There are plenty of small appliances that do one thing and do it well. There are some that you can probably find a clever way to use for a secondary purpose, like making grilled cheese in an upright toaster or using a microwave to steam vegetables. But tried and true multifunction small appliances that can be used to do many things in the kitchen are the hottest gift trend this year for a few reasons.
Why do people love multifunction appliances?
Multifunction appliances are appealing for a number of reasons. First is space. If you can accomplish two, three, even more tasks with one small appliance, it means fewer smaller appliances you’ll need cluttering up the kitchen counter. For those with small kitchens, minimal counter or cupboard space, or who already have multiple small appliances, a multifunction appliance is a way to maximize space and streamline the set-up in your kitchen.
Second is value: multifunction appliances offer great value for dollar because you’re getting multiple functions in one unit, whether it’s as simple as an espresso machine that also has a built-in grinder or an Instant Pot that has upwards of 10 different settings for doing everything from pressure cooking to slow cooking, steaming, baking, and more.
Another major advantage with multifunction appliances is that you can sometimes cook an entire meal in one device, which helps reduce time not to mention clean-up. In a multifunction device like the Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 Pro Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer, for example, you can pressure cook your pulled pork for sandwiches and use the same machine to air fry French fries to go on the side.
What types of multifunction appliances are available?
There are a multitude of multifunction small appliances from which to choose.
Keep the heat in the kitchen
For hot cooking, you can find items like microwaves with built-in air frying functionality, or even appliances like the Cuisinart 3-in-1 microwave air fryer oven I reviewed in the summer that is a microwave, convection oven, and air fryer all in one – really! Air fryers, in fact, make up a popular category that is being built into numerous appliances nowadays, including even full-sized ranges. There’s even entirely new categories of small appliances like the Bella Pro manual air fryer pizza oven with rotisserie we also reviewed this summer. It’s technically a toaster oven, but goes far beyond just that.
Of course, we can’t forget cookers and steamers of all kinds, which were among the first multifunction appliances. Small appliances like the Instant Pot and other multicookers from brands like Ninja, Insignia, Hamilton Beach, Wolf Gourmet, Breville, T-Fal, can handle everything from making your side dishes, mains, and dessert to even sterilizing baby bottles and making homemade yogurt with some models.
Cold prepping, smoothies, and more
When it comes to small appliances that traditionally handle cold ingredients, there are blenders like the Wolf Gourmet Pro Performance I reviewed in the spring that can not only blend ingredients for a soup, but even heat them as well.
Most notable in the category of blenders and juicers, however, is the addition of the combo device called the bluicer. We reviewed a couple of them from Breville in late 2020 and found them to be great option for entry-level juicers, not to mention they can do things like turn ice into snow for your own slush drinks! The Ninja Nutri Auto-IQ Kitchen System is not only a blender, for example, but it’s also a food processor.
Give me that java!
Coffee machines are in the mix of multifunction appliances as well these days. As noted, there are ones that come with built-in grinders so you can grind fresh coffee beans and make a brew, all in the same machine. Others include milk frothers while there are even combo machines like the Philips 5400 espresso coffee maker with LatteGo we reviewed in the Spring that can make both espresso and coffee, grinding the beans and creating the delicious milky froth to top it all off.
We also tested and loved the De’Longhi all-in-one coffee and espresso machine that can make both coffee and espresso-related drinks.
Keeping it clean
One small appliance we often forget to think about when it comes to kitchen is the one that allows for clean-up of your tiles: the vacuum and mop. And there’s a new selection of wet/dry vacuums like the Tineco iFloor 3 we reviewed in the Spring that are actually multifunction appliances, too! They can accomplish both vacuuming and wet mopping tasks conveniently from one machine. This not only saves space, as noted, but it lets you go from a dry vacuum to a wet mop instantly, saving time and effort as well.
Multifunction appliances make great gifts
If you know someone who has been using an old, outdated microwave or has been talking about wanting an air fryer for years, you can buy a replacement and it will be a much appreciated gift. But multifunction appliances are a great alternative route to consider. These small appliances are versatile, don’t take up much space, and can accomplish, in some cases, preparing an entire meal.
How do you choose? Consider the size of the kitchen and the needs of the family or individual. If they’re into healthy eating, a bluicer is a good option. If it’s a family with kids that’s always on a busy schedule, a toaster oven the kids can use to warm up nuggets and pizza for snacks as needed but can also be used to air fry dinner for the family has tremendous value. And if you know they’re forever vacuuming and mopping up after the dog, look at a multifunctional floor cleaner that can simplify the process and cut the cleaning time in half. The possibilities are endless.
Browse the many multifunction appliances across a variety of categories at Best Buy Online.