I have some trouble with this, knowing the difference between a truly innovative, worthwhile kitchen gadget, and some needless thing that just takes up room. I have many, and I am tempted to buy even more. Someone should come up with a formula or a set of criteria. Here, I’ll try and you can learn from my mistakes.
1. Does it reduce the overall prep/cleanup time significantly?
There’s no use for something which is a little faster then takes 10x the effort or time to clean.
This onion chopper has a dull blade and never stops smelling like onion.
This “perfect” brownie tin promises to pre-cut your brownies but about 1/3rd of the batter will stick forever onto the sides. I do mean forever. Really.
2. Does it take up a lot of room?
Having one or two things that are large might be ok if they’re frequently used, but buying things which take up lots of room and are seldom used seems silly.
3. Do I already have something that does the same job almost as well?
I confess, I have many things like the following, which I can picture a backwards infomercial for. Tired of having a different gadget to cut every little thing? Instead of having
A strawberry cutter
Now you can have an everything, all-in-one slicer! Presenting, the knife!
Ok, to be fair, those slicers do make things a bit faster if you don’t have the knife skills of a professional chef — and believe me, I don’t. I use the strawberry one for crêpe toppings almost every week.
4. Does it have irresistible aesthetic charm?
This is a total copout. Don’t abuse this one! It probably doesn’t even apply to you. It’s for items that you have feelings for. Normal people don’t have feelings for kitchen things they don’t know. Sentimental though I am, I only have one such item; a cast iron pumpkin.
I hope that helps. Maybe you have some criteria/questions to share?