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7 small kitchen appliances you don't need

Those remodeling shows and kitchen ads would have you think that you need a small kitchen appliance for every task.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 17, 2013 12:35PM

This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyThanks in part to all of those home remodeling shows filling up the weekend cable TV lineup, designer kitchens are very popular and home cooks can't help but want a truly fancy kitchen complete with every small appliance they see.


Toast in a Toaster © Fuse, Fuse, Getty ImagesI'll be honest. After I've browsed Bon Appetit or watched a remodeling show, I start dreaming of pasta arms above my stove, high-powered blenders and top-dollar juicers, but the fact of the matter is, most small kitchen appliances aren’t worth the money or the counter space.


Here are seven small kitchen appliances you can skip:


1. Panini press

A panini press flattens and grills, turning a regular sandwich into a hot panini. In theory this sounds like the perfect way to turn your kitchen into an Italian deli on a Saturday afternoon. In reality, a panini press can be heavy and difficult to lift. And it's not something you really need.


Oprah.com has a cheaper way to make a panini. Assemble the sandwich, butter both sides and put it in a hot skillet. Cover the bottom of your heaviest pot with aluminum foil and place it on top of the sandwich. If it's not heavy enough, fill a kettle with water and place that in the pot. You'll get the same thing without the extra appliance.


2. Stand mixer

Most home cooks I know swear by their KitchenAid stand mixer, but I've never been able to justify the cost. Instead, I mix and mash ingredients by hand. It's more work, but theKitchn thinks hand mixing might be better. Here's why:

When you're working by hand, there's more control over each step. You can see for yourself exactly when the egg whites reach a stiff peak and feel when the bread has developed enough gluten. You're a part of the entire process from start to finish, and that creates a certain satisfaction that we feel is different than when we've zipped it together in a mixer.

3. Electric kettle

The electric kettle was the first small kitchen appliance listed in HuffPost Taste's unnecessary kitchen appliances slide show for good reason. An electric kettle is plugged in so that it can heat up water. That's it. The rest of the time it takes up space on your counter.


If you want to make a cup of tea, heat the water in the microwave or in a pan on the stove, not in a special kettle.


4. Popcorn maker

With a popcorn maker, whole kernels are heated and then fluffy popcorn emerges at the top. It may seem like the best way to get ready for movie night, but HuffPost Taste says you can get the same results with a pot on the stove top.


5. Baby food maker

At first, baby food makers seem like a great idea. With one little appliance, you'll be able to give your baby fresh fruits and vegetables. But you can still do that even if you don't have the actual appliance. Oprah.com explains how:

Cook those carrots in boiling water or a steamer basket, and then use a fork to smash them. Not smooth enough for your tot? Add some of the cooking water and whip them together in a food processor or with an immersion blender until they're to his liking.

6. Blender

Last year I was dead set on having a blender and ending up getting one as a gift. I was thrilled. Six months later I had used it only once. Turns out, my food processor does a better job of crushing ice and blending fruit for smoothies than the blender does. Plus, my food processor does a better job of fitting in my small cabinets.


7. Electric grill

I've seen electric grills advertised as two things: either a way to grill indoors for apartment dwellers, or the best way to cook healthy grilled meals. In reality, they're bulkier, more expensive and harder to clean. Plus, Oprah.com warns that electric grills may actually steam food rather than grill it, so you may end up getting different results.


Have you bought a small kitchen appliance and then later regretted the purchase?


More on Money Talks News:

129Comments
Oct 17, 2013 1:31PM
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Agree with all except the stand mixer and blender. My Kitchen Aid stand mixer was the best kitchen tool I've ever purchased.
Oct 17, 2013 3:40PM
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The appliances one needs and uses is directly related to one's culture and the kinds of food one cooks.

Oct 17, 2013 2:16PM
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The writer is obviously not British otherwise he would know an electric kettle is the most used appliance in most homes.  Water boiled in the microwave simply does not make a good cup of tea!
Oct 17, 2013 12:46PM
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A blender is cheaper than a food processor. Don't see ant need for a food processor.
Oct 17, 2013 3:05PM
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I have Kitchen Aid for 13 years with meat grinder, pasta maker, rotor slicer. For the price f the unit I think it's the best kitchen  tools I  have made bread and other things. Don' knock a Kitchen Aid it still comes in handy.
Oct 17, 2013 2:03PM
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I love my George Foreman electric grill! Use it all the time.
Oct 17, 2013 3:46PM
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I disagree with the stand mixer.  If you like to bake (and I don't mean boxed cakes) from scratch, then a stand mixer is definately worth the investment.  The KitchenAid mixer is great.  Other brands aren't worth the investment; they have no power.  All the appliances mentioned can be great, depending on individual likes and dislikes.  I never used my juicer - I though i would, but not my thing.  To someone else, it is a great appliance.
Oct 17, 2013 4:43PM
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Gee....can we put this author's name on a list of seven people we don't need????

Oct 17, 2013 1:23PM
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I have to say I do not regret my stand mixer.  I wouldn't do nearly as much without it.  I do have a blender, but not a food processor.  I can't imagine what I would do with a food processor.  I also don't have (or need) an immersion blender.
Oct 17, 2013 4:30PM
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Don't agree about the stand mixer.  There are  a lot of things that require long mixing times.  A hand mixer requires you to stay with it, taking up your time and your hands!  Also, being a lefty, I kept knocking the cord out of my hand mixer.  What a pain.  Since I purchased my stand mixer 13 years ago, I've not once used my hand mixer...freedom at last!
Oct 17, 2013 1:36PM
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I have and use an electric grill, popcorn popper, and electric kettle. The grill I have does grill food, it's not the George Foreman type that does steam instead of grill and really makes a mess. My grill is easily taken apart and all the parts, with the exception of the heating element, can be cleaned in the dishwasher. The popcorn popper and electric kettle are both much faster at doing their job than putting a pot on the stove. The electric kettle had the added advantage of turning itself off when the water is hot so if I'm distracted I don't end up with a burnt out pot. I'll admit I don't use the blender often but I use it much more than I would a food processor which is much more expensive, takes up more space, and is harder to clean.
Oct 17, 2013 7:57PM
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Angela, your not going to be young and fit forever, unless you die now.  When you get to be a senior you will be very blessed if you can chop, mix, blend without  causing yourself pain. I can no longer lift my heaviest skillet, I have a large kitchen and lots of counter space for all the things that make all my kitchen jobs much less painful, Oprah and you can spread your lies else where, there are those of us that actually need our appliances not greed for appliances. You sound so much like the modern young woman who does not plan for the day when she won't be able to whip egg whites, mix cakes, chop, etc.  Listen up, buy quality, keep acquiring those small appliances, you will need them some day.

 

Oct 17, 2013 3:44PM
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My Late Aunt had an electric tea kettle in her retirement apartment. She was an avid tea drinker. Her apartment had a very small sink and refrigerator like those found in hotels. no hot plates or microwaves permitted This allowed her to have her tea in her room. otherwise she would have had to go down three floors to the dining room for a cup of hot water. 

 

 Due to a childhood injury, I cannot hold a spoon and stir long enough to mix much of anything without severe cramping. My mixmaster comes in two parts that fit nicely in my cupboard in my retirement apartment.. My microwave takes up most of counter space. Both appliances are nearly 50 years old. As long as they work I'll keep them. (This presupposes that I will continue to be able to work them!)

 

Such appliances are necessary in certain circumstances.

 

 

Oct 17, 2013 3:37PM
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I use my KitchenAid stand mixer frequently. The juicer is stashed away with my seldom used ice cream maker. My top useless appliance is the waffle & clothes irons:)
Oct 17, 2013 3:02PM
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I have had my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for 25 years and have used many, many times. Food processor is about 20 years old and am starting to think about replacing it, blades are dull.  I use an inexpensive immersion blender for homemade soups, great way to mash it up and blend into a creamy soup, all will the soup is still hot.

The other appliance I love is my bread machine, use it 2 or 3 times a week.  Takes about five minutes to put the ingredients in the pan (I have been doing this for years so have it down pat) and 3 hours later, or when I get home at the end of the day, voila! a delicious loaf of warm bread.  Can't stomach the store bought or even bakery stuff anymore.
Oct 17, 2013 4:22PM
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angela you don't have these? bet you have a smart phone... mine -just makes ph calls  no wasted money there..

 

Oct 17, 2013 2:09PM
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We have an electric kettle in the work kitchen, which is great because we don't have a stove and I don't appreciate people using the microwave to heat up water at lunch time when there is a line of people wanting to heat up there lunch.  So it is great there.

I love my air popper for popcorn. Popping popcorn on the stove is good too, but not quite the same, especially if you don't want to use oil.

I like my stand mixer; it was a gift.  I probably wouldn't by one for myself.

My blender gets used quite a bit and now that I have a nice one, it gets used more than my food processor.  I think it would be better to say that you don't need both a blender and a food process instead of saying you don't need a blender.  One or the other could suffice.

If I could add something to the list, it would be a wok.  I had an electric wok for a while but it was just a hassle. A frying pan works just as well for me.

One small appliance in my kitchen that would probably go to waste in other kitchens is a snow cone maker.  During warmer months (and even sometimes in cooler months) it gets used several times a week.
Oct 17, 2013 4:47PM
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Whether these are useless appliances or not depends on how you cook.

The only appliance in this list that to me is truly useless if you already have a blender or food processor is a baby food maker. Why would one buy a separate food processor for baby food?

Personally I wouldn't buy the panini press because my cast iron works just fine for that.

But the rest would depend. The electric kettle is great when a hot plate is not available or not permitted. The popcorn popper the same. The stir-crazy is something my kids love so it has some entertainment value as well.

I have a hand and stand mixer both and I wouldn't trade them. I use the stand mixer for most things and the hand mixer when what I am working with is beyond the capacity offered by my stand mixer.
Oct 17, 2013 2:35PM
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Well, I must disagree with a Panini press......I keep my Cuisinart  on the counter all the time.  Yes, I love paninis but I also like the adaptability of opening it up,  flipping the plates to the flat side and being able to cook bacon, eggs, pancakes, toast, etc.  I also bought waffle plates for it as well.  Now how many small appliances does that replace?  Not to mention the ease in cleaning.
Oct 17, 2013 2:30PM
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I have a juicer. I thought I would use i all the time, but think I have maybe used it once. I've had it for several years and it just keeps getting moved from home to home (military)
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