Stuff We Love Awards 2013: Kitchen tools

Best Kitchen Equipment For Easy Cooking: Stuff We Love Awards


Best Apple Corer: Progressive International Thin Slicer

progressive international

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Void where prohibited. Open only to legal residents of the 50 US or DC who are 18 or older. Begins July 10, 2013 at 12:00 AM ET and ends August 18, 2013 at 11:59 PM ET. Limit one (1) comment per Editorial Link, for a maximum total of ten (10) entries per person/email address. For Official Rules, including odds and prize descriptions, visit sweepstakes official rules. Sponsors: iVillage LLC.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.