I’ll start by saying that I’m a huge fan of kitchen gadgets. They’re fun to collect, and many are quite convenient and useful for a wide variety of tasks.
However, brands have definitely gone too far with certain kitchen tools, creating a whole category of “unitaskers” that are, frankly, more often unnecessary than not. A lot of these tools claim to make common cooking tasks easier or faster, but in reality, you could get the job done with a more versatile product that gives you more bang for your buck.
Here are 10 popular unitask kitchen tools that you honestly don’t need, as well as our suggestions on what to use instead.
1. A veggie chopper
As someone who hates chopping onions, I totally understand the appeal of a vegetable chopper. It seems like it would make prep work much faster, and it probably would. Except why do you need a special vegetable chopper when you have a food processor in your cabinet?
Food processors, like our Best Value Award Winner, can chop up vegetables and puree, dice and mix ingredients. So not only are you able to chop veggies fast, but you can do so much more all with one gadget.
2. A quesadilla maker
Quesadillas are very easy to make—all you do is put ingredients between two tortillas and then cook it like a grilled cheese. So why does an electric quesadilla maker exist? This gadget claims to seal up the edges so nothing falls out, but the ingredients still might escape once you cut it into wedges.
Our verdict is that you should skip the unitasker and get a high-quality skillet instead. The All-Clad Fry Pan won our award for Best Stainless Steel Skillet, and we’re willing to bet it would make a tasty quesadilla—in addition to numerous other dishes.
3. An avocado slicer… or really any “slicer”
There are so many variations of fruit and vegetable slicers out there. Perhaps one of the most popular is the avocado slicer, but there are also banana slicers, tomato slicers, egg slicers, and more.
Instead of buying all these various slicing devices, we’d recommend investing in the OG slicing machine: a paring knife. A quality knife like this award-winning option from Wusthof will let you slice avocados, bananas, tomatoes, and just about anything else you can think of—check out our full list of the Best Paring Knives for more options.
4. Herb scissors
Herb scissors are essentially just multi-blade scissors that let you cut up seasonings faster. However, they’re really only useful for cutting up herbs, so why not get yourself a normal pair of kitchen scissors instead?
Kitchen scissors are a must-have for every home chef, and this particular pair from OXO has some cool features that make them especially handy for prepping herbs.
5. A garlic peeler
It can be a little tricky to peel garlic, but you really don’t need a special silicone garlic peeler to prep this herb. Seriously, your hands will work just as efficiently if you use the right technique!
Personally, I just use my hands to simultaneously twist the peel in opposite directions, effectively popping it off, but you can also use Martha Stewart’s trick of putting cloves in a large container and shaking them vigorously for a few seconds. The skins just fall off—no silicone tube needed.
If you have a sturdy 8-inch chef's knife like our top pick—the Zwilling Pro 8-inch Chef's Knife—you can also use the classic trick of pressing down with your palm and the flat part of the blade. This will crush the cloves slightly, but the skins will slip right off.
6. A microwave pasta cooker
Pasta is one of the first things many people learn to cook, as it’s quite easy to do. You boil water then put pasta in it—boom, done. However, several brands have taken it upon themselves to fix a process that’s not broken, creating the microwave pasta cooker. The one time when a microwave pasta cooker might actually be necessary is if you live in a small apartment and don’t have a stove or hot plate. In this case, we’ll give you a pass.
Overall, cooking your spaghetti in the microwave is just a few minutes quicker, at most, than the traditional way, so why not just get yourself a quality set of cookware? We found that T-fal makes the best nonstick set because you get great quality at an impressibvely low price. If you want something different, check out our list of Best Cookware Sets under $200 to find one that will work for you.
7. A bagel cutter
This one falls along the same lines as vegetable slicers—why bother with a bagel slicer when you can just use a bread knife? Some bagel cutters claim to be safer, but the serrated blade on this product is still exposed, and we can imagine your fingers come pretty close to it when you push the bagel through.
Instead, head over to our list of the Best Serrated Bread Knives and get a product that can cut bagels, as well as loaves of bread, rolls, and much more. This one from Mercer Culinary won our award for Best Value because it costs less than $15 but still slices bread like butter.
8. An automatic potato peeler
It does take some time to peel potatoes and other vegetables, but we’re willing to bet the process isn’t any faster with an automatic potato peeler. You have to center and attach each potato (or other vegetable), which probably takes the same amount of time it would to just peel it by hand.
For this reason, we’d say just skip the electric peeler and buy one of the amazing products on our list of the Best Vegetable Peelers. We recommend the Kuhn Rikon peeler because it's affordable (3 for $10!), but peeled every fruit and veggie we threw at it with ease.
9. Meat claws
Somewhere along the way, someone decided it was too hard to shred meat with forks, so they invented meat shredders. They look like undersized bear claws, but otherwise are exactly the same.
If you’re really that passionate about not using forks to shred meat, we’d like to propose an alternative: just put the cooked meat into your stand mixer and turn on the paddle attachment. It will shred your meat quickly and efficiently—no forks necessary. Just another reason to love your KitchenAid, which you probably already know is the best stand mixer money can buy.
10. Butter grater
The struggle of trying to spread cold butter onto bread is real, but that still doesn’t mean you need a butter grater. The whole idea is that this gadget will shred your butter into small, more spreadable strips, but you can achieve the same results with a normal box grater.
Luckily for you, we have a whole list of the Best Graters available, all of which are more versatile and valuable than a specific grater for butter. We recommend this microplane box grater above the rest because it's very versatile and also very easy to take apart and clean.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.