Which Kitchen Gadgets and Upgrades Do You Actually Need?
These days, there are hundreds of kitchen gadgets and tools that you can purchase, including everything from highly advanced smokers to smart toasters you can control with a phone. But which of these kitchen gadgets and upgrades are actually worthwhile? And which ones should you generally pass on?
Essential Criteria to Consider
Individual needs vary, so it’s difficult to make broad, generalized recommendations for what to buy. But these are some of the most important criteria that most kitchen consumers will need to keep in mind:
- Functionality potential. First, you need to think about the functionality potential of the gadget or appliance you’re thinking of buying. For example, a pellet grill can function similarly to a grill, but it also has features that make it easy to smoke meat over long periods of time. If the gadget or upgrade your thinking of buying significantly expands what you can accomplish in your kitchen, it’s definitely worth considering. If it doesn’t open the door to any new possibilities, it’s probably not worth considering.
- Existing overlap. You’ll also need to think about the potential overlap presented by this device or tool. For example, it’s possible to purchase tools that are specifically designed to slice and core apples; however, most people can successfully slice and core an apple with nothing more than a paring knife. Since the new device doesn’t possess any features that are radically different than what you already have, it may not be worth considering.
- Time saving potential. Next, you’ll need to think about time saving potential. Does the device or upgrade in question have the ability to save you time, and if so, how much time could it save you? Time is a precious commodity, so anything that can demonstrably save you several hours in the kitchen is worth considering. This may be hard to estimate if you haven’t yet personally used the tool, but even a rough estimate should be able to point you in the right direction.
- Number of potential uses. Kitchen gadgets and devices become more valuable if and when they can be used for multiple different things. The apple coring device we previously mentioned only has one real purpose: slicing one particular kind of fruit. Accordingly, it’s not very versatile. The more versatile something is, the more you should consider it.
- Physical space required. Most chefs could also stand to consider the physical space required by the object they’re thinking of buying. If you’re already low on storage space, purchasing something large and bulky might introduce even more severe constraints. Smaller items don’t carry such limiting constraints.
- Cost and budget. There are smart refrigerators that cost more than $40,000 and small, silicone tools for sale for a couple of dollars each. While anyone could pick up a new silicone tool without hesitating, very few people would be able to justify purchasing a refrigerator worth more than most vehicles on the road. Always factor in costs and your personal budget.
Additional Tips for Evaluating Kitchen Gadgets and Upgrades
These additional tips can help you make even better decisions on this front:
- Do your research. Always do your research before making a purchasing decision. If you’re considering getting a particular tool, you might not be aware of similar tools that accomplish the same goals. You may also be overestimating or underestimating this tool’s particular utility, so it pays to get opinions from professionals who use them on a regular basis.
- Compare directly. If you have a choice between many different versions of the same tool or appliance, try to compare them directly. For example, if you’re buying a new refrigerator, you’ll probably have more than 100 varieties to choose from; this decision becomes much easier when making apples to apples comparisons.
- Read reviews. Always read consumer reviews before finalizing your purchase. If a particular tool isn’t as effective as it seemed, there will probably be many people expressing disappointment in online reviews. Universally well-reviewed items, in contrast, are almost always worth considering.
- Invest in quality when you can. When it comes to kitchen appliances, tools, and accessories, it usually pays to invest in quality. Purchasing a cheaper version of the item in question might save you money in the short term, but this usually means the item isn’t as reliable or as functional. If this is something you’re going to use all the time, like a chef’s knife, be willing to spend a little extra.
Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you want to purchase new tools and upgrades for your kitchen. In many cases, these upgrades are highly affordable and capable of dramatically increasing your culinary potential. But in other cases, there aren’t enough benefits to justify spending the money. Do your research and choose wisely.