The 4 best KitchenAid stand mixers we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • KitchenAid is a brand synonymous with stand mixers and has been making them for more than 100 years.
  • Its stand mixers are great for tasks that take a lot of effort to do by hand, like whipping and creaming.
  • The Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer is the best stand mixer because it balances power and size.

A stand mixer is the crowning jewel of a kitchen, and KitchenAid’s stand mixers have been the standard for over a century. They make efficient work of tasks that typically take a lot of time or effort to do by hand, like whipping egg whites to soft or stiff peaks, turning cream into whipped cream, churning out big batches of cookies, and kneading tough, heavy bread doughs.

I’ve used a KitchenAid stand mixer daily – sometimes all day – while working in professional kitchens for more than a decade. I have years of experience with each stand mixer in this guide: I’ve broken them, repaired them, purchased them for my own personal use, and am intimately aware of each model’s advantages and limitations.

But I didn’t just rely on my previous experiences. I researched eight models and put four top-selling KitchenAid stand mixers through a standard set of tests for this guide. I used a King Arthur recipe for bagels, a stiff dough with a 10-minute mixing time; I prepared Compost Cookies (kitchen-sink cookies with five cups of mix-ins including chocolate chips, potato chips, and pretzels) from New York City’s Milk Bar; and put each mixer through additional tests to evaluate its capacity, mixing capability, and ease of use. You can read more about how I tested KitchenAid stand mixers in our methodology here, along with how to shop for a KitchenAid and what to make with it.

Here are the best KitchenAid stand mixers in 2021

The best overall

best stand mixer overall 2021 kitchenaid

This popular model balances power, capacity, and size for a mixer that is perfectly designed for most home bakers; plus it comes in more than 45 fun colors.

Pros: Easily accomplishes common cooking tasks, lots of customization options, work bowl has a handle

Cons: Too underpowered if you regularly make a lot of stiff or wet doughs

The Artisan Series 5 Quart model strikes a great balance of power, size, and design. During testing, it quickly became my favorite mixer to use. Tilt-head stand mixers have a smaller base than bowl-lift stand mixers so the bowls tend to be narrower and can feel cramped. You often have to stop the mixer and tilt the head back whenever you want to scrape down the mixing bowl. This wasn’t the case with the Artisan mixer; the large bowl of the felt open enough that I could scrape the sides without adjusting the head. The bowl also has a sturdy handle for easy lifting, and provided plenty of room for pouring in ingredients — particularly helpful when adding more than five cups of mix-ins for Compost Cookies. 

While it shook a bit when I made bagel dough, it was never overly noisy and I didn’t feel like I had to babysit it for fear of it walking off the counter. That said, I don’t think I would make multiple batches of bagels in a row to avoid overheating the mixer’s lower-powered motor. 

This model also offers customization, allowing you to choose from almost 50 color options, engrave your stand mixer or switch out the standard bowl for a patterned ceramic or glass mixing bowl.

Since initial testing, we’ve continued to use this model at least once a week. It’s worked its way through pierogi dough and filling, multiple babkas, and many batches of holiday cookies, and still functions as well (and looks as good) as it did when I first received it. We’ll continue to use this model regularly and report on its long-term durability.

Best budget

Best KitchenAid stand mixer Classic Plus

The least expensive model made by KitchenAid, the Classic Plus has all the quality components of more expensive mixers but it’s compact, efficient, and powerful enough to accomplish most tasks for casual bakers. 

Pros: Relatively inexpensive, spacious but still maneuverable, can handle most common tasks and occasional tough doughs 

Cons: Work bowl doesn’t have a handle, relatively low-powered motor, not ideal for heavy use

If you’re an occasional baker or just starting to dip your toes into cooking, the KitchenAid Classic Plus 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer is a great model to get started with. It’s made with the same metal parts as more expensive KitchenAid stand mixers, has a strong motor, and a relatively roomy work bowl. While on the smaller side, it still easily accommodates single batches of common recipes. 

An earlier version of the KitchenAid Classic Plus was, in fact, my first mixer. I used it heavily for about five years until it gave out on me while kneading dough for hand-pulled noodles (a notoriously tricky dough, and one known to tax stand mixers). This issue first highlighted to me how most stand mixers break and the importance of choosing a model built for your typical usage. 

I tested a new version of this mixer for this guide, and while it happily worked through cookies, egg whites, and even hefty bagel dough without issue, it’s possible that with too much heavy use, like making many batches of bagel or pizza dough back-to-back, the mixer can overheat or — in the case of my old mixer — wear down its gears. While the issue is repairable, it requires seeing a KitchenAid repair specialist, which can be expensive, so you’re better off purchasing a stand mixer with a wattage that meets your needs from the get-go. 

Best for bread

Best KitchenAid stand mixer Pro Line Series 7-Quart Bowl Lift Stand Mixer

The KitchenAid Pro Line Series 7-Quart Bowl Lift Stand Mixer is the largest, most powerful KitchenAid mixer you can buy without venturing into commercial models, which makes it perfect for avid bakers. 

Pros: Largest capacity of any residential model, bowl-lift design provides stability when mixing, wide mixing bowl for adding ingredients, powerful motor that can handle all kinds of doughs, work bowl has a handle

Cons: Heavy, takes up a lot of space, only comes in a few colors

Stiff or heavy doughs like bagel dough, pizza dough, and some noodle doughs require a large amount of power to knead properly, which can be taxing on many stand mixers. The 7-Quart Pro-Line model has a 970 watt motor for powerful and thorough kneading without overheating the mixer. The wider bowl-lift design also provides more stability during mixing, so the mixer doesn’t “walk” or shake as much during use. 

This is the model I primarily used during a decade of work in professional kitchens. The machine is reliable, nimble, easy to use, and remarkably quiet for such a large mixer. It can handle everything from whipping two egg whites to mixing triple batches of cake batter. KitchenAid claims the 7-quart size can make up to 14 dozen cookies in a single batch, and while I haven’t ventured to test the limits of that claim (I love cookies, but I don’t need 14 dozen), it made double batches of compost cookies and bagels with plenty of room to spare. 

The wide bowl is easy to remove from the mixer, has a large comfortable handle, and provides lots of space for adding ingredients during mixing. Avid bakers and especially those who make bread will appreciate its reliability — these mixers saw heavy daily use when I worked with them in professional kitchens and rarely needed repairs. If you take care of this mixer, it’s likely to last you decades. 

That said, it’s a hefty machine and not the sort of mixer you want to lug around, so it’s best for those with ample counter space to devote to its large footprint.

Read our full review

Best for small spaces

Best KitchenAid stand mixer Artisan Mini

The smallest of KitchenAid stand mixers, this model is the perfect size and strength for occasional bakers, new cooks, and those with petite kitchens.

Pros: Perfectly sized for small kitchens, easy to maneuver, makes single batches of most recipes well, ideal for occasional bakers, a good size for kids, work bowl has a handle

Cons: Too small for double batches, shakes a lot when running at high speed

When I moved into a 600 square foot apartment, every inch felt precious. Since counter space was limited, I needed a mixer light enough that I wouldn’t mind hauling it out from a cabinet every time I wanted to bake. The KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer hit all these marks for me. 

Measuring just over 11 inches wide, the Mini is about 25% smaller than our best overall pick. While this may not seem like a drastic difference, the Mini is much more maneuverable, and I love that it fits easily under my cabinets or on a shelf. Less surface area also means less to clean, and the Mini’s work bowl doesn’t hog space in my sink or dishwasher.

Despite being more petite, the Mini is perfectly capable of whipping up a single batch of cookies or biscuits. I’ve made muffins, pasta dough, bread dough, pizza dough, cake, frosting, and more cookies than I can count in the Mini with no issues or changes to the mixing times called for in the recipes.

When I put my Mini through strenuous tests for this guide, it showed some of its limitations. The work bowl was just able to fit all the mix-ins for compost cookies, but it started to overflow a bit when I turned on the mixer. Bagel dough also came together fine, but the mixer shook and “walked” around the counter during the long kneading time, enough so that I felt like I had to keep an eye on it for the whole 10 minutes it was mixing. 

That said, if space is your primary concern or you’re an occasional baker, the Mini is a great option for an unobtrusive machine that can do just about anything a full-size mixer can do.

What else we considered

What else we considered, KitchenAid Stand Mixers

We also researched other KitchenAid models for this guide that we ultimately didn’t end up testing. Here are the products that didn’t make the cut and why: 

  • KitchenAid Classic Series 4.5 Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer ($279.99): Previously our best budget pick, the Classic is identical in both function and design to our new affordable pick, the Classic Plus. We confirmed this with KitchenAid, who said the only difference is that the Classic Plus is available in a silver color. There used to be a slight difference between the Classic and the Classic Plus with the former having 250 watts, a slightly less powerful motor than the Classic Plus’ 275 watts. However, both models are now being made with 275 watts and are priced the same. Both are great options, and since KitchenAids have been in short supply, buy whichever you can get your hands on. We’ve seen some retailers still selling the 250-watt version of the Classic, so be sure to check the specs before you buy. 
  • KitchenAid NSF Certified Commercial Series 8-Qt Bowl Lift Stand Mixer ($699.99): Unless you’re running a bakery, you don’t need a mixer this large or this powerful. That said, if you are operating a bakery or food business, this is the only KitchenAid mixer that is certified by NSF International for commercial use. It has a two-year warranty (double the time of their other mixers) and a strong, durable motor for heavy use. However, home bakers are unlikely to need these extra features, which are designed to withstand hours of heavy use each day. 

Our testing methodology

While I drew from my own experience as a food editor working in professional kitchens and using these mixers over many years, I also put each model through a standard set of tests to see how they’d compare to each other. Here’s how I evaluated KitchenAid stand mixers:

Size, capacity, and ease of use: I weighed and measured all the stand mixers, including comparing the stated versus functional capacity (the capacity when measured from the bottom of the work bowl to the top of the mixing attachment) of each work bowl. I carried the mixers around and noted how comfortable they were to move and handle.

Power: We consulted the company to learn the power of each motor in watts. Residential stand mixers range from 250 to 970 watts, and mixers with higher wattage motors can mix heavy, wet doughs more readily. 

Whipping: I whipped two egg whites to stiff peaks in each mixer, which tests the mixers’ control during gradual ramping up of speed. It also tested the larger mixers’ ability to function well even with a very small volume of ingredients. 

Creaming: I used each stand mixer to make Milk Bar compost cookies, which have more than 5 cups of mix-ins. Not only did this test the functional capacity of the mixers, but also their ability to operate on different speeds — high speed for creaming butter and sugar, and low speed for incorporating delicate mix-ins like chips and pretzels without breaking them. 

Kneading: Each mixer was used to make a batch of King Arthur bagels; a stiff dough with a long, 10 minute mixing time. I made a note if any of the mixers shook or walked, struggled, or made excessive noise during this tough task. 

Durability: The true test of a stand mixer is how it performs over time. While I included information from my own experience working with these models over nearly a decade, I’ll continue to use the stand mixers in this guide and report back on any durability issues.

What we’re testing next

Our picks encompass most of KitchenAid’s offerings, but there are two models we’re interested in testing that we weren’t able to include this time around: 

  • KitchenAid Professional 5 Plus Series 5 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer ($419.99): Previously our best KitchenAid for making bread, this model was out of stock at the time of this testing. I’m of the mindset that if you’re going to upgrade from our best overall pick (which is also 5 quarts), it should also offer an increase in capacity. However, this model may be a good fit for those who prepare a lot of heavy, wet doughs but either don’t make large batches or are prioritizing cost. 
  • KitchenAid Pro 600 Series 6 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer ($499.99): This model offers a slight jump up in capacity from the 5-quart professional model and was also unavailable at the time of testing. It offers 15 colors; the most colors of any of KitchenAid’s bowl-lift models. We’d like to see if the slight increase in capacity justifies the big jump in price.

FAQs

What is the warranty on KitchenAid stand mixers?

Almost all of KitchenAid’s stand mixers come with a limited one year warranty, though you can purchase an extended service plan for another three years of coverage. 

What do I do if my KitchenAid stand mixer breaks?

When a KitchenAid stand mixer stops working, it can usually be repaired. The machines are designed so that inexpensive gears fail before the core part of the mixer; oftentimes a repair is as simple as replacing a gear. If your stand mixer is still within warranty, you should contact KitchenAid for a replacement. However, in my experience, don’t expect much from KitchenAid customer service if you’re out of warranty. While plenty of KitchenAid repair videos exist online, you’ll get the best results from a paid repair from the KitchenAid factory or by visiting a reputable appliance repair service. Keep in mind that you can void your remaining warranty if you attempt to repair your stand mixer on your own.

Will my KitchenAid stand mixer last a lifetime?

With proper care, it’s possible! Keep in mind that technology changes, so it’s never a guarantee that a small appliance like a KitchenAid stand mixer will be forever compatible with modern home wiring or safety specifications. (Your grandma’s toaster or microwave may still work, but it might not necessarily be safe.) While your stand mixer might not become a family heirloom, you should get many years of use out of it. 

How do I use my KitchenAid stand mixer?

I’d start with a solid recipe for something you like to eat often, like cookies or bread. Once you know what you want to make, a well-written recipe should guide you through when to add ingredients, what speed to use, and even when to scrape down the bowl. Recipes from cookbooks or food magazines are usually well-tested and thoroughly written. Some good cookbooks to start with include “Pastry Love,” “Black Girl Baking“, “Bravetart,” “Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book“, “The New Way to Cake,” and “The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.” It’s also good to keep best practices in mind: avoid overloading the mixer or adding too many ingredients at once, and turn up the speed slowly to avoid kitchen messes. Only operate your stand mixer on a stable countertop or table, and don’t leave it unattended while it’s running. 

Can I use an electric hand mixer instead of a stand mixer?

Electric hand mixers are best used for light batters or frostings where you want to incorporate a lot of air, and it doesn’t take a lot of mixing to bring the ingredients together. While the electric mixer is spinning the whisks, you’re still responsible for moving the mixer around the bowl. This is much less efficient than a stand mixer where the whisk is rotating, but also moving in a circular motion around the work bowl. Electric hand mixers also aren’t very good for heavy doughs or recipes with a lot of varying textures since these tend to get caught in the smaller tines of the beaters. While an electric hand mixer is an efficient way to whip up a batch of brownies or frosting, stand mixers are much more versatile.

How to choose a KitchenAid stand mixer

How to choose, KitchenAid Stand Mixer

KitchenAid makes an overwhelming number of models. Here are some considerations to help you narrow down your selection.

Wattage: The higher the wattage of the motor, the more powerful the mixer will be. Mixers with higher wattage — like the 970 watt motor on the KitchenAid Pro — glide through tough doughs and don’t easily overheat. If you bake at least once a week or you regularly make a lot of heavy, wet doughs like pizza or bread dough, then you’ll benefit from a larger, more expensive model with a high wattage motor built for power and durability. However, if you’re the kind of person who breaks out the stand mixer once a year to make holiday cookies, you don’t need the Cadillac of KitchenAids. Occasional bakers will be perfectly well off with 250 or 275-watt models, like the Artisan Mini or the Classic Plus. Lower wattage models can also handle the occasional tough task like kneading bagel dough a few times a year. Be mindful that tough kitchen tasks can be hard on the gears of smaller machines, so give your machine time to cool down between uses if you’re making a hard dough in a lower wattage model. 

Capacity: The advertised capacity of a KitchenAid mixer is not its actual capacity. The advertised or stated capacity refers to how much the work bowl can hold when completely full. Not only would you have a big mess on your hands if you tried to use a mixer at full capacity, but it also wouldn’t operate effectively since the ingredients would actually cover the mixing attachment. Instead, the functional capacity is measured from the bottom of the bowl to the top of the mixing attachment and it’s usually about 1 to 1.5 quarts less than the stated capacity. One quart is about the size of a large deli container, so if you have a recipe that regularly makes enough dough to fill four or five of those, opt for a mixer with a larger stated capacity of 6 or 7 quarts. It’s also a good idea to buy a mixer with a larger capacity if you make a lot of bread since the mixer needs a fair amount of clearance to knead the dough effectively.  

Maneuverability and storage: The bigger the capacity and more powerful the mixer, the heavier and larger the mixer will be. The largest KitchenAid mixers in our guide can weigh almost 30 pounds. Unless you’re comfortable regularly lifting an appliance of that size, you’ll either need to consider a small mixer or have dedicated counter space. Larger mixers will take up about half the width of a standard size counter and may not fit readily under your cabinet overhang. If space is at a premium, consider a smaller, less expensive mixer.

Colors and customization: For some people, the most important factor in choosing a KitchenAid is the color. If a fun color is your priority, opt for a mixer from KitchenAid’s Artisan series. Our best mixer for small spaces and best overall pick are both Artisan mixers and are available in up to 47 different colors. Our best overall pick also offers further customization with interchangeable decorative work bowls in various patterns and materials. The Classic and Pro Line series offer a much more limited color choice — just red and a handful of neutrals.

Why buy a KitchenAid stand mixer

While there are a number of other stand mixer brands out there — including Breville, Sunbeam, Oster, and Bosch — none are as ubiquitous or revered as the KitchenAid stand mixer. Some people consider purchasing a KitchenAid stand mixer to be a life milestone, and according to The Knot, a KitchenAid stand mixer was the most-wished-for product on wedding registries in 2019. Julia Child’s KitchenAid mixer even lives in the Smithsonian Museum. But what makes KitchenAid stand mixers so special?

KitchenAid stand mixers have been around for more than a century. According to KitchenAid, the brand got its name in 1919 when an executive’s wife called the first home model stand mixer “the best kitchen aid I’ve ever had.” The name stuck and KitchenAid has been synonymous with stand mixers ever since. While there are a number of great stand mixers from other brands out there, KitchenAid still stands out in a number of ways.

Durability: I’ve tried almost every brand of stand mixer out there in my seven years reviewing kitchen products, and KitchenAid mixers are the only ones that use an almost all-metal construction. Other brands cut costs by using plastic in part of the design: either in the body of the mixer, on knobs and dials, in the mixing attachments, or even in the gears. Mixers made with a lot of plastic are usually lighter and less expensive, but much less durable. KitchenAid mixers can last for decades because of their strong metal parts. While this stronger construction comes at a premium — KitchenAid mixers are among the most expensive out there — their durability makes them a great investment. Even the most affordable KitchenAid mixer shares this same hearty construction and powerful motor and will last for decades with proper care. There is also a robust network of authorized KitchenAid repair technicians who can repair your stand mixer if something does break.

Stability: The all-metal design makes KitchenAid mixers much heavier than most other brands. While they can be a pain to lug around, the added heft produces an important benefit: more stability when mixing. Lighter machines can shake or “walk” off countertops. The heaviness of KitchenAid mixers helps them stay put. 

A mixer for everybody: Many brands that make stand mixers only produce one or two models. KitchenAid makes almost a dozen models with different capacities, power, and price points. This allows you to choose a model that meets your needs and excels at the tasks you perform most.

Attachments: KitchenAid is the only brand that has produced a robust lineup of attachments that extend the versatility of its stand mixers. These attachments can turn your KitchenAid into a food processor, meat grinder, ice cream maker, spiralizer, pasta machine, and more — eliminating the need to buy separate appliances that are often larger and more expensive. 

Colors: It’s undeniable that one of the major selling points of a KitchenAid mixer is the sheer number of colors available to choose from. KitchenAid offers its mixers in 47 different colors — no other brand even comes close to that much customization. While choosing an appliance based on color may seem silly to some consumers, the ability to pick out a color that matches your personality or decor is one of the reasons people feel such an affinity to KitchenAid mixers.

Glossary

KitchenAid Glossary

Tilt head: A common mixer design where the work bowl twists onto the base of the mixer. The head of the machine tilts forward for operation and lifts back so you can attach a paddle, whisk, or dough hook; add ingredients to the work bowl; or use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. These machines have a lever that allows you to lock the head in place so it doesn’t accidentally lift during mixing or moving. This style is common in smaller capacity mixers and is contrasted to a bowl-lift design.

Bowl lift: A mixer design where the work bowl sits on a Y-shaped arm extending from the body of the mixer. A lever allows you to raise and lower the bowl. A raised position brings the bowl closer to the mixer head for operation, while a lowered position allows you to more easily add ingredients or add/remove the paddle, whisk, or dough hook. This design allows for more stability during mixing but comes at the cost of a larger footprint. 

Hub: A circular port at the front of the mixer head where you place KitchenAid branded attachments such as the meat grinder, pasta cutter, or spiralizer. When not in use, the hub is usually covered by a silver medallion with the KitchenAid logo. 

Paddle: A flat, open mixing attachment included with every KitchenAid stand mixer. The paddle is used for mixing ingredients together when you don’t want too much air incorporated, such as when creaming butter and sugar, mixing cookie dough, and combining some batters. Think of it as the stand mixer equivalent of a wooden spoon. 

Whisk: A balloon-shaped wire whisk mixing attachment included with every KitchenAid stand mixer. The whisk attachment is used when you do want to incorporate a lot of air into the ingredients you’re mixing, like when whipping cream, making meringue or frosting, or mixing cake batter. It’s used in similar ways to a hand whisk.

Dough hook: A corkscrew-shaped mixing attachment included with every KitchenAid stand mixer. The dough hook is used for kneading bread dough. Typically you’ll mix the dough with another attachment such as the paddle, and then use the dough hook to form the dough into a ball and knead it. The corkscrew shape pushes the dough against the sides of the work bowl in an action that approximates kneading by hand. 

Attachment: Can refer to the paddle, whisk, and dough hook that come with the mixer, but also used to describe the various accessories you can purchase to extend the versatility of your stand mixer such as the ice cream maker, food processor, or meat grinder.

What to make in your KitchenAid stand mixer

What to make with KitchenAid Stand Mixer

We’ve put together a number of how-tos for making the most out of your KitchenAid stand mixer. KitchenAid makes more than two dozen different attachments that expand the versatility of your machine and let you make everything from zoodles to sausage to ice cream and more. Most of the attachments operate from the “hub” of the mixer — the portion underneath the metal disk on the top front of the machine. Since all KitchenAid mixers have this hub, almost all the attachments are compatible with every KitchenAid model in our guide. If you’re interested in KitchenAid attachments, we reviewed them all here

Here are some of our favorite things to make with our KitchenAid mixers and attachments:

Fresh pasta: This is one of those tasks that shows the true versatility of a KitchenAid stand mixer. You use the stand mixer and work bowl to make the dough, and then the KitchenAid pasta sheeter or pasta extruder to form the pasta shapes. Read more about how to make pasta in your stand mixer

Bagels: Chewy bread like bagels are one of the hardest and most arduous tasks to do by hand, which means they’re the perfect recipes to outsource to your stand mixer. While writing this guide, I used this recipe by King Arthur and it churned out perfectly springy bagels that reminded me of home in New Jersey.

Sausage: KitchenAid makes several attachments that allow you to grind your own meat for homemade sausage. Read more about how to grind meat and make sausage with a KitchenAid stand mixer.

Pizza dough: This type of dough is really wet and sticky, but a stand mixer excels at pulling it all together. Here’s a recipe I really love for pizza dough made in a stand mixer. 

Ice cream: KitchenAid makes a special bowl that fits on all stand mixers except the Artisan Mini that makes homemade ice cream. Read more about how to make ice cream in your Kitchenaid stand mixer

Check out our other kitchen appliance guides

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Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best wine and liquor decanters and dispensers of 2021

  • We had industry experts weigh in on the best decanters and liquor dispensers for your at-home bar.
  • We have decanter options whether you’re airing out aged wine or opening a fine whiskey.
  • For those who prefer cocktails, liquor dispensers make them easy to mix and quick to serve.

In my pre-pandemic life, nothing gave me more joy than having friends over for drinks and dinner. This past year my gatherings have gone virtual, but with the help of wine and spirit industry insiders from sommeliers to booze editors, I’ve taken inventory of my at-home bar set up and learned a lot more about how and what to use in the process.

A good wine decanter increases oxygen exposure, which in turn helps bring out the flavors and aromas within your wine for a better taste.

Meanwhile, a good liquor dispenser not only makes it easier to get a precise pour every time, but can also double as an easy way to store liquor bottles when they’re not in use.

From elegant decanters to easy-to-use drink dispensers that can whip up your favorite cocktail in no time, these products are highly rated and expert-approved.

Here are the best decanters and liquor dispensers

Best overall wine decanter

Riedel decanter

Offering serious bang for your buck, the Riedel Cabernet Decanter is beloved by sommeliers for good reason.

What we like: Practical, affordable, easy to clean, great for all wine types.

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to wine decanters, but if you’re looking for a great decanter that is loved by the pros, you really can’t go wrong with Riedel’s Cabernet Decanter. 

“If you buy one decanter, get this one,” says sommelier Annie Shapero. “It’s medium-sized, classic in design, and will work with much more than Cabernet.”

Riedel is a renowned wineglass maker, too, and has long been an industry leader in quality glassware that’s trusted by wine-industry insiders. Shapero says they are the go-to option for all things decanting. This decanter has a chic look for your hosting table and is lightweight but sturdy. Just be aware you’ll need to hand wash it. 

Best wine decanter on a budget

Italian bistro decanter

For a great decanter option that doesn’t break the bank, this Italian-made bistro-style carafe will do the trick.

What we love: Cost-effective, authentic and old-school Italian-made design

If you’re looking for an everyday decanter that’s affordable, this bistro-style carafe by Bormioli Rocco is made in Italy and will look great at your next dinner party.

“As a certified Italian sommelier, my love for wine begins and ends in Italy,” Shapero says. “An old school carafe from historic glassware manufacturer, Bormioli is reminiscent of table wine in trattorias, but it will also get the job done on a wine that only needs a light decant. Nostalgia and function in one.”

Beyond being incredibly affordable, this decanter is extremely durable and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. 

Best aerator and decanter set

Ullo decanter

The Üllo + Decanter set uses a patented technology to create an optimal pour for each and every glass.

What we love: Simple design, smart technology, removes sulfites and sentiment

If you love wine but not the headaches that can come with it, investing in an aerator and decanter that removes the sulfites is a good option. Made in the US, the Üllo + Decanter set is great for both red and white wine and works to improve the taste of each glass using a patented sulfite capture technology. 

The set comes with an adjustable aerator that’s dishwasher-safe, as well as a hand-blown decanter that uses ultra-transparent, lead-free crystal that works to keep all of the flavors and aromas in your glass.

Best decanter for whiskey, scotch, and bourbon

whiskey diamond decanter

The Dragon Glassware Diamond Whiskey Decanter is dishwasher, refrigerator, and freezer safe, plus comes with extras for added value.

What we love: Stylish and unique design, comes with glasses, highly durable

This diamond-shaped drinkware by Dragon Glassware not only takes its unique shape from the multi-facets of diamonds, but it works to aerate as you go.

“The unique shape of the Dragon Glassware allows your drink to aerate as it is poured and swirled inside the decanter and accompanying glasses, which is important for distributing aromas of bourbon, scotch, and red wine,” Booze Editor Jono Elderton of men’s lifestyle website Next Luxury said.

“It’s versatile enough to use for any liquor or wine product and comes in luxury gift packaging, which makes it a top-quality choice for those looking for a first-class decanter set for themselves or to gift.”

Best rotating liquor dispenser

Final Touch 6 bottle dispenser

The Final Touch 6 Bottle Rotating Dispenser and Bar Caddy makes it easier to mix, measure, and pour a well-balanced drink.

What we like: Makes mixing drinks and dispensing shots easier and more accurate, rotates, leak-proof seals

Capable of holding up to six one-liter bottles at a time, the dispenser is made out of professional-grade aluminum, and the push and pour system allows for a more precise pour each and every time.

The simple rotating setup is great for parties, as well as keeping and storing bottles when it’s not in use. Designed to fit most standard bottles using a spring-system at the top, this dispenser will keep the drinks flowing and party going in a fun and fashionable way.

Best liquor dispenser with pods

Bartesian

Bartesian‘s on-demand cocktail machine is an intelligent cocktail maker that uses capsuled flavors for customizable, premium cocktails. 

What we love: Easy to use, self-cleaning, customizable cocktails in under a minute, works at the push of a button

This bartender-designed cocktail dispenser by Bartesian offers all of the convenience that comes with a fully stocked bar without the mess or hassle. With more than 30 capsule options to choose from, you can whip up a spicy margarita or mint julep in under 30 seconds with the push of a button. 

Containing real juices, natural extracts, and bitters, keep in mind that these capsules don’t include the alcohol needed to make a cocktail, so you’ll still need to provide the spirit of your choice. Not to worry, you’ll get a handy drink manual with recipes and ratios that will provide all of the instructions needed to get you going. Once your cocktail is ready, the machine self-cleans and is ready for the next capsule.

For a more affordable but less customizable option, Drinkworks Home Bar by Keurig is another worthy contender.

Best decanter accessory

decanter washing rest

Coupling functionality with design, Lily’s Home Wine Decanter Drying Stand does double-duty as a decanter display rack and drying stand, making it a necessity for any wine lover.

What we like: Practical, affordable, useful for long-term decanter care

When it comes to wine accessories, owning a decanter stand might not seem like a priority, but if you’re serious about keeping your decanter clean and dry, Lily’s Drying Stand can’t be beat.

Courtney Bunn, Beverage Director at JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live and The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, considers this a must-have item for any home or professional bar. “Wine has a seemingly endless list of products to serve and store it, which can quickly fill up your home bar with gadgets and glassware,” she notes. “I’m simplistic in my approach, but I swear by my decanter drying stand to help with water stains and proper drying.” 

Made from stainless steel that’s meant to last for years to come, this also comes with a cleaning brush to keep your decanter pristine.

How and when to decant wine

The main purpose of decanting is to add oxygen into your wine, but not every wine necessarily needs to be decanted. 

“Imagine your wine being pent up in the tight bottle with virtually no air for a year, five years, fifty years. It’s ready to breath and usually the longer it’s been in the bottle, the more air it needs,” notes Den Haan.

If you uncork your wine and get a funky or stinky smell coming off it, that’s a good sign you need to decant it. 

As far as best practices for decanting, Shapero says a slow and steady approach is always best. “The process should be slow and meticulous with a very gentle pour, at the most subtle angle possible,” Shapero advises. “You don’t want the wine to gush out. Allow it to flow down the sides of the decanter.

What to look for in a decanter

“When it comes to choosing a decanter, a lot of it comes down to aesthetics, as they all have a fairly similar shape and function,” Coly Den Haan, sommelier and owner of LA-based Vinovore says. Other features like functionality and material should also be a factor when purchasing a decanter, but don’t get too caught up in the cost and fancy extras.

“Unless you are a true wine connoisseur, with different decanters and dozens of glasses intended for specific wines, you’ll probably find the right decanter between $35 to $60,” says sommelier and founder of wine consulting company DiVino, Annie Shapero.

While a budget option will work just fine and get the job done, Shapero does recommend splurging if you’re looking for something with a bit of wow-factor that you plan to display. 

“If you’re looking for something stunning that will make your wine sparkle in the light, choose crystal, which is also more durable,” she says. “Just keep in mind that crystal is porous, so you’ll likely have to hand-wash it to avoid soapy flavors in your wine.”

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The spurtle is the simple wooden kitchen tool you never knew you needed. Here are the 5 best options in 2021.

  • A spurtle is a wooden stirring tool originally used in Scotland for making porridge.
  • Modernized spurtles are now used for everything from folding batter to mashing avocados.
  • We found traditional spurtles, silicone and bamboo options, and more.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

There’s a good chance you’re wondering just what a spurtle even is. Spurtles are wooden stirring tools that date back to the 15th century in Scotland and were used to make silky, lump-free porridge. While the more traditional version of this item still proves useful, a modern take on the gadget that resembles something between a spoon and a spatula has also become extremely popular. In fact, if you’re a fan of late-night infomercials, you may have even seen the spurtle touted on QVC.

So what can you use a spurtle for? As it turns out, the options are seemingly endless. Not only does the wooden item work as a non-damaging tool for using to stir and reach the edges in pots, pans, or even Instant Pots, but it can also be used for mashing avocados to make guacamole, gently folding batter while baking, spreading sauce or jam, scooping out jars, acting as a sieve, and more. With so many handy uses, the spurtle is a great addition to any kitchen. We found options for traditional spurtles, silicone options, bamboo sets, and more.

Here are the best spurtles

The best overall

rectangle moliy spurtle
These are made of 100% beech wood.

The four-piece Moliy Wooden Spurtles Kitchen Tools Set offers a wide range of spurtle sizes and shapes so you always have the best tool for the job.

What we like: Versatile set, durable, lightweight

This wooden set features four modern spurtles in varying lengths and widths so you can choose the best one depending on your cooking needs. The smallest option is particularly good for jobs like reaching into small jam jars and spreading jelly on toast, while a large option with slats can be used as a makeshift sieve for draining or even to easily separate egg yolks and whites. Meanwhile, the mid-size option is ideal for whisking, flipping, and more. This set is also available as a three-piece set or a five-piece set that also includes a traditional wooden spoon.  

The best traditional

rectangle spurtle
This type of spurtle also works well for stirring doughs and mixing batter.

The Swift Porridge Spurtle has a classic design that works well for oats, soups, and stews.

What we like: Simple, traditional design, won’t break up oats too much

This solid wood spurtle uses the classic Scottish design and is a great choice for traditionalists. If you like to make oatmeal on the stovetop, this tool is specifically designed so it doesn’t break up the oats for a creamy and classic texture. This can be used beyond just porridge and oats for stirring soups, stews, sauces, or even eggs. At just over 11 inches long, it works for deeper saucepans too. Though it’s easy to clean, it’s not dishwasher safe.

The best silicone

rectangle silicone spurtle
Unlike wooden options, this one can go right in the dishwasher.

The Mad Hungry Silicone Two-Piece Set gives you the same functionality as its wooden counterparts with the added convenience of being dishwasher-safe.

What we like: Slotted and non-slotted set, dishwasher safe, heat resistant

Including one standard spurtle and one slotted option, this set can help you easily stir, flip, mash, sift, and serve. Like wooden spurtles, they also won’t damage your cookware like metal or plastic might. However, the silicone design of these sets them apart and means they are more heat resistant than other options and can go right in the dishwasher once you’re done. Choose from six vibrant colors ranging from Harvest Green to Pastel Pink.  

The best bamboo

rectangle bamboo spurtle
These are also available in two- and three-piece sets.

The Crate Collective Bamboo Spurtle Set is lightweight, sturdy, and eco-friendly.

What we like: Eco-friendly, slotted and unslotted set, lightweight, durable

Including a 13-inch spurtle, a slotted 11-inch spurtle, a wide spurtle, and a short, narrow spurtle, this set is made entirely from premium bamboo. The range of options gives you versatility in the kitchen, while the material means that each spurtle is super lightweight but durable. Eco-conscious cooks will also like that bamboo is a more environmentally friendly option than traditional wood. When you’re done, wash with warm water and soap and leave out to dry.  

The best colorful

rectangle marrakesh spurtle
This is sold individually or as part of a matching kitchen utensil set.

Instantly add some pizzazz to any kitchen with the vibrant Baltique Marrakesh Collection 13″ Wooden Spurtle.

What we like: Colorful rainbow design, come by itself or as a set, crafted from birch wood

This slotted spurtle can be proudly displayed on your countertop in a utensil holder rather than shoved to the back of a drawer when it’s not in use. The gorgeous tie-dye pattern instantly adds a pop of color to any kitchen space. This utensil is crafted from layers of colored birch wood to create a rainbow-hued look. You can buy it by itself or as part of a seven-piece kitchen utensil set if you want traditional serving spoons and spatulas that will match. However, be aware you’ll need to handwash this spurtle and you shouldn’t let it soak in water too long. 

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The 5 best kitchen faucets in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The workhorse kitchen faucet is often taken for granted – until it breaks. Just think of how frequently you and other household members use it to wash your hands, get a drink, scrub vegetables, rinse dishes, wet sponges, and more. Ideally, you want one that stands up to everyday use.

As a residential contractor, I’ve been replacing and installing different types of faucets for years. From large commercial kitchen models to simple bathroom faucets, I know the mechanical red flags to avoid (like plastic ball valves that leak) and unreliable brands to stay away from.

Using this knowledge – and after reviewing each option’s installation and design specs – I visited several appliance showrooms and hardware stores in my area to analyze my top choices. Once I got a hands-on feel for each model’s functionality and mechanics, I landed on these options as my top picks for the best kitchen faucets.

Even if you don’t end up going with one of our picks, there are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping for a new kitchen faucet. For a short explainer of things to consider, read here

Here are our top picks for the best kitchen faucets in 2021

The best overall

Delta Faucet Leland Single Handle Kitchen Sink Faucet

The sleek and sturdy Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet adds the convenience of touch activation to the versatility of a pull-down spray head.

Pros: Stylish, lifetime warranty on parts and finishes, design reduces valve wear and tear.

Cons: Electronics only have a five-year warranty, batteries need to be replaced every 2 years.

The Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet doesn’t just pack a ton of features into a single faucet, it also looks good while doing it. From the sprayer wand to the integrated LED temperature indicator, it all comes together to make a nice, solid faucet.

What really sets the Delta Leland apart from competitors is the functional design of its pull-down spray-head. It’s got a nice ergonomic tulip-shape that is easy to get a grip on, and its magnetic locking system connects it to the spout nice and tight.

The spray head itself has a rocker-style switch for toggling between settings — standard and sprayer — without having to hold a button down the whole time. A separate button controls the Spray Shield setting, which is one of those things that sounds like a gimmicky feature but is actually pretty useful. Basically, the Spray Shield focuses the water into a thin, extra powerful stream to blast off stuck-on food, while also creating a cone of water around the area to prevent splashing.

I was really surprised by the flexibility of the connector hose. Usually, these are stiff and rubbery, but even with a braided nylon covering, the Delta hose didn’t affect my control at all. The 22″ hose, plus the 15.4″ faucet height make it great for tasks like filling up a big pot of water on the counter, instead of having to place it in the sink.

The Touch2O technology is the main feature of the Delta Leland Faucet, and it really shines here. This allows you to turn on the water by touching anywhere on the spout or handle.  I can control the water with my elbow through the entire process of rinsing off the meat, breading it, tossing it in the pan, and then washing my hands. 

A handy LED display on the base of the Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet tells you the current temperature, transitioning from blue to red as it moves from cold to hot. Keep in mind though; this LED only turns on when the water is running. This means that you’ll have to be a little more self-aware when using the touch feature, and confirm via the LED that the temperature is what you think it is.

The drawback of any touch-activated faucet is the need for a power source, and this model requires four AAAA batteries — or you could use the included AC adapter if you have an outlet in your sink cabinet. If you have a garbage disposal you probably do.

In my personal experience replacing faucets — and several plumbers that I spoke with agree — single handle faucets like this are eventually going to wear out and begin to leak. It’s inevitable. Which is why touch activation is a great way to extend the lifespan of your faucet.

That being said, if you don’t think you need the touch activation, Delta does make the same faucet in a standard style for a bit cheaper. That model still includes everything else, the Spray Shield, etc.

Even with the solenoid needed to power the sensor, installation of the Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet is pretty straightforward if you have a couple of adjustable pliers on hand and an Allen key. Delta did a nice job with the instruction manual, and also has some helpful videos that supplement it nicely.

The best on a budget

WEWE Single Handle High Arc Brushed Nickel Pull out Kitchen Faucet

The WEWE Single Handle High Arc Brushed Nickel Pull-Out Kitchen Faucet is low in price but high in quality with efficient operation and a simple tulip design.  

Pros: Good price, nice appearance, three-way spray setting, and easy installation

Cons: Zinc alloy is less durable, brushed nickel requires more maintenance than stainless steel

Typically, lower-priced faucets look nice on the surface but skimp on components behind the scenes. The WEWE Single Handle Faucet delivers on both fronts, with braided supply lines for durability, an ABS plastic aerator (think of the tough plastic used to make Lego bricks), and ceramic disk valves.

With no rubber caps to wear down over time, this faucet’s ceramic valves prevent leaks more effectively than ball valves and are pretty much mandatory for a quality faucet. (Though they are susceptible to cracking if you apply too much pressure to them, so keep that in mind.)

In addition to the standard stream and sprayer settings, the WEWE Faucet also lets you pause the water with a button on the spray head, which I really appreciate. You do have to continuously hold down the button while pausing, but it’s still a useful feature for preventing over-spraying while moving back and forth between the sink and countertop, for example.

All of its components are solid metal, which gives the WEWE Faucet a nice solid feel to it. This faucet definitely doesn’t have a flimsy or “cheap” feel you might expect from a budget option.

That being said, the zinc alloy and nickel finish are probably the reason for its low price. Cheaper than stainless steel, and not as resistant to water spots, brushed nickel will need a little more maintenance to stay clean. A soft cloth and soapy water should do the trick, just remember to stay away from any abrasive cleaning pads that can scratch the finish, as well as any cleaners that contain ammonia. 

The WEWE Faucet has a high-arc (15.7-inches tall) neck that swivels 360 degrees. The spout hangs 8.5 inches above and reaches 8.5 inches across the top of the sink. The sprayer head hose is 71 inches in total length, and 23 inches when pulled out of the faucet.

Just like the higher-priced options on this list, installation is simple and should be doable for anyone willing to crawl under their sink and spend 30 minutes down there. You’re not getting the “quick-connect” technology that pricier models have, so you’ll be tightening the supply lines the old-fashioned way (with your fingers and a couple of wrenches).

The best touchless faucet

Moen 7594ESRS Arbor Motionsense Two Sensor Touchless One Handle High Arc Pulldown Kitchen Faucet

Even if your hands are full or covered with grease or raw meat juices, you can still turn the water on and off with the Moen Arbor Spot Resist Stainless One-Handle High Arc MotionSense Wave Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet.

Pros: Convenient no-touch operation, spot-resistant finish

Cons: Expensive, motion sensors may need to be re-calibrated routinely

Marrying form with function, this faucet model offers convenient, hands-free operation with just the wave of your hand; the Wave Sensor (on top) and Ready Sensor (in front) initiate and stop water flow when either one detects motion.

By adjusting the control box under the sink, you’re also able to control the default temperature of the water when the sensors activate the faucet. The Moen factory setting is lukewarm, but if you’d rather have it be warmer for rinsing dishes, or colder for drinking water, it couldn’t be easier to adjust.

And if you ever feel like disabling one or both of the sensors, that’s simple too. Just hold your hand in front of the sensor for 5 seconds and it will stop registering until it’s activated again. While they’re disabled you also can use the lever handle to turn the water on and off manually, as well as adjust the water pressure and temperature. 

The Moen Arbor MotionSense Faucet has a 100-degree-rotating high-arc spout (15.5 inches) — great for filling and cleaning large pots. The spout with a pull-down spray head offers three functions: an aerated stream, a strong “PowerClean” spray for heavy-duty cleaning, and a pause that temporarily stops the water flow (1.5 gallons per minute maximum). The spray head’s hose is 68 inches in total length and retracts smoothly to dock into place.

When it comes to installation, don’t let the intimidating control box fool you, Moen’s are among the easiest faucets to install. Their “Duralock Quick-Connect” installation system makes it easy to attach the hoses and lines to the control box, and their one-way connections basically make them impossible to install incorrectly. 

The best pull-out faucet

MOEN Brantford faucet

Perfect for cozier spaces, the Moen Brantford Single-Handle Pull-Out Sprayer Kitchen Faucet is easy to use and keep clean.

Pros: Available in multiple finishes, easy to clean, quick installation

Cons: A little pricey, plastic components can make it feel “cheaper” 

The Moen Brantford Single-Handle Pull-Out Sprayer Kitchen Faucet shouldn’t be confused with the pull-down Moen Arbor MotionSense that we profiled above, but you could consider it as the baby brother. If you have a small sink or you don’t have a lot of vertical clearance, this faucet may be the right fit.

What I love about pull-out style faucets is that without all that extra spout length — the Moen Brantford Single-Handle Pull-Out Sprayer Kitchen Faucet is only 12.9 inches high — you gain a lot of maneuverability. By pulling it “out” instead of down, you avoid wasting any hose length on the bend of the faucet spout, giving you more range of motion.

The 68-inch hose itself is especially flexible, and can be easily maneuvered around any sink. This faucet does technically have a plastic spray head, but its stainless steel finish and easy installation make it a great faucet option. 

The Moen Brantford Pull-Out Faucet spout swivels 360 degrees and has several functions in common with the Moen Arbor MotionSense, including an aerated stream, and a strong “PowerClean” spray for heavy-duty cleaning. 

The installation of the Moen Pull-Out Faucet also uses Duralock Quick Connect hoses, allowing the water lines to be connected without a lot of twisting and turning. To make things even easier, this faucet also includes a cool little installation tool that basically acts as sort of a basin wrench, which makes tightening those mounting nuts a lot easier (especially if you don’t have much space between the wall and your sink basin).

The best commercial-style faucet

Kohler Sous Pro-Style Single Handle Pull-Down Sprayer Faucet

The Kohler Sous Pro-Style Single Handle Pull-Down Sprayer Faucet has the power and size of a commercial faucet, with all the features of a standard model.

Pros: Sturdy, magnetic locking arm, high quality

Cons: Spring needs to be cleaned periodically, installation can be tricky depending on your surface

The Kohler Sous Pro-Style Single Handle Pull-Down Sprayer Faucet features the sturdy construction of a commercial kitchen-style faucet, with a modern style that looks right at home in a residential kitchen. It’s great for an active kitchen and the ideal faucet for tackling large piles of dishes.

The Kohler Sous Pro-Style Faucet has a magnetic docking arm that the spray head firmly attaches to when not in use. Unlike other commercial-style faucets, the docking arm swivels out of the way when you’re working.

Something I’ve come to notice about these commercial-style faucets is that sometimes their height makes them look out of place in some kitchens. That’s not the case with the Kohler. Its 22-inch vertical is still short enough to look great on most counters. I’ve even seen this on a kitchen island — usually a no-no for taller faucets — and it looked great.

The spring-loaded design of the pull-down spray head has the perfect amount of tension to it. Not so tight that it restricts movement, but solid enough to have a feeling of control while you’re using it. The downside of any spring-type tension mechanism is that debris can become lodged in the gaps of the spring. What’s great about the Kohler Sous Pro-Style is that the entire spring is simple to remove and you can just spray the whole thing off on the sink. 

In addition to the standard stream setting, the faucet also features “Sweep Spray” technology, turning the stream into a linear broom-style pattern. This is great for “sweeping” away food from dishes, instead of just blasting it around with a standard sprayer. This setting is also excellent for cleaning out the sink itself.

If you are installing this faucet to a stainless steel sink, you will need to add a small 1/2-inch plywood support piece under the counter. It’s nothing crazy, but it’s an extra step that most other faucets don’t have.

What to consider when shopping for a kitchen faucet

Choosing a kitchen faucet may seem like a mundane task, but it’s actually important. You want the right kind to fit your needs and your kitchen’s decor, and you don’t want to simply opt for the cheapest model. So before you shop for a new kitchen faucet, think about where (the existing space, pre-existing hardware) and how you plan to use it. Consider each model’s specs: 

  • Valve Control: This is the mechanism that turns your faucet on and off, and adjusts the temperature of the water. Single-handle designs use one lever to control both temperature and flow, while double-handles have two (each handle controlling either the hot or cold water supply). Touch and motion-activated designs are convenient in a lot of ways, but they are dependent on a power source for their sensor.
    Note: Double handle styles are less common and are generally bought for their aesthetics over practicality — which is why we don’t have any featured here. That said, I definitely value their durability: dual handles tend to be sturdier, and less easily yanked on than single handles.
  • Spout style: Choose from revolving or stationary, regular (steady stream) or two-mode (regular and spray), low arc (3 to 8 inches above the top of the sink), or high arc (also known as gooseneck, which is more than 8 inches above the top of the sink) models. 
  • Spray head: The sprayer can be separate from and next to the faucet, or at the end of the spout. The latter type is either pull-down (often on taller faucets) or pull-out (which sometimes includes much of the spout itself).
  • Finish: Whatever material comprises the faucet’s finish (chrome, stainless steel, bronze, copper, brass, nickel, etc.) affects its appearance, cleanability, resistance to spotting and rusting, and price.
  • Arc and spout height and reach: Do you have ample clearance for a high-arc faucet or a cozier kitchen better suited to a low-arc model? Will you need to maneuver pots and pans under the faucet in order to wash them? Do you care how far the spout reaches across or extends over the sink?
  • Flow rate: Do you want adjustable water pressure? Do you need just a stream (for filling pots or washing vegetables) or also a spray (to add oomph to scrubbing sticky or burnt-on food off of dishes)? 
  • Installation requirements: How many holes does your sink have for fitting a faucet? Some sinks have only one hole, and faucets requiring more than one hole can’t be used (unless you plan to drill more holes … which may be inconvenient, costly, or structurally impossible). If your sink does have extra holes that the faucet doesn’t need, you can cover them with an escutcheon or deck plate or use them to fit accessories like a side sprayer or soap dispenser. It’s also worth checking to make sure you have enough clearance between the faucet and the wall behind – to ensure your handle can rotate as far as it needs to.

No matter which kitchen faucet you pick, choose a model that helps save water. A faucet aerator efficiently reduces the flow rate while still maintaining water pressure, thus conserving water and saving you money. Also, fix (or replace if necessary) the faucet when you notice any leaking. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, “A faucet leaking 60 drops per minute will waste 192 gallons (726.8 liters) per month … 2,304 gallons (8.7 m3) per year.” To calculate your household’s potential water waste from a leaky kitchen faucet, visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s Drip Calculator.  

Check out our other kitchen buying guides.

LG dishwasher
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The best Nespresso machine deals available now, including up to 50% off at Bloomingdale’s

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

nespresso sale

Nespresso machines are fast, easy, and consistent – three essentials when it comes to getting caffeinated in the morning. Though they’re already much more affordable than other espresso-making options, oftentimes you can find them decently discounted online.

One of the best sales going on now includes up to 50% off select Nespresso machines from Bloomingdale’s. The sale ends February 28. We’ve also listed the best Nespresso deals available across multiple retailers below, and we’ll update this list as we find more.

The 5 best Nespresso deals

Pixie Espresso Machine (medium)Vertuo Plus with Aeroccino (medium)Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Machine with Aeroccino (medium)Essenza Mini Espresso Machine (medium)Essenza Mini Espresso Machine with Aeroccino Milk Frother (medium)

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The 3 best pizza stones we tested in 2021

  • Using a pizza stone is a simple way to get better pizza out of your home oven or grill. 
  • The Original Baking Steel is our top pick because it’s durable, easy to clean, and produces exceptional home cooked pizza.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

If you’ve ever tried making pizza in your home oven without any special equipment, you’ve probably found the results markedly different than what you get from your favorite pizza joint. Home-cooked pizzas tend to emerge from the oven pale, doughy, and less flavorful (browning = flavor). That’s because home ovens max out at around 550 degrees Fahrenheit, unlike commercial or wood-fired pizza ovens that can reach 900+ degrees. In order to achieve a pizza with a well-browned, flavorful crust and airy, chewy interior, you need to cook the pizza as hot and as fast as possible to mimic the intense heat of a traditional wood-fired oven.

That’s where pizza stones come in. Pizza stones are rectangular or circular slabs of relatively thick stone or metal that absorb heat to cook pizza much faster than a pan or sheet tray. With practice and the right pizza stone, you can churn out pizzas that resemble the pies you get from your favorite slice shop. 

I’m no stranger to pizza stones after working in professional kitchens for many years, where we used these slabs for much more than just pizza. They’re great for baking bread, especially oblong loaves like baguettes, and they can put a mean sear on steak or vegetables. For this guide, I focused primarily on pizza, using each stone to make multiple thin-crust pizzas in my oven. I also used each stone to bake bread in the oven, though I weighed this test less heavily. I had the tough job of evaluating the quality of the finished pizza through multiple taste tests and also based my recommendations on how easy the stones were to move, use, and clean.

To learn more about how to choose, use, and care for a pizza stone, I interviewed pizza expert and colleague Andrew Janjigian (@wordloaf), baking instructor and former resident bread expert at Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. You can read more about our methodology, along with answers to FAQs, and pizza stone tips and tricks here.

Here are the best pizza stones in 2021

The best pizza stone overall

Best pizza stone 2021 Baking Steel

If you want to make the best, most bubbly, and well-browned pizza, The Original Baking Steel produces a crust like no other and is easy to move, clean, and use. 

Pros: Excellent thermal conductivity for superior pizza, preheats faster than cordierite stones, easy to clean, practically indestructible, doesn’t show wear like cordierite stones

Cons: Heavy to lift, gets too hot for baking bread or cooking on the grill

Unlike traditional pizza stones, which are made from cordierite stone, the Baking Steel is (as the name suggests) made of steel, which transfers heat much faster. All materials have different thermal conductivity, meaning they hold and transfer heat differently. That’s why, for example, it hurts to touch a hot oven rack, but only feels warm when you hold your hand in the oven air. When heated to 500 F, the Baking Steel behaves the same way as the surface of a traditional 900 F brick oven. 

The Baking Steel consistently made the most well-browned, bubbly pizzas, with great speckling across the bottom of the crust. This not only made for pizza with a better texture, but also a more robust flavor, since those browned bits offer much more flavor.

However, the properties that make the Baking Steel great for pizza make it a bad choice for bread, which needs slower, more consistent heat to bake properly. In testing, the Baking Steel burned the bottoms of my loaves. Steel also isn’t a good choice for making pizza on the grill, where the temperatures exceed 700 F and the exceptional heat transfer from the steel becomes overkill.

Practically speaking, the steel is a rectangular 14 inches by 16 inches, which makes it versatile for pizzas that are large or aren’t perfectly round. The slick, seasoned surface cleaned up easier than other stones, and while this is a minor attribute, I liked that the dark color didn’t show wear the way cordierite stones do. Since it’s made from steel it’s also basically indestructible and thus much more durable than cordierite. If you’re really serious about pizza quality, the Baking Stone is absolutely the best all-around choice. 

The best pizza stone for bread

Best pizza stone 2021 Solido

This cordierite pizza stone bakes good pizza, but also produces excellent bread, making it a great choice for those looking to make a variety of recipes with their pizza stone. 

Pros: Makes decent pizza and excellent bread, cleans up easily, has feet for easy maneuvering 

Cons: Produces less browning, takes a long time to preheat, cordierite is prone to cracking and staining

The Solido 14×16 Cordierite Pizza Stone makes delicious pizza that is moist, springy, and chewy. However, it doesn’t produce quite the level of browning as the baking steel — the pizza was good, but still distinctly home-baked pizza not reminiscent of restaurant pizza. 

Cordierite stones like the Solido absorb and release heat slowly. They take about two hours to preheat in the oven and a very long time to cool down enough to handle after cooking. This slow heat is decent for pizza but exceptional for baking bread, which relies on consistent heat over a much longer bake time. The Solido stone is well-shaped to accommodate longer, oblong loaves like baguettes or rustic bread, and made loaves that were beautifully browned.

Design-wise, it’s pretty basic: a 14-inch by 16-inch rectangular slab of cordierite. However, unlike other cordierite stones, it has raised grooves along the bottom that lift it off the oven rack and make it much easier to grab and move around. While this is a minor design feature, it distinguished the Solido stone from other very similar stones. 

Its rounded corners also fit better when I tried it on a charcoal grill. However, like all cordierite stones, it takes a long time to preheat, which makes it an inefficient option for grilling unless you want to waste a ton of propane or charcoal. 

This is a great stone if you loathe the idea of a unitasker — it made great oven pizza and excellent bread. It was also simple to clean, though it retained stains like all cordierite stones are prone to do. Cordierite can crack or break if not cared for properly; we don’t expect this stone is any different, though we didn’t see any cracking during testing.

The best pizza stone for the grill

Best pizza stone 2021 Lodge pizza stone

This round cast-iron stone has handles for easy maneuvering and is perfectly sized and shaped for making pizza on both charcoal and gas grills. 

Pros: Good thermal conductivity for well-browned pizzas, cleans up easily, doesn’t show stains, circular shape fits well on round grill, handles make moving easy

Cons: Difficult to slide a pizza onto its circular shape

While you can make pizza directly on your grill’s grates (in fact, this is the method Janjigian recommends if you’re interested in grilled pizza), a stone makes the process less daunting and potentially less messy. 

The Lodge 15 Inch Seasoned Cast Iron Pizza Pan is well-suited to cooking on the grill; it offers a happy medium between steel and cordierite in how quickly it heats up and how fast it transfers heat to your pizza. In testing, the Lodge pan was ready to go after about a half-hour of preheating on my gas grill, and it cooked a beautifully baked pie with good spotting on the top and excellent browning on the bottom. The built-in handles made it easy to transfer the stone in and out of the grill, and it cleans up easily with just a sponge and some water. 

Grilling was also the only situation where I found the circular stone to have an advantage over rectangular stones; you can read more about circular versus rectangular stones here. While the rectangular stones fit fine on my gas grill, some didn’t fit at all on my small kettle charcoal grill. The round stone fit nicely in both the gas and charcoal grill and left plenty of room for air circulation.  

The stone isn’t just for grilling though; it made excellent pizza in my oven, but I found its circular shape was less forgiving than rectangular stones. If I was off-center by just a bit when sliding the pizza off the peel, the dough hung off the edge and made a mess in my oven. This stone is a great option if you’re dabbling in the world of grilled pizza, but most other users will get better benefits from one of our other rectangular picks. 

What else we tested

Best pizza stone 2021 What else we tested

Pizza stones are relatively simple pieces of equipment; usually just slabs of stone or metal with little difference between models. All of the products we tested made great pizza, and top choices came down to minor differences like size, shape, handles, and feet. 

What else we recommend and why:

  • Honey-Can-Do 14×16 Cordierite Pizza Stone ($49.99): Previously sold as the Old Stone Oven pizza stone, this model has changed a bit now that it’s sold by Honey-Can-Do. Reviewers report that the new stone doesn’t have feet like the old stone, and that the corners are sharper. I tested the new stone and found it made great pizza on par with the Solido 14×16 Cordierite Pizza Stone in our lineup. However, it had no distinguishing features to earn it a space on our top picks. Furthermore, it seems as though there’s still confusion among retailers about the old stone versus the new stone, with listings on Amazon and Walmart showing photos of the old stone, but sending buyers the new stone instead. These issues are made more frustrating by fluctuating stock and significant price mark-ups from third party retailers. We’ll revisit whether this stone makes the top picks when the company clears up the confusion. 

Our testing methodology

Best pizza stone 2021 methodology

In addition to interviewing Andrew Janjigian, a pizza expert, we put each pizza stone through a series of tests to judge how well they made pizza, and how easy they were to move, use, and clean. Here’s how we tested and rated pizza stones:

Shape: I researched dozens of stones, but after conferring with Janjigian, focused on rectangular stones when I could because the shape is more versatile and easy to use.

How it made pizza: We preheated each stone in a 500-degree oven for two hours and then used it to make three thin-crust pizzas using a recipe from Serious Eats, a website known for its science-based, well-tested recipes over the course of several weeks, adjusting cook time, oven temperature, and stone position in between pizzas in pursuit of the best results. A good pizza should have a well-browned, bubbly crust that is crisp on the outside and moist and chewy on the inside; cheese should be fully melted in the time it takes to cook the crust. My husband and I both sampled each finished pizza for flavor and texture. I only tested the cast-iron pan on a charcoal grill because its size, shape, and material were best suited for that use.

How it made bread: Many people bake bread with their pizza stones, so I used each to make an easy recipe for crusty white bread from King Arthur, a respected flour company where Janjigian teaches baking classes. I looked for loaves that were well-baked inside and browned (but not burnt) on the bottom. 

Ease of Use: I frequently moved the stones in and out of the oven using oven mitts, and with my bare hands when the stones had cooled down, noting how easy and comfortable they were to move. After each use, I cleaned the stone according to manufacturer instructions, evaluating how easily they cleaned up and noting their appearance after use and cleaning. 

Durability: I didn’t intentionally drop any stones during testing, as I know that cordierite in particular is prone to cracking and breaking, having broken a few of these stones in the past. Instead, I consulted with an expert and did my own research about the durability of different materials.  

What we’re testing next

Best pizza stone 2021 What were testing next

We plan to continually test new pizza stones and add them to this guide. Here are some products on our radar: 

  • Nerd Chef Steel Stone, Standard ($84.99): Slightly less expensive than our top pick, the Original Baking Steel, this steel pizza stone is also made of conductive steel. The shape and thickness are similar to our top pick, but the Nerd Chef model has two finger-sized holes for moving and storing the steel. 
  • Dough-Joe Samurai Pizza Steel ($65.21): Another Baking Steel copycat, this model was reviewed by one of our reporters, who found it identical in performance to the Baking Steel. I look forward to putting it through all the tests for this guide and reporting back my findings. 
  • Love This Kitchen Ultimate 16-inch Round Pizza Stone ($44.97): Previously our top pick for best circular stone, this model was out of stock at the time of testing for this guide. While I think rectangular stones are more versatile and easy to use than circular stones, I was intrigued that this circular stone offers a “no-spill stopper” — a little raised lip at the back of the stone that’s meant to stop the pizza from sliding over the edge (a common complaint in circular stones). Now that it appears back in stock at Amazon, I look forward to seeing how this model compares to the top picks in our guide.
  • Bialetti Taste of Italy Baking Stone Tile Set ($24.99): This set comes with four 7.5 inch tiles that you can either use individually or put together to make one large stone. The smaller and customizable shape might be a good option for those with smaller home ovens that can’t fit a large 14 inch by 16-inch pizza stone.

What to look for in a pizza stone

Best pizza stone 2021 What to look for

Here are some considerations to think about when looking for a pizza stone: 

Shape: One might think that since pizza is round, a pizza stone should be too. But we actually think you’ll get much better pizza out of a rectangular stone. “With a round stone, if you miss that target by a little, [the pizza] is going to hang off the edge,” said Janjigian. “You don’t have to aim perfectly with a rectangular stone.” Rectangular stones are often larger, so they also hold more heat, which can make a pizza with better browning. Finally, rectangular stones are more versatile. “I want the real estate for things that aren’t perfectly round,” said Janjigian, who also uses a pizza stone to bake bread. The only time we see a round stone having an advantage is for grilling since larger rectangular stones sometimes don’t fit, especially on circular grills. For almost all uses, rectangular is the way to go. 

Size: “I want my stone to be as big as my oven rack, minus some space for airflow,” says Janjigian. A larger stone not only holds more heat but provides plenty of real estate for larger pies and long baked goods like baguettes. We found a stone that is about 16 inches by 14 inches to be the ideal size for most home ovens. If you’re looking for a cordierite stone, thicker is also better, says Janjigian, because thicker stones are less prone to cracking. Our favorite cordierite stone measures ¾ inch thick, and we found this size to be a good compromise between durability and maneuverability. 

Weight: While lighter stones may be easier to transport in and out of the oven, Janjigian says that heavier stones will produce better pizza. “The lighter it is, the less mass it has, and the less it can heat the pie,” he says. A heavier stone will hold a lot of heat, and make a well-browned pizza. Pizza stones usually weigh about nine pounds, but most of our top picks are 13 to 16 pounds because they’re thicker or made with heavier material like steel or cast iron.

Material: We looked at stones made from steel, cordierite (a heat-resistant mineral), and cast iron, all of which have different thermal properties, and thus, different uses. Of these, steel absorbs and transfers heat the fastest, which makes it ideal for pizza in the home oven. If you’re serious about good home pizza, we recommend opting for a pizza steel. Cordierite stones make decent pizza but have less thermal mass than steel, so the crust tends to be paler and less developed. However, cordierite is a great choice if you plan on using your stone to bake bread since other materials tend to burn loaves. If you hate the idea of a unitasker and have a robust baking repertoire, a cordierite stone will absolutely do the trick. Finally, cast iron offers a happy medium between steel and cordierite in terms of heat conductivity. However, we have yet to find a rectangular cast iron stone, only circular pans, which are trickier to use. We think circular cast iron pizza stones are a good option if you’re interested in grilled pizza, especially if you have a round grill. 

Price: Pizza stones are basically just slabs of material so be wary of any stone priced significantly more or less than competitors made from the same material. Expect to pay about $40 to $60 for a cordierite or cast iron stone and $70 to $90 for a steel one. You won’t get a significant increase in performance from something priced higher. 

FAQs

Best pizza stone 2021 FAQs

Why do I need a pizza stone?

A pizza stone can help you make restaurant-quality pizza at home. Many pizza joints use commercial or wood-fired ovens that can reach 900+ F, creating the well-browned crust you expect from a restaurant pie. Home ovens don’t get that hot, so pizza made in a pan or sheet tray usually comes out doughy and pale. A pizza stone recreates some of the restaurant experience by providing a super hot surface to cook the pizza, resulting in better browning and bubbling.

Can I use a pizza stone in a countertop oven or toaster oven?

The stones we tested are too big for most toaster ovens, and most toaster ovens don’t reach the temperatures needed to churn out good pizza (many max out at 450 F). Some circular stones may fit in large countertop smart ovens like the June Oven

Do I need to preheat my pizza stone?

Absolutely. You’ll only get the benefits of using a pizza stone or steel if you preheat it. You should preheat most stones and steels for one to two hours, enough time for the stone to get as hot as the air around it. If you don’t, the results won’t be much different than what you get from using a pizza pan or baking sheet. 

Why does my stone look discolored or dirty, even after cleaning it?

The discoloration is totally normal and, while your pizza stone will never look as pristine as the day you bought it, those stains and smudges can actually help make your pizza stone more nonstick over time. Materials like cast iron and carbon steel become more “seasoned” with use, as oils bond to the surface and form a natural protective coating. It’s important to clean all types of pizza stones gently and without soap when you can; cordierite is very porous and that soapy flavor can soak into the stone and impact the flavor of your pizza. Steel and cast iron should similarly be cleaned lightly so as not to disturb the built-up seasoning. Use a metal or plastic spatula to scrape big chunks of debris off of the stone when you’re done cooking, and wipe the surface lightly with water and a soft sponge. Any leftover stickiness or stuck-on bits will likely burn off the next time you preheat the stone. Those leftover marks might be unsightly, but they won’t impact performance. 

Can I cook frozen pizza on my pizza stone?

Thermal shock from placing frozen items on a hot stone can cause your stone to crack. Most frozen pizzas are parbaked at the factory and heating them simply involves warming the crust and melting the cheese. You likely won’t see a marked difference if you’re using a stone to cook a frozen pizza. If you do want to try, thaw your frozen pizza before placing it on the stone.

Why did my stone crack?

Cast iron and steel stones should never crack, as both are extremely durable materials. Almost all cracking occurs with cordierite stones. Despite being “stone,” cordierite pizza stones are relatively delicate. A common cause of cracking is thermal shock, which is when the stone is rapidly exposed to a drastically different temperature. You should never put a room temperature stone in a hot oven; always put the stone in a cold oven and allow it to preheat. Similarly, avoid putting frozen food onto a blazing hot stone (yes, that includes frozen pizza) and let the stone cool completely in the oven before removing or washing it.

Stones can also crack from too much moisture. Cordierite stones are very porous; they’ll absorb moisture from the food cooking and from washing. If you don’t give your stone time to dry after washing it, the water can remain in the stone and cause a build-up of steam the next time you heat the stone, resulting in a crack. Finally, stones can crack from even minor drops (this is how I broke my first stone); treat your stone as gently as you would a piece of pottery when handling or moving it.

Pizza stone tips and tricks

Best pizza stone 2021 Pizza Stone Tips and Tricks

Making great pizza at home takes practice. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned over seven years of working in professional kitchens for getting the most out of your pizza stone.

Crank up the heat: Heat is your friend when cooking pizza. Some pizza aficionados have been known to toggle with broiler settings and even try to hack their oven’s self-clean cycles in pursuit of perfect home pizza. While we don’t think you need to go that far, we recommend cranking the heat in your oven up to 500 F if you’re using a steel or 550 F if you’re using a cordierite stone. 

Preheat your stone in the oven: Put your stone in the cold oven and preheat both stone and oven together for one to two hours. This step is essential for achieving a well-browned pizza.

Use a pizza peel: A peel is a tool to shuttle your pizza on and off the blazing hot stone. After years of using makeshift peels, including the back of a skillet and an overturned sheet pan, I finally took the plunge and purchased a pizza peel. It makes the process significantly easier and less daunting. I build my pizza right on the peel for an easy transition from the counter to the oven.

Rotate the pizza: Give the pizza a turn once through baking with the help of your peel or a good set of kitchen tongs. The back of the oven tends to be hotter than the front, so rotating your pizza once during cooking can help prevent burning.

Tweak and refine: It takes practice to make great pizza at home. Don’t be discouraged if your first pizza ends up burnt or too doughy inside. Try different recipes and tinker with cooking times and temperatures until you find what works for your oven. 

Turbocharge your pizza making: If you’re really wild about homemade pizza, Janjigian says you can buy both a stone and steel and put them together to “supercharge” your pizza making. “If you put the steel on top of the stone, the stone acts like a battery to continually pump heat into the steel,” he says. This tip is primarily for those super-invested in making pizza at home, but the steel-on-stone method can be great for churning out pie after pie, or getting the char and bubbling on the crust you normally only really get from wood-fired ovens. 

Let your stone cool: After you take out your pizza, let your stone stay in the oven until both are completely cooled to avoid any potential cracking. This can take several hours, but it’s important for maintaining the durability of your stone.

Use soap and water sparingly: Use a spatula and a dry cloth to scrape any burnt bits off the pizza stone; this should be enough for most messes. With all materials, be reserved with soap, which can strip the seasoning off of steel and cast iron and impart a bad flavor onto pizza made with porous cordierite stones. If you use water to clean a cordierite stone, let it dry for at least 48 hours before you use it again.

Check out our other pizza-making buying guides

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