Nothing says pleasure like a well-made sandwich. Without a doubt, there is always something about sandwiches. The melted cheese, beefy meat, yummy artichoke dip, and super-crispy exterior will put a sated smile on anyone’s face.
It’s no surprise that the panini keeps popping up just about anywhere, with many cafes and restaurants offering their own delicious version to leave you begging for more.
But, creating your version of this Italian-style sandwich at homemade can be a much more satisfying experience. If all these have excited you, then you should consider purchasing a panini press.
Like all products, even panini presses feature some distinct benefits and drawbacks. So, without further ado, let’s consider the top 7 best panini presses and sandwich makers on the market. Plus, you should check out the buying guide section to ensure you make an informed decision.
What is a panini machine?
It’s a stovetop or countertop grill used to make a small Italian sandwich called panini. This machine is called several things: grill press, panini press, or panini maker.
This kitchen appliance has top and bottom heat plates, which can either be grooved, smooth, or mixed to press and, at the same time, grill your bread for a golden, crispy result on both sandwich sides.
Reviews of the Best Panini Press Consumer Reports
Here are top rated panini grills & Sandwich Makers on the market today
Top 1 – Cuisinart Griddler: Best Panini Press
The Cuisinart Griddler Elite offers six remarkable cooking functions with a sleek brushed stainless steel to make your kitchen countertop gleams. This model is built to handle just about any task thrown at it.
Cuisinart Griddler Elite is designed to panini press, half griddle, half grill, griddle, grill, as well as top melt appetizers, meats, and sandwiches. Further, it features an electronic display to allow users to set dual-zone temperature control and timer. This amazing feature lets you griddle eggs while grilling bacon on a whopping 240 sq inches of cooking space.
That’s not all: this stylish model comes with reversible plates, an unbeatable SearBlast to help lock flavor into the steak. Its fully-adjustable top cover offers a perfectly customized cooking experience and great precision every time. The grill plates are nonstick and dishwasher friendly. It’s conveniently removable design makes cleaning a breeze even if you make sticky BBQ sauce or the cheesiest sandwich.
- Six cooking options
- Brushed stainless steel housing
- Sear function included
- Electronic LCD display
- Blue LED indicator lights
- Adjustable top cover with 6 presets
- On the pricey side
Top 2 – Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler: Best Panini Grill
The Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler features five cooking options. This model makes a wide range of food, including great panini. Its array of multiple options lets you cook hamburgers, steaks, grilled cheese, sausages, and pancakes as well.
This model allows you to open and reshape to meet cooking needs. These shapes offer more cooking space or for the bottom and top cooking. Its brushed stainless-steel housing adds more elegance and sturdy panini-style handle for a customizable cooking experience.
More importantly, its floating cover allows you to adjust your food’s thickness. The reversible and removable cooking plates are nonstick and dishwasher. Plus, its adjustable temperature controls include indicator lights for easy use. Even better, it comes with a scraping tool and gourmet recipes.
- Adjustable heat controls
- Dishwasher compatible
- Fine finish
- Wide cooking options
- Automatic grease drain and collection
- Pulling the grease trap might be challenging.
Top 3 – Best Sandwich Maker: Hamilton Beach Breakfast
Next on our list is the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker built to offer easy and quick use. This means making your breakfast, lunch, or dinner sandwich would take less time. This top-rated sandwich maker is an ideal choice for quick, healthy meals or brunch on the go.
For people looking to try out new sandwich recipes, the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker makes customizing your sandwich with meats, eggs, cheese, bread, and much more based on your needs.
With this model, you can explore more than 20 sandwich recipes on the manufacturer’s website. In addition, this sandwich maker parts are all removable and dishwasher friendly for easy cleanup. Plus, its surface has a durable, nonstick coating.
- All removable parts are dishwasher safe
- Quick and easy
- Durable, nonstick coating
- Four easy steps
- Customer service could be better
Top 4 – Breville Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press, Grill
The Breville Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press comes with adjustable height control, which makes it suitable for both toasting open style melts or grilling thick artisan breads.
The plate configuration sports ribbed top plate for aesthetic grill marks. This unit has a flat bottom plate to allow users to cook evenly and faster. Even better, Breville Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press: Best Sandwich Maker has a floating hinge to deliver even pressure on both thin or thick items.
This model has On/Off ‘Ready’ and ‘Power’ lights for ease of use. Further, it features non-slip feet and locking storage clip for secure and mess-free use.
- Non-stick, scratch-resistant Quantanium cooking surface
- Offers beautiful grill marks
- Sturdy stainless steel construction
- Easy to clean
- Lacks an ‘On/Off’ button
Top 5 – IMUSA USA GAU-80103 Electric Stainless Steel Panini Maker
When it comes to making restaurant-quality paninis, grilled meats, pork chops, veggies, and sandwiches, choosing IMUSA USA GAU-80103 is smart. With the temperature presets, users can easily make a perfectly toasted golden brown sandwich every time.
The IMUSA USA GAU-80103 Electric Panini Maker is a multipurpose kitchen appliance with an ample cooking space. It offers even top and bottom heating, which ensures your panini, vegetables, meats, and sandwiches come out just the way you want it.
Here, this model is equipped with a nonstick surface for a much easier, hassle-free cleaning process. More so, it has a heat and power indicator light; making it idiot-proof to use.
Even better, its floating hinge top permits users to use this press for a wide range of sandwich thickness without any challenges. Lastly, IMUSA USA GAU-80103 Electric Panini Maker features a well-polished stainless-steel exterior design to ensure it looks great in any modern kitchen.
- Nonstick surface for snappy cleaning experience
- Features heat and power indicator lights
- Polished stainless steel exterior
- Perfect for vegetables, meats, sandwiches and more
- Not very durable
Top 6 – Oster Titanium-Infused DuraCeramic 2-in-1 Panini Maker and Grill
The Oster Panini Maker and Grill comes with a large cooking space to allow users to meet demand faster. Large size isn’t all this model has to offer. It’s engineered to cook faster than most products on the market.
It brings more than the panini press function to your kitchen countertop. This product supports grilling vegetables, fish, and meat. Further, it’s made with PTFE- and PFOA-free ceramic coating to ensure safe meals and easy food release. Plus, it’s scratches resistant and offers hassle-free cleaning procedures.
What’s more? Oster Panini Maker and Grill have a drip tray at the unit’s bottom to collect the excess oil and adjustable feet to control the oils’ flow based on your preference. If you want a product that can accommodate different sandwich thicknesses and cooks evenly, then this could be the press you need.
- Double as a kitchen countertop grill
- Includes griddle cleaning tool
- Accommodate different sandwich thicknesses
- Scratch-resistant and adjustable feet
- Grease management could be better
Top 7 – Hamilton Beach Panini Press, Sandwich Maker & Electric Indoor Grill
The Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press Grill is available in two sizes: medium and large, assuring users of meeting the demand fast. This kitchen appliance has a chrome finish exterior to ensure impressive durability and elegant looks.
Like most top products, this unit comes with a floating lid that adjusts easily and delivers helps press your sandwiches evenly. Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press Grill has preheated and power lights, which allows you to keep your eyes on the cooker while doing other stuff in the kitchen. Also, cleaning this press once you are done is a snap. Thanks to its nonstick surface, all you have to do is just wipe, and it’s all clean.
For people with limited space, this model is designed with space-saving in mind. The medium version of this press accommodates three sandwiches at once, which should be enough to go around without taking all day.
- Nonstick surface
- Attractive, and durable exterior
- Two size options
- Space-saving design
- Preheat and power lights
- Heating could be a little bit more even
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Panini Press and Sandwich Maker
As said earlier, there are hundreds of models on the market, which makes choosing the right model a bit tricky and challenging. However, in this section, we’ll consider key factors to bear in mind when pinning down the right panini press for you.
Power and Capacity
To make paninis quick and easily, you might want to consider a bigger device. Nonetheless, you opt for a model that caters to your cooking needs. If you commonly have friends over or family, then a large model is a smart choice.
However, larger devices consume more power. If you are looking to own a press for personal use, small or medium size will work just fine.
While it’s hard to find a press that offers just one function, some models are more functional than others. Splurging on a versatile press will allow you to do much more with it. Besides, having a lot of functions on your press means you don’t have to purchase another device to do just that function.
A durable nonstick feature can be a deal-breaker. This feature allows hassle-free cleaning afterward. Also, you need to lean towards products with removable plates. They are dishwasher safe and much easier to clean.
Additionally, the cooking plates should offer even heat distribution to eliminate hot spots and deliver properly brown sandwiches. Finally, the product’s design must be a treat to the eyes.
When it comes to cooking plates, there are three types: grooved, smooth, and mixed (grooved on one side and smooth on the other). While groove plates leave distinct marks on your food for a more visually attractive finish, the smooth plates are snappy to clean.
Adjustable temperature and timer are nice features to consider when choosing your best panini press. The timer function ensures using the press is easier to operate. But with the temperature setting, users can experiment with the taste and texture of the food.
Besides, hinges and drip trays are hardware features to look out for. The drip tray is meant to collect oils dripping from your food automatically. This feature ensures your kitchen doesn’t get messy. The hinges let you adjust the top plate to fit your sandwich thickness you intend to throw in there.
Electric or Manual
While electric versions are easier to use than manual ones, they can be pricey. Nonetheless, you should go for a model that best fits.
Things You Can Cook In A Panini Press
A relatively straightforward kitchen appliance, like the panini press and sandwich makers, can be a valuable and versatile cooking tool with a little creativity. So, let’s check out things you can cook in a panini press:
- Chicken Breasts
What can I use instead of a panini press?
Panini presses are not the only way of making yummy sandwiches, here are other ways to create your panini sandwiches:
- A wide-slot toaster
- Oven broiler
Panini press cleaning techniques
Most people often wonder about the best way to clean their panini press. How you clean a sandwich maker often depends on the type you own. Therefore, it’s important to pay closer attention to your kitchen device specs and reviews for a proper understanding of the working mechanism.
The shape and style of the plates vary between these machines. Some offer simple, flat cooking space featuring removable parts and nonstick coating, which makes cleaning a breeze. Others can be quite challenging to clean, considering their ridged and irremovable design.
The rigid plates feature grooves that can be removed and soaked in soapy water. Some of the best panini presses offer nonstick surfaces to increase performance and eliminate any hassle of cleaning the product afterward. However, you don’t want to ruin it by scrubbing often.
While it’s usually said to wash these versatile kitchen tools with a wet sponge, it’s not always that simple. It’s always tempting to attack those pig-headed stains and grime with a sharp object or scrubbing pad. This approach is counterproductive.
Any option stronger than bicarbonate of soda, then you need to proceed with extra caution. If possible, it’s advisable not to scrub at all and make sure of a damp paper towel.
More so, it’s best to stay away from large grill brushes or cleaning tools that are not designed to reach those small crevices of these plates. Even better, you should opt for cleaning tools designed for cleaning the panini press.
Whether you’re a simple food enthusiast or a professional chef, the panini press will always be handy. This indispensable kitchen appliance processes many meals with ease.
With hundreds of options on the market, your chances of ending up with the wrong product increases. Thus, we’ve compared the best panini presses and discuss key factors that should influence your decision.
Nonetheless, for those in a rush, the Cuisinart Griddler Elite is a decent choice. It packs a lot of features and is compatible with a wide range of food.