10 of Our Favorite Appliances Under $100

Recommended equipment that works well and won't break the bank

I love almost everything about cooking—the fresh ingredients; the time spent in the kitchen; and even the appliances, baking pans, and gadgets that come along with it. I don’t love that some of that must-have gear is pretty expensive. My coworkers agree. That’s why we keep an eye on price, setting price limits for some stories and naming more affordable “Best Buys” when our winners are especially pricey. This week I’ve picked 10 of our favorite appliances that are under $100. Whether you’re in the market for a toastera mandoline, or a portable gas grill, we have recommendations that work well and won’t break the bank.

—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews

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.)

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Our old favorite continued to impress us throughout testing with its speed and deep, stable base. The power button is conveniently located on its handle. Our only quibble: Sometimes the light-up indicator was a bit dull in bright daylight. The kettle is much shorter and has a smaller capacity than our winner, which makes it a good option for people who prefer a smaller kettle.  However, it has limitations. Sometimes the light-up indicator was a bit dull in bright daylight. And we had to manually open and close the lid, putting our hands too close to the hot spout. 

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The Flipside made well-browned waffles that were almost an inch and a half high. On the downside, if we wanted to make adjustments, doneness could only be varied by increasing or decreasing the duration of the cooking time using a built-in timer that must be reset before every waffle. But the timer itself proved quite useful, giving you an audible alert not only when the waffle was done, but also a minute before—a smart feature that helps ensure that you’ll never overcook your waffle. One small safety issue: Like several of the other machines, the Flipside tended to collect condensation in its handle, dripping hot water when flipped.

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This cleverly designed, supercompact, and extra-lightweight grill is easily the most portable of the grills we tested. With a rectangular steel body and a handle on top, it feels just like a tackle box. Curved steel legs swing up to latch the lid. Narrow vents slow the escape of heat and smoke and help the cook box stay hot, as does the griddle-like grate that resembles an enameled broiler pan. It doesn’t create impressive grill marks, but it gets the job done, and it’s extremely simple to clean.

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Thanks to its U-shaped pitchers and sharp, six-pronged blades that angle both up and down, this pricey model was among the quickest and most effective at every blending task—which compensated for the fact that users must continuously hold down the pitcher to engage the motor. Its travel lid was well designed, with a comfortable drinking spout and a hinged arm that seals tight with an audible snap. One defect: It’s as noisy as it is powerful.

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This frother consistently made satisfying foam at the push of a button. As with all the handheld models, we had to operate it for longer than the manufacturer instructions recommended when making cold foam, but once we did, it created the richest cold foam of the handheld bunch. Since it was our winner, we put it through additional testing, mixing up small batches of whipped cream, beating one or two eggs, and emulsifying vinaigrette. In addition to being a great milk frother, it’s a handy tool for small cooking tasks. We loved the comfortable grip, and we appreciated that it took little effort to rinse the wand clean.

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This no-frills Super Benriner model is a cult favorite among restaurant cooks and home cooks alike, and for good reason: Its razor-sharp blades can handle even the toughest produce, and it can be set in a seemingly infinite range of thicknesses, effortlessly churning out paper-thin or chunky slices and julienne. (There are no fixed thickness settings, but most testers saw this as a positive trait, since it allowed them to customize the thickness so broadly.) It’s big enough to handle larger produce but still relatively compact for easy storage. And though it has only a simple rubber bumper, it rarely budges, thanks again to its sharp blade, which requires so little effort to slice food that the mandoline never fights back. Its simple plank shape allows you to use it vertically or to hook it over a bowl. Just don’t expect much from its hand guard, which is pretty much useless.

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While this air fryer’s digital controls weren’t quite as intuitive as those of our favorite model, it was still easy to set the time and temperature once we got the hang of the multiple buttons. It cooked foods quickly and crisply, and its display was bright, large, and easy to read. Though it’s a little bigger than our favorite model, it was still short enough to fit under our cabinets, and its drawer-style design and automatic shutoff were a boon to safety. Like other models, it has a nonstick interior, which was easy to clean.

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