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Kitchen Appliances Buying Guide

by Christina Wright

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Contemporary-style toaster and electric kettle

There are so many appliances for the kitchen that it can be hard to know how best to outfit your kitchen. Kitchen appliances, such as microwaves, toasters and electric grills, have made life easier and cooking faster, but with so many models to choose from, getting the right appliance for your kitchen can be daunting. Read on to learn more about these important kitchen appliances and how to choose the best one for you.

Kitchen Appliances:

  1. Microwaves: Microwave ovens are huge timesaving kitchen appliances because they can reheat and cook food quickly. There are some things to consider when purchasing microwaves; follow these tips to make sure you get the best kitchen appliance for you.

  2. Type and size: Countertop models take up counter space, but they tend to have a larger capacity than most built-in models. Built-in microwaves save space, yet they require installation. Built-in microwaves are usually best for small kitchens. Microwave carts or kitchen carts hold countertop microwaves while freeing up your counter space.

  3. Microwave capacity: Larger overall size doesn't always mean the microwave oven has more usable capacity. Some large microwaves may take up more space but have the same (or less) usable capacity than smaller units. There are three sizes of microwaves for you to choose from: compact, medium and large. Compact or portable microwaves are the most popular size of microwave oven and measure less than one cubic foot in capacity. Medium-capacity microwaves are the family-sized microwaves and measure between 1 and 1.5 cubic feet. Large-capacity microwaves are capable of cooking a meal and feature many "auto-cook" and precise temperature-control measures. Consider how much food you usually cook at one time to determine the best size of microwave.

  4. Extras: Decide if you really need any extra features. Some extras are designed for convenience; they may have popcorn, baked potato or defrost presets. Some extras, like turntables, help you cook your food more evenly. Some extras are just extras, like grilling or browning features. Decide which features you'll actually use.

  5. Toasters and toaster ovens: A toaster oven can toast all the same foods that a toaster can, but its size and design allow it to cook, reheat and defrost other foods, too, making it one of the most versatile kitchen appliances. There several variations within toasters and toaster ovens, so make sure you get the right one for you.

  6. Basic toaster: The basic toaster differs in size, ranging from two slots to four slots. Each slot only holds one slice of bread. Toasters are available with temperature and time adjusters. Look for a feature that allows you to toast only two slots at a time. This slot selector allows your toaster to be more versatile and helps you save energy.

  7. Bagel toaster: Bagel toasters have wider slots to accommodate the larger size of a sliced bagel. Bagel toasters also have adjustable temperatures and cooking times.

  8. Toaster ovens: Instead of toasting vertically, bread lies horizontally to toast in a toaster oven. This allows toppings to be toasted on the bread. Toaster ovens are larger than toasters, allowing larger items to be cooked within. Models can also include temperature and cook-time adjusters. Use your toaster oven to cook pizza, cheesy bread or garlic bread.

  9. Electric grills and griddles: Electric grills are perhaps one of the most versatile kitchen appliances. They offer a healthy alternative to pan frying, with room for large foods or large quantities. These tips will help you pick the best electric grill or griddle for you.

  10. Electric grills: Electric grills are the electric version of an outdoor barbeque grill. They are designed with raised ridges and a drip tray to help you reduce fat content in your foods. Heat is conveyed through both the top and bottom grill plates, allowing for fast, even cooking. Throw on vegetables, meats or kabobs, as well as sandwiches for your own Panini or grilled sandwich. Indoor grills range in size from small, for one to two people, to large or family-sized, for six to eight. Some electric grills come with interchangeable grill plates so you can have a grill, griddle and waffle maker all in one handy appliance.

  11. Electric griddles: Electric griddles offer a large surface area, allowing for more food to be cooked at a time. Because of this, electric griddles are ideal for breakfast foods. Grilled sandwiches can also be prepared on electric griddles. Electric griddles have a variable temperature knob and a drip tray.

  12. Extras: Electric grills and griddles often come with extras that you'll have to consider. Some electric grills come with interchangeable grill plates so you can have a grill, griddle and waffle maker all in one handy appliance. Some come with extra drip catchers or scrapers. Many electric grills and griddles are now dishwasher safe, making clean-up a breeze.

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