Kitchen Gadgets: To buy or not to buy

When it comes to new kitchen gadgets, I understand how it may be hard to say no. The pretty designs and novelty are quite alluring. It seems though that the most interestingly designed tools are only made for a single purpose, and for what they cost, buying all of them can be really expensive. In fact, the kitchen gadgets I have in front of me today cost more than $100 to purchase.

As much as I love the idea of having a kitchen full of cutesy gadgets, I’ve come to accept that I don’t need EVERY one. After all, the word gadget refers to something that appears useful but is often unnecessary or even trivial. So how do you know when to say no? The answer is simple: if you can do the job with an everyday utensil, the gadget is probably not worth purchasing.

Here are some examples of kitchen gadgets whose function that can easily be tackled with a decent knife:

  • First, the apple corer. A knife can get the job done just as easily. Even easier is to just take a bite right out of the apple.
  • The second unnecessary tool is an avocado slicer. Slicing an avocado is easy, plus, you’ll probably need the knife to remove the pit anyway. As the chef and cleaning crew, I usually try to limit the number of things I need to wash.
  • The same argument goes for cheese and egg slicers. While these tools might give you nice even cuts, they can hardly be called “necessary” objects.
  • The next tool is a mango pitter. There’s no doubt that cutting mangos can be tricky, but I’ve learned the hard way that using the pitter isn’t any easier than using a knife.
  • Next we have a melon baller. This gadget is totally unnecessary since everyone knows that melon cubes are just as delicious as melon balls.
  • And finally, we have the strawberry huller. Although cute, I can’t believe this gadget even exists. After all, you wouldn’t buy a banana peeler, would you?

While a lot of kitchen gadgets are unnecessary, I did find a few that might be worth buying.

  • The first one is a garlic press. Sure, you can use a knife to chop the garlic, but if you use a lot of garlic, this handy tool is probably with the money.
  • Next, is the potato masher. I haven’t found another way to effectively mash potatoes.
  • Finally, the one gadget I really can’t live without is my peeler. I use this tool to peel a lot of different kinds of produce including cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, kiwi, and apples. Thankfully, this little gadget is also one of the least expensive to buy so it is a good use of my money.

However, more often than not, kitchen gadgets are designed for a single purpose, so you’ll be better off spending your money on something that won’t just take up space in your kitchen drawer.

And for more frugal food ideas, be sure to check out our free Cheap Eats eBook. You might also enjoy reading the post by Anna Kronzer that inspired this video.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

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