10 best sandwich makers
For the moments you're craving a grilled cheese, turn to any of these sandwich makers
Anyone can fix a quick sandwich, not everyone can get it right. But then, what’s a perfect sandwich but your favorite meat, veggies and cheese sitting between bread? Not so fast. A breakfast sandwich and a grilled chicken panini have nothing in common; a crease-pressed traditional sandwich shouldn’t be mixed up with a simple grilled cheese. Sandwiches have characters, they come in different shapes and styles (hero anyone?), and so do the models and types of toaster sandwich makers out there.
Many brands offer grilling and sandwich pressing in one. Whether you fancy an elaborate grilled panini with Swiss cheese on your day off, or need to fix a quick bite for those between-the-meetings lunches, toasted sandwich is an excellent way to experiment with the taste palate and food preferences. It’s important to invest in a quality sandwich maker that sits well with your schedule and taste. Most sandwich makers offer the basics, so it’s important to choose one with bonus features like temperature control, detachable plates or a drip tray for light grilling.
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This is among the most basic, old school sandwich makers you will get out there. It’s a good buy for everyday use, especially if you’re a small family. This one doesn’t come with controlled temperature feature but just a green light for ‘ready.’ You’ll have to babysit your sandwich as there’s no beep that tells you the sandwich is ready; or a cool down option after it is. In short, it’s easier to burn your sandwich if you don’t pay attention. The absence of fancy features also make it user-friendly, however. For the price, we think it’s an excellent and sturdy product and gets the job done.
The second Cuisinart on our list is also a hybrid. We used it to make a sandwich and it worked great. The sandwich came out properly toasted from the bottom but the upper plate needed to be pressed repeatedly. So we ended up flipping the sandwich for even heat and color. We wish it had a ‘lock’ option like most traditional sandwich makers to press the sandwich instead of manually pressing it. The best feature is that the plates come off which makes it easier to clean. However, there is no temperature control feature which also means you need to be vigilant with how brown you want your sandwich to be. It comes with a drip tray making it less messy than other products.
Breville is a strong name in kitchen appliances market (their juicers are highly rated) and this is one of the more expensive sandwich/panini makers on our list. It’s a good option for big families and entertaining. It has more room than previous models and the top plate can be adjusted to the thickness of the sandwich which is a huge plus. It comes with a heat-adjusting knob from ‘sandwich’ to ‘sear’ which means less surprises. A major drawback was that the plates don’t come off so they need to be carefully cleaned using damp cloth. We wouldn’t recommend it for grilling, which took forever, but for simple paninis, this could be a great option if you’re willing to spend.
Let’s talk breakfast sandwich. Frozen breakfast sandwich are pretty ubiquitous but this could be a healthy alternative to the microwaved version. You get to experiment with the kind of bread you want to use and fresh eggs along with the cheese of your choice. The concept is interesting and easy to set up and easy to clean. The plates came off easily and we put them in the dishwasher. However, the recommended time of five minutes might not be enough for the eggs to cook thoroughly, especially if you want them well done. We think this is a good option if you need a break from a cereal and milk breakfast, and healthier too.
This is the only stovetop panini press/grill on our list. Considering the price, we thought it would be an interesting to compare it with the electric products. The high-quality iron distributes the heat evenly and the panini comes out perfect if you pay attention. Because it’s manual and you can’t control temperatures, it’s like cooking a grilled cheese on a pan. It’s also dishwasher safe and easy to clean. Other than brand name, we don’t think the price is justified in terms of the effort.
Although a lesser known brand, this sandwich maker is right up there next to Cuisinart when it comes to affordability and convenience. Nothing fancy here. If you want to make a grilled sandwich, this is one of your best options. The plates are easy to wipe clean. The brand also offers a creased sandwich maker which is just a couple of bucks pricier. It’s compact and great for office use as well. We suggest you use small-sized bread with this one because of the size.
The second Hamilton Beach on our list is not a breakfast sandwich but a regular panini maker. The makers claim that it’s good for quesadillas so we decided to give it a shot, but they didn’t come out as well as the sandwich. Like other products in the similar price range, this one doesn’t have temperature control and you have to unplug it to turn it off. We weren’t impressed with the panini that came out because the inside felt a little undone. After a couple of uses, we felt this one might not be a long-term companion after all. Be mindful of the exact product code as Hamilton Beach has nearly similar items with different model codes.
Most people don’t usually go for two-in-one kind of products especially if it’s a waffle and a sandwich. But we decided to choose this one because it comes with removable plates for waffles and sandwich makers. If you don’t want to invest in two separate appliances, this is a great option. We used it for both sandwich and waffle, and both came out pretty decent. The easy clean part, also in the product name, is because the non-stick plates come off and are dishwasher safe. But if the sandwich is cheese heavy, it might leave some residue that needs to be cleaned up before you throw the plates in the dishwasher. It also comes with a crust setting which allows you to control heat, but it needs to be unplugged to turn off.
Also a lesser-known brand, we decided to try this one because of the good reviews, but we don’t think it offers anything that other higher end, or less expensive brands don’t. It gets the job done but without temperature control, an off/on button, and a knob to press. We’re not sure if it’s better than other brands. It is, however, a good buy for small families and occasional use because of its compact size.
This product is unique from the rest in a few ways. Its plates don’t leave the panini or sandwich toast marks on the bread because of its flat surface. Also, the cooking area is relatively large (it comes in two sizes) which not only means more sandwich but also a flat plate for, say, a crepe. The adjustable hinge allows more room for bigger sandwiches. We liked this one because it could be used for light grilling as well. Because of the large size, think of space before you buy it.
Verdict: Best toasted sandwich makers
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