There are new kitchen gadgets coming out all the time. Improvements – or changes, at the very least – are made to kitchen staples like graters and can openers. New materials are added, designs are streamlined and bright colors enhance old fashioned looks. Many of these new and improved gadgets are touted as “must haves” and at Consumer Reports (February 2012), they wanted to determine which of a new crop of kitchen gadgets were actually “must haves.” CR worked directly with readers to find out what new kitchen gadgets they used and put them to the test, looking for improved functionality and design features that were good enough to justify replacing an outdated version of these tools.
- Favorite new garlic press: Oxo Good Grips Garlic Press. Testers liked the large chamber, built-in press cleaner and found it easy to use and handle. It outperformed different styles of garlic presses and was easy to clean.
- Favorite new peeler: Kyocera Ceramic Peeler. This peeler has a blade with an adjustable orientation that was easy for both left- and right-handers to use. The ceramic blade was ultra-sharp, making peeling easy, and won’t need much maintenance long-term to maintain that sharpness.
- Favorite new grater: Oxo Good Grips Box Grater. Box graters can be bulky, but this one made up for that extra storage space by being easy to use and handle, with a soft, comfy grip. Multiple grating surfaces and a storage container with measurement markings came in handy.
- Favorite new can opener: Oxo Magnetic Locking Can Opener. This can opener locks onto cans while you open them and has a magnet that holds the lid in place, preventing it from falling into your product as you open the can. The traditional overall design meant that it was practical and easy to use, too.
- Favorite new zester: ZestNest: This zester/grater has a built-in storage container that measures up to 1/3 cup, a very sharp blade and a bright, citrus-inspired design. It also has a lid that allows you to use the container for slightly longer-term storage. (Full review here)
Consumer Reports didn’t have good results with the Joseph Joseph 2-in-1 Rotary Peeler, which was large and awkward to handle, the Chrfn’ Garlic Zoom XL, which was very difficult to clean, or KitchenAid’s Cup Grater, which had an unstable design that required two hands to secure.