Your kitchen is the hub of your home, and it’s where you spend a significant amount of time. However, a lot of that time can be spent—and wasted—doing manual tasks that could otherwise be automated by appliances. And we're not talking about those everyday workhorses like a food processor or a slow cooker. Yes, those are useful. But some kitchen appliances go even further, taking care of tasks you didn't even know needed automating.
We rounded up our favorite countertop appliances that will not only make cooking and cleaning easier, but also help reduce the number of items you need to use—and subsequently clean. As a bonus, these sleek and stylish appliances look pretty great on your counter.
1. Squeeze juice with no hands
Starting the day with a fresh-squeezed glass of juice is routine for many people, but many juicers require you to put some muscle into squeezing the fruit. A hands-free, electric citrus juicer ($99, Amazon) ensures you'll get sweet nectar without breaking a sweat.
“A hands-free juicer solves the problem of needing hand strength to run a regular juicer,” says Eric Goranson, a Portland, OR–based designer and host of "Around the House with Eric G" radio show.
Jennifer Williams, owner of Saint Louis Closet Co., is also a fan.
“My hands-free juicer is the greatest invention ever and is kept out on my countertop for all to see and use,” she says.
In addition to oranges, Williams likes to juice lemons and limes for margaritas.
“Not only is it lightning fast, but it also keeps the citrus juices off my marble counters," she adds.
2. Stop appliance overload
Kitchens may be getting bigger, but they can’t always keep up with the desires of homeowners.
“In kitchens today we have so many more gadgets and tools than we did 30 years ago, and space is at a premium,” says Goranson.
The solution: A 4-in-1 machine that can cook food in a variety of ways.
“Having a countertop oven ($499, Home Depot) that can roast, bake, broil, and toast is a game changer that can get the meal on the table on time,” Goranson says. He predicts that all-in-one machines will be hot in the years to come as smaller spaces lead the design trends.
3. Free up space in your dishwasher
If your dishwasher fails to clean glassware to your satisfaction, or you’re concerned about damaging fragile pieces during cleaning, a glass rinser may be the answer to your prayers.
It can also reduce the number of glasses scattered around the house.
“For many families, the top rack of the dishwasher fills up fast as everyone grabs a new glass every time they want a drink,” says Andrea Walker, owner of Smartly Organized in Chatham, NJ. As a result, there are used glasses all over the place.
“A glass rinser ($83, Amazon) changes habits and encourages everyone to rinse and reuse a glass,” she says. “It also makes those hard-to-clean bottles and reusable cups easier to clean, especially those used for smoothies.”
4. Kick your La Croix cans to the curb
Sparkling water is great, but the waste created from the aluminum cans is not. If you prefer bubbles to tap water, you'll love this sparkling water maker ($219.95 and up, Williams Sonoma).
Walker says this is something she often sees in the homes of clients.
“The primary attraction for my clients is to reduce single-use bottles, cans, and associated packaging,” she explains. “They also appreciate the ease, less lugging of cases of water and seltzer.”
Another advantage is that it doesn’t take up as much space as bottled beverages.