The 10 Best Panini Presses of 2020: It’s Sandwich Time!

Who doesn’t love the convenience and versatility of a delicious panini? It makes the perfect meal. After all, it’s easy to prepare, can be loaded with a million different ingredients and flavor combinations, and is beloved by just about everyone.

In Italian, the word panini means “rolls.” However, it’s so much more than just bread. Once you have the skills and equipment to make the perfect panini, you’ll be able to make your own delicious sandwiches right at home.

Curious about how you can find the best panini press? Consider our buying guide to find the right one for your family.

What to Look for in a Panini Press

Manual vs. Electric

Most panini press these days are electric, but that’s not to say you have to settle for this kind of device if that’s not what you want. Some are still manual (or are even designed to be used on your stovetop) so you will have plenty of options no matter where your preferences lie.

Hinge Height

Carefully examine the hinge height of your prospective panini press. The higher the hinges, the more options you will have as you can cook various sizes of sandwiches. If you like full, overstuffed sandwiches, a panini press that has a high or floating hinge might be a smart choice for you.

Cooking Plates

There are a few different features you will want to pay attention to when it comes to the cooking plates in your panini press. First, look for one that has nonstick cooking plates. This will enable the easy release of your food (no more fighting with the spatula to get the sandwich out of the panini press!) plus easier clean-up. You should also look for one that has removable plates.

The plates should also distribute heat evenly and eliminate hot spots. This will not only improve the flavors of your food but will also make sure it is safe to eat.

Finally, keep in mind that there are multiple plates you can choose from when you are shopping for a panini press. Some are smooth, some are grooved, and some are mixed, being grooved on one side and smooth on the other. While smooth surfaces are much easier to clean, grooves will help you make those gorgeous sear marks you love to see on your food.

Versatility

Do you like appliances that double up on other tasks for you? If so, you may want to consider a panini press that can perform double duty as both a panini press as well as a girl, griddle, or other appliance, too. Many panini presses are available that can handle multiple functions.

Capacity

The larger panini press you have, the quicker you will be able to prepare paninis – and more of them, too! Therefore, it’s important that you find a panini press that will match the size of your family or the parties you tend to entertain. If you have a large family or frequently find yourself hosting large parties, you may want to select a larger press. Just keep in mind that it will take up more space and likely use up more electricity, too.

Heating Zones

Multiple heating zones can allow you to cook multiple types of food at once. Some panini presses have flat grill plates that offer an even cooking surface, but ridge grill plates will give you a better overall appearance. Just keep in mind that these ridges can create heating zones that may require you to cook your food a bit longer.

Temperature Control

Look for a panini press with temperature control. This will give you the maximum level of autonomy over your food and will offer you extensive meal options. While paninis, in particular, don’t require a high level of customization in terms of temperature, extensive temperature control will be necessary if you plan on cooking other items besides paninis.

Not sure if your panini press of choice has temperature control? A good sign that your panini press will have this feature is if it has “grill” somewhere in its name or in its product description. This will allow you to cook other types of foods along with paninis, too, meaning you can get more bang for your buck in the long run.

Brand

Sure, brand isn’t everything. However, choosing a reputable brand is often a smart choice when it comes to kitchen appliances. Not only will you likely have more customer reviews to fall back on, but you’ll be able to identify the best features of your product so that you can make the most informed decision possible.

Plus, many (though not all) of the most reputable kitchenware brands offer warranties that can help protect your device in case of any damage.

Bonus Features

There are a few bonuses features you might want to consider when you are shopping for the best panini press for your needs, too. Some panini presses have timers that make your device easier and more seamless to operate others come with preset temperature settings so you can play around with your food to get the best taste and texture.

Most panini presses also come with drip trays to automatically collect oils that seep out of your food. It is rare to find a panini press without this feature now, as it’s something that just about everybody wants. Not only does it eliminate the likelihood of mess in your kitchen, but it also provides for a healthier meal, too.

Upgrade Your Sandwich Game With the Best Panini Press of 2020

1. Chefman Electric Panini Press Grill and Gourmet Sandwich Maker

Chefman Electric Panini Press Grill and Gourmet Sandwich Maker

The Chefman Electric Panini Press can be used both as a panini press as well as a grill, lending you maximum versatility in the kitchen.

Not only is it versatile, but it’s remarkably easy to use. All it requires is the simple push of a single button. Use it with the floating hinge system for massive sandwiches, or lay it down flat for extensive grilling options. Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll find that the non-stick plates are easy to clean up afterward.

It even comes with a drip tray that will help remove some excess grease from your food. This is perfect if you are watching your waistline, and it also allows for easier cleanup. With enough sandwich for multiple people, this grill heats up quickly and will rapidly become your go-to on busy weeknights.

What We Liked:

  • Has a sleek, modern design
  • Comes with durable, ergonomic handles
  • Easy to clean with nonstick plates a removable drip tray

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Plates are not removable

2. Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler, GR-4N

Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler, GR-4N

Cuisinart is one of the top names to know when it comes to kitchen appliances, and the 5-in-1 griddler is no exception. This appliance has five separate cooking options that make preparing paninis along with other foods a total breeze. Not only can you make your favorite sandwich, but you can also prepare foods like sausages, steaks, grilled cheese, pancakes, and more.

This panini press is adjustable. You can open it up and then reshape it, providing you with multiple different shapes for both bottom and top cooking. All you need to do is adjust your temperature, start cooking, and you’re good to go.

It is BPA-free and food safe. Plus, it features non-stick cooking plates so it’s remarkably easy to clean. You can enjoy healthier foods at all times with this panini press, which collects grease in the trap and comes with a housing made out of stainless steel. It’s even dishwasher-safe!

What We Liked:

  • Can be used for multiple types of foods
  • BPA-free and dishwasher-safe
  • Has a flat feature to create additional cooking space

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Grease trap can be difficult to remove

3. Chef Buddy 80-KIT1019 Panini Press Indoor Grill and Gourmet Sandwich Maker

Chef Buddy 80-KIT1019 Panini Press Indoor Grill and Gourmet Sandwich Maker

The Chef Buddy panini press is truly all you could ever want out of a panini press – it will, quite literally, become your best friend at a sandwich-making time!

This device can be used both as an indoor grill along with a gourmet sandwich creator. It has a unique grease trap device that helps reduce extra fat and grease on your food. It can thereby improve the flavors and make clean-up a million times easier. This is because this option has a nonstick surface that will help prevent burnt-on clumps of food from sticking to your grill plates.

The Chef Buddy panini press is effective and efficient, enabling you to use it multiple times throughout the week. It has a large cooking area and is perfect for large families.

What We Liked:

  • Has a nonstick surface for easy clean-up
  • Back legs flip out for quick and easy grease draining
  • Has a dynamic temperature control system with even heat distribution

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Smaller than similar options

4. IMUSA USA GAU-80102 Large Electric Panini Press 1400-Watts

IMUSA USA GAU-80102 Large Electric Panini Press 1400-Watts

This panini press by Imusa is another option that is highly effective and suitable for multiple purposes. It has a large cooking surface that makes it perfect for cooking meats, paninis, sandwiches, vegetables, and more. Since its surface is nonstick, it is remarkably easy to clean.

The Imusa panini press has a heat indicator and power light. It also has a floating hinge top so that you can cook both thin and super-thick sandwiches alike. It has a gorgeous polished stainless steel exterior, so while it’s easy to store, you also won’t mind leaving it out on your counter for all of your guests to see!

What We Liked:

  • Gorgeous exterior appearance
  • Nonstick cooking surface
  • Comes with heat and power indicator lights

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not the most even heat distribution with no grill marks features

5. Lodge LPP3 Cast Iron Square Ribbed Panini Press

Lodge LPP3 Cast Iron Square Ribbed Panini Press

If you’re familiar with Lodge’s products, you know that this company offers some of the best-cast iron cookware on the market. This panini press is no exception – yes, you can make a panini with a cast-iron press – and trust us, it will taste wonderful!

This panini press operates in a slightly different manner, as it is meant to be used on a stovetop instead of being plugged in. All you need to do is season the press with some oil and press down your panini on top of your pan. As long as you give the pan time to warm up, you’ll find that the heat is distributed evenly and perfectly, each and every time.

What We Liked:

  • Even, perfect distribution of heat
  • Has a ribbed press for a gorgeous finish
  • Made with food-safe materials

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Can rust when exposed to water

6. Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press Grill with Locking Lid

Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press Grill with Locking Lid

Hamilton Beach makes a superb electric panini press that not only will cook your sandwich to perfection each and every time, but also comes with a locking, floating lid. It can grill paninis of any width or thickness as a result.

It has preheat and power button light indicators so that you will always know what stage your panini press is in. Clean-up is easy, too, as this panini press has a nonstick surface that requires just a few quick wipes for cleanup. It takes up little space in storage and can be tilted upright for long term storage.

What We Liked:

  • Makes up to three sandwiches at once
  • Has helpful indicator lights
  • Easy clean-up and storage

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Doesn’t always heat evenly

7. Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill

Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill

Breville is another top manufacturer of the best panini press products on the market. This one is a smart grill, one of the few that you can find that is also affordable.

How does a smart panini press work, you might ask? Well, it uses a unique type of technology known as Element IQ. It incorporates dynamic heat sensors in the grill plates that work together to help regulate the cooking temperature. Everything is done via smart calculation so that your results are even and consistent, each and every time.

You also won’t have to spend a ton of time preheating your grill. All you have to do is place the panini on the grill and go. It has a drip tray to collect excess grease and can be used to make pancakes, eggs, meat, and other types of foods, too.

Finally, the Breville smart grill comes with cooking plates that are engineered from cast aluminum. They have titanium-infused quantum, too, to provide a revolutionary cooking surface that is non-stick and truly one-of-a-kind. The housing is made out of stainless steel and the handle is constructed from cool die-cast material.

What We Liked:

  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Has an adjustable height feature with six settings
  • Has an ergonomic, ever-cool handle

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Nonstick coating wears off over time

8. Oster Extra Large Titanium-Infused DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Indoor Grill

Oster Extra Large Titanium-Infused DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Indoor Grill

The Oster panini press is another top pick for you to consider. It’s a larger-than-average panini maker, making it one of the best for large families. It has a large size that enables it to cook up to 30% faster than comparable panini machines, too.

Open up the cover of this panini press, and you’ll be able to grill foods like fish, meat, and vegetables, too. It also has a PTFE- and PFOA-free ceramic coating that helps ensure safe meals and simple clean-up as well. Its coating is scratch-resistant.

Clean-up is also made easier with the bottom drip tray. This helps by collecting extra oil from your foods, while the adjustable feet allow the oils to drain more quickly or slowly, depending on the flavor you want to impart to your food.

What We Liked:

  • Large size is optimal for large families
  • Has a scratch-resistant and nonstick surface
  • Allows for even, consistent heating

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Does not come with an on/off switch

9. George Foreman GRP4842P Multi-Plate Evolve Grill

George Foreman GRP4842P Multi-Plate Evolve Grill

The George Foreman Multi-Plate Evolve Grill is just one of many superior indoor grills manufactured by the impressive George Foreman line of products. This product comes with two separate sets of removable plates along with a panini, grill, and waffle maker all in one.

It also has a unique searing burst feature that provides you with a 90-second burst of high heat (at 500 degrees) to provide a professional finish and that lovely grill marks everybody likes to see. It also has a timer and adjustable temperature settings, too, both of which are displayed directly on the screen for precise values.

With a multi-layer non-stick surface, this panini press is easy to clean up. You won’t have to worry about your foods getting stuck to it, either. The exterior is also easy to clean. Instead of being raised, which would allow food to get trapped between them, the buttons are flattened against the surface.

Finally, this panini press receives top marks for its easy cleaning in that its plates can be removed for both hand or dishwashing.

What We Liked:

  • Has a handle that remains consistently cool to the touch
  • Comes with a drip tray to collect excess oils
  • Easy to clean exterior and interior

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Non-stick feature wears off quickly

10. Breville Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press

Breville Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press

The Breville Duo is another one of the best panini press products for you to consider. Both attractive and highly functional, this panini press has a brushed stainless-steel housing that will make it the ideal addition to your kitchen lineup.

It heats up quickly, both on the bottom and the top, and has interior surfaces that are nonstick and scratch-resistant. You’ll love the share market that this panini press leaves behind on your food, along with the fact that the top plate contains a floating hinge. This means it can handle any sandwich thickness.

The Breville Duo has anti-sleep feet and lights that turn on when the unit is fully powered as well as when it is fully heated up. It has a thermally-insulated handle that remains cool while in use along with an adjustable height control feature, too.

What We Liked:

  • Has a slot for winding up the power cord
  • Quick heat-up time
  • Comes with indicator lights for easy reading

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Does not have an on/off switch
  • Tips for Using a Panini Press

Have you selected the best panini press for your needs? Great! Now it’s time to learn how to use it.

First, make sure you read the user manual that comes with your specific device.in each and every model is a bit different, and so it’s important that you consider the unique instructions so you don’t damage your panini press in any way.

Your panini press will need to be preheated before you use it. After it has preheated for a few minutes, you’ll be ready to cook. You can skip this step if you’re in a hurry, but remember that preheating will ensure that your paninis are more evenly and more consistently cooked.

Now it’s time to cook! Cooking times and procedures will vary depending on what you are cooking and what panini press you are using. However, most are incredibly versatile, which means you aren’t just limited to making paninis. Why not throw on some sausages or maybe even some fish or vegetables? While paninis are great, you should take advantage of your new appliance as a versatile new tool in your kitchen.

Once you’re done eating, it’s time to clean up your panini press. Let it cool down before using a damp sponge to clean the interior of the grill. Sometimes, you may be able to remove the plates for faster clean-up, but if that’s not the case, just use caution while cleaning around the plates so you don’t get the electrical components wet.

So, what do you think? Pretty easy, right? It doesn’t matter whether you are a professional chef or the average Joe looking for an easy way to make weeknight dinners quick and delicious. The best panini press can help you meet your culinary goals – no matter what they might be.

Joe Carrow
 

Product reviewer & passionate blogger. Beside writing for this blog, I spend my time crafting research based contents for HuffingtonPost, Lifehacker & Forbes!

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