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Our Top Choice...
There’s so much to love about our pick for the best Panini press. The Cuisinart GR-4N Griddler, is a really great pick, and does so much more than make sandwiches. It is also exceptionally affordable, considering how much this Panini press can do.
Who doesn’t love a hot, fresh, toasted sandwich? Honestly, what isn’t there to love about toasted bread, warm meat, and melty cheese on your sandwich? Getting a great toasted sandwich used to mean breaking out a pan or your griddle and spending a good amount of time, slaving over the stove to get that crispy bread and melty cheese. Today, making a warm, toasty sandwich no longer means that you have to slave over a hot stove.
Today, a toast, melty, hot sandwich is easy, thanks to the Panini press. These handy tools are as much an indoor grill as they are a waffle iron. These handy appliances allow you to make hot sandwiches, but can also grill meats, and roast veggies without turning on your grill or your oven. Today’s Panini presses are truly a multipurpose appliance.
As a kitchen appliance, the Panini press is one of those appliances that you don’t think you need, until you see one in action. The level of versatility that these appliances provide for your kitchen, really makes them handy to have. But how do you know which one is right for your kitchen? Honestly, there are a ton of choices out there, and they all are a little different, so picking one can be a challenge.
We took on that challenge for you, and ate a lot of sandwiches, and grilled a lot of foods, so that we could tell you which Panini presses are best, and which ones you should consider for your kitchen. After all of this work, we decided that the Cuisinart GR-4N Griddler, Panini press is by far the best for your kitchen. It is easy to use, easy to clean, heats evenly and really does a nice job of making more than just sandwiches.
If our picks don’t fit your needs, we’ve also put together a buying guide with the features that we used to make our decisions about the 9 best Panini presses. This guide will help you make the right pick for your kitchen and cooking needs.
Here are the best panini press you can buy:
- Best Overall - Cuisinart GR-4N Griddler
- Runner up - IMUSA Panini Press
- Best Bundle - Breville Smart Grill Panini Press Bundle
- Best Multi-Purpose - George Foreman Multi-Plate Evolve Grill System
- Best High-End - Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe Non Stick Electric Grill and Panini Press
- Best for Beginners - Hamilton Beach Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker
- Best Small - Courant 2-Serving Panini Press and Sandwich Griddler
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
9 Best Panini Press (2020 Reviews)
1. Best Overall - Cuisinart GR-4N Griddler
It’s hard to go wrong with a Cuisinart. Known for making high quality kitchen appliances, this Panini press is no exception. Constructed with an attractive stainless steel body, and non-stick plates, this press is as sturdy and attractive as it is functional. It features an easy to grip handle that stays cool, even when the press is hot. The floating hinge is a great feature that allows you to cook thick sandwiches or burgers.
This Panini press features removable plates that allow you to grill or griddle using the same machine. Want a toasty sandwich with those fancy grill lines? Use the grill side of the plates. If you want to make a tasty breakfast, open the press all the way, use the griddle plates, and cook eggs on one half and bacon on the other. This is really a great option, especially if you want an appliance that does more than just one task.
The three control knobs allow you to set the press to the perfect setting for each set of plates. We like this versatility and the ability to have more control than with other Panini presses. When you’re done cooking, the plates are removable to make clean-up easy.
If you’re looking for a Panini press that makes great sandwiches and so much more, and is also affordably priced, our pick for the best Panini press, the Cuisinart GR-4N Griddler is a great option for any kitchen.
Does it all
Complete temperature control
Easy to change out plates
Removable and reversible nonstick cooking plates
No commercial warranty
Short electrical cord
2. Best Versatile - IMUSA Panini Press
Our runner up Panini press is the IMUSA Panini press. This press is a bit more simple than our top pick, but it is simple to use, and is a more compact option.
The IMUSA Panini press is a great basic option, but also one that allows you to cook more than just sandwiches. The griddle style plates are perfect for cooking toasted sandwiches like grilled cheese or hot subs. The floating hinge makes it easy to grill even the biggest of sandwiches, so you don’t have to skimp on the fillings. The griddle style plates also make a great surface for cooking burgers, steaks or other cuts of meat.
We like the stay cool handle that sits well above the top of the press. The lid also comes with a locking feature that allows you to store it upright, without the lid coming open. The IMUSA only has one heat setting, so there’s no guessing when it comes to the right temperature. But there’s only one temperature, so you’ll need to keep an eye on your food, so it doesn’t burn. Our only complaint about this Panini press is that the plates are not removable, so clean-up is a little tedious.
Power and heat indicator lights
Versatile adjustable cooking heights
Easy to wipe down
Simple, easy to use
No timer or Auto shutoff
No dishwasher safe parts
3. Best Bundle - Breville Smart Grill Panini Press Bundle
Breville is another well-known brand for kitchen appliances. They are often more expensive than other brands, but they are exceptionally well made, and perform reliably.
Our favorite Panini press bundle is the Breville Smart Grill Panini Press Bundle. This bundle features a multi-function press, plus a really handy recipe book that will help you get the most from your press.
The Breville features a multi-position lid that allows you to press a variety of foods with a variety of thicknesses. This grill can also be opened up flat, and used like a flat-top griddle. The digital display and simple to use control knobs, allow you to set the press to the perfect temperature, whether you’re toasting a bread or sandwich or making pancakes. The plates also feature Breville’s Smart Element IQ™ that provides even heating across the grill surfaces, for perfectly cooked foods.
Finally, cleaning-up with this press is a breeze. The removable plates are dishwasher safe and the stainless steel body wipes down easily with a damp washcloth.
The Smart Element IQ™ automatically reacts
Heats quickly and evenly, and sustains high temperatures
Easy to read digital control panel
6 adjustable height settings
Oil drain is a bit small
4. Best Multi-Purpose - George Foreman Multi-Plate Evolve Grill System
No, this isn’t a joke. We really do like the George Forman products, and the Evolve Grill system is a really great kitchen appliance. The Evolve Grill System is a long way from the original George Forman Grill. This handy sandwich press, grill and waffle iron is easily our pick for the best multi-purpose Panini press.
The Evolve grill is plenty big for feeding a family. It boasts enough cooking space for 6 servings of your favorite foods. Use this grill to make sandwiches, grill meats and even sauté veggies. The sear setting on this grill heats up the plates to a whopping 500 degrees F, allowing you to perfectly sear steaks or fish, locking in the juices, and then the grill automatically returns the temperature to your designated cooking temperature.
This isn’t just an appliance for lunch or dinner. The Evolve also comes with a set of waffle iron plates, so you can start your weekend mornings out right, with delicious and crispy waffles.
This super easy to use Panini press features a digital display and simple to use control knobs. The interchangeable plates are all non-stick and dishwasher safe, to make your life even easier.
The high-heat searing option
Easy to read digital control panel
Plates become non-stick quickly
5. Best High-End - Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe Non Stick Electric Grill and Panini Press
If you like the features of our top pick, but want something a bit more, then you’ll like our pick for the best high-end Panini press. The Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe, is a great option if you want a press that does a variety of cooking tasks, looks great, and is big enough to feed your family.
The Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe is a big machine that does a lot. The multi-position hinges allow you to toast sandwiches, press Paninis, grill meats, sauté veggies and even cook breakfast favorites like eggs, bacon and pancakes.
The controls for this press are a bit simpler than the lower end version, but they still provide you plenty of versatility. We do like that you can set each plate to a separate temperature, allowing for more controlled cooking of your favorite foods, especially when the press is opened up flat and used as a grill or griddle.
The non-stick plates are removable, and dishwasher safe, so you don’t have to work extra hard to clean-up when you’re done cooking.
Dishwasher safe plates
Removable, reversible plates
Great temperature control
Six cooking options in one
Bulky to store
6. Best for Beginners - Hamilton Beach Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker
If you are just looking for something simple, or if you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a sandwich maker, then our pick for the best beginner Panini press is the one for you.
Hamilton Beach is another well-known name in the kitchen. They’ve made quality and affordable kitchen appliances for many years. Their Panini press is made with the same attention to quality, and is reasonably price.
This is a very basic and compact sandwich press. It has a single temperature setting and one set of plates, so you don’t have to figure out how to set the right temperature or change the plates. Turn on the press, let it heat up, and you’re ready to cook.
The grill style plates allow you to cook two Panini sized sandwiches or six quarter pound burgers. The grill plates divert grease to the edge of the plates, keeping your food out of unwanted grease, and lower in fat.
While this is a simple and easy to use Panini press, and we do like the simplicity, we don’t like that the plates are not removable. With griddle plates it’s easy to wipe down after cooking, but the grill style plates of this Panini press are harder to clean after use.
Large grilling surface
Evenly cooks sandwiches of various sizes
Power and ready lights
Upright storage makes it easy store
No drip tray
No on-off button
7. Best Small - Courant 2-Serving Panini Press and Sandwich Griddler
If you only have to cook for yourself, but you still want to have a sandwich press, without adding a giant appliance to your kitchen, then consider our pick for the best small Panini press.
The Courant, 2-serving Panini press is the perfect size for one or two people. It features non-stick grill style plates, in a compact and attractive stainless steel housing. The adjustable hinges allow you to fit even the thickest of sandwiches. Despite its tiny size, you don’t have to skip on the sandwich fillings.
This is a simple to use press, with just a single temperature setting. Plug it in, turn it on and wait for the green light, to tell you it’s time to grill. You can also cook meat and grill veggies in the press. The removable grease tray is easy to take out and clean, and keeps extra fats away from your foods.
The plates for this press are not removable, but since it’s so tiny, it’s not too hard to wipe down after using.
Perfect for single sandwiches
Non-stick coated plates
Can open into a griddle
Small and compact, easy to store
Not dishwasher safe
If you want a press that will allow you to feed a crowd, then you’ll want the Oster Extra-Large Panini maker and indoor grill. With enough grilling space for three large sandwiches and 6 to 8 quarter pound burgers, this Panini press gives you more than enough room for feeding your family and friends.
This press features simple to use control knobs and a green light system that tells you when the grill is hot. The grill plates are coated with DuraCeramic coating, which makes them non-stick and also scratch and chip resistant. Since the plates of this press are not removable, we do like how easy the DuraCeramic material is when it comes to cleaning up after cooking.
We have two complaints about this Panini press, though neither is a deal breaker, especially for the price of this Panini press. First, this press does not allow you to open it up flat. You can open the lid enough to use the press as a grill, but you only get one surface. Second, the hinges for the lid aren’t floating, so it’s kind of a challenge to press thicker sandwiches and other foods.
An easy to read indicator light
Healthy PTFE & PFOA free ceramic coating
Extra-large cooking area
Nonstick coating easily wipes clean
No “OFF” switch
Plates are non-removable
9. Best Digital - Kalorik Pro Digital 6-in-1 Contact Grill
Our final Panini press is our pick for the best digital press. The Kalorik, 6-in-1 digital sandwich press and indoor grill has one of the best digital displays we saw during our research.
The two control knobs allow you to set different temperatures for both the top and bottom plates. The digital display shows you exactly the temperature you’ve set, and it is clear and easy to read.
This Panini press gives you the flexibility of floating hinges that also open flat, so you can not only use this press for making sandwiches, but it is a great option for grilling indoors as well. The removable, dual sided plates allow you to switch between grill and griddle. And when you’re done cooking, the plates are dishwasher safe for easy clean up.
It offers 6 cooking modes
Independent temperature control range
Easy-to-use digital interface
Removable dishwasher-safe cooking plates and drip tray
Drip tray is not great
When it comes to Panini presses, we really love the Cuisinart GR-4N Griddler. It is our pick for the best press on the market, today. It’s easy to use, cooks well, and makes perfectly toasted sandwiches.
If you are ready to add a Panini press to your kitchen, our list of products and handy buying guide will hopefully lead you to the perfect Panini press for your kitchen.
How to Choose the Best Panini Press
You’ve got two options when it comes to temperature control with Panini presses, a single set temperature, or the option to adjust. Both have their pros and cons, you should consider how you’ll be using your press to make the best decision. If you are going to use the press for making sandwiches, and that’s it, you can probably go with the set temperature option.
However, if you’re going to use your Panini press for more than just sandwiches, a variety of temperatures might be handy. For instance, if you’re going to roast vegetables, a lower temperature will keep them from burning or getting too soggy. If you are going to use the press for grilling meats, a higher temperature will quickly sear in moisture, and allow for your meat to maintain more moisture and be more flavorful.
Again, consider what you want to cook in your Panini press, and how many people you need to feed. Larger presses can easily handle a couple of sandwiches, two to four steaks or plenty of veggies for your family. This might be too much for some people, so smaller presses that can handle a single sandwich, or just a couple of chicken breasts might be a better option, for others.
Grill VS. Griddle Plates
Grill plates versus griddle plates won’t make much of a difference, in the long run, but they do have some distinct differences. First, griddle plates seem to distribute heat quite evenly over your foods. Your sandwiches will end up with an even, toasty crust. In general, this even heating also means that your foods will cook quicker, which is great if you are using your Panini press for an indoor grill.
Now, if you want your foods to have those cool looking grill lines, then you’ll probably prefer a Panini press with grill plates. These plates have raised ridges that give your foods those distinctive stripes. These raised areas have more direct contact with your foods, so obviously they cook faster and result in that “grilled” look. The downside of grill plates is that they tend to cook a little slower, so they might not be a great option if you want a Panini press for speed.
A floating hinge is actually one of those features that we think is essential to a good Panini press. The floating hinge allows you to cook thick foods, like stuffed sandwiches and thick steaks. We noticed that presses without floating hinges tended to overcook food toward the back of the press. They also caused the fillings of big sandwiches to squish out onto the plates. If you can, we would recommend investing in a press with a floating hinge.
There are a couple of reasons to consider removable plates on your Panini press. First, it’s a lot easier to clean up after grilling a steak or toasting your favorite, cheesy sandwich, if you can pop the plates out and wash them in the sink or in the dishwasher. If the plates on your Panini press are not removable, frankly, they’re just a pain to clean.
Second, removable plates can give you more flexibility. Some presses come with interchangeable plates that allow you to switch between grill and griddle plates. Some even come with waffle iron plates, so you end up with three appliances in one!