Household work (like cooking and cleaning) takes up a pretty big chunk of our already busy days. So, it’s no wonder we’re all looking for shortcuts. And some of those shortcuts present themselves as gimmicky home appliances advertised to make our lives easier. However, some are less than we hoped, and we end up with impractical products, plus hundreds of dollars down the drain.

Want to save yourself some disappointment? Here are ten of the most overrated home appliances. You should definitely think twice before buying any of these.

1. Ice Cream Maker

You might be a huge ice cream afficionado (aren’t we all?), but it’s hard to justify a massive appliance in your kitchen just for the purpose of making cold treats. After all, there plenty of natural ice cream options and flavors to choose from at the store. And, if you really, really want to make your own ice cream, you already have an appliance that can do that. It’s called “the freezer”.

2. Deep Fryer

French fries and onion rings, hot and fresh, anytime you feel like it! Sounds like a great idea for fast food lovers. However, it’s hardly justifiable to buy an entire appliance that can be easily replaced by something as simple as a frying pan. And, deep fryers use a huge amount of cooking oil, which is neither economic nor environmentally friendly.

3. Slow Cooker

Slow cookers are a one-trick pony. And we’re talking about a pretty big pony – one that will take up precious real estate on your countertop or cabinet. You can easily replace a slow cooker with a more versatile Dutch oven and cook your food as slowly as you want simply by setting a low temperature in your oven.

4. Bread Machine

This is another appliance that sounds really cool, but many abandon it after just a few uses. If you’re interested in baking your own bread, you can easily accomplish your goal by using appliances you already have. Your standup mixer probably has a dough kneading attachment that you can use, and you can obviously bake bread in a pan in your oven.

5. Food Dehydrator

You can always get dried fruits and veggies at the store, which makes more sense than buying the fresh fruit plus an appliance that’s supposed to dehydrate them. Apart from the fact that food dehydrators take an enormous amount of time (sometimes an entire day) for a small batch of fruits or veggies, most of them are not very efficient. You end up with dried fruits that don’t last very long. If you really want to, you can splurge on organic dried fruits and veggies at the store with all the money you’ll save by not buying a food dehydrator.

6. Juicer

Juicers sound like a great idea, at least initially. You plan on juicing fruits, veggies, and greens and making your diet a lot healthier. So, you get a juicer, use it for the first time, and then you have to clean it. And that’s pretty much the end of it for anyone who’s not looking to spend all day in the kitchen. Juicers are big, impractical, and a headache to assemble, disassemble, clean, and store. Save yourself the trouble and do as most nutritionists recommend. Eat your fruits and veggies whole.

7. Pizza Ovens

There are a variety of indoor and outdoor pizza ovens – even rotating countertop models. Essentially, they’re all ovens, and you already have one of those in your home. If you’re not happy with how pizza bakes in your oven, consider updating that essential appliance instead of buying a second device that takes up space and does the same thing, but at a smaller, more limited scale.

8. Single-Purpose Kitchen Gadgets

From banana slicers to cherry pitters to egg cookers, there’s an almost infinite array of kitchen gadgets that only do one thing. And, that one thing can usually be done easily with simple tools like a knife or your hands. Or a pot of water on the stove. Forgo all those small gadgets that will simply clutter your drawers without bringing anything to the table. Go for multi-purpose appliances instead.

9. Steam Cleaner

Chances are that you might want to use a steam cleaner – maybe once per year, at most. For such situations, it makes a lot more sense to rent one. Home Depot, for example, and other home improvement stores rent such equipment. Also, the ones you rent are professional tools that do a much better job than the consumer steam cleaner you might buy for home use.

10. Smart Everything

Smart appliances are supposed to make our lives better and easier. Robot vacuums, for example, are a great help. But not every appliance needs to be smart, and smart capabilities may not add much in terms of practicality. Smart, wi-fi connected coffee makers, air humidifiers, or water filters are usually a waste of money and can actually be harder to use than their non-smart counterparts. So, buy smart only when it makes practical sense.

Think Before You Buy

You should, of course, take these suggestions with a grain of salt. Maybe there’s a place in your kitchen – and your heart – for that ice cream maker after all. Your main goal should be to avoid impulse buying just because your saw a commercial, or someone recommended a certain item. Instead, you should assess your needs, habits, and the storage space needed before making such a purchase.

Here’s What You Can Do About Storage Space

Storage space can be an issue in most homes, particularly in the kitchen. Apart from restraining yourself from buying items that you don’t really need, here are some ideas to keep your kitchen nice and tidy:

  • Use sets of items (from bowls, plates, and mugs to storage containers) instead of mismatched ones, as they’re easy to stack or nestle, thus taking less space in your cabinets.
  • Create extra storage in your kitchen. Over-the-door organizers, shelving units in the corners or on unused walls, and ceiling racks are some ways to improve storage in your kitchen.
  • Come up with a good kitchen floor plan, allowing a proper workflow inside the available space.
  • Rent a self-storage unit. Sometimes, no matter how much you organize things, there simply isn’t enough space for all your items. If you’re a passionate cook and your family’s usual host for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you probably have cooking gear and tableware especially for these special occasions. Since you don’t use those items on daily basis, it may be a good idea to keep them in storage. A 5’x10’ storage unit is just the right size to contain seasonal items, cooking gear that you don’t use on daily basis, baby stuff, tools, extra furniture, and so on.

What other tricks do you use to keep your kitchen and home neat and organized? Let us know in the comments!


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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