This Review shows 10 Panini Presses/Makers that we consider the best value for money in years 2013/2014. Products are divided into the following 2 categories:
- Commercial & Mid-Range Products
- Budget Products
Best 5 Commercial & Mid-Range Panini Makers
Best 5 Budget Panini Makers
*Note: Values in fields “User Rating” and “No of Reviews” may change with time. These charts show information valid as of the publication date of this Review.
What To Look for When Buying Panini Press
Before deciding to buy a particular product you should look at few product features first.
You should consider the following 3 areas:
- General or Common Product Features
- Features Specific to Your Requirements
- Few Other Things
1. General or Common Product Features
We recommend you evaluate the following 4 general criteria. They should apply to any product, regardless of their intended use:
Some more expensive models come with removable baking plates. The good thing about it is that you can simply place them into Dishwasher, saving you time and energy with cleaning.
Panini Plates are produced from 3 basic types of material. First, the less expensive and least durable are aluminium plates with non-stick coating. Aluminium plates tend to peel-off after some time. You will need to replace them then or buy new products since it may prove difficult to obtain spare parts.
Second types are ceramic plates. These are better than aluminium one with up to 4 times better durability. Main advantage of ceramic plates is that they don’t contain any harmful substances like PFOA or PTFE that are typical for standard non-stick coatings.
Another advantage of ceramic plates is that they cook about 20% faster than other types of plates. We would prefer ceramic plates; unfortunately there are not many models that come with it. Our Review features just one such model.
The last types are cast-iron plates. These come usually only with the most expensive professional Panini makers. They require seasoning, but will last perhaps a lifetime. If you prefer high quality products then cast-iron is definitely the way to go.
Most products come with standard 1-Year Warranty. If you can find a product that comes with extended warranty then this will give you some extra protection.
You can buy extra warranty for more expensive appliances. Unfortunately, this kind of warranty is normally not offered for Panini Press Makers.
2. Features Specific to Your Requirements
Depending on what you plan to do with your new Panini Press, you should look closely at the following product features:
Different types of breads and paninis require their own temperature. Better models come with variable temperature settings.
Some offer just general descriptions like low, medium or high temperature. Other that include clock-style scales with degrees will let you control the heat more precisely.
Few models come even with the dual temperature control. This will enable you to control the temperature of the bottom and upper baking plates separately.
If you plan to use your Panini Press just at home for one or two people then small to medium surface are should suffice of around 100 square inches.
For restaurant or larger families it is wise to buy a product with larger surface area, approximately 200+ square inches. This will allow you to serve food for all your guests at the same time.
These are the usual features of the more advanced products:
- Contact Grill
- Panini Press
- Full Griddle
- Full Grill
- Half Grill
- Half Griddle
- Pop Melt
More expensive models can also be used as a grill. You can achieve that by flipping the top plate by 180 degrees. It will essentially double the surface area – you will be using both the bottom and top plate to grill your food.
Normally, the height of your Panini is managed either by the adjustable or floating / rotating hinge.
3. Few Others Things
There are some more features worth considering which will also speak about the product quality and its usability.
Among those are the indicators. First type is a temperature indicator that will let you know when the plates reach desired temperature. Other type is a power indicator. It may be a simple one, but can serve as a warning sign that the device is under power, thus sparing you any accidental burns.
Another thing to consider is a country where the product was produced. Products made in the USA or Europe (countries like Germany, France or Switzerland) are usually of higher quality than those made in China.
But take this rule only as a general guide. This might have been truth in the past. These days many products manufactured in China are of satisfactory quality.
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