The 6 best electric and stovetop tea kettles in 2021

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  • The best tea kettles are easy to fill and pour and bring water to a boil quickly and consistently.
  • Our top electric pick has various water temperature settings, a durable design, and an accessible price.
  • While our top stovetop pick features drip-free pouring, large capacity, and other special features.

There’s nothing more comforting than a hot cup of tea, but boiling water and safely pouring it into a mug or teacup is a surprisingly difficult task without a proper kettle. If you want to quickly and easily make boiling water – so you can relax with your tea sooner – you should invest in an electric or stovetop kettle.

Each style has its own merits, and the type you choose comes down to personal preference. Electric kettles are faster and you can heat water to the exact temperature your tea requires. Stovetop kettles have a more classic look and they often whistle loudly to grab your attention.

We’ve included the best of both in our guide, and you can read more about them here.

Here are the best tea kettles

The best electric kettle overall

best tea kettle

The Krups Cool Touch Adjustable Temperature Kettle heats water to the perfect temperature for brewing a variety of teas. It looks sleek and it costs much less than similar kettles.

Pros: Affordable, adjustable temperature settings, easy to use, attractive metal design

Cons: Some users experienced leaking

If you’re serious about your tea and you like to drink all different kinds of tea, you need an adjustable temperature kettle. This 1.7-liter kettle has six preset temperature settings to ensure that you never burn your green tea leaves with scalding hot water ever again.

It’s remarkably easy to select the temperature setting you need with pre-sets for delicate, green, white, oolong, and herbal teas. If you just want black tea, hit “boil” and watch the water go up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit within five minutes or less.  

Believe it or not, using the right temperature is a big deal. Whenever I make green, white, or oolong tea with this kettle, I always set it to the right temperature instead of just hitting the button. The teas’ flavors come out in full force when brewed at the right temperature, and it’s so easy to select the right temperature on the Krups kettle. 

The kettle automatically stops boiling when it hits the temperature you selected or if it runs dry. The kettle will even keep your water warm for a time before automatically shutting off to protect the heating element. 

The kettle is made out of brushed stainless steel, and it looks gorgeous in my kitchen. The kettle jug is unattached, so you can pick it up and pour the water over your tea, oatmeal, or cooking pot without worrying about the length of the cord. The cord is concealed in the base and you can have it as short as you need it to be. 

There’s a big button on the top of the kettle, which pops the lid open when pressed. The handle is big, comfortable, and always stays cool for easy handling and pouring. There is a water window as well, so you can check how much is in there. Krups put the anti-scale filter in the spout of the kettle, and you can remove it if need be.

The best stovetop kettle overall

OXO kettle

If you’re looking for a classic kettle that heats quickly, fills easily, and is simple to pour, the OXO Brew Classic Tea Kettle is an excellent choice.

Pros: Wide bottom for quick heating, easy to fill and pour, large capacity

Cons: Can rust if not properly cleaned

The OXO Brew Classic Tea Kettle has a traditional shape with its wide-bottom body that narrows at the top and a spout that draws from near the bottom of the kettle. More importantly, it has a strong whistle that alerts you when the water is boiling. Once the water boils, you open the spout cover, and the spout offers precise, drip-free pouring.

This kettle is made of high-grade stainless steel that is supposed to be rust-resistant. OXO recommends wiping the kettle down regularly to keep cooking oils from wearing away at the steel. The handle and spout have silicone touch points that resist heat for burn-free use. The handle folds to the side for storage or easy filling. The kettle holds 1.7 quarts, which is a good amount for a big pot of tea.

OXO offers a satisfaction guarantee, so the company will refund or replace your kettle if you are not satisfied for any reason.

The kettle also has a handle that folds out of the way, there’s good interior visibility, and it’s easy to fill thanks to its broad opening.

The best electric kettle on a budget

Secura kettle

The fast-heating Original Secura Stainless Steel Double Wall Electric Water Kettle is about the same price as plastic models, but it’s completely BPA-free.

Pros: Made of durable 100% stainless steel, keeps water warm, shuts off automatically, two-year warranty, easy to clean

Cons: No water gauge to see how much is inside, no variable temperature settings

Sometimes you just want a no-frills appliance that works and comes at an affordable price point. The Original Secura Stainless Steel Double Wall Electric Water Kettle fits the bill as a budget-friendly stainless steel electric kettle that boils water quickly.

It may not have fancy features like variable temperature settings or a water gauge, but it does offer a full stainless steel unibody design and 1500 watts of heating power. The kettle turns off automatically so you don’t boil a dry pot and damage the heating element.

Secura’s kettle is about the same price as cheap plastic ones, but it’s completely BPA-free and no plastic ever touches your water. The stainless steel inner wall is easy to clean after each use, so you can avoid mineral buildup over time. It has a double-wall construction, so the outer layer of plastic stays cool to the touch even as the water boils inside.

As long as you don’t need variable temperatures for tea or want to see the water level inside, the Secura kettle is a real winner — especially at this price point.

The best stovetop kettle on a budget

Cuisinart Kettle

Not only is the Cuisinart Aura Steel Stovetop Tea Kettle inexpensive, it also has a large two-quart capacity that is useful for much more than tea making.

Pros: Limited lifetime warranty, inexpensive, large capacity

Cons: Very loud whistle, can rust without proper cleaning

The Cuisinart Aura is a basic stovetop tea kettle, and sometimes that’s all you need. It gets the job done at a great price point, and if it breaks or rusts, it won’t break your heart.

The Cuisinart Aura features a two-quart-capacity solid stainless steel body — enough for eight cups of tea. The large capacity is also handy for boiling water for oatmeal, instant noodles, or anything else you need to quickly boil water for. This kettle notifies you that your water is boiling and ready with a whistle that increases in intensity. Sometimes it’s a bit too intense and you’ll find yourself running over to the stove to make it stop.

To pour the water, there’s a lever on the handle that you push to open the spout cap, ensuring you’ll never have to put your fingers near hot steam or boiling water to remove a cap. The handle is stationary and made of plastic, and the wide lid allows for easy refilling of the kettle.

To top it off, the entire setup is backed by a lifetime limited warranty.

The best high-end electric kettle

smeg electric kettle

The Smeg ’50s Retro-Style Electric Kettle adds style to any kitchen with its fun old school look, and it’ll heat your water quickly, too.

Pros: Fun 1950s-inspired design, stainless steel, automatic shut off, removable stainless steel filter, water level indicator, lots of color options

Cons: You’re paying for form more than function

Smeg’s ’50s Retro-Style Electric Kettle adds much-needed flair to the traditional kettle with its ’50s color palette and fun design aesthetic. You can get it in multiple color options, including cream, blue, green, red, black, chrome, and pink.

The kettle is made of stainless steel that’s powder-coated for added durability and protection from mineral buildup. If anything goes wrong, Smeg offers a one-year warranty.

Inside, there’s a removable, stainless steel limescale filter that you’ll need to clean every now and then to prevent too much of a deposit from building up. If you have hard water, you’ll have to clean the filter more often. It also has a water level window so you can check how much water is inside.

You are paying a premium for the design, but anyone who loves well-designed appliances or has a retro-inspired kitchen will love this kettle.

The best high-end stovetop kettle

kettle

If you are looking for a stylish tea kettle that heats quickly and stores easily, you will be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel Zen Teakettle.

Pros: Heat-proof handle folds down, loud whistle, can be used with any stove type, including induction

Cons: Expensive, may dribble

The enamel-on-steel body of the Le Creuset Zen Teakettle makes it more resistant to rusting and thus more durable than its counterparts. The kettle holds 1-5/8 quarts of water and has an inverted bowl shape, which helps it heat quickly. The arched handle folds down for storage and filling, and the lid is wide for easy cleaning and filling.

Though the enamel of the kettle is “chip-resistant,” Le Creuset warns that repeated banging may damage the exterior enamel. The Zen Teakettle comes in ten colors, including Marseille, cherry, dune, and palm. Plus, each style comes with a limited five-year warranty.

Additional nice features are its heat-proof handle, loud whistle, and the fact that it can be used on any type of stovetop. However, the price is a bit steep for a kettle.

FAQs

Electric kettles vs. stovetop kettles — which should you buy?

Electric kettles: For real tea fanatics, it can be difficult to get just the right temperature water for your brew, and nuking H2O in the microwave is simply out of the question. That’s where electric kettles come in. They boil water faster than a watched pot on your stove, and the best ones even offer adjustable temperature settings to ensure that the water is just right for your delicate tea leaves.

You can also use electric kettles to boil water quickly for any cause. No matter your needs, it’s good to have a dedicated appliance in your kitchen that boils water quickly.

Stovetop kettles: The hardest part of making tea is remembering that you’re making tea. An electric kettle won’t notify you when the water is ready. Conversely, the whistle of the stovetop kettle demands attention more intensely — you can’t forget you’re making tea with something that whistles

What are kettles made of? 

Most kettles are made of stainless steel, plastic, enamel-on-steel, or some combination of these materials. There are a few glass kettles available, but they receive low marks for performance from both buyers and experts.

Due to research linking bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates to cancer, many people are a little squeamish around kettles made out of plastic, especially since heating plastics can cause chemicals to leach into liquids or foods. However, the plastics that have been shown to cause cancer are used to make clear, hard containers or soft, flexible products. Tea kettles don’t fit into either of these categories.

But, if you are concerned about drinking hot water that has come into contact with plastic, make sure you choose a tea kettle that avoids this problem. Each of the kettles in our guide uses plastic sparingly, but never in the main part of the kettle.

What’s the best way to prevent rust or mineral buildup in your kettle?

Though the name may suggest otherwise, stainless steel tea kettles are susceptible to rusting. The best way to combat this is to regularly wash your kettle and dry it completely. If you do notice rust, fill your kettle with a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water, boil it for a few minutes, empty it, and then wash your kettle per the manufacturer’s specifications. Rusting is less common with enamel-on-steel kettles.

Check out our other tea-lover guides

best travel mugs 4x3
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The 5 best dish drying racks of 2021

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  • A quality dish drying rack effectively separates dishes, is designed for easy water run-off and drying, and is easy to clean.
  • PremiumRacks is our top pick because it’s customizable and can hold more than just dishes.
  • Check out our best dish mats guide, too.

Even if you have a dishwasher, there are some kitchen items that aren’t dishwasher safe. For instance, you should always wash your knives by hand. And, you will extend the life of your cookware by cleaning it with old-fashioned elbow grease.

Aside from bamboo knife blocks and silicone mats, the most popular dish rack materials are stainless steel and hard plastic, though both have their pluses and minuses. Some cheaper brands use stainless steel that may rust, while plastic dish racks are more likely to break. For the most part, you’re unlikely to experience these problems with the dish racks we recommend below.

We rounded up dish racks that are foldable, roll-up, and are ideal for different counter spaces so you can simply wash and dry.

Here are the best dish drying racks of 2021

The best dish drying rack overall

best disk rack

The PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack can hold twice as many dishes as other racks and can be configured in various ways.

Pros: Holds a lot of dishes, several different configuration options, rust-resistant, one-year warranty if ordered on company’s website

Cons: Difficult to assemble

What sets the PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack apart from other racks is its customizability. You can choose where to place the cutting board and three cup holder attachments, microfiber mat, knife and wide utensil holders, and the two drainboards. Also, the top shelf is removable and can be positioned either front to back or side to side. However, the customization can also make it tricky to assemble at first.

Because of the rack’s material, it typically resists rust and other oxidative elements, a plus if you live in a coastal area. Though it can hold many dishes and does a solid job of keeping water off the counter, it may not be fit for smaller kitchens. 

In addition, PremiumRacks offers a one-year warranty on all of its dish racks if you order from the company site.

The best roll-up dish drying rack

best over the sink dish rack

If you’re working with limited counter space, consider using the Surpahs Over the Sink Roll-Up Dish Rack to turn your sink into a drainer.

Pros: Can be stored away when not in use, ideal for small spaces, heat-resistant, non-slip silicone design, lifetime warranty

Cons: Small capacity, may not be able to use the sink while dishes are drying

Let’s face it — dish racks are essential for washing and drying dishes, but most take up more counter space than you’d like. The Surpahs Over the Sink Roll-Up Dish Rack combats this with its flexible design that rolls up for storage.

Surpahs‘ silicone construction keeps the unit slip-free and heat-resistant up to 400 degrees. It’s also easy to clean and stays in place, though you may not be able to use the sink when it’s set up atop your sink. 

For extra protection, Surpahs backs its roll-up dish drying rack with a lifetime warranty when shopping on Amazon or from the company site.

The best foldable dish drying rack

best foldable dish rack

The OXO Good Grips Convertible Foldaway Dish Rack is durable and well-designed to organize dishes, glasses, and flatware. 

Pros: Folds up for easy storage, holders for several different kitchen items, rust-resistant; replacement or refund options with OXO Better Guarantee 

Cons: The side drain spout makes it difficult to expel all water

The feature that sets the OXO Good Grips Convertible Foldaway Dish Rack apart from competitors is that the spout, legs, and side walls fold up for compact storage either vertically or horizontally. The rack has two utensil holders that are divided into three compartments each, which keeps flatware separated for easy organization. There are six slots for standing plates and cutting boards. Finally, there is also an array of tines for cups and glassware. Water drains directly into your sink thanks to its side drainage spout, though its location may make it difficult for all of the water to be expelled.

For people with limited kitchen space, this is a great, versatile option. Additionally, its various compartments fit most items in your kitchen and make it easier to put them away once they are dry.

OXO’s Better Guarantee offers replacement or refund options if you’re not happy with your purchase, too.

The best dish drying rack for small countertops

best small dish rack

With its unique angled design and compact footprint, the Chef’n DishGarden Dish Rack is ideal for smaller kitchens.

Pros: Angled design for easy draining, compact enough to fit in a sink

Cons: Water tends to drip on the counter, limited capacity

The Chef’n DishGarden Dish Rack has a  circular design and angled layout that’s ideal for almost any nook and cranny in your kitchen. There are five legs: two front legs that are an inch high, two middle legs that are 1.5 inches, and a back leg that is two inches. This allows water to drain out of the spout, though the dish rack tends to leave water on your counter space.

The prongs are shorter in the back and longer in the front to give the illusion that the whole unit is flat. As a bonus, the rack is small enough to use in-sink, or you can opt to use it with a drying mat.

The best two-tier dish rack

iSPECLE slide image

The iSPECLE Stainless Steel Two-Tier Dish Rack is a foolproof organizer for holding more dishes without taking up extra space. 

Pros: Space-saving design, rust-resistant, can hold up to 110 pounds, adjustable feet, comes with three water trays

Cons: May be too tall to fit under kitchen cabinets, no warranty

If you’re looking to save space and maximize the amount of kitchenware you can dry at a time, the iSPECLE Stainless Steel Two-Tier Dish Rack is one of our most unique picks. It’s able to hold 17 plates and pots on top and 18 bowls at the bottom.

The drying rack comes with three water trays (one underneath the top tray, one at the very bottom, and one underneath the utensil holder on the side) to ensure no water spills onto your countertops. The easy-to-assemble adjustable feet make it ideal for uneven surfaces, too.

Though it’s a great space saver, it may not fit spaces where overhead cabinets hang lower than usual because of its height. And, though there’s no warranty, it’s durable and built to last.

Check out our other dishwashing guides and roundups

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

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

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

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

Here are the best spurtles

The best overall

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

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

What we like: Versatile set, durable, lightweight

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

The best traditional

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

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

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

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

The best silicone

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

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

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

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

The best bamboo

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

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

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

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

The best colorful

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

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

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

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

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The 6 best reusable shopping tote bags of 2021

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A durable, reusable shopping tote is versatile for groceries, library books, and retail returns, among other errands. Whether stored on your passenger seat or inside your trunk, it’s an easy carrier for your items and will save time otherwise spent unloading too many plastic bags.

Of course, reusable bags have the added benefit of being sustainable. Most are made of nylon or canvas and come in all shapes and sizes. Though they look similar on the surface, there are subtle differences that make some perform better (and last longer) than others. Some, like our top pick, come with their own storage solutions, and others are sturdier than the competition.

Here are the best reusable shopping tote bags of 2021

The best reusable bag overall

bagpodz reusable storage system

The BagPodz Reusable Bag and Storage System comes with multiple nylon shopping bags, a pouch for on-the-go storage, and an affixed clip to attach to your shopping cart.

Pros: Comes with multiple bags, storage pouch, clip for shopping cart, water-resistant material

Cons: Limited designs

The BagPodz Reusable Bag and Storage System comes in a set of five or 10 sustainable, machine-washable nylon shopping bags. They’re ideal for transporting groceries and are especially unique for their compact pouch that holds the bags when you aren’t using them.

Aside from their smart storage, there’s a clip on one end of the pouch that attaches to a shopping cart so you don’t have to juggle bags in the middle of the produce aisle. Each bag holds up to 50 pounds yet can easily be stored in your purse or glove compartment. BagPodz’s material is water-resistant, too, so you won’t have to worry about leaks in the event of a spill. 

The best reusable canvas bag

Duck Bag Canvas Tote copy

The Baggu Duck Bag is a sturdy canvas tote suitable for a variety of lifestyles and purposes.

Pros: Durable, machine washable, multiple handles

Cons: Not as large as some picks

For a reusable, practical, and multipurpose shopping bag, the Baggu Duck Bag is our favorite canvas tote. You could easily take it from the office to the grocery store because it snaps shut, has an interior zipper pocket, and two sets of straps: top handles and shoulder straps.

Despite the deep compartment, its restrictive shape makes it better for smaller runs than your big weekly shopping haul. It will last you a while, too, as the machine-washable, artfully-worn fabrics are thicker and more durable than some of its nylon counterparts. 

The best reusable waxed bag

colony waxed canvas

The Colony Co. Reusable Grocery Bag is a sustainable take on old-school paper bags and will last you for years of grocery trips.

Pros: Durable waxed canvas design

Cons: Only has top straps

The Colony Co. Reusable Grocery Bag is made of waxed material that’s stain-resistant and easy to clean. It’s also vegan, so it’s free of beeswax and leather.  Though not machine washable, the 16-ounce bag is an all-in-one carrier for cereal boxes and baked bread alike.

The brand also sells reusable produce bags, which would make a nice addition to any sustainable shopping routine.

The best reusable bag on a budget

easy fold

Easy Fold Bag’s Reusable Grocery Bags are an affordable set of three nylon bags that conveniently fold for your shopping trips.

Pros: Affordable, machine washable

Cons: Fabric is a little shiny, not as sturdy as other picks

If you’re not looking to splurge, Easy Fold Bag’s Reusable Grocery Bags are a great option. The set comes with three ripstop nylon bags that fold easily. They’re machine-washable, too, so it’s a practical option for your essential items. 

They’re also extremely functional and come in three colors for less than $10.  They aren’t as sturdy as some of the pricier options, but if you’re looking to reduce waste on a budget, the bags’ reinforced stitching should last you a good while. 

The best insulated reusable bag

veno bag slide image

Veno Bag’s Insulated Grocery Bag is a durable, boxy tote that will keep your vegetables and other perishables cool.

Pros: Made with 80% post-consumer recycled material, aluminum covered thermal insulation, can hold up to 30 pounds, flexible fabric sides for odd-shaped items

Cons: May be bulky to carry

For days when you’re hopping from the grocery store to the library to the post office, it’s important for your perishables to remain cool and fresh. The Veno Bag ensures just that with its aluminum-covered thermal insulation, ideal for avoiding unnecessary pit stops home before heading out for other errands.

A novelty feature of this tote is its recyclable fabric sides which allow for simple storage of irregularly-shaped items. Though the box style may make it inconvenient for carrying, the added bonus of temperature regulation doesn’t make it a dealbreaker.

The best large reusable bag

Standard_Baggu_Ripstop_Black 04_170e81d6 99cf 4ae7 8bd4 7a72550e89bc_2048x2048

The Baggu Large Reusable Shopping Bag is great for buying canned goods and other items in bulk, holding up to 50 pounds at a time.

Pros: Holds up to 50 pounds, machine washable, folds into a small square

Cons: Short handles, shapeless

The Baggu Large Reusable Shopping Bag comes in a host of cute colors and patterns, is durable and flexible, and is made of 100% ripstop nylon. Despite its large capacity, it folds down to a neat 7-by-7-inch square for easy storage. 

The material is both thin and strong, too, allowing for hassle-free carrying. And, when you’ve unpacked your goodies, just throw it in your washing machine before its next use. 

Check out our other grocery guides

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The 5 best measuring cups of 2021

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  • Measuring cups are a must for baking and cooking to ensure ingredients are precisely added.
  • Bellemain‘s set is our favorite for dry ingredients, while Pyrex’s set is the most accurate for wet ingredients.

A good set of measuring cups allows for hassle-free baking of your favorite chocolate chip cookies and lemon blueberry muffins alike. We rounded up the best ones with careful attention to both dry and wet ingredients:

For dry ingredients: Cheap plastic sets and flimsy metal ones never last very long – either the handle snaps off or it bends under the least amount of pressure. We recommend you invest in a good sturdy pair of stainless steel measuring cups or thick plastic ones, though the latter won’t last as long.

For wet ingredients: Look for a sturdy set of glass measuring cups. Plastic measuring cups for wet ingredients always seem to get stained, and the plastic can absorb and transmit unwanted flavors to your ingredients. You should also check for metric measurements, comfortable handles, clear marking, and a good spout for pouring the wet ingredients.

We listed our top picks below.

Here are the best measuring cups of 2021

The best overall for dry ingredients

bellemain measuring cups

The Bellemain 6-Piece Measuring Cup Set ensures accurate measurements for your dry ingredients and will last you for years of baking cakes and pastries.

Pros: Durable construction, accurate measurements

Cons: No markings on the insides of the cups, no warranty

The Bellemain Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set is made of stainless steel, and thanks to each cup’s flat bottom, they won’t tip over. Each cup is made with dishwasher-safe stainless steel and I haven’t had any issues with bending or pieces snapping off. I also like how the pieces can be stacked inside each other for easy storage.

All cups include both metric and imperial measurements, which are clearly noted on the handles. While there aren’t markings on the inside of the cups, the six-piece set does cover all the standard measurements: 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, and 1 cup.

The edges aren’t terribly sharp, which is useful for folks without dishwashers (or who just prefer to hand wash their cups). And thanks to the wide handle, you won’t have these measurers slipping out of your hand. Lulu Chang, Former Freelance Writer

Though Bellemain doesn’t offer a structured limited lifetime warranty plan, you can contact the company via its online form

The best overall for wet ingredients

Pyrex measuring cups

The Pyrex 4-Piece Glass Measuring Cup Set is a kitchen staple that is durably-designed and clearly-marked to measure wet ingredients.  

Pros: Durable glass design, doesn’t absorb odors, clear metric and imperial measurements, easy to clean, good spout for pouring liquid ingredients, two-year warranty

Cons: None

When it comes to measuring wet ingredients, there’s only one brand that comes to mind: Pyrex. The company has been making glass measuring cups for wet ingredients for 90 years, and it’s still the top brand among bakers and chefs. The Pyrex 4-Piece Glass Measuring Cup Set is ideal for any recipe with its 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-cup measurers. 

Although these measuring cups are made of glass, they are very sturdy and shouldn’t break easily. The glass is also nonporous, so it doesn’t absorb odors or flavors the way plastic inevitably does, and these cups won’t warp or melt in the presence of hot ingredients. 

Pyrex guarantees that you can pop its measuring cups in the oven, microwave, fridge, freezer, or dishwasher without any problems, so you can get a lot of use out of this set. The company also offers a two-year warranty in case of any defects or problems.

More importantly, though, Pyrex’s measuring cups offer accurate measurements and clear markings in cups, ounces, quarts, and milliliters. The spout pours well without dripping and the handle is comfortable to hold, too.

The best magnetic set

OXO stainless steel measuring cups

The OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups with Magnetic Snaps is an easy-to-use set that measures dry ingredients with great accuracy.

Pros: Sturdy stainless steel, magnetic stacking cups, clear etched markings, sturdy handles, limited lifetime warranty

Cons: No metric measurements

If you don’t want to pay more than $20 for a set of measuring cups, the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups with Magnetic Snaps are your best bet. These durable cups come with excellent grippy handles and clearly etched measurement markings. And, you don’t have to worry about bent or broken handles either, thanks to its thick steel construction.

The handles have magnets inside and, though not terribly strong, they stick together when you stack them (and have enough force to hold the cups in place in your cupboard).

The set comes with 1/4-cup, 1/3-cup, 1/2-cup, and 1-cup measurements, and the only complaint we have with the set is the lack of metric measurements. But, most people won’t need to measure in milliliters, anyway. There’s also a matching set of teaspoons if you want your baking gear to match.

With the OXO Better Guarantee, the brand has you covered with a limited lifetime warranty in case your cups become less sturdy or damaged.

The best on a budget

OXO plastic measuring cups

The OXO Good Grips Plastic Measuring Cups are a comparable yet affordable alternative to other high-end stainless steel sets.

Pros: BPA-free plastic, half measurement lines, comes with a scraper, clear measurement markings, affordable, limited lifetime warranty

Cons: Plastic isn’t as durable, no milliliter markings

The OXO Good Grips Plastic Measuring Cups snap together for easy storage in your cupboard and make it easy to measure dry ingredients for any recipe with clear markings for half and full measurements.

OXO includes a scraper with the cups to level off ingredients as you bake. The measurement of each cup is engraved in the handle and colorful measurements are stamped on the sides. Those marks typically wear off over time, so it’s good that OXO made indelible markings on the handle, too.

The inside of each cup also has a half-measure line for when you need to cut a recipe in half. Like some of our other picks, these cups don’t have milliliter markings but most US buyers won’t need these. And, though the cups are made of plastic, they are BPA-free and relatively sturdy.

And, like our best magnetic set, the OXO Better Guarantee applies to the brand’s plastic set as well. 

The best for scooping

norpro

The Norpro Grip-Ez Stainless Steel Measuring Cups are narrower than most, which makes them perfect for reaching into a jar of sugar or bag of flour without damaging the cup or container.

Pros: Shovel-like shape makes for easy scooping, great grip (for right-handed folks), accurate

Cons: The rubber grip isn’t totally sealed to the handle, which could allow for some buildup; no warranty

Most measuring cups are indistinguishable when it comes to their design, but that’s not the case with the Norpro Grip-Ez Stainless Steel Measuring Cups. Considerably narrower than the other cups you might find, and more closely resembling a large spoon than a cup, I’ve grown particularly fond of this set as it’s extremely useful for scooping dry ingredients.

They perform well in terms of accuracy of measurement, and the “Grip-Ez” aspect of the product’s name comes into play with the rubber coating on the handles, which makes grabbing the cups comfortable. There’s also a small indentation in the handle that allows your pointer finger to rest comfortably as you’re scooping. Be warned though, it’s designed for right-handed folks, and lefties may find the notch a bit less user-friendly.

The Norpro comes in a set of five, so you’ll get 1/8 cup, 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup in your collection. Better still, the 1-cup measure actually features markings on the inside of the cup. Because the rubber grip isn’t completely sealed to the handle, ingredient buildup is possible. Another downside is the product’s lack of warranty coverage, but its two-part steel construction makes it break-resistant. 

Check out our other kitchen guides for baking gear

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The 4 best slow cookers in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Many people like comfort foods, especially during the winter months. Unfortunately, most are time-consuming to prepare and cook. As a result, it’s easy to turn to greasy takeout instead.

But if you’d prefer homemade comfort foods, a slow cooker is the answer for a busy household. This simple kitchen appliance allows you to combine the ingredients in the morning before work, set the cooking time and temperature, and return hours later to a great-tasting, complete meal.

Slow cookers are available in different sizes, with the capacity measured in quarts, usually ranging from one to 10 quarts. Although, sizes of four to six quarts are the most common.

Most slow cookers allow you to cook at low, medium, or high-temperature settings for several hours, and many automatically switch to a warm setting after the cooking time has expired so food won’t overcook. Some advanced slow cookers will even allow you to set an exact cooking temperature and start-time, while others double as pressure cookers. Here are our top picks to fit all your slow cooking needs.

Here are the best slow cookers in 2021

The best overall

the best crock pot overall

The 6-Quart Programmable Cook-and-Carry Crock-Pot is big enough for a crowd with a lockable lid for easy transport and has programmable cooking times.

Pros: Locking lid with gasket, programmable timer, large capacity, stainless steel finish, and modern appearance

Cons: Might cook too hot on low setting

Sometimes, a product is so synonymous with a product category that its brand name becomes a preferred term used in everyday language.

It’s understandable, as Crock-Pot slow cookers were first on the market and have dominated for a long time. The company continues to offer excellent quality slow cookers, including the Crock-Pot Programmable Cook-and-Carry.

You can set cooking times from 30 minutes to 20 hours and leave your worries behind. Just set the timer for your desired cooking time before you head out. The Crock-Pot will cook your dinner, and then automatically switch itself over to the “Warm” setting once the time is up.

The 6-quart capacity is great for larger families and will fit a six-pound roast inside, several pieces of meat along with vegetables, or a whole chicken — and you’ll still have room for carrots and potatoes.

We also like its long timer, modern appearance, handles, and locking lid. That locking lid with a sealing gasket is another fine feature, which prevents spills when traveling with the cooker to a picnic, potluck, or tailgate party.

The Crock-Pot does have the tendency to run too hot on the “Low” setting. Note that both the “Low” and “High” settings of a Crock-Pot reach the same maximum temperature of roughly 210 degrees. It just takes longer to reach the maximum temperature on low. Michelle Ullman and Kyle Schurman

The best high-end slow cooker

all clad slow cooker 4 quart

The 4-Quart All-Clad Slow Cooker with Ceramic Insert looks beautiful on your countertop and cooks everything to perfection without making you do anything.

Pros: Gorgeous, 4-quarts is a good size, decent price, ceramic insert is sturdy, easy to use

Cons: Pricier than some slow cookers

The 4-Quart All-Clad Slow Cooker with Ceramic Insert is the perfect size for cooking meals for a small family or a pork butt for pulled pork. All-Clad is famous for its beautiful high-end stainless steel appliances and cooking utensils, and this slow cooker lives up to the brand’s lofty reputation.

Not only does it look gorgeous on any countertop, but it also works extremely well. The slow cooker is very easy to operate with just a few buttons and no complicated settings. It has a 26-hour programmable timer and warm, low, and high-temperature settings so your food is cooked to perfection.

The removable black ceramic insert and glass lid are easy to hand wash or pop right in the dishwasher. The lid’s handle is made from silicone, so it never gets hot to the touch. You may also leave this slow cooker cooking all day without fear of burning the house down, and will come back to a delicious meal.

I use this slow cooker regularly to make beans, stews, and pulled pork for the meat-eaters in my life. I toss the ingredients in, set the temperature, and let it do its thing while I’m at work or out on the weekends. It makes meals super easy to prepare with minimal effort.

The ceramic insert can break if you handle it too roughly, but if you treat it the way you treat other ceramics like coffee mugs and plates, it won’t — just be careful and don’t smash it against anything.

All-Clad guarantees the slow cooker for two years, so contact the company if you run into problems. — Malarie Gokey

The best programmable slow cooker

best_slow_cookers_ _Fast_Slow_Pro_from_Breville_ _from_Amazon

It’s expensive, but The Fast Slow Pro 6-Quart from Breville successfully slow cooks and pressure-cooks food in one easy-to-use appliance.

Pros: Offers strong pressure cooker and slow cooker functions, eight different slow cooker pre-set modes, excellent build quality, six quarts of capacity works well for many people, large LCD screen is easy to read

Cons: Extremely high price versus other slow cookers, may be too complex for some people

The Fast Slow Pro 6-Quart slow cooker from Breville carries a high price compared to other slow cookers, which means it won’t work for some people. But it justifies the big price tag by offering a multitude of features to cook big meals however you need.

The Breville cooker works as both a pressure cooker and a traditional slow cooker, so you can make just about anything with it. And, by performing the work of multiple appliances, it saves on storage space in the kitchen cabinet.

The Fast Slow Pro makes slow cooking easy with eight different pre-set programmable cooking modes. There’s also a custom time and temperature setting and using the various settings is easy because of the large, clear LCD screen on the side of the unit.

This is a good option for those looking for a multi-use appliance, as it will likely prove too complex for basic cooking needs.

The best mini slow cooker

procter silex slow cooker

If you need a slow cooker that’s better suited for preparing meals for just one or two people, you’ll love the size of the Proctor Silex 1.5-Quart Slow Cooker.

Pros: Small slow cooker is perfect for cooking appetizers for a party, small unit works great in kitchens where storage space is limited, has padded lid and latch strap for transportation, nice size for meals for one or two people

Cons: Will be too small for some families, doesn’t always cook food evenly

Slow cookers often seem like they’re all about cooking big meals for a busy family. But slow cookers don’t discriminate against people cooking for just one or two. The Proctor Silex 1.5-Quart Slow Cooker is a mini slow cooker that’s great for preparing small meals.

This very simple slow cooker includes three temperature settings that are controlled by a knob. The smaller capacity also means a smaller size, which takes up less space in your kitchen than a more traditional slow cooker. This particular cooker is also ideal for an RV, on a large boat, or in other settings with limited storage space.

In addition to meals for one or two, it’s also great for cooking appetizers, dips, sauces, or snacks, and is small enough to carry to a friend’s house. The rubber seal on the lid and the latch strap also helps to prevent spills.

However, it’s worth noting that the Proctor Silex 1.5-Quart slow cooker doesn’t cook as evenly as some larger slow cookers.

Safety considerations for slow cookers

crockpot

Some people are understandably nervous about using a slow cooker, as this appliance is designed to run while no one is home. Others may have a sentimental attachment to the slow cooker grandma used but feel unsure if it’s safe enough by today’s standards.

Before using any slow cooker, read through this list of guidelines and safety measures from NBC News to ensure your unit is safe to use.

  • Clean the base: Keep the portion of the slow cooker with the heating element clean. If a previous recipe has spilled onto the heating element, you need to wipe off the old food and clean it to keep it from burning when cooking the next meal.
  • Electrical cord: Inspect the slow cooker’s power cord carefully. Make sure it hasn’t been melted or frayed. Old slow cookers may have fabric insulation around the electrical cord, which is no longer considered safe.
  • Overcooking: Even on the high setting, slow cookers only reach temperatures of about 250 degrees, so you don’t really have the same concerns about overcooking and burning the food as you might when leaving food unattended in an oven, where temperatures of 350 degrees to 450 degrees are more common.
  • Test the temperature: An older slow cooker may no longer be able to reach a high enough temperature to safely cook raw foods. Test it by filling the slow cooker with room temperature water at least two-thirds of the way. “Cook” the water on the low setting for eight hours and then use a thermometer to ensure the water has reached at least a 185-degree temperature.

Check out our guides to the best Crock-Pots, Instant Pots, and pressure cookers

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The 5 best can openers in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A quality can opener will last you for years or even decades.
  • If you need a new one, the Made in USA Can Opener is our top pick as it’s simple to use and cuts well.
  • We’ve also selected efficient and high-quality electric, manual, and portable can openers.

Can openers are an essential part of every kitchen. Yet, from your dollar store find to high-end options at department stores, there are a lot of terrible can openers on the market. Fortunately, with a little bit of research, you can find a device that is durable, sanitary, and simple to use.

Most can openers also function as bottle cap openers, and some even open large jars. If you’re looking for a device that will serve a variety of purposes, the Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Master Opener and P-38 Can Opener and P-51 Can Opener are great options. But if you’re looking for a solid can opener that does the job, the Made in USA Can Opener is our top pick.

We chose our top picks based on their track record of accurate cutting, reliable performance, and price.

Here are the best can openers in 2021

The best overall

made in usa

The Made in USA Can Opener is a manual can opener with reliable and consistent results. The handles have a grip for comfort and the sharp blades cut cleanly.

Pros: Consistent performance, long-lasting, efficient

Cons: Leaves sharp edges, manual can opener might not be ideal for those with limited mobility

The Made in USA Can Opener features a skip-proof feed wheel, is gear driven, and is made from carbon steel. The gears, wheel, and cutter are all zinc plated and heat treated.

It works like a traditional manual can opener: Press the cutting blade on the top of the can along the lip, hold the thick handle pads, and turn the crank until you have almost completed a rotation. Use a butter knife to flip the lid up. Empty the contents, then press the lid down into the can.

This method of opening cans isn’t ideal for those with limited mobility, but we have an electric option that might suit their needs better.

The best electric can opener

Best_Can_Openers_ _Hamilton_Beach_ _Amazon

When you want to open a can with minimal mess, effort, or little chance for contamination, the Hamilton Beach 76606ZA Smooth Touch Can Opener is a smart choice.

Pros: Easy to use, leaves smooth edges, works for cans of all sizes, strong magnet

Cons: Requires electricity, might have trouble with thick-rimmed cans

For those who want or need a can opener that requires little effort, an electric one is a good option. This one from Hamilton Beach operates with just the press of a button.

To operate, you just press the large ergonomic lever until the can has made a complete rotation. The magnet holds the can in place as it cuts along the sides instead of the top, so the lid won’t fall into the food. The cut leaves smooth edges, and the blade of the opener, which can collect harmful microbes if you don’t wash your cans, doesn’t make contact with the food, either.

The best ergonomic can opener

Best_Can_Openers_ _OXO_ _Amazon

When you have to open several cans to cook a meal, the OXO SteeL Can Opener‘s large ergonomic knob means you won’t tire out.

Pros: Feels comfortable in your hands, long track record

Cons: Hard to clean, the handle may slide

What sets the OXO SteeL Can Opener apart from the other models on this list is the large, soft turning knob. The large-size makes it more ergonomic than other manual can openers, and the grips are helpful if you’re operating the opener with wet hands too.

The opener is made of sleek stainless steel. The blade is sharp and makes cutting easy to manage, and there is also a handy built-in bottle cap opener.

The best versatile can opener

Best_Can_Openers_ _Kuhn_Rikon_ _Amazon

If you want to streamline the number of tools in your kitchen, the Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Master Opener opens cans, jars, bottles, and more.

Pros: Performs a variety of tasks, leaves smooth edges, dishwasher safe

Cons: Requires reading a manual, knob is hard to turn

The Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Master Opener opens pop-tops, cans, pull tops, jars, and bottles. Like the Hamilton Beach model, this device is a side cutter that does not come in contact with the can’s contents.

Unlike the Hamilton Beach or Made In USA models though, this can opener is not intuitive to use and would require reading the manual.

To use this opener, you should place the tool on top of the can with the two half circles lined up with the can’s rim. Once you twist the knob, the opener will grip the lid and cut. You will feel less resistance after a full circle. You should stop at this point and remove the top using the mini-pliers push button. If you try to do more than one revolution, you may get slivers or burrs of metal in your food.

The best compact can opener

Best_Can_Openers_ _US_Shelby_Co_ _Amazon

If you’re preparing for stuff to hit the fan or just want an easy way to open cans while backpacking, the P-38 Can Opener and P-51 Can Opener are inexpensive and lightweight options.

Pros: 75-year track record, compact, inexpensive

Cons: Works slowly, requires a little elbow grease, leaves sharp edges

Though it is not an official US Army-issued item, the P-38 and P-51 can openers have been used by our armed forces since they were first introduced in 1942. Nicknamed the “John Wayne” and manufactured by the US Shelby Co. in the United States, these can openers get their name for how long they are. The P-38 is 38 millimeters long and the P-51 is 51 millimeters (or about 2 inches), and both are popular among survivalists and veterans. 

These durable slabs of steel fit on a keychain. There are many websites devoted to celebrating this can opener, and the list of uses is virtually endless. US Shelby advertises the P-38’s ability to clean fingernails, clean grooves, open cans, open seams, screw drive, and cut items.

For can opening, you rotate the cutting edge 90 degrees from the stowed position. You then hold the can opener with the blade directed downward and rotate the can with your other hand as you cut the lid off.

The P-38 takes about twice as long to open cans as their cranking counterparts, and there appears to be a little bit of a learning curve and a need for elbow grease. Yet, once you get the hang of using this can opener you’ll appreciate its simple but useful design. 

FAQs

How should I clean my can opener?

Keeping your can opener clean and free of rust is imperative as a dirty or rusty opener can create unsafe food conditions. We recommend wiping your can opener down with a cloth and hot water or vinegar to clean it. It is best practice to clean your can opener immediately after using it. 

What should I look for in a can opener?

With so many options out there, it can be hard to pick a can opener that is both easy to use and good quality. First, we recommend assessing your kitchen counter space. If your counters are cramped, your best bet will be a manual can opener that can fit nicely into a utensil drawer. If you have more space and prefer a more hands off approach, an electric can opener is a great option. Many can openers have multiple functions, such as being able to open jars and other items, so it can also be helpful to think about what you would like to use your can opener for before purchasing. 

When using manual openers, a good grip ensures that you can open cans quickly and efficiently.  The handle grips on your can opener should always be comfortable to use, even if you have to open several cans at once. So when looking to purchase a new can opener, make sure that the handle grips feel comfortable in your hands. 

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The 5 best kitchen faucets in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

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

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

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

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

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

The best overall

Delta Faucet Leland Single Handle Kitchen Sink Faucet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best on a budget

WEWE Single Handle High Arc Brushed Nickel Pull out Kitchen Faucet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best touchless faucet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best pull-out faucet

MOEN Brantford faucet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best commercial-style faucet

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

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

Pros: Sturdy, magnetic locking arm, high quality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to consider when shopping for a kitchen faucet

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

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

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

Check out our other kitchen buying guides.

LG dishwasher
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The 9 best bamboo steamers in 2021 for cooking dumplings, buns, fish, and more

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Steam cooking is a healthy, fast, and gentle way to prepare a variety of foods.
  • The design and functionality of bamboo steamers, used for over 5,000 years, have stood the test of time.
  • We found a range of bamboo steamers in various sizes and constructions to best suit your needs.

Steam cooking is, in and of itself, virtuous. A method that requires no fat, minimal time, and allows the purity of the ingredients’ flavors to shine through while retaining maximal nutrients, this thousands-years-old technique works by enveloping your ingredients in a cloud of vapor and gently bringing it up to temperature in what is, essentially, a moist oven. This results in a faster cooking time without loss of tenderness. And even better, it’s a hands-off method since peeking leads to loss of steam.

Steaming food is easy enough with any pot and vented basket, but if your goal is pillowy mantou buns, juicy stuffed bao, tender dumplings in semi-translucent wrappers, flavorful whole fish, and tender-crisp vegetables in batches big enough to feed the family, a traditional Asian bamboo steamer is an affordable investment you’ll want to make.

While purists and microwave steamers prefer all-bamboo construction, there is also a case to be made for bamboo steamers reinforced with stainless steel. The standard size for bamboo steamers is 10 inches, but smaller and larger ones are available. You’ll need a large pot, deep pan, or preferably a wok to insert your bamboo steamer into unless you also buy a steamer ring. For more info on bamboo steamers, jump to the bottom of this guide.

Here are the best bamboo steamers

The best overall

Hcooker 3 Tier Kitchen Bamboo Steamer with Double Stainless Steel Banding slide
Available in four sizes and sets of up to three tiers.

Handsome double-banded construction makes the Hcooker 3-Tier Bamboo Steamer a durable set you’ll have for years.

What we like: Steel reinforcements for fragile points, handcrafted, won’t warp or split over time

If you’re looking for a solid set of steamers that merges contemporary improvements with traditional craftsmanship, this triple-decker made of local-to-producer Moso bamboo will do the trick. Not only do its stainless steel bands look sharp, but they also provide function, sealing off the fragile top and bottom rims to keep them from splitting or scorching, respectively. They also support the form of the steamers so that they hold their uniform shape and nest perfectly and retain heat.

While bamboo steamer purists prefer versions without reinforcing metal due to the potential transfer of a metallic taste to the food, it’s of note that commercial dim sum restaurants often opt for models like this without any worry about negative impact on the quality of their dishes. Additionally, the Hcooker brand has been hand-making bamboo steamers since 1097 — so it’s pretty safe to assume they know what they’re doing. Plus, rare availability in marginally different sizes (7.1, 8.3, 9.4, and 10.6 inches at 1.5- to 1.7-inch depth) make it easy to find the right fit for your existing cookware.

The best starter kit

Prime Home Direct 10 inch Bamboo Steamer Basket
Better than average depth lets beginners experiment more freely.

A great value, Prime Home Direct 10-inch Two Tier Bamboo Steamer Baskets come with everything you need to start steaming but the food itself.

What we like: Easy for beginners, includes extras like chopsticks and liners 

Novices itching to get started on their steaming adventure right away will find everything they need in this value-priced kit, which also makes this an ideal gift set for the foodies in your life. A generous 50-count of steamer liners means not having to think about placing another order before you clear 25 double-stacked meals. The set even comes with two sets of chopsticks and a sauce dish.

The versatile three-inch depth also gives you more wiggle room for things like buns and vegetables. In fact, it’s as much as twice as accommodating as other competitive models, which allows for more room for experimentation as you figure out what you’ll be cooking most in your bamboo steamer. Plus, its even, uniform slats are easy to keep clean.

Although we’re recommending this in the standard 10-inch size, this is also our top choice for the 12-inch for those who are ready to take on bigger batches.

The best eco-friendly set

Annie’s Kitchen Premium 10 Inch Handmade Bamboo Steamer Basket
All its added accessories from liners to dumpling press are also earth-conscious.

Organic bamboo is only the start of Annie’s Kitchen Premium 10-inch Handmade Bamboo Steamer Basket that comes with a dumpling maker, reusable liners, and more.

What we like: Everything in the kit sustainably made, environmentally friendly, reusable, comes with included extras

Bamboo steamers are already highly sustainable cooking tools, but this set kicks it up a notch admirably. Not only is this handmade, open-weave, two-tier basket made of ethically sourced bamboo, its bonus accessories are also earth-conscious. The four reusable cotton liners are unbleached and eco-friendly, and the dumpling press and spoon are made of wheat straw, a non-toxic plasticine material that degrades at a similar rate to paper when disposed of. Everything in the kit is BPA-free, and the steamer itself is free of glue, chemicals, and odor. Two sets of chopsticks complete the kit and get you dumpling-ready, from “make” to “ate.”

The best set with a steamer ring

Bisou du Nord 10” Bamboo Steamer Basket Cooking Set   2 Layers
This is a great value since steamer rings can cost as much as steamer baskets.

You don’t have to buy a new pot, pan, or wok for your steamer — an included steamer ring adapts what you have to accommodate the Bisou du Nord Bamboo Steamer Basket Cooking Set.

What we like: Easy to use, includes plenty of liners, anti-warp basket bodies, steamer ring adapter lets you use existing cookware

For those short on storage space or who may not have big cooking vessels, a steamer ring is a must-have. This set’s greatest value — notwithstanding the inclusion of 50 paper liners — is in the inclusion of a stainless steel adapter designed to fit seven to 10.5-inch pots. This rim handily holds your bamboo steamer tower well up above your cookware and the water bubbling merrily within, eliminating any risk of scorching the baskets and stinking up your food, as well as preventing the metal bands from scratching up any nonstick finish.

Like the Hcooker steamer above, stainless steel bands help protect these handmade steamer baskets from warping. The key difference is that the placement of them does not protect against layer separation at its vulnerable edges as the Hcooker version does. However, their exclusively external placement lowers the risk of any metallic flavor leaching in.

The best hand-tied rack

Mister Kitchenware 10 Inch Handmade Bamboo Steamer
A tight, double-woven lid retains steam better and holds its dome shape longer.

All-bamboo construction makes the Mister Kitchenware 10-Inch Handmade Bamboo Steamer a viable option for the stovetop or microwave.

What we like: Wide slats held together with bamboo thread, reinforced lid, efficient cooking

This handmade tower takes basic, traditional techniques and improves upon them from top to bottom. For the former, a tight weave and cross-dome reinforcement seals in even more of that powerful steam; for the latter, hand-tied slats in the base of each basket allow more steam to pass through than more contemporary smooth cut strips.

Best of all, because there are no metal components, you can use it in your microwave as well as on the stove. With a 2.5-inch depth, the capacity is more than generous for either use. Two pairs of chopsticks, a sauce dish, and 10 liners round out this steamer set, an accessory that’s extra important with hand-tied racks. Because they’re fastened with bamboo lashings, there’s more of an opportunity for food to get caught in them, so don’t be shy about using these liners up before switching to a (literally) greener option like cabbage or lettuce leaves.

The best stylish

Bamboo Steamer Basket 10 Inch  Two Tier
A striking, non-traditional vertical slat exterior sets this apart from the standard look.

A streamlined, contemporary exterior belies premium updates and sturdy construction in the Bamboo Steamer Basket 10-Inch Two-Tier.

What we like: Sleek design, classic elements with a modern twist, form and function 

Unique and distinctive, bamboo steamers are already often a conversation starter when brought to the table. However, this set ups the ante with its bold and modern take on the classic construction. In this design, traditional features get a premium, updated facelift, resulting in a handsome bamboo steamer that goes from kitchen stove to tabletop without missing a beat.

Its vertical slat façade is a departure from the double-tied or single strips, and sturdier, too, with less likelihood of splintering since they’re not thin and shaved down. They’re held together securely with stainless steel supports that wrap fully around the delicate top and bottom rims of the baskets. These serve double duty as reinforcement for the weakest points of bamboo steamers, increasing the longevity of your purchase. It comes with equally long-lasting, reusable silicone liners cut into a mesh design fine enough for you to even steam rice in.

The best 6-inch

Joyce Chen 3 piece Bamboo Steamer
Unlike the larger 12-inch of this brand, this smaller version does not use glue.

If you’re looking to recreate that dim sum restaurant vibe, the Joyce Chen 3-Piece Bamboo Steamer is the one to get. 

What we like: Better made than its oversized counterpart, dim sum cart-sized, ideal for smaller households

Whether your goal is to set more small steamers with a bigger variety of food merrily vaping away a la dim sum restaurant or simply to feed fewer folks, cute six-inch steamers may be the right call for you. This is surprisingly more solid than the 12-inch big-batch version by this manufacturer, as that one is held together with glue and this is kept intact more durably with bamboo twine.

The lid is also well supported since it’s woven twice and tightly. Flat, uniform bamboo slats keep the cook surface smooth and even, which is important when you don’t have a lot of interior space to work with since you don’t want your food toppling over, especially when smaller dim sum specialties are often saucy and steamed in a shallow bowl within the bamboo steamer.

The best 8-inch

REISHUNGER Bamboo Steamer
This steamer boasts an extra-tight mesh weave in the lid.

For something in between big and small, the REISHUNGER Bamboo Steamer Traditional 2-Tier Design‘s eight inches is an ideal diameter, splitting the difference between the two standard sizes.

What we like: Just right for dinner for two, 100% bamboo, handmade

Six inches can feel too small and 10 is the dimension needed to make a family meal. Those are the most common sizes, but one size clearly doesn’t fit all. The two inches you gain or lose can make a difference in terms of eyeballing an appropriate batch size, proper packing density of ingredients, and storage when all is said and done. This basic set fits perfectly in the middle, a happy medium. It’s also held together with bamboo twine, as opposed to copper wire or metal bands, making it microwave-safe.

It comes with two breathable, reusable cotton cloths to use as liners, with a weave fine enough to allow you to use one tier to cook rice without losing a grain.

The best wood steamer

Hcooker Deepen 2 Tier Kitchen Wood Steamer
A bamboo lid and traditional design keep this steamer close to its roots.

For a visual profile more luxurious than bamboo but just as carefully handcrafted, try this Chinese cedar design from Hcooker.

What we like: Remains true to its heritage with regionally specific material and construction technique, available in nine sizes

This riff off our best overall pick (also by Hcooker, whose makers boast over a thousand years of expertise in steam cooker manufacture) is a bold choice for its use of fragrant Cryptomeria fortunei, a cedar-type derivative of the cypress family. Handmade in 81 steps, same as its bamboo counterparts, this version has a lovely rich, darker color not naturally found in bamboo. Because they’re created to preserve this natural hue, you may luck out and get a two-tone batch for even more visual interest.

However the inside base is still bamboo, which is unfailingly the best platform for steam cooking, as is the lid, which is reinforced with a double-deck weave. Other practical details include a stainless-capped edge that protects the top only and helps with flush stacking; a deeper capacity than their standard model, which does not have the metal trim; and nine available diameters in up to three-tier bundles.

About bamboo steamers

What is a bamboo steamer?

If you’ve ever been to a Chinese dim sum restaurant, you’ll know exactly what we’re referring to: those straw-colored round baskets, darkened with varying levels of absorbed moisture stacked precariously one atop the other in carts filled with hot water. Most of all, you’ll need no convincing as to why this kitchen tool has enjoyed over 5,000 years of popularity without much evolution. To this day, they’re made with skinned bamboo that’s softened into pliability then shaped into a circle and held permanently in place with bamboo nails or lashings. The bases are slatted to allow steam to rise and cook the food, the containers nestling into each other until you reach the top level — however high you choose to make it — where a dome-shaped, tightly woven lid seals the vapor in.

Why you should use a bamboo steamer

Although fast-cooking metal steamers are commonly available, many Asian cooks still choose the old-fashioned models due to their ability to absorb moisture — which reduces the problem of condensation dripping down and making your dish soggy — and to avoid imparting any metallic taste or overcooking due to higher heat retention. And while rice cookers also provide a steam function, the ability to stack bamboo steamers and effortlessly batch cook also keep folks loyal to the old ways, even if these baskets don’t last as long. However, they’re environmentally friendly, highly sustainable, and inexpensive, reducing the footprint of their replacement on the earth and your wallet.

How to use a bamboo steamer

To use a bamboo steamer, you don’t need much: just something to line it with and cookware large enough to accommodate it and a couple of inches of water with enough clearance that boiling bubbles won’t touch the base. Any wide, deep pan or pot will do, but a wok is best if you have one—the curve of its bowl will hug the steamer and keep the bottom from scorching, as is more likely in a pot of pan due to the base’s prolonged direct contact with it. As for linings, you can buy specially made perforated liners cut to typical bamboo steamer sizes; parchment, wax, or baking paper; or cabbage, lettuce, lotus, banana, or pandan leaves, the latter three of which may also impart their flavors.

What to consider when buying a bamboo steamer

When purchasing, be sure to choose BPA-free high-quality bamboo and look for wider slats for better steam flow and hand-woven lids, which often boast a tighter weave for better steam entrapment. You’ll also want to veer toward models joined with bamboo wick or stainless steel strips, and not glue, which may melt, or copper, which can corrode. All of our picks fit these construction criteria.

As for size, two tiers in a 10-inch diameter is typical and will serve the needs of most households for many years with proper care. That means allowing your steamer to properly air out for at least two days before storing it, and avoiding contact with strong odors it may absorb, such as dish soap or a scorched base.

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The 5 best blenders in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • When selecting a blender, you’re going to want one that’s powerful enough to do any job you need.
  • The Calphalon Auto-Speed Blender is our best pick as it has a  powerful motor, is affordable, and is easy-to-use.
  • We also recommend other blenders that have powerful motors, rival professional models, and more.

A blender seems like a simple kitchen tool, and for the most part, it is. Blenders give you a variety of settings to help you achieve the consistency you need for a particular recipe. And even if you don’t use it specifically for cooking, a blender is essential when you want to whip up, say, kale smoothies or homemade vanilla milkshakes.

Although blenders all seem to perform the same tasks, a good blender has a powerful motor, and can handle blending everything from frozen drinks and smoothies to fruits and vegetables. A blender is a great investment if you enjoy having smoothies frequently, make a lot of dips and sauces, or if you simply would like some help prepping and chopping ingredients while cooking. We tested several blenders and recommend the following options due to their power, affordability, and versatility in blending several kinds of foods.

Here are the best blenders in 2021

The best blender overall

calphalon blender

True to its name, the Calphalon Auto-Speed Blender automatically senses the correct speed for the ingredients you’re blending and can be used for smoothies, dips, and milkshakes.

Pros: 1100-watt motor that automatically senses ingredients and adjusts for best results, four preset functions, 10 adjustable speeds, easy to clean, features durable stainless steel blades, comes with a Blend-N-Go jar for added convenience

Cons: Lid that goes with smoothie cup is slightly awkward to use

The Calphalon Auto-Speed Blender has four preset functions, 10 adjustable speeds, and a 1100-watt motor that automatically senses the thickness of your ingredients. 

I put the Calphalon Auto-Speed through its paces, and it’s held up well to daily use, resulting in thick, silky smoothies. It do much more than make smoothies, however, which makes it a great multi-purpose tool to have on your kitchen counter. The pulse feature allows for food prep and chopping — and makes great salsa. There are also four preset functions for dips, milkshakes, frozen drinks, and smoothies as well as adjustable speeds for more hands-on control.

I especially like the addition of the reverse pulse button which helps pull the ingredients further down into the blade if necessary to prevent any jams, resulting in a smooth blend. The 6-point stainless steel blades are durable and easy to clean thanks to the way they’re angled.

Presets and speeds are controlled by a dial on the front that’s clearly labeled, and you can start, pause, pulse and reverse pulse at the push of a button. The easy to read digital interface shows you how long you’ve been blending, or counts down to the finish if you choose to use one of the presets.

Each part of the blender that attaches to the base is also dishwasher safe for further convenience. I’ve cleaned each of these parts in our own dishwasher multiple times with no issue.

When blending, you can either use the 2-Liter pitcher for larger quantities, or the convenient 25-ounce Blend-N-Go Jar for single-serving-sized smoothies and drinks. While I liked using the Blend-N-Go Jar, I did find the drinking lid that comes with it slightly awkward to use. It prevented any spills, but the attached cap was sometimes more of a nuisance than anything else. — Kylie Joyner

The best blender on a budget

blender

The KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender is a solid, affordable blender that can make soups and smoothies easily.

Pros: Sturdy, affordable, makes good smoothies, decent motor, five speeds

Cons: Not as powerful as others

Although you certainly can spend hundreds of dollars on a blender, you don’t have to if you only want an occasional smoothie, soup, or blended dessert. I’ve owned the KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender for several years, and it’s still going strong.

The Die Cast Metal Base is sturdy, so it doesn’t shake as it blends, which is something that a lot of cheap blenders tend to do. Although it’s not as powerful as many of the blenders in our guide, the KitchenAid has a perfectly capable motor that helps the stainless steel blades blend just about anything with little effort.

KitchenAid’s Intelli-Speed Motor Control tech ensures that ingredients are blended equally. The 56-ounce BPA-Free pitcher is easy to clean, as is the two-piece lid. Years of use haven’t harmed the sturdy plastic pitcher or the lid, which still fits snugly. — Malarie Gokey

The best high-powered blender

blender

The Ninja Professional Blender delivers plenty of power to crush ice and blend a variety of ingredients to create perfect smoothies every time.

Pros: Perfect option for creating smoothies at home, good price point, offers many different kinds of blending options, works to crush ice, blends many kinds of foods successfully

Cons: Unit’s lid can be difficult to clean, blades are sharp when you take blender apart for cleaning

If you’re looking to create great-tasting smoothies at home, you’ll want a blender with plenty of power to ensure the ingredients are well mixed and delivered at the desired texture. The Ninja Professional Blender has the features needed to pulverize ice and create the highest quality smoothies possible.

It boasts 1,100 watts of power with three speeds, a pulse setting, and a single-serve function. Ninja also includes two 16-ounce to-go cups so you can take your breakfast smoothie with you. The blender’s 72-ounce pitcher is a good size and it has a form-fitting lid and a nice big handle.

Guides Editor Les Shu has seen the Ninja in action. The multiple sharp blades that run up the core of the blender cup, while befitting of the Ninja name, look both frightening and ridiculous. When it’s running, the blender is jet-engine loud. But it did a terrific job cutting through ice and fresh pineapple for piña coladas.

Indeed, the Ninja blender does a great job with all kinds of blending needs, including crushing and pureeing for smoothies. It’s the perfect choice for people who don’t want to invest in our top pick but still need a powerful blender.

As for downsides, the Ninja blender is difficult to take apart and clean, in large part because of the sharpness of the blades. The lid also has some crevasses that are tough to clean properly. But otherwise, this is a great pick. — Kyle Schurman

The best professional-style

Screen Shot 2018 07 23 at 2.53.02 PM

The Vitamix Professional series 750 offers everything you need in a blender, and its proven longevity makes it worth the price.

Pros: Consistent, powerful motor, strong blades stay sharp, 7-year warranty

Cons: Price tag

We know this is a lot to spend on a blender, or anything, really. But if you want the most consistent consistency, and you use your blender on a daily basis, it’s easily justified. When you go to a smoothie shop, you’re probably paying well over $5 per drink, and if you do so even two or three times a week, that adds up (I’m a writer, so I’ll let you do your own math).

The Vitamix 750 is a professional-grade, 1440-watt blender built to last the better part of a decade, and Vitamix’s 7-year warranty is enough to attest to that. Sure, you may have some 20-year-old anvil of a thing living on your counter that still works, more or less, but I’ll bet your smoothies turn out to be laden with large, blade-neglected chunks of your chosen fruits. I’ll also bet it’s not the prettiest thing in your kitchen, either.

The Vitamix 750 has 10 speeds as well as four automatic settings for smoothies, hot soups, frozen desserts, and purées. These settings allow you to walk away from the blender while the automatic drive on the blender assesses the power and speed needed to acquire the proper consistency of your desired dish.

For those who use their blender only every so often but still demand perfection, the Vitamix 5200 is of comparable quality, just with a less technical interface and no automatic drive for setting your blender to smoothie mode and walking away. — Owen Burke

The best vacuum blender

breville the super q z

The Breville Super Q Blender isn’t inherently a vacuum blender, but together with Breville’s Vac Q attachment, it becomes one of the best.

Pros: Extremely powerful, versatile, automatic shut off/hands-free

Cons: Expensive, not as easy to manually operate as a Vitamix if you’re getting technical

Breville’s Super Q Blender is a great blender on its own, but when you add the VacQ attachment to it, it becomes a vacuum blender and removes all air from your concoctions.

An 1800-watt motor that drives steel blade tips at 186 miles per hour; it’s a remarkable feat of technology for blending (and nearly juicing) just about anything you can get your hands on. The Super Q also has five programmed presets for easy use.

Insider Reviews editorial director Ellen Hoffman and I set up shop at Insider Reviews Headquarters (otherwise known as our office kitchen) where we stuffed the Breville Super Q with every fruit and vegetable we could get our hands on. We ended up with a host of perfectly consistent, sometimes strange-tasting concoctions (through no fault of Breville).

Two things impressed me about this blender in comparison with the Vitamix. First, the Super Q is unbelievably quiet. We were able to carry on with a conversation at normal volume while the motor was whirring away somewhere between a whisper and a barely vocal growl. This is, far and away, the quietest, albeit most powerful blender I’ve ever put to use. 

What really makes the Super Q a solid buy, however, is the Vac Q, which, unfortunately, comes separately. That’s my only gripe with this machine so far. A small-handled vacuum about the size of a coffee mug that you place over the top of the pitcher or smoothie cup, the Vac Q pulls as much air out of the container as would seem possible. This process creates such a tight seal on the lid that it’s almost impossible to open without using the depressurizing cap, which reduces oxidation and bubbles.

In short: It makes your juice taste better and last longer. The more foam and froth in juice, or anything you’re blending, the more nutrients you lose. Sure, there are many reasons we drink juice, but most of us are taking nutrition into account, too. — Owen Burke

Breville Vac Q Attachment

Breville Super Q Blender

The best personal blender

breville boss to go sport

For the smoothest smoothies, shakes, and juices, the powerful Breville Boss To Go Sport is your go-to personal blender.

Pros: Powerful, blends ice and harder foods, two travel cups and lids

Cons: Only one speed

The Breville Boss To Go Sport is a perfectly sized blender for on-the-go smoothies in the morning or smaller blending jobs. But don’t let its compact form-factor fool you: This is a powerful 1000-watt blender that can pulverize ice and hard fruits.

Besides the powerful motor, the Boss To Go Sport uses what Breville calls a Kinetix blade. The unique curved design of the four blades helps to create smoother foods — great for silky smoothies and shakes, not so much if you like chunky guacamole. And it does things fast, which is great if you’re short on time in the morning.

The blender comes with two travel cups and lids, one 23-ounce and one 15-ounce. There’s only one speed, however. But like all Breville products, the Boss to Go Sport looks industrial-sleek. 

The Boss To Go Sport is pricey, but like many Breville products, we believe it’s a good investment and it’s backed by great customer service. You can purchase personal blenders at half the price (or more) of the Boss to Go Sport, like those from NutriBullet. However, in our experience, NutriBullets are notorious for leaking and their motors tend to blow out too easily. — Les Shu

What to look for in a blender

Here’s what we look for in a great blender:

  • Power: The motor is the most important part of any blender, and the higher the wattage, the better the performance. Always get a blender with a motor that’s more than 500 watts. If you want to make frozen drinks, you may need one with 1,000 watts of power.
  • Blades: Some blenders have blades made for solid objects like ice, while others are better equipped for blending softer foods. Stainless steel blades are best.
  • Size and materials: We look for durable, wide blender jars with tight-fitting lids. 

Types of blenders

There are a few different types of blenders, each with its own unique features: conventional, multi-function, personal, and immersion. 

  • Conventional: A conventional blender is the most common type for use in your home kitchen; it can perform a variety of functions from making soup to blending smoothies.
  • Multi-function: Multi-function, professional-style blenders have powerful motors and are often used in restaurants. F
  • Personal: These small appliances make single servings and may run from a battery for portability.
  • Immersion: These stick-like handheld blenders can be placed directly into a pot or other container to puree soups, sauces, and smoothies. We left immersion blenders (also called hand blenders) off of this list because they have their own comprehensive buying guide, which you can check out here.

Check out our other small appliance buying guides

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