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We all love our household appliances — especially in the kitchen. But sometimes our limited space gets in the way of using all of our favorites (looking at you stand mixer). Luckily, there are appliances fit for small spaces that don't sacrifice power or longevity.
Consumer Reports Digital Lifestyle Editor Elliot Weiler joined TODAY to share some of these workhorse appliances, so you can save time and effort on the daily. From an air fryer to a cold brew coffee maker to an air purifier, these compact picks have all been vetted by Consumer Reports and deemed to be worthy of a spot on your countertop.
Keep reading to shop all of the CR-approved household must-haves.
Best small appliances, according to Consumer Reports
Don't be fooled — waffle makers can be used for more than just your favorite breakfast food. From whipping up an omelette to reheating pizza, this appliance can do a lot. Consumer Reports gave this machine from Chefman a Best Buy rating, calling out the anti-overflow design and its ability to cook the waffles perfectly (it uses an indicator light to let you know when they're ready) as standout features. The machine also can be stored vertically, which helps save on cabinet space.
Air fryers became popular as a way to crisp foods without all the extra oils. Despite their name, air fryers don't technically fry — you can add a drizzle of oil for some recipes — since they are convection ovens. But, CR testers still found this model to turn out nicely cooked and crispy food. This one from Dash is one of the more compact options CR tested, but it ranks among the best and Weiler says it earned a Very Good rating for controls and cleaning and excelled in their noise test.
This under $50 pick operates at a fixed temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit and uses an adjustable dial to control cooking time for up to 30 minutes. Like the digital model above, it comes in several fun colors and measures less than one square foot in overall size.
An easier way to open a bottle of wine? It does exist — and Weiler says this one is also just fun to use. Inside is a low-pressure gas cartridge that helps pop the cork; all you need 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 it might be a more convenient option for some who persistently lose manual openers or forget to charge electric ones.
Stand mixers are great, but if you're short on counter space, you may need a something smaller. This hand mixer is an affordable option that CR testers found had "no trouble" working its way through cookie dough and heavy cream. Though testers found it is a bit louder than other models, you might not be bothered since you'll likely use it in short bursts. Plus, the wire beaters on this model are easy to clean, they said.
For some, warmer weather marks the transition from hot coffee to cold brew. If you're looking to make coffee shop-quality cold brew at home, stop pouring hot coffee over ice. This affordable gadget is the "least-expensive 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 fresh coffee in the morning will likely be a lot easier with this appliance in your toolkit.
Though this isn't technically for your countertop (though at under 21 inches tall, it could be), it's still a household must-have. Air purifiers can help cut down on the number of allergens in your air at home — right in time for allergy season. This model from Insignia (which uses a HEPA filter) received a rating of Very Good from CR, based on how well it removes dusts and smoke from a test chamber. The annual cost of maintenance is low and the device will also tell you when you need to change the filter, which is another convenient feature.
For more stories like this, check out our Best Product Reviews hub with Consumer Reports.