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Whether you're interested in everyday products, need some new small appliances, or are planning a kitchen remodel and need new major appliance, our review of the top kitchen products will come in handy. And take a trip back through time with our 75th-anniversary looks at coffeemakers and French-door refrigerators.
Most blenders can whip up a smoothie, but these models will also crush ice for frozen cocktails, purée vegetables into hearty soups, and even grate cheese. Don't be swayed by blenders with high watts or umpteen speeds.
If you're a coffee connoisseur, you'll appreciate the superior brewing performance these models offer. Programmable units let you wake up and smell the coffee, while a small-batch setting adjusts water flow to maintain flavor.
This is a tale of two types. These conventional models stand out for their shorter cycle times, quiet operation, or features such as adjustable racks that streamline loading. Dishwasher drawers didn't clean as well and don't necessarily use less water than regular dishwashers did in our tests.
Chest freezers offer the most storage for the money, but retrieving food can be a dive into the great unknown (hanging bins help). Uprights offer better access and organization in a smaller footprint, in exchange for less usable capacity. If you don't mind de-icing on your own, manual-defrost freezers are quieter and use less energy than self-defrosting units. But upright versions had trouble keeping door shelves as cool as the interior.
Whether you're cooking from scratch, heating leftovers, or defrosting meat, these are able multitaskers. Midsized or large countertop models need at least 3 square feet of counter space. Over-the-range units don't deliver powerful venting.
Starved for time? Manufacturers have added timesaving technologies such as high-powered burners and elements to speed up cooktop heating. In the oven, convection fans trim roasting and baking times.
The French-door revolution continues: Those once-pricey models (featuring two refrigerator doors on top and a freezer drawer below) can now outperform many top-freezers and side-by-sides, often for the same money. Regardless of type, the following models combine precise temperature control, efficiency, and convenience, distinguishing themselves among the hundred-plus units we've tested.
The best toasters brown evenly from light to dark with almost every batch. And they do the job in about half the time as the fastest toaster ovens, unless you're feeding a crowd. Then a toaster oven's six-slice capacity will save time.
A first-rate water filter will not only improve the taste and clarity of water but also remove lead and other contaminants without clogging quickly. Carafes are inexpensive and portable, faucet-mounts install easily, and countertop and undersink units filter larger volumes of water.
The Best & Worst
Architect Series KHM920A[CS]
|Hamilton Beach 6-Speed 62695V|
The KitchenAid Architect Series KHM920A[CS] (left), $80, produced fluffy meringues, whipped cream quickly, and even made short work of cookie dough. The Hamilton Beach 6-Speed 62695V cost just $20, but it made a racket and was the slowest model we tested, making for tired arms.
Big Mouth Pro
Power Juicer Pro
The Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro 67650, $80, extracted up to a quarter-cup more juice than most other models we tested. Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer Pro E-1189, $150, was so-so in performance, jammed if we fed the produce too quickly, and was a pain to clear and clean.
|Breville Smart Oven
The Breville Smart Oven BOV800XL (left), $250, offers impressive baking, broiling, and toasting. And it can hold a 4-pound chicken. The bird would also fit in the Kalorik OV-32091, $100. But you probably wouldn't be pleased with the results because that model scored only fair at baking.
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