15 Kitchen Tools Under $15

Our tests prove that you don’t always need to spend a lot to get a lot.

We’ve tested thousands of products and crowned hundreds of winners, and one thing we’ve learned is that you don’t always need to spend a lot to get a lot. In fact, some of our all-time favorite pieces of gear cost less than 15 bucks. A dustpan and brush set is essential for cleaning up the small messes inevitably made in the kitchen. Our favorite set has a long brush that is generously packed with sturdy plastic bristles, making it easy to cover lots of ground quickly. Next, our winning mini whisk is perfect for beating a few eggs or emulsifying just enough salad dressing for one or two people. Read on for 15 of our favorite tools under $15.

—Carolyn Grillo, Senior Editor, ATK Reviews

This funnel had the longest spout in the lineup, nearly 2 inches, which made it feel securely anchored during use. Its spout was a tad narrower than ideal, but it still allowed foods and liquids to flow reasonably well—though the viscous barbecue sauce proved challenging. As with some other models, we learned that we could address flow issues by either slowing down our pour or tapping or shaking the funnel.

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The shorter version of our favorite 12-inch tongs, this model easily picked up foods of all shapes and sizes—from dainty blueberries to a hefty jar of salsa—and was extremely comfortable to operate. The uncoated, scalloped stainless-steel tips allowed us a precise grip, making it especially easy to lift and arrange thinly sliced fruit, and the tongs' locking mechanism was smooth and intuitive.

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This extremely sturdy, warp-resistant baking sheet turned out evenly cooked and browned chicken, cauliflower, and focaccia. Its lightweight, compact size made it easy to maneuver into and out of the oven. Its size is ideal for preparing recipes that serve two and for kitchen tasks that require only a small amount of space, such as toasting a handful of nuts or a few tablespoons of sesame seeds.

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This thin, lightweight plastic model was easy to hold and lift but was also stable on the counter thanks to its grippy rubber sides. It’s dishwasher-safe, and while it got a bit scratched by the end of testing, it was otherwise intact, resisting warping, cracking, or staining and retaining no odors. Testers liked cutting on its textured plastic surface and appreciated that one of its sides had a small trench for collecting juices from roasts or wet foods.

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This brush had the thickest head of bristles in the testing, allowing it to pick up and deposit the greatest volume of egg wash, oil, butter, or glaze in a single pass. And because the bristles weren't too densely packed, they still felt agile and precise. At a uniform 1.8 inches, they were the ideal length for most tasks (though some testers preferred brushes with slightly longer bristles for getting into the nooks and crannies on fruit tarts). While not as grippy as some, its medium-length, relatively fat, varnished wood handle was still comfortable to hold. Additionally, it lost the fewest bristles during testing.

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This product looks like the classic blue sponge we've all used, but its plastic-based scrubbing side has ripples. These ripples added texture, which helped nudge off cooked-on food. This sponge was absorbent and durable, and it looked surprisingly clean at the end of testing. It was also our preferred size: thick enough to hold comfortably but small enough to maneuver in tight spaces.

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Spacious, airy, and solidly constructed, with a firm attachment to the sink, this sponge holder looked good and performed perfectly in our testing. Two oversize suction cups (2½ inches across), set far apart, helped it keep a better grip. (It was the only model where the suction cups sat on the edges of the holder and extended well beyond the basket, providing support to the lightweight aluminum cage.) We loved being able to toss the sponge and see it drop right into the wide-open basket. One of the top performers in our drainage test, it helped sponges stay dry between uses. It’s also available in a range of finishes.

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This brush aced every category with ease: No stain could withstand its stiff bristles, it rinsed clean with minimal effort thanks to its well-spaced bristle clusters, its silicone-coated handle was comfortable to grip, and its handle curved optimally to give it good leverage for scrubbing. It also had a strip of ultrastiff bristles on the back of its head meant for the toughest messes that beat out every scraper in the lineup. Though its handle was a touch long for some testers, this brush easily outperformed its competition.

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This dustpan and brush set did a great job of cleaning up all the messes we set before it. Its long brush was generously packed with sturdy plastic bristles, making it easy to cover lots of ground quickly and to scrub little caked-on bits on the floor when needed. The bristles slanted forward at the tip, so we could easily reach into tight spaces for cleaning. And the brush handle was comfortable to hold, even for lengthier cleanup sessions. One small quibble: While the dustpan’s tall walls made it spacious enough to contain plenty of debris, it had a relatively small opening, so we had to aim a little more carefully when sweeping than with other models.

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Using this bag was a cinch (pun intended): The combination of a smooth drawstring and a strong closure bead made filling and closing it simple and convenient. The bag also had the finest mesh among the synthetic options; it even held grits without leaking while still allowing us to view the contents. This bag had the largest capacity in the lineup, and it held strong when we tested its durability with a pineapple and dumbbells.

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We loved the 16 slim, neatly cut apple slices that this gadget produced from a single fruit, perfect for baking or snacking. Its raised, grippy handles were comfortable to grab and push, and we loved its cleverly designed round coring blade at the center, which protrudes beyond the spoke-like cutting blades by a little less than ⅛ inch. This part makes the first cut, anchoring the device on the apple and breaking the resistance of the apple skin, so the cutting blades glide through more easily. After you press down through the apple, you lift it onto a plastic base and push down again, which makes the core and 16 perfect slices pop up and out—no struggling to free them from sharp blades. The device works well for pears, too, and is easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher. Our only wish is that the base attached for storage so that it would be easier to keep track of its whereabouts.

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We loved using this diminutive whisk, which performed every task quickly and efficiently, thanks to the five sturdy wire loops in its relatively broad head. And with a thick, medium-length handle, it was easy to grip. The handle itself was made from smooth metal that was completely sealed off where the loops connected, so it was particularly easy to clean.

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Seamless silicone surrounds a sturdy polymer core, making this spatula easy to clean and comfortable in hand. The flexible head handily maneuvers in tight corners and edges but is strong enough to scoop heavy food. It’s also available in a mini version, perfect for petite jars.

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