Good Housekeeping's 2021 Kitchen Gear Awards

To say we love to cook and are obsessed with kitchen products in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Technologies Lab is an understatement. Lucky for us, thousands of pitches filled with new cooking-related products and innovations, from knives to air fryers, cross our desks each year.

While we typically get to test most of these, it's hard to get our hands on all of them – and that's why we launched our first annual Kitchen Gear Awards: To find and test the most innovative and best-performing products across kitchen appliance and cooking tool categories.

Nicole Papantoniou

Kitchen Appliances Lab Director

Sarah Wharton

Senior Editor and Analyst

Kate Merker

Chief Food Director

Cathy Lo

Senior Food Editor

Rachel Rothman

Chief Technologist

To settle on these 51 winners, we evaluated more than 150 products with our Lab pros and 660 consumer testers who put even more items through their paces in real-life settings. To find this year’s winners, our GH experts rigorously assessed entries for:

The following winners are tried and tested to make it a little easier to cook, slice, sear, smoke, store and more:

easy bastingQuick Roaster Pan Good$39.99$26.99 (33% off)SHOP NOW

This 17- by 12-inch roasting pan with removable rack is lightweight but can hold a turkey up to 25 pounds. It's designed with a bulge in the center, which helps move juices to the outskirts of the pan so you can easily baste your roasts. Its edges are oversized so you can grab it easily.

LAB RESULTS: Testers used the pan to cook chickens and turkeys. One tester said: "The hump bottom is pretty genius. I'm always tilting my roasting pan to get the juices gathered for basting."

one-and-done salad toolSalad$30.95SHOP NOW

This tool from OXO has spun its way to the top of our best-tested list for years. The one-handed pump design was inspired by a toy over two decades ago, and it keeps getting better, with features like a storage lock and a patented brake that helps fling water from your greens.

LAB RESULTS: Testers liked how they could wash, serve and store salad in one bowl.

kitchen workhorseChef's$75.00SHOP NOW

The Misen Chef’s Knife delivers the best of both Western- and Japanese-style knives: Its steel has a high carbon content for Western-style durability, and the blade has a 15° angle (compared with 25° for most Western knives) for Japanese-style precision. Plus, it comes at a competitive price.

LAB RESULTS: Our judges loved how these knives fit in their hands and could cut both hard and soft items.

reduced-weight cast ironBlacklock Cast Iron$99.95SHOP NOW

Cast iron is heavy, but Lodge has decreased the heft of its tried-and-true cookware with the Blacklock line, including this lightened-up griddle. It has raised handles that make it easy to maneuver, and it’s triple-seasoned, so it’s ready to go on day one.

LAB RESULTS: Testers liked the size —“plenty big for a family of four,” said one — and that food didn’t stick. heavy-duty cookware that lasts a lifetime.

instant-read thermometerThermapen$105.00SHOP NOW

The Thermapen One turns on right away when you pull it open. It easily pierces all types of food and gives results in one second. The large body, which comes in multiple colors, offers a comfortable grip and has enough length to protect your hands from the heat.

LAB RESULTS: “I feel like I won a super prize,” said one tester.

a lighter liftG5 Graphite Core Bonded CookwareAll$140.00SHOP NOW

All-Clad is known for heavy-duty cookware that lasts a lifetime. Now the company has introduced a graphite-core version that’s 80% lighter than copper yet still delivers top-quality results.

LAB RESULTS: One former line cook exclaimed that she wished she’d had this skillet in her restaurant days, when she constantly handled heavy pans.

space saverNesting 11-Piece Aluminum Non Stick Cookware$146.99SHOP NOW

This set nests inside each other for compact storage. Each piece is light but durable and oven-safe up to 350ºF.

LAB RESULTS: Testers loved how easy the pans were to clean up and store.

an expert go-toTitanium$232.00SHOP NOW

This Hestan pan, made of stainless steel fused with resilient titanium, is sturdy but not heavy and is oven- and broiler-safe up to 1,050°F. It has an aluminum core for quick heating and a long ergonomic handle for control.

LAB RESULTS: This is the pan our Kitchen Appliances Lab’s deputy director reaches for almost every time she cooks because it heats evenly, handles high temps and is easy to clean.

design-forward cutting8” Chef$119.00SHOP NOW

This eight-inch Chef's knife from Hast is lightweight but sturdy with an ergonomic handle that rests comfortably in the palm of your hand. It's extra sharp and designed to stay that way. It comes in black and gold as well.

LAB RESULTS: All five testers rated this knife a five out five – one of the only items to earn a perfect score!

all the knives you needFoodi NeverDull 14-Piece Knife Block$279.99SHOP NOW

This 14-piece knife set with built-in knife sharpener from Ninja stands out for being super sharp. The knives have heft to them but feel balanced in the hand; plus, it includes comfortable sizes for everyone, including an eight-inch Chef's knife and a five-inch Santoku knife. The knife block has suction cups on the bottom to keep it from moving around.

LAB RESULTS: Testers raved that these were the sharpest knives they ever used; plus, they stayed sharp.

essential knife setWhite 6-Piece Tai Knife Block$299.95SHOP NOW

These sleek knives from Cangshan cut cleanly with little effort. The slim holder is perfect for small spaces and holds five must-have knives: chef’s, santoku, bread, utility and paring.

LAB RESULTS: Every tester commented on how sharp these knives were. The block doesn’t have grips on the bottom, which some liked because they could move it easily for quick access.

kitchen showstopperSignature 5.5-Qt. Chambray Dutch OvenLe$369.95SHOP NOW

Le Creuset first introduced color into the kitchen in 1925 – since then, the brand has continued to expand their color line and continues to stay trendy by studying a handful of trend drivers, from popular culture to fashion and more. Chambray (pictured here) is amongst their latest color additions.

LAB RESULTS: Le Creuset Dutch ovens are our go-to for making hearty stews and soups. They heat evenly and retain heat well – when covered, soups can simmer for hours over the most gentle heat.

a minimalist's dream set Stackable 4-Piece$580.00SHOP NOW

This stunning enameled cast iron cookware set from Staub nests insides each other to form one stack that takes up minimal space. It includes a five-quart Dutch oven, a three and a half quart braiser and a 10-inch grill pan.

LAB RESULTS: Like all cast iron pans, these pans are heavy but deliver on results. Our Lab experts used the Dutch oven to make a beef stew: beef cubes browned nicely and the pan deglazed well. Results were tender. They also used the grill pan to grill a steak, which has beautiful grill marks.

shake up breakfastBatter$11.99SHOP NOW

This squeezable batter mixer with a BlenderBall wire whisk makes it fast and simple to mix and dispense pancake batter without dirtying a measuring cup, bowl, whisk and ladle.

LAB RESULTS: One tester gushed that she now uses this every time she makes pancakes

stuffed-waffle makerStuffed WafflizerPower$39.99SHOP NOW

The thought of filled waffles makes our mouths water, but big, fluffy ones that are cooked through and slightly crisp on the outside — like the ones made in this five- or seven-inch PowerXL Stuffed Wafflizer — make us even happier.

LAB RESULTS: “I didn’t even know I liked waffles until this brilliant piece of machinery,” said one very happy judge.

compact coffeeCoffee$29.95SHOP NOW

Minimalists and coffee fans appreciate that the Aeropress, when nested, is about the size of a mug. It makes fullbodied coffee for espressostyle drinks and iced coffee in about one minute with the use of hot water.

LAB RESULTS: Testers called it “incredibly easy to use,” and one said it made “better coffee than anything else in my house.”

an upgraded tasteExtreme Rose Wine Glass, Set of$49.00$39.25 (20% off)SHOP NOW

The wine glasses in the Riedel Extreme Collection are designed to the aroma and flavor profile of the specific varietal. The shape of these help direct wine to the tip of your tongue where you can taste more of the fruitiness and less of the acidity.

LAB RESULTS: Testers commented on how lightweight the glasses felt and how comfortable they were to hold. One tester said the long stem made it feel elegant.

sustainable$59.99SHOP NOW

Sodastream is our go-to for sparkling water — making our own saves thousands of bottles and cans. This model doesn’t need to be plugged in and has a large button you can use to adjust the carbonation depending on how long you hold it down.

LAB RESULTS: The dishwasher-safe bottle makes cleaning even easier than before.

classic espressoBambino Espresso MachineBreville$299.95SHOP NOW

This sleek and compact Breville espresso machine comes with all of the equipment you need to make an espresso or espresso-style drink, including portafilters for single and double espressos, a tamp, built-in steam wand and stainless steel frothing cup.

LAB RESULTS: This espresso machine is a favorite in our Test Kitchen. It takes barely any effort to make a good, hot espresso and the milk frother is easy to use and clean.

custom ice creamIce Cream$149.00SHOP NOW

Ninja’s Creami comes with pint containers you prep and freeze overnight and can then turn into ice cream, gelato, milkshakes and more in less than five minutes. It’s more compact than most ice cream makers.

LAB RESULTS: Our judges were impressed that the ice cream and gelato settings yielded different textures, even with the same recipe.

multifunction blenderAscent$524.95SHOP NOW

Vitamix is known for high-powered blenders, and its Ascent series is top-of-the-line. It can be used with an assortment of accessories (sold separately) like a smoothie cup and a food processor; the motor speed adjusts accordingly.

LAB RESULTS: “I think it’s a great investment if you’re someone who makes smoothies every day,” said one tester.

hands-free juicingH200 Easy Clean Slow$594.15SHOP NOW

Hurom makes it simpler to juice with a large self-feeding hopper. No more standing by, inserting each ingredient piece by piece.

LAB RESULTS: “It handled large pieces of apple and carrot with ease,” said one tester.

easy customizable cappuccinos and lattesEspresso 3200 Series with LatteGoPhilips$760.81SHOP NOW

This espresso maker from Philips allows you to easily make an espresso, cappuccino, latte or Americano coffee just the way you like it – you can adjust the strength of the coffee, the amount of the coffee and the amount of milk with just the touch of a few buttons.

Good Housekeeping's 2021 Kitchen Gear Awards

LAB RESULTS: The milk frother is one of our favorite features – unlike most milk frother attachments in this category, it doesn't have a straw, which can be hard to clean. The container also attaches and detaches very easily, can be stored in the fridge and can be put in the dishwasher.

expert espressoDinamica$1,499.95SHOP NOW

This fully automated espresso machine stores beans and grinds them just before portioning them out perfectly based on the espresso drink you choose. The milk frother stands out for being easy to attach, customize, remove, clean and store.

LAB RESULTS: “This espresso maker is like having our own barista,” said one tester.

stay-hot mugTemperature Control Smart Mug$149.95SHOP NOW

Ember doesn't just keep your coffee warm; it allows you to set your preferred drinking temperature between 120ºF and 145ºF so you can enjoy it exactly the way you like it for up to one and a half hours. The holder doubles as the perfect coaster for people who like to keep things tidy.

LAB RESULTS: One of our testers enjoyed it so much that she wants to buy another to keep one at home and one in the office.

double-basket air fryer2-Basket Air FryerNinja$164.99SHOP NOW

This versatile air fryer has two baskets so you can cook for a crowd, make different dishes at the same time or use just one side for small portions.

LAB RESULTS: We test a lot of air fryers, and the Ninja stands out for its ease of use and powerful performance.

plant-based milk your wayThe Plant Based Milk MakerAlmond$195.00SHOP NOW

Almond milk lovers, along with all other plant-based milk lovers, will love this gadget that blends ingredients like nuts, oats and coconut, to make dairy-free milks without any preservatives.

LAB RESULTS: In our tests, it look less than a minute to make most milks and we loved that we could control the texture by following the appropriate instructions. Almond milk tasted fresh and the creamy recipe sold us.

smart$187.99SHOP NOW

Using a multicooker can be intimidating, but the ChefIQ Smart Cooker simplifies the process by offering a built-in calculator to help you choose cooking times as well as a connected app loaded with video recipes.

LAB RESULTS: "I thought it was fun to use," said one tester, "and since my husband can't cook, he really liked the tutorials."

smarter heating1.9 cu. ft. Smart Over-the-Range$619.00SHOP NOW

Smart technology is making its way into microwaves – this Whirlpool model connects to an app and allows you to scan the barcode on frozen foods and then send the customized cooking instructions straight to the microwave if you choose. The app also allows you to keep an eye on the cooking progress from your phone or tablet, and the microwave is compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa.

LAB RESULTS: Whether connected to the app or not, this microwave heats food quickly and is easy to program with a smooth touchscreen that cleans right up. It’s loaded with helpful presets like, Potato ("Love that feature," said one tester) and Accupop to help you get the best results by just pressing a button.

steamy technologyChefCubii$499.00SHOP NOW

The Fotile Chef Cubii Combi-Oven stands out for its sleek look and ability to steam-bake, which uses steam and convection bake to cook food quickly while keeping it moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.

LAB RESULTS: One tester was amazed with how many cooking functions and preset cooking modes (printed right on the inside of the door) this toaster oven had, from steaming to air frying, dehydrating and more. "I've never seen anything like it," he said. "Everything comes out delicious!"

sous vide-like resultsPrecision$509.99SHOP NOW

Anova, known for their sous vide cookers, created a countertop combi oven that allows you to bake like you would in a regular toaster oven or oven, or use steam or the sous vide mode to make food juicyand tender with the ability to crisp it up after. It comes with a built-in thermometer and connects to an app.

LAB RESULTS: "I could not believe how juicy the chicken breasts turned out," said one tester, "and they were cooked perfectly." Another tester liked the steam option for vegetables.

genius ovenSmart Countertop Convection$599.00SHOP NOW

This countertop oven's smarts are next-level. As soon as you place the food inside, it recognizs that, offers programs for cooking and lets you monitor the progress via an app. The touchscreen control panel resembles a smartphone, and the unit gets smarter with software updates.

LAB RESULTS: In addition to a smooth user experience, this unit aced our lab tests.

a new way to cookSmart$1,195.00SHOP NOW

Brava uses light versus traditional heating elements to cook food. But, more impressively, it's equipped with cooking programs and recipes that guide you through the entire cooking process from what pan to use, where to place the food on the pan, what rack level to use and more.

LAB RESULTS: The smarts on this oven make it possible for anyone to turn out delicious meals from frozen pizza to more complicated dishes. The built-in camera helps you monitor your food without opening the door.

multiple appliances in$1,499.00SHOP NOW

The Thermomix has been doing it all since 1971: It weighs ingredients, chops, blends, whisks, cooks, steams and more. The large screen and control knob on the TM6 make it easy to find and follow step-by-step recipes from its integrated Cookidoo app as well as order groceries.

LAB RESULTS: “Having meals and ingredients laid out for me like that was a life-changing experience,” said one tester.

induction made easy36-Inch Induction Cooktop with Home$3,299.00SHOP NOW

The Bosch Induction Cooktop with Home Connect offers five different cooking zones; plus, several unique features like FlexInduction that combines two cooking zones into on and AutoChef that regulates the temp of your pan when frying. The Home Connect features allows it to link up to your Bosch ventilation hood.

LAB RESULTS: The multiple zones allowed for versatile cooking. Our tester said it provided a great cooking experience and enjoyed how easy it was to use.

range with rangeSmart-Dial OvenSamsung$3,199.00SHOP NOW

This sleek slide-in has a gas cooktop and an electric oven with two doors, which allows you to use it as two separate ovens if you desire. The control panel is operated by a large, simplified knob and a responsive touchscreen. It’s Wi-Fi connected.

LAB RESULTS: Our tester loved the versatility, especially for air-frying.

an oven that knows30" Smart Slide-In Front-Control Induction RangeGE$4,399.00SHOP NOW

This induction range from GE Profile has a control panel with large screen that allows you easily program both the cooktop and the oven. It connects to an app and has a built-in camera, which allows you to monitor your food from your phone. It's equipped with cooking programs like "Turkey Mode," which allow you to cook a turkey by simply inserting the built-in thermometer, pressing start and letting the oven do the work for you.

LAB RESULTS: This range is easy to program and highly responsive. Pan heated quickly and evenly and we were able to confidently monitor our food's progress in the oven without moving from our desk.

pro-level steam ovenCombi-Steam OvenMiele$5,299.00SHOP NOW

Once found mostly in restaurants, combination steam ovens are now showing up in homes. This built-in one allows you to use it as a regular oven or as a steamer when you can finish the cooking process with roasting or broiling. It can also cook food sous vide.

LAB RESULTS: The control panel is straightforward and highly responsive.

super saverQuart$19.99SHOP NOW

Stasher continues to innovate with the introduction of this quart-size food-grade silicone bag that opens wide on the corners so you can fill it with bulky items like thick sandwiches. It’s microwave-, dishwasher-, sous vide- and freezer-safe.

LAB RESULTS: One tester said one of her favorite uses was for storing frozen bananas—genius!

collapsible lunch mateStojo$25.00SHOP NOW

Made of food-grade silicone, this 36-oz size collapsible bowl is sturdy in the open position and can handle hot foods (it’s microwave- and dishwasher-safe).

LAB RESULTS: “You don’t realize how useful this item is until you try it,” said one judge. “It’s perfect for lunch, and I can toss it in my backpack when I’m done.”

clutter cutter2 Pack - Black Cord WrappersThe Cord$24.99SHOP NOW

The Cord Wrapper is a simple tool that proves useful around the kitchen. It sticks to an appliance so you can neatly wrap the cord around it and keep your counters tidy.

LAB RESULTS: After testing, one of our judges went out to buy several to use with her own stand mixer, blender, slow cooker and more.

all-purpose containersRubbermaid Glass$29.99SHOP NOW

These stackable, leak-proof storage containers are made with glass that’s oven-safe up to 450°F. Each can be microwaved with the lid on — unlatch to vent.

LAB RESULTS: “The quality of the glass [and plastic version that was also tested] was superior, and the tight-fitting seals are better than anything I have ever used before,” said one tester.

modular packingStainless Steel Food BoxKlean$58.81SHOP NOW

These stainless steel containers are lightweight and perfect for packing up snacks and on-the-go meals. They stack neatly and are easy to wash by hand or in the dishwasher when done.

LAB RESULTS: Testers liked how they’re plastic-free and easy to transport; they’re great for dry goods.

true to its nameNext Level Magnetic Knife$79.95SHOP NOW

Knife blocks are notoriously hard to clean but this one from Messermeister makes it easy to wipe down the slats. Plus, it's equipped with LED lights that you can turn on to make sure you're getting every last bit.

LAB RESULTS: This knife blocks stands out for its slim design, solid build and easy of storing knives without worrying about damaging the tip by trying to fit it into a thin slit. Keeping it clean and dust-free is easy, too.

freshness preserverMulti-Use Food Preservation System with Built-In Handheld$145.00SHOP NOW

Vacuum sealers are a not so hidden secret for people who like to buy in bulk.This one allows you to customize the length of your bag or use pre-cut ones. It also comes with a handheld sealer that can be used with FoodSaver's reusable zip-top bags and other accessories like he brand's storage containers or bottle sealers.

LAB RESULTS: The versatility of this vacuum sealer is key. In many lab tests, it sealed proteins so well that they held up in the freezer for months without any sign of freezer burn.

cooking in no timeBlue Carbon Steel 10 Inch Fry$49.99SHOP NOW

Seasoning carbon steel requires some elbow grease, but the best part about this one from Viking is that it comes pre-seasoned.

LAB RESULTS: This pan has a sturdy handle and feels balanced and comfortable in the hand. Out of the handful that we tested, it was the only one that came pre-seasoned. One tester said that nothing stuck to it and they cooked eggs over easy, omelettes, burgers and veggies.

quality carbon steelCarbon Steel SkilletSardel$80.00SHOP NOW

Carbon steel is not new, but the chef-approved material is making its way into home kitchens. It combines the heating capabilities of cast iron with the lighter weight of stainless steel cookware; plus, it heats faster and is safe to 500°F, which makes it great for outdoor cooking.

LAB RESULTS: We like how light and durable this pan is. Also, the handle is wide enough to grasp comfortablyEnameled cast iron heats evenly and retains heat well, which makes it suitable for stovetop, oven and outdoor use (up to 500°F).

dutch oven and grill pan in oneDutch$165.00SHOP NOW

Enameled cast iron heats evenly and retains heat well, which makes it suitable for stovetop, oven and outdoor use (up to 500°F). This Misen Dutch Oven comes with a grill pan that serves as a lid and costs a fraction of the price of competitors.

LAB RESULTS: Our beef stew came out tender and flavorful, while our steak got nice grill marks with the pan.

two-in-oneRanger Cast Iron Grill Cooking$344.99SHOP NOW

SoloStove offers a unique outdoor fire experience with their cooking bundle. The fire pit functions on its own as a wood-burning fire pit or as a grill with the included accessory. It's designed to be portable with an included carrying case.

LAB RESULTS: One tester who never started a fire before was able to do so easily. It came in handy for outdoor entertaining and cooking.

brilliant backyard pizzaKaru 16 Multi-Fuel Pizza£699.00SHOP NOW

This pizza oven can be used with wood or charcoal, and a gas burner can be bought separately ($100). It can heat up to 950°F, features a 15-mm pizza stone surface, fits a 16-inch pie and can be used to cook other foods.

LAB RESULTS: The large opening on the back allows you to refill wood and coal easily.

powerful pellet grillSmokeFire$999.99SHOP NOW

It can be hard to get a real sear with pellet grills, which are best known for smoking, but the Weber SmokeFire makes this possible: It cooks over direct heat, reaching up to 600°F.

LAB RESULTS: With the Weber Connect smart technology, cooking steak to the perfect doneness (with char marks!) is foolproof.

Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping InstituteDirector, Kitchen Appliances & Culinary Innovation LabNicole runs the Good Housekeeping Institute's Kitchen Appliances & Culinary Innovation Lab where she oversees the content and testing related to kitchen and cooking appliances, tools and gear; she’s an experienced product tester and developer, as well as recipe creator, trained in classic culinary arts and culinary nutrition.