Cut down on cooking time without sacrificing counter space.
Usually, we think of appliances as big, bulky tools that cost hundreds (or thousands) of dollars and take up a lot of coveted space in our homes. Anyone who’s spent months shopping for a washer and dryer can tell you that it’s a passionless, dull experience that requires so much research, you’ll feel like you’re preparing to write a term paper or studying for an exam. When we’re comparing ovens or fretting over the cost of vacuum cleaners, it’s easy to get burnt out and swear off appliance shopping for good.
But before you hop off the grid and start cooking over an open fire in lieu of buying a new toaster oven, we’re here to remind you that picking out these devices can be fun. really fun, actually. Many smaller appliances are cute (we love any opportunity to accessorize), efficient, and fairly affordable. They free up lots of space, are easy to store, and are perfect for keeping your space well-equipped if you’re moving to a smaller home after emptying your nest or embarking on a post-retirement relocation.
We’re especially fond of a good old-fashioned, space-saving kitchen appliance. They easily perform pesky, everyday tasks like chopping vegetables (we’re looking at you, food processor), and kneading dough; that way, we can spare our energy for the fun, creative parts of cooking instead of the boring, repetitive parts. Plus, small appliances can also provide cool little perks that you didn’t know you needed: If you’ve never frothed milk for your morning coffee or air fried some perfectly crisp potatoes, now is the time to treat yourself.
Some of these picks might sit out for everyday use, but most can be tucked away into a pantry or cabinet. Oh, and if our recommendations inspire you to reevaluate your kitchen space, we can also help you declutter with our favorite multi-use cookware. And if you’re itching to clear out that disastrous Tupperware drawer, we’ve got solutions for that, too.
10 Best Small Kitchen Appliances
If you’re still using a traditional kettle, say goodbye to babysitting the stove. Seriously, this electric version will change your life, since you can boil water without fussing over a hot flame. We admit that this kettle is a bit of a splurge, but it has its perks. It heats water really fast, which is great for when you’ve missed your alarm and are in a huge rush to get to work but still need your morning tea. It can keep water hot for over an hour, which means you can make complex dishes that require water at a certain temperature. And this kettle gets many, many bonus points for being simply stunning with its sleek Nordic-style design that makes us want to stand up and sing “I’m a little teapot” to it, dance moves included. But if it’s seriously over your budget, forego the luxury option and grab the more affordable Amazon version.
Buy Here: $165
This blender is also a bit of an investment, but it’s a durable, sleek set that will help you cut down on dishes. KCM’s Katie P. owns this set and reports that “there’s a tall carafe for making drinks and smoothies (which has a lid you can drink out of), and a smaller one you can use to make sauces and soups in, too. The small one also has a lid, so you can use the actual blending container for storage after you take the blade out.” Since this blender moonlights as both food storage and a drinking vessel, we’re onboard. Plus, Katie also confirms that the blender “chops and blends up literally anything in a minute or less.”
Buy Here: $185
Slow Cooker/Crock Pot
You can’t go wrong with a classic Crock Pot. This tried-and-true kitchen favorite is as versatile as it is easy to use. Toss in ingredients for your favorite soups, stews, beans, meat dishes, or lasagna (yes, that’s right, lasagna), switch on the appropriate setting, and call it a day. You can leave the slow cooker unattended while you work, run errands, or relax around the house. And there are thousands upon thousands of recipes available online (for free!) that are specifically designed for this appliance.
Buy Here: $40
Who says a toaster oven has to be an ugly presence that you have to accessorize around? If you’re sick of staring at a clunky and uninspiring appliance while your English muffin crisps, go for this gorgeous Balmuda toaster oven. Multiple reviewers say that it makes toast chewy and moist on the inside but super crispy on the outside — and it looks good while doing it. If you still want a little more bang for your buck, though, we have to recommend this toaster oven that doubles as an air dryer.
Buy Here: $300
Not to be repetitive, but if you haven’t gotten on the air frying train, we hope you’ll join us ASAP. This thing is a wonderful addition to any kitchen: It can crisp, roast, reheat, and dehydrate a huge variety of foods. If you use this to “fry” your food, you’ll use about 70 percent less fat than traditional frying methods. KCM’s Diana owns one and she easily stores it on top of her fridge when it’s not in use.
Buy Here: $100
If you read our kitchen recommendationsyou’ve probably noticed that we kind of, sort of (OK, totally) love milk brothers. They seem like they’re made for one purpose, but they’re pretty multi-use. You can use this one for actual milk frothing, sure, but you can also easily use this to mix powders into your beverages — be that Ovaltine or collagen. Plus, if you’re short a shaker but need to make a cocktail, this tool will do the trick. Katie P. has one and adds that it “stays charged forever.” We also love that you can easily throw this frother in a drawer when you’re not using it — though it’s certainly a sight for sore eyes.
Buy Here: $20
This microwave is built for those of us who love a retro moment (really, if you were a Mad Men addict in the early 2010s, this one’s for you). It’s a poppy little appliance that reminds us of a vintage Cadillac — but it also reheats food fast. Buyers say that it’s excellent for fitting into small spaces but can still easily hold a large dinner plate. One reviewer recommends it for its affordability and class: “This microwave checks off a lot of boxes for me: compact size, retro design, ease of operation, effective heating, and a fun, baby blue color. The price makes this microwave a great value for a small living space with style.”
Buy Here: $70
If you’re still using a hefty old food processor with a dull, single-use blade, it’s time to upgrade. This food processor can mix, chop, whip (thanks to a whisk attachment), and mash potato. And the best part is that this appliance is rechargeable, so you’ll do away with excess cords crowding your cooking space. Katie P. chimes in again with another glowing recommendation: “I have a super tiny kitchen, so this food processor often moves from my counter to the stovetop to whatever free surface I have. It can chop, dice, and blend, but it also has an attachment that can be used to whip liquids. I used it to make fresh whipped cream in seconds last week!”
Buy Here: $100
If you’ve ever backed down from a baking recipe because you don’t feel like kneading, an electric stand mixer is a total game-changer. This mixer comes with a dough hook, flat beater, and whisk attachments, so it can help you tackle all kinds of projects (cakes, cookies, batters, biscuit dough, whipped cream — you name it). And it’s a pretty polite appliance: Buyers say that it’s fairly quiet and has suction cups attached at the bottom to keep it from wobbling around your counter or table.
Buy Here: $91
Electric Wine Opener
We gave up on learning how to properly maneuver an old school corkscrew ages ago. Get to your wine faster with an electric wine opener, like this one from Cuisinart, which has thousands of positive reviews. Not only does it effortlessly remove the cork from your wine quickly, it also vacuum seals it back in if you have any left over, which will preserve the remainder of the bottle. Say goodbye to wasted wine!
Buy Here: $40