The 10 Best Panini Presses

Updated June 07, 2018 by Gabrielle Taylor

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We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. The only thing preventing a cold and unappetizing sandwich from becoming a toasty delicacy with melted cheese is a panini press. This simple device can skyrocket the deliciousness of your food with little effort. It is our firm belief that every household needs at least one of these, so we've put together a selection that will surely satisfy your hunger in no time. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best panini press on Amazon.

10. Oster Extra Large

Serve up sandwiches for a crowd with the Oster Extra Large. Its DuraCeramic coating lasts up to 8 times as long as other nonstick materials, and makes this model immune to the flaking, scratching and peeling that other surfaces suffer from.
  • ptfe- and pfoa-free
  • adjustable feet for stability
  • difficult to clean
Brand Oster
Model CKSTPM6001-ECO
Weight 9.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Hamilton Beach Gourmet

The Hamilton Beach Gourmet boasts a stylish and colorful exterior with an affordable price tag. It only weighs five pounds and folds up compactly, so you can easily take it to potlucks to grill up sandwiches for your friends.
  • simple to use design
  • readiness indicator light
  • grill plates are not removable
Brand Hamilton Beach
Model 25462z
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Lodge Square

For the low-tech enthusiast, the cast-iron Lodge Square is sure to last for decades if properly taken care of. Take it along with you on a camping trip and use it with a skillet to whip up some tasty treats for family and friends.
  • nonstick surface improves with use
  • seasoned with oil for natural finish
  • requires another pan
Brand Lodge
Model LPP3
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. De'Longhi Contact

The De'Longhi Contact stands at a slightly slanted angle, which helps grease and oil to drain away from your food, making for a healthier meal. Additionally, a simple retro style temperature range window allows for precise grilling and toasting.
  • cool-touch handle never gets hot
  • built-in safety lock system
  • adjustable thermostat
Brand DeLonghi
Model CGH800
Weight 11 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Aicok Grill

The exceptionally versatile Aicok Grill is designed to accommodate everything from single-slice BLTs to piled-high grinders. Its large plates can handle a lot of food at once, so it's great for multi-children households or cooking for guests.
  • cafe-style floating lid
  • upright or horizontal storage
  • backed by a two-year warranty
Brand Aicok
Model GT
Weight 7.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Calphalon Contemporary

Made for stovetop use, the Calphalon Contemporary takes up less space than electric models, making it perfect for those with small kitchens. Its hard-anodized aluminum construction is durable and heats up evenly, and also makes it dishwasher-safe for effortless cleanup.
  • three layers of nonstick coating
  • brushed steel handle stays cool
  • oven-safe up to 450 degrees f
Brand Calphalon
Model 1877038
Weight 6.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. George Foreman Evolve

The futuristic George Foreman Evolve sports a durable ceramic coating and a digital control panel that shows the cooking time and grill temperature. Plus, it even includes a set of waffle plates in addition to the traditional ridged ones.
  • adjustable angle
  • high-heat searing option
  • plates are dishwasher-safe
Brand George Foreman
Model GRP4842P
Weight 17 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Imusa Electric

While most models have ridges for those distinctive grill marks, the Imusa Electric features flat cooking plates. That means that while this unit can easily toast sandwiches, it can also be used like a griddle for bacon and eggs.
  • reliable even with heavy use
  • large cooking surface
  • heats up in less than four minutes
Brand Imusa
Model GAU-80102
Weight 9.4 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Breville Duo

The 1500-watt heating element of the Breville Duo means that it heats up in no time. Its ridged top plate creates the grill marks, while the griddle-style flat bottom makes sure that food is thoroughly and evenly seared for an impeccable meal.
  • stainless steel construction
  • cooking surfaces made of quantanium
  • nonstick and scratch-proof
Brand Breville
Model BSG520XL
Weight 9.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Cuisinart Gourmet 5-in-1

The Cuisinart Gourmet 5-in-1 is the Swiss Army knife of kitchen appliances. Other than toasting your bread to perfection, it also functions as a grill and griddle with removable and reversible plates. The only problem will be finding someone to clean up all the dishes.
  • gourmet recipes included
  • comes with a scraping tool
  • convenient plate release buttons
Brand Cuisinart
Model GR-4N
Weight 8.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

What Should I Look For In A Panini Press?

Unless you want to stand over your sandwich in a pan pressing it to death or rest a nasty brick on top, you will want a panini press.

Seriously, that's how it was done without one, and who has bricks just laying around? Well, Martha Stewart does.

You will have to choose between grill ridges or flat. Both have their pros and cons, but many people want to see grill marks on their panini. This holds true if you end up using the press to grill meats.

Removable plates also work wonders for cleanup. Some might be dishwasher safe. Health conscious folks might want to go ceramic because it lacks toxins, but beware, it can crack easily. Non-stick surfaces may entice, but that surface can also erode. In either case, brushing the bread with oil will suffice.

A press should not be flimsy. Remember, you're applying pressure to it. This means the handle and any temperature knobs should be firm as well. Without pressure, you will not have a panini, just a hot sandwich you could have cooked on the stove. That's no fun and a waste of money.

Press Your Panini Luck

You know you want one of these. They're safe, easy to use, and create a masterpiece of a sandwich that will make you feel like a pro.

It may be a little time consuming to stand and wait for it to grill, meaning choosing one with a larger surface is optimal especially if you can fit two or three sandwiches on at the same time. Its also important for the press to have both plates heated for even grilling and a quicker cooking time.

Count on keeping the larger one on your counter just like you would a giant mixer that won't fit anywhere else. Smaller ones can stow away in a cabinet. You have to find what is more convenient for you.

Given that you need to spread the bread with oil or butter anyway, picking a non-stick surface may not be too important.

A press with ridges will churn out restaurant-quality paninis while saving money and giving yourself a chance to get creative from the comfort of your own home.

A Brief, Pressing History of the Panini

Only recently in America have the terms "panini" and "panini press" been used. There's no difference between them and a grilled sandwich.

The name is just derived from the Italian word for bread, which is "pan". So there: everything Italian does sound better.

A light bulb will go off in your head when you hear who invented the first press. No, not some old Italian man with calloused and burned hands from pressing a brick onto his sandwich.

It was none other than some unknown inventor you've never heard of, Thomas Edison.

It was named a very non-Italian "sandwich grill", but the make-up is nearly identical today. Two plates heat up and grill the sandwich on both sides at the same time. For some reason it did not become popular and disappeared by the 1930's like Amelia Earhart.

The first modern rendition hit the market in 1974 when Breville released a "sandwich maker". It was popular all over the place, especially in Australia; so much so that grilled sandwiches are called "Brevilles" today. What an exciting life those Australians have.

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Last updated on June 07, 2018 by Gabrielle Taylor

Gabrielle is a writer and hopeful entrepreneur who hails from a tiny town in Virginia. Earlier in her career, she spent a few years in Southern California before moving back to the east coast (but she misses LA every day). An avid and enthusiastic home cook, she is somewhat of an expert at fending off attempted food thievery by her lazy boxer.

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