Small Kitchen Appliances
Choosing the Right Appliances
You can transform the time you spend on cooking and preparing food into a quick, effortless and enjoyable experience by adding a few small appliances to your kitchen. With loads of devices designed to make common tasks such as chopping, slicing and mixing fast and easy, your options are virtually unlimited. Choose from food processors, blenders, stand mixers and other units that can help you create dishes that look and taste great in half the time.
Even standard favorites, such as a coffeepot or toaster have more functionality than ever and are an essential component in any kitchen. Before you decide which appliances are right for you, take a few moments to learn about all of your options. The following questions will help you get started:
• What are the most common tasks you perform in the kitchen?
• How much available counter space do you have?
• Are you more concerned about cost or functionality?
• Are you looking for appliances with a distinctive style or design?
• Are there any special features that are important to you?
Types, Function, Features and Selection of Appliances
Whether cooking is your interest or simply a necessary chore, small kitchen appliances can turn any kitchen into the best room in the house. From coffeemakers with automatic grind and brew functions to Belgian waffle makers that turn an ordinary breakfast into a gourmet feast, the simplicity and convenience they offer are hard to resist. Whatever equipment you choose, keep in mind that functionality isn’t their only benefit. Many of today’s small kitchen appliances feature unique designs and bright vibrant colors that make them both a stylish and useful addition to any kitchen.
Coffeemakers and Bean Grinders
If you’re one of those people who relies on that first cup of coffee to get their day started, then you know how important it is to have a good, reliable coffeemaker in your kitchen. There are various models ranging from the most basic of units to elaborate machines with built-in bean grinders and programmable brew cycles.
If you enjoy your coffee on the go, then look for a travel system that brews the coffee directly into a built-in travel mug or set of mugs. Whether you drink one cup a day or ten, be sure to choose a unit that has the most ideal capacity for your needs. Most models brew between ten and twelve cups, though smaller four-cup units are also available.
• Thermal carafes keep coffee warm for hours without overheating or scorching
• Pause-and-pour feature allows you to grab a cup of coffee before it is finished brewing
• Models equipped with an alarm allow you to set up your coffee pot to brew automatically at a specific time
• Espresso makers enable you to make café-style drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes right at home
• Bean grinders and coffee mills make it easy for you to grind coffee beans at home for a fresher flavor
Food Processors, Blenders and Mixers
Food processors, blenders and mixers are essential allies when it comes to cooking. They have been exclusively designed to help with cutting, chopping, mixing, blending and more. Blenders are fairly versatile and are often used to make blended soups, smoothies, frozen drinks, dips and other items. Food processors offer some of the same functionalities as blenders, but can also be used for other activities like chopping vegetables or grating cheese.
Mixers can be either handheld or mounted on a stand. Handheld mixers tend to be more compact for easier storage and are used for everything from stirring a cake mix to making creamy mashed potatoes. Stand mixers can be used for all the same tasks as a handheld unit but don’t require holding, so your hands are free to tackle other tasks.
• Blenders with more powerful motors and ice-crushing capabilities are good for smoothies and other
• Blenders and mixers with automatic power adjustment maintain a consistent speed under any load
• Blender/food processor units combine the functionality of both appliances in one convenient solution
• Food processors usually include a variety of attachments and accessories that allow you to perform
• Stand mixers are generally more powerful than hand mixers, making them good for mixing thicker
ingredients, kneading bread and other labor-intensive tasks.
Some small kitchen appliances are designed for specific tasks, such as steaming rice, popping popcorn or making pizza. These devices occasionally have multiple applications but in many cases are designed for one definite function. While some of these appliances can be used weekly or even daily, others, such as a chocolate fountain or cotton candy machines are designed for use during special events.
• Ice cream and frozen yogurt makers allow you to create your own homemade frozen treats.
• Griddles and waffle makers are designed to help you create tasty waffles, pancakes and more.
• Electric knives and meat slicers make it easier to carve up your favorite roast or prepare sandwich meat.
• Countertop grills allow you to enjoy the taste of grilled hamburgers even in the middle of winter.
• Popcorn makers can turn any night into a family movie night with delicious theater-style popcorn.
• Pizza ovens are a great way to get healthy, nutritious food on the table without resorting to take out.
Toasters and Toaster Ovens
Toasted bread and bagels play a vital part in many morning meals. This classic kitchen appliance has come a long way in the last several years. With extra-wide slots, digital controls and space-age designs, these formerly pedestrian units are better than ever. Depending on your price range, there are a wide variety of models available with exclusive features and capacity.
Choose from the standard two-slice toaster or a family-sized eight-slice model. If you want a little more functionality, consider using a versatile toaster oven that gives you the same capabilities as a toaster with some of the features of an oven.
• A cool-touch exterior helps prevent accidental burns and injuries
• Toasters with lift levers make it easier to grab your toast when it gets stuck
• Toaster ovens with convection capabilities provide even more cooking versatility
• Digital controls on both toasters and toaster ovens allow for more precise settings and results
Fryers, Steamers & Cookers
When it comes to steaming, frying and cooking in the kitchen, there are a number of appliances designed to help you out. Deep fryers allow you to safely heat oil to high temperatures for use in making French fries, wings, egg rolls and more. For savory cooking with minimal effort, toss some ingredients into your slow cooker in the morning and come home to a tasty meal at night.
• Temperature adjustment and digital controls allow for more precise cooking
• Capacity ranges vary, so be sure to buy a unit big enough to feed your largest gathering
• Combination units that provide boil, steam and fry capabilities offer added versatility
Selecting Small Kitchen Appliances
Your search for the right appliances begins with determining what are the tasks for which you need the most help with. For basic actions such as chopping, mixing and blending, consider adding a blender, mixer or food processor to your kitchen. Specialty appliances such as rice steamers, deep fryers or popcorn makers can also come in handy when it comes to performing a more specific function.
Use the chart below to learn more about what you can do with small kitchen appliances and which ones are right for you.
Points to Consider
|Brewing coffee and creating other coffee-based beverages||• Bean Grinder / Coffee Mill
• Espresso Machine
|• Programmable units brew coffee at a specified
• Espresso machines with a steaming wand heat
and froth milk and other liquids
• Adjustable coffee mills and grinders allow you
to select how coarse or fine your grounds are
|Chopping and slicing||• Blender
• Electric Knife
• Food Processor
• Meat Slicer
|• Food processor attachments with varying
levels of thickness allow more cutting versatility
• Cordless electric knives give you more
freedom of movement
|Grating and shredding||• Food Processor
||• Multiple speeds allow you to adjust for different
types of items
• Food Processor
|• Automatic power adjustments maintain speed
under any load
• Blender/food processor combos offer more
|Whipping, mixing and stirring||• Blender
• Handheld Mixer
• Stand Mixer
|• Stand mixers can generally handle more
• Mixers with multiple attachments enable you to
• Handheld blenders are ideal for soups and
|Indoor grilling||• Countertop Grill
• Electric Griddle
|• Precise temperature settings offer better
• Indicator lights let you know when the surface
• Nonstick surfaces make cleanup easy
|Making popcorn, pizza and other specialty items||• Deep Fryer
• Ice Cream Maker
• Pizza Oven
• Popcorn Maker
• Rice Steamer
• Waffle Maker
|• Ideal for those who frequently perform one
specific kitchen task
• Indicator lights on waffle irons and other
devices let you know when your items are
|Entertaining||• Chocolate Fountain
• Cotton Candy Machine
• Fondue Set
|• Designed for special occasions and events
• Good for those who regularly entertain
|Toasting bread, bagels and other items||• Toaster
• Toaster Oven
|• Toaster ovens with multiple racks can
accommodate more items
|Cooking||• Slow Cooker
• Toaster Oven
|• Capacity should be large enough to handle
your biggest crowd
|Frying||• Boil/Steam/Fry Combo Unit
• Deep Fryer
|• Enables safe, convenient cooking with oil
• Precise temperature settings offer more
|Steaming||• Boil/Steam/Fry Combo Unit
• Rice Cooker
|• Some rice cookers can be converted to steam
other food items
Digital Controls: Digital controls, LCD displays and touch screen functionality add a sophisticated element to your kitchen and allow for more precise control.
Indicator Lights: Look for models with indicator lights that tell you when a unit is on, what settings have been selected and even when items have finished cooking.
Cord Storage: Keep your kitchen counters looking neat and clean with appliances that provide built-in cord management.
Space Saving: Space-saving appliances are ideal for kitchens short on counter space. Look for below-cabinet and wall-mounted models that don’t take up extra room on your countertops.
Programmability: Programmable kitchen appliances, such as coffeemakers, can be set up to operate on their own for added convenience.
Nonstick Surfaces: Items with nonstick surfaces are easier to clean and care for.
Decorative Colors & Design: Distinctive designs in small kitchen appliances range from sleek, sophisticated stainless-steel exteriors to cheerful solid colors and patterns, making it possible for you to bring a little personality to your kitchen.