CNN Underscored is constantly testing products — be it coffee makers or office chairs — to find the absolute best in each respective category. Our testing process is rigorous, consisting of hours of research (consulting experts, reading editorial reviews and perusing user ratings) to find the top products in each category. Once we settle on a testing pool, we spend weeks — if not months — testing and retesting each product multiple times in real-world settings. All this in an effort to settle on the absolute best products. This year, we tested dozens of kitchen essentials — from knife sets to stand mixers — to find the best products you need to whip up any type of meal with ease.
Best cast-iron skillet overall: Lodge Chef Collection 12-Inch Skillet ($39.95; williams-sonoma.com)
The Lodge Chef Collection 12-Inch Skillet rose to the top of our rankings for not only delivering great results across all of our testing criteria but also for its affordable price. Weighing just 6.5 pounds, the Chef Collection comes preseasoned with 100% natural vegetable oil and has two slightly larger pour spouts that allowed us to deftly remove oil from the pan without a dribble in sight. It outperformed most of its much higher-priced competitors at nearly every test we threw at it.
Best splurge cast-iron skillet: Smithey No. 10 Cast-Iron Skillet ($160; food52.com)
For those willing to pay extra for a more aesthetic skillet, the Smithey’s ultra-smooth, polished interior and copper color make it stand out while also delivering top-notch performance.
Best Dutch oven overall: Lodge Enameled 6-Quart Cast-Iron Dutch Oven ($79.90; amazon.com)
The Lodge Enameled 6-Quart Cast-Iron Dutch Oven’s shiny, smooth finish had zero flaws out of the box, and the ombré blue hue was just plain pretty. Its 6-quart size was just right for all sorts of tasks. Its large handles and the lid’s amply sized metal knob are both features that make using a heavy pan easier. And its slightly sloped sides allowed a spatula to scrape up everything along the edges.
Best splurge Dutch oven: Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven ($370; lecreuset.com)
Le Creuset’s iconic colorful Dutch oven has been a go-to for nearly a century. While it’s much more expensive than most of the models we tested, its perfect heat distribution, easy handling, high performance and durability make it an heirloom piece you’ll hand down to your children.
Best Dutch oven for camping: Camp Chef 6-Quart Cast-Iron Deluxe Dutch Oven ($63.13; amazon.com)
The Camp Chef deluxe Dutch oven performed impressively on campfire favorites like chili and cornbread, and the lid doubles as a griddle for extra versatility. A sturdy bail handle, lid lifter and thermometer notch make it easy to handle even when covered in hot coals.
Best nonstick pan overall: T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid ($54.99; amazon.com)
If you’re a minimalist and prefer to have just a single pan in your kitchen, then you’d be set with the T-fal E76597. This pan’s depth gives it multipurpose functionality: It cooks standard frying pan foods like eggs and meats, and its 2.5-inch sides are tall enough to prepare recipes you’d usually reserve for pots like rices and stews. It’s a high-quality and affordable pan that outperformed some of the more expensive ones in our testing field.
Best eco-friendly nonstick pan: GreenPan Levels Stackable Ceramic Fry Pan ($49.99; amazon.com)
The GreenPan’s Ceramic Fry Pan is made from sand, so it won’t release any toxic fumes in the case of overheating. What’s more, after cooking, close to zero residue remained on the pan, which led to a very speedy cleanup consisting of wiping, rinsing and going on with our business.
Best restaurant-quality nonstick pan: HexClad 10-Inch Hybrid Frying Pan ($109, originally $137; hexclad.com)
The HexClad 10-Inch Hybrid Pan feels fancy, but it’s also a sturdy piece of cookware that blew the competition out of the kitchen during every one of our tests: Food slid off easily, it was a breeze to clean and heat was evenly distributed while cooking.
Best affordable espresso machine: De’Longhi Stilosa ($99.99; target.com)
If you want to make real espresso drinks at home but you’re on a budget, then the De’Longhi Stilosa is the machine you should consider if you need to spend as little as possible. It’s a capable machine, though it takes a little technique and practice to get the best results — you’ll need to grind the coffee to powder level (all espresso machines need to be paired with a good grinder) and make sure you tamp properly.
Best compact automatic espresso machine: Breville Bambino Plus ($499.00; bedbathandbeyond.com)
The Breville Bambino Plus takes the guesswork out of great espresso, with automatic features to help you through every step of the process of making café-quality drinks.
Best espresso machine for beginning coffee hobbyists: Gaggia Classic Pro ($445; amazon.com)
The latest update to a 30-year-old design, the Gaggia Classic Pro doesn’t have as many automatic features as some more modern machines, but there’s no better machine for learning barista skills. And it makes great espresso and milk drinks.
Best automatic espresso machine with grinder: Breville Barista Pro ($799.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
If you don’t have a grinder or prefer an all-in-one-machine, the Breville Barista Pro has the same great automatic features as the Bambino Plus, plus a quality grinder and a little more programmability.
Best high-end single-boiler espresso machine: ECM Casa V ($999; food52.com)
Beautifully designed, built like a tank and well suited to the serious hobbyist looking for a luxury machine, the ECM Casa V is a traditional single-boiler machine that should last many years and give you café-quality espresso and steamed milk along the way.
Best dual-boiler espresso machine: Rancilio Silvia Pro ($1,690; wholelattelove.com)
If you’re making a lot of milk drinks, the Rancilio Silvia Pro — an updated, well-engineered version of the classic design — has two boilers for always-on convenience, whether you want an espresso or a latte.
Best superautomatic espresso machine: Philips 3200 LatteGo ($799; seattlecoffeegear.com)
If you want espresso drinks at the touch of a button, the Philips 3200 does everything for you, from grinding to milk steaming, without any additional effort. It’s always ready to serve up a quality espresso, latte or cappuccino.
Best coffee grinder overall: Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder With Digital Timer Display ($249.95; amazon.com)
The Baratza Virtuoso+ has a sleek, intuitive design. It also has 40 settings from which to choose. Having more options lets you micro customize the grind size to your liking, so you get the exact taste you want from the beans. It was easy to quickly customize our grinds, from espresso and Turkish coffee to French press or cold brew.
Best budget coffee grinder: Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder ($91.10; amazon.com)
The Bodum Bistro burr grinder is packaged in a contemporary look (we especially liked it in poppy red) and includes a dozen adjustable settings, a static cling-free glass bean catcher and just enough special features to make it an ideal starter machine.
Best manual coffee grinder and best hand grinder: Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder ($66.50; amazon.com)
At just 8 ounces, the tiny Porlex Mini handheld offers precision grinding, with 18 settings, in a travel-friendly size. At your desk or when you’re in the outdoors or traveling, it’s hard to beat.
Best cold brew coffee maker overall: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot ($22.97, originally $24.50; amazon.com)
The Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew coffee pot is a sleek, sophisticated and streamlined carafe that produces 1 liter (about 4.25 cups) of rich, robust brew in just eight hours. It was among the simplest to assemble, it executed an exemplary brew in about the shortest time span and it looked snazzy doing it. Plus, it rang up as the second-most affordable of our inventory.
Runner-up cold brew maker: Ovalware Airtight RJ3 Cold Brew Maker ($29.99; amazon.com)
Also pleasingly easy to use and a handsome visual addition to a breakfast table, the Ovalware Airtight RJ3 Cold Brew Maker narrowly lost to the Mizudashi only because its glass handle feels a bit more fragile and thus slightly less user-friendly. As straightforward as any of the brewers, this was one of the most upscale design-wise without feeling fussy.
Best tumble and travel cold brew maker: Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker ($24.99; amazon.com)
The all-plastic Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker turns out 1.8 liters of fantastic cold brew — a greater volume than some of its simple-carafe brethren — and is the lightest, easiest model to throw in a weekend bag without fear of breakage for on-the-go brewing for a group or larger family.
Best drip coffee maker: Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker ($75.96, originally $89.95; amazon.com)
We brewed countless pots of coffee with the Braun KF6050WH BrewSense drip coffee maker, ranging from light to dark roast, and each one yielded a strong, delicious cup with no sediment, thanks to the gold tone filter, designed to remove the bitterness from coffee as well as reduce single-use paper-filter waste. The machine we tested was white, but it also comes in black, and it’s compact enough to fit under the cabinets in a smaller space compared to some of the more cumbersome machines we tested.
Runner-up best drip coffee maker: Cuisinart Touch-Screen 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker ($129.99; macys.com or amazon.com)
This was, to our eye, the most handsome and minimally designed of the straightforward auto-brewers, delivering a clean, tasty cup. It lost first place only because the touch screen may not be for every consumer, and brew time is significantly longer than the other machines we tried out.
Best luxury drip coffee maker: Technivorm Moccamaster 59636 KBG Coffee Brewer ($329, originally $359; williams-sonoma.com)
In just near five minutes, the Technivorm Moccamaster 59636 KBG Coffee Brewer turns out a whole pot of pretty, perfectly brewed coffee, and the process is as entrancing as a targeted Netflix trailer.
Best affordable drip coffee maker: Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker ($29.99; target.com)
One of the cheapest options we tested, the Mr. Coffee 12-cup brewer is compact, is simple to operate and yields a very competitive cup.
Best pour-over coffee maker overall: Kalita Wave 185 Pour-Over Coffee Dripper ($23.13, originally $24.32; amazon.com)
The Kalita Wave 185 Pour-Over Coffee Dripper features a flat bottom with three drip holes, which enables more easily and evenly saturated coffee grounds. The flat-bottom shape and its larger surface resulted in a rich and robust single cup of coffee, and it was also the most user-friendly of the drippers that required a swirled pour, producing between 16 and 26 ounces at a time.
Best pour-over coffee maker for beginners: Oxo Brew Pour-Over Coffee Maker With Water Tank ($16.99; amazon.com, $16.99; bedbathandbeyond.com or $25; walmart.com)
The Oxo Brew Pour-Over Coffee Maker is perfect for beginners, as it takes the guesswork out of the pouring process by allowing you to simply fill the water tank to your desired amount and letting it control the flow rate. Just don’t expect the coffee to be as robust as with the Kalita.
Best pour-over coffee maker for a group: Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffee Maker ($46.68; amazon.com and williams-sonoma.com)
For times when you need to make several cups at once, you can’t go wrong with the glass Chemex pour-over coffee maker. It delivers a light, flavorful, balanced brew every time. An all-in-one model, there’s no need for a separate carafe.
Best single-serve coffee maker: Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus (starting at $199.99; amazon.com)
If you’re in the market for a coffee machine that can brew a consistently great cup that’s piping hot, makes espresso, is extremely easy to use and looks great on your counter, then you need the Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus. This single-cup coffee maker stood out from the pack in nearly every category. It produced the hottest coffee of the bunch, delivered the same great taste with every cup, allowed for a variety of brewing options and truly could not be easier to use.
Best stand mixer overall: KitchenAid 5-Quart Artisan Series Tilt-Head Stand Mixer ($429.95; williams-sonoma.com)
The KitchenAid 5-Quart Artisan Series Tilt-Head Stand Mixer delivered the best performance of the mixers we tested. With more than 20 available colors and a classic profile, you’ll want to keep this tilt-head mixer on display in your kitchen.
Best stand mixer for large batches: KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer ($529.95; williams-sonoma.com)
If you prefer a bowl-lift mixer because it feels sturdier, the KitchenAid Professional 600 Series is a solid upgrade option from the Artisan series. It has a bigger stainless steel bowl and a more powerful motor that can handle bigger batches and recipes.
Best affordable stand mixer: Cuisinart SM-50 ($249.95; amazon.com)
The Cuisinart SM-50 outperformed all of the cheaper mixers we tested, so if you’re looking to upgrade your baking or cooking tools without stretching your budget too much, it’s a great choice.
Best air fryer: Ninja AF101 Air Fryer ($99.99, originally $119.99; amazon.com)
The Ninja AF101’s heavy-duty feel, combined with its reasonable price tag, convenient controls and standout cooking results, made it easy to declare this air fryer the best overall. It’s not especially heavy (10.58 pounds), but the solid construction and rubber feet give it a sturdy feel that was even more noticeable after several days of handling less rugged models.
Best affordable air fryer under $100: Dash Tasti-Crisp ($59.99; amazon.com or $49.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
If you don’t need the bells and whistles of a higher-end model, and your priority is hassle-free air frying, this affordable model could be just what you’re looking for.
Best air fryer toaster oven: Cuisinart TOA-60 ($229.95; amazon.com, macys.com and bedbathandbeyond.com)
This fryer was extremely easy to use and allows you to air fry, bake, reheat or roast just about anything, thanks especially to its comparatively large fryer basket.
Best blender overall: Breville Super Q ($471.01, originally $499.95; amazon.com)
With 1,800 watts of motor power, the Breville Super Q blender features a slew of preset buttons, comes in multiple colors, includes key accessories and is touted for being quieter than other models. It does carry a steep price tag, but for those who can’t imagine a smoothie-less morning, what breaks down to less than $2 per day over one year seems like a bargain.
Best luxury blender: Vitamix Venturist V1200 ($629.95; or $449.95 (renewed); amazon.com)
We concede that $630 seems like an extreme amount of money to spend on a blender, but the Vitamix Venturist V1200, with its whopping 10-year warranty and plethora of functional, durable and just plain cool features, simply rose to the top in every test performed.
Best budget blender: Ninja Professional Plus Blender With Auto-iQ ($99.99; amazon.com)
Besides doing an admirable job at blending up creamy soups and smoothies, the Ninja Professional Plus Blender comes with a number of presets as well as low, medium and high manual settings. It doesn’t have the heft or quality materials of the high-performance blenders we tested, but for casual users, it won’t disappoint.
Best bread machine overall: Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Bread Maker ($339.95; wayfair.com)
The Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is expensive for sure, but in this case, you get what you pay for. Each loaf we baked turned out beautifully, as if it came straight from our favorite bakery, with a crisp, golden-brown crust; soft, even crumb; perfect rise; airy, fluffy texture; and delicious taste.
Best budget bread maker: Cuisinart CBK-110 Compact Automatic Bread Maker ($120.86, originally $185; amazon.com)
Baking novices on a budget or those who have limited counter space can’t go wrong with the Cuisinart CBK-110 Compact Automatic Bread Maker. It turned out airy and high loaves with smooth, domed tops and even crumbs and crusts. The overall taste and texture of the loaves wasn’t on par with the more expensive Zojirushi Virtuoso, but it’s a relative bargain, its compact footprint makes it small-kitchen-friendly and it was the smallest and lightest bread maker we tested, making it easy to stow away when not in use.
Best hand mixer overall: Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Handheld Mixer ($79.95; amazon.com)
This Cuisinart mixer caught our eye right out of the box, with a sleek design and sturdy build that felt stable in the hand. Testing confirmed our initial impression, with the appliance scoring top marks across the board for function — easily mixing, whisking, beating and kneading — as well as ease of use and storage.
Best high-end hand mixer: Breville BHM800SIL Hand Mixer ($138.95; amazon.com or $139.95; williams-sonoma.com)
The most expensive of the hand mixers we reviewed, the Breville not only mixed ingredients the fastest out of our testing pool (making quick work of even the heaviest of ingredients), but is also equipped with features that you’d expect for a premium price, including a headlamp-style light and rubber-coated beaters that make it the quietest of all the mixers we tested.
Best budget hand mixer: Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Electric Hand Mixer ($22.99; target.com)
The Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Electric Hand Mixer is a simple, hard-working mixer that gets the job done for less. It’s very easy to maneuver and aptly tackles all of the basic functions — mixing, whisking, beating — though it does lack a kneading attachment and was a bit slower on certain tasks compared to the higher-end hand mixers we tested.
Best slow cooker overall: Cuisinart 3-in-1 Cook Central Multicooker ($159.95; amazon.com)
The Cuisinart 3-in-1 Cook Central Multicooker gave us perfectly cooked meals, and while it’s very easy to use, it offers the best range of useful functions — browning, sautéing and steaming — of all the slow cookers we tested.
Best luxury slow cooker: All-Clad 6.5-Quart Slow Cooker ($249.95; amazon.com)
If you’re looking for the absolute best fit and finish in a slow cooker, the All-Clad lives up to the company’s reputation for quality, and offers long cook times and more control over temperature than the competition.
Best budget slow cooker: Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set & Forget Digital Programmable Slow Cooker ($64.99; amazon.com)
For not much more money than a basic manual slow cooker, the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget gives you a flexible timer and a built-in temperature probe, plus a latching gasketed lid makes it great for transporting meals anyplace.
Best waffle maker: Cuisinart Double Belgian Waffle Maker ($119.95; amazon.com)
If you need a machine that makes great waffles, doesn’t take up too much of your precious counter space and still lets you make multiple waffles per batch, then this waffle maker may be the perfect waffle maker for you. This model goes a step beyond most flip waffle makers, featuring two sets of waffle grills, one on each side of the flip mechanism, so you can make two rounds of waffles at once — a real bonus for a hungry breakfast crowd.
Best budget waffle maker: Hamilton Beach Flip Waffle Maker ($49.99, originally $54.99; wayfair.com)
The Hamilton Beach Flip gave us great results and control over our waffles, is easy to store and has dishwasher-safe removable plates for easy cleanup.
A great waffle maker worth splurging on: Breville Smart Waffle Pro 4-Slice Waffle Maker ($249.95; williams-sonoma.com)
It’s pricey, but the Breville made the best, most consistent waffles of all the waffle makers we tested. Smart timers and clear alerts make it easy to get great results, and cleanup is easy.
Best ice cream maker overall: Cuisinart 1.5-Quart Frozen Yogurt ICE-21P1 ($59, originally $110; amazon.com)
The Cuisinart 1.5-Quart Frozen Yogurt ICE-21P1 is incredibly easy to use and made one of the smoothest ice creams, with only a little iciness, of all the ice cream makers we tested. While it was one of the loudest machines we tested, it also churned ice cream faster than many of its competitors (it only took about 15 minutes for both of the recipes we tested), so you won’t have to suffer through the noise for too long.
Best compressor ice cream maker: Whynter ICM-201SB Upright Automatic Ice Cream Maker ($324.55; amazon.com)
A compressor-style ice cream maker has a built-in refrigeration unit, so no overnight prep is required. The Whynter ICM-201SB is pricey, but it’s an extraordinarily convenient, surprisingly quiet ice cream maker that churned the creamiest ice cream out of our whole group.
Prep and other kitchen basics
Best cutting board: Teakhaus Professional Cutting Board ($95.99; amazon.com)
The Teakhaus Professional is a cutting board made from teak, a wood that stands up to heavy use, is resistant to stains and knife cuts, cleans up easily, is heavy enough to stay in place while you work and is reasonably priced compared to other wooden cutting boards of similar quality. Plus, it’s beautiful enough to earn a permanent spot on your kitchen countertop.
Best plastic cutting board: Oxo Good Grips Cutting Board Set ($19.14, originally $20.95; amazon.com)
The sturdiest, most stable plastic cutting boards we tested, the Oxo Good Grips boards are well designed, easy to take care of and resistant to knife marks.
Best budget cutting board: Ikea Skogsta Chopping Board ($14.99; ikea.com)
The solid acacia Ikea Skogsta gives you premium looks and smoothly finished, stain-resistant waxed work surfaces for an affordable price.
Best all-purpose cutting board: Epicurean Gourmet Series Cutting Board ($49.95, originally $54.99; amazon.com)
Built with Richlite, a paper-based composite material, the durable Epicurean Series board looks like a wooden cutting board but cleans up like plastic, making it perfect for any type of kitchen prep work.
Best cutting mats: Dexas Mini Grippmat Flexible Cutting Boards ($9.99, originally $16.18; amazon.com)
These tough, flexible, color-coded mats from Dexas’ Grippmat line stand up to heavy knife use better than similar cutting mats and let you sweep your prepped meats and vegetables right into a bowl or pan.
Best grill brush: Kona BBQ Grill Brush ($21.95; amazon.com)
The Kona BBQ Grill Brush features a durable, stainless steel brush head that, according to the manufacturer, works best when dipped in water. This proved true in our testing, and the wet brush melts away any leftover food or gunk on the grill. The solid brush head ensures that no bristles, wire bits, food or residue from the tool is left behind on your grill.
Best instant-read meat thermometer: ThermoWorks Thermapen One ($84, originally $105; thermoworks.com)
The price of the ThermoWorks Thermapen One may make you raise an eyebrow, but based on our testing, it’s worth every penny. The backlit display is easy to read, and the digits automatically adjust their orientation when holding the thermometer vertically — something that was exclusive to this model.
A stylish instant-read thermometer: Oxo Good Grips Thermocouple Thermometer ($101.65; amazon.com)
If you prefer a sleeker look, the Oxo Thermocouple Thermometer is very accurate and easy to read, is almost as fast as the ThermoWorks Thermapen One and has a stylish case design.
Best budget instant-read thermometer: Kizen Digital Meat Thermometer ($16.99; amazon.com)
For one-fifth the price of our top picks, the Kizen provides accurate readings in under four seconds and super-easy calibration; its interface and styling are slightly clunky, but it’s a solid buy.
Best leave-in thermometer: ThermoWorks Chef Alarm ($65; thermoworks.com)
The accurate, stable and easy-to-read Chef Alarm is the most versatile leave-in thermometer we tested, with an easy-to-use alarm and timer, and magnetic and stand mounts that let you place it anywhere.
Best kitchen knife set overall: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set ($199.95; amazon.com)
This knife block set lets you easily take on almost any cutting job. Not only did the core knives included (chef’s, paring, utility and serrated) perform admirably, but the set included a bevy of extras, including a full set of steak knives. We were blown away by their solid construction and reliable execution for such an incredible value. The knives stayed sharp through our multitude of tests, and we were big fans of the cushion-grip handles that kept them from slipping.
Runner-up kitchen knife set: Zwilling Pro 7-Piece Knife Block Set ($329.96, originally $647.50; surlatable.com)
When you want knives that are super sharp, durable and ergonomic, and that will last a lifetime, we highly suggest you give this standout set a good look.
Best luxury kitchen knife set: Wüsthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Walnut Block Knife Set ($449.95; amazon.com)
This handcrafted set is elegant, sophisticated, ergonomic and super sharp. It includes the four basic knives that a serious home cook needs.
Best kitchen scale: Ozeri ZK14-S Pronto Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale (starting at $9.84, originally $14.95; amazon.com)
Simplicity and reliability is what you’ll get with this scale. It can measure grams, pounds, ounces and milliliters, all the way up to 11.24 pounds. Of all the options we tested under $20, this one handled the most weight. When measuring the same item several times and/or comparing it to other scales, its accuracy was dependable.
The upgrade pick (and best kitchen scale for bakers): My Weigh Bakers Math Kitchen Scale — KD8000 ($47.99, originally $76.99; amazon.com)
The My Weigh Bakers Math Kitchen Scale was second to none. For the additional money, you get additional features — like a baker’s percentage function that’ll help you perfect your dough — and the ability to weigh out food up to 17.5 pounds.
Best spiralizer: Spiralizer 7-Blade Spiral Slicer ($25.97, originally $27.99; amazon.com)
The Spiralizer 7-Blade Spiral Slicer impressed us with the fact that every veggie we tested — on all seven provided blades — turned out perfect spirals, with almost all requiring barely any exertion on our part. There are blades for vermicelli, spaghetti, fettuccine, curly fry, chips/ribbons, fine groovy chips and coarse groovy chips, and they’re all clearly labeled by name. The spiralizer is dishwasher-safe and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Best handheld spiralizer: Oxo Good Grips Handheld Spiralizer ($15.25; amazon.com)
If you’re looking for a smaller version you can easily store, the Oxo Good Grips Handheld Spiralizer is an excellent option. With one razor-sharp built-in stainless steel blade, it worked better than its fellow handheld competitors on all veggies tested, delivering long, even, well-formed spirals.
Best water filter pitcher: Brita Standard Everyday Water Filter Pitcher ($26.98, originally $34.99; amazon.com)
The Brita Standard Everyday Water Filter Pitcher was a cinch to set up, left water free of any odd flavoring, features a simple pouring mechanism and is ideally designed for storage within a fridge.
Best wine opener: Oxo Steel Double Lever Waiter’s Corkscrew ($16.99; amazon.com)
Lever-style wine openers are meant to be stable and easy to use. During our testing, we got the cork out of our bottle in three seconds, as advertised. There was no setup or assembly required prior to use, and the silicone-lined exterior of this opener felt immediately comfortable in hand upon unboxing.
Best lever corkscrew: Rabbit Wine Corkscrew With Foil Cutter ($39.07; amazon.com)
The Rabbit is the most secure, easiest-to-use lever-style corkscrew we’ve tried, quickly and cleanly removing corks from any bottle with little effort.
Best electric wine opener Ozeri Nouveaux II Electric Wine Opener ($12.66; amazon.com)
The affordable, stable and rechargeable Ozeri Electric Wine Opener is easy to use and opens any bottle at the press of a button.
Best measuring spoons overall: Gorilla Grip Magnetic Stackable Measuring Spoon Set ($7.99, originally $24.99; amazon.com)
This Gorilla Grip set comes with seven spoons that nest together with magnets, making it easier to select the appropriate measures than with other sets. They’re dual-sided, with a narrow, oblong end that fits easily into small containers.
Best rectangular measuring spoons: Sur La Table 6-Piece Spice Measuring Spoons ($16.50; surlatable.com)
The Sur La Table 6-piece spice measuring spoons are great if you prefer a rectangular spoon for spice jars. Their heavyweight construction feels high-end, though their ring connector makes the set bulkier to store and harder to select a given measure.
Best peeler overall: Oxo Good Grips Swivel Peeler ($10.98; amazon.com)
The Oxo Good Grips Swivel Peeler was easy to clean, peeled more smoothly across the surfaces of a range of fruits and vegetables than others and felt super comfortable to hold for long periods.
Best Y-peeler: Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler 3-Pack ($12.87; amazon.com)
If you prefer a Y-shaped peeler, get the Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler 3-Pack. They have smaller blades and cheaper-feeling overall construction, but they peel well and are very easy to clean.
Best grater overall: Cuisipro Surface Glide Technology 4-Sided Boxed Grater ($31.96, originally $42; amazon.com)
The Cuisipro Surface Glide was the lightest and easiest to use. It grated every food we tested with finesse, plus it has thoughtful features like etched measurements and a cap on the bottom to hold in your trimmings.
Best zester and plane grater: Microplane Premium Classic Zester Grater ($15.99; amazon.com)
Microplane is universally recognized as making some of the best zesters. Its blades are tightly spaced, creating more zest with less effort, and sharp enough to produce long, consistent strips with every pass.
Best rotary cheese grater: Oxo Rotary Cheese Grater ($16.99; amazon.com)
Most people don’t need a rotary grater, but this one stood out at grating fluffier Parmesan while being easier to disassemble and keep clean.