The Best Kitchen Essentials of 2018By Reviewed Staff, Updated April 01, 2019
If you're like most people, the kitchen is probably the center of your home. It's where you stumble looking for coffee in the morning, where you cook dinner, and probably where you spend a lot of time with your family. It's also the site of all kinds of spills, stains, stinky trash cans, and dirty dishes—which is why it's so important to have the right tools to keep it fresh and clean.
We've spent hours and weeks testing nearly all the daily kitchen essentials (you might even say we've tested everything but the kitchen sink). We've scrubbed, wiped, and thrown things out, combining scientific testing with ordinary real-life use. Why? We wanted to find the absolute best supplies for washing and drying dishes, cleaning countertops, and dealing with garbage so that you can enjoy spending time in what many call the center of your home.
Unless your kitchen magically cleans itself, you'll want to upgrade your arsenal of essentials to include our Editor's Choice award winners we've reviewed below.
Where To Buy$16.69 Amazon Buy
Bounty Select-A-SizeBest Paper Towel
It’s the name synonymous with the paper towel—for good reason. Bounty’s plain old “quicker picker upper” proves far better than its competitors.
It can clean ketchup from the counter with a single swipe, leaving barely a smudge behind. It's also great for dusting. When dry, the Bounty feels thick and strong, despite the fact that it's not particularly heavy. When submerged in water, it holds its strength and can withstand rigorous underwater scrubbing. It also leaves less residue than most other paper towel options when dampened and used to clean a cast iron pan and carpet.
Finally, the towel tears perfectly nearly every time. What more could you want from a paper towel?
Scotch-Brite Dobie All Purpose Pads
Where To BuyClick for price Amazon Buy
Scotch-Brite Dobie All Purpose PadsBest Kitchen Sponge
If you want a basic sponge that can handle everything from burnt cooking mishaps to standard dirty dishes, Dobie has your back. It just plain gets the job done—and painlessly at that. It’s too soft to scratch your cookware but textured enough to remove tough stains. It’s also thin enough to really get into the narrow corners of a pan.
The Dobie isn't particularly absorbent, so it's better used for cleaning rather than sopping up spills. That said, the result is that it doesn't stay perpetually damp, which means it's likely to be less appealing to bacteria and bad smells that tend to feel at home on a wet sponge. Use your Dobie on dishes, stains, and anything that could use effective scrubbing, and grab an absorbent towel if you need to soak up any liquid.
PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack
Where To BuyClick for price Amazon Buy
PremiumRacks Professional Dish RackBest Dish Rack
The PremiumRacks dish rack has all the bells and whistles you could possibly want—and then some. Its countertop footprint isn’t as big as you’d expect for something that can hold so many dishes, but that’s only because it happens to be a smartly designed double-decker. The bottom portion is your standard featureless rack, fine for balancing bowls or perhaps a colander, but the top portion holds plates more securely than most racks. A cutlery basket hooks onto the side, as does a second basket that can be topped with a lid specifically designed for sharp knives. The cup holder clips don’t work as well as they should, but you have plenty of space to dry your cups on the rack itself—especially if you dry your cutting boards in the special cutting board attachment. The rack also comes with two drain board options—one meant to let water pool, and the other designed to tip any water into the sink—plus a microfiber cloth to set underneath.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the features, don’t be. The most stressful part of the rack is simply assembling it, which could take 10 minutes and a good look at some Ikea-style visual instructions, but once it’s assembled, everything is fairly straightforward. All of the extras are optional, including the top rack, but if your cabinets are high enough to accommodate a double-decker rack, then it's well worth the price. It’s sturdy, shiny, and uses space pretty efficiently—what could be so bad?
Williams Sonoma All-Purpose Pantry Towels
Where To Buy$19.95 Williams Sonoma Buy
Williams Sonoma All-Purpose Pantry TowelsBest Dish Towel
This classic towel from Williams Sonoma not only looks good in any kitchen (it comes in six colors), but it gets dishes dry without any fuss. Made from ribbon cotton terry, the towel is a pro at drying irregular objects like wine glasses and vases while still feeling soft to the touch.
Although the towel stays damp for longer than some thinner dish towels, it also retains more water than its competitors, which means it should be able to wipe water from plenty of dishes before you need to grab another towel.
Bonus: It’s also quite cheap.
Simplehuman 45L Rectangular Step Can
Simplehuman 45L Rectangular Step CanBest Trash Can
This trash can is a reliable winner in a bevy of "best of" lists, and it's not hard to see why. The 45L can is about as glamorous as waste receptacles can get. The gleaming, stainless steel unit (which also comes in black, white, bronze, or rose gold) has custom-fit liners that dispense from inside the can, a wide rim that both secures and obscures the bags, a lid with patented “shox” technology that facilitates a smooth, silent close, and a steel foot pedal supposedly designed to withstand 20 steps a day for 20 years. Clean, rectangular dimensions allow it to be tucked into corners or set along a wall, and while it’s still quite heavy, a handle in the back assists in lugging it around. It also has a Nano-Clear coat (frequently used on cars) that harnesses UV rays in order to repel fingerprints, inhibit germs and microbes, and eliminate odors. Granted, you’ll pay for all these features, but an impenetrable build and 10 year warranty ensure you won’t be coughing up cash for a new can for a while.
Glad ForceFlexPlus Advanced Protection Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags, 13 Gallon
Where To Buy$14.12 Amazon Buy
Glad ForceFlexPlus Advanced Protection Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags, 13 GallonBest Trash Bag
The Glad ForceFlex Plus Advanced Protection has all the features that make a great trash bag, including ease of use, durability, flexibility, and pure strength.
The trash bag has a noticeably more substantial feel than most other bags. The heavy-duty drawstrings close with ease and make taking out the trash a piece of cake. As an added bonus, the bag is scented with Febreze, which significantly reduces the smell of any trash placed inside.
The Glad ForeFlex is capable of containing even the heaviest loads without breaking. You shouldn't have to worry about a messy accident unless you're planning on filling it with near 40 lbs of garbage or a hefty pile of sharp objects.
With a flexible design, useful drawstrings, and a sturdy build, this trash bag is the best you'll find on the market.