Are These Kitchen Appliances Worth It?

Kitchen Appliances

It used to be that a home cook could whip up any dish with little more than a pot, a slotted spoon and some culinary ingenuity. (Or so it seemed.)

These days, our kitchens are stuffed with gadgets that can do everything from core mangos to steep our tea for us. Everyone knows too many chefs spoil the soup, but too many useless appliances can also be bad for your budget.

Then again, time is money. Maybe that state-of-the-art food processor really could make a difference in your life. So, to determine the real utility of some of the most popular newfangled kitchen gadgets out there, we asked: Exactly how many times would we have to use each to justify its cost?

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Then, using LearnVest’s “What’s My Hour Worth” Calculator (assuming a time value of about $15 per hour), we crunched the numbers.

(Try it out for yourself to see how much your time is worth.)

In the slideshow below, you’ll find our calculations to help you differentiate between gadgets that gouge you—and those most likely to pay you back.

View Slide Show

  • Hannah

    Super helpful! I am moving into my own place and need a couple of appliances…out of this list, hot water kettle and rice cooker looks to be all that will be of particular use to me! :P

    But that pineapple cutter, that might be a great missmiss gift for my mother, since we do pineapple just about every week in the summertime…

  • This is a helpful article. I know that I have tried to save money by cooking at home more often, but if you deck out your kitchen to the extreme with too many newfangled tools and gadgets, you would probably be better off just eating out sometimes.  One thing to keep in mind with some of the tools you have listed in the slideshow is cleaning time.  If you don’t have a dishwasher, sometimes taking a little longer to mince something by hand and only having a knife and cutting board to clean ends up taking less time than dismantling a complex food processor and cleaning all the parts.   

  • This is a very helpful post.  I know that I try to save money by cooking more at home, but if you deck out your kitchen with too many newfangled gadgets, you can actually end up spending more than if you just decided to eat out.  One thing you didn’t mention in the post though has to do with clean up time.  If you don’t have a dishwasher, sometimes mincing things by hand and only having a knife and cutting board to clean afterwards saves more time than using a complex tool with many parts that you have to clean by hand.  

  • Tania

    It’s always funny to me see these “optional kitchen gadgets” type of articles because they always include a rice cooker.  In Hawaii, for the local Asian and Pacific Islander families, a rice cooker is a must have item, not in the same category as a breadmaker.  Not having a rice cooker would be just as weird as not having a frying pan.  

  • Jane Akin

    I am thinking about buying a carpet shampoo/vaccuum. Do you think it is worth the money and my time? Costing around $200.

  • guest

    this is one of the more ridiculous lists i’ve seen. you can find all of those gadgets for less than the price listed here. and seriously, a pineapple slicer? give me a break! that’s not even a matter of budgeting, that’ s just being lazy.

    • guest

      i should add that i normally really love LV’s posts, but this was a disappointing one!

  • Anne P

    A food processor is worth its weight in gold as far as I’m concerned, and so is a powerful stand mixer from the famous brand. Your estimation of the processor needing 120 uses to pay for itself says more about your lack of familiarity eith its uses (or with cooking?) than about how worthwhile it is to have one. Trust me, if you are beyond mac and cheese in a box you’ll want these kitchen workhorses.

  • Anne P

    Oh and don’t forget you can often snap up some of these gadgets in yard sales (some never used) which brings the worth-it factor way up. I stalked the wiley bread machine for a while before I found a brand new one for just $20 at a moving sale. I can make awesome bread in literally 5 minutes prep time now.

  • Sunshine343

    Thanks LV for such a useful article. However, I was wondering about some items like an espresso maker, water filters, juicer, and a toaster oven. Though I can probably do the dollars to time math, there were some items that I just didn’t even consider. The rice cooker ended up on my kitchen counter within a week and I love how easy it is to cook and clean.
    It might also be interesting to recommend uses we hadn’t thought of. i.e. I learned that my rice cooker can also steam vegetables. 

  • Now kitchen is most important part of every home.And there should be useful things in the kitchen for the work.
    There are many useful kitchen appliances like mixer,oven, refrigerator etc.The most important thing in this,quality.Must be in stuff.