It’s amazing the improvement that can be had from biting into the perfect toastie, compared to toasting two bits of bread and putting some filling in the middle. And better still, the toastie from a sandwich maker is perfectly sealed so the fillings don’t fall out and you get that delicious crunch around the outside.
Toasted sandwich makers have moved on since the days they were just for making a basic cheese toastie. Now they come laden with additional features, and the combination of flavours and textures possible are limited only by your imagination.
Here, we round up the seven best toasted sandwich makers, including ones that offer great value, a stylish addition to your kitchen counter or a wide array of settings.
See more: Best toaster – top two- and four-slice models for perfect toast and crumpets
Best sandwich maker
With the Griddler Elite, the question to ask is what can’t it do. This electric grill boasts six cooking functions and can tackle any task with its ability to grill, griddle, half grill, half griddle, panini press, and top-melt sandwiches, meats and other items. So if you fancy some French toast, chicken and vegetables or a panini, this is the ideal machine. The Griddler Elite’s sleek, brushed stainless steel will also look the part on any counter.
There’s a large grilling surface of 240 square inches across both plates, so you can easily griddle a couple of steaks and eggs, or two generous sandwiches at the same time.
With the dual-zone temperature control, shown on the LCD, you can take advantage of the two plates to cook separate items at different temperatures, griddling an egg on one plate while grilling bacon on the other. There’s also a searing function, which cooks at 500˚F for up to two minutes at a time, a 60-minute countdown timer, and an adjustable top cover with six presets to top melt and lock for storage.
The grill and griddle plates are removable, reversible and nonstick, and are safe to put in the dishwasher, which along with the integrated drip tray, make cleaning up afterwards easy.
This is ideal if you’re looking for a little bit more from your traditional toasted sandwich maker. With its 3-in-1 compact design, the Black+Decker model lets you cook up a batch of waffles, grill some bacon or make a cheese toastie thanks to its interchangeable cooking plates.
The plates are all nonstick and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning afterwards, and they feature grease run-off channels for collecting and disposing of fat. The temperature indicator on the top of the device indicates when the plates are perfectly pre-heated and ready for your food, and the cool-touch handles mean you can open and close the lid during cooking without burning your hand.
The compact design will fit anywhere on your kitchen surface and makes it easy to store out of the way when not in use.
The OSTBA Sandwich Maker, Toaster and Electric Panini Press might not be the fanciest or most versatile of the models we’ve included here, but it’s ideal if you’re just after the basics: a perfect cheese toastie.
As well as toasted sandwiches, you can also grill omelettes and crisp up your French toast. And you won’t be waiting long for your snack, as it only takes about a minute to heat up, and then another three minutes or so to toast.
While the plates aren’t removable, so you can’t just put them in the dishwasher after use, thanks to the non-stick coating, they’re still simple to clean. Just wait for the plates to cool down and then wipe them clean with a damp cloth.
As well as being fantastic value, the OSTBA sandwich maker’s compact size means it’s easy to tuck away in a cupboard or take with you when travelling if you really can’t live without your toastie.
Indicator lights on the top cover show when it’s ready to cook, and the cool touch locking handle means no risk of burnt paws.
The Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker is perfect for those who want to add eggs into the mix for their toasted sandwich, or to replicate a McMuffin without having to leave the house.
Its dual cooking plates let you cook your sandwich in two distinct parts, say a fried egg for the top layer and some ham and cheese on the lower layer.
The five-minute countdown timer on the front sets off an audible beep once the cooking time is up. Then simply slide out the top plate to unveil your perfectly assembled breakfast sandwich. You can make one or two sandwiches at a time, with different combinations of ingredients and bases, whether a muffin or croissant.
The plates are removable and dishwasher safe for quick and easy cleanup afterwards, and there are indicator lights on the front of the machine to show when it’s powered on and pre-heated.
If you’re looking for a sandwich maker that does a lot more than just toast a sandwich, the Chefman Electric Panini Press Grill and Gourmet Sandwich Maker is ideal. You can make standard toasted sandwiches, perfectly pressed paninis or a fully stacked baguette, thanks to the large 9x5.5in surface area of the plate and the floating hinge, which adjusts to press the thinnest grilled cheese to a tower burger.
You can open the grill and use the 10x9in lay-flat surface to cook up the perfect steak, burger, fish or vegetables, while the closed cooking surface can fit two sandwiches or one panini or baguette.
The sloped design means grease drips to the back of the machine, while the removable drip tray and non-stick plates make it easy to clean up after cooking – although you can’t remove the plates so these need to be wiped once cool in the machine.
While it’s not the smallest of models we’ve included, it’s still small enough to fit on a counter or slot onto a shelf.
And now for something a little different. Unlike the other six models we’ve featured here, this isn’t a sandwich maker in the traditional sense, as in an electric machine similar to a toaster.
The Atsu-Atsu Hot Sandwich Maker from Japanese company Yoshikawa is used over your grill or stove to heat up your choice of toastie. Opting for a stovetop sandwich maker makes sense if you’re tight on space and don’t have room to store a standard sandwich makers, or if you’re looking for a model for travel, as it’s ideal for camping trips our outdoor cooking.
It’s extremely easy to use, with no controls or pre-heating required. Simply place your sandwich of choice into the bottom tray, bring down the upper lid to secure it, and cook it over your stove. You can use it on electric or gas stoves, but not induction.
The build quality and hinges of the Atsu-Atsu are excellent, meaning this piece of kit scores highest for longevity out of the models here.
The fluorine coating helps to prevent sticking for easy cleanup afterwards.
T-fal is known for its non-stick surfaces, so if you’re looking for a machine that is going to be as easy to clean as it is to use, this is the ideal for you.
With two sets of plates, each with deep pockets, you can make your favourite toastie or switch the plates and cook up a batch of waffles.
Indicator lights on the front show when the sandwich maker is ready to cook, and the plates are removable, non-stick and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
Once you’ve finished making your snack, you can tuck the T-fal model away into a small space, as it’s designed for vertical storage and has a convenient cord wrap that fits snugly around the machine.
How do I choose the best sandwich maker?
Sandwich makers are quite different, each one offering its own unique take on the toasted treat. You need to decide what’s important to you, so that you can find the right model for your needs. First, do you want to make just traditional toasties, or will you want to grill meat, serve up stacked sandwiches or cook waffles, thanks to the addition of a lay-flat lid, flexible hinge or extra plates?
Next, you need to think about how easy your machine is to clean. Removable and dishwasher safe plates improve cleaning times, which is important if you use your machine a lot; for occasional use, you can save a bit of money by buying a machine that has fixed plates. If your chosen grill does more than toasties, look out for one with a drip tray that can catch grease.
Finally, think about size, as storage is important, particularly if you have limited space.
Should I buy a sandwich press or a toastie maker?
This will depend on what you’re after from your machine. If you’re just looking to make toasties, you’re better opting for a toastie maker as these are the best value, are simple to operate and tend to be compact.
If you want to expand your cooking options with elements like grilling meat or vegetables, making stacked burgers, toasting baguettes, or serving up a batch of waffles, you’re best off investing in a sandwich press, which offer more cooking options, larger surface areas and/or greater control over temperature and settings.
How much should I spend on a sandwich maker?
You can get a basic model for around $20, but for machines with extra features like grilling and removable plates, expect to pay anything up to and even over $100.
What else can you make in a sandwich maker?
The options are endless. You might pick anything from a bagel or baguette to a croissant or muffin for your outer layers. And then inside, as well as the favourite cheese toastie, you could cook an egg, grill some steak or chicken, or go for something sweet like waffles with maple syrup and berries.
You can also make delicious 'Cadbury's creme egg', after the British confection, as shown.