This Cult-Favorite Panini Press Is Only $33 — Plus 6 Other Highly-Rated Sandwich Makers On Amazon

Sandwich toaster with toast closeup

Being able to make your own delectably warm sandwiches at home can feel like a culinary luxury. Fortunately, the best sandwich makers can help you craft a variety of crispy concoctions with minimal effort and a minimal price tag. With just the press of a heated plate, your toasted sandwich will be ready in minutes.

To help you figure out the best sandwich maker to buy, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Lid Design

Traditional sandwich makers feature a top or lid that you physically press down on to cook thick sandwiches — like paninis. For more versatility (and a little more money), you can also find models with a floating lid that can open up to a full 180 degrees flat. Not only does this give you double the cooking surface to make open-faced sandwiches, but you can also use your gadget as an indoor grill or griddle for meats, veggies, or pancakes.

Plate Style

Depending on what kind of creations you plan on making, the type of hot plate texture or shape you need can vary. If you just want to make the perfect ham sammie, a simple flat-plated device will suffice. Panini presses will have griddle plates that leave toasty lines, and for those who prefer a "pocket" style with extra fillings, plates with triangular indentations will help make a seal around the edges, keeping everything in place. There are even round-plate versions dedicated to breakfast lovers.

Once you're done enjoying your meal, you'll find that cleaning most of these is a cinch thanks to nonstick plates — just wipe them down once they've cooled off. For even less maintenance, look for models with removable and dishwasher-safe plates.

With that in mind, scroll to find my round-up of the seven best toasted sandwich makers. Your delicious lunch is just a press away!

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The Best Panini Press

Cooking surface: 10 x 8 inches (length x width)

The floating lid of the Hamilton Beach panini press will evenly grill sandwiches of any thickness when pressed down or can be locked in place to hover above if you want a little top heat for open-faced sandwiches. Plug in to start preheating and a green light will let you know when the press is hot enough for cookings. Though the nonstick plates are not removable, reviewers are impressed with how easy they are to clean, with one writing, "even if a little cheese oozes out, it wipes right off with a paper towel. Nothing sticks to the surface at all." The sandwich maker is popular with home chefs, garnering more that 4,100 Amazon reviews. Apart from the cheerful red, the panini press is available in stainless steel and chrome finishes.

Fan praise: "I love everything about this product!! The candy apple red color is my favorite and it is so quick and easy to use! Just plug in for on and unplug for off, doesn't get any easier than that! I use a little olive oil spray on the bottom grill and sandwich top and so far my sandwiches are awesome! Great product and beautiful addition to my countertop. Highly recommend to everyone!!"


The Best Sandwich Maker & Indoor Grill In One

Cooking surface: 9 x 11 inches, each plate

The Cuisinart Griddler Five has the same 5-in-1 cooking capability as its iconic predecessor, but with an updated sleek stainless steel look and an updated LCD digital display. The reversible cooking plates and floating cover can be reconfigured to work as a panini press, a contact grill, full or half grill, and full or half griddle.

The removable nonstick plates pop out in seconds with the press of a button and are dishwasher safe. The display has digital controls for setting a cooking timer and the temperature, ranging from 175 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The Griddler comes with a dishwasher-safe scraper to clean up and hardened cheese and has an integrated drip tray to catch any grease that pulls out easily and can be tossed in the dishwasher with the plates once you're done.

Fan praise: "This definitely helped me step up my cooking game. Hamburgers, quesadillas, sandwiches/paninis, hot dogs, sausages galore. Doesn’t make a mess and is easy to control with the digital screen. Makes me food look picture perfect and is super easy to clean. Well worth the price."


The Best Breakfast Sandwich Maker

Cooking surface: 4-inch diameter round plates

With this breakfast sandwich maker you could make two warm egg and cheese bagels or English muffins in five minutes. The gadget has three separate stacked rings, so you can configure your breakfast how you want it. Once you put your ingredients in, just close the lid and wait. The recommended cooking time is four to five minutes, but you can also set the timer in 30-second increments. The egg stays separate during cooking, but once ready just slide out the bottom divider under the egg so it rest on top of your bottom slice of bread.

The round plates limit your bread choices to bagels, English muffins, and rounder slices of bread, but several reviewers love using small, flaky croissants as well. The cooking surfaces are nonstick and the the removable plates are dishwasher safe. This breakfast maker has nearly 6,000 (and counting) perfect five-star reviews and also comes in a compact, single-sandwich version.

Fan praise: "This has been a lifesaver for my husband and I in the morning. When I start the coffee pot, I plug in the Breakfast maker too so it has a chance to warm up. By the time the coffee is ready, this is preheated. I LOVE that there is a timer on the machine so you can set it and forget it until the timer goes off. The sandwiches come out perfect, always."


The Best Pocket Sandwich Maker

Cooking surface: Fits around 4.5 x 4.5-inch bread slices

This Cuisinart pocket sandwich maker browns and seals two sandwiches with a diagonal indentation for slicing each in half. The hollow form of the plates creates room for fillings, just don't overdo it with the cheese so you don't end up with a mess to clean up.

This popular maker is super simple to use and starts heating up as soon as it's plugged in (a green light lets you know when it's preheated). The locking lid assures that top and bottom grilling plates get equally heated up and once done another indicator light will trigger. The nonstick plates are not removable, though reviewers suggest spraying with cooking oil. Afterward, wipe down with a kitchen towel once the sandwich maker has cooled down.

Fan praise: "Love this toastie machine have put different types of bread and all come out perfect. If you butter both sides of the bread you get a deeper brown toasted color. I've used cheese, ham, tomatoes all without any problem. Going to get another one for the office."


The Best Oversized Panini Press

Cooking surface: 13 x 9 inches (length x width)

The extra-large grill surface of the Oster panini maker is big enough for two-foot-long sandwiches (or six hamburgers). The floating hinge system adjusts for different sandwiches or meat thicknesses, and the press opens 110 degrees so you can melt the cheese on top of open-faced sandwiches or pizzas. The PFOA and PTFE-free plates cook faster thanks to DuraCeramic nonstick ceramic coating. The temperature adjustment dial gives you options to choose low to high heat (though the manufacturer does not specify what the exact temperature equivalents are). A drip tray catches grease and the grill has adjustable legs that can be tilted to collected the grease better.

Though the plates aren't removable, the manufacturer suggests cleaning the grill plates with a damp cloth, sponge, or paper towel.

Fan praise: "This press is great! It's easy to clean and it is large enough to fit 4 full-size sammies at the same time. One tip though, they must all be the same size so the press works evenly. I also use it to grill chicken satay and burgers. For the money I do not think you can beat it."


The Best Grilled Cheese Maker

Cooking surface: 16 x 11 inches (length x width)

If you're primarily interested in finding a kitchen tool that makes great grilled cheese sandwiches, then you can't go wrong with this Proctor Silex sandwich maker. The compact, stainless steel grill fits two regular bread slices, side by side, and thanks to a floating lid it can press sandwiches up to 3-inches thick. To use, just plug it in, and the sandwich maker will start preheating. From there, grilling takes just a couple of minutes. The nonstick, ceramic plates are not removable but can be wiped clean with a cloth or kitchen towel. One reviewer recommends wrapping the sandwich in grease-proof paper to eliminate the need to clean altogether.

Fan praise: "This works so quickly! It takes less than two minutes for a sandwich to be grilled to perfection. And the insides are more warm and melty than when you make grilled sandwiches in a pan."


A Fun Sandwich Maker That Doesn't Require Electricity

Cooking surface: 4.5-inch diameter round plates

The Diablo makes small, toasted sandwiches right on your gas or electric stovetop. Stack fillings between two slices of bread and press the two plates together and place it over your heat source. It only takes a few minutes on each side to get a perfectly toasted sandwich. The Diablo has a heat-proof handle and is dishwasher safe. Amazon reviewers report successfully using the tool with regular bread, pita bread, and even tortillas. The lightweight cooking tool would be great for camping too!

Fan praise: "I LOVE IT! Bought it as a present for my dad but I've pretty much taken it on as my own! I love making toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in here! It's super easy to use and clean up..."