This quiet, high-powered blender has simple, intuitive controls. As for its blending capability, it was top-notch. It was able to produce fine-textured foods without incorporating excess air, thanks to its narrow blender jar. The tamper accessory was helpful when blending thicker foods, and the blender’s 7-year warranty insured our investment. It’s tall, at 20.25 inches, so it can’t be stored on a counter beneath a standard 18-inch-tall cabinet, and its narrow jar made scraping out its contents a minor challenge.
The price is right on this model, which made pretty toast without any fuss. We loved its glass window to monitor browning. A “reheat” button lets you warm up cooled toast or add a bit more browning. Its profile is compact, and the exterior stays cool. On the medium setting, toast was too light, but once we pushed the dial higher, it came out reliably golden and uniform on both sides; the highest setting made great “dark” toast. This toaster might have won if it didn't occasionally throw toast onto the counter or floor, which can be comical but unsettling. (A backup copy did the same.)
This thermometer wasn't quite as good as the Mk4 or the OXO model, but it gave them a real run for their money. It was fast and accurate and had a large handle that kept us safely away from the heat; the handle was slightly slicker and less roomy than we'd like but better than those of most models we tested. The big, clear display rotates two ways, and the long probe worked great at various angles. It turned on automatically when we opened the probe and turned off when we closed it. It also automatically wakes up with a touch if you leave the probe open. Its backlight turns on with a vigorous shake. Its one button operates a hold feature and min/max functions; we found the latter unnecessary, but the former is quite useful. The button wasn't perfectly responsive, and loading three functions on one button was a bit confusing, but overall the design was pleasantly minimalist, and you can ignore the functions you don't need.
With a medium-length tube for easy maneuvering and a rotating dial that allows precise control of fan speed, this smoke infuser was especially easy to use. It has a removable smoking chamber and filter, making cleanup a breeze and maintaining high-quality smoke. It's the heaviest model we tested, so it stays put on the counter.
These sleek, sharp knives sliced effortlessly through even the toughest steaks, and their good-looking contoured rosewood handles were secure and comfortable to hold. Though the blades dulled slightly after many cuts, sharpening easily brought them back to life.
Our previous winner turned in another gold medal performance: “Every slice is perfect,” said one tester. It was comfortable and sharp, with a long, tall blade that was “just flexible enough so you feel like it’s doing what you tell it to.”
Our favorite blender capably turned out smooth margaritas and smoothies and creamy salad dressing. Like those of the other models in our lineup, its narrow cup opening was difficult to fill, but we appreciated that it came with a small silicone funnel to help. We also liked that this blender was easy to turn on and off with one click of a button. It withstood being placed in a duffel bag and dropped five times onto concrete. It did begin to leak on the 45th smoothie, but that was a lot to ask of a machine likely intended for simpler tasks, such as making one smoothie a day or a few batches of frozen drinks at the beach.
Everything prepared in this sturdy, warp-resistant sheet cooked appropriately and evenly. Best of all, our new favorite is a few bucks cheaper than our old winner.
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.
This tiny pan was perfect for evenly baking one or two cookies, scones, or biscuits; broiling toast in a toaster oven; toasting nuts; and acting as a spoon rest or surface to corral ingredients while we cooked. Its sturdy materials kept it from warping, and it was easy to clean and convenient to store. We frequently reach for this small but mighty option for the smaller tasks in our kitchen.
Although the grid pattern on this rack is slightly larger than on the other two models, it’s reinforced with an extra support bar that runs perpendicular to the three main bars. It had a touch more wiggle room in the baking sheets, but it kept pace with the other racks during recipe and durability testing.
Although it shifted around a bit in the our favorite small rimmed baking sheet, this affordable rack was strong and sturdy. It easily fit 12 cookies (a half-batch of many cookie recipes). Testers felt comfortable maneuvering the rack when it was loaded with 1¼ pounds of pork spareribs. The rack is also dishwasher-safe, which made cleanup easy.
Our winning herb keeper, slim and rectangular, made it easy to add and remove herbs, thanks in large part to its adjustable height—we could lower the top half for easy access and raise it to accommodate tall cilantro stems without any cramming or bending. We also liked this herb keeper's vented lid, which prevented condensation from building up, and its dividers, which helped it stay tidy. Besides being easy to use, this model kept cilantro and thyme fresh the longest.
This mat—the gold standard in many restaurant kitchens—produced beautifully browned food and made it truly easy to remove baked goods and roasted foods. But it proved its value with a couple of simple details: It fit perfectly in our favorite baking sheet, stayed put thanks to its heavier weight, and was dishwasher-safe, reducing the buildup of residual oils and odors.
This sturdy light-toned pan with a corrugated bottom browned consistently and produced level, tall cake layers, though they weren’t quite as tall as those baked in our winner (and were slightly less attractive when we used baking spray). Pan pizza browned well but not as deeply as it did in darker pans.
This model had a slightly smaller range of thickness settings, and we needed to use both hands in order to adjust them, slowing down the pasta-making process somewhat. But it made beautiful, precisely cut fettuccine and angel hair every time. And it came with a handy plate that helped guide the sheets of pasta through the machine.
It’s not much to look at, but this microwave pasta cooker makes light work of preparing pasta. Our panel detected no difference in taste or texture between strands cooked in the microwave and those boiled on the stovetop. Wide handles clip the lid firmly in place for safe, secure straining.
While it didn’t keep drinks cold or hot for quite as long as our stellar winner, this leakproof mug still outperformed most of the other models, keeping coffee hot and drinkable for nearly 6 hours. And with a slim, streamlined profile, it was also very easy to open, close, and hold, but because it’s narrow, we had to be a little more careful when filling the mug. As with our winner, all we had to do was push a button and its lid popped open, exposing a clean drinking spout; a sliding lock prevented accidental spills. Testers also liked that this model came with a loop handle for easy carrying. Like the other models, it dented when dropped and retained coffee odors after several washes.