7 Best Compact Appliances, According to Consumer Reports


We all love our appliances, especially in the kitchen. But sometimes our limited space prevents us from using all of our favorites (looking at your stand mixer). Luckily, there are devices suitable for small spaces that don’t sacrifice power or longevity.

Elliot Weiler, Consumer Reports’ Digital Lifestyle Editor, joined TODAY to share some of these great devices, so you can save time and effort every day. From an air fryer to a cold brew coffee maker to an air purifier, these compact picks have all been endorsed by Consumer Reports and deemed worthy of a spot on your counter.

Read on to shop all CR-approved household essentials.

The Best Small Appliances, According to Consumer Reports

Chefman Spill-Proof Belgian Waffle Maker

Make no mistake – waffle makers can be used for more than just your favorite breakfast. Whether it’s making an omelette or reheating a pizza, this appliance can do a lot. Consumer Reports gave this machine from Chefman a Best Buy rating, calling the spill-proof design and its ability to bake waffles perfectly (it uses an indicator light to let you know when they’re ready) as standout features. The machine can also be stored vertically, which saves cabinet space.

Dash Tasti Crisp Digital Air Fryer

Air fryers have become popular as a way to crisp food without all the extra oils. Despite their name, air fryers do not technically fry – you can add a drizzle of oil for some recipes – as these are convection ovens. But, CR testers still found this model produced well-cooked, crispy food. This one from Dash is one of the more compact options tested by CR, but it ranks among the best and Weiler says it scored very well for controls and cleaning and excelled in their test of noise.

Tasti-Crisp Dash Express Air Fryer

This under $50 pick operates at a fixed temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit and uses an adjustable dial to control cooking time up to 30 minutes. Like the digital model above, it comes in several fun colors and measures less than a square foot in overall size.

cork lollipops

An easier way to open a bottle of wine? It does exist – and Weiler says this one is also fun to use. Inside is a low-pressure gas canister that helps pop the clog; all you have to do is place the needle in the cork and press a button. You’ll need to replace the cartridge about once every 60 bottles, but this might be a more convenient option for some who constantly lose manual bottle openers or forget to charge electric bottle openers.

Cuisinart HM-50 Power Advantage Blender

Stand mixers are great, but if you’re short on counter space, you may need a smaller unit. This hand mixer is an affordable option that CR testers said had “no problem” cutting through cookie dough and heavy cream. Although testers found it to be a bit louder than other models, you may not mind as you’ll likely be using it in short bursts. Plus, this model’s wire beaters are easy to clean, they said.

Primula Burke PBPBK-5101 Cold Brew Coffee Maker

For some, the warmer weather marks the transition from hot coffee to cold brew. If you’re looking to make cafe-quality cold brew at home, stop pouring hot coffee over ice. This affordable gadget is the “cheapest of its kind” in CR ratings and also one of the best, Weiler said. With an excellent rating for convenience and some dishwasher-safe parts, enjoying a fresh coffee in the morning will probably be much easier with this device in your tool kit.

Insignia NS-APMWH2 Air Purifier

While it’s technically not for your counter (although at less than 21 inches tall it might be), it’s still a home staple. Air purifiers can help reduce the number of allergens in your air at home, just in time for allergy season. This model from Insignia (which uses a HEPA filter) received a Very Good rating from CR, based on its ability to remove dust and smoke from a test chamber. The annual maintenance cost is low and the device will also let you know when you need to change the filter, which is another handy feature.

For more stories like this, check out our Best Product Reviews hub with Consumer Reports.

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