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The Most Life-Changing Kitchen Gadgets Under $50, According To Reddit

Reddit users have some strong opinions when it comes to affordable kitchen gear.

Just as with virtually any other topic, Reddit is a wealth of excellent cooking advice. Most recently, Reddit users responded to the question, "What is a purchase under $50 you made that has totally changed your life for the better?" Thousands of responses have poured in, ranging from $1 back scratchers to $25 kittens to nose hair trimmers. But some of the most illuminating responses have involved cooking gear. Let's take a look at some of Reddit's favorite affordable additions to the kitchen.

A $16 panini press

"16 dollar panini press," wrote one Reddit user. "Makes boring lunch sandwich into super tasty awesome lunch sandwich."

I can 100% vouch for this. At my former office job, the break room was furnished with a nonstick panini press for anyone to use; I often brought simple deli meat and cheese sandwiches for lunch and kept a little tub of spreadable butter in the communal fridge. A quick few swipes of butter on the exterior of the bread and a trip through the press turned a boring-ass sandwich into a much more glorious one. (Looks like $17.99 might be the lowest you can pay on Amazon right now, but that's still pretty great.)


A good trash can

"Hear me out: A good trashcan. A nice kitchen trashcan with foot pedal that works well. Nothing too fancy. Just nice to have things you use every day be smooth and functioning." Truer words have never been spoken, anonymous Reddit user.


Though the price on such cans can often exceed $50 (by a lot), you can find some good deals like this on functional, sleek-looking models. There's nothing worse than having to open a garbage can lid with a handful of raw meat scraps, except maybe when a pet nudges the lid off said garbage can and starts eating those meat scraps. A proper garbage can makes life easier, and can even keep your kitchen safer.

An air fryer

One response in the Reddit thread that got a ton of upvotes was simply "Air Fryer." That's a top-tier recommendation, as we at The Takeout do in fact love our air fryers.

I'm a former restaurant kitchen guy, and despite the crap chefs might say about how air fryers are "just mini convection ovens," there's really nothing wrong with that. Not everyone's home has the good fortune to be equipped with an oven that can achieve what a countertop air fryer can. To stay below the $50 mark, you'll probably need to opt for a smaller model, like this, or keep an eye out for seasonal sales.


Pro tip: Try air frying Lamb Weston Made In Idaho frozen fries, which will result in fries that taste remarkably close to ones from a deep fryer. If that's not life-changing, I don't know what is.

A meat thermormeter

Reddit user hrmmmno went with "Good meat thermometer," which is a solid pick. It's true that a decent meat thermometer is the best way to ensure you don't undercook or overcook any cut of meat, whether you're grilling outdoors or in your kitchen. Something as simple as a $15 ThermoPro thermometer can ensure your food is going to be juicy and perfect when you slice into it (as long as you give it time to rest).


An Aeropress

"I bought an Aeropress," writes user KMFDM781. "Something so simple and silly, but seriously damn..."

Like all the other pieces of equipment mentioned above, I can also vouch for the Aeropress. These single-serving coffee makers do a remarkable job of removing any harsh and bitter notes from a cup of coffee, resulting in a smoother flavor. It's also great for people who live alone and don't want to make a whole pot of coffee or purchase any sort of device with those unsustainable single-use pods. One popular Aeropress model retails for $40 on Amazon.