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Electric Griddles

Published January 2009
Update: May 2014
The West Bend Cool-Touch Nonstick Electric Griddle is no longer available. The Cuisinart Griddler we tested is discontinued, but it's been redesigned and we will publish testing notes in the future on the updated design.

How we tested

If you’re cooking for a crowd, you can’t beat the efficiency of a griddle. But what makes one brand better than another? A great electric griddle should be roomy and easy to handle, heat quickly and cook evenly, and clean up effortlessly. We tested seven nonstick models, cooking countless batches of French toast, bacon, and pancakes to determine which griddle was best.

Accuracy and Consistency

Accurate and consistent cooking were key factors in the contest. A good griddle will cook at or very close to the set temperature, heating evenly across its wide surface. We tested each griddle’s accuracy and consistency by setting it to 350 degrees, then recording the temperature at 5- and 7-minute intervals at three different locations on the cooking surface.

Cooking Performance

After averaging the results, one griddle was easily the most accurate and consistent, with an average temperature of 348.8 degrees, a little more than 1 degree from our desired temperature. Middle-ranked griddles had hotter or cooler spots and temperature averages that were slightly inaccurate, producing uneven browning. The bottom-ranked performers averaged more than 80 to 100 degrees over the set temperatures, and had wildly uneven temperatures at different locations on the griddle—easily explaining why our food scorched and burned.

Cooking Surface and Cleanup

After cooking performance, the size of the cooking surface is the most important feature. After all, why use a griddle unless it gives you plenty of open space? Cleanup is the final determining factor. While all of the griddles featured a nonstick surface and all could be submerged in water for washing, they used a few different systems for collecting grease—some smarter than others. We particularly disliked lightweight, unattached plastic cups sitting below drain spouts, which we feared would tip over.

In the end, one griddle took the crown. Thanks to its thick, die-cast aluminum material, it transferred heat exceptionally well and maintained even temperatures for reliable, consistent cooking results. It was also the largest among our contenders, at 21 by 11 7/8 inches. Its grease tray worked without hitch, and the nonstick surface cleaned up easily. For slightly less stellar performance at about half the price, we also recommend one “best buy” griddle.

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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.

$248.64*
Recommended

Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.

$141.90*

Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

$67.99*
Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

$49.93*
Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.

$129.95*

Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.

$99.95*

Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.

$24.99*

Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.

$35.88*