Chefs and bakers come with some serious (and seriously-sized) hardware. But as you're at home finding the perfect spot to store your 27-pound mixer, consider these compact kitchen devices. They can do everything from grind to froth—and all in a small, cool handheld package.
- If you're sick and tired of dragging out the blender every time you need a little help mixing, a handheld immersion blender is the perfect tool. It's got the power to blend, whip and chop—but we think it's perfect for single-serving milkshakes! Try the blenders from kitchen-tech pros: the Cuisinart SmartStick ($29.95) and the Kitchenaid hand blender ($99.95) are great choices.
- If you're a baker, you know it's more about chemistry than cooking. That's why you need to make sure every little measurement is correct. But just like an engineer uses trade-specific tools to make his calculations, you need a kitchen calculator—with conversions, cooking units quick math and the ability to scale recipes up or down—to get it all just right. ($24.95 from the Food Network Store)
- When it comes to stubborn cans and jars, you could give it tons of elbow grease and risk a cut, or you could get the One-Touch Can and Jar openers. Just pop it on the top of your can or jar, push the button and watch as it effortlessly opens up so you can get your grub. ($16.95 for the can opener and $17.95 for the jar opener)
- A digital thermometer is the best way to ensure a perfect steak. But if your idea of a barbecue involves more socializing than slaving over the grill, check out this remote thermometer. Set up the thermometer in your meat, then take the LCD-screen remote monitor up to 100 feet away. You'll get a beeping and flashing warning when the food's done. ($39.99 from Bed, Bath and Beyond)
- When you're all done cooking and it's time to pack up leftovers, a vacuum sealer is a handy device to have nearby. We're digging the FoodSaver FreshSaver vacuum bag handheld device and the Lock & Lock: Rosaline Vacuum Sealer that removes air from compatible plastic containers.
- If you're a fan of coffee, nothing beats fresh ground beans. That's why you need a compact, handheld grinder in your kitchen arsenal. Krups Fast Touch coffee grinders ($19.95 from Amazon) do the best job for the least money. As a bonus, your coffee grinder can also act as a mini-food-processor!
- You can take those fresh ground coffee beans and make espresso on-the-go with Twist, a portable, handheld cordless espresso maker that uses fresh beans and a Nitrous Oxide cartidge to make shots anywhere, anytime.
- If you really love your fancy espresso drinks, why not DIY an Ikea latte frother for some authentic foam. Follow Milan-based designer Laurent Hongisto's lead and turn a $1.99 frother into a stylish design piece.
- When it's time to clean up, a handheld steam cleaner can help get the grease and grime off those non-pourus surfaces in the kitchen. The Haan HS-20 Handheld Steam Cleaner is a small enough to get in tight spaces, but large enough to get tough jobs done.
- Of course, there's one handheld kitchen tool that seems to be able to tackle more than a few tasks. Source local produce, calculate ingredients and find substitutions—all with your iPhone. Just be careful not to get it dirty. Use a car mount on the stove top, or wrap it up with that vacuum sealer to keep it clean and dry.