Single-Use Kitchen Appliances: Awesome or Awful?

Single-Use Kitchen Appliances: Awesome or Awful?

Laura E. Hall
Apr 11, 2011

The news that an all-in-one hair-washing/conditioning/drying gadget has won an award in Britain for being the "Ultimate Time Saver" got us thinking. Single use appliances get a bad rap, and often with good reason, as many are cheaply made or designed to be novelties that are used once and stored away forever after. But surely there are a few diamonds in the rough? Share your favorites below -- and no Margaritavilles, please.

South Park mercilessly mocked the Margarita "frozen concoction maker" which transforms ice and a drink mix into…well, frozen concoctions, as being the ultimate in useless consumerism. But single use appliances can't be all bad…can they?

Coffee maker

Yes, everyone's favorite beverage maker does count as a single use appliance, and a beloved one at that. (Okay, technically you can use it to cook everything from popcorn to ramen, perhaps if you're living in a dorm.)

The Cuisinart DCC-1200 ($70.95) is the best-selling machine on Amazon, with reviewers swearing the taste is vastly improved over cheaper machines, while the Mr. Coffee CG13 12-Cup is one of the cheapest at $19.72, and it looks like you get what you pay for. Guess which style we have? (Hint: it's not the expensive one, but it's worked just fine for us so far!)

The electricity-free options are, of course, either instant coffee or the use of a French press. Which do you prefer?

Rice cooker

The sheer number and variety of available rice cookers attests to their popularity, but the argument can still be made for stovetop rice preparation and food steaming. Like the other items on this list, the machine can be adapted to other purposes, in this case making one-pot meals.

The Aroma ARC-733-1NGR 6-Cup Cooker ($14.96) is the bestselling cooker on Amazon, closely rivaled by its more expensive but sturdier cousin, the Zojirushi 6 Cup Rice Cooker / Steamer ($52.95).

Bread maker

This may be the most contentious one on the list, because many people prefer to make loaves in pans or trays. But on the other hand, lots of people swear by the convenience of a bread maker, which can be left on overnight or during the day while you're away.

This Panasonic SD-YD250 ($134.99) can cut baking time from a standard five hours to three, or even one hour fifty five minutes in "rapid mode", while this Sunbeam 5891 ($56.95)

We personally couldn't live without our electric kettle, which exists only to boil water, and could probably make a good argument for a waffle maker, despite not owning one. What do you think? Do you have a favorite one-use appliance not listed, or do you abhor them all on principle? Let us know in the comments.

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