Tools & Gadgets

10 Best Panini Presses of 2020

Best Panini Press

A panini press is used to grill panini and sandwiches. In fact, a panini is, essentially, a sandwich made by using Italian bread.

However, panini has evolved to mean grilled sandwich especially in English cultures. Whatever the case, making a great sandwich requires and equally great panini grill.

You want a grill that cooks evenly, is wide enough to accommodate two or more sandwiches, and has an adjustable hinge for those monster sandwiches.

Read further to discover the best press for all your grilling needs, and budget, from out top 10 panini press review and detailed buying guide.

You can also read other product reviews of cookie press, tortilla press.

10 Best Panini Presses – Review

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Cuisinart GR-5B

1. Cuisinart GR-5B

(5-in-1)

  • Digital adjustable temperature control
  • Large 11 x 9 inches grill surfaces
  • 5-in-1 cooking options
  • Removal grill plates
Breville BSG520XL

2. Breville BSG520XL (Top Rated)

  • Flat bottom grilling plate
  • Ridged upper grilling plate
  • Floating hinges with height adjustment
  • Non-stick grilling surface
Hamilton Beach 25460A

3. Hamilton Beach 25460A (Best Compact)

  • Opens 180 degrees (flat)
  • Locking upper lid
  • Floating lid for height adjustment
  • Ridged upper and lower plates
George Foreman GRP4842P

4. George Foreman GRP4842P (Best with Removable Plates)

  • Digital adjustable temperature control 
  • 3-in-1 grill
  • High heat-searing blast
  • Multi-layer ceramic non-stick coating
Hamilton Beach 25462Z

5. Hamilton Beach 25462Z (Best Gourmet Sandwich Maker)

  • Floating lid with height adjustment
  • Lid lock feature
  • A large, non-stick cooking surface
  • Upright storage
IMUSA USA GAU-80102

6. IMUSA USA GAU-80102 (Best Ridge-Free)

  • Flat grill surfaces
  • Ridge-free for easy cleaning
  • Adjustable cooking height
  • Power and temperature indicators
Cuisinart GR-1

7. Cuisinart GR-1 (Best Sandwich Panini Press)

  • Drain spout for grease removal
  • Intuitive power/temperature indicators
  • Instruction book and setup book
  • Brushed stainless steel exterior
Lodge LPP3

8. Lodge LPP3 (Best Budget)

  • Cast iron panini press
  • Single cast handle and press
  • Seasoned at foundry
  • Compatible with skillet, grills, and griddles
Chef Buddy 80-KIT1019

9. Chef Buddy 80-KIT1019 (Good Panini Press)

  • Adjustable temperature control
  • Extendable dual cooking surfaces
  • Advanced grease channeling system
  • Easy-to-clean non-stick surfaces
Oster CKSTPM20W-ECO

10. Oster CKSTPM20W-ECO (Best Ceramic Panini Press)

  • DuraCeramic non-stick surface
  • Flake and peel resistance
  • 30% faster cooking
  • Adjustable feet, and drip cups

PRODUCT

1. Cuisinart GR-5B 

( 5-in-1)

Cuisinart GR-5B
  • Digital adjustable temperature control
  • Large 11 x 9 inches grill surfaces
  • 5-in-1 cooking options
  • Removal grill plates

2. Breville BSG520XL

 (Top Rated)

Breville BSG520XL
  • Flat bottom grilling plate
  • Ridged upper grilling plate
  • Floating hinges with height adjustment
  • Non-stick grilling surface

3. Hamilton Beach 25460A

 (Best Compact)

Hamilton Beach 25460A
  • Opens 180 degrees (flat)
  • Locking upper lid
  • Floating lid for height adjustment
  • Ridged upper and lower plates

4. George Foreman GRP4842P 

(Best with Removable Plates)

George Foreman GRP4842P
  • Digital adjustable temperature control 
  • 3-in-1 grill
  • High heat-searing blast
  • Multi-layer ceramic non-stick coating

5. Hamilton Beach 25462Z 

(Best Gourmet Sandwich Maker)

Hamilton Beach 25462Z
  • Floating lid with height adjustment
  • Lid lock feature
  • A large, non-stick cooking surface
  • Upright storage

6. IMUSA USA GAU-80102 

(Best Ridge-Free)

IMUSA USA GAU-80102
  • Flat grill surfaces
  • Ridge-free for easy cleaning
  • Adjustable cooking height
  • Power and temperature indicators

7. Cuisinart GR-1 

(Best Sandwich Panini Press)

Cuisinart GR-1
  • Drain spout for grease removal
  • Intuitive power/temperature indicators
  • Instruction book and setup book
  • Brushed stainless steel exterior

8. Lodge LPP3 

(Best Budget)

Lodge LPP3
  • Cast iron panini press
  • Single cast handle and press
  • Seasoned at foundry
  • Compatible with skillet, grills, and griddles

9. Chef Buddy 80-KIT1019 

(Good)

Chef Buddy 80-KIT1019
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • Extendable dual cooking surfaces
  • Advanced grease channeling system
  • Easy-to-clean non-stick surfaces

10. Oster CKSTPM20W-ECO 

(Best Ceramic Panini Press)

Oster CKSTPM20W-ECO
  • DuraCeramic non-stick surface
  • Flake and peel resistance
  • 30% faster cooking
  • Adjustable feet, and drip cups

1. Cuisinart GR-5B – 5-in-1 Panini Machine

Cuisinart GR-5B

Photo: Cuisinart

  • Grill plate size: 11 x 9 inches
  • Temperature control: Digital adjustable

Cuisinart GR-5B is the best and most advanced panini machine on our list with its 5-in-1 cooking options.

It boasts of a digital temperature control interface, which includes a temperature and timer display. Using the feature, you have the freedom to adjust the press’s temperature, whose range is 175-450 degrees Fahrenheit.

This model is the 5-in-1 option, which means makes it a panini press, contact grill, full grill/full griddle, and half griddle/half grill.

Temperature control is not just about being fancy. The presence of this feature actually means you can grill or experiment with grilling so many kinds of foods including panini, burgers, sandwiches, meats, and many more.

And if you thought you’d be dealing with a mess after all the grilling, the press’s cooking plates are removal and dishwasher safe. Cleaning them doesn’t get any easier than that.

No other press comes close to the Cuisinart GR-5B and its arsenal of features and multiple uses. It will, however, set you back slightly more in cost compared to other presses.

Pros:

  • Digital adjustable temperature control
  • 5-in-1 cooking options
  • Many grilling/pressing choices
  • Removable grill plates for easy cleaning
  • Plates are dishwasher safe

Cons:

  • Steep price compared to other presses

2. Breville BSG520XL – Top Rated Panini Machine

Breville BSG520XL

Photo: Breville

  • Grill plate size: 11.25 x 7.75 inches
  • Temperature control: Preset

The highest-rated press on our list deserves all the honors because of its ability to offer all the practical must-have features while maintaining simplicity.

First, its bottom cooking plate is flat while the upper one is ridged. The flat design promotes even and thorough cooking while the ridged one creates those grill marks you love.

It has a floating hinge with four height settings. You can comfortably grill both large and small paninis and sandwiches. The floating hinge also helps to equalize pressure on both thick and thin food item.

Its surfaces are made of non-stick scratch-resistant Quantanium. Cleaning the surface is as easy as wiping it with a damp cloth, preferably as soon as you are done using it. 

That said, we did note that Breville BSG520XL’s cooking plates are non-removable, but they are still easy to clean.

Its temperature control is also preset, unlike that of the Cuisinart GR-5B, but that doesn’t mean you have no control over the process. This panini press has integrated ‘On/Off’ ‘Power' and 'Ready' Lights to help you monitor your grilling.

Pros:

  • Flat bottom plate for even cooking
  • Ridged upper plate for aesthetic grill marks
  • Floating hinge with height adjustment
  • Non-stick surface for easy cleaning.

Cons:

  • Cooking plates are non-removable
  • No temperature adjustment

3. Hamilton Beach 25460A – Best Compact Panini Press

Hamilton Beach 25460A

Photo: Hamilton Beach

  • Grill plate size: 10 x 8 inches
  • Temperature control: Preset

You will love the Hamilton Beach 25460A not just because it is compact, but it can also expand to accommodate large sandwiches because it opens 180 degrees.

It will not press panini only. It can grill steak, chicken, and even burgers. When you want to eat pizza without ruining its toppings, simply lock the upper lid to suspend its cooking plate on top of the food to a desirable height.

Don’t worry about the size of a sandwich you can press because the café-style floating lid can accommodate the different size, even large ones.

Both the top and bottom heating grids on this panini press are ridged. You can make those brown and crispy sandwiches without having to flip them.

Compactness is made possible by its upright storage design, which is lacking in many of its rivals. It can fit in narrow spaces on countertops or in kitchen cabinets.

The Hamilton Beach 25460A does promote compact storage unlike other brands, but you can’t remove the cooking plates for cleaning.

Pros:

  • Opens 180 degrees for additional space
  • Locking upper lid for controlled grilling
  • Floating lid for height control
  • Ridged upper and lower plates
  • Upright compact storage design 

Cons:

  • Non-removable cooking plates

4. George Foreman GRP4842P  Best Panini Press with Removable Plates

George Foreman GRP4842P

Photo: George Foreman

  • Grill plate size: 11 x 8 inches
  • Temperature control: Digital adjustable

The George Foreman GRP4842P is another pressing and grilling beast with digital temperature control and removable ceramic grilling plates.

It is a 3-in-1 grill. It can grill, press panini, and make waffles. With its advanced Evolve Grid System, you can also grill chicken, steak, burgers, and even veggies.

Another feature you will love is the 500 Searing Burst, which raises the grill’s temperature to 500 degrees Fahrenheit in 90 seconds.

Wondering about the grilling plates? They are covered with a multi-layer non-stick ceramic coating. Not only do they improve the ease of cleaning, but they also help minimize the amount of butter or oil you use on the pan.

Also, the grill plates are easily removable using cool-touch release feature, which promotes easy handling of the plates even if they are warm.

Enjoying all these advanced features on the George Foreman GRP4842P does come at a steep price as this is the most expensive panini press on our list. However, to some, it is definitely worth every penny.

Pros:

  • Digital adjustable temperature control
  • 3-in-1 grill
  • Has a high-heat searing blast
  • The multi-layer ceramic non-stick coating on plates
  • Removable grill plates

Cons:

  • Pricey compared to other panini presses

5. Hamilton Beach 25462Z – Best Gourmet Sandwich Maker

Hamilton Beach 25462Z

Photo: Hamilton Beach

  • Grill plate size: 10 x 8 inches
  • Temperature control: Preset

Hamilton Beach 25462Z is a close relative of the other panini press reviewed earlier on our list. It is a top gourmet sandwich maker.

Its floating lid allows you to make sandwiches of any thickness because it is easily adjustable.

If you just want to heat your bruschetta or pizza, you can use the lid lock feature to adjust the upper plate such that it does not come into contact with the toppings.

A generous cooking surface of 10 x 8 inches provides you with adequate room for large or many sandwiches.

The panini press's cooking surfaces have non-stick coatings to reduce the mess created when grilling your favorite sandwiches or paninis.

With upright storage capabilities such as those of the Hamilton xxx, the press becomes compact enough to fit in your kitchen cabinets.

Although the Hamilton Beach 25462Z boasts of upright storage and many other valuable features, its grilling plates are non-removable so their cleaning experience may not appeal to many.

Pros:

  • Floating lid accommodates large sandwiches
  • Lid lock feature for heating food
  • The large, non-stick cooking surface
  • Upright storage. 

Cons:

  • Non-removable grilling plate

6. IMUSA USA GAU-80102 – Best Ridge-Free Panini Press

IMUSA USA GAU-80102

Photo: IMUSA 

  • Grill plate size: 12 x 10 inches
  • Temperature control: Preset

IMUSA USA GAU-80102 stands out from the rest of the pack because of the absence of ridges on its grilling surface.

That’s right. The upper and lower cooking plates are both flat.

You could think of this press as belonging to the griddle category, but whatever the case, it guarantees that your sandwiches don’t come out with grills marks if you won’t miss them.

Even cooking is enhanced by flat surfaces. In fact, the absence of ridges makes for easy cleaning because its unlikely things like melted cheese will get stuck on the surface.

This model comes with floating hinges that allow for adjusting of cooking heights. Whether you’re grilling large or small paninis, sandwiches, meats, and even vegetables, this feature takes away all the stress.

Its design is neat and simplistic. A stainless-steel outer surface gives it a classy look and feel.

There are also power and heat indicator lights which help to make the grilling experience more intuitive.

IMUSA USA GAU-80102 is definitely the leader of flat grilling surface presses, but it does not come with a temperature control option. Also, grilling plates are non-removable.

Pros:

  • Flat cooking surfaces for even cooking
  • Easy cleaning due to the absence of ridges
  • Adjustable cooking height
  • Power and temperature indicators 

Cons:

  • No temperature control option
  • Non-removable grill plates

7. Cuisinart GR-1 – Best Sandwich Panini Press

Cuisinart GR-1

Photo: Cuisinart

  • Grill plate size: 11 x 7 inches
  • Temperature control: Preset

Another one from the class of floating lid presses, Cuisinart GR-1 is the best sandwich panini press with its focus on healthy and crispy grilling.

If you constantly worry about the grease that may accumulate and make your food unhealthy, a drain spout is included to drain it away.

To make intuitive uses of its preset temperature, the panini press has “power-on" and "ready-to-cook" indicators to alert you on the machine's current state.

An illustrative instruction book is included to help you get started with panini press as fast as possible.

For ease of cleaning, the cooking plates have a non-stick coating on their surfaces. A free cleaning tool simplifies the process even further.

The panini press adds a touch of elegance through its brushed stainless-steel housing. It blends in perfectly with other kitchen and baking equipment.

Cuisinart GR-1 may be the best sandwich panini presses, but its grilling plates are non-removable so your cleaning options are limited to hand washing.

Pros:

  • Drain spout to remove grease
  • Intuitive power/temperature indicators
  • Instructions book and setup guide
  • Attractive brushed stainless-steel housing

Cons:

  • Non-removable grilling plates

8. Lodge LPP3 – Best Budget Panini Press

Lodge LPP3

Photo: Lodge

  • Grill plate size: 8.25 x 8.25 inches
  • Temperature control: None

Lodge LPP3 is the best and only panini press on our list made of cast iron. It outshines its competition because of the so many things it can do.

The panini press and its handles are cast as a single peace for cooking that service that lasts a lifetime.

The panini press is not only ribbed, but it is also seasoned with oil at the foundry. This type of seasoning tends to be superior to home seasoning.

You save plenty of time became seasoning is already done for you.

This panini press is also handy in expelling excess fats to produce delicious low-fat delicacies. It also promotes even heat distribution and cooking.

It is also the most affordable panini press on our list at less than $20.

Pros:

  • Single cast handle and press for durability
  • Seasoned at foundry
  • Can be used with skillet, grills, and griddles
  • Affordable compared to the competition

Cons:

  • Not electric
  • Won't fit perfectly on square skillets and pans

9. Chef Buddy 80-KIT1019 – Good Panini Press

Chef Buddy 80-KIT1019

Photo: Chef Buddy

  • Grill plate size: 9.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Temperature control: Manual adjustable

Chef Buddy 80-KIT1019 is a good panini press. You will love it for its adjustable heat function that gives you full control over grilling temperatures.

It may look small at first glance, but it's adjustable hinges actually make it possible to extend the grilling surface by 180 degrees. This feature enables to double the 9.5 x 9.5-inch grilling surfaces.

An advanced grease channeling system helps to degrees the amount of grease and fats from your foods while they cook, making them healthier and crispier.

The grease catchers, combined with a cleaning spatula, help to cut down on the non-stick surfaces cleaning time and effort.

It comes with an elegant brushed steel outer surface, which boosts its aesthetic appeal while blending in perfectly with your other kitchen equipment.

The adjustable temperature control and advanced grease channeling system make the Chef Buddy 80-KIT1019 a good panini press, but its non-removable grilling plates mean you can only clean them using your hands.

Pros:

  • Adjustable temperature control
  • Extendable for dual cooking surfaces
  • Advanced grease channeling system
  • Easy to clean non-stick surfaces
  • Elegant finish 

Cons:

  • Non-removable grilling plates

10. Oster CKSTPM20W-ECO – Best Ceramic Panini Press

Oster CKSTPM20W-ECO

Photo: Oster

  • Grill plate size: 10.75 x 6.5 inches
  • Temperature control: Manual adjustable

Oster CKSTPM20W-ECO is the best ceramic panini press because its non-stick grilling surfaces are made of titanium-Infused DuraCeramic non-stick coating.

The coating is resistant to flaking and peeling. The superior grilling surface also boasts of cooking 30% faster and lasting 8 times longer than other panini presses.

It opens 1800 (flat) to make two grilling surfaces that provide additional space for sandwiches, meats or veggies.

A neat feature you’ll love is its adjustable feet, which tilt the panini press so that excess grease and fats can flow away. 2 drip cups are included to catch the stray liquids and grease.

You will grill and cook with confidence and not have to worry about creating ugly messes that will be stressful to clean.

It also comes with an adjustable heat control to feature that provides you with the flexibility you need while grilling different items.

Oster CKSTPM20W-ECO is the best ceramic panini press on our list, but just like many of the others, its grilling plates are non-removable, which means you can them by hand only.

Pros:

  • Premium DuraCeramic non-stick surface
  • Resistant to flaking and pealing
  • Cooks 30% faster and lasts 8 times longer
  • Adjustable feet and drip cups for grease control

Cons:

  • Grilling plates are non-removable

How to Buy the Best Panini Press

How to Buy the Best Panini Press

Photo: Breville

1. Fixed or Removable Cooking Plate

Removing cooking plates are loved by many because they simplify the cleaning process.

If a plate is removable, it is likely to be dishwasher safe as well. Therefore, a panini press with such plates should be your first choice.

Having a panini press with non-removable cooking plates shouldn’t dampen your grilling spirits. All of the surfaces we have reviewed have a non-stick coating that is easy to clean.

You simply wash the surface with a moist cloth. The trick, however, is to clean the grilling plates immediately after you’re done cooking to prevent grease and other fats from sticking and accumulating.

2. Floating Hinge

The floating hinge is a genius feature designed to take care of a major concern most people who grill have: the height of the sandwich or panini that the press can accommodate.

This type of hinge allows you to adjust the height of the upper grill plate to accommodate sandwiches of different heights.

It also comes in handy when you want to heat up your pizza pieces without ruining their toppings. Simply adjust the hinge so that it comes close enough to the pizza without touching it.

Even though most panini presses have adjustable hinges, you can still find many high-quality ones without this feature, if you don’t need it.

3. Heating Zone

This feature may not be as obvious as the others, but it makes a whole lot difference when grilling. Heating zones are the surfaces on which you place your sandwiches for grilling.

The ideal panini press has two of these, which means you can grill both the upper and lower surfaces of the panini, sandwich, burgers, meats and many others.

A panini press with dual heating zones saves you the trouble and energy of constantly turning your foods during grilling.

Presses with a single heating zone also do a good grilling job, so don’t disapprove them altogether. They’ll probably consume more power and make it easy to clean.

4. Temperature Control

No one wants overcooked or burned sandwiches. You want to be able to control or at least monitor the heat being transferred to your food through the grill plates.

Worry not for most panini presses have this concern in check with their temperature control features.

The most advanced panini press will come with a digital temperature control panel, which you can use to adjust the cooking temperature within a given range.

An alternative to the digital control feature is a manual one, which does the same job minus all the fanciness.

These two options do cost a premium so if you’re on a budget, get a panini press with preset temperatures, power ‘On/Off’, and heat indicators to help you monitor the grilling process.

5. Material

The material used on the grill plates is a very important consideration, not just for users, but also for panini press manufacturers.

Luckily, the standard for panini press machines is to use non-stick material on these surfaces. The highest-rated non-stick material is ceramic.

Non-stick is valuable in so many ways, including the prevention of grilled foods from sticking on the grilling plates.

They also make the cleaning process easy because there won’t be a lot of debris stuck on the surface. However, it's wise to avoid scrubbing the surface to avoid the risk of peeling or flaking.

6. Accessories

Many panini presses do not typically come with additional accessories, but those that include them tend to focus on simplifying the grilling and cleaning process.

Hence, you are likely to find some drain spouts that channel away excess grease from the sandwiches, burgers, and other items you may be grilling. Grease catchers also do a similar job.

A cleaning spatula is another common accessory, which you can use to lightly scrape off the debris left on the grill plates by the foods you prepare.

Conclusion

Getting the right panini press can transform how you grill your, panini, sandwiches, meats, burgers, and burger.

Our guide takes you through the most important factors to consider before making your purchase.

Remember to check for floating hingers, non-stick grilling surface, the number of heating zones, temperature control features, and removable/non-removable plates, then pick the one that best meets your preferences.

Our top 10 panini press review and buying guide is a good place to start your search for the best ones.

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