10 Ridiculously Cheap (and Super Useful!) Cooking and Cleaning Tools That’ll Give You an Instant Serotonin Boost

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Some of the hardest-working tools in our kitchens also just happen to be the most affordable. These are the tools we reach for instinctively to tackle all manner of cooking tasks and cleaning chores: the adjustable measuring cups, the silicone bowl scrapers, the perfectly petite pinch bowls (that double as cookware and serveware), and more. We have a hard time imagining NOT having these tools in our homes — and we’d instantly replace them if any harm befell them.

Rather than keep these little treasures to ourselves, we’re sharing them here so you can enjoy the same thrill of outfitting your kitchen with some of the smartest gear available. Our editors and writers know you’ll love these tools as much as they do, not least because they’re so budget-friendly. Check out our top picks below, then head over here to find out what kind of small but mighty kitchen appliances you can also get on the cheap — our list includes a toaster oven for just $25!

1 / 10

While these silicone muffin tin liners are an easy way to cut down on waste produced by the old-fashioned paper kind, their nonstick surface and reusability also makes them well-suited for cooking a range of non-muffin recipes. The senior commerce editor at our sister site Apartment Therapy, Alicia Kort, found these to be perfect for making baked savory egg cups. "I like the silicone cups because it's easy to slide my baked egg cups out of them," she says. "They're also much easier to clean than if I had just put the egg cups directly into the muffin tin. They can also go in the freezer and microwave, so they're multi-purpose."

2 / 10
Pattern Brands

I found this combination spatula/spoon device after searching for a universal cooking utensil: something I could use in almost every cooking scenario and with any cooking surface. This magical device has become my favorite piece of kitchen equipment. Its silicone construction is flexible enough to fold scrambled eggs, yet firm enough to scrape up crispy potatoes from a blazing-hot sheet pan. Read my full review here for a full breakdown of this wonderful tool.

3 / 10

Nordic Ware consistently makes the best sheet pans at the lowest prices, and this 1/8-size pan is great to keep on hand for roasting small dishes or cooking dinner for one. Our commerce writer Nikol Slatinska likes that the pan doesn't need much oil to keep food from sticking and has raised edges to prevent ingredients from falling off. "After no more than 15 minutes in the oven, I have a tasty and nutritious meal that I know will satisfy me much more than a microwave dinner," she wrote.

4 / 10
was $26.75

The fact that you can pick up a name-brand cast-iron pan for $20 is amazing. That it also comes pre-seasoned? Chef's kiss. Our senior commerce editor Ian Burke likes using this pan to make hearty breakfasts, as well as other dishes that benefit from a heavier pan. "It makes an excellent weight to make smashburgers; hold down bacon on the griddle; or smush chicken and pork into thin cutlets," he wrote.

5 / 10

This timeless and reliable wooden spoon is a smart buy for two main reasons: It's not too big or long (so it can get into corners of pots and pans), and it's safe to use on all your cookware (no worries about scratching cast-iron or nonstick pans). Our senior commerce editor Ian Burke considers this an integral part of any kitchen. "All households need a wooden spoon, if for no other reason than to channel Nonna’s meditative kitchen ken," he says. "But this one’s fat handle and deep bowl are perfect for stirring, scraping, and scoping. Plus, it’s OXO, so you know it’s going to be good."

6 / 10

Most drawer organizers are bulky and effectively decide the layout for your drawer for you. This set of magnetic drawer organizers solves that problem by letting you arrange them however you want, then snap them together into one cohesive unit using their built-in magnets. Our contributor Olivia Muenter discovered this amazing product and instantly loved it. "The stress it saved me felt like it was the best investment I have made in years," she wrote.

7 / 10

A well-made glass food container set, such as this one from OXO, will help you make the most of your leftovers and encourage you to pack a lunch when you head into the office. Compared to plastic containers, these glass ones are much easier to clean and won't develop stains or warp over time. Our vice president of product management Vijay Nathan thinks they're the best food storage containers he's ever found. "The OXO ones feel heavy, the lids are substantial, you can easily remove the silicone sealing ring to clean, and they nest very easily," he says.

8 / 10

This mini vacuum cleaner is your strongest ally in the fight against kitchen counter crumbs. It takes up almost no space and quietly and quickly sucks up all the crumbs that have a way of collecting on your counters throughout the day. Our contributor Olivia Muenter found it helped a lot with after-dinner cleanup. "As someone who spills large quantities of sugar, salt, and other spices regularly, it’s been a complete game changer," she wrote. "Beyond the practicality of it, there’s something oddly satisfying about watching tiny messes disappear underneath the vacuum — all without getting my hands dirty." (NOTE: While the model Olivia has is no longer available, the replacement we found has the added bonus of serving as a wireless phone charger.)

9 / 10

We love a good two-in-one tool, and this combination colander/serving bowl is a great example of what happens when practicality and style team up. Our contributor Shifrah Combiths found it to be super useful for washing produce and draining canned goods, as well as for becoming mixing or serving bowls for those same foods. "The soaking colander is a two-in-one tool (bowl and strainer) that not only can be used either together or separately, but also can be stored together or separately, saving space as well as energy," Shifrah wrote. "Oh, and did we mention it’s dishwasher-safe? Win-win-win."

10 / 10

A great vegetable peeler will stay with you for life, which is exactly what this one from OXO does. Its soft-grip handle gives you great control when you're peeling and the blades stay sharp for a long, long time. Our vice president of product management Vijay Nathan likes this tool so much that he bought two of them (and has been using them for years!). "I've had one for more than five years and it still works great," he says. "It has a large, comfy grip which makes it easier to control, and it still works great after continuous washes in the dishwasher."