Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Panini Press

The size, ease of clean-up, and design are all critical factors for turning out the best sandwiches you’ve ever created.

Panini maker
Panini makers are easy to use, and can give just about any sandwich a fresh, unique taste.George Foreman

Who doesn’t like hot, cheesy sandwiches that are perfectly browned and leave your kitchen smelling like a fine restaurant? That’s what a quality panini maker will deliver. Before you make your buying decision, however, consider these factors to ensure you find the panini maker that’s perfect for your hungry family and friends.

Counter Space and Hungry Mouths

George Foreman 4-Serving Removable Plate Grill and Panini Press
This model heats up 35 percent faster and features removable grill plates that you can pop right into the dishwasher for easy clean-ups.George Foreman

Availability of kitchen countertop and storage space as well as how many people you need to make paninis for at once will drive your decision on what size panini maker you’ll want. Larger presses can cook more sandwiches at once—an important consideration if you have more than four hungry eaters to feed at once, but they will take up more counter space when you use them and added pantry space when you put them away. Larger models are nice, however, as they allow you some working room around your sandwiches—a big plus if your need to poke sliced vegies back inside your panini while its browning.

Floating Hinges

Cuisinart GR-4NP1 GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler
This 5-in-1 brushed stainless countertop unit works as a contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, and half grill/half griddle to make paninis and much more.Cuisinart

Models that offer a “floating hinge” offer more versatility. A floating hinge allows you to accommodate paninis and grilled sandwiches of different thicknesses. Set it down low if you just want to grill vegetables or raise it up to accommodate thick ciabatta paninis. A floating hinge also allows those who like open-face sandwiches to lock the top grill into place to hover over your sandwich until it’s perfectly done..

Other Features

Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press Grill With Locking Lid
This panini maker features a café style floating lid that evenly presses any size sandwich.Hamilton Beach

Variable thermostat: Having the ability to adjust the grilling temperature is essential. This way you can vary the temperature depending on the thickness of bread you’re using so cheese and fillings come out nice and hot without burning the bread.

Removeable grills: Even with non-stick surfaces, paninis filled with cheese can be a gooey mess to clean. Models that allow you to easily remove the griddles so you can pop them in the dishwasher make clean-ups a breeze.Warning light: Panini makers can get very hot. Having an easy-to-see light that tells you when the unit is on will help to prevent accidental burns.

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