regular or gentle), sealing choices (dry or moist or double sealing), included components like a vacuum sealer. 

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4. The Best Cookware Set: Tramontina Gourmet 12-Piece Tri-Ply Clad Cookware Set

One of the things each kitchen should have is definitely a good and practical kitchen set.

Clad Cookware Set

We wanted to help you find the one that would perfectly suit your needs for an affordable price, so we conducted a few experiments, analyzed the performance and features of a few cookware sets and came with the conclusion that the absolute winner is Tramontina Gourmet 12-Piece Tri-Ply Clad Cookware Set.

So let’s take a closer look at what makes this cookware set so special. 

What Factors Did We Take Into Consideration?

To test a wide range of these products we need to have a few important factors in mind.

For example, we focused on finding a cookware set that could retain and distribute heat evenly without causing hot spots.

On top of this, we looked for cookware that was durable and lightweight at the same time making it comfortable to hold.

So here are the things we paid attention to when choosing the right one:

Optimal Pan Size 

Although most people tend to buy cookware sets because it’s much easier for them to buy all the pieces in one pack, than to buy each of the pieces separately, it still takes time to choose the right cookware set.

For instance, when it comes to the pan, it is important to choose the right size.

According to other people’s experiences, choosing smaller pan and pot sizes may cause you to cook in batches and can slow you down in the kitchen.

This is something you definitely want to avoid.

After speaking to some people who have already used a few cookware sets and after doing an extensive research we concluded that a good set should include the following 10 pieces: 

  • 3- to 4-quart saucepan with a lid: For making sauces or reheating stocks and soups
  • 8- and 10-inch or 10- and 12-inch skillets: For searing meats and sautéing vegetables
  • 8-quart (or larger) stockpot with a lid: For boiling water for pasta, handling large-batch sauces, or making stocks, soups, and stew
  • 1.5- to 2-quart saucepan with a lid: For reheating a small amount of soup or melting butter
  • 3- to 4-quart skillet with a lid: For quickly reducing sauces, making roux, and preparing shallow braises

Also, after many years of testing and talking to many people who have used different cookware sets, we found out that you cannot find a practical set with good performances under $250.

Also, once you buy a set you can always buy additional pots.

Also, we focused on finding the set that has a smaller number of pieces because the larger sets have many pots and pans that are just fillers and that won’t see much use.

In the end, they will only clutter up your kitchen.

All in all, it’s always a better option to choose a set with fewer quality pieces. 

Comfortable Weight 

Another thing we kept in mind is the weight.

It is very important to buy cookware pieces that are easy to handle no matter what kind of food you are preparing.

We preferred skillets that weighed between 2 and 3½ pounds, which are good for tossing the food.

Our experts took a closer look at each set just to get a feel for the weight.

Viewing the products online is simply not enough if you want to make a good decision.

Also, we took into consideration just cookware pieces with slope slides. 

Durability And Heat Distribution 

We mainly focused on sets of fully clad tri-ply stainless steel as it is a better option for most cooks because of its even heat distribution.

Generally, steel is very durable and holds heat nicely.

Also, unlike aluminum it won’t leave that awful metallic taste in your mouth.

Plus, you can use stainless steel cookware pieces over high heat and move them directly to the oven.

Overall, buying stainless cookware pieces are buy-it-for-life pieces.

Besides regular sets of cookware pieces made of stainless steel, some produces offer pieces with additional layers like aluminum, stainless steel, copper, etc.

However, these kinds of sets are more expensive than regular ones. 

We also tried to avoid sets that included pieces that aren’t fully clad, because they are prone to scorching.

However, if you want a cheaper set, cookware with tri-ply disks welded to the bottom of the pan will distribute heat more evenly than pans made of  single piece of a stainless steel.

So fully clad tri-ply cookware is the way to go. 

Materials We Wanted To Avoid 

When choosing the right cookware set there are a few types of materials that you should definitely avoid.

These include aluminum, anodized aluminum, nonstick, carbon steel, cast iron copper. 

Features And Accessories To Avoid 

Besides materials, you should keep in mind that some features and accessories should also be avoided by no means.

For example, sets with glass lids were definitely not included in our list because they can break easily.

Also, we dismissed sets with plastic handles, because most of them will deteriorate over time due to high temperatures and heat.

Besides that, we mostly chose the sets which have stick handles and not the handles on both sides because stick handles are much easier to grip.

During the decision-making process, we also focused on products who have a hole in a stick handle so that they can be easily changed somewhere on the wall. 

How We Tested?

To get a big picture, we had to test a few cookware sets.

First, we wanted to find out how well skillets retained heat.

We did that by making a heat map of their cooking surface using an infrared thermometer.

We also wanted to see how evenly flour browned so we sprinkled it all over the surface of a large skillet.

We also put the chicken pieces in skillets to see how evenly they would brown.

To check for hot spots, we prepared small batches of caramel.

We also simmered a large batch of tomato sauce to test for scorching.

We also paid closer attention to how easy it was to hold the handles especially when we took the pieces out of the oven using a side towel of potholders.

By hand-washing, we also got some sense of how easily it is to wash and clean the pieces. 

Why We Picked Tramontina Gourmet Tri-Ply Clad 12-Piece Cookware Set?

There are a few reasons why we opted for this cookware set.

Firstly, each of the pieces in the set has an amazing heat distribution and durable construction.

The entire set comes at a pretty affordable price.

We didn’t notice any scratching of food, and we found that the handles on each are super-easy to handle no matter the circumstances.

Plus, all of the pieces are dishwasher safe and can withstand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are 12 pieces included in this Tramontina set: 8- and 10-inch skillets, a 6-quart deep sauté pan with a lid, 1½-, 2-, and 3-quart saucepans with lids, and an 8-quart stockpot with a lid.

Also, there is the 6-quart deep sauté pan which is 11¾ inches which makes it an ideal piece for baking an entire chicken, but cut up.

As mentioned above, you can buy additional Tramontine pieces on their website and make your set even better. 

The saucen from this cookware set made perfect caramel without burning.

Also, we didn’t notice any scorching.

Finally, the skillet made super-tasty perfectly golden-brown chicken breast with extra-crispy skin. 

Our experts who tested the product, pointed out that they really liked the weight and durability of the product, which means that they all of the products could withstand the rigours of daily cooking.

The handles are super-easy to hold in your hands and stick handles are more comfortable to hold which is not the case with the rest of the sets we tested. 

Finally this set comes with a lifetime warranty which is another reason why we think it is worth buying it. In case you encounter any kind of issues regarding this set, you just need to contact Tramontina for a replacement. 

Some Basic Features:

  • Compatible with all types of cooktops, including induction; Oven safe up to 500°F
  • It is made in Brazil, assembled and packaged in USA
  • It has a Lifetime Warranty
  • It offers Premium Tri-Ply clad construction (18/10 stainless steel, aluminum core, magnetic stainless steel)
  • It includes precision cast riveted handle and mirror-polished stainless-steel lid

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5. The Best Coffee Grinder: Baratza Encore

Making good coffee is one of the essentials of a successful day.

BaratzaEncore

If you want to make a good coffee, you need a good coffee grinder.

Since there is a whole range of grinders on the market, choosing the one that will meet your needs is not an easy task.

That’s why we’ve decided to help you and make the decision-making process super-easy.

After 70 hours of testing various coffee grinders, we came to the conclusion that the best one is Baratza Encore coffee grinder. Let’s see why.

What Factors Did We Take Into Consideration?

A good coffee grinder should justify the price: it should work for years with proper maintenance and be super-easy to operate, maintain and clean at any time.

When we take all the factors we are about to discuss into account, your coffee grinder should bring you a high return on investment especially if you are a huge coffee lover. 

The most important feature of any coffee grinder is grind-size consistency.

Namely, if you want to get the most veven, balanced extraction, grind-size consistency is the feature you should focus on.

And this is what we did during our research.

Here are a few factors we kept in mind along the way:

  • Quality Burrs – not all burr sets are created equal.
    This means that they can be made of steel, plastic, ceramic.
    For instance, burrs made of steel can last for a long period of time, and they are always a good choice.
    On the other hand ceramic ones are harder and dull more slowly.
    There are two types of burrs: canonical and flat.
    Most experts say that canonical burrs are always a better choice as they grind coffee evenly enough and collect less coffee between the burrs.
  • Clear Grind Settings – We mainly looked for grinders with clearly marked grind settings.
    Most of the grinders have a range of size selections from finest to coarse.
    However, to all of the grinders offer visual clues about where on the spectrum other brewing methods might fall.
    It’s good to have such clues on the grinder but it is not something essential.
    However, steps between each grind size should be consistent and clear so that you can make any adjustments more easily and quickly.
  • Dosage Measurements – another important thing we focused on was deose measurements.
    They allow you to grind a precise amount of coffee each time.
    While some grinders come with scales which you can use to precisely measure how much coffee you’ve ground, some other machines may work on timer, meaning you can set them to work for a particular amount of time, for instance 30 seconds.
    There are also machines without dose measurements which require you to time grind duration and then turn off the machine at the right moment.
    We tested both types of machines.
  • Cleaning And Maintenance – naturally, we looked into how easily these coffee grinders can be cleaned and maintained.
    One of the most important things here is that you are able to clean inside the burr chamber.
    In most cases burrs are easily removed which is great, especially when you need to replace it with a new one in case it breaks or something else.
    It’s also important to be able to clean around the machine, especially if the grinder has the tendency to spray everywhere.

How Did We Test The Product?

During the grinding process, we measured the time how fast each grinder performed at different settings as well as how easily and quickly it took each grinder to wash and clean.

Another thing we paid attention to was the noise the machines made during the grinding process as well as the mess they made.

We also took potential durability issues and weaknesses into account.

Once we brewed coffee in each grinder and tasted each coffee, we used a refractometer to measure how much coffee was dissolved into the water and therefore how successful the extraction was.

Essentially, a well-extracted coffee should measure at least between 18 and 22 percent extraction.

Finally, we tasted some of the best grinders for a few hours just to see how they will work in various everyday circumstances and conditions (we looked into the footprint, noise, speed, and ease of use).

We thought about which coffee grinder would make a perfect fit for almost every kitchen, and then we figured that the best option would be Baratza Encore.

The coffee we brewed with this grinder had an extraction percentage of 19.53 percent.

And best grinders were tested, so we are pretty sure that this is just the right pick for anybody looking for super-powerful coffee grinder. 

Here Is Why We Picked Baratza Encore Coffee grinder 

First of all this grinder is much lower priced than the rest of coffee grinders and it performs equally well as most of the other top coffee grinders you can find on the market, we found that this grinder has the top features and benefits for most people.

Essentially, it grinds beans equally and evenly, and it is super-easy to clean and maintain.

Users will use these coffee grinders for many years to come.

While most grinders will not grind beans perfectly evenly, we found that this Baratza Encore coffee grinder is absolutely proficient at grinding.

The coffee we brewed with this grinder had an extraction percentage of 19,53 %.

Also, we were impressed with how this great grinder produced a supremely tasty cup of coffee.

On top of that, it is really easy to use and more than sufficient for an average coffee drinker. 

Another thing we noticed is how easy it is to adjust the grind on the Encore.

You just need to turn the hopper on the preferred tick mark which allows you to move from a setting to a setting and keep the preferences in mind.

It took us only 30 seconds to grind 68 grams of medium -grind coffee which is appropriate for filter brewing.

Once you remove the hopper you can easily twist the top burr and clean it and then maintain it in the easiest possible way.

And if you want to replace the burr set, you can do that easily by ordering on their website.

There is a one-year warranty for this grinder as well as for all other types of Baratza grinders.

Plus this type of a grinder is well-known for its great durability, customer service and repairability which is another huge benefit of this machine.

Unlike all the grinders we have tested, Barratza Encore came as the best option and the most producer that specialises exclusively in coffee grinders. 

The Baratza Encore is a reliable, straightforward tool—there’s almost no learning curve—that takes up only a modest square of counter space.

It’s an investment you can rely on every morning providing you with a super-tasty coffee you can enjoy.

While it can’t produce a fine enough grind for serious espresso enthusiasts, its output should satisfy anyone’s filter coffee needs.

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6. Best Mixer: Breville Handy Mix Scraper 

To find the best hand mixers, we focused on the big names in electric mixers.

Handy Mix Scraper

We also read a variety of mixer reviews from various magazines.

We also asked professional and home bakers and baking bloggers about their favorite mixers as well as how they use them.

Here are the key factors we kept in mind along the way. 

Powerful: A good hand mixer should most importantly be powerful. 

We tested both hand mixers and stand mixers.

On top of this, we examined sturdy and fast machines.

A good hand mixer should be able to whip cream or egg whites quickly and be strong enough to churn through thick cookie dough or knead bread without stalling or straining.

A Range Of Speeds: Hand mixers should have a wide range of speeds to tackle a wider variety of tasks.

High speeds are great for whipping egg whites, and the lower speed is essential for gently mixing cake batter.

We favored hand mixers that had nine speeds; we also did multiple tests on other mixers but they were not as wasn’t nearly as powerful.

Several Attachments: Some inexpensive mixers come with only a pair of beaters, but we prefer machines that include other useful accessories, like dough hooks for kneading bread, or a whisk for whipping cream.

Comfortable To Hold: Since using a hand mixer can get tiring, we searched for models that were comfortable to hold.

A good hand mixer should be strong and sturdy, but not so clunky that you feel like you’re going to drop it into the bowl while mixing.

Easy To Clean: Most hand mixers are similarly easy to clean.

But some have better quick-release mechanisms to release the beaters than others.

We looked for mixers that made it simple to put on and take off attachments for both mixing and cleaning.

Easy To Store: Hand mixers are smaller than stand mixers, and most can be stored on a shelf or cabinet.

Ideally, mixers should have storage containers that keep all of the attachments in one place, so the parts and accessories don’t get lost in the abyss of a drawer.

Who Is This Mixer For?

Hand mixers are appealing appliances because they’re smaller and lighter than stand mixers.

The good thing about this mixer is that they can easily fit in a cabinet or drawer, and often come with cases to neatly store attachments.

Plus they are usually cheaper than stand mixers.

Stand mixers, however, usually live on a kitchen counter, and can be heavy to move. 

A good electric hand mixer will help you a lot when it comes to baking.

It can handle tasks that would be time-consuming, tiring, or impossible to do well by hand, like whipping cream, beating air into batter for lofty cake layers, or creaming butter and sugar thoroughly for cookies. Hand mixers aren’t as powerful as larger stand mixers.

But keep in mind that the two aren’t necessarily interchangeable.

Many cooks use both of them for various tasks.

How We Tested It?

In our testing, we made lofty cakes and cookies filled with fruit, nuts, and chocolate.

We also tested hand mixers alongside stand mixers to compare results.

We made a sponge cake to test how well each mixer worked.

Then, we made kitchen sink cookies to see how the mixers coped with lots of resistance and mix-ins.

We looked for cakes with an even crumb, high dome, and few air pockets (a sign the eggs had not been fully whipped); cookies that were evenly mixed and didn’t spread; and pizza dough that had been worked into a uniform, springy ball.

In the end, we eliminated a few mixers but made and we paid attention to how comfortable each mixer was to hold if it overheated or strained.

We also looked into how easy the attachments were to clean and store.

Why We Have Chosen Breville Handy Mix Scraper

With nine powerful speeds, the Breville consistently mixes thick doughs as well as lighter batters.

Also, it has more attachments and features than the competition.

The Breville Handy Mix Scraper was ultimately the most versatile, effective mixer we have tried, with all the functional attachments and useful features.

With nine speeds it made the best cookies, sponge cake, and pizza dough in our tests.

Also, it had the most unique and intelligent design, with a built-in timer, a light that shines into the bowl, rubber-coated scrapers and the button to pause mixing.

On top of this, it was also the easiest to clean and store compared with other mixers.

It is a great and steadfast budget option if you want a pared-down machine for occasional tasks.

The Breville absolutely excelled in all of our tests.

It was super powerful enough to blend the thick cookie dough without straining.

Each baked cookie was well-mixed with an even distribution of the chunky and good morsels we wanted to have in every bite—chewy raisins,  flakes of coconut, chopped walnuts, and chocolate chips.

The sponge cake it produced had a delicate texture.

It was also one of the loftiest, which sunk in the middle and at the sides. 

When we compared the Breville’s attachments with the attachments of other mixers, our winner stood out for their more thoughtful design and effective mixing capabilities.

Rubber-coated beaters on the Breville do a better job of scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl compared with other models’ beaters and help with noise control.

The Breville’s two whisk attachments actually work to whip eggs for sponge cake or meringue.

In our awesome test, we found that the Breville’s whisk attachments actually worked excellent, making a more evenly baked cake.

We can freely say that with all its attachments the Breville was by far the easiest and most enjoyable mixer to use of any we tested.

For instance, A screen with a built-in timer helps keep track of time-sensitive recipes, which is quite useful.

The timer also has a pause button, so you can stop mixing, add ingredients or scrape down your bowl, and then resume immediately without having to speed up again.

You can transition between nine speeds with a scroll wheel, like on an old-school computer mouse.

The scrolling was easy and familiar.

The mixer also has a light at the bottom of the machine that shines into the bowl.

All of these features were tested and made the whole process much easier. 

Also, the Handy Mix was sufficiently powerful to handle all of the dough and batters we made.

It seamlessly transitioned from slow to high speeds without splashing ingredients around.

This mixer was ultimately easiest to clean and store, too.

Instead of pressing a button to eject beaters you can pull a loop to eject beaters which requires much less effort than with other mixers.

This is a small detail, but it means a lot.

It would be great if more of my kitchen appliances and home electronics had this feature.

In addition to this, all of the beaters are dishwasher safe, so you can easily wipe down the mixer with a damp cloth.

The Breville’s case neatly holds all of the beater attachments and the cord.

On the other hand, with some other mixers, you have to save the box the machine comes in, or simply store components in a bag.

This all-in-one system keeps the mixer’s small parts together, which means that you don’t have to fumble around in a drawer looking for missing hooks. 

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7. The Best Soda Maker: Fizzi OneTouch


How Did We Pick?

Fizzi OneTouch

Soda makers work by injecting carbon dioxide into water to produce effervescence, making seltzer.

To put it simply, a good soda maker should easily add enough carbon dioxide to produce water with a zippy, Perrier-like fizz. On top of that, there are a few factors we looked into when deciding what to test:

It Allows You To Adjust The Fizz

We preferred soda makers that make it easy to choose and adjust the level of carbonation in your water.

While some people may prefer seltzer with a light fizz, others like a more robust, nose-tickling beverage.

So, it’s nice to have a machine that can do both. 

Uses CO2 Cylinders

Most soda makers use a cylinder to inject the CO2, which is the most effective method.

But over the years there were a few that appeared in the market that use alternative carbonating methods such as sodium bicarbonate tablets or pods filled with carbonator beads.

Siphons and handheld soda makers use one-time CO2 cartridges that are good for carbonating only about one liter of water.

These alternative carbonating methods don’t allow you to adjust the level of carbonation, and they don’t make especially fizzy water.

They also create more waste, so we’ve decided to skip anything that doesn’t use a CO2 cylinder.

CO2 Cylinders Are Easy To Find

The main issue many people have with SodaStream machines and similar soda makers lies in the continual need to exchange the CO2 cylinders when they run out of gas.

That is why we looked for soda makers that were compatible with SodaStream cylinders, the most readily available refills.

They are easily exchangeable at retailers, so finding one near you can help you exchange cylinders in a few larger cities. 

Over the years we’ve discovered that there are not many competitors against SodaStream that meets our criteria.

It is an absolute winner and has generally performed well in our tests, producing satisfyingly fizzy water.

We were disappointed to learn that our long-time top pick, the SodaStream Source, was discontinued and not replaced by a similar mid-priced model. Instead, SodaStream now offers the Fizzi, a more basic model that lacks the Source’s clear indicators of fizz level, for almost the same price as the Source.

The next step up from that, the automated Fizzi OneTouch, is easier to use than the Fizzi but more expensive than the Source was, and it needs to be plugged in.

SodaStream’s newer models also come with only a two-year warranty, which is typical of many small kitchen appliances but a downgrade from the limited lifetime warranty SodaStream offered with older models.

How We Tested?

We began our testing by setting up each soda maker, and we also thought about how easy it was to assemble and how much counter space it occupied.

Then we carbonated water that we had filtered and chilled overnight in the fridge because to make the fizziest results, the water needs to be cold.

Also, we took into account how easy each soda maker let us control the fizz levels.

Next we visually compared the overall fizz level and bubble size in the sparkling water from each soda maker.

Finally, we carried out a blind taste test with a group of seltzer lovers.

We gave each tester soda water from each machine in a smooth-walled drinking glass to compare flavor and mouthfeel, where we were looking for seltzer with no off-tastes and with a good bite. 

In our 2019 test, we also judged the fizz level by adding a Mentos to a glass of soda water from each model, which accelerated the nucleation process and released the carbonation quickly.

We wanted to see if any seltzer maintained its fizz longer (an indication of more bubbles), but they all fizzled out about equally.

Ultimately, our picks hinged more on the mouthfeel of the bubbles and how easy it was to adjust their level to our taste.

Although SodaStream machines can carbonate only water, the iDrink Drinkmate can carbonate anything.

To explore the Drinkmate’s capabilities in our 2017 testing, we gave our panel a sampling of pre-carbonated, bottled sparkling apple juice to compare in a blind taste test against apple juice from the same brand carbonated with the Drinkmate.

To see how the Drinkmate worked with different beverages, we also tried carbonating rosé and chilled water mixed with Portland Soda Works’s Rose Cordial Syrup (to mimic a premixed cocktail or mocktail).

Why We Have Chosen It?

This automated soda maker offers a wide range of bubbles (from lightly carbonated to super fizzy) and makes great-tasting seltzer.

The SodaStream Fizzi OneTouch makes great-tasting sparkling water, and it’s easy to customize your level of fizz.

Like most SodaStream models, the water it makes is consistently delicious and perfectly fizzed.

And thanks to the machine’s sleek and straightforward design, the Fizzi OneTouch is also one of the simplest soda makers to use, clean, and refill.

In our tests, the Fizzi OneTouch produced very fizzy water with a rounded, zippy mouthfeel from a mix of large and small bubbles. 

The Fizzi OneTouch gives great control over fizz level: You just press one of three buttons at the top of the machine to select a low, medium, or high amount of carbonation.

Then the OneTouch carbonates automatically.

If you’d like it fizzier, you can just press one of the buttons again for a second round.

While we were not sure whether we had carbonated sufficiently with other machines, with the Fizzi OneTouch you can simply press the button and just walk away.  

The Fizzi OneTouch is streamlined and easy to use.

It works with SodaStream’s 60-liter CO2 cylinders, which are easy to screw into the back of the machine and widely available to exchange.

The water bottle also clips onto the machine easily: Simply insert the neck of the bottle into the machine at an angle and push back until it locks into place.

In comparison, the iDrink Drinkmate requires some maneuvering to attach the fizz infuser cap to the bottle before locking both into the carbonator.

The Fizzi OneTouch has a minimal footprint and is short enough to fit under most cabinets, measuring about 16½ inches tall, 5 inches wide, and 7½ inches deep.

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8. The Best Rice Cooker:  Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy NS-ZCC10

After spending around 80 hours of research and testing, we finally chose the rice cooker that seems to be the best value for the price.

Zojirushi2

It definitely made the best rice of any cooker we have tested.

But, let’s see why we have decided to choose this product as the best option for almost anyone who is about to invest in a rice cooker. 

What Factors Did We Take Into Account?

Here are a few criteria we focused on when choosing our rice cooker:

Even Cooking – when rice is cooked unevenly, it has crispy edges and it is soft in the middle.

When rice is cooked properly, we should have an even batch of fluffy rice from the grains around the cooker’s edges.

Consistent Between Batches Sizes  – whether you cook just a cup or you fill a cooker, the rice should be equally cooked 

Excellent For Different Kinds Of Grains – Any type of cooler can make white rice, but a great cooker can handle other types of grains including long-grain white rice, quinoa, millet and other types of fancier grains with aplomb and grace. 

Speed – if you want to make a quick dinner, rice cooker is your life-savour.

Although using a rice cooker is not much quicker than cooking rice in a pot over the stove, it is worth the wait.

Of course, when testing we eliminated all the cookers that took more than one hour to cook a batch of rice. 

A Nonstick Cooking Pot – Since it is usually made of aluminium or steel, nonstick will make the appliance easier to clean without scrubbing and damaging a cooker.

Non-sticker is standard for most cookers.

There is also a plastic steamer basket included.

However, we prefer a metal steamer which will probably last longer. 

Fuzzy Logic – this means that the machine is equipped with a computer chip that can sense and adjust different cooking parameters in order to account for a human error.

On the other hand, basic rice cookers do not have this option so you cannot say whether you have added too much or too little water 

A Tight Seal On The Lid – if you want to prevent too much steam from escaping from the cooker and maintain steady temperature inside the cooker, you need to ensure that the rice cooks evenly and quickly. 

A Quick-Cook Setting – this means that you can cook rice in a pinch.

However, in this case, you compromise a bit of the texture. 

A Keep-Warm Setting – this is also an important factor.

Most rice cookers have a capacity ranging from 3 to 10 cups, but we focused mainly on models that can cook up to 6 cups.

If you don’t cook rice for a large group of people so often, you should go for a cooker which you can use to cook at least 6 cups of rice.

Anything smaller than this is an excellent choice for people who live alone or in dorm rooms.

But, if you have a big family you need a cooker that can cook rice for 10 people at least. 

A Plastic Paddle – by using a plastic paddle, you can scoop out rice without removing any nonstick coating. 

An Alert – we paid attention that a cooker has some kind or an alert that can help you know when your rice is done

A One-Year Warranty – most of the rice cookers we tested had a one-year warranty, but every rice cooker should defii=nitely last much longer than that 

Induction Heating – this kind of heating creates a magnetic field that transmits the heat within the entire pot, which basically leads to more even cooking.

Som models pair induction with pressure cooking so as to make the cooking of rice faster and improve its texture and flavor

A Mobile App – a rice cooker that has a mobile app that allows you to control the cooking of rice from your mobile phone is a huge benefit, because you can be mobile and cook the rice at the same time. 

Voice Navigation – voice navigation is a great option for people who are visually impaired. However, most of the cookers we tested have voice navigation in Korean. 

How We Tested The Product?

To test the rice cooker, we chose 4 different types of rice: regular rice, brown rice, long-grain rice and quick-cook rice. In cookers that have fuzzy logic, we made several batches of incorrectly measured rice just to see how the machines could adjust when cooking with ratios designed to fail.

Once we finished cooking the rice, we tasted it and looked for fully cooked grains that held their shape which is according to our experts a perfectly cooked grain of rice. 

Why We Have Chosen Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy NS-ZCC10?

This rice cooker definitely made the best white rice when compared to a number of other cookers we have tested.

Almost each rice grain turned perfect, giving a little when pressed without turning into a paste.

When we intentionally measured the rice incorrectly, this cooker was the only one which could adjust its cooking parameters to make the rice simply delicious.

Also, Neuro is a quite versatile machine, meaning that you can cook different types of rice grains in ti including white-rice, sticky-rice, and brown rice.

There are also handles on the pot making it easier to hold and handle. 

Rice made in this cooker has a perfect taste and may seem like a small piece of art: it is milky-white, slender, firm and intact.

You find yourself unable to stop eating the rice.

Also Neuro is one of the machines that managed to make long-grain rice, brown rice, Japanese rice taste great.

Also, it was the only rice cooker that made decent rice with separate, firm grains when we added some more water to test its advanced fuzzy logic.

We like that the Neuro Fuzzy comes in two sizes, a 5½-cup model that’s perfect for smaller households and a 10-cup model that can provide for larger families or dinner parties.

Finally, of all the cookers we have tested, it turned out the Neuro is very simple to clean and maintain.

On top of this, this cooker has a removable lid that allows you to remove the lid and wipe the starchy gink that can accumulate during many hours of cooking.

It also has handles attached to its inside pot meaning that you can easily transport a still-hot pot of rice.

These handles add more value to this product.

All in all, Neuro offers a whole range of benefits we looked for in a cooker.

It can even keep rice warm for 12 hours once it finishes cooking it. 

Who Is This Product For?

Although originally rice cookers come from Japan as this kind of food is most frequent there, rice cooker has become frequently used in Latin American dishes.

The best thing about these products is that they dramatically improve the taste of the rice which means that literally, anyone can use it.

Great rice cooked in this cooker is delicious, aromatic, nutty, with a broad depth of flavour.

It is also very easy to make rice in this and make it a perfect addition to your meal.

For people who eat rice frequently and who want a perfect white or brown rice as well as experiment with other different kinds of rice, this is the product they should invest in. Naturally, to get the best results, you should aim for a cookers that range from $100 to $400. 

On top of this, a rice cooker is a perfect option for people who rarely cook and want to have a frequent quick and tasty meal.

You can even cook the entire meal in your rice cooker by putting a piece of meat, tofu, some rice, vegetables in the steamer tray.

Naturally, some people prefer cooking rice in a regular well-known way – in a thick bottomed pot and a lid.

This is something we don’t recommend to people who tend to cook rice frequently, especially because it is more prone to a user error.

That’s why buying a rice cooker will give you much flexibility and help you make the best possible rice without making any errors.

Wrapping up 

Cookware utensils and tools can bring you many benefits and make cooking and preparing food not just super-easy but also super-fun.

No matter if you are a passionate food lover, cook or just a person who prepares delicious food and experimenting with various recipes, kitchen tools will help you improve your cooking skills and even learn something new along the way.

These kitchen products that we listed in this article are just a few examples of kitchen tools that can bring your cooking and food preparation skills to a whole new level. 

Hopefully, this list of products will help you maximize your potential and become a professional cook in your own kitchen. 

We’ll continue to test and review a wide range of cookware products and provide you with as many insights as you need to find and buy a perfect cookware tool for your kitchen. 2.

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