7 Small Appliances You Don’t Need — and What to Use Instead

Couple with blender
Photo by wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Home cooks can’t help but covet a truly fancy kitchen complete with every small appliance imaginable.

I’ll confess that after I’ve watched a remodeling show or browsed Bon Appétit magazine, I start dreaming of pasta arms above my stove. Or maybe I have visions of high-powered blenders and top-dollar juicers dancing in my head.

But the truth is that most small kitchen appliances aren’t worth the money or the counter space. That’s especially true of the following appliances.

1. Electric kettle

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 or in your cabinet.

In other words, an electric kettle is a single-use appliance — something that we warn against in “20 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret“:

“Appliances that are super-specific and can perform only one rarely needed task are rarely worth the money.”

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

2. 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 offers a cheaper way to make a panini:

“In Italy, many presses are actually made with two flat pieces of metal, so there aren’t even grill marks. To get the same effect, butter both sides of your sandwich, put it in a frying pan and weigh the sandwich down with your largest, heaviest pot (cover the bottom with foil so it doesn’t stick to the bread). Put a kettle filled with water in the pot if you need more weight.”

You’ll get your panini without having to splurge on the extra appliance.

3. Electric grill

I’ve seen electric grills billed as two things: a way for apartment dwellers to grill indoors and the best way to cook healthy grilled meals.

In reality, they’re bulky, expensive and hard 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.

Instead, search the web for instructions for grilling a specific food — chicken breast, for example — in a frying pan on your stovetop. Or, buy a nonelectric griddle instead of an electric grill. At least the griddle would hog less space when not in use.

4. Blender

A couple of years ago, I was dead set on having a blender and ended up getting one as a gift. I was thrilled.

Six months later I had used it only once. Turns out that 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 cabinets.

5. Stand mixer

Many home cooks swear by their 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 the blog Kitchn argues that hand mixing might be better:

“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.”

6. 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 you can get the same results with a pot on the stovetop.

If you need directions, Kitchn and Epicurious are among the many publications that offer them online.

7. Baby-food maker

At first, baby-food makers seem like a great idea. With one little appliance, you can give your baby fresh fruits and vegetables. But you can do that even without the actual appliance.

For example, boil or steam carrots, then smash them. How simple is that?

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Memberships That Offer Car Insurance Discounts
5 Memberships That Offer Car Insurance Discounts

These discounts may save you hundreds — even thousands — of dollars a year.

The 5 Worst Home Upgrades for the Money
The 5 Worst Home Upgrades for the Money

These home improvement projects basically never pay off.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

How to Invest in Real Estate for as Little as $500
How to Invest in Real Estate for as Little as $500

If stock market volatility has you looking for other investment options, here’s a way to diversify — even if you don’t have tons of money.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.