What could possibly make a good old fashioned, all American grilled cheese sandwich better? The satisfaction of making a perfect, crispy-on-the-outside and gooey in the middle sandwich at home for yourself makes it taste all the better.
Of course, part of the innate beauty of a tasty grilled cheese sandwich is that you can basically pull off a simple version without any special tools or ingredients. But, if you want the truly yummy kind that you find at diner, using some kind of sandwich maker will really take it over the top! You want a machine that’s capable of replicating the industry style panini-press (or old fashioned flat-top), but there are so many out there it can be difficult to know where to brie-gin. Sorry… couldn’t resist.
We’ve made it even easier for you to enjoy all of your favorites at home, by putting together this guide to selecting the best sandwich maker. We have picked five of our favorite sandwich makers available right now, hoping to suit a variety of customers, budgets, and needs with our selection
Those who like to make a more informed decision - hey, a good sandwich is serious stuff! - should consult our handy dandy Buyer’s Guide, which breaks out the key features to think about before making your choice.
If you have a lingering culinary query you’d like to clear up before buying, consult the Frequently Asked Questions section at the end, where we’ve collated answers to those most common asks from other customers in search of sandwich success.
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OUR TOP PICK
At an affordable price and boasting three sets of detachable heating plates for the most versatile cooking experience a sandwich maker can offer, we recommend this 3-in-1 model from Yabano to any customer in a hurry to make up their minds. Because of the versatile selection of plates, this could easily be considered the best sandwich maker on the market today.
With one set for waffles, one set for sandwiches and even a meat grill to rival your George Foreman, there’s no limit to what you can make. Plus, each has space for two at a time of whatever you fancy - no need to keep the family waiting!
Taking just three minutes to reach temperatures nearing 400 degrees Fahrenheit, its 750 watt, dual heating tubes will be ready to cook up your food in no time; the indicator lights will let you know when it’s time, removing all of the guesswork.
The stainless steel casing is durable enough to withstand years of continuous use, and the lid locks into place with no trouble - press down as hard as you like with the ergonomic, heatproof handle, for the crispiest sandwich possible and no burns!
A non-stick coating on every single plate makes cleanup a breeze so you won’t waste hours of your time scrubbing burnt cheese. All of them are dishwasher safe for those extra stubborn stains.
- Three sets of dishwasher safe, detachable plates
- Indicator lights show when it is on and fully heated up
- Reaches its hottest temperatures quickly (three minutes)
- Heatproof handle and fully closing, locking lid
- Does not come with grease trap to use with grill plate
Thanks to its cafe style floating lid, this sandwich machine can make the type of sandwiches that would make Dagwood Bumstead proud! You can press sandwiches of any size with the Hamilton Beach Electric Grill, great for grilled cheese sandwiches, paninis, quesadillas and more - you could even lock the lid and warm up a personal pizza!
Not only will its cool 180-degree rotation design complete with shiny red, chrome or stainless steel finish look good in your kitchen, but it’ll make delicious food every time, too, with no need to flip - the top and bottom plates both get piping hot.
A built-in ready light turns green when you’re good to go, so there’s no chance of a sad and soggy sandwich here. For best results, manufacturers recommend you allow a six minute heat up for perfect griddle marks every time.
Easily fitting into your cupboard, cabinet or drawer or standing proudly on the counter, it’s small but mighty, with room to make two or three sandwiches at once on the non-stick surfaces, depending on the type of bread you choose, of course!
Having spent the last century producing products with the customer in mind, you can count on Hamilton Beach to make your life easier, and this grill is no exception, even at such a budget-friendly price point!
- Professional looking panini press at home
- Room for multiple sandwiches at once
- Floating top for varying thickness of bread
- Stands upright to save space in cabinet
- Super hot - keep away from kids!
Luring us in with its beautiful ultra nonstick copper surfaces, we think this sandwich maker from Gotham Steel is good enough to make a grilled cheese for Batman himself, and the thousands of five-star reviews agree!
Making four perfectly toasted sandwiches in less than five minutes from start to finish is a bold claim, but the reinforced ceramic and titanium grill toasts and seals with speed, even leaving a diagonal indentation for simple slicing when cooked.
Compact and portable, it's great for use in dorms and smaller kitchens, and thanks to the convenient indicator lights, there’ll be no more “is it ready yet?” as the grill lets you know when your sandwich is perfectly cooked!
A cool-touch handle allows for locking the grill to achieve maximum press and ensures thorough cooking, for a safe and burn-free operation, and it also makes the grill portable for cooking on the go!
Built to last for years, Gotham Steel back their grills with a one year limited warranty included as part of every purchase, so even if you aren’t completely satisfied, you can get a replacement or a refund with ease.
- Affordable AND high quality
- Suitable for dorm room use - small but mighty
- Promises four sandwiches in five minutes
- Wipe-clean non stick copper coating
- Smaller than other units on our list
With deluxe, non-stick, wipe-clean plates, you don’t need oil or butter for an indulgent sandwich any more thanks to Elite Cusine’s Maxi-Matic. Healthy eaters rejoice! It’s time to bring back the grilled cheese.
At only eight and a half inches wide, it might be on the small side, but don’t let that put you off. It still has room to make two sandwiches at once, where other grills twice its size can only make one!
Taking up barely any counter space and standing upright for storage, it’s great for travel, sending your kid off to college with, or keeping in the cupboard for whenever you fancy a tasty treat.
A locking latch and cool-touch carrying handle make achieving a firm press incredibly easy and pain-free, whilst the power indicator and green ready light lets you know that everything is completely cooked, with no need for guess work.
Complying with ETAL and FDA guidelines and featuring no BPA plastic, this machine is constructed from environmentally friendly materials that don’t harm the planet or your body, completely safe to use and with no guilt about the Earth!
- Dorm-friendly, space-saving design
- Non-stick deluxe heating plates for easy clean
- No oil or butter - stick to your healthy eating
- Compliant with ETL and FDA standards
- Plates cannot be removed for easy cleaning
Turn a lunchtime staple into something more special with this Sandwich Toaster from Proctor Silex, which not only toasts sandwiches beautifully but makes omelets, french toast and even desserts with no mess or fuss.
Purposely made to suit smaller spaces, its compact design takes up very little space in your cabinet and can be stored standing upright to leave even more room. Take it on the road in your RV or even camping, if you have an electricity hookup.
Put away your frying pan. Simply assemble the fillings of your choice, pop it in the grill, close the lid, and in a matter of minutes you’ll have a toasted sandwich with sealed edges, ready to eat and super easy to slice up if you’re sharing.
A simple yet attractive design means you’ll be happy leaving this out on the counter, and using the power on and preheat indicator lights, there’s no need to spend forever trying to achieve a crisp crust, as the grill tells you when it’s ready to go.
Cleanup is as simple as wiping with a damp cloth once cooled, as the nonstick plates help food just slide right off, and you won’t risk ruining your perfect sandwich by having to pry it out of the grill, either!
- Inexpensive but of good quality
- On the smaller side, but still produces two sandwiches
- Easily stored or taken on the road
- Suitable for making omelettes, french toast and desserts
- Not as big as some of the other machines in its price range
Best Sandwich Maker Buying Guide
No, you can’t just pick the one that looks coolest - the art of grilled cheese (or any toasted sandwich, for that matter) requires much more care and attention than that!
Consider each of the following features equally:
If you’re feeding a big family - or just particularly hungry - you’re going to want to get a larger machine with room to make multiple sandwiches at once. You can find a best sandwich maker having space for two, even three at a time.
However, unless you want to keep it permanently plugged in on your counter, and let’s face it, that just makes your access to delicious grilled cheeses that bit easier, you’ll want to make sure it can fit in your cupboard neatly.
It’s possible to get single sandwich makers though, if you don’t mind making them one after the other or plan to eat tasty toasties by yourself, which can be tucked away in a drawer or on top of another appliance.
Depending on your preference, it’s possible to get a sandwich maker with indents for individual portions, helping to shape it into those tasty triangles we know and love, or a flat press that’s more freestyle.
When you’re in the mood for artisan sandwiches made from fancier breads like ciabatta, sourdough or baguette, a flat grill is going to be your best bet, as they aren’t segmented out and will grill them up much more easily.
If simple sandwiches are more your thing, a classic machine with those tell-tale indents will serve you just fine, though you’ll have to stick to classic sliced bread unless you want an undercooked or burnt sandwich.
Of course, the most important factor of any good sandwich making machine is that it is constructed from a high-quality material that also happens to be good at conducting heat, for the most efficient and tasty results.
You’ll find the casing of most machines are either made from heat-resistant plastic or metal, with the grills or plates themselves composed of cast iron or Teflon. Both are renowned for their non-stick cooking abilities.
A ceramic coating is always a good addition, too, as this significantly reduces the chance your sandwich is going to stick to the machine and ruin your day, as well as making cleanup easier, as we explain below.
Any machine worth of the title best sandwich maker must be easy to clean! If you like an especially cheesy sandwich, and who could blame you, there’s bound to be some runoff, and you want cleanup to be as easy as wiping with a damp cloth, which is the case with most devices that you’ll find.
You’ll notice that most, if not all, the sandwich makers being manufactured today have been equipped with a non-stick ceramic coating, which prevents any sandwich disasters as well as making cleaning even easier, with most ingredients sliding off.
Of course, you’re going to want to avoid using anything sharp and metal to remove your food once cooked, as this could potentially damage said coating and lead to subpar sandwiches, which of course nobody wants.
Sandwich makers featuring a locking system that allows you to hold the lid in place once firmly pressed down not only make the cooking process easier and hands-free, but produce crispier, crunchier sandwiches overall.
Removable plates can be particularly useful as they are usually dishwasher safe. This means even the messiest fillings can be conquered easily, but this also means you might be able to cook even more creatively.
A light on the exterior or lid of the machine to indicate when it has preheated adequately or when your sandwich is finished cooking is also a handy bonus, as you don’t have to disturb the cooking process for an inspection.
Some machines, like the 3-in-1 from Yanobo that we’ve chosen, offer a variety of different plates suitable for whipping up waffles, meat, even eggs on your sandwich maker, widening your kitchen repertoire considerably.
Whilst it’s a simple addition, the inclusion of an inbuilt handle makes it much less likely you’re going to sustain burnt fingertips in your mission to create a taste sensation, as well as providing an area to exert pressure on when flattening down.
Best Sandwich Maker: Features Checklist
- easy to clean
- removable, dishwasher-safe plates
- exterior that remains cool to the touch
- capacity for multiple sandwiches
- compact size for easy storage
- locking system to hold lid open and flat when desired
- exterior lights to indicate unit is fully preheated
- exterior light to indicate cooking complete
Frequently Asked Questions
What else can you make in a sandwich maker?
The triangular shaped grill plates of a sandwich maker are not only good for making a quintessential grilled cheese (amongst other classics) but can be used to prepare a variety of different snacks, you might be surprised to learn.
Just about anything you’d put in a toaster or your best toaster oven, like a pizza pocket, waffle or anything like that, can be cooked or warmed thoroughly in your sandwich maker, though you might want to keep an eye on anything with especially saucy fillings.
You could use the grill as a hotplate, frying up eggs, hash browns, bacon or other breakfast-style foods, though obviously instead of closing the lid you’d be leaving it open to prevent burning, and you might need some kind of grease trap.
If you’re a fan of apple turnovers or other fancy pastries, warming them up doesn’t have to be a soggy mess in the microwave or involve preheating the whole oven - just use your sandwich maker for a crisp exterior and toasty warm filling.
You could even make French toast, donuts, pancakes… anything that requires a batter can be prepared using this versatile little machine, though of course each individual device will create different results.
If you’re planning on getting experimental with your recipes, make sure you definitely opt for a machine that comes through on its non-stick promise, or you’ll end up wasting the time you saved cleaning up the mess you inevitably make!
Is cooking with a sandwich maker a healthy choice?
Producing a simultaneously delicious and nutritious meal that’s as crispy as it is healthy is more than possible with a sandwich maker, which requires little to no oil especially in the presence of a non-stick coating.
When you’re preparing, say, a grilled cheese in the pan or skillet, you might need to use a lot of butter in order to achieve the especially crispy crust that we all know and love, but that isn’t the case with the machines we’ve listed above.
Of course, while it still entirely depends on what it is you’re actually cooking with it, as a preparation method, it’s a simple way to get an indulgent-feeling snack or meal without having to use lots of oil or butter to crisp up if you don’t want to.