10 Kitchen Gadgets That Aren't Worth the Money

By Ashley Watson on 13 February 2015 11 comments

Everyone wants to save time and get creative in the kitchen, but many kitchen tools simply aren't worth the money. Many "new" gadgets are designed for tasks that can be done with tools you already have in your kitchen, and some are just so weird that you'll probably never use them, no matter how gorgeous those turducken popsicles look on the infomercial. (See also: 13 Must-Have Kitchen Purchases Under $10)

So check out this list of 10 kitchen gadgets that aren't worth the money, and then maybe just stop watching infomercials altogether.

1. Garlic Press

Go into any home, and you'll probably find a garlic press tucked away in the back of a kitchen drawer. If you've ever used one, you know why. The poor results and the difficult clean up are not worth the money for many people, even professional chefs. Once you press the clove, most of it turns into a liquid paste that you can't use, and then you have to try to figure out how to salvage what little is left once it goes through the press.

It's quicker and cleaner to mince the garlic with a sharp knife. The same goes for a garlic peeler. You can get the same result with a knife. Gently crush the clove with the broad side of a large knife, and the peel comes right off. Then you only have to clean one tool instead of two.

2. Zester

No zester I have tried has never given me the results that you see in the pictures from food magazines. Either use a vegetable peeler, or if you need a finer grade, use the finer side of your cheese grater.

3. Wire Cheese Slicer

I've actually owned two of these. One was a gift, and the other I bought after the first one broke. They always break. You're better off slicing cheese with a knife, especially harder cheeses. If you want thinner slices, you can use non-waxed dental floss and get the same effect.

4. Egg Poacher

While a microwave egg poacher might be worth the money if you are in a hurry and want a quick breakfast, metal egg poachers are a huge waste of money. They are designed to be placed in the bottom of a pot of water, but if you are going to go to the effort of boiling water, you are better off just poaching your eggs the traditional way. The eggs typically get stuck to the metal unless you use a lot of butter, and trying to get the pan out of the boiling water without burning yourself is nearly impossible.

Poaching eggs isn't that difficult once you get the hang of it. The trick is keeping the yolk intact when you crack the egg into the water (fresh eggs are ideal for poaching since the yolks tend to hold up better). If you have a slotted spoon, you can easily remove the egg from the water when it's done.

5. Nutribullet

I've never owned one of these, but a friend of mine bought one and said it broke after a few uses. She also said it took too long to grind the food and even longer to clean after use. Plus, you lose a lot of the nutrients because it removes all the fibrous material. Most people buy these to save space, but if you are serious about juicing, look for a traditional juicer. You get more of the fiber and nutrients, and they tend to be more reliable and last longer.

6. Cake Pop Molds

I may be slightly biased on this one since I've never understood the concept of a cake pop. Why not just make a cake? But they can be fun for parties and for children. However, keep in mind that they are not as easy to make as it sounds. I looked up several reviews of different brands, and most people said it took them several tries before getting the right consistency. The pops also stick to the pan more often than not, so unless you really want to make cake pops all the time, it's not worth the money or effort to make them for one or two parties.

7. Electric Can Opener

I have to admit, I grew up with one of these, and they can be handy. But manual can openers are made with smarter designs now, making them easier and safer to use. You can get a decent manual can opener for under $10, and you'll be saving a little counter space.

8. Pickle Grabber

In theory, these are a great idea. But you could also save your money and just use a fork to get that last pickle out of the jar.

9. Strawberry Stem Remover

Yes, as the name suggests, this tool is designed solely to remove strawberry stems, but some people also use it to remove the tops of tomatoes, too. You can also do this easily with a serrated knife, or provide a dual use for your grapefruit spoon (which is actually handy gadget if you eat a lot of grapefruit).

10. Pepper Prepper

Of all the items on this list, I think this one has to be the biggest waste of money. This tool is designed to remove the cap of the pepper and the ribs and seeds from the middle. You can do that just as easily by cutting around the middle in four slices, which also takes care of the next part of the prep work. If you are making stuffed peppers, I can see how this item might be appealing. But again, you can easily carve out the cap with a knife and remove the innards by hand and only need to clean one tool.

What kitchen gadget do you own but rarely use? Please warn us in comments!

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Guest's picture
Lisa

I love my garlic press and my zester. Gotta buy quality ones though.

Guest's picture
lostAnnfound

I finally bought an electric can opener last year. We have always had a manual can opener, but shortly after hitting 50 years-old it started getting difficult to use because of the aches I get in my hands. I still keep a manual opener in the house (never know when the power may go out), but the electric opener is the one I use regularly now and my hands really appreciate it!

Guest's picture
A.M. haley

You are incorrect about the nutribullet. A nutribullet is NOT a juicer. It's a high powered blender that saves all the fiber. A juicer, on the other hand gets rid of the fiber. Also, I have had mine for well over a year and use it everyday- NO problems. Please get your facts straight before you author an article.

Guest's picture
christine

Exactly. Love it because it KEEPS ALL OF THE PULP, and has a powerful motor so is very reliable. The author was completely wrong on both these major points. Not right to just such false statements.

Guest's picture
GuestCharles

I learned that electric can openers are helpful when your hands have arthritis.

Guest's picture
Guest

I love my nutribullet! It's not a juicer!

Guest's picture
Guest

Totally disagree on the garlic press. Cutting garlic sucks, good presses are little miracle devices. However, I've pretty much decided frsh garlic isn't worth the trouble most of the time given how often I use garlic. A big jar of minced garlic from Costco in the fridge is the way to go.

Guest's picture
Guest

Some of these items ARE worth the money if you have arthritis, Parkinsons, etc. I think you need to qualify your premise.

Guest's picture
Cass

I get great results with my garlic press, definitely not a waste of money in my household.

Guest's picture
Linda

Agreed, except garlic press and zester. If by zester you mean zester/stripper (that's the name on Amazon :)), not microplane, agreed too.

Guest's picture
That Person

OMG! I totes love my garlic press. Who says zesters are a waste? I mean, seriously...