Everyone has their own ideas of what makes the best panini – but how could pairing crispy bread, melty cheese, veggies, and meat ever go wrong?
If you’re dreaming of making your own restaurant-quality paninis at home, you’ll need a reliable panini press that provides even heating and gives your sandwich the grill marks it deserves.
And if you’re feeling really adventurous, some panini presses let you cook other foods like steak, chicken, burgers, and even desserts.
With so many options available, finding the right model can be a challenge.
Luckily, we’re here to help you find a panini press with all the features you want, so keep reading for in-depth information about some of the best panini presses on the market right now.
The 4 Best Panini Presses For 2019
Cuisinart GR-5B Series Griddler Five (Best Overall)
|1800||Element IQ heat sensors|
Cuisinart GR-5B Series Griddler Five
About Cuisinart GR-5B Series Griddler Five
The Cuisinart GR-5B Series Griddler Five is more than just a basic panini press. It has reversible plates that allow you to transform it to a full griddle or open grill, too.
There’s a digital LCD display that shows you the preheat status, temperature, timer, and function. The temperature is adjustable from 175 to 450 degrees, and there’s a sear setting, so you can prepare your food exactly the way you want it.
The plates are nonstick and dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time scrubbing after your meal.
This grill is reasonably priced at around $80, considering the versatility it provides.
The Cuisinart GR-5B Series Griddler Five has a sleek stainless steel design, and it feels very durable. The appliance itself is on the smaller side, so it’s even ideal for kitchens without a lot of counter space.
The interface is simple to use, with a simple on/off button and a knob. Plus, the adjustable temperature settings give you a lot of control.
The grill heats up quickly, and the plates have enough weight to press sandwiches and meat without a lot of effort.
The timer is a good feature, but it doesn’t automatically shut off the grill when the time is up, so you still have to stay close while you’re operating it.
Another issue is that the drip tray doesn’t always catch all of the oil that drips off when you’re cooking foods that have a higher fat content, like bacon.
Overall, if you’re looking for a panini press that lets you cook other things like eggs, burgers, steaks, chicken, or pancakes, this is a great option that gives you a lot of versatility with easy cleanup.
- Fast heating
- Easy cleanup
- Drip tray not always effective
- No automatic shutoff
Hamilton Beach 25460A
About Hamilton Beach 25460A
If you’re looking for a simple, affordable panini press that delivers good results, then the Hamilton Beach 25469A might be worth considering.
This panini press has a small footprint and can be folded and stored in an upright position, making it perfectly at home in a small kitchen.
This press has floating plates that easily adjust to suit the thickness of just about any sandwich, and there’s a green preheat light that lets you know when they’re fully hot and ready to go.
While the heat settings aren’t adjustable and there’s no built-in timer, this press does have a lock that you can use to hold the lid exactly where you want it. This makes it ideal for cooking things like pizza or bruschetta.
The Hamilton Beach Panini Press 25460A is really easy to use. You just plug it in, wait about five minutes for it to heat up, and start cooking your sandwich.
The appliance feels very well-built for only $30, and the chrome finish is nice to look at, too.
The plates get evenly and sufficiently hot enough to cook anything from paninis to steak or chicken, and they’re nonstick and easy to clean.
Something to note is that the plates aren’t tilted and there’s no drip tray, so you can’t easily cook foods with a high fat content on this grill.
One downside of this panini press is that the plates aren’t removable, but that’s not too much of an issue since they’re easy to clean regardless.
Another thing to note is that the plates aren’t tilted and there’s no drip tray, so you can’t easily cook foods with a high fat content on this grill.
Overall, this panini press does a great job at its intended function and consistently delivers evenly-grilled results.
However, if you’re looking for a panini press that offers greater versatility in terms of adjustable heat settings, you might want to check out the other options in this guide.
- Easy to use
- Even heating
- Low price
- Plates not removable
- No timer or adjustable heat settings
Breville Smart Grill
About Breville Smart Grill
The Breville Smart Grill is no ordinary panini press. It uses Element IQ technology with built-in heat sensors that detect colder food and increase the heat when and where you need it for perfectly toasted results.
The Smart Grill is also interchangeable, allowing you to switch from panini press to BBQ mode – an open grill design that’s ideal for steaks and chicken. You can also reverse the plates to a flat side for eggs and pancakes.
Adjustable height control lets you choose from six different heights for almost any type of sandwich, and the adjustable tilt allows you to cook on a flat surface or tilt to drain extra fat.
There are temperature and timer control dials that let you easily control the settings with the turn of a knob, and the LCD screen changes color from blue to orange to let you know when the grill is hot.
The plates have a nonstick coating and are removable and dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
The Breville Smart Grill is a very impressive panini press that gives you a lot of customization options to make the perfect panini, or basically anything else you want to grill or fry.
The grill itself feels very substantial and sturdy, and the brushed stainless exterior combined with the digital interface give it a sleek, modern look.
It’s very easy to use, heats up quickly, and provides consistent results. Cleanup is really easy, too.
There’s not much to complain about with this panini press, other than the fact that the price is quite steep, at almost $260.
- Element IQ heat sensors
- Adjustable plates
- Sturdy design
Oster Titanium Infused DuraCeramic Panini Maker & Grill
About Oster Titanium Infused DuraCeramic Panini Maker & Grill
The Oster Titanium Infused DuraCeramic Panini Maker & Grill is designed with a unique nonstick ceramic coating that’s scratch-resistant and lasts eight times longer than traditional nonstick surfaces.
While this is a relatively inexpensive option, it comes with some features that aren’t typically included for its price range, like an adjustable tilt and temperature control settings.
The floating plates allow you to fit most types of sandwiches, or you can open it up flat to grill meats and vegetables.
You’ll also get a cleaning tool and two drip cups that you can use to catch any excess fat or liquid while cooking.
The Oster Titanium Infused DuraCeramic Panini Maker & Grill is an excellent affordable option if you’re looking for a PFOA and PTFE-free nonstick grill.
The plates are very easy to clean even though they aren’t removable, and they don’t scratch or peel even after numerous uses and cleaning sessions.
The grill heats quickly and cooks food fast, but sometimes food slides out of the press when it’s tilted, unless you tend to it frequently.
Other than that, this panini press is a good deal at only $30. It offers more versatility than others in this price range, and it’s very durable.
- Low price
- Adjustable temperature
- PFOA and PTFE-free plates
- Floating plates don’t always hold food in place
- No timer
The Best Panini Press for 2019
Finding the right panini press ultimately comes down to which features you want, and the one that delivers the best performance for the price is the Cuisinart GR-5B Series Griddler Five.
Furthermore, it offers a ton of versatility and different grilling options combined with fast heating.
If you’re looking for a more inexpensive option that will give you years of performance, the Oster Titanium Infused DuraCeramic Panini Maker & Grill is a great choice. The adjustable settings and durable plates provide a lot of extra value for the price.
Regardless of the one you choose, all of the panini presses in this guide can provide you with excellent results.
Writer and Product Researcher
Spending the last 10 years researching and writing about various home, garden and electronics topics, Shelley is more than qualified to write for Meccano Home. Her work has been featured on eBay, Pottery Barn, SFGate, TheKnot, Williams-Sonoma and various other blogs and websites.