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Sure, you can settle for a soggy sandwich that can’t even be held properly. It’s still edible, and the taste won’t suffer much for it. But, why should you? For as little as 20 dollars, you can get just what you need so any sandwich you make will be warm, firm, and with a nice crunch on every bite. There’s a sandwich maker for you out there, you just have to know where to look!
See also: Want to expand your culinary horizons? Check out our pellet smoker reviews for an outdoor cooking experience like none other!
Your Sandwich Will Vary: Differences Between Makers
Their principle is very simple: warm up or toast your sandwich. However, like pretty much any appliance, a sandwich maker can come with varying degrees of sophistication. Some will have some type of alert to let you know your sandwich is ready; some others will let go of their plates so that cleaning them will be a breeze. The appropriate choice, your pocket permitting, will prepare an entire breakfast sandwich. Here we will go over the features that make a difference.
If all you want is a toasty sandwich, you can go for a four-triangle maker. Slice your sandwich, slot it in, close the lid and give it a few minutes. For greater range in size and thickness, however, you might want to go for a panini press, which will open up the possibility of cooking with ingredients such as fruit, eggs and meat.
If you are the outdoorsy type, you might want to look for an iron that will cook your sandwiches as you hold it over the campfire. Aside from not having the perks of the conventional electric appliance, these are usually made in cast iron, which requires knowledge of seasoning.
This measures cooking space. 2-slice makers will be enough for a family of medium size. You can find them going as high as 8 slices, though this will affect the space you need for placing and for storage, as well as the potency, which ties into our next point.
This measures in Watts. Units that can fit more slices will be more potent. Some will be higher here mostly for the sake of cooking faster. Your average maker will be between 700 and 750 Watts, which is about as much as you need.
They can be either fixed, or removable. The latter can sometimes be dishwasher safe for cleaning with minimum effort. Non-stick coating (or lack thereof) is another factor, as it marks the difference between a glued-on sandwich and one that will slide right onto your plate. The coating will come in either of two types: ceramic, usually considered to be the cleanest; and Teflon, a popular option that has been around for decades, which has sparked some controversy of late due to one of its components potentially causing cancer. The American Cancer Association does consider the risk to be rather minimal, so you probably don’t need to worry too much if your favorite choice comes with Teflon.
As mentioned before, certain sandwich makers will be capable of wearing more hats in the kitchen. Some can, indeed, be multipurpose, such as being able to be used as a griddle or even a waffle maker. For the most part, this versatility will be found on panini presses, but some sandwich makers not of this type will have a surprise or two in store for you.
You will find some that can grill or toast without having to swap plates. If you want to choose between a piping hot sandwich and one that is simply warm, or how crunchy you want it, you will need a unit with adjustable heat. Surprisingly, the average sandwich maker does not have this feature. In most cases, you will pop your sandwich in, and wait until the green “READY” light comes on.
Appliances with more functionality will usually come at a higher price.
Sandwich Makers Worth Looking Into
Now that you are aware of the defining features for this sort of appliance, let’s check out some options that you might like for filling that space on your counter.
Hamilton Beach 25490A – Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker
If you prefer English bagels or muffins, then you might like this one: Pile up your favorite stuffings —cheese, meat, vegetables, egg whites—, close the cover, give it a few minutes and, presto!, 2 breakfast sandwiches done.
Its countdown timer will advise you when your meal is ready; all removable parts are non-stick, and dishwasher safe. Recipes included.
- Custom meal done in minutes with minimal hassle.
- Suitable for bread varieties that might be trickier to use with other similar appliances.
- It cannot help with any other sort of sandwich, let alone additional kinds of food.
- Potency is often insufficient to cook raw ingredients; for best results, elements such as eggs and meat should go in already done.
The plates on this panini type press are non-stick, and can be removed and reversed so the appliance will also work as a contact grill and griddle, with a total of 5 possible configurations. The floating cover gives it room to accommodate very thick sandwiches, and other sorts of food.
The indicator lights are done a bit differently on this one: temperature and operation mode are controlled through the three knobs at the front, each one with an indicator light which switches between red and green depending on whether the unit has reached optimal temperature for the desired sort of cooking. Includes recipes and scraping tool.
- It can handle quite a wide variety of foods.
- Easy to clean.
- User friendly operation.
- It requires a fair amount of space to place and to store away.
- Priced a bit high; probably not suitable for a fledgling household.
Aerolatte Diablo Stovetop Sandwich Snack Maker
As long as you have a stove (except induction), you don’t need anything else to do your sandwiches. Hold it over the stovetop by the handle, and in a short while you will have the meal you want. When you’re done, all it takes to clean it is a round in the dishwasher. Just remember that it should not be used on stronger heat sources such as a campfire.
- Easy to store, easy to clean.
- Too small to cover an entire piece of bread; cutting away excess is often part of the process.
- Cooking with it is very slow, as it can only do one sandwich at a time; unlikely to serve an entire family well.
Hamilton Beach 25410
This is a little on the expensive side, but you might feel it is worth it: aside from sandwiches, it can help you with your steaks, vegetables, burgers and more. Red light indicates power is on, green light tells you when it is ready to cook.
The floating lid locks close, so the entire unit can be set vertically on its side for easy storage. Includes scraping tool, and the drip tray is dishwasher safe.
- Easy to store in spite of its size.
- Its design and included accessories make cleaning a simpler task.
- Lacking in features for its price, such as temperature control, and alert for when it is done cooking.
Chef Buddy 82-SW73
This one opens a full 180°, which gives you twice the cooking surface. At 1400-Watt potency, it can tackle indoor grilling as well as your sandwiches. You get the red and green lights to tell you when the unit is on and when it is ready to cook, and you are also able to control the temperature with the knob at the front of the unit.
The plates are non-stick. This, along with two cups to collect grease, and a spatula, makes cleaning less complicated.
- Good looks and acceptable performance at a decently low price.
- Cooking surface is smaller than with other comparable appliances.
- Known to heat up rather slowly, which can increase cooking time or lead to undercooked food.
This unit is white, which might be a refreshing departure from the more common metallic look. Your indicator lights are the standard red for power on and green for optimal temperature.
This one is peculiar in that the plates are completely flat; they are also non removable, but they do have non-stick coating so you don’t have too hard a time when cleaning.
When you want to put it away, you can set it upright and save storage space.
- A well-rounded, affordable alternative that is widely considered to perform well.
- Known to sometimes heat unevenly, burning some areas of the sandwich while leaving others undercooked.
- Rather small, so it can only handle standard sandwiches.
- Since plates are flat, there will be no grill marks or creases for slicing more easily.
Gotham Steel 2108
The ceramic non-stick coating might be a bonus for you, but there’s also its classic design and indicator lights. One tells you the unit is on, the other lets you know your sandwiches are ready. The interior features a diagonal indentation to seal your sandwiches and help you slice them in half with less effort. Its operation is so simple, almost anyone should be able to use it.
- Very easy to use.
- Compact, good for traveling.
- Affordable, good for a first apartment or starting family.
- Space within is tight: even conventional sandwich bread should have its edges cut away or it won’t fit.
- Plastic body is somewhat brittle, known to crack without too much effort.
OSTBA 3-in-1 Sandwich Maker
Sandwiches, check. Your waffles and steak, also check. This appliance includes plates of 3 different types, which can be swapped so the machine can tackle separate roles. Plates are non-stick, and can be put in the dishwasher.
Standard red and green lights to indicate power and optimal heat, no temperature control or switch to shut off. At 750W power, it doesn’t take too long for it to reach appropriate temperature, or to finish cooking your food.
- Fairly portable, it can be taken anywhere.
- Affordable: might save a starting family some space and money since it can cook more than just sandwiches.
- Due to its size, thickness in food will be limited. Waffles, for example, will come out fairly thin.
- Any stain on the plastic body might be somewhat difficult to remove.
Colorful, small, lightweight and affordable, this one can also do waffles, omelets and more. Both top and bottom sides generate heat, and it doesn’t take long before being ready to cook. When used for sandwiches it creates a line in the middle so you can slice it more easily after it is done. Includes recipes.
- Available in 2 colors.
- Makes for a nice gift and travel companion. Also suitable for a first apartment.
- Plates cannot be removed or swapped, so anything cooked with it that is not a sandwich will still resemble a sandwich.
- Might be too small to serve more than one person.
Deik KJ-210 Sandwich Maker
This press comes with a rather notable 1500 Watts of power, which helps it be ready faster and cook better. The floating lid enables it to fit a sandwich of pretty much any thickness, and it can also handle your burgers, steaks, vegetables and more. The non-stick coating on the plates is ceramic. Temperature can be controlled to your liking with the knob on the top.
The tray at the bottom collects grease, and it can be put in the dishwasher afterwards. Lid can be locked and the unit propped vertically for storage.
- Decent versatility and functionality for a fairly affordable price.
- Plates are not removable.
- Grease can overwhelm the drip tray and spill on counter.
Best Fit For Your Counter: Proctor-Silex 25401P
It’s white, rather good-looking. When it is time to put it away, you can prop it up vertically and save space. It doesn’t get a lot of features, but it doesn’t really need them: it has one job, and it does it well. Even the lack of creases for slicing and of grill marks can be overlooked; after all, what counts is that your sandwich be toasty and with a light crunch.
When you get a low-priced appliance, you will often deal with less than stellar performance. In this case, you get a reliable unit that will treat your sandwiches well, and should be with you for quite a while.
Now, who’s up for a grilled cheese?
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