What are the best sandwich makers?
Grilled sandwiches have come a long way from grilled cheese on toast, and sandwich makers are a big part of why. Today’s sandwich makers can make panini, pocket sandwiches, quesadillas, turnovers and more.
This guide will help by showing you some of the key considerations to keep in mind while you are looking for quality sandwich makers in order for you to get the appliance that makes the most sense. For example, if you’re looking for a sandwich maker that opens up to become a wide grill, the DeLonghi America CGH1020D Livenza All-Day Grill would be an excellent choice.
What to know before you buy a sandwich maker
Most sandwich makers toast the top and bottom bread between two heated plates at the same time. But there are four different ways they do that. Keep in mind that each of these sandwich maker types is available in a range of sizes.
Traditional flat plate sandwich makers
This is the simple design used by the original sandwich makers — the slices are toasted evenly between two flat plates. Although it’s the most orthodox way to make it, die-hard sandwich lovers would consider the sandwich a statement piece with the right ingredients in it.
Panini press sandwich makers
This design allows the use of thicker slices of bread. Better sandwich makers come with interchangeable plates, one for even heat distribution and another with a ribbed surface that leaves grill marks. Part of the appeal of the panini press sandwich maker are the char lines it leaves on the bread.
Deep-fill sandwich makers
Sandwiches made by deep-fill sandwich makers are sealed around the edges after being stuffed with favorite sweet and savory fillings. Crispy edges surround these deep pockets of rich fillings.
Breakfast sandwich makers
This version of the sandwich maker is made for breakfasts where eggs are the stars. If you love to start your day with egg-and-favorite-filling breakfast sandwiches, you will most certainly fall in love with this type of sandwich maker.
What to look for in a quality sandwich maker
Look at each of these four aspects that tell you all you need to know about grill plates and the surfaces that apply heat to both sides of your sandwich at once.
- Interchangeable plates: These plates give you more options, so look for both flat and ribbed. They should be easy to switch in and out.
- Removable parts: The plates should be taken out and cleaned after every use. Removal and reinstallation should be simple, straightforward processes.
- Non-stick surfaces: They make for better sandwich-making and easier cleanup after you are done toasting and grilling.
- Cleanup: This should impose no difficulties when done manually. You can also look for products where the plates are safe for use in your dishwasher.
On the outside, stainless steel is the most durable surface and looks great too. Handles should be well-placed, easy to use and cool to the touch.
On the inside, the best choice for heating plates is a scratch-resistant nonstick coating. When in doubt, choose a product made by a manufacturer with a well-known reputation for a high quality of materials and craftsmanship.
Like most other kitchen appliances, the size that’s right for you depends on how often you use it, the size of the household you are feeding and the amount of counter space you have. If you are feeding an extended household, you will not want to make one sandwich at a time. If you have a small kitchen, the best choice for you would be the one that you can store in the least amount of space.
If you use your sandwich maker a lot, you may want to take it along with you on vacation or weekend trips. Look for sandwich makers that come with comfortable, securely attached handles that make transporting easy.
How much you can expect to spend on a sandwich maker
You can find small, limited-function sandwich makers for less than $50. Midrange sandwich makers run from around $50-$200. Beyond $200 is where you will find larger top-end sandwich makers with many features.
Sandwich maker FAQ
Do I have to wash my sandwich maker before I use it?
A. It is a good idea to wash anything new, particularly those areas that will be heated and come in contact with your food.
Does my sandwich maker need to be sprayed with oil before each use?
A. Even sandwich makers that say their plates are nonstick will say applying a light coat of oil to your nonstick plates will extend their lives and deliver better sandwiches.
What’s the best sandwich maker to buy?
Top sandwich maker
DeLonghi America CGH1020D Livenza All Day Grill
What you need to know: This multipurpose two-sided grill is much more than just a panini press.
What you’ll love: The surface of 9 by 14.5 inches doubles to 18 inches once opened, and you end up with two side-by-side grilles, making it one of the largest you can buy. This stainless steel appliance heats evenly and quickly. Its replaceable nonstick grille surfaces mean you can use both sides as grilles or griddles. The user-friendly digital controls allow you to adjust the temperatures of the two plates independently.
What you should consider: This product is positioned in the higher price range.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top sandwich maker for the money
Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press
What you need to know: The floating lid’s “cafe” design evenly presses sandwiches of any thickness.
What you’ll love: The 8-by-10-inch nonstick top and bottom press plates heat and brown your sandwiches, quesadillas and turnovers for warm and crisp results. This sandwich maker has a locking top so you can warm open-face sandwiches and personal pizzas.
What you should consider: The temperature is not adjustable, so be sure you won’t burn your sandwiches. Grill plates are not removable.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Cuisinart GR-6S Smokeless Contact Griddler
What you need to know: This contact griddle makes it easy to grill anything indoors without all the smoke.
What you’ll love: The precision LCD and digital controls maintain just the right heat for making sandwiches and grilling fish, beef, poultry or pork to perfection with maximum flavor and minimal smoke. The specially designed plates reduce grease, and there is a removable drip tray. A compact unit with nonstick, dishwasher-safe plates.
What you should consider: The 11.5-by-10.5-inch grilling surface is fine for making sandwiches but small for grilling meals.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.