Small kitchen appliances buying guide
Kettles and toasters
A kettle and toaster are essential for any kitchen, providing everyday functionality. With a wide range of colours and styles available it’s easy to coordinate your kitchen style, but there are a number of other factors to consider.
Cordless kettles have a charging base that connects to the plug, instead of the kettle itself needing to be plugged in. This means that cordless kettles are easier to fill up and pour from, as there’s no restrictions on where you can go. A 360-degree swivel base means you can place your kettle in any direction, suiting both left and right handed people.
The majority of kettles range from 1.5 to 1.7 litres in capacity – which will make about 6 to 7 cups. Most models feature a helpful water level indicator, so you won’t waste energy boiling more water than you need.
Toasters usually come with two or four slice slots, although six slice models are available. For smaller households or in compact kitchens, a two-slice toaster is ideal. Four-slice toasters are great for larger families or groups of people living together and most will let you use two toaster slots independently.
To keep your water tasting fresh, an anti-limescale filter (a small piece of mesh in the spout) is an important feature to look out for with a kettle, especially if you live in a hard water area.
A safety cut-off is a useful feature so that if you forget to fill up the kettle before switching on it won’t boil dry.
Add style to your kitchen with an illuminated kettle – while some models have light up water gauges, some transparent models illuminate the whole body of the kettle.
If you freeze bread to keep it fresh for longer, a defrost function will thaw out your bread before toasting, so you don’t have to alter the browning control.
A removable crumb tray catches stray crumbs, so you can easily remove any debris from the toasters base which may burn.
Juicers and blenders
Make sure you get your 5-a-day and add extra vitamins and minerals to your diet with a juicer or blender. This guide will help you understand the differences between juicers and blenders so you can decide which one is best for your needs.
Blenders pulverize whole pieces of fruit and vegetables (including the skin, pith and pips) for a nutritious smoothie that’s packed full of nutrients and fibre. Blenders can also be used to make soups, sauces, and cocktails using a variety of ingredients.
Blending fruit and vegetables keeps all of the fibre locked into the smoothie. Fibre aids digestion and helps your body to avoid sugar spikes and energy crashes by slowing down your body’s absorption of sugar.
If you want to make cocktails or iced drinks as well as more traditional smoothies, look out for blenders with the ability to crush ice.
A pulse function uses short bursts of power to blend so you can get the perfect consistency without second guessing.
Individual blending cups let you mix up just the right amount of ingredients and take with you on the go – ideal you’re heading to work or the gym.
Cleaning your blender by hand can be tricky, so dishwasher-safe parts will help you save time.
Juicers come in all shapes and sizes, but all of them are designed to pulverise your fruit and vegetables and remove the pulp, including the fibre, so that you’re left with a drink packed full of concentrated vitamins and minerals.
Removing pulp and fibre means that nutrients are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream as they don’t need to be broken down and digested like food. Drinking fresh juice is also an easy way of getting more fruit and vegetables into your diet.
If you want to make your morning juice without any prep, look for a juicer with an extra-large feed chute so you can juice whole fruits and vegetables without having to chop your ingredients.
A juicer with a jug will let you easily store and serve your juices, while a dispenser tap lets you pour the juice straight into a glass.
Food processors and mixers
Kneading, mixing, whisking, chopping…we have an great range of Food Processors and Mixers to suit any budding chef or stylish kitchen. This guide will help you choose just the right one for you.
Its primary function is to chop ingredients, although the average food processor can do so much more. Additional attachments let you mix ingredients, slice vegetables, blend liquids, mince meat, and grate food.
A mini chopper is ideal for smaller food preparation tasks such as chopping onions for a meal.
There’s two types of food mixers – a stand mixer which includes a bowl and is mainly used for baking tasks such as kneading dough, and a hand mixer which is a handheld model and is ideal for smaller tasks such as whisking eggs.
A food processor really takes the hard work out of preparing meals. From chopping and grating to blending and mixing, a good food mixer will help you whizz through any meal prep.
A food mixer is ideal if you love to bake – it makes mixing, whipping, and creaming so much quicker and easier, taking the strain out of hand mixing.
While food processors and mixers share similar functions you may find you prefer using a food processor for everyday meal preparation and a food mixer for baking.
There’s a wide range of attachments available for most models - if it’s not already included in the box you may be able to purchase specialist attachments separately.
Food processors usually include a variety of blades for chopping, slicing or grating, and premium models may have a blending jug for liquids.
Food mixers usually include a regular mixer blade, a dough hook, and a balloon whisk for whipping egg whites.
Keep an eye out for handy functions including a Pause setting which lets you easily add ingredients as you go, and a Fold setting for incorporating flour into your mixes without beating the air out.
Working on a specific recipe? Some models include a timer so that you can keep track of how long you’ve been mixing.
To make clean up even easier, look out for a model with dishwasher safe parts.