If you're after a cafe-style sandwich without the cafe price tag (and without leaving the comfort of your home), a sandwich press could be just what you're looking for. First you'll have to decide if you want a two- or four-sliced sandwich press or a more traditional jaffle maker.
We've put sandwich presses through their paces in our kitchen lab and here we'll tell you about our test methods.
Our home economist Fiona Mair is a whiz in the kitchen and knows a thing or two about operating any appliance you put in front of her. With over 30 years of experience she's seen lots of new technology enter the kitchen space, and she spends her time at CHOICE regularly testing ovens, cooktops and many other small kitchen appliances. Martha Psiroukis, our other kitchen lab tester, put sandwich presses to the test for our latest review (and CHOICE staff got to eat the results!).
With so many models available, what makes us choose one sandwich press to test over another? As with most of our product testing, our aim is to test the most popular products on the market and what you're most likely to see in stores and online.
We survey manufacturers to find out about their range of models, we check market sales information and we also check for any member requests to test specific models. From this information we put together a final list that goes to our buyers. They then head out to the retailers and buy each product, just as a regular consumer would. We do this so we can be sure the products we get are the same as any consumer would find them and not 'tweaked' in any way for better performance.
We conduct two performance tests for each sandwich press to see how well it can handle various types of bread, cheese and moist fillings.
1. Evenness of toasting
We make a cheese and tomato toastie using thick white sliced bread. This test is based on the Australian Standard AS 1907P-1976, assessing colour and evenness of browning.
2. Evenness of compression
In this test we use thicker-sliced Turkish bread filled with pesto, semi-dried tomatoes, roasted capsicum and eggplant and bocconcini cheese. We assess how evenly each sandwich press can compress.
Ease of use
For ease of use we assess how easy the sandwich presses are to clean, inside and out. We also look at their versatility: are the plates large enough to hold various types of bread? How easy are they to load and unload?
Multi-function models: If the top plate can open flat to 180° to create a larger cooking surface, the sandwich press can be compared to a small balcony BBQ and we conduct our BBQ testing on the product.
The CHOICE Expert Rating (or overall score) is made up of:
- performance (70%)
- ease of use (30%).
We maintain a kitchen lab that is up to date with the latest reference machines and calibrated measurement tools for our testers to bring you the right results.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.