We’ve all fallen under the siren spell of those late-night television ads promising revolutionary news ways to cut potatoes, cook steaks, and chop onions without shedding a single tear. A charming host with a big smile extolls a kitchen gadget’s virtues and it just sounds so perfectly wonderful. Once the commercial has passed, it’s time to come back to reality and start asking questions.
Nobody wants to face a kitchen cluttered with useless gadgets that don’t deliver. So how do we know which ones get the job done and which ones are best left out of our cooking arsenals? This is a great time to turn to the video makers of YouTube. This is where we can witness a variety of kitchen gadgets getting put through their paces. If it still looks good and you trust the YouTube reviewer, then it might be worth taking a shot with a new cooking gadget.
Check out this collection of hands-on videos covering everything from dachshund-shaped salt and pepper shakers to kiwi slicers and smart grills and make up your own mind:
YouTube celebrity chef tests gadgets
One of YouTube’s most prolific kitchen gadget testers is Barry from the popular cooking channel My Virgin Kitchen. The self-taught chef is on the 20th installment of his gadget-testing series. This most recent entry from late May covers five different gadgets: novelty salt and pepper shakers, a specialized julienne-style vegetable peeler, a faucet accessory that creates a drinking fountain spout, an unusual set of measuring spoons, and a strange popcorn-making pan attachment.
Barry’s whimsical asides and enthusiasm make for an entertaining viewing experience, but you will also get some practical assessments of the tools. If you enjoy Barry’s run-through, you can check out the other 19 videos in the series and explore a whole universe of kitchen gadgets.
Gadget reviews from a crazy Russian hacker
Crazy Russian Hacker is a massive YouTube star who often performs fun science experiments, but he also tests a variety of gadgets. His latest review of eight kitchen gadgets pulled in nearly 7 million views, which should give you an idea of just how big his fan base is.
Our Russian host kicks off the video with a look at a folding bamboo bread slicer that guides your cuts. His verdict? “Pretty cool.” He quickly veers into stranger territory with a hot dog slicer, which doesn’t fair as well in the testing process. This is one oddball gadget you will probably want to avoid. A claw-like strawberry huller impresses our crazy Russian hacker. A tomato slicer does the job, but it’s not very necessary. A kiwi cutter causes a mess and a goofy avocado-saver finishes out the video review. Will you rush out to buy any of these gadgets? Maybe not, but at least you know how well they work (or don’t work).
How brainy are smart grills?
Product-testing group Consumer Reports ventured into the realm of outdoor kitchens for a close look at two “smart grills” from big brands Char-Broil and Weber. Both the $800 Char-Broil SmartChef and the $1,400 Weber Genesis II with the iGrill 3 feature can communicate with your smartphone to send updates on what you’re grilling.
Consumer Reports tested the ability of both grills to deliver a proper medium-rare steak. Here’s the verdict: “The grills work, but they’re not worth the price for the smart features alone.” If you don’t want to spend the big bucks, then consider a separate, and much less expensive, wireless meat thermometer that can be used with any grill or smoker.
The next time you’re contemplating a new kitchen gadget, try typing it into the YouTube search box and see if there are any hands-on reviews. It might be a dream addition to your cooking arsenal...or it might be better left on the store shelf.