There are a lot of tasks in the kitchen that are just straight up a pain in the butt. Who wants to mince a dozen cloves of garlic or shred six pounds of pork with some weak little forks? We could do it ourselves, but we like to treat ourselves to some fancy kitchen gadgets to simplify some particularly painful tasks.
Or, at least, we’d like to, but it’s surprisingly hard to find gadgets worth their weight (and price). We had an easier time finding the exact kind of accessories we don’t want in our kitchen. Here are the worst offenders.
These are pretty infamous and for good reason: They’re Wolverine claws you use to rip and tear barbecued meat.
It makes sense in theory. At some point, we’ve all wanted to be like Wolverine (or at least like Hugh Jackman), and shredding meat can be labor-intensive.
In reality, though, these don’t come with any advantages over a pair of forks or a set of tongs. It’s an awkward motion since we don’t use our fists for specific movements. Our hands are now right up in the meat and its grease, and the second that grease gets on the handles, those claws are now rolling back and forth in our hands and we can’t get a firm grip.
Heck, even their ads aren’t entirely sure what they’re good for.
They can be used to…hold a watermelon? The same thing you can do with, you know, your hand.
They can toss a salad! Just like you can do with a pair of forks or a big spoon or tongs or a dozen other things already in your kitchen that’ll let you mix the salad without getting your knuckles covered in dressing.
The Automatic Dish Scrubber
This is just something special.
As far as we can tell, it’s just an automatic dish scrubber. We think. We can’t really understand the diagram that explains what every part of it is.
It comes with a diagram of its parts that goes from A to M. There are 13 separate things that needed labeling on this thing. For a brush to scrub dishes.
It looks more like an alien probe than anything we’d want near our dishes. If the idea of trusting this monstrosity to clean your plates/not rip your fingers off, the price might: $79.99.
The Nostalgia Retro 3-In-1 Family Breakfast Station
Ever made your family a classic breakfast of eggs, bacon, coffee, and toast, only to realize you don’t have a stove, pan, coffee maker, toaster, or the ability to more than one thing at a time? Then maybe you’re the audience for the Breakfast Station.
This behemoth has a griddle on top with a toaster oven and drip coffee maker on the bottom so you can make breakfast without moving a single step or turning your head. This might be great if you’ve got more counter space than common sense, but you’re going to have a much better time with just a single induction burner.
For the $65 you’d pay for the Station, you could get the burner and a frying pan that’d let you cook more than breakfast (and that you could clean, transport easily, and have an easier time using). Leave the past in the past.
Fruits and Vegetables Slicer
First of all, yikes and ouch.
Second of all, this is a perfect example of a recurring theme of crummy kitchen gadgets. It does something you can do just as easily with a knife or fork, but it does it three times instead of just once. Or it does it four times. It comes with some promise to save time or have consistent cuts or make your life easier, but the reality is always disappointing.
Save the half second it’d take to make two more cuts, lose the 15 seconds it takes to try to clean between narrow blades. In this case, it’d involve trying to clear mashed up banana remnants from this thing — something way harder than slicing an already soft fruit. You can use a spoon to cut a banana! Don’t use this thing. Unless you’re clipping a cigar, you’re going to have a better, cleaner, and safer time with a knife.
The Garbage Bowl
Spoiler alert, it’s a bowl. For scraps. And it’s more than $10 for basically a cereal bowl.
Again, it kind of makes sense in theory. A dedicated bowl for scraps, you make a lot of those when you’re prepping a bunch of vegetables, right?
But it’s still just a bowl. It’s weirdly tall, so any moist garlic or onion skin you put in it is going to require some digging with a utensil to get it out. It’s got a rubberized bottom so it won’t slip around, but unless you’re throwing pepper stems like fastballs, it won’t really help you. Just use a bowl. Or cup. Or the bag the veggies came in. Or the chopping board once you’ve transferred the prepped food. Anything but this bowl.
At least we can say it lives up to its name.
The Chefast Herb Scissors Set
Like we just said with the bananas, this is a time-waster with fake promises of efficiency. It’s just three pairs of scissors connected to one another.
Plus, with these scissors, there’s no real way to sharpen them, meaning you’re going to end up tearing and crushing your nice herbs. At least you can use the included blade comb to clean it when mashed herbs get jammed between the blades. There isn’t really anything else you can use the comb for (unless you’ve got really stiff hair, we guess) except as a cover…for a closed pair (triumvirate?) of scissors.
They’re herbs. If you’re using fresh ones, you’ve probably got a decent knife you can use to cut them to your preferred size. Heck, you can just use a pair of kitchen shears three times and be done with it. Three times the scissors, three times the waste.
Perfect Kitchen Utensil Handheld Round Tomato-Potato-Onion Slicer Chopper Fruits-Vegetables Cutter Gadget
The name isn’t great, but then again, neither is the product.
It’s basically a little vegetable holder with cutouts so you can cut straight slices that are the same size. It’s also got the magical property of making you clean another utensil after you take care of veggie prep. There’s no real reason to worry about making sure your slices are exactly the same size and shape and cut. If your tomatoes aren’t slicing properly, sharpen your knife.
If you really want consistent slices for some reason (maybe you’re making ratatouille from the movie Ratatouille, AKA confit byaldi), then you’re much better off using the actually-useful-in-a-kitchen mandoline.
It’s a windmill-type device that you jab into your already-sliced-open watermelon. The whirling plastic blade segments the watermelon into rectangles that then get pushed on to the metal tray. The selling point seems to be the consistent sizes of watermelon.
Again, there’s a pattern with these devices. They’re hard to clean, only operate in extremely limited situations (you can’t use it near the rounded edges, only on the flat stretches), and take way more time and effort than if you just used a knife. Heck, a dull knife would work just as well here. You’re already slicing the melon in half, so why not make the extra few slices?
Even though watermelon is mostly water, it’s still got sugar, fiber, pulp, and seeds that you’ll need to clean out of the nooks and crannies of the whirling watermelon waster. We’ll stick to simply slicing.