Best Apple Corer: Progressive International Thin Slicer
What it is: This is not your average apple slicer. Progressive International’s version cuts 16 wedges instead of the standard eight for double the snacking fun.
Why we love it: “Before I got this I was always slicing with the standard 8-slicer and then having to re-slice by hand to make the slices small enough for my kids to handle. [Plus] the core section is slightly larger than on my old slicer, so none of the core remains on the slices.” —Rebecca B., community member
To buy: Progressive International Thin Apple Slicer and Corer, $11.40 at amazon.com
Best Knife Sharpener: Takeda Sharpening Stone
What it is: One of our new favorite kitchen implements, this Japanese whetstone is a cool, simple and super-efficient way to sharpen knives.
Why we love it: "I love the simplicity and efficiency of this Japanese whetstone for sharpening knives. There's no worrying about placing knives at the correct angle. Just use the white edge for day-to-day maintenance, or for a bigger job, start with the stronger, gray side and finish with the gentler, white side." —Mark Mavrigan, contributing writer
To buy: Takeda Sharpening Stone, $59 at chuboknives.com
Best Cookware: Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker
What it is: This amazingly affordable set combines two pieces of rugged, pre-seasoned cast iron cookware: a roomy dutch oven and a skillet/griddle that doubles as its lid.
Why we love it: "No other cookware works as hard, cooks as evenly or lasts as long (literally, a lifetime) as cast iron, but pieces can be expensive—and clunky. This ingenious two-piece set from Lodge solves both problems. It costs just $35, and it doesn't take up much space, since the smaller skillet does double-duty as a lid!" —Dina El Nabli, health and lifestyle director
To buy: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Combo Cooker, $34.99 at amazon.com
Best Garlic Peeler: Chef'n Twist N' Peel
What it is: A plastic garlic-peeling gadget that makes easy work of skinning cloves—just give it a simple twist!
Why we love it: “This tool makes it easy to peel multiple cloves of garlic in seconds. It’s small, easy to use (just push and twist), easy to clean and there is no lingering garlic scent in the peeler or on my hands.” —Amanda Hawkins, associate lifestyle editor
To buy: Chef’n Twist N’ Peel Garlic Peeler, $11.95 at williams-sonoma.com
Best Coffeemaker: Bodum Travel Press
What it is: When drip won’t do, the discerning coffee drinker turns to the French press. Bodum’s smartly priced travel version brews a single serving of coffee (or loose leaf tea) on the go.
Why we love it: “Seemingly designed for busy women, this travel press serves caffeine aficionados a truly gourmet experience—without the Starbucks hassles or high prices.” —Tanya Edwards, food channel editor
To buy: Bodum 15-oz. Travel Press, $20.00 at bodum.com
Best Slicer: OXO Handheld Mandoline
What it is: This handheld mandoline makes quick work of slicing produce, can be adjusted for three different levels of thickness and hooks easily over the side of a bowl so you don’t need to dirty a cutting board.
Why we love it: “This mandoline is super compact and fits comfortably into my gadget drawer. The easy-to-use design and safety guard make it simple to pull out and slice up whisper-thin bits of cucumbers, onions and more. It's awesome for summertime when I have tons of farmer's market produce to transform into creative summer salads.” —Sarah W. Caron, blogger, Sarah’s Cucina Bella
To buy: OXO Handheld Mandoline, $14.99 at oxo.com
Best Soda Maker: SodaStream Fizz
What it is: Fizzy water and homemade soda with the touch of a button—plus pretty colors that look great on the countertop? We’re sold!
Why we love it: “I truly adore my SodaStream. It’s much more convenient than schlepping a bunch of heavy bottles, and also much better for the environment if you're a big club soda drinker. We use it probably twice a day in this house.” —Alice Dubin, contributing writer
To buy: SodaStream Fizz, $129.95 at sodastream.com
Best Steamer: Lekue Steam Tray
What it is: An easy-to-use, easy-to-clean microwaveable steamer.
Why we love it: "Basically, you can cook anything in the microwave with this gadget. I use it to steam veggies for my daughter—broccoli, carrots, potatoes and even omelettes! It only takes a few minutes. It’s just so simple and easy.” —Maki T., community member
To buy: Lukue Steam Case with Tray, $30.23 at amazon.com
Best Electric Kettle: Breville The Crystal Clear
What it is: Breville’s clear glass kettle looks elegant and works fast, thanks to 1800 watts of power and a jug made of German Schott glass.
Why we love it: “My Breville electric kettle heats up water for a cup of tea in under 30 seconds. A favorite trick: Whenever I’m boiling water for cooking, it’s my starting point. It seriously cuts cooking time.” —Katherine Kluznik Rentmeester, beauty and style channel editor
To buy: Breville The Crystal Clear Electric Kettle, $99.99 at brevilleusa.com
Best Mixer: KitchenAid Artisan Design Series
What it is: A kitchen classic that’s now available in a rainbow of fun shades to suit any home decor color scheme. (Our new favorite: this bright, cheery watermelon pink!)
Why we love it: “I cannot, nor would I want to, live without my KitchenAid mixer. Hands down the best kitchen appliance I own. It is very expensive, and worth every penny. I've had mine for 13 years and have used it almost daily since I got it. (By the way that works out to about $1/month.) I've learned over the years that it's better to pay a high price up front to get a quality product than to buy the same junk over and over for a much lower price.” —Heidi B., reader
To buy: KitchenAid Artisan Design Series Stand Mixer, $429.99 at kitchenaid.com
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