Last updated: March 3rd 2017.
If you know the basic operation, creating a panini is no big deal! You can place anything you like between the bread slices and use the panini press, to get your desired grilled sandwich. Despite all this simplicity, there are some factors that do affect the quality of your panini, the first being the panini press you use. Yes, including but not limited to its build, versatile design, flexibility etc, almost every aspect of the panini press should affect your grilled sandwich taste and quality. That is why we say you need to choose the best panini press for your kitchen.
When we thought about this at UpHomes Labs, the idea was simple. We decided to take the major panini press products from the market and test them thoroughly. We had to spend more than a few days in the total process, but the experience was worth it. In the end, our list became of seven best panini presses you can go for. We are not merely confident but also pleased to share our recommendations on the best panini press.
Quick Recommendations on Best Panini Press
Now, it’s time to take a deeper look onto our best panini press choices. We can discuss the design, features and purposes of each product, before coming to the verdict on who needs it.
Best Panini Press 2016 – The Winners
Hamilton Beach 25462Z
Best of the Best — Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler
Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler is not the common, dedicated panini press you see around. Rather, it is a combination of 5 different tools, built into one. Yes, you heard it right, Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler can be used as a panini press, full grill, contact grill, full griddle and as a half griddle/grill. So, it does not matter whether you need to make some sausages or hamburgers, it’s all good with this multifunctional panini press. We did try making different dishes with this press and the results were no less than amazing. Taste and quality were ensured it every dish we prepared.
Design of Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler is so convenient for each of mentioned purposes. For instance, when you convert it for full-griddle needs, there is enough space for cooking some pancakes or French toasts. On the other hand, when we tried the Panini Press mode, it was able to comprise almost all sizes of bread slices. The only thing we needed to do is to change the plates correspondingly. When closed, Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler has cooking surface of 100 Square inches and it’s 200 Square Inches while opened. According to users, this space is enough for cooking a fulsome meal for families.
In spite of having five functions, operation of Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler is simple enough. 3 Knobs are there on the front portion of this panini press — one for selection and two for temperature control. Once you have chosen between grill and griddle, you can change the temperature by turning the knob. This was too easy, even for people who don’t cook grilled stuff occasionally. The product is built with Stainless Steel and has a weight of 8lbs. The power is 1500Watts and its package comes with reversible plates.
Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler is an excellent choice for multipurpose paninis and other grilled dishes. And, performance is way too awesome compared to the pricing. Go for it if you need top-notch quality.
Value for Money — Hamilton Beach 25460A Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker
Hamilton Beach 25460A Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker is a dedicated panini press, available for affordable rates. If you don’t need any of the multifunctional features or integrations, this should be a good choice. Being a budget-friendly product, we didn’t have high expectations for this particular panini press. However, during the test, it turned out to be of quite impressive. We were able to fulfil almost all our grilled-sandwich needs using Hamilton Beach 25460A Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker. Needless to say, we had used different material of different thickness between the slices.
Hamilton Beach 25460A Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker has pretty much the same design seen in common panini presses. However, as the company says, the design has been optimized to take care of different grills and sandwiches. So, the next time you want to grill something, you won’t have to worry about its thickness. The entire construction seems to be quite sturdier and the hinges give a smooth flow for panini making. This is supported by the café-style floating lid you’ll see in the device. Talking of the grilling area, the non-sticky plates are offering something around 10” x 8”. The area is enough to prepare multiple sandwiches at once. We did have no issue in cleaning these plates after use, either.
One thing you may not like about Hamilton Beach 25460A Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker is the lack of controls. It has power light and preheat light. Both are helpful to let you know if the sandwich is ready for consumption. That having said, you cannot adjust the temperature. However, thanks to the upright storage design, you can keep Hamilton Beach 25460A Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker in almost any kind of space. To complement this, its weight is brought into 6.2lbs.
When you need a budget-friendly, dedicated grilling equipment, Hamilton Beach 25460A Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker is the best panini press you can get.
Contender #1 — Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press
Are you ready to spend a bit more for extended build and customization? Then, Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press will be one of the best panini press choices you have. In case if you don’t know, Breville is a company from Australia — noted for quality kitchen appliances. In our experience, it was one of the easiest-to-use panini presses we came across. The process is so simple: you have to connect it to power and you will be notified when it’s ready to be grilled. Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press offers a cooking area of 7.5” x 11”. This is enough for more than one sandwich.
Coming to the performance aspect, Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press does heat so quickly. To do that, the company has used flat bottom plate and Quantanium cooking surface. So, chances are high that you can get your panini ready in less time than it would usually take. Customizability is there in the case of floating hinge as well. You can choose from four height settings, suitable for each purpose — Melt, Toast, Open and Lock. However, because it has a flat bottom plate, you will have to flip the sandwich for grilled marks on either sides. It has a weight of 8.4lbs but its total space consumption is reasonable.
Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press is a nice choice if you need sturdier build and better heat distribution.
Contender #2 — Hamilton Beach 25462Z Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker
Hamilton Beach 25462Z Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker is another budget-friendly choice from Hamilton Beach. There is no question about the build or quality, and you can take our word for that. For half the price of some sturdy-built panini presses, you can purchase Hamilton Beach 25462Z Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker, which seems reasonable for most families out here. If you are someone who don’t get into much grilled dishes but need well-grilled paninis, it must be good to go. In our testing, we tried preparing two paninis at once and the taste was awesome. And, due to the café-style design, the panini press is able to grill any level of sandwich thickness. Its hinge and grilling plates work just fine.
Hamilton Beach 25462Z Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker has a cooking area of 10” x 8” — which is suitable for up to 2 paninis at once. There aren’t many controls, except for the Power light and Preheat light. Simply put, you will know when it’s to put the sandwich in-between grilling plates. According to your tastes, you can take it back too. As per some of reviews in Amazon, people use this press for making jumbo-big paninis as well. Thanks to the shorter dimensions, you won’t have trouble in storing this either.
Hamilton Beach 25462Z Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker is a good-enough choice for those who love basic paninis with great taste.
Contender #3 — Cuisinart GR-11 Griddler 3-in-1 Grill and Panini Press
Next in the list, we have Cuisinart GR-11 Griddler 3-in-1 Grill and Panini Press — an impressive, budget-friendly choice for better paninis and grilling. As you can guess from the name, it’s a 3-in-1 kitchen equipment. That is, you can use the same device for grilling and panini-making. In the first look, Cuisinart GR-11 Griddler 3-in-1 Grill and Panini Press has a panini-style design and ergonomics. However, you can keep the equipment open if you need contact grilling. This is done with the help of removable plates and plate-release buttons. We were able to shift from panini-making to grilling in less than a few minutes.
This quality-rich product from Cuisinart does not have many fancy features. There are two basic lighting for knowing power status and heating status. However, the specialized buttons for Plate Release and Hinge Release are just superb from the usability point of view. In short, you won’t have much issue in the management of plates and food preparations. You can also adjust the front feat — if you need to have a better drainage. All these features are working fine with the device and was the same throughout our testing. It’s pretty small and has a minimal weight of 5.5lbs. So, don’t expect any trouble in storing this press.
Cuisinart GR-11 Griddler 3-in-1 Grill and Panini Press is an affordable choice for multipurpose panini-making needs.
Contender #4 — Cuisinart GR-1 Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press
We have another best panini press from Cuisinart, with a truly competitive pricing to go with. The design is like all other panini presses we have reviewed above, but the finishing is special. It comes with a stainless-steel housing that is brushed for enhanced beauty. Thanks to the floating lid, you will be able to prepare all sorts of paninis and sandwiches with this seemingly-small equipment. With the dimensions of 13” x 5” x 10.5”, you can store it in any place you like and the weight has also been minimized to just 7.4lbs. So, the overall design and usability of Cuisinart GR-1 Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press is pretty much cool. At the least, they were higher than the budget-based expectations we had during tests.
There is no mention about wattage or power consumption, but the pre-set temperature is optimal for all sorts of paninis. Cuisinart GR-1 Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press also offers a cooking area of 11” x 7”. This area is non-sticky and non-removable. Because both the upper and lower plates are grilled, you don’t have to flip the panini. There are two types of indicators in the device — one for heating-ready and another one for power. This is the standard we have been seeing in many of the contenders above. Within the package, you also get a Cleaning Tool, which helps you keep the equipment as clean as possible.
Judging by all these habits, Cuisinart GR-1 Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press is the best panini press for mid-budget users.
We end our list of best panini press with Oster CKSTPM6001-ECO Extra Large DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Indoor Grill, an extra-large panini press for multiple needs. When compared to the other contenders in the list, this one is offering an impressive set of features and advanced control. Before that, we should have a look at the design. The design is basic and as per the standards but the major difference is with the grilling plate. The grilling plate is quite longer and is made of non-stick DuraCeramic. As you might know, ceramic plates are much faster and safer than steel-based plates. You can also save a noticeable amount of energy resources. Thanks to the higher cooking area, you can grill up to 6 bread slices using this.
Coming to performance and optimization, Oster CKSTPM6001-ECO Extra Large DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Indoor Grill is perhaps the best. Along with the common lights for Power and Ready-to-Grill, there is a knob for adjusting temperature. Depending on what you like to grill, you can choose the best temperature. When combined with the ceramic plate, this is the best environment for top-class paninis at home. In our testing, the grilling speed was dramatically higher — in fact, a fraction of other panini press solutions we have tried.
Summing up all these, Oster CKSTPM6001-ECO Extra Large DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Indoor Grill is the best, budget-friendly choice for your multipurpose grilling and panini-making needs.
What to Consider for Choosing the Best Panini Press?
We hope you already know the advantages of using a panini press for preparing paninis as well as other dishes. The first one is that you can enjoy the great taste, right from your home. You just have to make sure that you are putting the best-quality material in-between the bread slices. Since most of panini presses are coming with pre-set temperature for panini preparation and grilling, you won’t have to worry about these things. Alternatively, if you have enough experience with a grilling machine, you can try adjusting the speed as per your own taste. Of course, we don’t want to forget the perks of easier storage and intuitive designs.
However, choosing the best panini press wouldn’t be easier — unless when you are using our guide. Even when you use our guides, different factors need to be considered before checking out a product. In this section, we’ll guide you through some of those points.
- Type of Panini Press
Different types of panini presses are available in market; out of these, two should be considered. First, there are dedicated panini presses that come with pre-set temperature and basic grilling options. Second, there are multifunctional ones that can be used for various purposes. The best example you can take is the winner product in our list. This particular product can be used for five different purposes — by changing the modes and adjusting the temperature. So, when you would like to experiments with grilling and panini making, you can go with a multifunctional panini press. Otherwise, the single-mode one should suffice. It needs to be noted that there are sub-classifications based on the design and ergonomics.
- Grilling Plates
As you can guess, grilling plates are an important element of every panini press. And, there are two major choices you can make. First, there are Aluminium-based non-sticky plates used for grilling. These are seen in common panini presses and are quite affordable in comparison. That having said, durability of these plates aren’t that good. You may see that such plates may tend to peel off in the course of time. The second types are called Ceramic Plates. These plates, built with high-quality ceramic material, will help you cook paninis in shorter time. Also, there is the aspect of energy saving. So, as per your requirement and the methods of grilling you follow, you should make the selection between ceramic and aluminium.
- Cooking Area
Standard cooking area of panini press depends upon the type you go for. If you are going for multifunctional presses, there will be an option to use both sides of the grill for individual cooking. So, by opening the lid, you can have the double area for cooking and grilling. However, if you prefer to stick onto the standard panini press, things are different. You will have a standard cooking area, where you can cook around 2 or 3 paninis at a time. However, like our last contender, there are many products that offer enhanced cooking area.
- Customization & Control
This too has a higher dependency on the type of panini press. Most of the common panini press do not offer temperature control options. They come with pre-set temperature, which is considerably optimal for sandwiches and paninis. However, if you are ready to pay a bit more, the best panini press will give you the options of control as well. For instance, our best of the best product offers two different modes and a bunch of temperature levels. Whether you need grill or griddle, you can choose the optimal temperature by turning the knob. It works so seamlessly that you have better control.
- Design & Usability
There are only a few factors you can consider in the Design aspect. First, you should notice the Lid design. Just be sure that you go for a floating lid design. This way, you can create the best panini without being tensed about the thickness. In the same way, you should consider the overall size and storage options of the panini press. There is something that we can assure you: you will be able to find a panini press that meets your expectations and size requirements. You just need to follow our guide or do research.
- The Miscellaneous
Apart from these major points, you should also consider the pricing, cleaning options and power conditions too. The power is important because some panini presses are built according to particular electrical regulations. So, before purchasing, it is necessary to be sure about the electrical compatibility. Pricing is an optional consideration, because some people give an upper-hand for quality.
Summing Up Our Best Panini Press Reviews
Now that you have gone through all those sorts of panini press reviews and suggestions, you can choose the best one for your needs. And, you can — with all the trust — depend upon the suggestions we have given. We have tried to condense our opinions in the neutral form and present it in a comprehensive manner. So, in the end, when you finish reading, you should have a clear idea about the best panini press you should purchase. Be sure about one thing: you will get tasty and quality-rich paninis using any of these products.