Panini sandwich makers can greatly ease up your life and give you delicious how sandwiches within minutes.
Perfectly golden and oozing gooey melted cheese, everyone loves a good toastie – so why not invest in a handy sandwich maker to ensure delicious results every time?
But which one is the best?
Well, we’ve looked at 29 different panini press grills and covered more than 54 hours of research and testing to write these reviews which lead us to recommend that the Hamilton Beach 25460A Panini Press stands out as the best panini grill to buy for most people.
1. Hamilton Beach 25460A Panini Press Sandwich Maker
Why are our reviews are trustworthy?
We have covered grilled sandwich makers and panini press makers here for a few years now. Since I started covering them, we have logging long hours of research and testing with experts like Leah Zeldes and Chris Thomas (I really enjoy doing this review as I get to eat lots of great paninis).
Did you know that it was only in 1956, that the word panini was first used in the U.S?
We’ve look at a large number of types of grill panini machines to create this review each year. We always keep up with reviews from other noteworthy companies that also test or review products, such as, ConsumerReports, Which? and Amazon though we do find sometimes that the coverage is not as comprehensive as it could be.
*This review covers top panini press grill makers before and since the last time we created this guide:
Who should get these?
Everyone who wants to save hassle by making hot tasty panini’s at home or if you have one already, take a look at the best ones on this list and ask yourself:
“Would you say such great things about your current panini press machine?”
Now, most of us go to amazing lengths in order to find that perfect panini with a great texture and flavor (or, is that just me?). I think about spending money on a home panini maker, read the best panini grill reviews until my head is in a spin and, of course, allow cooking experts and people on TV and in magazine adverts to convince us that theirs is the best best panini press.
Well, in order to put an end to all this madness, and to hopefully save you time and hassle (plus a few bucks), I am sharing with you the results of our extensive research and testing.
How we began the selection process
I started by making a list of all of the top rated grill and panini presses that we could find for sale in high street stores and online. We then combed through literally, thousands of reviews to be able to bring you the most helpful, insightful information on the best panini sandwich makers for home use.
We listed 29 in the original selection process for this category:
There are so many variables to get right:
The materials used, the size, the temperature settings, the type of plates, the usability and how effective they were are at making a great panini sandwich. There are countless styles of panini machines out there, and choosing the right one is key to the success or failure of your purchase.
Temperature control settings, different types of breads and panini’s require their own temperature. The better models come with variable temperature settings. Some just offer general settings like low, medium or high, while others include clock-style scales and degrees which let you control the heat more precisely. There are also some types of panini presses that come with dual temperature control, enabling you to control the temperature of the top and bottom plates separately.
Removable plates come on some more expensive panini grill models. The good thing about having removable plates it is that you can simply put them into the dishwasher for cleaning, saving you time and energy.
The plates material that is used on a panini press come in 3 basic types. First, the less expensive and least durable are aluminum plates with a non-stick coating added. Be aware that aluminum plates tend to start to peel after some time. So you will need to replace them or more likely, buy a new panini press as it is often more difficult to find spare plates.
The second type of plates are ceramic plates, similar to those found in the best hair straigheners. These are much better than the aluminum ones as they have up to 5 times better durability and cook around 25% faster than aluminum plates. The other advantage to ceramic plates is that they don’t contain any harmful substances like PTFE or PFOA that are sometimes found in standard non-stick coatings. Be aware that there are very few panini grills that are available with ceramic plates (mainly due to the cost).
The last type are cast-iron plates. These are usually on found on the most expensive professional Panini machines. They require seasoning throughout their lifetime, but will last a very long time to due to this care. If you prefer high quality, professional top rated panini presses then cast-iron is the way to go.
Cooking surface area, if you have a small household of one or two people then small to medium surface panini grills of around 100 square inches will be sufficient for your needs. For larger families it is wise to look for one with larger surface area, of around 150+ square inches. This will give you what your need to serve panini sandwiches for all your family or guests at the same time.
Indicators, the first type is a temperature indicator that will let you know when the plates reach the desired temperature ready for cooking. The other type is a ready indicator, that lets you know when your panini sandwich is ready to be removed.
Height settings, the height of most expensive or affordable panini presses are managed either by the adjustable or floating / rotating hinge.
Warranty, most of these products come with a standard one year warranty. However, there are some that come with extended warranty that will give you some longer extra protection. You can also consider buying extra warranty time for some of the more expensive panini grill presses
After wading through days of reading everything from scientific papers, and manufacturers product specifications to consumer reviews (plus one or two heated debates between us all), we were able to get the list down to the 14 panni grill machines we finally selected to be tested.
How we tested them
The primary task of any panini maker is to produce great tasting hot paninis with little effort along the way. This year we tested the makers using a a variety of panini recipes from The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook, we spent a long time tasting different types for texture and flavor before we decided on the ones for the tests (another of the fun parts of this review).
We selected our participants from our product testing panelists and then sent out the makers and recipes for them to test at home, and also got the makers ready for our in-house panelists (including ourselves). Once everyone had their panini makers and recipes to test.
Each panelist started by noting down the build quality, size, settings, features and other basic statistics:
Then everyone got to work and made the various recipes, with the consumer panelists blind taste testing them on themselves, their families and friends, while we agreed to be the blind tasters in-house (I personally enjoyed this part the most)
After a couple of weeks the tasting phase was up and we had finished testing all the products, all of the scorecards were submitted and we analyzed the results to find out the ranking order of the top rated panini makers. Then we looked at the current retail prices for each one and found our favorite picks were not always the more expensive ones.
Mostly with these products, you truly get what you pay for:
The Runners up:
2. Hamilton Beach 25462Z Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker
This panini machine is a fast and convenient way to bake your favorite home made hot sandwiches within a couple of minutes. We particularly loved the fact that we were able to control the heating elements separately while the presence of an automatic sensor when the panini’s sandwiches were ready to eat. The Hamilton Beach Panini Press Sandwich Maker lets you grill hot, delicious sandwiches of any thickness, thanks to the floating lid that expertly presses down onto sandwiches and we found that it leaves those appetizing grill marks behind we all love. After cooking, you are able to clean up the plates very easily which makes it an all round great buy.
3. Cuisinart GR-1 Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press
Ready in 5 minutes, that’s the motto for Cuisinart GR-1 Griddler Panini Machine. One of the best cooking appliances in our panini press review, we found out that we were able to make all kinds of breakfast sandwiches without turning too many levers or pressing a lot of buttons. it comes with a lot of quick and easy panini recipes that makes you want to play with this thing all day. From panini’s to English muffins to bagels, the sandwich maker can cook it all. Finally, the inclusion of dishwasher friendly parts made the cleaning process a lot easier compared to some of the more conventional panini sandwich makers in the market.
4. Cuisinart Dual-Sandwich Non stick Electric Grill
Measuring 9×9 inches, the Cusinart Dual Sandwich Panini Grill is one deep pocketed grill that can handle 2 sandwiches with ease. An excellent choice for both work and home environments, the components are all durable and dishwasher friendly. We found the non stick grill plates very well designed, especially the food release function that handed us our sandwiches without much ado. The grill can also make French toast and omelets, and has a red/green light indicator for showing progress. Finally, to top this all of, the appliance comes with a great 3 year warranty from the manufacturer.
5. Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500 Watt Non-Stick Panini Press
Probably the best panini maker from Breville, the BSG520XL features a non-stick, scratch free surface for starters. The surface itself was very innovative and we found its texture to be perfect for all kinds of cooking tasks. We used a flat bottom plate for thorough cooking while the inclusion of a top plate resulted in grill marks as well. The taste out of this panini press grill was excellent and we made a couple of extra sandwiches while we still had this appliance. Breville has left no stone unturned in promising quality and have put effort on the cord as well, which is shock proof.
6. George Foreman GR2121P Classic Plate Grill
Featuring an absolutely fat removing design, the Classic Plate Grill with Variable Temperature can actually make all your meals healthier. We put this “nutritious” challenge to the test and found out that the unique cooking surface that includes a patented sloped design can drain away unwanted fat and grease from the food altogether. The taste out of this panini grill was amazing and to top it all off, all the components were removable for proper cleaning. The grill had enough room to prepare meals for 8 people at a time and the indicator lights did a great job at keeping us accurately posted about the situation.
7. Cusiniart GR-11 Griddler 3 in 1 Grill and Panini Press
The Cusiniart GR-11 Grill and Panini Press can make juicy steaks, crispy panini sandwiches and wholesome burgers for you using the same machine so is veratile. If you’re looking for one of the best panini grills in the market at a low price then there are better options on this list. This panini machine can handle all your sandwich and grilling workload and cook both thick and thin sandwiches. We put the panini press under a lot of pressure during testing as it scored quite well last year, but to our surprise the results were not as good as some of the others higher up on this list.
8. Chef Buddy 3 in 1 Sandwich Panini and Waffle Press
The 3 in 1 Sandwich Panini and Waffle Press is a cost effective solution to all your grilling problems. One of the best panini makers for people looking for a cheap panini sandwich maker, the grill panini press has 3 sets of detachable plates with ample surface area to take on multiple challenges. We put the panini press and grill to test and found its 8.5 x 5 inch cooking surface enough to keep one of two mouths fed at the same time. The non-stick plate allowed us to clean the appliance easily while the dual heating zones meant greater power efficiency. This panini grill comes with a 38 inch power cord.
9. ZZ S6141A-B 4 in 1 Breakfast Waffle Omelette and Sandwich Maker
Packing 4 sets of heating plates for only $36, this panini press and grill is great for making breakfast in this fast paced life. We tested the sandwich making features and the sandwiches were very delicious and scored well with our panelists, so there were no complaints regarding taste. All the components are dishwasher friendly and easy to wipe by hand as well. The indicator lights worked as stated and gave us the go ahead at just the right time, so our meals weren’t undercooked or overcooked by even the slightest amount.
10. IMUSA GAU-80102 Electric Panini and Sandwich Maker
This is one panini press and grill that has been delicately designed both from the inside and the outside. The exterior is made out of stainless steel that makes this panini machine a decoration piece for your kitchen, at least that’s what we thought. The height was adjustable making it perfect for oversized sandwiches while the quick grill feature was great at having meals at our disposal within no time. Easy to use, perfect indication and moderate price tag means this is an appliance, very much worth your time.
11. George Foreman GRP0004R The Next Grilleration Grill
As the product name pretty much says it all, the George Foreman is the next generation grill. Why? We put it to the test to find out what makes this so special. Upon light inspection it was obvious that the unique floating hinge was great and worked flawlessly. The fat removing design seeped out all unhealthy grease and fats from our sandwiches (especially the cheesy varieties) while the nonstick coating kept the sandwiches burn free. Backed by 3 year warranty, this is a good device to choose if your looking for more than just a panini press for long-term use.
12. Proctor Silex 25453A Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker
Conventional sandwiches are too boring; period. The Proctor Silex Panini Press can spice up your cuisines and give you delicious panini pressed sandwiches that will make you forget about all kinds of junk food. The device has been designed to accommodate every last bit of onion to make your sandwich as high piled and delicious as possible. The grill plates are 12×8 1/2 and have a non-stick coating for easy scrubbing. Externally, the sandwich maker has a great design so this is an all round device both from the inside and the outside.
13. De Longhi CGH800 Contact Grill and Panini Press
Above all, we found the De Longhi CGH800 to be a good panini maker in terms of versatility. The tough exterior as well as carefully built interior makes this a device that doesn’t break down regardless of how much volume you feed into it. From burgers to chicken to steak, the Contact Grill and Panini Press can handle it all. The adjustable thermostat allows for accurate cooking while the drain cup takes in all the grease and fat.
14. Brentwood TS-246 Panini Maker
This is a lowest priced, quality cheap panini press grill, the Brentwood TS-246 is a great device for making sandwiches and all kinds of basic snacks. This is a great panini maker for students living in dorms due to its low cost and portability. With that being said, the grill is able to produce a great tasting panini, so don’t judge its by its price tag as this is actually a pretty good panini machine.
Why Buy A Panini Maker?
A healthy substitute to subs, burgers or cheese sandwiches is a panini sandwich. The best thing about these sandwiches is that they do not require any frying , or oil or butter to make them crisp. Because of the panini machine they automatically get thin and crisp which can be customized with whatever topping one requires like meat , cheese etc . To become a panini master one has to buy an easy high quality panini press for their kitchen.
Panini makers are available for less than $50 in most cases. These are similar to a waffle iron or various other sandwich presses or a bread griller. Once the bread starts toasting in this appliance you can start putting other ingredients like cheese, meat or whatever you want to add in there. The aluminum look gives the panini maker a good exterior look which enhances the look of the kitchen. The non stick coating on the inside of panini grill makes it very easy to wipe off and clean.
Some of the panini makers are complicated and difficult to use, where one has to keep checking that the bread does not get burnt and has become crisp for the sandwich. A good and high quality affordable panini maker makes cooking a lot easier and tastier. Panini press grills helps to grill sandwiches in the most convenient way. These sandwich makers come with surface with variations of degree some with three degrees and some with twenty degrees.
In such case one should always opt for a surface restricted to two or three degrees, the surface with twenty degrees is generally a cheap one and will not be useful to make good sandwiches. The temperature consistency of the top rated panini makers will determine the crispness of a panini sandwich. To make the panini more brown and crisp keeps the temperature regulator to 150 – 450 degrees slab depending upon the sandwich.
Another good quality about these top panini makers is that these come with high quality non stick plates with an easy to clean surface. Some of the plates can be easily detached from the device so that it can be washed properly and kept back in its place. To make eggs, pancakes or sauté vegetables, panini makers come with designed flat grill plates which are again very convenient to use. An extra grill plate provides an advantage to make perfect steak, quesadilla or the Italian garlic bread. No matter what’s your families favorite food, once you get a top rated panini grill press, they will surely enjoy eating crisp and hot panini sandwiches
Advantages of a panini maker
People from every corner of the world love eating sandwiches since it’s the healthiest and tastiest meal without sacrificing the nutritional value of its content. Especially people who are health freaks love to eat a low calorie and tasty panini.
A panini is a very handy cuisine for most people, especially students or those of us who are living alone, a grill and panini press is a blessing. It’s a handy yet reliable appliance for kitchen. For a small kitchen one should buy a small panini maker as it has a small countertop which will suit your kitchen perfectly. These small or large panini sandwich makers also have easy operating systems and function controls to be able to make extraordinary sandwiches all the time. They are so easy to use that anyone can easily operate them.
The top panini makers are also very easy to clean since they have a nonstick surface which makes it easy to clean. No parts can be detached from most panini grill machines except from the non stick place, so there is no risk of breaking any of the units while cleaning it. On buying this appliance you will also get cleaning tools to clear off thing like burnt bread dirt, or leftover stuck meat or cheese piece. Due to its compact size and easy set up it’s a perfect appliance for making sandwiches.
These sandwich makers is absolutely safe to use as they have a cool touch handle, which means that even if the pan or the hot plate is sizzling hot the handle will still remain cool to touch. This is a good feature of top rated panini presses, especially if there are children around the house.
The best panini maker is a good choice for picky or choosy eaters who like to eat either meat or vegetable stuffed sandwiches. Panini makers give you an option for both the things and you can eat whatever you like. Also most of the kids love to help their moms in kitchen, especially the girls. With the help of this appliance even kids can make their breakfast easily when they are hungry and their moms are out for work. This creation of sandwich by them will surely make them feel happy and innovative. So no complains, you get to eat what you like, too many choices because of one appliance; it’s a win win situation all thanks to the best panini makers.
Different people have different choices when it comes to food and needs. Some people prefer their sandwich to be lightweight full of veggies while some like it to be loaded with meat. The top panini sandwich makers fulfills all the requirements of a foodie. It’s a lightweight, less complicated machine which can be used by people of any age group. It is not only used to make sandwiches but also useful in grilling food.
A good panini maker has now become the most important appliance of a kitchen if you wish to enjoy healthy and sumptuous food. Today a lot of brands have come up with various types of panini maker with different features. Before buying one can notice their needs, lifestyle the functions they require for cooking and their budget for this appliance. After this is done then the second step is to check our best panini grill reviews, which shows consumer feedback related to the product. Panini press reviews will guide the you to the correct path and you will be able to buy the best panini maker, whether that is a high end panini machine or an affordable panini machine.