10 Useless Kitchen Gadgets

I’ll begin by saying that I love kitchen gadgets and small appliances.  Or, to be more accurate I love the idea of them.  I want to be the person who makes their own cheese, slices meat in thin even strips, and cooks a succulent pot roast in less than 20 minutes.  The reality is it’s too much trouble to drag the appliance out of the box, set it up, learn to use it properly, and then clean it and put it away again.

Related: These gifts just keep on taking

At this time of year the store flyers are full of electrical appliances for gift giving, often in seasonal colours.  Here’s a list of a few kitchen gadgets that even a confirmed appliance lover like me would take a pass on.

1.  Raclette – “A whole new dining experience”

This is basically a table-top grill that cooks veggies, sliced meats etc. on the top.  Cheese (there is a Swiss variety called raclette) is simultaneously melted in little individual pans underneath, and then scraped out on top of the cooked food with a spatula.

It’s apparently all the rage in Europe.  Guests gather round for relaxed and sociable dining with meals often running to several hours.  Not that I like to eat and run, but …

2.  Juicer

Juicers are promoted for people wanting to live a healthier life style.  But it takes a lot of fruit and vegetables to make even a small glass, and given that produce prices are sky high where I live, it just wouldn’t be worth the cost.  Then add in prep time and cleaning all the parts.

Related: How to save money on groceries

It possibly would be a good investment for someone on a juice diet, but I would rather just eat the whole fruit – and that’s healthier for you.

3.  Quesadilla Maker

I do like quesadillas, but I find it hard to imagine anyone making them so frequently that it would justify this purchase.

4.  Chocolate Fountain

This contraption continuously heats a special melting chocolate in the base that then cascades over one or more “towers” to create a chocolate waterfall in which you dip various fruit (strawberries, pineapple, bananas) or pound cake.

This initially intrigued me because I love everything chocolate.  It would be fun for a party, especially with kids – but at someone else’s house.  It’s very much a novelty item.

5.  Carbonated Drink Maker

This allows you to turn regular water into carbonated water for the equivalent of club soda, or you can add various flavored syrups to make pop.

Related: When needs are actually wants

I’m not much of a soda drinker anyway, but it seems to be fairly inexpensive in the grocery store without having to make your own.  And I don’t see that you could make it taste better.  I’ll pass.

6.  Baby Food Maker

I don’t have an infant to prepare food for at the moment, but when I did I used a regular blender, or you can use a food mill.  There is no reason that I can think of to buy a dedicated baby blender.

7.  Counter-top rotisserie

These are about the size of a toaster oven with a lot less versatility.  I can pick up a nice BBQ rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for about eight bucks.

8.  Drink Makers

These include electric Ice Tea makers, Margarita makers and Martini makers.  Except for a coffee pot, for most people, single types of drink makers are a waste of money and counter space.

9.  Donut and Cupcake Makers

Here again, these are single use appliances.  You can easily bake cupcakes in the oven, and as for donuts – isn’t that what Tim Hortons is for?

10.  Egg Cooker

If you can’t boil a pot of water on the stove then you have serious cooking problems.  Enough said!

Final thoughts

I recommend giving careful thought before purchasing any of these items as gifts.  Chances are they will be wasting space in someone’s cupboard by the end of the month.

Related: Will the gifts you give end up at the thrift store?

Meanwhile, all my appliances are lined up neatly on one side of my pantry, waiting patiently to be put to use.

Unfortunately, my husband is not so patient.

Are you going to bake bread anytime soon?

Of course.  Just not right now.

When are you going to make some ice cream?

Well, I have to wait until summer when we can enjoy it more.

I thought we were going to have waffles.

Sure.  When I have time.

Honestly, all that man does is nag at me!

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  1. @kiltedbroker on December 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Aha, I love it… great list! The only substitution I would make is, gotta show some love and support for the Juicer. I spend quality time with my juicer and use it almost everyday and have for over a year. Its not useless, but I agree with you that a juicer would be a really bad gift idea.

    I would add the double headed smoothie maker in it’s place… didn’t know that existed? I assure you it does.

    And although you think this might have been covered in point 8, I assure you there is an extra level of crazy (and size) when you are dealing with a machine that is comprised of 2 blenders in one. It requires its own line item.

    (Got that as a Wedding gift)

    • Boomer on December 4, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      @kiltedbroker: No doubt there are several people such as yourself that make regular use of juicers. I just remember my mother trying to pawn hers off on me when she moved. I know I would never use one.

      As for your smoother maker – I used to work at a major housewares store and I’ve seen every type of appliance imaginable, from candy floss and snow cone makers to table top marshmallow cookers (for s’mores). I could probably do a series on this topic.

  2. Alison on December 3, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Agree almost 100%. Gotta say though, we have a vertisserie (gift from my mum, who IS a gadget freak) and it is awesome. Not just for chicken, but roast beef too and cleans up in a snap. Great for hot weather (just take it outside) or if you need oven space for something else.

  3. Erin on December 4, 2013 at 6:04 am

    I’ve got to defend the pop-maker – we’ve had a soda stream for over a year now and it is one of the most used appliances in the kitchen. We drank a bottle of Perrier a day, and at $1.25-1.50 a bottle, plus all the glass bottles that had to be recycled, it was enough. With the soda stream, it’s about $0.20 a bottle (cost of CO2) and there is a lot less waste in our recycle box since we use the same three bottles over and over again. We’ve saved over $400 in Perrier this year (and the extra money went towards a new roof)!

    • Boomer on December 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      @Erin: What you say makes sense. I’m just not a pop or carbonated water drinker, so it wouldn’t be of use to me.

    • David on December 4, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      I was on the fence about the SodaStream and still don’t regard it as a cost-saving item. Having said that, we were given one as a gift so I do appreciate it. I did a ROI projection (unit + spare tank + refills compared against cans + eco fee) and it will probably break before it breaks even, and we drink a lot of soda water! We’re talking 5+ years and years away with heavy consumption.

      The killer here is the cost of… air. They use a proprietary valve system so I end up paying $17 (after Bed Bath and Beyond 40% coupon) for less than $5 worth of CO2. Oh well, SodaStream and printer manufacturers have to make their money somewhere I guess…

      Now, after all that, one thing is that since I live in a city with some of the best tap water in the world I’m not longer drinking water that has been shipped from whoknowswhere and burning fossil fuel all the way. And yes, I sometimes hug trees and eat granola 😉

      • Teresa on December 6, 2013 at 9:00 am

        We also use the soda stream.Gifted to us by a friend who sells it in his store. At Christmas we have been given replacement CO2 canisters as our gift:)

        These same friends a number of years ago gifted us a hot chocolate maker. It just seemed so odd on so,many levels. I had to return it and repurpose the money.

  4. Money Saving on December 4, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Whew – we only have one of these. I must confess that the chocolate fountain was a gift, so I don’t feel so bad 🙂

    I really cannot stand how much space these junky types of things take up, so my wife and I have agreed to do without them!

  5. dojo on December 4, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Oh, great list and so true. We have 2 juicers (got one as a wedding gift) and they’re useless. None of these are really important in our household.

  6. Tracey H on December 4, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Guilty as charged. I, too, have one of them (the raclette) and I haven’t yet used it. In my defence, I bought it brand new (still shrink-wrapped) at a thrift store for $10. I’d been lusting after one and decided it was worth $10 to own it even if I didn’t use it (so I went in with my eyes open).

    For every appliance that someone thinks is useless, though, there’s usually someone who uses it regularly. The key is to be honest with yourself and only buy what you know you’re going to use.

    I’d love to see a list of best gadgets that most people don’t have but are worth it. I’d add potato ricer to it. Yesterday I used it to rice a batch of hard-boiled eggs for egg salad (such a nice presentation!) and I use it regularly to rice potatoes for mashed potatoes (they come out light and fluffy and you can’t get a lump).

    • Boomer on December 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      @Tracey H: At least you didn’t pay full retail price. That’s a good idea to buy something that you think you might like at a thrift store or similar.

      The title of the post would probably be more correct as “10 Gadget I personally find useless”. There are people who would disagree with me.
      As I mentioned to Jackson (kiltedbroker) above, I once worked at a housewares store and there was a whole department filled with a bazillion gadgets. I’d sneer & say “Who on earth would waste their money on this?” and I’d get the inevitable reply of “I have one and I use it all the time!” Okaay!

      I list of best gadgets would be useful to see. Perhaps our readers could email me at boomeratboomerandecho@gmail.com with their most favourite and useful kitchen gadget and describe why they love it.

  7. Jason on December 4, 2013 at 8:13 am

    For anyone who doesn’t know, Raclette is an absolute treat! I suppose the appliance its self is a waste of money considering how often it would (wouldn’t) get used. If you have the chance to maybe dine with a friend and endulge in this, i would highly reccomend it!

  8. Rosemary Wells on December 4, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Great list. My “dream” kitchen includes a place where all my regular and obscure appliances live at the ready to be used. Some sort of walkin pantry would do it. I often forget I have a handy dandy appliance or can’t be bothered hauling one out of storage. My meat grinder is such an example. It makes a job so easy if you have the right appliance.

    • Boomer on December 4, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      @Rosemary Wells: Being handy is the key word here. My big pantry (that houses my collection) is in the basement so I have to be really motivated to make use of the more obscure ones.

      • Rosemary Wells on December 6, 2013 at 9:33 am

        Yes, I hear you. Mine are in the garage and I make do rather than dig them out.

  9. Denis on December 4, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I am sure your husband is not nagging at you. (yes I am teasing!) I am sure that if you teach him how to use the ice cream maker, he would be able to make his own! Then you could nag him! (more teasing!!)

    I do have a ricer, and admit that I really like it for mashed potatoes. I bought one of those bullet gizmos with the juicer attachment but that juicer got used once and then that group of parts got boxed. I use the bullet for other stuff though.

    Having almost no counter space, I am severely limited to what I have out, and everything ends up put away in the next room after use except the toaster.

    Most of the things on the list are things I would not use myself, but I am sure there are others that consider them daily use items!

    • Boomer on December 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      @Denis: My husband does most of the cooking and he just can’t understand why I would want some of these appliances. And, he can read a manual just as well as I can. But, because I wanted them, I have to be the one to use them in his opinion. I’ll just keep him waiting 🙂

  10. Michael on December 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    This list is valid but as far as most USEFUL gadgets I’d go with the blender. It’s so versatile you can use it for virtually anything and is worth it’s weight in gold. It can replace so many other things that are for one use only. My mom has a blender that has lasted 20 years but sadly they don’t make them like that anymore

    • Teresa on December 6, 2013 at 9:05 am

      I inherited my MIL’s. You are right they don’t make them like that any more .It is what we use to make our smoothies in.

      I am renting a hous rover Christmas what says they have a Vitamix. If I like it I am thinking of trying to find a vintage one on Ebay, with a metal canister instead of the plastic they make it now with.

      • Rosemary Wells on December 6, 2013 at 9:35 am

        LOVE my Vitamix…….best use is for making soup as it can heat the soup while mixing and no need to use the stove or microwave! BEST invention.

  11. Kevin on December 4, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Fantastic list, thanks for sharing! As a someone who used to struggle with instant gratification I am sad to say I owned one or two of these at some point, but I have put that in my past, and can now say no to useless appliances! And I definitely don’t buy them as gifts!

  12. Shannon on December 5, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I love this list! Every time I see the quesadilla maker in the store I wonder who is that lazy to think they “need” it.

  13. Jonathan Levine on February 11, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Well, you’re right and you’re wrong. First of all, thrift stores are the only place I buy kitchen gadgets, and if you keep your eyes open you can get some astonishing deals, like the pasta roller/cutter set (inc. ravioli maker) for my Kitchenaid stand mixer that I picked up for about $30 (retail: $500).

    I agree completely on the raclette, quesadilla, soda, drink, donut, cupcake, and baby food makers. But here are the ones that are worth getting… on the cheap:

    For five or ten bucks, the chocolate fountain is the greatest thing you’ll ever bring to a kids’ party – just be ready for the mess. I’ve gotten two serious juice machines (a Champion and an Acme) for an average of $15. I’m not “a juicer”, but they’re nice to have around if you suddenly feel like banging out a jug of delicious fresh apple juice or just want to play around with vegetable juice. I’ve got a little chicken-shaped egg cooker that’s cute, works remarkably well, and best of all is incredibly energy-efficient because it only uses a small amount of water to cook the eggs with steam; compare that to the energy needed to boil a big pot of water for a couple of small eggs. And again, I see them popping up at the thrift shops for a couple of dollars.

    Where you’re most off-base is the rotisserie. If all you ever do in it is a chicken, then yes, pick a cooked one up at the store. But I’ve found my Showtime (I don’t think I paid more than $15 for it) to be much more flexible than you suggest. You can do a small (max. 15lb.) turkey in a few hours. The kabob skewers are a very clever design that work well – they automatically rotate and cook evenly. And I use the basket to do a Chinese BBQ pork that’ll knock your socks off.

    But spend *real* money on any of these things? Not on your life. (Btw, I passed up a $50 Vitamix at a yard sale 30 or so years ago and I’ve regretted it ever since. That’s the one I’m watching for now…)

  14. Allice on March 1, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    I personally love my blender by Karmin 😉

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