A sturdy, versatile model that heats, toasts, melts, and cooks quickly. Floating hinge and 4 height settings. Ribbed top plate makes grill marks; nonstick surface resists scratches.
Pricey. Grill plates aren't removable, but their nonstick surfaces make them easier to clean than similar models. Some owners wish it had an on/off switch.
Easy-to-clean, interchangeable plates make both waffles and sandwiches. Stores upright, saving space on the counter or in the cabinet.
Though the grill plates are deeper than some models, thicker items might not cook evenly.
Floating "cafe" lid design presses sandwiches firmly and evenly. Makes sandwiches of almost any size - impressive considering the low price.
The temperature isn't adjustable, which can lead to burnt sandwiches if you aren't careful. Grill plates aren't removable, which makes it somewhat difficult to clean.
Stainless steel design with large, smooth grilling plates make perfect sandwiches, meats, vegetables, and other items. Adjustable temperature settings for precise cooking.
It is somewhat bulky and difficult to store.
A no-frills electric sandwich maker that quickly cooks sandwiches to the perfect golden brown. Even though it is a basic model, it has a 3-year limited warranty.
Thick items can be difficult to fit. The fixed grill plates can be hard to clean.
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Few can resist a sandwich toasted to golden perfection. Whether you crave a variety of gourmet fillings, or can't resist the simple satisfaction of melted cheese, with a good sandwich maker you can create your favorites anytime. What's more, warm sandwiches can be served as quick and easy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, or snacks on days when time is short and tummies are rumbling.
Whether you're replacing a well-loved traditional sandwich maker, or buying your first, you'll certainly have no shortage of options to choose from. So, where do you start, and what should you look for?
We're here to help! At BestReviews, our mission is to provide consumers with the information they need to make the best buying decisions. We research, test, and analyze products so that you don't have to. In order to consistently create reviews that are accurate, honest, and objective, we forgo free manufacturer samples, and buy products off store shelves instead — just like you do!
To get a better idea of what goes into a great sandwich maker — other than sandwiches, of course — take a look at our detailed guide below. Once you've identified the qualities that matter most to you, check out our top five sandwich makers above to choose your favorite.
Although most sandwich makers work in more or less the same manner, by toasting bread between two heated plates, you'll have a few different styles to choose from. The most common types of sandwich makers are:
Deep fill sandwich makers: These are easily recognizable by their distinctive plates. Featuring triangular depressions, deep fill plates are designed to seal off the sides of your sandwiches, allowing you to cram in extra fillings with little to no leaking. If you like deep pockets of filling with extended crispy edges, these are a great choice.
Panini press sandwich makers: Can't get enough of paninis with perfectly irresistible char lines? Then a panini press sandwich maker is a must. Not only do panini presses allow you to use thicker slices of bread, they also tend to be the most versatile. Many come with interchangeable plates, or an upper griddle plate for those beautiful lines and a flat lower grill plate for even heat distribution from below. Depending on the model and size, some panini presses can even be used to grill a variety of meats.
Traditional flat plate sandwich makers: The original sandwich maker style, these produce even toasting between two flat plates, and are available in a variety of sizes.
Purchasing a multi-purpose sandwich maker with a variety of plates may cost a bit more initially, but can save you having to buy entirely separate appliances, such as waffle makers, or even indoor grills.
Not all sandwich makers are created equal, and some models have features that take convenience to the next level:
Removable heating plates will be easier to clean.
Double sided or interchangeable plates will infinitely expand your sandwich maker’s versatility; allowing you to toast, grill, make waffles, and more.
Floating hinges won't place a limit on your sandwich height and provide even pressure and toasting from front to back.
Adjustable heat settings can be handy and will let you customize your level of crunch.
You can even make pancakes in your sandwich maker. Just remember not to overfill it, and rather than closing it, flip your pancakes just as you would on a stove.
Once you've identified the basic style that best suits your needs, don't forget to keep the following points in mind:
No matter what your sandwich maker is capable of, if the size doesn't meet your household’s needs, convenience pretty much flies right out the window. If you have a large family, opt for a sizable sandwich maker, as one that's too small will have you spending considerably more time in the kitchen, and churning out sandwich after sandwich for a crowd can be a hassle. Short on counter space? Consider purchasing a standard double sandwich maker that can be stored in an upright position, avoiding the inconvenience of having to pack it away after every use.
To avoid accidentally burning yourself when opening your sandwich maker, choose one with a cool-touch handle.
Every good sandwich maker should have nonstick plates. Although many take it for granted that their sandwich maker will have a nonstick coating, this isn't always the case. To avoid having to pry your sandwiches away from the plates, potentially ruining them in the process (not to mention making cleanup a nightmare) make sure yours features quality, nonstick plates.
The difficulty of cleaning your sandwich maker is likely to have a direct impact on how often you use it. No one looks forward to cleaning up crusty, greasy cheese buildup, and if it happens to make its way into hard to reach crevices, cleanup takes on a whole new level of difficulty. A good, nonstick surface is non-negotiable for most, and removable plates will allow you to thoroughly clean your sandwich maker. In the absence of removable plates, height-adjustable floating hinges will not only cause less mess through even weight distribution, but will allow for better reach when cleaning as well.
Applying a little butter or vegetable oil to your heating plates will not only ensure that your sandwiches don't stick, but can help extend the life of the nonstick coating.
If all you really need is a sandwich maker that can deliver warm, well-toasted golden sandwiches, a standard variety will get the job done. However, if you prefer a versatile option that can serve as more than just a sandwich maker, delve a little deeper to find out its full range of features. Does it only offer sandwich and waffle-making capabilities, or can it grill a variety of meats and veggies as well?
If you plan to store your sandwich maker on your countertop, consider how it will fit in with your kitchen decor and existing appliances. Stainless steel varieties generally offer a sleek and modern look that easily blends with a number of styles.
Don't be afraid to get creative with sandwich fillings — you might just be surprised by how well unlikely ingredients can work together.
Stainless steel sandwich makers not only look great, but tend to be the most durable as well. A scratch resistant, nonstick coating will also help to extend the life of your heating plates. That said, plastic, or a combination of plastic and stainless steel, certainly does have the potential of offering reliable durability, provided the sandwich maker is produced by a reputable manufacturer, known to use quality materials.
Your desired sandwich maker’s size and feature set will directly impact its price. A basic double sandwich maker can cost as little as $15, whereas a high-end commercial grade model that does it all can easily set you back upwards of $350. For the average user in search of a blend of convenience and versatility, sandwich makers that fall anywhere within the $20 to $70 price bracket will more than suffice.
For a healthier sandwich, try swapping out white bread for whole grain bread and using low-fat cheese and spreads to cut out unnecessary calories.
Don't get stuck in a sandwich-making rut. Try these tips if your sandwich combinations are feeling a little stale:
Butter isn't your only option for coating the outside of your bread before grilling. Try a little mayo. Not only will it produce a deliciously crisp golden crust, but it will add a whole new level of tangy flavor to your bread as well.
Sweeten things up. Why not try a peanut butter, banana, and syrup combo for an indulgent treat, sure to satisfy any sweet tooth?
Swapping out bread slices for English muffins, bagels, or quesadillas will put a fresh twist on old favorites.
Add a touch of sweet to your salt. Caramelized onions, chutneys, and jams all work well with the natural saltiness of cheese.
The popularity of grilled cheese sandwiches soared to new heights during WWII, when they were enjoyed as open-faced sandwiches.
Q. I just switched my sandwich maker on for the first time and it's smoking. Is something wrong?
A. While this can be alarming, it's perfectly normal and is nothing to worry about. All sandwich makers produce small amounts of smoke and may emit a strange smell when used for the first time. This will stop by itself after a few uses.
Avoid using cooking sprays on any nonstick surface as these products can cause a sticky buildup.
Q. How do I clean fixed sandwich maker plates?
A. Unplug your sandwich maker and allow it to cool completely before attempting to clean it. Using a damp cloth, thoroughly wipe both the upper and lower plates. If necessary, use a clean kitchen towel to dry. To prevent hard to clean buildup, wipe your sandwich maker after every use.
Q. Do I have to grease my nonstick sandwich maker?
A. Although not a strict requirement, we highly recommend applying a light coating of butter or vegetable oil to your nonstick plates to extend their life and yield optimal results. Cooking sprays should be avoided, as these can often cause a sticky buildup that's a hassle to clean.
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