5 Kitchen Tools You Should Never Spend a Lot of Money On

Stop splurging on nonstick pans for good.

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September 16, 2021

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Some pieces of cookware like a chef's knife, stainless steel pan or blender are definitely worth the splurge. But testing more than 1,000 kitchen tools and appliances has taught our team that expensive doesn't always mean better. No matter the price point, some gadgets will need to be replaced more frequently due to natural wear and tear, and therefore aren't worth the higher cost. Other times, the less-expensive version is simply just as good as one that is significantly more expensive. Thanks to thorough testing and some advice from our test kitchen pros, we've rounded up the five products that you should never spend a ton of money on.


Even the most inexpensive peelers, including this set of three which breaks down to about $5 each, work just as well as their more expensive counterparts. In testing, all of the top-performing peelers cost less than $15 each, meaning you'll get a great peeler that you won't mind replacing once it inevitably gets dull.

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This might come as a surprise, but most nonstick pans aren't worth spending a lot of money on — especially if you use them on a regular basis. In general, nonstick pans are not designed to last a lifetime, especially if used over high heat or washed in the dishwasher. This Tramontina pan is our favorite budget pick and has a sturdy construction, is PFOA-free and is both dishwasher- and oven-safe. (Our tester says it reminded her of the nonstick pans from her restaurant kitchen days. ) Some other pots and pans are worth the splurge, including Dutch ovens and stainless steel cookware.

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Not to be confused with enameled cast iron like Dutch ovens, a classic cast-iron skillet is relatively inexpensive and usually gets better with time. Even at less than $20 per pan, most cast-iron skillets come pre-seasoned and (with proper care) can last a lifetime. This Victoria skillet was our top-tested pick, and the ever-popular Lodge skillet is also an affordable and high-performing option.

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Having a few plastic cutting boards on-hand is essential for prepping raw meat, since they can be easily disinfected. It's always a good idea to opt for an inexpensive option, since these can easily warp in the dishwasher or stain when used with foods like beets.

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Some electric kettles offer a more aesthetically pleasing design or extra features including picking your precise temperature or keeping your water warm. While those are great additions, they are not worth the splurge if you're simply looking to boil water. This top-rated kettle from Amazon quickly brings water to boil and takes up minimal space on your counter.

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