17 Best Kitchen Gadgets We Loved Most This Year — That Are All Under $50

published Dec 21, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Organized kitchen drawer
Credit: Sarah Crowley

We (the editors and contributors at The Kitchn) spend a lot of time in our kitchens, and as a result, spend a lot of time testing out new and exciting gadgets that promise to make our lives easier. Not everything does what it’s intended to do. Not everything works well enough to warrant a review, but some tools stand out among the rest — and we can’t help but sing their praises. 

Read on for more on 17 of the coolest gadgets under $50 that we couldn’t get enough of this year. 

1 / 17
was $31.98

Chomping into a slice of ripe, juicy watermelon at the peak of summer is a simple pleasure like no other … but cutting up a watermelon without getting your entire counter sticky is another thing entirely. That’s why contributor Meg Asby swears by this melon slicer, which she says is basically a large-scale version of a traditional apple slicer. “In one second it slices an entire watermelon, eliminating the only barrier between me and my favorite summer snack: effort,” she adds, and what’s more, it can make quick work of pretty much any melon (looking at you, cantaloupe and honeydew).

2 / 17

Sure, a lazy Susan is a great organizer on its own, but what if the items you want to store on it tend to go flying with a quick spin? Or they’re small enough to stack up and obscure the view to the center? That’s where these clear, wedge-shaped organizing bins come in. Says contributor Patty Catalano, “These clear plastic bins have high sides that fit into the curve of the shelves, thanks to their wedge shape. They also have a built-in handle that makes it easy to take hold of the container and remove it when I need to search for a specific ingredient. The inevitable spills and drips are contained to a small area, and are easily cleaned with a damp cloth.”

3 / 17

A well-seasoned cast iron pan is irreplaceable in your cooking arsenal, but they can be a bit of a pain to get totally clean. “Simply scrape away food with this magic piece of plastic, and you’ll wonder why you ever thought caring for cast iron was hard,” marvels Asby, because who wants to clean chainmail scrubbers or gunked-up brushes? The scraper works best on a warm pan, so before you get to work, let your cast iron cool slightly and get to scraping.

4 / 17

In lieu of a sought-after workstation sink, contributor Shifrah Combiths applauds this two-in-one colander bowl that’s great for soaking berries, rinsing beans, draining pasta, and even soaking utensils before a good scrub. Plus, Combiths adds, “not only can it be used either together or separately, but also can be stored together or separately, saving space as well as energy. Oh, and did we mention it’s dishwasher-safe? Win-win-win.”

5 / 17

SEO commerce editor Sarah M. Vasquez is always on the hunt for the latest and greatest products that make life easier, so it takes a very versatile item to get her excited. This long-handled silicone squeegee is one such item, because it handles multiple different tasks. “Lightweight, adjustable, and featuring a patented quad-blade design,” Vasquez says, “the Broombi uses a unique silicone edge that creates static electricity to attract dust, hair, dirt, and debris for the most efficient cleanup around. Once more, when tackling wet messes, it turns into a squeegee of sorts, cleaning up spills and gooey surfaces with ease. In fact, you can even use this bad boy on your windows, a dream for anyone with bay windows or French doors. Best of all, the Broombi is super easy to clean: Simply rinse the blade after each use and you’re set — no build-up or dirty bristles here.”

6 / 17

Back on the topic of lazy Susans, one of the major gripes with these organizing products is that they don’t make use of a full space due to their round shape. Well, consider that problem solved, because Combiths discovered a rectangular lazy Susan. “It doesn’t budge,” Combiths says, “thanks to the suction cups on the bottom. The best part is how much more easily I can access everything on the turntable — especially compared to the bins. I can reach everything from the long sides and short sides. And no more searching through items or juggling jars just to find the one I need. Yes, traditional lazy Susans offer the same benefit, but this rectangular version has a bigger surface area, so it can hold substantially more.”

7 / 17
was $12.58

What’s a carbon cloth, you ask? “Carbon cloths are touted as lint-free rags that you can use to clean with just water,” Combiths answers, as “the carbon embedded in the fiber of the cloth is supposed to be extra absorbent, while helping to cut through grease and grime.” While testing this claim, Combiths was impressed by how well they picked up wet messes, and says that “the claim that they’re super absorbent holds up, which made them perfect for wiping down the kitchen table and countertops that had been used to prep dinner.” What’s more, “The cloths also did a great job cleaning fixtures. I used a wet cloth to clean them, then followed up with a dry one to polish them. The same technique also worked well on stainless steel. I’m guessing the grease-cutting properties of carbon also helped the cloths wipe away marks on the wall completely.”

8 / 17

For those among us who are constantly schlepping a foil pan filled with food to people’s houses, sports team gatherings, and charity events, a “Fancy Panz” carrier may be in your future. These nifty carriers come in various sizes to accommodate disposable foil pans, and contributor Kristina Vänni points out that they also ”come in several colors including charcoal and hot pink,” and “they open on one side via hinge so you can easily set a disposable aluminum pan inside, and have a see-through plastic lid that you can keep on for stackability, or remove for a beautiful serving presentation; it doubles as a trivet too. Once you’re done with the carrier, wash it by hand or toss into the top rack of your dishwasher.”

9 / 17

Haters of countertop clutter (but owners of plenty of hand-wash-only items) rejoice! This collapsible dish drying rack folds up to just two inches tall, so it can be easily stashed away when not in use. “The Ahyuan Collapsible Dish Drying Rack is an inexpensive collapsible drying rack that’s been absolutely essential in my camping stash,” Asby says, “but also in my day-to-day life. You can get the rack by itself, or with a drainboard to catch excess water (which I bought), or with a swivel spout to direct water back into your sink. I personally prefer the one with a drainboard, because it doubles as an extra serving tray when I need it.”

10 / 17

Speaking of collapsible, have you ever heard of a collapsible trash can? This ingenious little trash can is the perfect thing for people who do lots of meal prepping, want to level up their “garbage bowl,” or just find it inconvenient to open the full-sized trash can every time they need to toss something out while cooking. “I’m no longer hunching down to throw scraps into a bin under the sink or walking a few steps over to the larger kitchen bin,” contributor Michelle Tchea says, “which inevitably leaves a trail of fruit juice and stains — you know what I’m talking about! Even when I’m descaling sardines or cleaning fish bought from the local fishmonger (sometimes they can miss a few!), I find it so much easier to just throw the bones and innards directly into a bin that’s actually close to me and not accidentally drop fish guts onto my kitchen floor.”

11 / 17

Owners of KitchenAid mixers know: those things are heavy, especially when they live in the corner of the counter and need to be pulled out in order to whip up a batch of cookies. Combiths credits this sliding appliance mat with solving this small-but-annoying complaint, pointing out that “the mat is soft and slightly padded, with non-slip rubber for the mixer to rest on. The underside is made of a smooth material that glides smoothly over any hard surface. The mat even has an unobtrusive handle that you can grab to pull the mat with the KitchenAid on top of it toward you easily. Plus, it’s odorless and super easy to clean.”

12 / 17
was $49.99

Frequent plastic baggie users know how quickly that section of your cabinet or drawer gets messy. The boxes rip, they tumble out onto your head, and it’s not always easy to find the correct bag size that you need. Baggie organizers for drawers are a great solution, but since Combiths didn’t have the drawer space, she decided to mount one to the back of the pantry door — to great effect. “I love that my bags and wraps are super accessible,” she says, “but they don’t take up any other valuable storage real estate. I also love that I don’t have to look at garish, mismatched, and torn packaging. The storage unit has enough slots for me to store all the main size bags I use and also to stash the plastic gloves I sometimes use when preparing raw meat or cutting spicy peppers.”

13 / 17
was $13.99

Counter space in my small kitchen is a valuable commodity, and the appliances that do make it to the counter need to be able to move easily back and forth. But small appliances often have little rubber feet that make them difficult to slide on countertops, so when I came upon these appliance sliders, I had a feeling my prayers had been answered. Indeed, these little adhesive guys make it painless to pull the blender out and whip up a morning smoothie, when I loathed the task before.

14 / 17

In case you missed it, Target launched a brand new line of kitchenware this year called Figmint, and while we loved lots of the items in the new lineup (an enamel braiser, terry kitchen towels, salt and pepper cellars) one our top faves is the expandable over-the-sink colander. “This ingenious stainless steel colander frees up my sink during prep,” says editorial shopping director Jada Wong, “And was especially handy when I was hosting Thanksgiving dinner recently. It easily expanded to fit the width of my sink as I washed and drained fruit and veggies — the 7-quart capacity held a ton of food and the extendable arms didn't even buckle. There are little feet on the underside to provide airflow and drainage if you move the colander to the counter, which is actually where I keep it at all times because it's incredibly useful.”

15 / 17
Yamazaki Home

If you too find that the area around your stove top is always a cluttered catch-all site, Wong knows the feeling. Luckily, Yamazaki’s simple gadget that holds lids and ladles can clear up enough space to make a difference. “The stand’s steel frame is sturdy enough for lids that fit small saucepans, as well as hefty Dutch ovens, and even the XL dome-shaped lid for my double boiler,” Wong says, and “I’m not at all surprised that the Yamazaki stand is so effective — the brand is beloved for its minimalist organizing and storage solutions, so naturally, this lid stand is a winner.”

16 / 17

Didn’t think that a vegetable peeler could be improved upon? Think again. This nifty little number is made with Japanese steel and actually sharpens itself every time you open and close the safety guard, thanks to a small ceramic ball that hones the blade. Since traditional vegetable peelers are pretty difficult to sharpen yourself (and is it worth it?) this one can potentially last forever.

17 / 17

Most of the time, I can crank pepper out with two hands and have no problem, but other times, like when I’m seasoning chicken cutlets, it helps to have a pepper grinder that only requires one hand. This pepper grinder is also great because it comes with two spice jars (and lids) for storing backup peppercorns, and it can be used for a plethora of other spices, too.