The Best New Kitchen Tools We Tested in 2021

From genius cookware to easy-to-use appliances, these are the top-performing new kitchen appliances and cookware from this year.

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December 21, 2021

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Some inventions are clearly genius (air fryer) and others struggle to take hold (steam cooking). So you might pause before spending the money to bring a new appliance into your kitchen — but that's where we come in. After testing dozens of products this year, we've found that the best new appliances and cookware are easy to set up and start using immediately, are made of quality materials that perform every time, and solve a cooking problem or make cooking more delightful.

As shopping editors, our team tries nearly every new small appliance and cookware product that makes it to market. We test them out in both our home kitchens and test kitchen to ensure the product is practical enough for home-cooking and durable enough to withstand even the toughest jobs. Based on these parameters, here are the best new products we tested in 2021.


Our test kitchen swears by the Instant Vortex air fryer line and this new model is about to make air fryer cooking even more foolproof. The new ClearCook window allows users to watch the cooking process, so you'll never burn a batch of Air Fryer Chicken Wings again. Plus, the digital interface and easy-to-use dial mean this air fryer is precise in it's temperatures and timing, and is ready to go right out of the box.

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Fans of the Always Pan will love Our Place's latest addition to the lineup, the Perfect Pot. While the Always Pan is great for stovetop cooking and even steaming, it can't do it all. Enter the Perfect Pot, which can be used in the oven for braising and roasting, and on the stovetop for soups and stews. We also love using it as a pasta pot because of the easy strain lid. The pot also comes with a trivet to transfer it from oven to table in no time.

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Sparkling water drinkers will love this new SodaStream system. The Terra system takes the SodaStream everyone knows and loves and makes it even easier to use. The system boasts Quick Connect CO2 technology to make inserting the bottles even faster and simpler.

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For the last two years, Ninja has been branching out beyond small appliances and into cookware. We love the Ninja Foodi cookware line and were so excited to try the NeverDull Knife System, which launched this year. The knife block comes with built-in knife sharpeners, so you're never working with a dull blade, ensuring precise cuts every time. Plus, this price tag makes it an ideal gift or gift-card purchase in 2022.

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Wish you owned a Vitamix, but can't stomach the price tag? The brand heard you and this year released a new blender called Vitamix ONE. This new blender is designed to be easy to use with just one button and made for a home kitchen. The power you'd expect from a Vitamix blender is still there, but the bells and whistles are pared back. If you want to make simple smoothies, soups and blend up some mayo, this is a Vitamix for you.

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For the person who swears by their blender for smoothies, Ninja released a brand-new just-for-smoothies blender in 2021. The blades and wattage are designed to power through tough to blend items like frozen fruit, nuts and more. We found this maker lives up to the hype and blends up smooth spoon-ready smoothie bowls in a flash.

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Pizza ovens were a hot kitchen tool, especially during the summer of 2021. We saw Ooni pizza ovens popping up all over social media and even tested out multiple models. We found the small-yet-mighty backyard ovens live up to the promise of churning out delicious Neapolitan-style pizzas every time. This year, Ooni launed a dual-fuel model that can be hooked up to propane for easy weeknight cooking or used with wood for that smokey flavor you love.

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If you've been pining for an espresso machine for ages, but are hesitant about pulling your own shot, the new GE Cafe automatic espresso machine is here for you. Yes, it's got a hefty price tag, but the machine is so user-friendly, you'll soon find the machine pays for itself. The whole machine is ready to use right out of the box and pours espresso, steams milk and even mixes an Americano with the push of some buttons. It's a fully automatic experience that will make your neighborhood barista wonder why you never come around anymore.

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