This basket-style tea strainer had the biggest capacity in our testing, equivalent to 13.5 tablespoons—more than enough for good water circulation. With a 2.5-inch opening, it was easy to fill and clean. And its tightly woven mesh basket kept even the finest leaves out of the finished tea. As a bonus, it has a top that can also be used as a saucer, holding the basket and catching any drips after or between infusions.
This large, sleek glass kettle was one of the quickest in our lineup. The power switch lights up in an icy blue when it’s activated, the handle is wide and comfortable, and the kettle sits securely on its base. We also liked its slow-open lid, which prevents accidental burns from steam and splashing water. It has a removable filter in its spout which, while not strictly necessary, is a handy feature in areas where the water has sediment.
This kettle ranked second in speed and won us over with its sleek design and ease of use, a window through which to watch bubbles rising from an orblike stainless heating element, and safety features including automatic shut-off.
Lightweight and easy to fill with its wide opening, good interior visibility, and handle that folds out of the way, this kettle was pleasant to use and has a generous capacity. Its whistle is assertive, its grippy handle is comfortable, and its spout has a gentle curve that lends itself to smooth pouring. It survived abuse tests with only the faintest dents, and the brushed-steel surface was easy to clean. A quibble: The lever on the whistling spout cover is stiff and snappy, and the pointy hinge underneath the lever sometimes poked our fingers when closing the spout. Also, it is not induction-compatible.
This teapot brewed a good, strong cup and kept loose leaves in check with its ultrafine-mesh strainer. You place the pot over a cup and the tea flows automatically through the bottom of the pot (where the strongest tea collects). Feet on the bottom of the pot lift it up to prevent the bottom valve from accidentally opening. A simple swish of running water cleans up spent leaves.
This high-priced machine brews ideal tea, thanks to its fully customizable water temperature and steeping time. Plus, it’s fully automatic: It features an autostart timer, a mechanism that lowers and raises the brew basket unassisted, and a keep-warm function that maintains the tea at a level temperature (automatically determined by the type of tea) for up to 60 minutes. It was also the easiest to fill, and its accessories are dishwasher-safe. Our one quibble: The smallest tea leaves occasionally escaped the basket.
With a roomy, medium-depth basket of very fine, tight, stiff mesh, this strainer removed lots of bran from whole-wheat flour and produced silky purees. A long, wide hook allowed it to sit securely on a variety of cookware, and while its rounded steel handle was a bit less comfortable than some, it was still easy to hold. This strainer’s sturdy construction makes it worth its high price: It looked as good as new even after serious abuse.
Our winning spoons had a simple design that allowed for a continuous, bump-free sweep, with a ball-chain connector (similar to what military dog tags hang on) that was easy to open and close. This set's metal construction felt remarkably sturdy, and ingredients didn't cling to the stainless steel. And while the 1-tablespoon measure did not fit into all spice jars, it was a minor inconvenience for an otherwise easy-to-use set.
Testers raved about this classic wooden spoon. Light, long, and maneuverable, it kept our hands far from the heat, and its rounded, tapered handle was comfortable and easy to grip in a variety of ways as we worked. It also suited both right- and left-handed testers. The slim tip of its nicely scooped-out oval bowl was easy to maneuver under food for turning and scooping, and when angled slightly, the head provided sufficient area for scraping fond. Made of teak, the wood resisted staining or drying out, retained its color, and never became rough to touch, even after 10 cycles through the dishwasher.
This solid sheet pan is roomy, and raised edges on two sides make it easy to maneuver (though it’s a bit heavy). Cookies baked evenly, both across the sheet and from top to bottom, and its thick aluminum resists warping. Even without parchment, this sheet released cookies easily.
This dispenser’s spring-loaded spout cover worked like a charm. Pushing the lever let us open it any amount from a sliver to fully open, so we could pour neatly and precisely while controlling the flow. Releasing the lever let it slide smoothly and shut completely for no-drip handling. It was easy to fill and clean, too. One quibble: The glass jar isn’t microwave-safe, so we had to heat syrup in a separate vessel and then transfer it. On the plus side, the ridged glass jar stayed comfortable to hold as we replaced the lid, even when the syrup was fairly hot.
This spatula was great for flipping eggs and pancakes, and the flexible silicone head was especially good at gliding in the pan—even navigating rounded sides with ease. The silicone material kept cookies stable during transport, and we liked the generous handle. The spatula’s head was an ideal length, though we found it too wide to easily scoop up brownies. And while this spatula’s flexible head was ideal for skillet cooking, it was too pliable to scrape up leftover brownie bits.
Featuring grippy rubberized handles and an inner spring with just the right amount of resistance, this portion scoop was very comfortable to hold and squeeze. It also dispensed dough with the neatest and most controlled motion.
These precut parchment sheets, which come in a large plastic zipper-lock bag, are the only ones in our lineup that are stored completely flat. They're also sized just right to slide easily into a standard rimmed baking sheet, although we did have to use two overlapping sheets when rolling jelly roll cakes into coils. Their superior convenience made them the runaway favorite. Don't let the purchase price distract you: The per-sheet cost falls squarely in the middle of our lineup.
No other container in our lineup had an airtight seal (activated by a pop-up button on the lid). We also liked that the clear plastic (BPA-free) jar showed off our baking. The container was easy to clean, but the lid’s nooks and crannies took more effort, and the lid is not dishwasher-safe. We tested the 4-quart model; the container comes in several sizes and shapes.
Accurate and extremely durable, this set snaps together for compact storage. The handles are seamless with the cups themselves, making them easy to level off.
"Fruity and smooth," "floral, fragrant, nice and balanced," agreed tasters, who liked that this tea was "not too strong" but packed "a lot of flavor." "A good, bold cup of tea. Cheerio and all that."
“Clean” green tea flavor with a “nice grassy quality,” “mild, toasty aromas,” and just “a bit astringent,” tasters said. In custard, those flavors offset the richness.
PLAIN: "Extremely floral, with citrus and berry tones," "fruity and aromatic," with a "mellow flavor" that is "more delicate than the other teas, but nicely balanced." "This is my favorite for a classic English breakfast tea."