Last Updated: July 2017
There is nothing tastier than a hot sandwich filled with ooey gooey cheese, sauces, meats and other toppings. The only problem is that trying to make these sandwiches with a traditional skillet can be messy, and trying to make them in a toaster oven or a traditional oven doesn’t exactly yield the same results, which can be disappointing. Sure, you can head to a deli to get your favorite hot sandwich, but that can get costly. Plus, who wants to run out to a deli when you are planning on spending the day inside?
Well, with a sandwich maker, enjoying those delicious, hot sandwiches, like Panini’s, will be a whole lot easier. Designed specifically for one purpose – to make sandwiches – these appliances are an excellent addition to a kitchen; especially if you really enjoy hot sandwiches.
Why get a sandwich maker? Well, let’s be honest, sometimes you just don’t have the energy to cook a big dinner. While a traditional cold sandwich can suffice during those times, it’s pretty underwhelming. Place your sandwich in a sandwich maker and let it toast up to perfection, and you will transform a humble staple into a more satisfying – and delicious – option that will really be fit for a fulfilling dinner; or for a meal at any time of the day (a breakfast sandwich cooked on one of these appliances is absolutely incredible and is a great way to start the day!)
To use a sandwich maker, all you have to do is place a piece of bread onto the bottom portion of the appliance, top it with your favorite ingredients, then close it up with another piece of bread on top. Simply press the top of the sandwich maker down and the appliance will do all of the work for you. There is no need to babysit the sandwich and flip it, like you would have to when you are using a skillet. Also, because you don’t have to flip the sandwich, you can avoid having any ingredients spill out, thus eliminating a potential mess.
While there is no doubt that a sandwich maker is a really handy appliance, finding the best one for your needs can be a bit challenging. You are going to find that there are a lot of options to choose from when you start shopping. While having a lot of choices is a good thing, it can make it difficult to determine which product will best suit your needs. For that reason, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide for you.
In this guide, we highlight everything you need to know about buying a sandwich maker. We point out what you should look for when you are shopping for one of these appliances, and what you should avoid. We also share our recommendations for the best sandwich makers that are currently on the market.
After reading this buyer’s guide, you will have a wealth of knowledge about sandwich makers, and you will be able to make the best informed decision. So, if you are looking to buy a sandwich maker and you want to make sure that you choose the best option, then keep on reading!
What You Need to Know About Sandwich Makers
In order to find the best sandwich maker, you first need understand how to differentiate between the good products and the not so good products that are out there. While yes, all sandwich makers are intended to, well, make hot sandwiches, not all of them are created equal.
With that said, we want to shed some light on what the best sandwich makers will offer, as well as what makes one of these appliances not so good.
There are several elements that make a sandwich maker high quality. Here’s a look at the elements that make for a good sandwich maker.
Non Stick Plates
The best sandwich makers are constructed with non stick plates. These appliances have cooking plates located on the inside. This is perhaps the most important component of a sandwich maker, as they are what actually makes contact with the sandwich and will impact how it is cooked.
There is nothing worse than preparing a delicious sandwich and waiting to sink your teeth into it, only to find that it is stuck on the cooking plates. A high quality sandwich maker will have cooking plates that have been coated in a non stick material, such as Teflon. Not only do these plates prevent the food from sticking to them, but they also minimize the risk of burning the food, and make clean up a whole lot easier.
While a sandwich maker that offers non stick plates and an adjustable thermostat is great, neither of these features will really matter if the appliance does not offer uniform heating. In other words, both the top and the bottom plates should heat up to the same temperature; there should not be any discrepancies between the two.
Cool Touch Exterior
Another quality that the best sandwich makers offer is a cool touch exterior. As the plates inside the appliance heat up, there is a potential for the exterior to heat up, as well. To avoid burns and ensure that the appliance is as safe as possible, many manufacturers design their sandwich makers with cool touch exteriors.
Now that you know what constitutes a good quality sandwich maker, let’s take a look at what can make these appliances not so good.
Absence of Non Stick Plates
As mentioned above, there is nothing worse than finding out that your sandwich is stuck to the cooking plates. Unfortunately, some sandwich makers are not designed with non stick cooking surfaces. Sure, you can spray them with a non stick spray, which can be effective; however, what happens if you forget to spray them? (It happens, especially when you are in a rush.)
Avoid purchasing a sandwich maker that does not offer non stick cooking plates if you don’t want to end up having your sandwiches stick to the surface, and if you want to avoid the increased potential of burning your food. Also, without non stick plates, cleaning will be a bit more cumbersome.
No Adjustable Thermostat
There are sandwich makers on the market that don’t offer an adjustable thermostat, and we think that this is a tell-tale sign of the quality of the appliance. These appliances are simply plugged in and the cooking surface heats up to one temperature. Without the ability to control the temperature of the cooking surface, the quality of your sandwich may be compromised. For example, there is a great risk of burning the bread and the ingredients inside.
No Cool Touch Exterior
You should also avoid purchasing a sandwich maker that does not have a cool touch exterior. As we discussed earlier, as the cooking plates inside the appliance heat up, so does the exterior of the appliance, which can, of course, lead to burns. Without a cool touch exterior, there is a far greater risk that you will burn yourself in the event that you touch the exterior of the appliance.
The Best Sandwich Makers in 2017
When you start shopping for a sandwich maker, you are quickly going to realize that there are a lot of options out there. As we said before, with so many options, it can be hard to determine exactly which sandwich maker will offer you the best results.
We have scoured the Internet, comparing the reviews and the features of countless sandwich makers from various manufacturers. We have also tested out the products ourselves. After conducing our in-depth examination, we have concluded that the following sandwich makers are, indeed, the best that are available on the market today.
The Hamilton Beach 25490A Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker
Though the word ‘breakfast’ in the title may suggest that this sandwich maker can only be used for making breakfast sandwiches, don’t let it fool you: The Hamilton Beach 25490A Breakfast Sandwich Maker can be used to sandwiches for any meal.Check Price
Offering space to cook two individual sandwiches, you will be able to prepare separate sandwiches that are customized for different preferences with this appliance. It also features a timer with a timer can be set in half-minute increments, up to five minutes. An audible tone will sound when cooking is complete, which lets you know when your sandwiches have been cooked to perfection; there’s no risk over cooking or burning!
When your sandwiches have finished cooking, clean up is a breeze! All of the components of the Hamilton Beach 25490A Breakfast Sandwich Maker are removable and dishwasher safe, so simply pop them out, put them in the dishwasher and that’s it!
If you want to make healthy and delicious hot sandwiches at home, and with ease, than the Hamilton Beach 25490A Breakfast Sandwich Maker will be an excellent addition to your kitchen.
Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500 Watt Non Stick Panini Press
You won’t have to spend the money (or the time) buying your favorite Panini sandwiches from a deli or a restaurant anymore when you have the Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500 Watt Non Stick Panini Press. Offering 1500 watts of power, this is the ultimate in Panini presses. The cooking surfaces are constructed of Quantanium, a non stick, scratch resistant surface. This means that you never have to worry about your sandwiches sticking to the surface of the appliance, eliminating the potential for burning. Also, because the cooking surface is resistant to scratching, this appliance promises to be durable and last a long time.Check Price
The flat bottom of this Panini press allows for fast and thorough cooking. The ribbed top plate creates those attractive grill marks that are the quintessential element of a Panini. Offering a floating hinge, which has four height settings, and you can be sure that your sandwich, no matter many ingredients you fill it with, will be cooked to perfection. The non slip feet ensure that this sandwich maker stays in place while you are using it, improving its safety. The locking clip ensures that the lid of the Panini press remains securely closed. Indicator lights let you know when the cooking surface is on, when it has reached the ideal cooking temperature, and when your food is ready.
When you aren’t using the appliance, there is a special space that is designed specifically for wrapping the cord around for storage. Add to all of that the stainless steel housing of this Panini press, and you have yourself a sandwich maker that is not only versatile and creates exceptional sandwiches, but one that is also attractive.
Hamilton Beach 25475A Breakfast Sandwich Maker
Life is hectic, which can make it difficult to cook up a healthy meal. When you’re limited on time and you have so much on your plate, you may often opt for unhealthy, processed, and even fast foods, to put on your dinner plate. Well, with the Hamilton Beach Breakfast 254750A Breakfast Sandwich Maker, it doesn’t matter how hectic your day is or how limited on time you are, you will be able to prepare a hot, healthy, home cooked meal – and, in a matter of minutes!Check Price
To use this sandwich maker, simply place a piece of bread of your preference on the bottom of the sandwich maker, top it with whatever fresh ingredients you wish, place another piece of bread on top and close the lid down. That’s it! Set the timer (which can be set in half minute increments,) wait until you hear the alarm, and you will have a hot, delicious and perfectly cooked meal to enjoy.
Thanks to the non stick plates, you don’t have to worry about your sandwich getting stuck to the inside of this appliance. Also, all of the components are removable and dishwasher safe. When it’s time for clean up, simply pop the components out of the appliance, place them in your dishwasher, and that’s it!
Cuisinart GR – 1 Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press
The brushed stainless steel housing, which is accented by a black handle and feet, make a striking statement and are the first the first thing that you will notice about the Cuisinart GR – 1 Griddler Panini Sandwich Press. However, while this appliance looks good, that’s not the only reason why you will love it: You will love it because of how incredibly it works.Check Price
The upper and lower plates of this Panini press are 11 by 7 inches, and they are made of a durable material that is covered with a non stick coating. A floating hinge adjusts so that you can easily accommodate sandwiches of any size.
With a preset temperature option, you can ensure that your cooking surface will be at the ideal temperature to cook your sandwiches on. The indicator lights also let you know when the surface has reached the right temperature, and when your food has finished cooking.
Though the cooking plates are not removable, this Panini press does come with its very own cleaning tool, which definitely makes it a lot easier to clean the appliance. Also, this sandwich maker comes with its own recipe book (which we must say, are quite tasty, indeed.)
IMUSA GAU – 80102 Electric Panini Press and Sandwich Maker with Non Stick Plates
The IMUSA GAU – 80102 Electric Panini Press and Sandwich Maker with Non Stick Plates is an excellent addition to any kitchen. Offering a cooking surface that measures 12 inches by 10 inches, you can be sure that you will have plenty of space to cook even those oversized sandwiches on. The height of the top plate can easily be adjusted, so no matter how fully your sandwiches are, they will make contact with the surface of this sandwich maker and cook to perfection.Check Price
Heating up in just four minutes, the non stick surface will cook your food thoroughly and ensure that you have a tasty sandwich to enjoy. There is also an on and a heat ready indicator light, which improves the safety of this appliance, and lets you know when it is ready to start using.
The stainless steel exterior, accented by a black handle and black feet, give this sandwich maker a modern look. A truly versatile appliance, you can use it to cook an array of foods, from arepas to pancakes, and from grilled cheese to Paninis.
Our Consumer Guide to Sandwich Maker
While we consider the five sandwich makers that we offered on this list to be the best of the best, we realize that you may want to give yourself more options to choose from, or that they may not meet your needs. With that said, we still want to make sure that you are well informed, no matter what type of sandwich maker you are thinking about buying.
For that reason, we want to provide you with some invaluable information regarding sandwich makers. By offering you this information, you will be able to make the best informed decision and find the best sandwich maker for your specific needs.
What is a Sandwich Maker?
Simply put, a sandwich maker is an appliance that is specifically designed to cook sandwiches on. They feature an outer casing, which consists of a lower shelf and an upper lid, both of which are covered with heating plates. The sandwich is built on the lower shelf, and the lid closes shut to ensure the sandwich is exposed to a cooking surface on both the top and bottom. It’s a pretty straightforward and simple to use appliance.
Types of Sandwich Makers
There are two main types of sandwich makers, which include:
- Basic sandwich maker
- The Panini press
To determine which one will be the best option for you, take a look at the detailed description of both types.
The Basic Sandwich Maker
A basic sandwich maker has a bottom plate and a top lid, both of which have a heated plate on the inside. The sandwich is placed on top of the bottom plate, and the top lid is closed down over the sandwich.
The Panini Press
The Panini press is specifically designed to make Panini’s. They are very similar to the basic sandwich maker; however, they offer slatted grill plates instead of a flat surface, which allows this appliance to make the grill marks in the bread that Panini’s are noted for.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Sandwich Maker
There are a few factors that you are going to want to take into consideration when you are shopping for a sandwich maker. These factors include the size of the appliance, the type of sandwiches you plan on making, and the cost. By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to buy the best sandwich maker for your needs.
The Size of the Sandwich Maker
You want to make sure that you are purchasing an appliance that offers you enough space to cook the sandwiches that you are interested in making on. If you plan on making a large sandwich, for example, you want to ensure that you have plenty of space.
Additionally, in regard to the size of the appliance, you also want to make sure that you have enough space to accommodate it on your countertop. Take the actual footprint of the appliance into consideration, as well..
What types of sandwiches will you be using this appliance to make? Will you be using it only to make flat sandwiches, or do you want to make Panini’s, too? This is an important consideration, because you want to make sure that the appliance offers the right type of plates so that you can make the sandwiches that you desire.
Ease of Use
Another important factor that you should take into consideration is how easy the appliance is to use. Indicator lights let you know when the surface is ready to use, which will make it easier to use your sandwich maker. Components that are removable and easy to clean – or even dishwasher safe – are ideal, as they will make it much easier to clean.
Lastly, you are going to want to take the price of the sandwich maker into consideration. The cost of this small kitchen appliance can vary widely, so you want to make sure that you know how much you are willing to spend before you start shopping. Generally, the large the appliance is and the more features it offers, the more expensive it is going to be.
Features Sandwich Makers Can Offer
There are several features that sandwich makers can offer. These features are intended to make the appliance easier to use, and increase its versatility. With that said, as mentioned above, the more features that a sandwich maker offers, the more expensive it is going to be. It is important to understand the intent of the available features so that you can determine whether you want them or need them, and if the added cost will be worth your while.
Here is a look at some of the top features that a sandwich maker can offer.
Sandwich makers can offer interchangeable plates. In other words, they offer smooth surfaced plates and plates that have slates for grilling. If you want to make different types of sandwiches, this feature will surely be worth your while.
An Adjustable Thermostat
The best sandwich makers also have adjustable thermostats. With this feature, you will be able to control the surface temperature of the cooking plates. This will ensure that you will be able to cook your sandwiches to perfection.
Though the manner in which an adjustable thermostat will range, the idea is to allow you to control the cooking temperature, much like you would on an oven. For example, some sandwich makers may have warm, low, medium-low, medium, medium-high and high settings, while others will have settings that allow you to set the exact temperature; 200 degrees F, for example.
No matter how the temperature is adjusted, a sandwich maker that offers an adjustable thermostat is certainly the way to go.
A Drip Tray
Preparing food in a sandwich maker can sometimes get a little messy. The ingredients inside the sandwich, such as sauces, can flow over the sandwich maker, which has the potential to make a mess. Sandwich makers that offer a trip tray, however, can help to reduce the amount of mess that you will have to clean up.
With a drip tray, any ingredients that do pour out of the appliance will be contained. That means less of a mess on your countertop, and a much easier and faster clean up. All you have to do is remove the drip tray and wash it out!