The best panini press can sometimes come with additional plates to cook more than just sandwiches. In our guide can also be used to make waffles and even to grill meats when off-duty, so these multi-functional machines will more than earn their spot in your kitchen.  You can see more of the best toasters in our buying guide, including top two- and four-slice models for perfect toast. And if you’ve yet to try one of the best toaster ovens, you’ll find that they make an amazing grilled cheese. 

Best panini press 2022

With the Griddler Elite, the question to ask is what can’t it do. This electric grill boasts six cooking functions and can tackle any task with its ability to grill, griddle, half grill, half griddle, panini press, and top-melt sandwiches, meats and other items. So if you fancy some French toast, chicken and vegetables or a panini, this is the ideal machine. The Griddler Elite’s sleek, brushed stainless steel will also look the part on any counter. Why we love it  There’s a large grilling surface of 240 square inches across both plates, so you can easily griddle a couple of steaks and eggs, or two generous sandwiches at the same time. With the dual-zone temperature control, shown on the LCD, you can take advantage of the two plates to cook separate items at different temperatures, griddling an egg on one plate while grilling bacon on the other.  Features There’s also a searing function, which cooks at 500˚F for up to two minutes at a time, a 60-minute countdown timer, and an adjustable top cover with six presets to top melt and lock for storage. The grill and griddle plates are removable, reversible and nonstick, and are safe to put in the dishwasher, which along with the integrated drip tray, make cleaning up afterwards easy. This is ideal if you’re looking for a little bit more from your traditional toasted sandwich maker.  Why we love it  With its 3-in-1 compact design, the Black+Decker model lets you cook up a batch of waffles, grill some bacon or make a cheese toastie thanks to its interchangeable cooking plates. The plates are all nonstick and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning afterwards, and they feature grease run-off channels for collecting and disposing of fat.  Features The temperature indicator on the top of the device indicates when the plates are perfectly pre-heated and ready for your food, and the cool-touch handles mean you can open and close the lid during cooking without burning your hand. The compact design will fit anywhere on your kitchen surface and makes it easy to store out of the way when not in use. George Foreman grills are known for offering speedy pre-heats, reasonable prices, and a healthier way of cooking from home. The George Foreman Rapid Grill Series brings all of this to a versatile panini press. Why we love it The grill plates go straight in the dishwasher when you’re done, and they’re coated in a durable nonstick that’s PTFE and PFOA free.  You can use a hinge at the back of the grill to activate a fat-removing slope that will collect drippings as they fall away from your panini. Perfect for making your lunches that little bit easier. Features It’s got a hinge that slides all the way back for open grilling, which is brilliant for pre-cooking meat before you add it to a sandwich.  The temperature indicator light also means you’ll know exactly when to add your sandwich to the grill, although it’s not adjustable.  The Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill not only acts as a panini press, it also opens up to work as a grill in ‘BBQ mode’ and has a variety of settings for sandwiches as well as searing.  Why we love it If you want a sandwich maker that also acts as an excellent health grill, this is a good choice. It has an adjustable plate tilt that can drain fat or make evenly cooked pancakes and eggs.  The temperature is fully adjustable using a dial on the side of the panini press, and there is even a digital display that shows your progress in real time.  Features The plates can go from 310- 450°F, which is perfect for toasted paninis without molten fillings.  The plates are also non-stick, which makes cleaning easy because they’re suitable for placing in the dishwasher.  The OSTBA Sandwich Maker, Toaster and Electric Panini Press might not be the fanciest or most versatile of the models we’ve included here, but it’s ideal if you’re just after the basics: a perfect grilled cheese. Why we love it As well as toasted sandwiches, you can also grill omelettes and crisp up your French toast. And you won’t be waiting long for your snack, as it only takes about a minute to heat up, and then another three minutes or so to toast. While the plates aren’t removable, so you can’t just put them in the dishwasher after use, thanks to the non-stick coating, they’re still simple to clean. Just wait for the plates to cool down and then wipe them clean with a damp cloth. Features As well as being fantastic value, the OSTBA sandwich maker’s compact size means it’s easy to tuck away in a cupboard or take with you when travelling if you really can’t live without your toastie. Indicator lights on the top cover show when it’s ready to cook, and the cool touch locking handle means no risk of burnt paws.   The Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker is perfect for those who want to add eggs into the mix for their toasted sandwich, or to replicate a McMuffin without having to leave the house. Why we love it Its dual cooking plates let you cook your sandwich in two distinct parts, perhaos a fried egg for the top layer and some ham and cheese on the lower layer. The five-minute countdown timer on the front sets off an audible beep once the cooking time is up. Then simply slide out the top plate to unveil your perfectly assembled breakfast sandwich.  Features You can make one or two sandwiches at a time, with different combinations of ingredients and bases, whether a muffin or croissant. The plates are removable and dishwasher safe for quick and easy cleanup afterward, and there are indicator lights on the front of the machine to show when it’s powered on and pre-heated. If you’re looking for a sandwich maker that does a lot more than just toast a sandwich, the Chefman Electric Panini Press Grill and Gourmet Sandwich Maker is ideal.  Why we love it You can make standard toasted sandwiches, perfectly pressed paninis or a fully stacked baguette, thanks to the large 9x5.5in surface area of the plate and the floating hinge, which adjusts to press the thinnest grilled cheese to a tower burger. Feaopen the grill and use the 10x9in lay-flat surface to cook up the perfect steak, burger, fish or vegetables, while the closed cooking surface can fit two sandwiches or one panini or baguette. Features The sloped design means grease drips to the back of the machine, while the removable drip tray and non-stick plates make it easy to clean up after cooking – although you can’t remove the plates so these need to be wiped once cool in the machine. While it’s not the smallest of models we’ve included, it’s still small enough to fit on a counter or slot onto a shelf.  

How do I choose the best panini press?

Sandwich makers and panini presses are quite different, each one offering its own unique take on the toasted treat. You need to decide what’s important to you, so that you can find the right model for your needs. First, do you want to make just traditional toasties, or will you want to grill meat, serve up stacked sandwiches or cook waffles, thanks to the addition of a lay-flat lid, flexible hinge or extra plates? Next, you need to think about how easy your machine is to clean. Removable and dishwasher-safe plates improve cleaning times, which is important if you use your machine a lot; for occasional use, you can save a bit of money by buying a machine that has fixed plates. If your chosen grill does more than toasties, look out for one with a drip tray that can catch grease.   Finally, think about size, as storage is important, particularly if you have limited space. 

Should I buy a sandwich maker or panini press??

If you want to expand your cooking options with elements like grilling meat or vegetables, making stacked burgers, toasting baguettes, or serving up a batch of waffles, you’re best off investing in a panini press, which offer more cooking options, larger surface areas and/or greater control over temperature and settings.

How much should I spend on a sandwich maker?

You can get a basic model for around $20, but for machines with extra features like grilling and removable plates, expect to pay anything up to and even over $100.

What else can you make in a sandwich maker?

The options are endless. You might pick anything from a bagel or baguette to a croissant or muffin for your outer layers. And then inside, as well as the favorite cheese toastie, you could cook an egg, grill some steak or chicken, or go for something sweet like waffles with maple syrup and berries. 

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