12 Kitchen Tools We Love Under $50

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someone closing a clean and organized kitchen drawer
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Prop Styling: Tom Hoerup

There’s a special kind of joy that comes from finding a tool that solves a specific and persistent problem in your kitchen. Like when you finally spot the one trash can that’s skinny enough to fit in the awkward space between your counters and the wall, or you discover the magic of magnetic fridge organizers. And, when you get a great deal on that gadget, too? Well, that’s a day for the history books.

OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but I believe these small accomplishments are worth celebrating — especially when you can so easily spend money on a tool that seems promising, only to learn it doesn’t do its job well at all. I think the affordable, hardworking kitchen tools deserve all the praise they get. Our editors certainly have their own favorite budget-friendly kitchen gadgets, and now they’re sharing them with you. Every one of these items could easily become your new favorite kitchen find.

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was $9.75

If you're not looking to splurge on expensive knives from Germany or pricey cleavers from Japan, opt for this serrated knife that is sharp enough to slice tomatoes and sturdy enough to stand up to dents over the years. Professional chef Nick DeSimone prefers this knife, which reminds them of one their grandma used for everyday cutting. "While I have a knife roll full of knives and tools for any task imaginable," Nick wrote, "at home, my most used piece of equipment is my Nonna Knife."

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Our editors picked this as the best budget-friendly instant-read thermometer because it gives you consistently accurate readings in only three seconds. Our former tools editor Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm liked that its cap has a clip so you can hang it onto your shirt as you cook, and wrote that "it works incredibly well. For the price and accuracy, you can’t go wrong with a ThermoPop."

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The key to this spatula's power is its tapered edge. By sloping down to a point, the head of this spatula slides easily under food — including delicate fish filets — and can be used to scrape off stuck-on bits. Our former tools editor Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm liked it for being flexible but not too bendy and for having a comfortable handle. "The Soft-Edge Turner is so good, I find myself reaching for it again and again," Riddley wrote.

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Our Place
was $40.00

The recycled plastic in this cutting board is designed specifically to protect your knives when you're cutting on it so their blades won't become damaged or dull. For our contributor Stella Totino, the most important features are the non-slip silicone edges that keep the board in place no matter which side you're using. "No matter if I’m slicing through a log of mozzarella, dicing enough mirepoix for a small village, or carefully sawing through a kabocha squash, the board stays put," Stella wrote. "Finally, a cutting board that works with me, not against me."

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Our editors rated this the best overall kitchen scale because it has a sleek profile — perfect for storing in small kitchens — a high degree of accuracy — up to two decimal places — and an intuitive two-button design. "I’ve been using this scale since my first days of pastry school, a decade and a half ago," contributor Katie Leaird wrote, "and it has never, ever disappointed me."

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When our editors discovered this handheld citrus juicer, they knew instantly they found a winner. "Unlike other handheld juicers, this one has a dual gear mechanism, which increases the tool’s pressing power, even if you don’t squeeze the handles that hard," wrote Lisa Freedman, our executive lifestyle director. "The brand also claims it produces 20 percent more juice than other handheld juicers, and while we haven’t scientifically tested that, we do know that lemon halves come out practically bone dry."

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Professional chef Nick DeSimone says that this mandoline cuts their meal prep time in half. It stores away compactly because of its flat design, but it has enough blade attachments that you can quickly achieve a variety of cuts with little effort. "When I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to lug out my cutting board and knife (let alone clean any extra dishes), I turn to my trusty mandoline," Nick wrote. "This tool comes in handy for quickly slicing onions and garlic to saute, slicing up some carrots to add some extra veg into a salad, and even slicing up some cheese for a simple sandwich."

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Pattern Brands

Details such as a narrow and tapered head, as well as its one-piece construction, make this spatula a delight to use. It's made from silicone and is safe to use on nonstick cookware, and it also resists burning or melting if you leave it resting on the edge of a pan. I've been using one of these for weeks now and find myself reaching for it for all my food flipping and stirring needs.

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Your kitchen needs a good pair of shears, and as their name suggests — and our editors can testify to — these are the best. "Unlike my old pair of shears that got rusty over time and needed every ounce of my strength to be pulled apart, this beautiful piece of lightweight kitchenware is a complete joy to use," our former editor Sholeen Damarwala wrote. "The blades are also super sharp and can slice through everything from a thick slab of beef to chunky paneer. I also have to call out the comfortable handle that gives plenty of cushioning and support."

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Our Place
was $35.00

These multipurpose bowls are great for prepping ingredients, serving food, and even cooking small dishes (such as baked desserts) because they're oven safe. Our former commerce editor Danielle St. Pierre found these to be the perfect addition to her kitchen. "I love a versatile piece of dinnerware that seamlessly goes from meal prep in the kitchen to service on the dinner table, and these Tiny Bowls accomplish both tasks beautifully," Danielle wrote. "These 6-ounce miniature bowls are sustainably made from recycled and virgin porcelain ceramic, so each one has just a slightly variated, hand-painted matte base with a glossy, speckled finish. They look like special pieces of pottery (because they are), not like ordinary tableware."

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You probably already have a few of these lying around your kitchen, and because they have endless uses, you would be wise to stock up on them. This bundle includes a mix of small, medium, and large containers that are great for storing leftovers and prepped ingredients in the fridge and on your counter. You can quickly see what's inside them, and if any end up getting damaged, they're inexpensive enough that you can recycle them and pick up more. When our contributor Meredith Schwartz worked as a line cook in restaurants, these became one of her most-used kitchen tools.

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Williams Sonoma

Sometimes the right tools really do help you cook better, and this sauce whisk is one of them. The flat-ish design helps you reach into the corners of your pans so you can scrape up all the delicious fond and create fuller, more delicious sauces. Faith Durand says “You can’t successfully make a sauce or gravy without it."