Top 10 Pointless Single-Purpose Appliances That Are Cluttering Your Kitchen

Top 10 Pointless Single-Purpose Appliances That Are Cluttering Your Kitchen

From hot dog cookers to doughnut makers, we’re easily talked into buying kitchen appliances that perform just one task, or grabbing a novelty gadget for someone else as a gift. Chances are they’ll be wasting space in cupboards before the month is out. Here are 10 of the worst offenders, and what you should be using instead.

Picture from OKOKChina

I was inspired to post on this topic by this weekend’s ALDI special offers, which include several examples of pointless kitchen clutter. Wasted space is the most obvious reason for not buying appliances you don’t need, but there’s also an environmental element: why buy something to perform a task you can already do with your existing kitchen equipment? Note: the word ‘maker’ is often a dead giveaway that the product isn’t actually needed, as is anything for a specialised food item you won’t eat every day.



Clutter: Pizza Maker

Better: Oven. (If you want a crisper crust, get a pizza stone.)

Clutter: Hot Dog Maker

Better: Saucepan/Kettle


Clutter: Baby Food Maker


Better: Food Processor/Saucepan


Clutter: Popcorn Maker


Better: Saucepan/Microwave


Clutter: Potato Masher


Better: Fork


Clutter: Egg Cooker


Better: Saucepan/Microwave


Clutter: Crepe Maker


Better: Frypan


Clutter: Burger Cooker


Better: Oven/Grill


Clutter: Cupcake Maker


Better: Oven (plus cupcake moulds)


Clutter: Fairy Floss Maker


Better: Just don’t eat pure sugar. Your teeth will thank you.

Got a single-use appliance you can’t live without and want to defend? Know other examples we’ve missed? Tell us in the comments.

Pictures: Michele M F, George Nemeth, Ross Catrow, Flying Puffin, Veggiefrog, Grannies Kitchen, DVS, Selena NBH, Robert Couse-Baker, Dan Zen, kennymfk, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Joy, eperales, manufacturer PR shots


  • Apart from the potato masher who has any of those things. The only appliance you need is a good quality hooded gas BBQ you can do anything from biscuits to pasta to roast and Steaks!!

  • A fork?!?
    you can go get forked. I’ll keep my masher thank you.

    oh and, There is such a thing as a “purpose built burger cooker???”

  • No way I’m using a fork over a masher. I wouldn’t say a masher clutters up the kitchen either for that matter.

    My popcorn maker is also quicker and cleaner than having to use a pan and oil. Cost under $10 and is small enough to stash away in the cupboard.

    Everything else on the list, sure..

  • I will defend the popcorn maker.

    My wife and I use ours at least once a fortnight. Just get a good recipe for caramel popcorn and you’ll find yourself making it for every movie you watch.

    And it is a lot easier to use than saucepan method.

    • You sir are a bad influence. 10 seconds on Google and I now have this weekend’s indulgence planned. Now, can you recommend a good movie? 🙂

    • secondoned! No burnt popcorn, it’s healthier as it’s air popped, not oil popped – best 20 bucks I ever spent. Though I don’t add caramel to mine, which may offset the health benifits.

      • Thirded. Except I don’t currently have an air popper and have been oil popping in the interim. I fear I am beginning to enjoy the oil flavour too much.

    • Gave popcorn maker to 4 yo old daughter, best present ever. Kids can pop own corn, healthy snack (until they were corrupted by outside influences and learn about butter).

    • +1 on the popcorn maker. Let me explain for those lifehacker eds who are not overly concerned with kilojoules and those sorts of things. An air-popped popcorn maker makes popcorn WITHOUT BUTTER and WITHOUT FAKE BUTTER SEASONING. It tastes like… corn! Go figure that! Neither a saucepan nor a microwave (at least not with prepackaged microwave corn kernels) will do that. I’ve had a popcorn maker since the late 1980’s and swear by it for a quick, relatively cheap, treat.

      • I must admit that I like to use a handful of popcorn and the brown paper bag from my bottle of Scotch to cook popcorn in the microwave. That way you get to have your drunkie snacks while recycling.

  • My oven at home is rubbish, the cupcake maker we have makes them perfect in 10 minutes – good for making tons quickly to take to people’s houses.

  • Yeah I also call bullshit on the Fork instead of Potato Masher

    I’m not sure how a Saucepan/Kettle can toast the inside of a hotdog roll either

    and cupcake moulds could be counted as a single use appliance that clutters your kitchen

  • Saying a fork replaces a potato masher is provocatively stupid.

    I’d also argue that the baby food maker could be useful if you were concerned about sterilising the food, and/or you didn’t have a stove.

  • I have a family member that gives all this pointless crap for birthdays and christmas every year. I have it hidden up a top shelf in a spare bedroom. But whenever they visit I have to get the (now 15) devices they’ve gifted out and place around kitchen.

  • +1 to Potato and Popcorn fans!

    Potato Masher: so much easier, quicker and more consistent than using a fork, plus it doesn’t use much space at all.

    Popcorn maker: makes popcorn faster, cleaner and is lot better for you than the oil-soaked results of a pan; or butter+salt drenched results of microwave popcorn. And it’s more efficient: almost every single kernel is edible (even if not popped fully). Less than one inedible kernel per batch in my experience.

    • I’ved wondered about popcorn machines before. How does the popcorn maker work differently than putting kernels in a container in the microwave? There’s no mess or butter/salt.

      • I found it was too easy to get burnt popcorn in the microwave (even slightly, and the whole batch tasted bad) The popcorn maker throws them out into a bowl as soon as they’re popped so no chance of burning..

      • Its pretty much a hairdryer with a spin cycle. Theres basically just an aluminium cup inside, with little vents that blow in hot air. The kernals are constantly in motion so they never settle on the edges and burn. The real beauty of the design is that once one pops, it gets bumped up into the chute above and is thus immediately removed from the process but still kept warm from the dispersed, escaping heat. If you overfill it, just stick a bowl under the chute and it’ll fill itself up. Some models have a little plastic tray on top large enough to fit in a small smidge of butter or margarine which will take just about as long to melt as a full batch of popcorn will to cook. Once you stop hearing the clicking sound of kernals bouncing off the raised sides of the vents, then you know the batch is 100% complete.

  • Besides the potato masher (pretty standard item in kitchens) i have none of those items

    because i don’t live in the 90’s and am not an infomercial hungry housewife.

  • youll never take my hotdog maker! seriously cooking the dogs in a saucepan of water doesnt compare to steam cooking and no saucepan can put a whole through my bun and toast sed hole

      • I’ll agree with that. They’re also multipurpose in that its possible to bake a cake in one.

        In much the same way, cheap kettles are superior to kettles (you can hard boil an egg in it) and those Asian toaster-ovens are far superior to a plain old toaster (I’ve managed to bake all manner of Italian goodies in one, from medium sized pizzas to lasagna, cannelloni and pasta bake; trick is finding the perfect baking tin).

    • I’ll play devil’s advocate here. 2:3 rice to water ratio. Rice in pot with small splash of oil, heat. Add boiled water. Lid on, lowest heat. 12 mins. Perfect rice every time.

  • Cupcake makers cook cupcake mix in perfect shapes in like 2 minutes, no word of a lie! I’ve used mine thousands of times, especially if you’re in a hurry!

  • I have a donut maker. Some gift from a million years ago. I’ve used it once and carted it around whenever I moved house. So useless. (It looks a lot like the muffin maker up there)

  • Espresso machine – 1 use, but one awesome use. You shall not take this from me.
    Toaster – 1 use, but use it at least once a week. But I could use a grill! won’t someone think of the clutter!
    Kettle – microwave is better. But my family kept asking where the kettle was when they visit, and then my mum bought me one. *sigh*
    Crepe maker – This I have, and don’t prefer a frypan. the crepe maker has the bevelled edge at just the right height to spin the crepe leveller around on for perfect thin crepes.
    Waffle maker – ok, I shouldn’t have bought this. only used it a few times. but nothing else can make deep-holed belgian style waffles. and sometimes I get a craving.
    Mini-donut maker. bought from one of those super cheap online stores. didn’t even work properly (not hot enough), got a refund and threw it out.
    Rice cooker – set and forget, and keeps warm. much better than microwave or stove.
    Electric teriyaki grill – this was also a mistake. Damn you, Aldi.

        • I think the risk of superheating water tends to be overexaggerated. As long as you don’t go nuts with the microwaving time there’s little risk of superheating.
          I would also agree that for single cups, boiling water in the microwave is more efficient and faster. Granted, for larger amounts a kettle is better.
          Personally I use a Kambrook One Cup

        • Microwave heats only as much water as you need, using heaps less energy for the same amount of water, and warms your cup while you’re at it. The superheating thing is not a real issue. it’s very hard to achieve.

          I did manage it once, when reheating some coffee many years back (before I knew what good coffee was). I kept trying to reheat it to a boil, it kept refusing to boil even after about 5-8 minutes on high. I eventually took it out of the microwave, it was plenty hot. I dropped a teaspoon of sugar into it and….sploosh. it just instantly bubbled up all over the bench. no explosion or anything. superheating is superstition.

    • I have a utensil jar where all things utensilly and oddly shaped live. Doesn’t bother me, but endears me when I mash potatoes, whisk an egg or anything else like that.

  • soda stream could be classed as pointless although i do love mine (though havent used it for 12 months due to not buying a replacement co2 tank) and also what about the ice maker (father had one for a while but continuously broke down) and also the slushee maker surely they can be classed as useless

    • The slushee makers are not useless! My mates & I went and and bought one of the Sunbeam ones for a friend for Christmas last year and she loves it, used it all throughout summer and it’s used heavily at every barbecue we have at hers!

  • My parents had an egg cooker that turned out perfect poached eggs every time. It was bought in the 80’s, and I have not been able to find another one like it. I would trade all of my kitchen appliances (including the toaster and kettle) to have one of these. Moral of the story? If it really, really, REALLY works – it’s not clutter.

  • Popcorn popper is also great for roasting coffee. I roast regularly so I don’t have to endure crap beans that have been sitting on the shelf months at the stupid market.

    • Not a chance. I use my espresso machine at least once a day. I reckon that even if something has only the one use, if you use it often enough, it’s worth having.

      • I have a coffee machine that is about thwe size of a fridge and is plumbed into the water pipe and turned on every day so that I can have decent coffee whenever I like with little effort. It actually takes less time to make a coffee than a kettle does.

  • for decent crepes, you need a proper crepe pan although you might get away with a good non stick fry pan. if doing crepes for lots of people, use several crepe pans at once so that you can get the cooking over with and enjoy the socialising.

  • Just bought a Sodastream three months ago, after sitting in the closet for a month I finally started using it and have now converted 80% of carbonated beverage consumption to sodastream (still go in for deep dsicounts on Coke and Pepsi

  • I live my George Foreman grill.Perfect for burgers, chicken breast and sausages. I use it a few times a week, every week. It makes less mess than a pan or using the oven. If you put your food in an envelope of baking paper then the grill wont even need cleaning.

  • I use a flat sandwich press to cook sausages. First time I tried it I was drunk and lazy, had some snags in the fridge, it was cold out so I didnt want to barbecue and I didn’t want to have to clean up the frying pan. The sandwich press was already out so I used that. Worked out surprisingly well.

  • If you’re wanting to get rid of something as small as a potato masher, and replace it with a fork, I would defs get rid of the whisk before the potato masher.

  • With many of these devices, it depends how often you use them. If you have pizza every week, a pizza maker might be a good investment: much faster than pizza in the oven, and a decidedly better result (even using a pizza stone in the oven). I rarely eat pizza, so it isn’t worth the clutter.

    If you eat mash with most meals, a masher is definitely worthwhile and doesn’t take up much space: it is faster than a fork and easier to use if your potatoes aren’t cooked to mush. I rarely eat mashed potato, so our masher is an extra bit of clutter.

    If instead you eat rice most days, a rice-cooker can be worthwhile (though I find the results just as good using the absorption method in the microwave).

    If toast, rather than rice or potato is your main starch, a toaster is worthwhile: more energy efficient and quicker than the grill in your oven.

    If you eat popcorn often, an air popper gives a healthy and better result than a saucepan or microwave popcorn.

    It all depends on how often you are going to use these things and how much space you have for them.

  • +1 me for the masher over fork as well. Seriously … who the f*ck mashes potatoes with a fork ? It’s not like a masher is an ‘appliance’ anyway, it’s a UTENSIL.

    Useless appliances on the other hand … we have a milkshake maker, an ice-cream maker, and a pie-maker. All of which got some good use when we first bought ’em, but now sit gathering dust.

  • Funnily enough someone bought me a pizza stone from Aldi. First time we used it the damn thing exploded in the oven. No idea if we did anything wrong because it didn’t come with instructions, but I would of thought it should be a pretty simple process.

    No way I would ever trade my masher for a fork, you would have to totally overcook the potato to make that workable, and end up with gross overcooked mash like you were cooking for fussy children.

    A good sized four sandwich press with drip tray will replace a fair chunk of the single use items on this list.

  • I have an egg cooker. I bought it for less than $20 when I was living on campus. I have food allergies and the supplied food made me sick… ALOT! I didn’t have access to a stove and I didn’t want to do hardboiled eggs in the microwave. I didn’t have access to a kettle either (we had a zip tap cos people kept stealing kettles). Yeah, I don’t use the egg cooker now, but I used it almost everyday for a year. And it should be considered that I haven’t made hardboiled eggs since moving out as I have more options.

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