Updated: June 8, 2015

Panini Sandwich Maker Reviews:

Sandwich makers and panini grills have gained popularity in the past few years as their ability to turn a sandwich into a hot meal has become really easy. They come in a wide range of styles with different features depending on if you go with a sandwich toaster or a grill. The panini grills are more expensive and definitely more versatile than just a sandwich toaster. A standard sandwich maker has fixed hinges that work great for regular sized bread and turn out 2 sandwiches in separate compartments. A sandwich press is more basic than the panini grills which have floating hinges that conform to thicker breads like ciabata, panini and focaccia. If you are adventurous with a sandwich grill you can cook chicken, steaks and plenty of other foods. Most people panini grills over sandwich makers since the grills don't have compartments to limit the size of your sandwich or food.
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Buying Guide - How does a panini grill work? First, it needs to heat up, and both sandwich presses and grills have indicator lights that tell you when it's ready to cook. The power on the panini machines is from 600 to 1000 watts with the more powerful panini makers costing more since they can cook faster. The metal plates on the inside of the sandwich maker or grill are what heat up and when pressed against the bread and food contents, they will cook or grill your sandwich. You want non-stick, scratch resistant coated metal plates. The removable plates are the easiest to clean since you can put them right into your dishwasher with minimal cleaning work on your part. The more heat control options on the sandwich maker the more likely you will be able to cook a variety of paninis and sandwiches to your desired levels. The slanted panini grills allow the fatty juices to drain away from your sandwich meaning it should be healthier for you. Some of the higher priced models have timers that will go off when your sandwich is done cooking. You will often hear sandwich grills referred to as "contact grills" and sometimes they will convert into a flat griddle-style piece of cookware. Indoor grilling is no longer dangerous and the foods you can make with these innovative sandwich makers are getting better. The top brand names are Cuisinart, Breville, Breadman, Hamilton Beach, DeLonghi, Krups, Toastmaster, Villware, and West Bend. They range in price from $30 to $100 for home panini makers and well into the $100's for commercial style panini machines and sandwich makers. We looked at reviews from consumers on top sites like Epinions, Amazon.com and Cooking.com to find the best and most popular panini presses and sandwich grills on the market. There is a list of best-selling panini makers here.

Best Panini Grill/Sandwich Press Combo:

The Cuisinart GR-1 Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press ($50) is a top seller on Amazon.com. This panini press is housed in brushed stainless steel and the non-removable grill plates measure 11 by 7 inches and are non-stick. The Cuisinart panini grill has the floating hinge system which allows the machine to adjust and fit sandwiches of almost any size. The preset temperature helps give you quality results each and every time. Owners say the GR-1 sandwich maker consistently produces "crisp and golden brown" grilled cheese and panini sandwiches. The panini machine is easy to use with indicator lights that tell you when it's ready to go. Comes with instructions, a recipe book and a cleaning tool from Cuisinart. The size makes the Cuisinart GR-1 easy to store under the counter and many owners say they use their panini grill more often than they would have ever thought. The Krups PG70 Panini Maker ($85) sells for the slightly more than the Cuisinart but owners say the 1800 watts are what set it apart. The PG70 reaches peak temperature for grilling quicker than the Cuisinart and the adjustable thermostat gives the griller complete control of how they want their panini. .

Best Sandwich Maker:

Both Cooking.com and Amazon rate the DeLonghi CGH800-U Retro Panini Grill ($55) as an excellent sandwich maker and it has won many consumer choice awards. At 1500 watts, this sandwich maker will cook fast and the results are fabulous. Whether you want to make pressed Italian-style sandwiches or cook vegetables, meat, or fish, the DeLonghi panini grill should be considered. The hinged doors adjust allowing thick slices of bread like focaccia and thinner sourdough slices. The non-stick stationary cooking plates are easy to clean and they are slightly slanted to ensure that any excess grease will drain right off. Melts cheese inside grilled cheese sandwiches to perfection. The Breadman TR456 Panini Maker ($40) was mentioned on several sites and the reviews were almost all positive. We did find a few owners that question the overall durability of the Breadman panini maker as compared to a more sturdy one like the DeLonghi.


Budget/Value Panini Press:

For the mone you can't go wrong with the Hamilton Beach 25450 Gourmet Panini Press for $30. Owners say it's a great "value buy" and that it performs quite well. This gourmet sandwich press has the floating hinged lid that let you work with thick and thin slices of bread. The non-stick grids are plenty big enough to handle larger deli-style grilled panini sandwiches. The features are basic with power and preheat lights, a locking lid, and an easy to grab handle.

Commercial Panini Press:

If you run a deli, cafe or small restaurant and want to product panini sandwiches faster for your customers, then we suggest visiting Paninigrills.com. This site offers commercial panini grills from Anvil, Sirman, and Nuova Simonelli. The smaller commercial panini grills are available in 110 volts but you can buy double panini grills with 220V. The surface of the grills are varied with choices like aluminum, cast iron, or aluminum coated with teflon. They range in price from $500 to around $1500 and offer plenty of features to keep your panini sandwiches perfect.