Make quick work of common kitchen tasks with the right tools
By adding a few small appliances to your kitchen, you can transform the time
you spend cooking and preparing food into a quick, effortless and enjoyable
experience. With an abundance 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 the 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 your options. The following questions will help you get started:
Types, Function, Features and Selection
Whether cooking is your favorite hobby 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 rely on that first cup of coffee to get going in the morning, then you know how important it is to have a good, reliable coffeemaker in your kitchen. Models range 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, look for a travel system that brews the coffee directly into an included travel mug or set of mugs. Whether you drink one cup a day or ten, be sure to choose a unit that has the ideal capacity for your needs. Most models brew between ten and twelve cups, though smaller four-cup units are also available.
Food Processors, Blenders and Mixers: Food processors, blenders and
mixers are indispensable allies when it comes to cooking. They have been
specifically 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 functionality as blenders but can also be used for 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.
Specialty Appliances: Some small kitchen appliances are designed with a
special task in mind, such as steaming rice, popping popcorn or making pizza.
These devices occasionally have multiple applications but in many cases are
designed for one specific function. While some of these appliances can be used
weekly or even daily, others, such as a chocolate fountains or cotton candy
machines, are designed for use during special events.
Toasters and Toaster Ovens: Toasted bread and bagels are an integral
part of 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 is a wide variety of available models
with varying 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 a versatile toaster oven, which gives you the same capabilities as a
toaster with some of the features of an oven.
Fryers, Steamers & Cookers: When it comes to steaming, frying and
cooking it up 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.
Selecting Small Kitchen Appliances: The search for the right appliances
begins with determining what tasks 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
|Task||Appliances||Points to Consider|
|Brewing coffee and creating other coffee-based beverages||
|Chopping and slicing||
|Grating and shredding||
|Whipping, mixing and stirring||
|Making popcorn, pizza and other specialty items||
|Toasting bread, bagels and other 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.
Pick up an extra extension cord or power strip if you plan on keeping more than one small appliance in your kitchen.