The 4 best dishwashers of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A dishwasher is one of the most time-saving products you can have for your home.
  • After research and expert interviews, we determined the Bosch SHEM63W55N as the best.
  • It’s quiet, has an adjustable middle rack for larger items, and has a good reputation among experts.

As a homeowner, a dishwasher will give you the biggest return on investment. Instead of washing, rinsing, and drying dishes by hand, you’re free to relax while the dishwasher accomplishes the same goal.

And they don’t just save time, they also greatly reduce water usage. According to Energy Star, the average modern dishwasher uses less water than hand-washing dishes and because it can use much hotter water, it sanitizes and more effectively removes bacteria. Considering these time-saving, water-conserving, and sanitizing benefits, it’s easy to see how valuable a dishwasher can be to your home.

I was a residential carpenter for four years and have experience installing, removing, and repositioning dishwashers. I used my experience, along with the insight of four experts, to curate this list of the four best dishwashers. For a look at my research methodology, head over here.

Here are the best dishwashers in 2021

The best dishwasher overall

Best dishwashers 2021 - Bosch SHEM63W55N 4x3

The sleek design, ultra-quiet operation, and the unanimous support of its brand by our experts make the Bosch SHEM63W55N the best dishwasher you can buy.

Pros: Extremely quiet operation, stainless steel interior tub, AquaStop leak protection

Cons: Exterior is not smudge-proof, not ADA compliant

When I consulted my experts on their most recommended brands, Bosch came up time and time again. Gurfinkel of Appliance Repair LA specifically praised the brand’s usability, reliability, and technical support, putting Bosch in the top tier of residential dishwashers. 

The Bosch SHEM63W55N features a stainless steel interior tub, a roomy third rack, and an adjustable upper rack. The tines on the top and bottom racks are can fold down to customize their storage capacity. However, all this room translates to a unit that isn’t compatible with those needing special height requirements.

The Bosch SHEM63W55N boasts some special features, like a quick-wash cycle that takes only about an hour, a sanitizing setting, and a leak protection feature, a system of sensors that can detect when leaks occur and instantly shuts off the water supply. I’ve personally come home from a long weekend to find my dishwasher had leaked onto my parents’ hardwood floors, so this can be an extremely helpful feature.

Its estimated yearly energy use is 269 kWh, according to the US Government Energy Guide. This comes out to about $25 per year, assuming you run four loads per week. 

At only 44 dB, this dishwasher makes around the same amount of noise as a refrigerator — which is to say it’s one of the quietest options you can buy. 

The stainless steel exterior and recessed handle give it a sleek, high-end look, and the front-facing control panel allows you to monitor its operation easily. The exterior is not fingerprint-resistant, however, so if you have active kids around, you might want to have a bottle of stainless steel cleaner on hand.

The best budget dishwasher

Best dishwashers 2021 - Frigidaire FGID2466QF 4x3

Despite its reasonable price tag, the Frigidaire FGID2466QF still provides a lot of the valuable features you see on high-end models, like a sanitizing wash cycle, fold-down tines, and a drying mode.

Pros: Smudge-proof stainless steel, sanitizing cycle, StayPut hinge ensures the door will not fall open or closed

Cons: Slightly louder than others, plastic interior tub, not ADA compliant

The fact that the Frigidaire FGID2466QF doesn’t look like a budget model is one of the reasons Nick Yahoodain, CEO of Advanced Builders and Contractors recommended it so highly.

The hidden control panel and stainless steel exterior are clean and modern. The front panel and bar handle has a smudge-proof finish, which can look darker than uncoated stainless steel. If you’re planning on matching your stainless steel appliances, visit a showroom or appliance store if possible to take a look yourself. 

The plastic interior tub is less durable and harder to clean than stainless steel, though it’s likely a big reason why this machine is relatively affordable. The height also isn’t ADA compliant, which can be another drawback.

I was impressed by its door hinge, which prevents it from falling open or closing shut when you don’t want it to. The Frigidaire FGID2466QF also features fold-down tines and has a high-temperature sanitizing setting. 

The Frigidaire FGID2466QF uses sensors to determine how much water pressure is needed based on how dirty the dishes are — a feature you often see in high-end models. Its dual drying options allow you to choose whether you prefer heated drying or not. It can also be programmed for half loads — an energy-saving feature that Yahoodain pointed out in his recommendation. 

The Frigidaire FGID2466QF uses 268 kWh per year, assuming an average household runs about four loads per week. This comes out to an estimated yearly cost of about $32. 

At 52 dB, it’s well under the noise level of a normal conversation and surprisingly, a typical dishwasher — which registers at around 70 dB by the CDC. 

The best high-end dishwasher

Best dishwashers 2021 - Miele Fully integrated XXL 4x3

The Miele G 7566 might have an intimidating price tag, but if money’s no object, its top of the line components, reputation for quality, and Wi-Fi connectivity are worth it.

Pros: Wi-Fi connectivity, quiet operation, customizable tray designs

Cons: Not NSF certified

Gurfinkel recommended the Miele G 7566 for its high-quality and impressive five-year warranty.

It features a stainless steel tub and an adjustable third rack. It also has four LEDs to illuminate the interior, making it easy to see what you’re loading and unloading.

The Miele G 7566 has a few special features that I haven’t seen in other models — most notably, the Wi-Fi connectivity and pre-set times so you can start the wash cycle even when you’re not home. It also features a QuickIntenseWash, which cleans and dries dishes in 58 minutes compared to the average normal dishwasher cycle of two hours. 

The Miele G 7566 runs even quieter than the Bosch at 38 dB.

It looks modern and minimal with hidden controls and a stainless steel bar handle. The white LED readout gives it a high-tech look and really separates it from other models that use black or red. The surface should also be easy to clean and maintain.

This model is not officially NSF-certified to sanitize glassware, cookware, and dishes though its SaniWash cycle reaches 167 degrees. This exceeds the 150 degrees that NSF requires for certification and the Miele manual describes this cycle as intended for “baby bottles, cutting boards, and prepared dishes,” but you won’t have the peace of mind that comes from an official NSF certification.

According to its energy label, it should use about 230 kWh per year, which comes out to about $30.

The best portable dishwasher

Best dishwashers 2021 - GE GPT225SGLBB 4x3

Even though it’s a portable model, the GE GPT225SGLBB has the sleek look of a built-in unit, features a hard food disposer, and is mounted on four swiveling casters for easy transport.

Pros: Hard food disposer, stainless steel tub, the top can be used as extra counter space

Cons: Loud, must be hooked up to the sink to operate, needs an additional bucket if your sink is higher than 34 inches

Gurfinkel recommended the GE GPT225SGLBB as his top portable option. It has a food disposal, stainless steel interior tub, sanitizing cycle, and can adjust the water temperature for an ideal wash cycle.

Because they lack the noise-deadening benefits of surrounding cabinets, portable dishwashers tend to be louder than built-ins. The GE GPT225SGLBB runs at 54 dBA, the loudest of all the units I researched and a little under the level of a normal conversation

The GE GPT225SGLBB is reasonably energy-efficient at about 270 kWh/year. This adds up to about $35 with an electric water heater or $23 with a natural gas heater. 

The unit is black on all sides with a metal door and laminate wood top, which you can use as additional countertop space. The hidden controls give it a modern utilitarian look.

Portable dishwashers are simple to install. Unlike built-ins that connect to existing plumbing fixtures, the GE GPT225SGLBB needs an outlet and connects via a unicouple. This is essentially two hoses: one that attaches to the faucet for hot water and the other to expel wastewater back into the sink. 

If your sink is 34 inches or higher off the floor, you won’t be able to drain wastewater into the sink because it’s too high, so you’ll need a bucket or pitcher that’s lower than the height of the sink.

Our research methodology

Best dishwashers 2021 4x3

I wasn’t able to physically test these dishwashers myself, so I leaned on my kitchen remodeling experience and background as a general contractor. I also consulted four experts for brand and model recommendations, as well as criteria that I could use to compare and contrast models as I did my research. 

I consulted a food safety expert, Kaylyn Brunskole, the technical manager of Food Equipment at NSF International. I also reached out to an appliance retailer, Albert Safaradi of Albee’s Appliances, and a home remodeling expert, Nick Yahoodain, CEO of Advanced Builders and Contractors, and an appliance repair expert, Alexander Gurfinkel of Appliance Repair LA

After consulting experts, I developed a set of criteria to use to compare potential options, including their appearance, construction, installation details, special features, energy use, noise levels, certifications, and repair and warranty details. 

I then spent hours rigorously researching the most popular options from online retailers and read countless best-of lists and customer reviews, developing a list that I vetted with my experts and removing ones that didn’t meet their criteria. The result is four expertly-vetted dishwashers.

FAQs

Best dishwashers 2021 FAQ's 4x3

When should I use a dishwasher?

This is ultimately a personal preference, but there are smart ways to use your dishwasher so you’re not wasting money or water.

Run your dishwasher when you have a full load — that means when the upper, middle, and lower racks are full. If you use a dishwasher when it barely has anything to clean, you can easily run up your water bills. This might mean waiting a day or two to accumulate enough dishes to run a load.

And if you have hard water, try to run the dishwasher early in the evening so you’re still awake to remove and dry dishes by hand and avoid hard water spots. 


How do I load a dishwasher? 

Yahoodain said that loading your dishwasher is specific to your machine and typically mapped out in the user manual, especially for machines that have specific wash zones or half-load options. 

Generally, according to Brunskole, “It’s a good idea to position items at an angle to help with drainage, with the top rack commonly used for smaller items and larger on the bottom. For utensils, some dishwashers have an upper utensil rack or a silverware basket on the bottom. Whichever style you choose, review the manual before you get started to learn the best way to load your dishwasher.”


Do you need to rinse dishes first? 

Even though you might think you’re helping by rinsing off your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, you could actually be making it less effective. This is because the sensors that some dishwashers use to determine how long a cycle should run and how much water to use can be fooled by pre-rinsed dishes. It assumes that the load is cleaner than it actually is and ends up running a lighter wash cycle. 


Can you wash plastic takeout containers in a dishwasher?

Brunskole said that plastics are commonly loaded on the uppermost racks away from the lower heating element, but you should always refer to the manufacturer’s recommended washing cycles and rack loading guidelines. Even if plastic take-out containers have a dishwasher-safe label on them, check the manufacturer’s manual first to see what can and can’t be washed. 


What types of dishwashers are there? 

  • Built-In: These are the most common types of dishwashers. They are designed to be installed in a dedicated area under your kitchen counter and are connected to permanent plumbing hookups. They’re typically sandwiched on both sides by cabinetry or drawers, which muffle the noise of its operation. 
  • Portable: Unlike built-in models that are permanently installed, portable dishwashers are freestanding units that sit on wheels and can be moved around as you like. Since they don’t have any dedicated plumbing connections, they typically get their water supply by hooking directly to your kitchen faucet. The wheels allow you to roll them into a closet or storage area after use. Plus, since they’re not located underneath a counter, you can usually use their top as a kitchen workspace.
  • Countertop: For those who are really tight on space, countertop dishwashers are even more convenient than portable options. They connect right to your kitchen faucet and use considerably less water than full-size dishwashers. They’re on the smaller side so they wouldn’t be a great choice for households that produce a lot of dirty dishes. We didn’t feature any countertop models in this guide, but I look forward to testing them in the future.

How do you install a dishwasher?

Dishwasher installation is a pretty straightforward process, so if you’ve got a reasonable amount of experience working with appliances, you should be alright to DIY. Gurfinkel explained that a YouTube video and proper equipment like a hose and a wrench can be enough. Issues may arise if your original dishwasher wasn’t installed properly and can’t be removed — this will require breaking countertops and floors, and above all else, a professional.

If you’d rather have a professional install your dishwasher entirely, Gurfinkel recommended going with a local installer, rather than a big box store. He explained that local installers usually care more about how the installation goes since they rely on positive reviews and word of mouth, unlike big box stores. 

If you decide to install your dishwasher yourself, Yahoodain said the most important things to remember are to make sure everything is connected properly and the machine is level. “You also want to check with the manufacturer to make sure that a professional installer isn’t required to uphold the warranty,” he said.


What sizes of dishwashers are there?

Safaradi said, “Dishwasher dimensions are standard: 23 ¾ inches wide by  33 ⅝ inches  high by 24 ⅝ inches deep, except for handicapped-enabled (ADA-compliant) units which are 24 inches wide by 34 ½ inches high by 24 inches deep.” Compact-sized dishwashers tend to be about 18 inches wide. 

Even though portable versions are freestanding and don’t need to fit into an opening, you still want to get a good idea of how they’ll fit in your kitchen. These dishwashers run about 24 inches wide, 27 inches deep, and 37 inches high (a bit taller than the rest due to their rolling casters).


How long should a dishwasher last? 

“On average, you can expect a dishwasher to last you about 10 years with potential maintenance in between,” Yahoodain said. Gurfinkel’s caveat to that is how you use them, so make sure to follow the manufacture’s guidelines for optimal operation. One thing our experts stressed was the durability of stainless steel tubs over plastic, so that can be a large factor in the lifespan of your dishwasher. 


Is a front or top-mounted control panel better?

Most dishwashers offer the option of having the control panel located either on the front of the unit or on the top of the door, which is hidden from view when the door is closed. This is really just a matter of personal preference as some people like the minimal look of the top-mounted design, and it also prevents curious kids from pressing buttons at random. I personally prefer the convenience of the front-facing panel since I can always tell how much time is remaining on the cycle just by glancing at the unit. Top-mounted units will sometimes direct a red light on the floor to indicate that it’s not finished yet, but that’s not enough information for me. 


What certifications should I look for? 

One of the ways to effectively clean and sanitize dishes is to use a dishwasher with a NSF/ANSI 184: Residential Dishwashers certification

Brunskole said, “The certified sanitizing cycle on your dishwasher means it has been tested to reduce 99.999% (5-log) of bacteria. Cleaning is removing visible soil from a surface whereas sanitizing is reducing the bacteria on a surface. It is not always necessary to sanitize dishes; however, it is important to choose this cycle on your dishwasher when you have raw meat juice, for example on a cutting board, that you put in the dishwasher to clean.”

All of our top picks are NSF-certified, except for the Miele 24″ G 7566, though it uses water temperatures that meet NSF guidelines to sanitize dishes.

Yahoodain also recommended prospective shoppers look for dishwashers with a certified Energy Star rating which means the unit is more efficient than ones that meet just the federal minimum standard for energy efficiency.  All of the options I chose are Energy Star certified. 

Depending on where you live, you might qualify for certain rebates to cut costs and energy use, said Yahoodain.


How do you clean a dishwasher?

This can vary depending on the machine, according to Yahoodain, who explains that cleaning “depends on the type of dishwasher, finish (stainless, plastic, or a mix), and the type of filter which catches leftover food in the machine.”

I have personally had success using a simple mixture of warm water and vinegar and using a dishrag to wipe down the interior components. That being said, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions first.  

You can also buy dishwasher cleaning tablets, like these from Affresh, to keep build-up at bay. There are a few different types that work for different brands, so make sure you get the right one. Try to clean your dishwasher once a month, or at least on a regular cycle.


When should you use the sanitizing cycle?

If your dishes, knives, or dishwasher-safe cutting boards have been in contact with raw meat, you should disinfect them with the sanitizing cycle. The same goes for any baby-related items such as bottles or toys. Brunskole said, “A good rule of thumb is to use the sanitizing cycle on your dishwasher when dishes inside have sat for more than two hours. Food left at room temperature can be a breeding ground for bacteria leading to potential foodborne illness.”


What should you do if your dishwasher isn’t draining? 

Try running your dishwasher a second time — it may have shut down by itself in the middle of the initial cycle. If there’s still water collecting at the bottom, try these fixes: unplug the dishwasher and check the hose for clogs or kinks, run your garbage disposal, and clean the air gap that connects to the drain hose (if your dishwasher’s hose doesn’t empty into the garbage disposal drain).

Glossary

Best dishwashers 2021 Glossary 4x3

Wash zone: Your dishwasher has multiple areas that can be washed in different ways — these are wash zones. Typically a dishwasher will have two wash zones, the upper and lower racks, giving you the option to wash both or just one. This comes in handy when you only have half a load of dishes to clean.

Filter: Your dishwasher filter prevents pieces of food from ending up back on your dishes or clogging your drain. These can be either self-cleaning or manual versions, so make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to keep them clean. 

Sensor wash: Using a beam of light to analyze your dishes, sensor wash dishwashers can determine the best cycle, temperature, and duration to clean specific dish loads.  

Lower rack: This is the main storage area of the dishwasher and is used for items like plates, pots, pans, and larger bowls. 

Top rack: This is the second rack of the dishwasher and is used for cups, glasses, and oddly shaped utensils that may be too tall for the bottom rack. 

Third rack: Located at the top of the dishwasher, this is a thin tray that slides out and provides the ideal space to lay down smaller or irregularly shaped items. A third rack can sometimes act as the utensil basket, freeing up valuable space on the bottom rack.

Settings: Each machine has different settings, but these are among the most common based on my research. 

  • Normal: The standard cycle that should be used on typical, moderately soiled loads. The duration can vary depending on the machine, but on average lasts about two hours.
  • Eco: Lower washing and rinsing temperatures to minimize the amount of energy and water used. This cycle can take longer than normal, up to 2.5hours.
  • Auto: A sensor analyzes how soiled the dishes are and selects the best cycle. 
  • Quick Wash: This setting uses more water and higher temperatures to get your dishes done quickly, though this can sometimes result in less effective results than a normal wash. This cycle can usually run between 30 and 60 minutes.
  • Sanitize: Uses extra-hot water (above 150 degrees F) to sanitize your dishes and destroy bacteria. This is recommended when washing dishes that have come in contact with raw meat or any other source of potential bacteria. This cycle is usually used in addition to another cycle and should add about 30 minutes to the wash time.
  • Pots & Pans: This setting uses extra water to ensure your extra-large cookware is cleaned effectively. This cycle tends to run about 2.5hours.

Check out more guides to kitchen appliances and fixtures

kitchen faucet 2021 moen
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The 4 best ice cube trays we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Choosing an ice cube tray requires sorting through different materials, sizes, and shapes.
  • We tested 14 ice cube trays to determine the best for everyday use, large cubes, spheres, and more.
  • Our top pick is the W&P Everyday Tray for its easy release and neatly shaped ice cubes.

Most ice cube trays successfully freeze water, but are difficult to maneuver when full, don’t release the ice easily, take up too much space in the freezer, or produce misshapen cubes. To solve those problems, classic plastic trays are being replaced by silicone molds and trays with locking lids. We wanted to put these features to the test to see if they improved the ice making experience.

There are three main materials for ice trays: silicone, plastic, and stainless steel. We tested trays in all three materials and focused on the most common shapes: regular cubes, large cubes, and spheres.

While ice might be the last thing on your mind when preparing a cocktail or a glass of ice water, experts told us that choosing the right size and shape cubes for your drink can make your drink taste better or stay colder longer. Joseph Gitter, senior editor at America’s Test Kitchen and recipe developer for How to Cocktail, told us that ice with a lower surface area to volume ratio (i.e., bigger cubes) takes longer to melt, cooling drinks slowly without diluting them. On the flipside, small cubes or crushed ice cool drinks faster, but provide more dilution.

I tested 14 ice cube trays and molds, making ice multiple times in each. I also spoke with Gitter and Micah Melton, Beverage Director at The Aviary, to find out what makes a great ice cube tray. Whether you’re a cocktail aficionado or just a fan of iced water, there is an ice cube tray in this guide for you.

Here are the 4 best ice cube trays of 2021

The best overall

best ice cube tray 2021 w&p everyday tray

The W&P Everyday Tray had the smoothest release of all the trays we tested; each cube popped out without any resistance.

Pros: Ice cubes come out easily, you can remove exactly as many as you need

Cons: It’s time consuming to empty the whole tray of ice

The construction of the Everyday Tray is unique among the ice cube trays I tested. The Everyday Tray is made of silicone and none of the cubes share a wall, so you can release them one at a time by applying pressure to the bottom. I also found that this helps the cubes release easily because there is no friction between neighboring ice cubes and the whole tray doesn’t empty out at once.

Like many silicone trays, the Everyday Tray wobbled slightly when I walked it to the freezer, but the reinforced rim provides a good grip. The lid doesn’t seal, though it allows for stacking and promises some protection from odors. We will focus on this in our long term testing.

Best for spheres

best ice cube tray 2021 tolovo sphere mold

The Tovolo Sphere Molds‘ silicone and plastic construction makes them easy to fill and store without spills.

Pros: Easy to avoid overfilling, ridge between hemispheres less prominent than others we tested

Cons: You can only make two at a time

I tested three sphere molds and overflowed all of them, except for the Tovolo. The Tovolo has a plastic bottom with a marked max fill line and a silicone top. You fill the bottom portion and then push in the top, which squeezes out any excess water. There is no space for overflow to sneak in and freeze an odd shape to the sphere. 

After freezing, the instructions recommend running the plastic section under hot water, and I found the spheres popped out easily after doing so. All of the spheres had slight ridges where the top and bottom of the mold meet, but this line was less noticeable than on spheres made using other molds.

Best for large cubes

Best ice cube trays of 2021   best jumbo cube tray Samuelworld

The silicone Samuelworld Large Cube Tray is structured enough to produce cubes with sharp edges, but flexible enough that they pop out easily.

Pros: Cubes had neat edges

Cons: Can be difficult to extract cubes when ice tray is full

The Large Cube Tray from Samuelworld had the best combination of easily release and neatly shaped cubes. Part of the appeal of large cubes is their appearance. The Samuelworld tray is made of rigid silicone so the edges of the cubes stay sharp even as the water freezes and expands. 

The firm silicone is necessary for getting a precise shape, but it does make it harder to release the cubes.

Best spill-proof

best ice cube tray 2021 OXO

The OXO tray‘s silicone lid prevents leaking, allowing you to store it in small or crowded freezers without worry.

Pros: Leakproof, can be stored slanted or stacked

Cons: Cubes are an irregular shape, not dishwasher safe 

The OXO was the only truly leakproof ice cube tray we tested. The lid is a sheet of thin, flexible silicone, with tabs at one end to keep it attached to the plastic base. You smooth down the silicone over the filled tray and it adheres to the plastic so that no water escapes even if you flip the tray upside down (which we did).

The plastic base produced crescent shaped ice cubes that released easily with one or two taps on the bottom of the tray. If you’re looking for aesthetically pleasing ice, this tray may not be best for you because our cubes came out irregularly shaped (though still perfectly serviceable).

What else we tested

best ice cube tray 2021 what else

What else we recommend and why:

Lekue Ice Cube Tray and Box: This product had a lot of positives, but some design flaws. It takes three full lids of ice to fill the box, and the lid isn’t as flexible as other silicone trays so it’s harder to release the ice. However, I liked the gem-shaped ice aesthetically and the ice box itself is convenient and well-insulated. I left the full ice box covered at room temperature for a half hour and the ice inside didn’t melt. 

Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Tray: This tray was a close second to the W&P Everyday Tray in the best overall category. The Tovolo’s unified bottom and plastic lid make it easy to store. It does make three more cubes than the Everyday Tray, but the cubes are much harder to get out. Though this tray has a sealing lid, it leaks more than our favorite no-spill tray. 

Tovolo King Cube Tray: Out of the large cube trays, the Tovolo had the most flexible silicone. While the ice cubes were the easiest to release, they were also the most misshapen. Since the aesthetics of large cubes are important, this was not my top pick.

Peak Sphere Ice Tray: This tray is made entirely of silicone, unlike the other spherical trays, which included at least some plastic. The silicone construction means these spheres were the easiest to get out of the mold right out of the freezer. Fortunately, excess water didn’t freeze onto the spheres because it was very easy to overflow this mold.


What we don’t recommend and why:

RSVP Endurance Old Fashioned Ice Cube Tray: If you are looking to avoid plastic and silicone, a stainless steel tray is your best solution. However, when testing the RSVP Endurance Tray, I noticed that the mechanism to break and release the cubes is not foolproof and can take several attempts to accomplish.

Peak Crushed Ice Tray and Lekue Crushed Ice Tray: I tested two crushed ice trays, but neither of them were successful. The shallow and narrow troughs produced ice spears, and twisting the molds to break them apart resulted in tinier spears, not crushed pieces. One plus is that because of the size and shape, the ice freezes quicker than in any other tray. The Lekue trays froze within two hours. 

Samuelworld Ice Sphere Molds: This mold has small spouts that you pour water through, and the funnel shape did make filling the mold less messy. However, if you overfilled it even a bit, some of the water would freeze in the shape of the spout, ruining the perfect sphere.   

OXO Good Grips Covered Large Ice Tray: This tray tried to fix the issues of stability and storage common to silicone trays by placing the silicone tray inside a plastic frame with a locking lid. Though the frame made it easier to stack, the lid froze to the base and was difficult to unlock. Plus, you have to remove the silicone tray from the plastic frame in order to get out the ice cubes. The problems solved were not greater than the inconveniences introduced.

Our methodology

best ice cube tray 2021 methodology
An ice cube tray stained with coffee, as part of our testing for odor and stain retention.

We consulted two experts on the uses of different ice shapes, how to make clear ice, and how to solve common ice problems. We spoke with Joseph Gitter, senior editor at America’s Test Kitchen and recipe developer for How to Cocktail, and Micah Melton, Beverage Director at The Aviary.

I tested 14 ice cube trays, making ice between three and five times in each tray according to the following tests.

Ease of use: The ideal tray is easy to bring to the freezer without spilling water, releases the ice without too much effort, and can be stacked in the freezer. We evaluated each tray based on these qualities. 

Performance: We evaluated the appearance and taste of the finished ice. We looked for sharp-edged cubes and smooth spheres. 

Odor retention: Silicone is a porous material and therefore can absorb scent that then imparts a taste or smell to the ice. We froze coffee in the ice cube trays, emptied and washed them, smelled them, and then froze water in the trays to see if the coffee taste or smell remained. (It’s worth noting that all but one of the trays passed this test.)

Leaking: For trays with sealable lids, we flipped unfrozen, full trays upside down to see if water spilled out.

What we’re testing next

best ice cube tray 2021 what we’re testing next

Glacio Ice Sphere Maker: These are stand-alone molds, like our current top pick for ice spheres, but made entirely of silicone. Testing the Glacio spheres could illustrate whether the plastic element or the stand-alone construction of our top pick was key to its success.  

True Cubes Clear Ice Cube Tray: We did not test an official clear ice system during this round of testing. After attempting to make clear ice ourselves, and finding it difficult, we are looking forward to seeing if this product makes it easier.

FAQs

best ice cube tray 2021 FAQ

Are ice cube trays dishwasher safe?

Cleaning instructions vary by product, so we recommend consulting the manufacturer’s instructions. All but one of our top picks is dishwasher safe.


Why does ice sometimes have an odor? How can you deodorize an ice cube tray?

Water absorbs air as it freezes, which can impact the flavor. Additionally, silicone is a porous material that can absorb scent. 

There are a few methods to deal with this problem. Tovolo recommends soaking its trays for an hour in a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water. For trays made wholly out of silicone, the New York Times suggests baking the trays for 20 minutes at 250 degrees F or lower.


Why should I use large cubes or spheres?

The main reason to use large cubes or spheres is to chill alcoholic beverages without diluting them. For example, spheres have a lower surface area to volume ratio than regular ice cubes. “Ice spheres are the worst at making a drink cold, but dilute it the least,” said Gitter. This is why large cubes are most ideal for a straight spirit.

However, large ice cubes or spheres aren’t perfect for all drinks. Some cocktails are meant to be diluted and slow melting ice can change the intended flavor. Gitter mentioned martinis as an example of this because, traditionally, the gin and vermouth are stirred with regular ice cubes before serving. The stirring action starts the melting process, which chills and dilutes the drink to a palatable flavor. An ice sphere wouldn’t melt quickly enough for this purpose, and you’d be left with a too strong and too warm cocktail.

We recommend using large cubes or spheres when serving straight spirits, or when you want to keep a drink cold without changing its flavor and strength.


What is clear ice and how is it made?

There are two factors that make ice cloudy: the direction the water freezes and impurities or air bubbles in the water. 

Most ice cube trays are not insulated, so water freezes from the outside in and from all directions. Safe tap water contains impurities that aren’t dangerous to drink, but can impact the flavor of the water and the appearance of the ice. As water freezes, it also absorbs some of the surrounding air. The absorbed air bubbles and the impurities are pushed towards the center of the ice as the outer layer freezes first. The air bubbles and impurities interfere with forming an organized crystal lattice and so the ice appears cloudy, said Gitter.

When making clear ice, you eliminate or limit those bubbles and impurities and focus the direction of freezing. “Essentially the process involves freezing the ice from a single direction versus all directions like a standard freezer,” said Melton. To make clear ice at home, first purify your water by boiling it. Then, you can follow Gitter’s technique of insulating an ice tray by surrounding it with dish towels and leaving the top exposed so it only freezes from the top down.

Besides the aesthetics, clear ice is less likely to have an odor or taste because it doesn’t contain absorbed gases from the surrounding air, according to Melton.

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The 5 best non-slip kitchen mats of 2021

best non-slip kitchen mats

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Non-slip kitchen mats help prevent spills and stains on your floor while staying firmly in place.
  • We found the best non-slip kitchen mats for standard spaces, big kitchens, outdoors, and more.

Kitchen floors tend to get dirty and without proper protection, food or liquid spills can cause stains and messes that are a pain to clean up.

Kitchen mats can provide a sleek solution for protecting your floors, but you’ll want a non-slip kitchen mat to ensure it stays firmly in place and doesn’t trip you up. Mats with patterns can also add to the decor of your space, and some of the best non-slip kitchen mats may even help prevent aches and pains when you’re standing for long periods of time cooking or washing up.

We rounded up the best non-slip kitchen mats for a variety of uses, whether you’re cooking in your home, at a restaurant, or grilling in your outdoor kitchen.

Here are the best non-slip kitchen mats

The best non-slip kitchen mat overall

Sky Solutions Anti Fatigue Mat
This wrinkle-free mat is easy to clean with soap and water.

The Sky Solutions Anti Fatigue Mat collects spilt food and liquid in its diamond-like design.

What we like: Prevents build-ups over time, waterproof, easy to clean, anti-fatigue cushioning

This Sky Solutions mat is more than just a typical kitchen floor protector thanks to its anti-fatigue, .75-inch padded base. This makes for a far more comfortable experience whether you’re washing dishes or chopping veggies. In fact, some studies even show this kind of padding can help to reduce back pain and joint pain.

Aside from its comfort, the mat is also made to support places like restaurants and offices, so it’ll have no problem lasting a long time even in the most high-trafficked home kitchens. It features an anti-curl edge so you won’t have to worry about any tripping hazards, and its wrinkle-free and stain-resistant design adds to its ease of use.

Best multi-pack of non-slip kitchen mats

COSY HOMEER Anti Fatigue Kitchen Rug Mats
This pack comes in 9 different colors to suit your personal style.

If you need non-slip mats in multiple areas, the COSYHOMEER Anti Fatigue Kitchen Rug Mats are made with stain-resistant material and come in packs of three.

What we like: Machine washable, durable PVC bottom, comes in packs of up to three mats

These COSYHOMEER mats are made with a polypropylene material that not only makes them easy to clean and machine washable, but also ensures they’re durable and won’t break down or compress over time. 

These mats come in packs of up to three, so you can have matching mats in multiple rooms, or near both your sink and stovetop for optimal coverage. The mats have a PVC bottom that ensures they stay put and avoids any slips.

Best non-slip kitchen mat for commercial use

DEXI Anti Fatigue Kitchen Mat
The thick, .4-ich padding makes this a good choice for those who need to stand all day.

The DEXI Anti-Fatigue Kitchen Mat has an oil-proof, waterproof surface great for high-trafficked areas and thick cushioning that adds comfort for anyone standing all day.

What we like: Cushioned material for long-term standing, easy-to-clean diamond design, oil-proof

This mat’s anti-fatigue, thick cushioning makes it a comfortable choice for people looking to use it in commercial common areas or places where workers often stand for long periods of time, whether that’s a professional kitchen or behind a store counter. The mat comes in two sizes, including one option that’s over six feet long for bigger spaces. With many similar style mats coming in at significantly higher price points, this is also a great value. 

Best non-slip kitchen mats for large home kitchens

COSY HOMEER Kitchen Rug Mats
COSYHOMEER also produces slightly larger memory foam kitchen mat packs, as well.

The COSYHOMEER 48 x 20 in. / 30 x 20 in. Kitchen Rug Mats pack can cover the floor from your sink to your stovetop.

What we like: Multiple colors for different style kitchens, washable surface, long

This pack is able to take up serious floor space thanks to the fact it comes with two large mats that are both three or four inches larger than many standard kitchen mats. The mats’ polypropylene material is sturdy and also won’t pick up stains as easily as other mats.

Anti-fatigue cushioning adds comfort and the anti-skid bottoms ensure they won’t slide around. You can even throw these in the washing machine for easy cleaning. 

Best non-slip kitchen mat for outdoor use

best non slip kitchen mat outdoor

The Envelor Anti Fatigue Rubber Indoor/Outdoor Floor Mat is waterproof, durable, and easy to hose down.

What we like: Use for multiple spaces, designed for drainage, waterproof, durable

This mat can pair up with patios for a mess-free and comfier grilling experience. The anti-slip mat is equipped with a hole pattern that not only helps trap debris and allows for better drainage, but also makes it extra easy to just hose down for quick cleaning. The rubber material is durable and waterproof so it can withstand outdoor elements. 

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We tested 9 juicers and these are the 3 best in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Investing in a juicer saves you money on store-bought juice and helps add nutrients to your diet.
  • We recommend slow juicers over high-speed ones because they keep nutritious fibers intact.
  • Hurom’s HP slow juicer is our favorite because it’s compact, reliable, and easy to use and clean.

If you buy fresh juice regularly, you may want to invest in a juicer. The best ones can pulverize an entire farmer’s market haul into smooth, flavorful juice with little foam, easily fit on the counter, won’t wake up the whole house, are simple to clean, and come with a decent warranty (10 years is the industry standard).

There are two basic juicer types on the market: centrifugal and masticating (or slow). The larger, noisier, and more affordable of the two, centrifugal juicers use a high-speed blade and tend to yield less juice and more foam than their slow-juicing counterparts.

Masticating juicers steadily turn an auger that pulverizes fruits and veggies, leaving more nutrients and enzymes intact and producing smoother, silkier, and better-tasting juice overall. For these reasons, this guide focuses solely on slow juicers.

To arrive at our top picks, we juiced everything from hardy root vegetables to leafy greens, and considered the resulting juices’ taste, texture, foam levels, and oxidation rates. We also measured the volume of liquid each machine produced and the amount of pulp left behind, as well as the juicers’ speeds and noise levels. Lastly, with the help of a mechanical engineer, we pulled apart several juicers to see if they were made with identical parts (despite differences in size and price).

Here are the best juicers you can buy in 2021

The best juicer overall

hurom hp slow juicer

Not only was the Hurom HP Slow Juicer one of the most powerful models we tested, it was also the most compact and user-friendly.

Pros: Small size, intuitive design, 100% BPA-free plastic, 10-year motor warranty, easy to clean, high juice yield

Cons: 2-year parts warranty, somewhat slow (even by slow juicer standards), juice is slightly less concentrated than its more expensive competitors’

While Hurom’s HP Slow Juicer is the smallest machine we tested, it uses the same powerful motor as models that take up nearly twice the space (like the Omega VSJ843, for example). We discovered this after disassembling and examining several highly-rated juicers with the help of a mechanical engineer — a process that we describe in greater detail under “Our Methodology,” below. 

The HP comes with a fine strainer, a larger strainer to allow some pulp to pass through — always a good idea, nutritionally — and two cleaning brushes. In other words, it has exactly all you need and nothing you don’t. That doesn’t mean the machine is without its conveniences, though; we’re fans of the inner spinning brush that helps clear the strainers while you’re juicing, allowing for a higher yield.

Indeed, the HP did produce a high yield. It pulled the most liquid out of every single fruit or veggie we juiced, and consistently had among the driest discarded pulp (in these respects, it even outperformed our other recommendation from Hurom, the H-AI Self-Feeding Juicer). The resulting juice was clean, bright, and refreshing, and contained little foam, although it wasn’t quite as rich and intense as its pricier competitors’ output. 

When it’s time to clean up, there are no awkward angles to scrub, and that cleaning brush does an excellent job of removing pulp from hard-to-reach spots thanks to a convenient pick built into its handle. Hurom cautions against running the machine’s parts through the dishwasher, although we managed to do so without a problem. (Is this cleaning method a good idea, long-term? Probably not, but we wanted to make sure the HP could handle it in a pinch.) 

A note to those who tend to juice while rushing out the door: if speed is of the essence, Hurom’s HP Slow Juicer may not be the machine for you. It runs at 43 RPM, which is a bit slow even by slow juicer standards. For comparison, the Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer and the previously mentioned Hurom H-AI — two models included in this guide — run at 60 RPM, while the Omega Cold Press 365, which we’re currently testing, runs at 90 to 110 RPM. 

In the end, the HP’s ease of use, simple clean-up, and compact size make it a clear winner for us. After all, if your juicer is compact enough to live on your countertop instead of a cabinet, you’ll notice — and therefore use — it all the more often.

The best multi-use juicer

kuvings slow juicer

The Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer produces rich, velvety juice, and goes beyond the usual call of duty to act as a citrus juicer and ice cream maker with the help of attachments. 

Pros: Versatile, 10-year warranty on all parts, BPA-free plastic, extra-wide feeding spout

Cons: Heavy, some attachments sold separately, cleanup can be time-consuming

The Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer is a sound investment if you like the idea of an appliance that can do quadruple duty. Not only is it an excellent slow juicer in its own right, it’s designed to accommodate three attachments: smoothie and frozen dessert makers (both included) and a citrus juicer (sold separately).

To use the citrus juicer attachment, you palm halves of citrus over a reamer that’s turned by the machine’s motor. It’s simple and gets the job done, and while we think the price of the attachment is higher than it needs to be, it’s still far more affordable than purchasing a separate appliance. 

During our testing, we used the smoothie strainer to make a berry and banana smoothie that was texturally consistent, foam-free, and silkier than anything we’ve pulled from a blender. The blank strainer for frozen desserts was more difficult to master: we were successful with banana gelato, but not much else. It seems that a particular level of frozenness (and practice) is required to churn out sorbets, gelatos, and ice creams as effortlessly as this YouTuber.

As far as its main duty goes, the Whole Slow Juicer’s 3.2-inch-wide feeding spout can accommodate larger pieces of fruit than our top pick, and at 60 RPM it’s a bit faster, too. The extra speed may come at the expense of maximum juicing; compared to the Hurom HP, the Kuvings squeezed less liquid out of our fruits and vegetables, and its wetter pulp suggested that there was some good stuff left behind in the discard pile. 

That being said, the Whole Slow Juicer produced the richest, most velvety juice we tried during our taste tests, with and without the detachable external strainer that helps catch any residual pulp. 

There is one design quirk we should note, though: the chute makes an awkward turn towards the auger, which means harder fruits and vegetables like carrots and beets get hung up, while softer ones like grapes leave a significant amount of mush in the bend. We had to reverse the auger more times for the Kuvings than for any other juicer, and while we were able to send most of that aforementioned mush back through, it was an extra, messy step.

That turn in the chute also made for more complicated cleanup work, but that’s only nominal when it comes to juicers. Plus, any additional time spent was mostly offset by the Kuvings’ self-cleaning internal strainer, whose basket is lined with pulp-sweeping brushes. Like everything we tested, its parts withstood the dishwasher. 

Small flaws considered, if you want a juicer that does it all, this is the only one we know of that can make smoothies, frozen desserts (with some trial and error), and citrus juice.

The best self-feeding juicer

hurom h ai 4x3

Hurom’s H-AI Slow Juicer has a small footprint, is easy to clean, and because it’s self-feeding, does a lot of the work for you.

Pros: Easy to use and clean, space-saving, self-feeding hopper is a time-saver, BPA-free plastic, 10-year warranty on motor

Cons: Only a two-year warranty on parts, some produce gets stuck in self-feeding hopper (though only peaches and pears, in our experience)

A self-feeding juicer like Hurom’s H-AI Slow Juicer can make juicing a good deal easier, and because it takes up so little space, it’s not unreasonable to leave it out and ready for use.

There’s a bit of debate as to whether or not the self-feeding hopper works well, but in our experience over the past two years we’ve only had two problems: once with peaches, and another time with pears. In both instances, the fruits were bordering on overripe and turned into a mush that could not be fed from the hopper into the auger. While it’s true that another juicer might have handled this problem better, most of us aren’t juicing a ton of overripe fruits. Further, if you start to encounter this problem, a good solution (before it’s too late) is to intersperse some harder fruits into the mix to help push the rest through.

Otherwise, everything we put into the hopper made it through to the auger and came out as juice, and the pulp was among the driest from the juicers we’ve tested (aside from our top pick, the Hurom HP). We also ended up with notably less waste from this juicer than any other. 

This machine yielded more juice than the Kuvings — despite the fact that both turn at 60 RPM — thanks to a preparatory blade in the hopper. However, the results weren’t as rich as the Kuvings’ and the H-AI produced a little more foam, although the difference was marginal. 

Because this machine is completely vertically integrated (even the pulp canister is built into it vertically), we found cleanup to be markedly quick. Everything pulls apart easily, and the self-feeding hopper is much more open than the Kuvings’ chute. 

If you find you don’t like the self-feeding hopper, or want to use a chute for softer fruits, there’s a two-inch-wide one in the kit, along with a fine and large strainer, so you have juicing options. 

Every component of this juicer, save for the stand and motor, has been through the washing machine well over 20 times, and we haven’t had any problems to date.

This is an expensive machine, but it has worked flawlessly for us for over two years of rigorous use. If you want a juicer that does everything, the Kuvings might be for you, but if you’re looking to juice with exceptional ease, the Hurom H-AI is tops.

What else we tested

What else we recommend and why:

Breville Juice Fountain Plus: If you do want a centrifugal juicer, this is one of the best in its category. We’ve used it many times in the past, we’ve seen it hold up at several small juice stands, and the price is right. Still, it produces a lot of foam, and it’s a good deal larger than the vertical slow juicers we recommend.

Omega VSJ843: This juicer, down to almost every single part, turned out to be identical to the Hurom HP. The big difference is that it comes with a 15-year warranty on “parts and performance” versus a 10-year warranty on the Hurom juicers’ motors and a two-year warranty on other parts. In the end, the motor warranty is a bigger consideration, because if you break a part (and it’s not due to a defect), it’s still on you to replace. We’re going to work on comparing customer service between the two companies for further consideration.

What we don’t recommend and why:

Breville Bluicer: This could be a handy machine if you happen to need a juicer and a blender at once, but it’s large, and comes with a lot of parts you might not want to use (let alone store). We found the juice yield so low and the amount of foam so high, though, that on top of other detrimental factors such as size and noise, we decided against recommending it in this guide.

Hamilton Beach Big Mouth: This centrifugal high-speed juicer is more affordable than the Breville Juice Fountain Plus, but while it worked, it produced a ton of foam.

Oster’s Self-Cleaning Professional Juice ExtractorThis high-speed (centrifugal) juicer is another case of an appliance that is just too large and complex for most people’s use. It works, though you’ll still have to do a good bit of cleaning up afterward. Still, if you do want a high-speed juicer, it’s a good choice for a budget option, and we like that it’s dishwasher-safe.

Smeg Slow Juicer: Smeg’s Slow Juicer had a lot of the same qualities as the Omega VSJ843 or the Hurom HP, but at about $500, you’re mostly paying for its ’50s-vintage appeal. If that’s worth it to you, go for it. It’s a perfectly capable machine, and our tester’s unit is still going strong more than two years into weekly-plus use.

Our methodology

2lb carrot juice test

To test the juicers’ ability to handle a variety of fruits and vegetables, we ran beets, carrots, kale, and black seedless grapes through each machine. We weighed the produce beforehand to make sure we were putting the exact same amount in each juicer, then measured the volume (fluid ounces) of the resulting juice.

We noted the amount of foam that settled at the top of each cup of juice, the rate of oxidation (some juices browned faster than others), and the amount of pulp left behind. 

And, of course, we measured taste, however subjectively, and found that some juices were more watery than others (we used a fine strainer throughout testing) while others were incredibly rich.

We also pulled apart four juicers after speaking with Duncan Freake, a mechanical engineer at Epam Continuum, who posited that certain parts, including the augers, strainers, and receptacles were the same between Omega and HP. Sure enough, while the parts inside each of the juicers we disassembled weren’t exactly identical, it was clear that they came from the same factory, or used the same components, from Korea. And while both brands advertise that their juicers are made in Korea, they don’t divulge that many of their parts come from the same set of factories as their competitors, Zhejiang Linix Motor Co., Ltd. Granted, this is a common case with many household appliances, and something we found to be true when researching for our guide to the best countertop ice makers, too.

FAQs

Can drinking juice help you lose weight?

While some people claim green juice can help you lose weight and clear the body of “toxins,” these ideas are not medically supported.

“Even if you’re making it yourself, juice is still more processed than a whole fruit or veggie, and studies consistently show that it’s more beneficial to eat foods in their more natural state,” Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, author of “Sugar Shock” told us. “Our bodies don’t register the calories we drink in the same way they register calories from food, so you don’t get the same level of fullness from juice as you would from eating an apple or veggie.”

However, Cassetty said fresh juice is still an excellent way to add more nutrients to your diet, and based on our testing, the juicers above all perform at the top level.

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The best flatware and silverware in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Good flatware should be made of high-quality metals to last you for several years.
  • We researched the best materials and spoke with two designers and a metal worker to choose our top picks.
  • The Olivia & Oliver Madison 20-Piece Flatware Set is our best overall pick for it’s durability and affordability.

Flatware isn’t something you replace frequently, so when it came time to choose my own, I wanted to pick a set that was timeless, durable, corrosion-free, affordable, and would last me for years. As a product reviewer who has tested hundreds of home products, I turned that same discerning eye to researching flatware. While individual tastes vary, I spoke with three experts – Courtney Whitmore, cookbook author and party hosting expert; Marian Parsons, interior designer and artist; and Jefferson Mack, a flatware and metal product designer – to learn what makes great flatware, regardless of personal style.

After many hours of research, we’ve rounded up our top picks based on expert recommendations, brand reputation, reported durability from consumer reviews, visual aesthetic, ease of use and care according to manufacturer directions, and affordability. We also included information about shopping for flatware, including deciding between sets versus open stock pieces, choosing the best metals, properly setting a table, and caring for flatware.

Here are our top picks for the best flatware

The best flatware overall

Oliver and Oliver

If you’re looking for flatware for everyday use, the Olivia & Oliver Madison 20-Piece Flatware Set is durable, moderately-priced, and fits seamlessly with any table setting design.

Pros: Made from 18/10 stainless steel that’s durable for everyday use, timeless yet contemporary design, comes in three finishes, reputable brand, 25-year manufacturer’s warranty

Cons: Doesn’t have a matching serveware set, handles are thinner and may be harder to grasp for some

When it comes to everyday flatware, you’ll want something that’s durable, dishwasher-safe, and relatively affordable, with a timeless design — the Olivia & Oliver flatware set checks all those boxes and comes recommended by one of our experts. “I really like Olivia & Oliver for high-quality flatware that you can use for years,” said Whitmore. 

The set comes in three different finishes to suit your decor: silver, gold, or matte black. I particularly like the mirrored silver finish, which combined with the elegantly tapered handles and curvy design provides a timeless look that works well for tablescape designs both rustic and modern. It’s durable enough for everyday use and doesn’t require any polishing. It also comes with a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty. Many buyers mentioned it looks and feels well-made, has a moderate weight, and doesn’t spot after washing. 

The set doesn’t come with matching serveware, so if you want a cohesive look throughout your tablescape, you may want to look elsewhere. A few customer reviews also mentioned the handles feel a tad small in bigger hands.

The best high-end flatware

Laguiole flatware

Each piece in the Laguiole 24-piece stainless steel flatware set is assembled by hand, affixed with a Napoleonic bee, and modeled after the high-quality knives made famous in the French town of Laguiole. 

Pros: Unique and timeless design, handcrafted, durable, reputable brand, can purchase matching serveware separately

Cons: Doesn’t come with salad forks or a serveware set, hand-wash only

Handcrafted in Thiers, France, the Laguiole 24-piece flatware set is durable, visually appealing, and will last you for years to come. The utensils are phthalate-, BPA-, and latex-free, and made with resin handles and a polished finish for a one-of-a-kind look. You can choose from ivory or black handles to fit your aesthetic. 

The set serves six people, and is designed after the high-quality knives that have been produced in the French town of Laguiole since the 19th century. Each piece is debossed with “Laguiole Inox France” and finished with Laguiole’s Napoleonic bee trademark at the top of the handle. (The Napoleonic imperial symbol was granted by Emperor Napoleon I in recognition of the local soldiers’ courage.) The utensils arrive in an elegant, hinged-lid box made from pine, which features brass hardware; it’s a conversation piece that will also bring a sophisticated look to your dinner table. 

This set doesn’t come with salad forks, but you can purchase serveware like ladles, meat forks, carving sets, and cheese knives in the same style to create an elegant, cohesive look.

The best flatware on a budget

JA Henckels

The J.A. Henckels International Lani 65-Piece Flatware Set comes with everything you need for 12 people; it’s made with durable 18/10 stainless steel for everyday use, and each piece is only about $1.50. 

Pros: Made from 18/10 stainless steel, comes with all essential pieces for 12 people, dishwasher-safe, reputable brand, comes with serveware, limited lifetime warranty

Cons: Some consumer reviews mentioned the handles are too slender

Founded in 1731, J.A. Henckels is one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of kitchen flatware, knives, and cookware. The set is complete with everything you could possibly need for dinner for up to 12 people.

The pieces are made from durable materials and feature simple slender handles with a curve for an eye-catching and timeless look. The forged 18/10 stainless steel knife blades provide easy, precise cutting. Many customer reviews stated that the utensils are heavy and well-made,  making this set is a great buy if you want quality on a budget. Plus, the pieces are protected with a limited lifetime warranty. 

However, like with our best overall pick, some buyers mentioned the slender handles are difficult for those with larger hands to hold.

The best open stock flatware

oneida

The Oneida Chef’s Table Everyday Flatware is affordable, reliable, and features open stock pieces so you can buy exactly what you need; no more, no less.

Pros: Open stock allows you to buy exactly the number and type of pieces you need, simple design, dishwasher-safe, reputable brand, limited lifetime warranty

Cons: Made from less durable 18/0 stainless steel

There are many circumstances where you’d opt for open stock flatware, which allows you to pick and buy only the individual utensils you need. Open stock is a great option if you’re living alone and just need kitchen staples for one person, if you’re a college student looking for a few basics, if you need to replace a few lost or broken utensils, or if you’re looking to outfit a rental property with inexpensive, easily replaceable pieces. 

Chef’s Table is a reputable product line from trusted flatware manufacturer Oneida that offers individual pieces and replacements. The utensil design is simple and will fit seamlessly with virtually any flatware you already own. With its affordable price point, you can stock your kitchen with what you need at a fraction of the price of most box sets.

The utensils in the collection are made from 18/0 stainless steel, meaning there is no nickel in the stainless steel. Nickel’s presence usually helps prevents rust and corrosion. However, reviewers haven’t reported any issues with rust, and many mentioned they like the shape and durability of the pieces.

The best flatware for special occasions

Mikasa flatware

The Mikasa 65-Piece Regent Bead Flatware Set features an elegant design with 24-karat beaded gold accents and every utensil you’ll need for service for 12.

Pros: Timeless design, made from durable 18/10 stainless steel, comes with serveware, reputable brand

Cons: Hand-wash only

Not only is the Mikasa Regent Bead Flatware Set made of durable materials, it also features 24-karat beaded gold accents that have more of a traditional feel and will elevate your tablescape. The dual silver and gold coloring blends well with any table setting or showpiece dinnerware, and comes with matching serveware to make your next occasion truly special.

The serveware set includes solid and slotted serving spoons, a meat fork, a butter knife, and a sugar spoon, so you can keep a sophisticated and cohesive look throughout your tablescape.

Mikasa offers many sets in stainless steel with gold accents, so you can also mix and match this set with others for added visual appeal that still has a cohesive design. 

How to shop for flatware

How to shop for flatware

While we’ve outlined top picks above that hopefully make shopping for flatware effortless, here is some guidance from experts about what to look for when you’re on the hunt for flatware, along with what we considered when choosing our top picks. 

Narrow down your options before shopping

With so many options out there, it helps to start by deciding how many pieces you need and what your budget is. You should expect to pay upwards of $300 to outfit your home with a high-quality set with many pieces, but you can go as low as $30 if you’re selective about the number and type of utensils you need.

No matter your budget, Whitmore recommends looking for products that contain the core five utensils used most often. “When shopping for flatware, you want to be sure each set comes with a dinner knife, dinner fork, salad fork, dinner spoon, and teaspoon; this will cover everything you’ll need,” said Whitmore. “I prefer to plan for large gatherings, so I like to buy sets of at least eight but often 10 or 12. It’s never a bad idea to have extra because items like spoons are used more often (for cereal, coffee, etc).”

Next, decide if you want to buy individual pieces (also known as open stock), pieces by the place setting, or a box set that typically comes with service for four, six, eight, or 12 people. Here is some more information about each type:

Open stock: Buying individual pieces, also known as open stock, is great if you’re missing only a couple of utensils, if you’re a college student, or if you live alone and only need a few pieces. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for a temporary or easily replaceable flatware, like if you need to stock a rental property you own or if you have extra mouths to feed for a special occasion. However, many open stock items aren’t the most durable, so they may not last as long, especially if you’re using them every day.

By the place setting: If you buy flatware by the place setting, each box usually comes with five pieces: a dinner fork, salad fork, a dessert spoon, a soup spoon, and a dinner knife. This is a great option if you want to choose the number of place settings to suit your household (since box sets usually come in set quantities), if you want to replace missing or damaged flatware, or would like a few extra place settings for backup when hosting guests. A quality product typically runs between $30 to $50 per setting. 

Box sets: You’ll get more bang for your buck if you invest in a box set. A box set comes in services from four to up to 12 people (some retailers even have service for up to 16 people), and features the same five pieces found in individual place settings. A box set with service for four typically has 20 total pieces, a set for service for eight typically has 40 pieces, and so on. The sets for service for 12 or more also usually come with a “hostess set” — extra serveware like solid and slotted serving spoons, a meat fork, and soup ladle that match the design of the flatware. A box set is especially useful if you have a family of at least four people or often host dinner for a large number of guests. 

Select a reputable company

Regardless of whether you opt for open stock or box sets, experts said you’ll get the best results by selecting products from a known brand. “When shopping for flatware, always buy from a reputable flatware company,” said Jefferson Mack, flatware and metal product designer with mackmetal.com. “You want to make sure you can buy replacements 10 years down the road.” These companies are also usually forthcoming about materials and manufacturing methods, offer longer warranties, and have robust customer service. All the picks in our guide are vetted by experts, come with at least a 25-year warranty, or are produced by a well-known flatware brand that has been in business for at least 50 years. 

Shop in person, if you can

To get a good feel for flatware, it’s best if you can check out sets in person to see if the pieces are comfortable to hold and fit your aesthetic. “I have found that many modern patterns can have huge dinner forks and spoons,” said Marian Parsons, artist and founder of Mustard Seed Interiors. “If possible, see a complete place setting in person to make sure the size feels right to you.” If you do decide to shop online, make sure you buy from a reputable retailer that has a robust return policy, since you won’t be able to evaluate the comfort and weight of your flatware until you try it out.

Different types of flatware metals

How to shop for flatware

Flatware comes in a variety of materials including stainless steel, sterling silver, and metals combined with other materials like resin, wood, and plastic. 

Stainless steel

For everyday use, look for stainless steel flatware. Stainless steel flatware is primarily made from chromium and nickel, which are both durable and resistant to corrosion. When shopping for stainless steel flatware, you’ll notice a number like 18/10, 18/8, or 18/0, which represents the percentage of chromium (the first number) and nickel (the second number) in the metal. 

Many experts recommend opting for 18/10 stainless steel since the nickel content boosts durability and adds a soft, silver-like luster to flatware. It’s also what makes flatware more expensive. 

This number isn’t everything, however, said Mack; most reputable manufacturers sell flatware that is durable and rust-resistant, regardless of the type of stainless steel used. If you are looking for something durable at a great value, 18/0 is still a good option; you just won’t get the high-polish finish and superior rust-resistance nickel provides.

Stamped vs. forged stainless steel

You may also notice the product description mention whether the flatware is stamped or forged. Stamped stainless is cut out like a cookie cutter from a big piece of stainless steel, while forged flatware is made from a heated block of steel that’s pounded into shape. Because of the heating process, forged flatware is much more durable than stamped. If the product description doesn’t include if it’s stamped or forged, compare the knife blade to the handle. If they’re similar in thickness and if it’s lightweight, it’s most likely stamped, which won’t hold up as well as forged for everyday use.

Sterling silver

Sterling silver is also durable, but is more expensive than stainless steel and requires polishing since it can tarnish, developing a dark-colored coat when exposed to gases in the air for a long time. We think stainless steel is the best bet for most people, but if you’re a collector or like a vintage aesthetic, you may opt for sterling silver. With the right care, a sterling silver set can last you for years, increase in value, and become a family heirloom you can pass down from generation to generation. 

“I think there are far too many beautiful sets of silver flatware sitting in a box or drawer unused,” Parsons said. “If silver is stored properly or used daily, it requires very little polishing.”

How to set a table

How to set a table

If you’re setting the table for a formal dinner with the family using your new flatware, knowing where to place everything will elevate the dining experience. We’ve outlined a full step-by-step guide to setting the table here, but these are the basics:

The general rule while dining is to start with flatware on the outside and work your way in with each course. The flatware for the first course (or salad course) sits farthest away from the plate while the flatware for the main course is closest to the plate. To set the table, first place the flatware for the main course on either side of the dinner plate — the dinner fork sits to the left while the dinner knife sits to the right with the blade facing towards the plate. 

Next, place the salad fork to the left of the dinner fork and the salad knife (if you have one) to the right of the dinner knife. Then, place the teaspoon to the right of the salad knife followed by a soup spoon. If you’re having a dessert course, place the dessert spoon horizontally above the dinner plate with the handle pointing to the right.

How to care for stainless steel flatware

How to take care of flatware

The best way to care for flatware is to hand-wash and dry it. “If a flatware set isn’t dishwasher-safe, it’s because of the high temperature of the water mixed with the dishwasher detergent,” Mack said. “The dishwasher has an electric heating element at the bottom that heats up to almost boiling. That, along with dishwasher detergent, which is a high-temperature caustic detergent (stronger than dish detergent), gets rid of food and debris without having to scrub. The high temperature and detergent will get rid of the natural patina of the flatware and will discolor it.”

Handwashing isn’t realistic for many people, though. You can do a few things to make sure your flatware stays in the best shape possible even if you’re using the dishwasher. Oneida, a flatware brand, offers a few tips on loading your flatware in a dishwasher:

  • Load forks and spoons with the handles down and tines and bowls up.
  • Place knives in a separate basket with the sharp side down to avoid potential scratching
  • Remove flatware after the last rinse cycle and hand dry, since hot air can cause corrosion over time. 
  • If your flatware has any discolorations from hard water, use and follow the instructions on a high-quality stainless polish.

According to Oneida, you shouldn’t soak flatware in water for long periods of time, and avoid prolonged contact with tea, coffee, eggs, mayo, vinegar, and salt, since acids and proteins in these foods can erode the flatware. Avoid using heavy-duty cleaners, especially ones with citrus-scented additives, and don’t pour detergent directly onto the flatware. Following these steps can help prolong the life of your flatware.

Check out our other buying guides to complete your table setting

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The 6 best meat spatulas of 2021 for flipping burgers, frying fish, and barbecuing

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Meat spatulas are generally more durable and have a wide turner than standard spatulas.
  • Some of our picks are perfect for an outdoor grill while others are handy choppers for ground meat.

Whether you’re flipping burgers on your patio or grilling chicken on your kitchen pan, a quality meat spatula is your helpful sidekick to ensure expertly prepared foods. Meat spatulas are typically wider than the standard kitchen spatulas for easier flipping. They’re also often made from stainless steel and other hardy materials that ensure they can withstand hot stovetops and grills.

Keep in mind that when preparing meat, you should always refrigerate or freeze raw meat immediately after purchase and defrost any frozen meats before cooking. Always thoroughly wash your hands and all utensils before and after handling raw meat, too.

Whether you’re looking for a stainless steel spatula for easy flipping or a quality turner for your charcoal grill, we rounded up top options.

Here are the best meat spatulas of 2021

The best stainless steel meat spatula

Anmarko Stainless Steel Meat Spatula
This spatula’s long turner makes for easy flipping.

For a classic, stainless-steel turner, the Anmarko Stainless Steel Meat Spatula is your best bet.

Why we love it: Long shovel-like design, heavy-duty construction, easy grip

If you want to be a line cook-level flipping pro next time you’re grilling up burgers, the Anmarko Stainless Steel Meat Spatula is a professional and dynamic option. It’s similar to the tools used by hibachi chefs and can even double as a pancake flipper, too.

The stainless steel spatula is made from non-reactive and hygienic materials, so it’s safe to use when cooking raw meat. Though it’s not dishwasher safe, it’s easy to clean with dish soap and warm water. And, the sleek wooden handle is comfortable to hold when grilling or pressing.

The best meat spatula set

To Encounter Silicone & Stainless Steel Spatula Set
These versatile tools can withstand high heat, making them great for high-powered grills.

For days when you’re grilling up burgers, hot dogs, and kebabs all at once, the To Encounter Silicone & Stainless Steel Spatula Set will come in handy.

Why we love it: Mixture of silicone and stainless steel tools, rust-resistant, easy to clean

If you frequently grill steaks, sausage links, and patties, you know that meat doesn’t fall into the one-size-fits-all category. For a six-piece set that’s functional for all different types of meat, To Encounter’s Silicone & Stainless Steel Spatula Set is versatile and heat- and rust-resistant. 

The set includes a fish spatula, a slotted turner, an eight-inch icing spatula, silicone large and slotted turners, and a silicone spoon spatula. It can withstand up to 580-degree heat, so it’s safe to use even on high-powered grills. What’s more, all of the tools are manufactured with a second coat of polish, so they’re all dishwasher safe.

The best fish spatula

YK GDYorkKitchen Stainless Steel Slotted Turner (Set of 2)
The set includes a silicone brush and a bonus oven mitt.

The YK GDYorkKitchen two-piece slotted spatula set is just right for flipping fish fillets and easily draining oil.

Why we love it: Easy to clean, BPA-free, nonslip handle

The YK GDYorkKitchen Stainless Steel Slotted Turner two-piece set is great for turning, flipping, frying, and grilling alike. The slotted design allows grease to drain while its second coat of polishing makes them effortless to clean. The angled turner coupled with the high-range stainless steel material makes it especially perfect for frying and flipping fish. Made from BPA-free stainless steel, these spatulas are durable enough to last years. The nonslip handles make them easy to grip and the loop at the handle’s end makes them simple to hang and store. 

The best meat spatula for barbecuing

Jokari Pro Grade 6 in 1 Lighted Grill Tool
This all-in-one option even features a bottle opener and flashlight.

Whether you’re a beginner barbecuer or graduate griller, the Jokari Pro Grade 6-in-1 Lighted Grill Tool can handle it all and even features a built-in flashlight.

Why we love it: Ergonomic design, light-up functionality, multi-tool product

The Jokari Pro Grade 6-in-1 Lighted Grill Tool proves you don’t need an array of utensils cluttering up your counter or grilling table. You can flip, toss, grab, turn, cut, and then serve your meat with this versatile all-in-one tool. It that even includes a bottle opener.

The built-in LED flashlight is convenient for evening barbecues or if you lose power and have to manually set up your cooking station. Because of its multi-purpose design, it’s also a good option to pack for camping trips.

The best silicone meat spatula

di Oro Chef Series Standard Spatula
This spatula is heat-resistant up to 600 degrees.

For a meat spatula that is more forgiving and won’t leave any scratches, opt for the di Oro Chef Series Standard Spatula

Why we love it: Easy to use, heat-resistant, BPA-free, won’t scratch surfaces

If you’re worried about scratching up your pots and pans, silicone meat spatulas are a good option. The di Oro Chef Series Standard Spatula is more forgiving but can still easily flip your turkey burgers, lamb chops, and filets.

It’s made from a heavy-duty stainless steel core bonded to 600-degree heat-resistant silicone. It’s nonstick, scratch-resistant, and will last for years. It’s also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

The best handheld meat chopper

Zulay Kitchen Premium Heat Resistant Meat Chopper
This meat chopper also works for mashing avocados and more.

Easily break up raw meat without ever needing to touch it with the Zulay Kitchen Premium Heat-Resistant Meat Chopper.

Why we love it: Easily breaks up meat, variety of color options, nonslip handle

Zulay Kitchen’s Premium Heat-Resistant Meat Chopper is the no-brainer kitchen tool that you didn’t know you needed. Its four-bladed design will effectively separate meat — including frozen grounds — without trapping food particles in the crevices. This is an effective way to break up ground meat or shape patties without ever having to touch raw meat. 

It comes in nine fun colors and has an easy-to-use handle apt for blending, chopping, mixing, mashing, and smashing your meat products. It’s even great to use for mashing avocados for guacamole or tomatoes for homemade pasta sauce. 

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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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The 5 best cleaning cloths we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Spills and smudges happen, and the right type of cleaning cloth makes a world of difference.
  • Zwipes is our top pick because its cloths are multipurpose and don’t leave streaks or lint behind.

If you wipe, polish, and dust often, a reusable, sustainable cleaning cloth is practical to have on hand. These cloths aren’t limited to countertops, either – you can use them to dust pantry items, polish metal, and even wipe smudges off laptop screens and car windows.

By selecting the right type of cloth for each task, you can also limit potential damage to the item you’re cleaning. Paper towels and some fabric towels can scratch finishes or leave lint that can damage electronics.

As a home economist who has years under my belt testing cleaning products for companies, I’m always looking for unique picks that are effective, easy to use, and of great value. . Below, I rounded up the best cleaning cloths I’ve found, plus tips on how to maximize their use.

Here are the best cleaning cloths of 2021

The best cleaning cloths overall

Zwipes cleaning cloth

Zwipes Microfiber Cloths are a plush, 110,000 fiber-count cleaner that can scrub stubborn stains or dust delicate decor pieces. 

Pros: Great at absorbing water and picking up dirt, can be used without chemicals or detergents, prevent lint and streaks, quick to dry, machine washable

Cons: Thinner and smaller than some other brands, can leave lint if not rinsed before using

If you haven’t added microfiber cleaning products to your arsenal, you’re missing out. These small fibers make a cleaning cloth more effective in absorbing water and attracting dirt molecules.

The Zwipes Microfiber Cloths are constructed with 110,000 microfibers per square inch and can be used without chemicals or detergents. With so many fibers (usually nylon and polyester), the dirt and bacteria are trapped in these cloth types until you use laundry detergent and water to flush them away. The cloths will leave mirrors, surfaces, and stainless steel streak-free, too.

What’s more, these cloths absorb eight times their weight in water and dry in half the time of the average brand, so you can clean multiple rooms in a snap. 

The best cleaning cloths for tough messes

Mr Clean Magic Eraser

If you’re giving your home a deep clean — and hopping from room to room — Mr. Clean’s Magic Erasers will conveniently loosen tough grime. 

Pros: Flexible for cleaning hard-to-reach areas, can be cut for smaller jobs, no additional chemicals needed, tackles tough grime

Cons: Can’t be used on highly polished surfaces or wood, too thin for some tasks

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sheets use melamine-foam activated with water as micro-scrubbers to remove scuff marks and stuck-on grime from nearly every type of surface. And they aren’t a favorite just because of the advertised cleaner clad in all white — the disposable sheets are only 1/16-inch thick and super flexible so I can reach caked-on dirt in hard-to-reach places. 

I often cut the sheets in half for a small job and appreciate the full size for removing grease on stovetops, grime inside the microwave, and deeply-rooted water stains on sinks and faucets.

My favorite thing about the sheets is their functionality without the use of additional chemicals, which is difficult to find when tackling tough grime.  For tougher messes where a wipe won’t cut it, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser blocks should do the trick. I do recommend that the freshly cleaned area get a rinse with a damp microfiber cloth to remove any foam particles that might remain.

The best kitchen cleaning cloths

Libman Microfiber SPonge

Libman’s Microfiber Sponge Cloths are a sponge and microfiber cloth hybrid that easily absorb and leave surfaces streak-free.  

Pros: Naturally prevents bacteria, sponge and microfiber design, great for cleaning small items, highly absorbent, leaves surfaces streak-free

Cons: Cloths can be stiff until washed several times

If you love using a sponge in the kitchen, but are concerned about the number of coliform bacteria (Salmonella or E.coli) that can lurk in the pores, Libman Microfiber Sponge Cloths are a great option. Made from a  synthetic sponge quilted between a soft microfiber exterior, they’re ideal for washing dishes and cleaning kitchen counters alike.

I appreciate that each cloth is small enough to wash the inside of drinking glasses and coffee mugs, too. The sponge adds to the cloths’ absorbency while the microfiber produces streak-free surfaces whether using them wet or dry.

One tip for any type of microfiber cloth is to never use fabric softener or dryer sheets (I hang mine to air dry) when cleaning. The fabric softener will coat the microfibers and make them less absorbent. I find that each cloth stands up to about 25 or so washes until I’m ready to replace it.

The best cleaning cloths for electronics

Magic Fiber wipes

For crystal-clear smartphone screens and devices,  Magic Fiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths will prevent scratches paper and cotton towels can cause.

Pros: Prevents scratches, removes smudges, long-lasting, safe on delicate surfaces, lint-proof

Cons: Black cloths may leach dye when wet and should be hand washed separately from other fabrics

Our smartphones, eyeglasses, and other delicate items take much abuse. To remove smudges, the Magic Fiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths are essential, as cotton and paper towels can leave lint and cause scratches.

The long-lasting and pocket square-like cloths are finely woven from microfiber and produce no lint, absorb oil, and can clean fingerprint-ridden screens. The microfiber attracts dust and holds onto it until the screen is spotless instead of dragging the particles across the surface.  When I use them, just a few wipes with the dry cloth are effective most of the time. If screens or lenses have lots of smudges, lightly dampening the cloth with plain water will help.

The metal polishing cleaning cloths

Sunshine polishing cloth

If you spend hours polishing silver or brass with messy creams and liquids, Sunshine Cleaning and Polishing Cloths will make your metals gleam.

Pros: Cleans metal without messy liquids and pastes, leaves jewelry, dinnerware, and decorative metal pieces polished and streak-free

Cons: Cannot be washed and reused

It was always my job to spend hours polishing silver dinnerware and serving pieces before every holiday gathering. My kids have avoided the torture because I found Sunshine Cleaning and Polishing Cloths.

These cloths are amazing, thanks to the polishing agent embedded in the soft microfiber fabric. As you polish sterling silver, gold, brass, or copper, the dark oxidation that dulls the finish is transferred to the Sunshine Cleaning Cloth. When the cloth has turned black, toss it away. 

Tips on how to best use cleaning cloths

When something needs to be cleaned, most of us just grab a cloth and dive in. But, there is a proper way to use any cleaning cloth to prevent redepositing soil on surfaces or cross-contamination between tasks.

No matter how great the cleaning cloth may be, once it’s full of soil, it won’t collect any more. If the cloth is saturated, you’re simply swiping dirt or germs all over the surface —not removing them.

When you begin working with any type of cleaning cloth, fold it in half, then fold in half again. This gives you eight clean sides to use. As you move from one area to the next, refold the cloth to a clean side for a fresh and soil-free cleaning cloth for each job.

To help prevent cross-contamination between bathrooms, kitchens, and living areas, use different colored cloths for each room. Once cleaning cloths are heavily soiled or beginning to fray, use them one last time for a really messy job — like cleaning a greasy outdoor grill or dirty car wheels — before tossing.

Check out our other guides to household cleaning products

cleaning
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The 5 best microwaves we tested in 2021

  • The best microwaves cook food evenly, quickly, and feature useful preset buttons.
  • We consulted experts, researched popular and well-rated models, and tested five products to find the best microwaves you can buy.
  • The Panasonic NN-SN65KB Microwave Oven is our top pick because it’s powerful, moderately-sized, and has many helpful presets.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

When microwave ovens were first introduced in the late 1940s, they were more than 5 feet tall, weighed about 750 pounds, and cost thousands of dollars. Thankfully, microwaves have come a long way since their inception – they now fit on your countertop and many households use them every single day to reheat or cook food.

A good microwave should heat your food safely, quickly, and evenly. In addition to our research and testing, we spoke with Bob Schiffmann, a microwave heating expert and president of the International Microwave Power Institute, as well as Jared Lodico, a postdoctoral researcher in physics at UCLA, to better understand how microwaves work and what to look for when shopping for a microwave.

We shortlisted to five popular microwaves and put them through a series of tests, starting with the marshmallow test – an actual industry-standard experiment to check for hot and cold spots by heating marshmallows for a set period of time. We also used each microwave to reheat beverages and cook frozen foods and tested every model’s presets (like Popcorn and Sensor Cook). Finally, we used the microwaves for several days throughout a normal routine, evaluating how easy they were to use and how well they cooked. You can read more about our methodology here.

The best microwaves you can buy in 2021

The best microwave overall

Panasonic microwave

The Panasonic NN-SN65KB Microwave Oven packs 1,200 watts of power to cook food quickly and evenly. It’s compact, yet has a spacious interior, and comes with many helpful preset buttons for easy cooking.  

Pros: Five useful preset buttons, 1,200 watts of cooking power (more than most microwaves), includes a child-safety lock button

Cons: Fingerprint smudges are visible, the light inside isn’t bright enough to check food while it’s cooking, it’s loud, Frozen Foods feature doesn’t cook accurately, doesn’t have Express Cook buttons

At 1,200 watts, the Panasonic NN-SN65KB Microwave Oven  packs a punch and cooks food fast. The microwave heats remarkably evenly, which we saw during the marshmallow test. The marshmallows all expanded evenly, and at the end of two minutes, there was only a bit of burning in the very center of the marshmallows.

The microwave’s power levels start at P10, the highest cooking level, and go down to P0, the Keep Warm level. P10 is the default setting and the one I used regularly for heating and cooking.

If you’re using this microwave to simply reheat leftovers, the Sensor Reheat feature works well. Once cooking, it detects the humidity level of the food inside and starts counting down the cooking time. I also tried the more niche preset buttons like Popcorn and Coffee/Milk preset, and both worked better than the presets on other microwaves I tested.

That said, I was less impressed with the Frozen Food preset that categorizes food groups into numbers, much like Sensor Reheat. I used this when making frozen mac and cheese and found that the microwave grossly overestimated the amount of time needed to cook it. 

A few other minor downsides: the light inside the microwave is dim, so it’s hard to monitor the food while it’s cooking, and fingerprints are highly visible on the control panel. However, this is overall a great microwave that balances power and size with easy-to-use features. 

Best microwave on a budget

Commercial Chef microwave

The Commercial Chef Microwave is bare-bones, but dead simple to use. It’s moderately powerful, well-priced, and compact enough for small kitchens.  

Pros: Simple to use, compact, quieter than most models, heats evenly

Cons: Doesn’t have a clock, can only set cook time by the minute, not very powerful (only 600 watts), too small for large dishes or plates over 10 inches in diameter

Editor’s note: Commercial Chef has an updated model of this microwave with digital controls, at a lower price point. We’re currently looking into testing it.

At less than 18 inches long and 11 inches deep, The Commercial Chef Microwave is super compact and well-sized for small kitchens or dorm rooms. In many ways, it resembles an old-school toaster oven, and even “dings” like one when cooking is complete. Its controls consist of just two rotary knobs — one for power level and one for cook time. Unfortunately, you can’t set specific seconds if you’re zapping something quick, like warming a piece of bread, heating a mug of coffee, or melting butter. It also doesn’t have any special features or buttons.

That said, if simplicity is what you’re after, this model has it. It’s easy and intuitive to use, and heats relatively evenly. When I did the marshmallow test, I noticed a few browned pieces on the outer edges where the marshmallows expanded more, but overall no major hot or cold spots. 

At just 600 watts, it’s a little underpowered. In the absence of any preset buttons, I just used the package instructions to cook frozen mac and cheese. After the four minutes recommended on the package, it was warm throughout but not hot. You’ll likely have to add a minute or two to any package instructions when cooking in this microwave. 

If you want a no-frills microwave that reheats and cooks food in a simple, quick manner, this is a great option, especially if you don’t have much kitchen space to work with.

Best convection microwave

Toshiba microwave

If you’re looking for a microwave that does it all, the 1,000-watt Toshiba Microwave Oven with Convection, cooks, reheats, bakes, and even roasts food quickly and thoroughly. 

Pros: Quiet, many quick-touch preset cooking buttons, a multi-functional appliance that can bake and roast, includes a child-safety lock

Cons: Heavy and bulky, convection feature heats up kitchen quickly

If you’re trying to condense the number of kitchen appliances in your home, then the Toshiba Microwave Oven with Convection is a good multi-functional appliance to have. Not only does it work as a traditional microwave, but it also bakes, roasts, and toasts. It’s also the only microwave we tested that has an Express Cook feature, which allow you to quickly start the microwave by just pressing numbers one through six on the number pad.

At 1,000 watts, the Toshiba microwave oven is powerful. I definitely saw the results when I did the marshmallow test: the marshmallows in the center of the tray burned after two minutes, and there was a lot of moisture buildup on the tray underneath the parchment paper. Aside from the burning in the middle, I didn’t notice any hot or cold spots. It also cooked frozen mac and cheese thoroughly.

One of the unique features of this microwave is that it also works as a convection oven, so you don’t need to buy a separate toaster oven. To test out the convection oven, I warmed up some frozen French fries, which typically comes out soggy and flabby in a regular microwave. The heating options were confusing, so I had to refer to the cooking chart in the manual to see what level to cook the French fries. I was pleasantly surprised to see the fries turned out as crispy as they do in my air fryer (though it took twice as long and the settings were a bit more complicated).

You can also make toast with the convection setting. When I tried this, I found it toasted very unevenly and the results were paler and flabbier than a regular toaster, so I don’t recommend this microwave for that use.

Overall, this microwave heated well, the buttons are easy to use and smudge-proof, and the microwave beeps loud and clear. The only major downside is you will need plenty of countertop space to accommodate this large oven, and at nearly 50 pounds, it isn’t easy to move.

Best large capacity microwave

Panasonic microwave 2

This microwave, which can also be installed as a built-in, is large enough to fit two plates at a time and features an easy-to-use dial to heat and cook your food.

Pros: Quiet, powerful 1,250 watts, the dial is easy to use, comes with useful preset buttons, includes a child-safety lock, can be installed as a built-in microwave 

Cons: You can’t see the food well while it’s cooking, dial only goes up in 10-second increments

The Panasonic NN-SD975S Microwave Oven is large in both size and capacity; with a 16.5-inch turntable, it’s ideal if you’re cooking for a family.

One dial controls the cooking time and it only goes up or down in 10-second increments; a minor inconvenience, but otherwise operates smoothly and easily. You can also use the dial to input weight for food you’re defrosting by turning the dial clockwise to increase or decrease until you get to the proper weight. 

At 1,250 watts, it’s the most powerful microwave we tested, and it overcooked frozen mac and cheese when I cooked it according to package instructions. You’ll likely need to decrease cooking time by a minute or two from any package instructions with this microwave. However, it heated very evenly. When I did the marshmallow test, it produced the best results of any microwave I tried with no hot or cold spots, even in the center. 

Like other microwaves we tried, you can program up to three stages of cooking, and the display screen will let you know where you are in the cooking process. If you’re using the multi-stage cooking feature, you can use the Keep Warm setting as your final stage.

While it’s a powerful microwave with lots of helpful features, it’s extremely large and bulky, so best suited for large kitchens or households with many members who will take advantage of its larger capacity. This microwave can also be built into a cabinet or other static feature in your kitchen, though I left it on my countertop for easier testing.

Best smart microwave

GE Smart Microwave Oven Review 2021 lead image

GE’s Smart Microwave Oven is Alexa- and Google Assistant-enabled, so you can cook your food using voice commands or from your smartphone.

Pros: features smart technology and scan-to-cook technology at a reasonable price, heats food quickly, spacious yet compact enough to fit in a small kitchen

Cons: doesn’t cook food as evenly as other microwaves we tested, doesn’t come with a trim kit to mount over the stove or underneath cabinets, the voice commands are finicky.

The GE Smart Microwave Oven looks like any ordinary microwave on the market. It’s sleek and relatively compact, but a dinner plate still fits nicely inside. Its defining feature is its smart connectivity.

To see how well the microwave heats food, I cooked marshmallows in the microwave for two minutes on high to see how they heated. I noticed some hot spots and the outer edges and center cooked more quickly than the rest of the marshmallows. I also microwaved frozen mac and cheese according to the package instructions. At 900 watts, this microwave isn’t the most powerful, but it heats up pretty quickly. 

The best part of having a smart microwave is that you can control the settings and check the status of your food from your smartphone or by using voice commands with a virtual assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. I tested the microwave with my Google Home Mini, and I was able to use voice commands to perform basic functions including start/stop, pause/resume, set the microwave for a specific amount of time, add time (but I couldn’t subtract) and ask how much time is left (I can also check this from my smartphone.)

Frankly, most people don’t need a smart microwave. However, the hands-free technology makes cooking easier when you’re multitasking, and it’s more sanitary since you are reducing the amount of times you touch the microwave. 

It also features a scan-to-cook function where you can scan the barcode on a package of food using your smartphone, and the cook time and settings automatically display. All you have to do is press or say “start.” 

Other smart microwaves on the market can be upwards of $300, so for the price and reliability, this is a great microwave. It’s a good option if you’re budget-conscious but are in the market for a smart microwave.

Read our full review of the GE Smart Microwave Oven here.

Testing methodology

Microwave Methodology

In addition to speaking with Bob Schiffmann, a microwave heating expert and president of the International Microwave Power Institute, and Jared Lodico, a postdoctoral researcher in physics at UCLA, I put all the microwaves through a standard set of tests, evaluating how well they cooked food, how easy they were to use, and any special features or extra buttons. Here’s how I tested microwaves: 

Marshmallow test: The first test I performed with every microwave was the marshmallow test, an industry-standard way to check your microwave for hot and cold spots. To conduct this test, I cut parchment paper to the size of each microwave’s glass tray and completely covered it with mini marshmallows, leaving no blank spaces. I cooked the marshmallows in the microwave for two minutes on high to see how they expanded and cooked. The marshmallows that expanded first revealed the microwave’s hot spots, while marshmallows that still appeared raw showed the cold spots. Colder spots are potentially dangerous because they can mean your food is undercooked and possibly unsafe to eat in those areas. A good microwave produces even cooking across the entire surface — no burnt or uncooked marshmallows.

Frozen meal test: I also cooked frozen mac and cheese in each microwave, using the same brand and cook time and checking for evenness, or burnt or cold spots.

Ease of use: I looked at how easy and intuitive the microwaves were to use, and how much space they occupied on my counter. I also evaluated how much noise they made during cooking and how loud and persistent their alarms and beeps were. 

Presets and additional functions: Where applicable, I used and tested each model’s preset buttons according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This included Popcorn, Reheat, Sensor Cook, and Keep Warm buttons. I evaluated how well these settings performed their intended function and how easy they were to use.

What we’re testing next

What we look forward to testing Microwave

Here are some models that we’re looking forward to testing in the future:

GE Smart Microwave with Scan-to-Cook ($67.97): An updated version of our current best budget pick, this model features digital controls, a compact footprint, and a low price point. We’re looking into testing it and will report back soon with our findings.

Whirlpool 1.9-cubic-foot Over-the-Range Microwave ($619.99): This over-the-range microwave appeared as a pick in the previous version of this guide. Unfortunately, I couldn’t test it this round because my kitchen isn’t outfitted to accommodate an over-the-range unit. However, if you’re in search of a microwave that sits over the stove, this may be a good option. This model is both a convection oven and a microwave, and according to reviews, it’s spacious, easy to use, and easy to install. We hope to test it for a future update of this guide.

How microwaves work

How microwaves work

While microwaves may seem mystifying to some, at their most basic, they’re not much different than stoves, ovens, or grills in that they use energy to cook food. “Generally speaking, the process of putting energy into something is pretty much how we heat/cook all food, it just depends on how we do it (such as on the stove, in the sun, or with a microwave),” said Lodico. 

The difference is that microwaves generate energy in the form of electrical and magnetic rays. “Microwaves generate ‘microwaves,’ which is a form of electromagnetic radiation,” Lodico said. “This electric field transfers energy to the food as the waves pass through it.” The energy transfer causes water molecules in the food to vibrate, producing heat that cooks the food practically from the inside out. Because of this, foods that are high in water content, like potatoes or other fresh vegetables, cook much faster in the microwave than they do in other appliances, like the stove.

What to look for in a microwave

What to look for in a Microwave

We consulted experts on what to look for when purchasing a microwave. Here are the major qualities you should consider:

Power: The biggest consideration when shopping for a microwave is power. How much power you’ll need depends on what you primarily use the microwave for. If your household is only using the microwave to reheat food, then you can look for a cheaper model with less wattage, said Schiffmann. “Around an 800-watt oven works [for reheating], and popular ones are between 800 to 1,000 watts,” he says. 

Today, microwaves can do a lot more than just heat up cold food; they can defrost, cook, roast, bake, and more. If you want a microwave that actually cooks your food rather than simply reheating it, expect to spend a little more for a quality oven with more than 1,000 watts of power. 

Presets and additional functions: It’s also worthwhile to consider how and when you typically use preset functions. Many consumers are fine primarily operating a microwave with the number pad or Express Cook buttons. However, if you’re someone who does a lot of cooking or defrosting, you may find preset functions helpful.

If you’re in the market for a microwave that can also replace a toaster oven, opt for a model with convection settings, but keep in mind that this functionality often comes at a higher price and the technology can be hit or miss. 

Price: Schiffmann said you should expect to spend between $100 and $150 on a good 800 to 1,000-watt microwave, and a bit more as wattage increases. You’ll also pay more for extra features, like convection settings or lots of presets. While Schiffmann says you don’t have to spend a lot to get a quality microwave, he cautions about considering microwaves under $100. “Anything cheaper will most likely break down and be unstable,” he said, so you’re better off investing in a machine that costs a little more but will last longer. 

Safety features: If you have young children, you will want to purchase a microwave with a child-safety lock feature. “Many toddlers can get injured when reaching in the microwave, but many manufacturers have a digital lock now where you put in a combination of numbers to lock and unlock the microwave,” Schiffmann says. Out of the microwaves we tested, all but the Commercial Chef microwave have the ability to lock itself. Note that this feature prevents the microwave oven from operating; it does not lock the microwave door. 

FAQs

Microwave FAQ

Does standing near a microwave put me at risk for radiation exposure?

You may have heard that standing too close to the microwave while it’s operating can expose you to radiation, but according to experts, that’s a myth. “Microwaves are very safe — as long as they aren’t damaged,” Lodico says. “The metal housing and mesh screen on the door act as a shield from the radiation that is generated inside. As the radiation approaches the wall of the microwave it induces a current and magnetic field that cancels out the incoming wave.” While there was once some concern about operating a microwave if you have a pacemaker, the FDA says this is no longer an issue with modern pacemakers, though individuals with pacemakers should always check with their doctor first. 

Why are there holes in my microwave door?

According to experts, these small holes are another safeguard against radiation, canceling out incoming electromagnetic waves just like the metal housing in the microwave does. Lodico said holes are only a concern if they’re very large, which these intentional holes are not. “In fact, the holes on the door are actually 10 times smaller than what they theoretically need to be. But, it makes sense to make them smaller in case the door is damaged in some way,” Lodico said. “Rule of thumb: If there is a hole in your microwave greater than three millimeters in diameter, it’s time to get a new microwave.”

Should you defrost meat in the microwave?

We’ve all been there: You forgot to put the frozen meat for dinner in the refrigerator to thaw out. The defrost feature on a microwave can come to the rescue. Defrosting sets your microwave’s power between 30% to 50% so it thaws your food without cooking it. Although it’s recommended to safely thaw meat in the refrigerator, you can use your microwave’s defrost button to thaw meat in a pinch as long as you cook it immediately after you thaw it. According to the FDA, microwaves may heat food unevenly which could result in harmful bacteria growth if the food isn’t cooked immediately after defrosting.

While we know from the marshmallow test that many microwaves have natural hot and cold spots, defrosting presents an additional challenge for microwaves because the waves don’t penetrate or heat frozen foods as effectively as thawed foods. “So there is a dilemma: Once the meat starts to defrost somewhere, it will continue heating there. But the frozen parts will heat up more slowly, leading to non-uniform temperatures,” said Schiffmann. “I break up the defrosted ground beef with a fork since it has usually softened, then I continue the defrost cycle for another minute or two, breaking up any softened, but completely melted parts.”

Schiffmann also said it’s important when cooking or defrosting food in the microwave to keep an eye on food temperature. “When cooking your food, measure several places with a food thermometer to avoid undercooking or underheating,” he said. According to the FDA, a safe final cooking temperature for poultry and ground beef is around 165 degrees Fahrenheit while roasts and steaks are safe around 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

What foods should I cook in my microwave oven?

“Microwave ovens are really poachers or steamers, so those foods that fit that profile do well,” says Schiffmann. “They’re great for cooking fish, vegetables, and chicken, but don’t expect dry foods to crisp or brown.” Any food with high water content does well in the microwave, like potatoes or fresh vegetables, and you can also use them as a shortcut when making boiled foods. For example, you can put dry pasta in a bowl of water and microwave for the cooking time on the pasta package. The pasta will cook perfectly and you don’t even have to wait for the water to boil. 

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The 4 best trash cans we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The best trash can for your kitchen depends largely on where you’ll store it.
  • Step cans are great for kitchens with extra space, while under-counter ones tuck cleanly away.
  • Simplehuman’s Rectangular Step Trash Can is easy to use, opens and closes smoothly, and traps odors.

Shopping for (or using) a trash can isn’t anyone’s favorite chore, but it’s an important task that comes before every household.

We spoke with organizational experts, cleaning professionals, and a bartender with decades of experience. They all agreed that a standalone unit with a tightly sealing lid and a trusty step mechanism is best for most people, and one with a sensor or push-button is best for those who want a more accessible option. However, under-counter units, slimline bins, and sensor-operated cans can all be good options depending on your space and accessibility needs.

We tried five different garbage cans to determine the best, and tested them for sturdiness and rigidity, ease of opening and general use, and when applicable, the effectiveness of a lid at both creating an even and reliable seal and containing smells (within reason).

Remember that keeping trash too long, whether it’s covered or not, will eventually start to attract and incubate any number of pests depending on where you live, and removing particularly noxious items from your house immediately, rather than letting them sit and rot in your kitchen trash bin overnight (or longer) is the best way to keep your kitchen clean.

Here are the best trash cans of 2021

The best overall

Best trash can 2021 Simplehuman rectangular step trash can

If you have the floor space, the Simplehuman Rectangular Step Trash Can, 45L is the sturdiest, tidiest, and best-sealing option we’ve found.

Pros: Heavy-duty stainless steel, neatly sealing lid, smooth operation

Cons: Heavy (if you have to move it), too large for many kitchens

If you’ve got the space and don’t mind the aesthetic of a trash can out in the open (pretty as this one may be, relatively speaking), the best trash bin for keeping your kitchen clean and sanitized is Simplehuman’s Rectangular Step Trash Can (or any of the brand’s step cans that suit your space).

Something we’ve found problematic with other step cans is that the step stops functioning after a time, or the connecting rod between the step and the lid dislodges. While that’s often fixable, it’s also reoccurring, so it’s something you’ll end up having to do regularly.

We haven’t had any such troubles with this bin, and moreover, it is quiet and smooth as can be. We opened and closed it rapidly and repeatedly as long as we could in order to see if we might dislodge anything or initiate an unpleasant noise, but after dozens of tries, it did not produce so much as a squeak.

We also knocked it over a few times to note whether or not anything dented, broke, or separated, but it passed that test, too, though the lid did not stay closed.

These bins come with branded liners (their fancy name for trash bags) that fit snugly, but they’re on the pricey side, so we also tried some budget options. The budget trash bags fit just fine, though it will take just a little coaxing to seal them around the rim and under the lid correctly. All in all, it’s a manageable unit and there are plenty of different configurations on offer by Simplehuman, so pick the one that fits your space best.

Best on a budget

Best budget trash can 2021 Rubbermaid

Affordable but highly sufficient, the Rubbermaid Step-On Wastebasket covers all your needs without breaking the bank.

Pros: Basic, but heavy-duty plastic built to last

Cons: Not as durable as stainless steel

If you want a simple, serviceable trash bin with no frills or flashy stainless steel, Rubbermaid’s plastic Step-On Wastebasket will do the trick. It probably won’t last as long as the more rigid, stainless steel options we recommend, but it’s considerably more affordable, every bit as functional, and much easier to move, should you need to do so.

The lid, which is also plastic and also considerably lighter than the other lids on trash cans we recommend, fits snugly enough, but it’s by no means pet- or pest-proof. It will, however, keep odors at bay much better than a lidless bin.

As for the rest of the design, it’s easy enough to clean, with no troubling nooks or crannies. The pedal is stainless steel, which is much sturdier than a lot of the other plastic bins we looked at, and it’s perfectly well-suited for 13-gallon garbage bags, so you won’t have any trouble finding specific ones fit for it.

Make no mistake about it that this is a plastic budget option and it will not last a lifetime, but if you’re careful enough with it, you’ll easily get your money’s worth.

Best under-counter

Best trash can 2021 Simplehuman Under Counter Pull Out Bin

Robust stainless steel racks and the thick plastic pail(s) mean the Simplehuman Under-Counter Pull-Out Bin can withstand years of use and abuse.

Pros: Strong, easy to install, trash remains out of reach of pets and children

Cons: No lid, requires installation 

Considering space, function, odor containment, and the fact that many of us have two types of recycling (requiring at least three bins in total), the Simplehuman Under-Counter Pull-Out Bin is the most practical setup there is. And, as pretty as some trash bins might be, they are still trash cans, and no one necessarily wants to stare at or navigate around them. An under-counter bin like those from Simplehuman answers all of those problems.

Of course, you do have to dedicate a cabinet to the system, and cabinets come at their own premium, but if you can make it work, it frees up floor space and keeps everything neatly out of sight.

You’ll also have to install a setup like this, but it’s easy (eight screws) and sturdy with commercial-grade ball bearings. I’ve personally been using these bins for years and never had a track or a screw come loose.

There are multiple configurations available for the under-counter setup from a 30-liter trash bin to a 35-liter trash-and-recycling split system, and in my household, we’ve dedicated a two-door cabinet to both systems, which have both served us without fail.

Best for tight spaces

Best trash can 2021 Simplehuman slim open trash can

The Simplehuman Slim Open Can is a great option for under a bar or in a gap between cabinets and walls or appliances.

Pros: Easy access, easy to change bags, fits in tight spaces

Cons: Lidless, heavy (when you have to move it)

If you have a narrower space for your trash bin but still want to fit a typical 13-gallon bag, the 10.7-inch-wide Simplehuman Slim is your best choice. It’s lidless, but because it might be living in a tight spot, you may want that easier accessibility.

The fact that this bin is on the narrow side does make it a little tricky to fit larger items into it without having them spill or hang out, and you might end up getting some splatter and or residue around the edges, but the brushed stainless steel rim is easy to remove and clean when it comes time.

And while again, yes, it’s lidless, it is both heavy and on the taller side, so you won’t have to worry as much about pets or small children finding their way into or tipping it over.

Our methodology

best garbage can 2021 methodology

We tested six bins side-by-side for a week, taking note of ease of use, cleaning, and odor (as much as we could stand it). We also consulted experts including Caitlin Rose of Fresh N Folded, based in Seattle, Washington, and Kaddy Feast, a longtime New York City bartender and the founder of Sorted, a professional home organization service.

While the best bins tended to be large, heavy, and lidded, not everyone has that kind of real estate to dedicate to a trash bin, so we talked through some of the more practical options available with both Rose and Feast, who helped us deduce the best possible categories for most households.

Here’s what we looked for in our top picks:

Ease of use: We used each bin as part of our daily routine for a week, noting how easy and intuitive the trash cans were to use and operate. 

Durability: We pushed over each bin and looked for dents, scratching, or damage. Where lids were applicable, we tested to see how smoothly they operated, and opened and closed them dozens of times to see if we could induce squeaking (or worse). In testing the pull-out bins, we were particularly rough in pulling them in and out in order to see if they might dislodge from their tracks, or if the screws holding them in place would give way, perhaps due to being undersized. 

Cleaning: After the testing period, we cleaned the inside and outside of each bin. The standalone step bins we tested were the hardest to clean because they had the most working mechanisms and therein the most nooks and crannies. Conversely, the bins without lids, including the pull-out (or under-counter) ones, were the easiest because they’re smooth surfaces with no mechanisms, like latches, lids, pedals, or truss rods to work around.

Odor: We also regularly sniffed around each bin during testing, though at the point of a week’s worth of garbage buildup, they all emitted some smell. The ones with lids lasted a couple of days longer before starting to let out the undesirable smells, and the tighter-sealing, heavier-duty stainless steel lid on our top pick, Simplehuman’s Rectangular Step Trash Can, did the best job. The pull-out trash cans were similar to the lidded ones, in that smells were contained within the cabinet.

What else we tested

Best trash cans What else we considered

What else we recommend and why:

Hefty Lockable Step-On Trash Can ($19.97): This trash can was the same price as our budget pick, but much flimsier and the pedal is plastic instead of metal. However, if you’re looking for an affordable trash bin with a lid for tight spaces, this would probably fit the bill.


What we don’t recommend and why:

iTouchless Deodorizer Automatic Sensor Trash Can ($70.54): We also tested the iTouchless Automatic Sensor Touchless trash can, and while the design is great in theory, we find it problematic in several ways. For one, you still have to wave your hand over it, and as one of our experts consultants, Kaddy Feast, noted, “If I’ve got dripping chicken juice on my hand, I’m gonna wave my hand and drip all over the trash can? Don’t think so. And then with some, you’ve got to move out of the way for it to open.”

We also found that the sensor didn’t always work, and that had us worrying that in time, it might not work at all. We’ll continue to try some longer-term testing and continue to keep an eye out for options we’ll recommend, but for now, we say stay away.

Rev-A-Shelf Pull-Out Trash Can ($64.99): We had also previously recommended this trash bin, but against the Simplehuman version we recommend above, it just wasn’t as smooth or as easy to use. Plus, the wire handle was thin and required more effort to reach for and grab.

What we’re testing next

We are currently looking out for touchless options, but also those with a push-button on top. Further, we’ll look to test door-hanging options as well, which are great for smaller households, or simply those that don’t produce as much trash or take out their trash more regularly.

FAQs

best trash cans 2021 FAQs

What is the best trash can for my kitchen?

The best trash can for your kitchen is the one that fits where you want it to fit. We recommend determining where you want to (or can) place your trash can and then looking for something that meets the dimensions and specifications of that space. Yes, one with a tight-sealing, heavy lid would be ideal, but if you don’t have the space, then your options are limited.


What’s the best way to keep pests out of my trash?

The best way to keep pests out of your trash is to purchase a bin with a sealing lid, but again, only if you have a place for it.

Better yet, take particularly odious items out as soon as possible, and don’t store them in your trash. Meat scraps, leftover food, empty food cans (especially pet food cans), and things of that sort should go into a smaller bag, be sealed as best as you can, and taken to your dumpster that night. The less you have in your trash to entice unwanted critters, the less likely it is they’ll choose your home to invade.

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