With the progression of technology, there has been a surge in the number of kitchen appliances invented to tackle specific kitchen tasks. However, it begs the question of whether owning all these appliances is necessary. Kitchen gadgets are not only costly, but they also take up valuable counter and cabinet space. In most cases, achieving the same outcome is possible without these appliances.
Certain kitchen appliances, such as popcorn machines and pancake printers, can be excessively pricey, costing anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Before you consider purchasing any of these appliances, consider exploring alternative, more affordable options. By following the list of alternatives provided, you can save up to $3,811.
1. Home Deep Fryer, $40 – $290
Home deep fryers are a popular kitchen appliance, and while they can be quite affordable, starting at around $40, high-quality fryers can cost upwards of $300. For those who have a fondness for fried food, investing in a deep fryer may seem like the only viable option. However, did you know that there’s a more cost-effective alternative that doesn’t require a dedicated appliance?
All you need to get started is some frying oil, a deep pot, and a stove. Heat the oil to a temperature between 375°F (190°C) and 440°F (225°C), then carefully dip your battered food into the hot oil using a strainer with a handle. Once your food has been fried to perfection, remove it from the pot and gently pat it dry. This simple method allows you to enjoy the same delicious fried food you love, without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a specialized appliance.
2. Meat-Shredding Claws, $8 – $15
The idea of owning meat-shredding claws is undoubtedly appealing. The notion of resembling the Marvel superhero Wolverine is undeniably exhilarating. The price point of these claws is also relatively low, with most costing between $7 and $15 at retailers like Target and Walmart. However, the problem is that they are essentially worthless.
Based on Amazon reviews, most meat shredders are constructed from nylon, causing their “claws” to warp after a single use. Even if you manage to acquire a metal set, they are still more challenging to use than utilizing two forks for shredding meat. Chef Alton Brown went so far as to test these claws, and he concluded that they were not durable nor necessary for the task at hand.
3. Electric Can Opener, $20 – $30
The electric can opener is a classic illustration of a tool that takes up an excessive amount of valuable counter space. On Amazon, a handheld can opener costs only $5. Unless you experience difficulty moving your hands, you probably do not require an electric can opener.
The device wouldn’t be so terrible if it wasn’t so expensive, ranging from $15 to $30. In case it malfunctions, you’ll have to pay extra for repairs or buy a new one. If you struggle to open cans physically, this gadget might be beneficial to you. Otherwise, it is advisable to stick to the manual approach.
4. Pie Bird, $4 – $24
If you haven’t used a pie bird, you might not be familiar with this unusual device. A pie bird, also known as a pie vent, is a ceramic tool that helps to ventilate a pie, keeping the filling contained within the crust and preventing it from overflowing. Although pie birds have been used since the Victorian era, many professional bakers today do not utilize them.
Pie fluting is another method used by bakers to ventilate steam. This technique involves shaping the crust into wavy patterns, which not only serve a functional purpose but also add an elegant touch to the pie’s appearance. Unlike pie birds, pie fluting doesn’t require any additional tools and doesn’t come with a hefty price tag of $24.
5. Popcorn Machine, $50 – $400
Typically, the price of a popcorn machine falls within the range of $50 to $400. However, if you aren’t operating a cinema, then you may question the necessity of such an item. Fortunately, there is a cost-effective alternative to popping popcorn using a machine. You can use a regular pot to pop raw kernels by pouring oil into the pan, adding the kernels, and waiting for them to pop.
If you desire a movie theatre-style popcorn experience, you can elevate your snack by adding flavor from your pantry. For instance, you can sprinkle garlic powder, Italian seasonings, curry powder, or lemon pepper onto the popcorn. Additionally, instead of purchasing a $400 popcorn machine, you can buy a $12 cheesy popcorn seasoning for the same movie-theater taste.
6. Pizza Scissors, $19 – $30
Innovators have observed that college students often resort to using scissors to slice their pizza. The reason behind this surprising phenomenon is that using scissors is an efficient and cost-effective alternative to purchasing a rolling cutter. However, the introduction of Scizzas, commonly known as pizza scissors, has threatened to take away this appeal by offering a $30 alternative.
The whole point of using scissors for cutting pizza is to avoid the expense of purchasing a rolling cutter. If Scizzas are more expensive than a rolling cutter, then it defeats the purpose. Although Scizzas come with a ledge that facilitates serving the sliced pizza, the majority of individuals already possess a spatula or can even resort to using their hands to perform this task. Therefore, there is no need to invest in a pair of costly scissors that can cost anywhere between $20 to $30.
7. Magic Tap, $6 – $13
If you’ve been fortunate enough to avoid encountering a Magic Tap infomercial, then you’re one of the lucky ones. The Magic Tap claims to be a convenient tool that can be screwed onto any juice or milk carton to dispense its contents. It promises to spare users the inconvenience of having to lift heavy containers, unscrew lids, and pour liquids. However, unless you’re dealing with colossal jugs from stores like Costco, doing these tasks isn’t particularly challenging.
Critics of the Magic Tap’s $13 product, on the other hand, argue that it’s “too tall, too sensitive,” and frequently incapable of fitting on standard-sized containers. Users have reported that the device will continue to dispense juice until it’s reset at the correct angle. Save yourself the trouble and avoid purchasing the Magic Tap.
8. Pancake Printer, $240 – $2,000
Perhaps you have heard of the phrase “drunk purchase,” which refers to an impulsive buy made under the influence of alcohol. One example of such a purchase is the pancake printer, also known as Pancakebot, which molds pancakes into 3D shapes. However, even the most affordable pancake printers can cost hundreds of dollars, making it difficult to justify buying a gadget that doesn’t necessarily make cooking any easier.
Sure, it might be entertaining to create pancakes shaped like famous landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower. But it’s more sensible to opt for a less expensive alternative rather than shelling out $2,000 for a pancake printer. Making custom-shaped pancakes without the aid of a sophisticated appliance can be more amusing and less time-consuming. The truth is, that pancake printers are not a necessary invention.
9. Salad Spinner, $20 – $70
Salad spinners can help you save some time by partially drying freshly washed greens. If they lived up to their marketing claims, they would be worth between $20 and $75. However, even after spinning your greens, they still tend to feel slightly damp, which means you’ll need to pat them dry manually.
If you’re someone who eats salads regularly, investing in a salad spinner could be a wise choice. However, it’s important to note that these gadgets take up a significant amount of cabinet space. Additionally, unless you’re making massive salads, using a spinner can often take just as long as drying your lettuce leaves by patting them or shaking them gently.
10. Electric Salt And Pepper Grinders, $30 – $70
On average, a set of electric salt and pepper shakers is priced at $70, while some cheaper options sell for $30. These tools can be particularly helpful for people who experience difficulty using their hands, but the cost can be quite steep. Additionally, many electric grinders are equipped with LED lights, perhaps for the unlikely event that you find yourself cooking in the dark.
If you’re in the market for a grinder, opting for a manual one can save you a considerable amount of money, with prices ranging from $15 to $30. However, the most practical solution may be to forego the grinder altogether and opt for regular salt and pepper shakers.
11. Warming Ice Cream Scoop, $20
If you are an ice cream aficionado, then you know the challenge of digging into a rock-solid frozen dessert. You might resort to leaving the carton out for a few minutes or even microwaving it for a quick fix. However, some individuals are not willing to wait even a moment longer. These individuals are the creators of the heat-conducting ice cream scoop.
The innovative technology behind this scoop is based on thermodynamics, which utilizes a gentle melting process to make ice cream easier to scoop. Although this may seem like a great idea, it is worth noting that you can achieve similar results by using a microwave, which costs nothing. Additionally, most warming ice cream scoops on the market are priced between $14 and $20, which may not be worth the investment. Instead, exercising a little patience will save you money and still give you a delicious scoop of ice cream.
12. Cookie Dipper, $2
While cookie dippers may not be the most expensive kitchen gadget available, it doesn’t necessarily justify buying them if they’re only going to gather dust in the back of a kitchen drawer. These tools serve a singular purpose, so unless a family indulges in cookies frequently, the two-dollar investment isn’t worth it.
In other words, cookie dippers are a non-essential tool that is only useful for a specific task. While they may be cheap, they take up valuable storage space and are only worth purchasing if they’ll be used frequently.
13. Avocado Masher, $7 – $15
The avocado trend has undoubtedly prompted individuals to indulge in mashed avocados daily. However, the go-to tool for most people is a simple fork. While avocado mashers claim to simplify the process, we fail to understand how they make it any easier.
If you’re in the market for an avocado tool, consider investing in a 3-in-1 slicer instead. This affordable tool, ranging from $7 to $10, not only slices the avocado but also mashes it and removes the pit all at once. Compared to a masher priced between $10 and $20, the 3-in-1 slicer is more practical and cost-effective. If you’re not willing to make the purchase, you can always stick to the traditional method of using a fork like the majority of us.
14. Corn Kernel Stripper, $8 – $22
While some gadgets may appear to be handy, their appeal fades fast once you discover their uselessness. One such example is the corn kernel stripper, which can cost anywhere from $4 to $22 depending on its quality. However, you can easily replace this tool with a simple knife.
Even though corn kernel strippers can help you to cut all the kernels, they also create a mess. Instead of using a corn kernel stripper and potentially making a mess in your kitchen, there’s a simple and inexpensive solution. Hold the corn cob vertically over a bowl and slide a knife down the sides. Then, use a fork to separate all the kernels. This method takes just as much time as using a corn kernel stripper, but it saves you up to $20.
15. Electric Wine Opener, $18 – $70
If you find it challenging to operate a traditional corkscrew, you might want to consider using an electric wine opener. However, apart from that, an electric wine opener may have more disadvantages than advantages. Even though they come with a price tag ranging from $18 to $70, you still need to have a certain level of skill to hold them steadily over a slim bottleneck.
Another drawback of electric wine openers is that they are single-use devices that require an electrical outlet in your kitchen. On the other hand, a regular corkscrew only costs a few dollars and often comes with a built-in bottle opener. It’s worth noting that an electric wine opener is not a necessity to open a bottle of wine, as traditional corkscrews are perfectly capable of doing the job.
16. Bread Maker, $40 – $300
Did you know that you already have a bread-making machine in your kitchen? Yes, it’s your oven! While bread makers can cost between $50 to $300, you can make bread without them using simple, no-knead, and no-yeast recipes.
Bread makers are marketed as convenient devices that save you the effort of kneading your bread. However, if you’re looking to save money and space in your kitchen, there are plenty of alternative recipes available. By using your oven and these simple recipes, you can enjoy freshly baked bread without the need for an expensive and space-consuming bread maker.
17. Asparagus Steamer, $24 – $60
At Home Depot, the price of an asparagus steamer ranges from $20 to $30, whereas at Macy’s and Williams-Sonoma, the cost goes up to $60. It seems that if someone decides to shell out $60 for an asparagus steamer, they must have a deep love for asparagus.
However, there is a thrifty alternative. If you cut your asparagus into smaller pieces, it will fit in a regular steamer, which is within the same price range. This way, you can use the steamer for other foods too.
Alternatively, you can moisten the asparagus and place it in a container, covering it with plastic wrap that has some ventilation holes. Then, microwave it for two to four minutes. Voila! You have steamed asparagus without the need for an expensive gadget.
18. Egg Separator, $5-$13
At times, a device that separates egg yolks from whites may seem like a useful gadget to have in the kitchen. Nevertheless, there is no real need to clutter your cooking space with an egg separator.
Despite its compact size, this tool takes up valuable room and may not be worth the investment. Why not use a natural method for separating egg yolks instead? Simply use the eggshells themselves!
By cracking an egg into a bowl and gently transferring the yolk back and forth between the two halves of the shell, the egg white will separate and fall into the bowl. This method is not only effective but also sustainable and cost-efficient.
19. Coffee Maker
Rather than sacrificing additional counter space for a machine you only use once a day, consider selecting a more space-efficient French press. It will prepare your coffee in the same amount of time while avoiding the risk of mold and mildew growth that you may experience with other machines, as shown in the image above.
By choosing a French press, you can enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee without worrying about the cleanliness of your coffee maker. Additionally, a French press requires minimal maintenance and can be easily stored in a cabinet or drawer when not in use, freeing up valuable counter space for other items.
20. Pasta Maker, $63 – $300
In recent times, contemporary health trends have been encouraging individuals to create their bread and pasta, sans the aid of packaged alternatives. Crafting fresh noodles at home is indeed achievable without a specialized device, as it has been done by culinary experts for centuries. Alternatively, you could opt to purchase a pasta maker, which could cost you as much as $300.
However, despite the convenience promised by pasta makers, they can make the process of creating homemade pasta even more laborious. The process of folding pasta dough and slicing it into perfectly formed, tangle-free noodles requires a certain level of skill and technique. Meanwhile, pasta makers produce heaps of noodles that are notoriously difficult to clean, making them an unnecessary expense and effort.
21. The Pancake Crayon
Crafting a plastic bag and then covering it with paint to imitate a crayon seems suspicious and untrustworthy.
Instead of investing time and resources into such a questionable endeavor, a simple solution for pancake art is to utilize a Ziploc bag with a hole in the bottom. This alternative method is more practical and reliable.
22. Quesadilla Maker, $20
Have you ever wondered how people used to make those deliciously crispy, cheesy quesadillas before the invention of the quesadilla maker? Well, the answer is simple – they used a pan! All you need to do is heat a pan, place a tortilla on it, sprinkle some cheese on top, fold it in half, flip it over, and voila! You’ve got yourself a delicious quesadilla without having to spend an extra $20 on a kitchen gadget.
While quesadilla makers may have received decent reviews compared to other kitchen tools, it’s important to note that they essentially do the same thing as a pan and stove. By investing in a quesadilla maker, not only will you be spending unnecessary money but you’ll also be taking up valuable counter space. So, why not stick to the classic pan method and save yourself some money and space in the kitchen?
23. Banana Slicer, $6
Although a banana slicer may seem like a fun kitchen gadget for kids to use, there are alternative items available in stores that are more practical and valuable for the price of $6.
In reality, the existence of knives in the kitchen renders the purchase of a banana-shaped slicer unnecessary. Knives can effortlessly slice through bananas with precision and ease, making a banana slicer redundant.
Therefore, while the concept of a banana slicer may be appealing, it is not a practical addition to a well-equipped kitchen. Instead, individuals can invest in more useful tools that can cater to a variety of kitchen needs.
24. Omelet Maker, $17 – $22
Why Invest in an Omelet Maker When You Already Have a Stovetop?
It’s a valid question to ask why one would need an omelet maker when a stovetop can serve the same purpose. After all, most of us prepare omelets using a non-stick pan and flipping it, without requiring any additional tools. Unless you’re a die-hard omelet fan and consume them for every meal, investing in a specialized tool for one dish doesn’t make sense.
While it’s true that omelets can be tricky to flip in a pan, with a bit of practice, they become one of the simplest and quickest meals to make. Instead of spending $10 to $20 on an omelet maker, you can cook multiple omelets on a single pan until you perfect the art of flipping.
25. Egg Cooker, $17 – $40
Are you tired of making hard or soft-boiled eggs the traditional way? You may be surprised to learn that you don’t need a pot, water, and eggs to accomplish this. Major retailers like Target, Kohl’s, and Williams-Sonoma now offer egg cookers that are specifically designed for this purpose. While some models can be pricey, with costs ranging from $20 to $40, you can find some more affordable options, with prices as low as $17.
One significant advantage of using an egg cooker is that it keeps each egg separate, which may be desirable for some. Alternatively, you could consider purchasing egg racks that fit inside your existing pot, costing around $10 and not taking up valuable counter space. However, it’s worth noting that boiling eggs the old-fashioned way is still an option.
26. Press, $7
If you consume canned tuna regularly, you might want to consider purchasing a tuna press that assists in draining the liquid. Despite its $7 price tag, it could be a useful addition to your kitchen. However, if you’d rather save that money, you could simply buy more canned tuna and skip the unnecessary gadget altogether.
Straining the tuna is a breeze with the tin lid that’s already attached to the can. So, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to enjoy your canned tuna without compromising on convenience, the tin lid will do just fine.
27. Microwave S’mores Maker, $14
Although s’mores are undoubtedly a delectable delight, creating them doesn’t have to involve a pricey and bulky Microwave S’mores Maker that takes up too much space and costs upwards of $14.
If your children are craving the taste of s’mores, there are simpler ways to prepare them, such as cooking them over a fire grill or gas stove top. Even a regular microwave can do the job just as well.
So, next time you’re yearning for the sweet and gooey goodness of s’mores, consider these alternative methods that are both cost-effective and practical.
28. Taco Holder, $16
Undoubtedly, consuming tacos and putting them on plates can turn into a chaotic affair. Thus, investing in a taco holder might appear to be a wise decision. Nevertheless, the messiness is a fundamental element of the taco-eating experience.
Moreover, the peculiar appearance of the gadget won’t assist in storing it efficiently since its zig-zag design doesn’t fit conveniently anywhere.
If you truly relish the complete taco experience, you shouldn’t let a little mess deter you. However, if you’re keen on avoiding messy cleanups, a taco holder may come in handy. However, be prepared to find a suitable spot for its unconventional shape.
29. Baby Food Maker, $30-$120
Investing in a baby food maker may seem like an excellent solution to keep track of your child’s diet, but it could be an expensive and space-consuming choice. Fortunately, there is a more cost-effective and practical alternative available.
Rather than splurging on a dedicated baby food processor, a regular blender or food processor can perform the same function with similar outcomes. This option can save you anywhere between $30 to $120 while also being a valuable addition to your kitchen appliances.
30. Countertop Pizza Oven, $38-$275
Countertop pizza ovens are often marketed as compact and energy-efficient devices that can cook a delicious pizza to perfection. However, it’s not as simple as it seems. Firstly, the size of the appliance is not exactly small, and it can pose a challenge when it comes to storage.
Moreover, a countertop pizza oven comes with a hefty price tag and has limited functionality, as it can only be used to cook pizza. Fortunately, most modern kitchens are equipped with ovens that can handle a variety of cooking tasks, including baking pizza.