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20 Kitchen Tools Under $20

In fact, some of our all-time favorite pieces of gear cost less than 20 bucks. First up: our longtime favorite steamer basket. Its comfy, easy-to-grip handle makes it easy to move in and out of pots. Our highly recommended 9-inch cake pan produces tall, fluffy, level cakes that release easily. Put that gear to use with the recipes featured in the America’s Test Kitchen Twentieth Anniversary TV Show Cookbook, a showstopper that commemorates the past 20 seasons on TV. It also includes a behind-the-scenes look at cast members and special features such as Jack Bishop’s favorite flavor enhancers and Lisa McManus’s top kitchen equipment. Whether you’ve loved us for a long time or you’re new to the ATK family, this is an exciting time to look back at 20 years of successful home cooking.

20 Kitchen Tools Under $20
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Highly Recommended
Quickie Bottle Brush

This brush had an ideally sized brush head—neither too short nor too long—with bristles that were just under 1 inch long and optimally positioned on both the brush head's sides and tip, allowing us to effectively scrub most containers we tried. The rigid handle had a large, rubber-coated grip that made it comfortable to hold. One tester said this brush was “remarkably easy to rinse” and “seems clean and non-icky,” but it's also dishwasher-safe for even simpler cleaning.

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BUY FOR $9
Purchased for $5.80 at time of testing
Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler
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Highly Recommended
Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler

Don’t be fooled by its featherweight design and cheap price tag. This Y-shaped peeler easily tackled every task, thanks to a razor-sharp blade and a ridged guide, which ensured a smooth ride with minimal surface drag.

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$3.50
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Highly Recommended
OXO Good Grips Under Appliance Duster

This long, relatively thin microfiber duster picked up dust and flour easily and efficiently and did a fine job of chasing down chickpeas and rice. While it’s not meant to be used wet, it did fairly well when we used it to wipe up greasy flour.

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$15.51
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CM Scrubber
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Recommended
Knapp Made Classic CM Scrubber

While it may take you just a touch longer to use, our smaller old favorite still scours cast iron and glassware very well, easily lifting off rough patches of bacon, hamburger meat, or sticky sauce. Its larger rings had a harder time getting into tight corners and grill pan grooves but were slightly easier to clean when food got stuck on them.

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BUY FOR $20
Purchased for $14.99 at time of testing
Cilio Champagne Bottle Sealer
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Highly Recommended
Cilio Champagne Bottle Sealer

This inexpensive sealer attaches with an easy one-handed motion and an affirming click. Wine saved with it was just as fresh as a newly opened bottle for two full days (a full week if left undisturbed) and still drinkable on day three, thanks to its protruding plug and a secure closure that combined to make the best seal. Once on, it was almost flat against the top of the bottle and fit easily in the fridge.

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$7.50
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Starpack Premium Silicone Spoonula
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Highly Recommended
Starpack Premium Silicone Spoonula

This stellar tool felt especially comfortable in hand, thanks to its lightly textured silicone material and gently rounded handle. The spatula head is spacious and sturdy and presses flush to the sides and bottoms of cookware. Since it’s wrapped in one continuous layer of silicone, there are no nooks or crannies to trap food. The vibrant red color hid stains, and it proved quite odor-resistant.

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BUY FOR $9
Purchased for $8.49 at time of testing
Matfer Bourgeat Pelton Spatula
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Highly Recommended
Matfer Bourgeat Pelton Spatula

Comfortable from any angle, this spatula boasts a thin front edge and moderately flexible head with a slight upward tilt that kept food secure. It melted slightly at 380 degrees, despite the manufacturers' claims that it was heat resistant to 430 degrees.

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$8.23
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Highly Recommended
OXO Good Grips Silicone Pot Holder

Our favorite pot holders are fashioned as pockets with a sheet of silicone on one side, a panel of cotton fabric on the back, and soft cotton lining in between. The silicone layer offered excellent protection from the heat. Our hands never became too hot during kitchen tests and we were able to hold a 350-degree cast-iron skillet comfortably for 23 seconds. They were also flexible, which allowed testers to feel like they had control when maneuvering hot pans. Although both the silicone and cotton fabric remained stained after our durability tests, it didn't shrink or warp. We liked that it is machine-washable.

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BUY FOR $10
Purchased for $13.96 each ($27.92 for 2) at time of testing
OXO Good Grips Silicone Pastry Brush
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Highly Recommended
OXO Good Grips Silicone Pastry Brush

This light, maneuverable brush features perforated flaps in the bristles that hold liquid like a bubble wand. It easily trapped watery egg wash, was delicate enough to paint pastry without damage, and brushed barbecue sauce evenly and thickly. Its handle felt comfortable and secure; the angled head helped reach tight spots and kept sauce off the counter when we set it down.

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$6.99
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Winco PF-8 Plastic Funnel, 8oz, 4-Inch Diameter
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Recommended
Winco PF-8 Plastic Funnel, 8oz, 4-Inch Diameter

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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BUY FOR $4
Purchased for $4.41 at time of testing
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Highly Recommended
OXO Good Grips 9" Tongs

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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$11.99
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Highly Recommended
O-Cedar Scrunge Multi-Use Scrubber Sponge
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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$9.99
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Nordic Ware ­Naturals Nonstick 9-Inch Round Cake Pan
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Highly Recommended
Nordic Ware ­Naturals Nonstick 9-Inch Round Cake Pan

Solidly built, with light gold nonstick coating, this pan produced tall, fluffy, level cakes. Layers shaped up perfectly, no matter how the pan was greased. Upside-down cake and pizza released and browned well, but cinnamon buns were too pale.

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$14.32
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small rimmed baking sheet
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Highly Recommended
Nordic Ware Naturals Quarter Sheet

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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BUY FOR $14
Purchased for $8.99 at time of testing
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Recommended
Checkered Chef Quarter Sheet Cooling/Baking Rack

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.

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BUY FOR $14
Purchased for $11.45 for 2 at time of testing
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Recommended
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Steamer with Handle

Our old favorite fits a good amount of food, and we love its new telescoping handle: When the handle is extended to the full 4 inches, it's easy to grip to move the steamer in and out of the pot. The handle can also collapse to 2.5 inches when the steamer is in the pot or for compact storage. Our only quibbles? The metal leaves are a bit finicky to clean and bent a little during testing, though the unit remained perfectly functional throughout.

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BUY FOR $20
Purchased for $17.95 at time of testing
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Highly Recommended
Rubbermaid Brilliance Storage Container, Large

Our new favorite passed every test and looked good doing it. Its clear, lightweight Tritan plastic material stayed as clear and stain-free as glass, and its audibly snug seal didn't leak, even when we turned the container upside down and shook it hard. It held a generous amount of chili, and its low profile helped foods chill or heat up more evenly than did deeper containers. Microwaving chili was easy and neat, with lid vents that let you leave the container fully sealed while keeping splatters contained and extended rims that stayed cool for easy handling. Its flat top made for secure, compact stacking in the fridge or freezer. One quibble: While we like that the gasket is attached so we don't have to fuss with removing it, you do need to clean carefully under its open side, as some testers detected very slight fishy odors. It's also sold in sets, in varying sizes.

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$12.99
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Recommended
Dexas Heavy Duty Grippmats

These mats were some of the thickest and sturdiest in our lineup but were still flexible enough to funnel food into skillets and bowls. Both sides are textured, which kept the mats in place on the counter and prevented foods from sliding across the cutting surface. The textured surface also prevented deep knife marks and concealed cosmetic nicks.

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BUY FOR $20
Purchased for $19.99 for set of 4 ($5.00 per mat) at time of testing
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Highly Recommended
OXO Good Grips Utility Cutting Board

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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$17.95
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Highly Recommended
Victorinox Swiss Army 3¼" Spear Point Paring Knife

The blade on this paring knife is identical to that of our original winner; it’s just as sharp, thin, and nimble as ever, and it’s capable of making ultraprecise slices and incisions. Its plastic handle is easy to grip and accommodates large and small hands easily. In addition, the handle doesn’t add too much weight to the knife overall, allowing for agile, effortless use.

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$7.51
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All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.

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