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Best Blender: Cuisinart CBT-1500 Hurricane 2.25 Peak HP Blender
Know a smoothie fanatic? The Cuisinart CBT-1500 has impressive features that are sure to please, but at a much friendlier price point than many high-end blenders. It includes load-sensing technology that automatically adjusts blending speed—no more annoying stopping and scraping—as well as preprogrammed smoothie and ice crush modes. The LCD screen and programmable timer make it easy to keep track of blending time, and a soft-grip handle makes pouring comfortable. Finally, a heavy-duty base keeps the blender sturdy and stable on the counter, without loud, annoying vibrations.
Best Waffle Maker: Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Classic Waffle Maker
An overwhelming buyers’ favorite, the Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Classic Waffle Maker won’t break the bank while turning out perfect golden waffles every time. It has a compact design that won’t hog counter space and can be stored on its end to take up even less room in the cabinet. There is also a weighted lid that keeps batter from dripping onto your counters, rubber feet so that it won’t skid during use, and a cord wrap to keep things neat. Five different browning settings, nonstick plates, and easy-to-read indicator lights add to ease of use. Buy this for your favorite brunch host or hostess.
Best Juicer: Hurom H-AA Slow Juicer
The sleek black Hurom H-AA Slow Squeezing Juicer is undeniably stylish for a countertop appliance, but it’s more than a pretty face: With its slow-squeeze technology, it’s also a quiet, efficient substitute for hand juicing. Users maintain a high degree of control over their juice with a lever, strainers, and a low-speed augur that can fine-tune how much pulp they get. This is perfect for your family member who always goes full force on the new year’s resolutions. This might just help them stick to them this time.
Best Toaster Oven: Breville Smart Oven Pro Convection Toaster Oven with Element IQ
Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to fire up the big oven, and the Breville Smart Oven Pro Convection Toaster Oven may have users searching for excuses to use this smart appliance instead. It has 10 preset functions that take the guesswork out of cooking, suggesting ideal time and temperature. A slow cook mode allows it to stay on for a whopping 10 hours, cooking dinner while you’re out and about, while a convection mode allows the opposite—a speedy meal. A nonstick pizza pan, enamel baking pan and enamel broiling pan are included. This is perfect for the friend who is always looking for ways to save time in the kitchen.
Best Stand Mixer: KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
KitchenAid’s stand mixers have achieved near-iconic status in the kitchen, and they continue to dominate the stand-mixer market. Chief among those reasons is legendary durability, but don’t underestimate the Artisan when it comes to style or features, either. There are more than 40 colors to choose from, and the power hub allows for a whopping 15 optional attachments, such as a food grinder or pasta maker. Smooth mixing is one of the Artisan’s hallmarks, with 59 touch points around the bowl that ensure lump-free batter. The mixer comes with a flat beater, dough hook, wire whip and pouring shield. You can only hope that your thank you note for this gift comes with cookies.
Best Humidifier: Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier
Available in white and black, the Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier can easily soothe irritated throats and dry, itchy eyes, all while removing more than 99 percent of bacteria, mold, and other germs from the air with its UV light and wicking filter. The 1.1-gallon tank is ample enough for rooms up to 500 square feet, and it’s easy to clean because of a lack of nooks and crannies. A recessed handle also makes it easy to tote to and from the sink, where a large filling hole minimizes the chances of spills. Because this is an evaporative humidifier, users don’t have to worry about white dust coating their home if they use it with hard water.
Best Sewing Machine: Singer Stylist 7258 Sewing Machine
The Singer 7258 Stylist is a great choice for anyone who wants a solid, do-it-all sewing machine without overspending. The Stylist can handle 100 different stitches, from basics like straight stitches and zigzags to more intricate decorative and heirloom stitches. It includes 10 metal presser feet and seven one-step button holes, too. Ease of use is tops with this machine: There is a programmable needle, automatic needle threader, top-loading bobbin, and an LED-illuminated sewing surface. A metal frame and 25-year warranty should help soothe any durability worries, too.
Best Slow Cooker: Hamilton Beach Programmable Set & Forget 6 Quart Slow Cooker
The Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker boasts some nice extras that aren’t standard on lower-priced slow cookers, including a thermometer probe and clip-on serving spoon. Users can program it to flip to a “keep warm” mode after a certain time, use it in manual mode, or go by food temperature for the ultimate precision cooking. This is also a great model for taking on the go to potlucks and tailgates because of the clip-tight lid and easy-to-grip side handles. It also has power interruption protection, meaning those brief power surges or outages won’t ruin your dinner.
Best Electric Kettle: KitchenAid 1.25-Liter Electric Kettle
Built to last, with a design that will look good on the counter or table, this electric tea kettle holds 1 1/4 liters of water and heats it in under five minutes, so it’s faster than a microwave. It has a removable base and the on/off switch has an LED light for easy visibility. The body of this kettle is stainless steel and comes in red, black, pistachio, or brushed stainless steel to match your décor or add a pop of color. The handle is smooth aluminum that’s easy to hold and it makes pouring easy. There’s a removable lime scale filter in the pouring spout for folks with hard water. The lid is removable for easy cleaning and the opening is wide enough to get your hand in to scrub it well. It’s great for someone who drinks a lot of tea and who appreciates the esthetics of a well-made design.
Best Bread Maker: Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker
The Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker can handle all kinds of bread with ease, but most notable among its features is a gluten-free menu setting for anyone with special dietary considerations. That’s just one of many pre-programmed modes, which include functions for whole-wheat and homemade bread, quick bread, dough, and even cake and jam. An LCD panel allows users a large degree of control, including three crust settings and automatic baking time. The machine turns out generously sized 2-pound rectangular loaves.
Best Carbonator: SodaStream Source Home Soda Maker Starter Kit
A SodaStream Source Sparkling Water Maker is more than a convenient way to make carbonated drinks at home: It’s one step toward a greener lifestyle as users ditch soda cans and bottles. The SodaStream is powered by a CO2 carbonator—no batteries or electricity required—and takes only 30 seconds to produce soda or sparkling water. Users can choose from more than 60 soda mix varieties, each of which produce the equivalent of 33 cans of soda. A convenient snap-lock feature ensures that bottles of water are firmly connected to the machine before carbonation, making the process faster and minimizing messes, too. This is also a must-have for any cocktail enthusiast.