The Best Small Appliances

small appliances

What is the one kitchen appliance that you can’t live without? Not the big ones, like refrigerators or dishwashers, nor stoves or common items like microwaves. What about the smaller things that *ahem* would be nice little gifts for the holidays? Today we’ll talk about a few indispensable appliances that live in my kitchen, and I will have some brand recommendations if you’re looking to stock yours. The best part is that each of these kitchen appliances cost under $100.

Rice Cooker

You may be thinking, “I don’t cook rice that often, and anyway, it’s not hard to do it on the stove.” Stop right there, my friend, you don’t yet understand all that a rice cooker can do. Most importantly, having no-hassle rice cooked perfectly while you’re preparing the rest of dinner is nothing to sneeze at. But rice cookers are also excellent steamers of vegetables and dumplings. Pictured at the top of this post, I own an Aroma 6-cup cooker. It has lasted me five years with no decrease in its quality and effectiveness. You can find specialty rice cookers that cost over $200, such as Zojirushi, which have very respectable brand recognition. But there is no need to break the bank, and brands like Hamilton Beach offer well-reviewed rice cookers that have more capacity and are somehow even less expensive than my own!

Food Processors

Food processors are workhorses in the kitchen. You can use one for many purposes: grating cheese, cutting butter into flour, or whipping up a quick sauce or dip. My Black & Decker 8-cup food processor has lasted me over 5 years, which is saying something given how often it’s used. More popular brands such as Cuisine Art come in smaller and larger models, all of which have received a ton of praise. Keep in mind, though, that one thing a food processor can’t do is make a mean smoothie. And that is where this next kitchen appliance comes in…


The NutriBullet by Magic Bullet is a tiny, powerful blender that comes with cups of varying sizes. I own the 12-piece NutriBullet system and use it on an almost daily basis for smaller batches of tougher or messier ingredients to blend, and of course, for smoothies. The cups are detachable and become portable with handles and lids, so it is perfect for blending some fruit for a breakfast on-the-go. The NutriBullet is an extremely efficient appliance and easy to store as well, if perhaps on the pricier end of what one might pay for a blender.

Toaster/ Toaster Oven

Many people argue that toasters are not necessary appliances. But I am a firm believer in quick toasty bread and bagels, so perhaps having either a toaster or a toaster oven is a personal choice. Regardless, there are certainly superior models of both kitchen appliances that bestow a lot of benefits on the owner. First, while I currently own an Oster toaster, I once possessed a 4-slice toaster by Sunbeam, and it was amazing. If you’re toasting bread for more than one person, the extra slots will come in handy. I also own a Black & Decker toaster oven, which works for toasting bread but also melting cheese on said bread, re-heating delicate leftovers, and best of all: cooking a quick egg-vocado. At the following links are a few recommendations for the best of these appliances on the market:

Immersion Blender

I’ve written love songs about my Cuisine Art Immersion Blender, which came in a set with handy attachments that served a few good years before succumbing to poor dishwashing practices. But the motor on this immersion blender is still going strong after four years of heavy use, and it reliably stands up to heavy mixing and mashing on a weekly basis. Immersion blenders are amazing for blending soups right in the pot, or taking care of some serious whisking. OXO has a newer version that has more options for speed, and many glowing reviews.

So there you have it, a few ideas for kitchen appliances to save you time and effort in the kitchen. They are good investments, and for most of these items, you wouldn’t even have to invest a lot! If you have other recommendations for small kitchen appliances that you just can’t live without, or reviews of any items I have linked to above, let me know in the comments. Happy cooking!

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