What’s the Most Useless Kitchen Gadget that Was Bought for You?
We’ve all received kitchen gadgets that left us scratching our heads. To find out which ones top the list of uselessness, we asked 16 professionals, from CEOs to food bloggers, to share their experiences. From the unnecessary space occupied by a spoon rest to the redundancy of a toaster for stovetop toasting, discover the most useless kitchen gadgets they’ve ever received.
- Spoon Rest: Unnecessary Space Occupier
- Herb Scissors: Impractical and Hard to Clean
- Pineapple Corer: Inefficient and Wasteful
- Electric Cocktail Shaker: Unhelpful for a Mixologist
- Pickle Picker: Redundant Gadget
- Electric Can Opener: Cumbersome and Inefficient
- Wok: Limited Use and Storage Challenges
- Coating Trays: Unnecessary and Inferior
- Egg Separator: Extraneous and Redundant
- Microwave Oven: Lacks Utility
- Butter Dispenser: Impractical and Messy
- Avocado Slicer: Unnecessary and Rigid
- Banana-Shaped Knife: Impractical and Redundant
- Popcorn Maker: Inconvenient and Less Fun
- Automated Garlic Peeler: Inefficient and Troublesome
- Toaster: Redundant for Stovetop Toasting
Spoon Rest: Unnecessary Space Occupier
A spoon rest is easily one of the weirdest kitchen gadgets to receive. It doesn’t really seem necessary and only takes up space. While it’s a nice thought to protect countertops and prevent messy stovetops, a paper towel or a cup can serve the same purpose.
Christy Pyrz, Chief Marketing Officer, Paradigm Peptides
Herb Scissors: Impractical and Hard to Clean
While herb scissors may seem like a useful kitchen gadget, they’re not as practical or necessary. I’ve had better results using a knife or kitchen shears with added versatility. Plus, cleaning herb scissors can be a hassle with multiple blades that can get clogged with herb residue. And let’s not forget the potential risk of injury from the sharp blades.
Pineapple Corer: Inefficient and Wasteful
The most useless kitchen gadget that was ever bought for me was a pineapple corer. It seemed like a great idea at the time, as I love eating fresh pineapple, but it turned out to be completely useless. The corer was difficult to use, and it left a lot of fruit behind, wasting a lot of the pineapple.
Electric Cocktail Shaker: Unhelpful for a Mixologist
I’m a full-time mixologist, and the most useless gift I ever received was an electric cocktail shaker. Yes, this is a thing! I think the intention behind the gift was noble. After all, I make cocktails eight plus hours a day, but I rely on my sense of touch to feel if the drink is adequately chilled.
Plus, if you over-shake a drink, which is easy to do with an electric gadget, you risk diluting the spirits or bruising more delicate flavors. While it may be helpful if you have a mobility issue, it is not an improvement on the analog version at all.
Pickle Picker: Redundant Gadget
A colleague bought me a pickle picker for my birthday last year. It’s like a fancy fork with claws meant for grabbing pickles. Almost like a normal fork couldn’t do the job.
Even though I’m a massive pickle lover, there isn’t a more useless gadget sitting in my kitchen, and I haven’t used it once.
Someone really thought that inventing a dedicated tool for grabbing pickles was a good idea.
Electric Can Opener: Cumbersome and Inefficient
Someone gave me an electric can opener which I found useless. It was cumbersome, so it was slower than using a manual can opener. The electric can opener also used up more counter space, and it contributed to an additional expense since it used up the electricity.
Wok: Limited Use and Storage Challenges
When my husband and I moved to South Carolina to be closer to family and finally be able to afford a home, we were thrilled when relatives visited with first-time-homeowner presents—especially since more of our money than we realized was needed for homeowner-related items such as insurance, lawn care, and pest control.
But we quickly came to realize one gift, a wok, was a pretty useless kitchen gadget. With compliments to celebrity chef Alton Brown, who abhors kitchen unitaskers, we found the wok to be one of those.
We only used the wok twice and found a large skillet does the job just as well. We also don’t deep fry, so we don’t feel the wok is a multitasker. And for as little as we used it, the most challenging part of owning this kitchen gadget is storing it given its size and shape.
Since we didn’t want to waste space, we decided to should go to a good home and help a good cause. So we re-gifted it to a neighborhood thrift store that helps families battling childhood cancer.
Coating Trays: Unnecessary and Inferior
The most useless kitchen gadget someone ever bought for me is Coating Trays. These are small trays used for dredging meats and vegetables in things like flour, bread crumbs and the like. They serve no functional purpose beyond that of a plate, shallow bowl, or even baking dish.
The coating trays are also made of plastic, which prevents them from going in the dishwasher (creating more clean-up work) and their lightweight causes them to slide around the countertop as you work with them. They are far inferior to using a regular dinner plate and serve no useful purpose at all.
Egg Separator: Extraneous and Redundant
A seemingly useless kitchen gadget I’ve encountered is the egg separator. Although it promises to simplify the process of separating egg yolks from egg whites, using a shell or even your hands can be just as efficient and requires no additional equipment. The egg separator ends up being an extraneous tool that takes up valuable kitchen space.
Microwave Oven: Lacks Utility for Respondent
The microwave oven. It came already installed in our kitchen, where it has remained unused for years save as a clock and a countdown timer. Staying right now at an Airbnb for a month, the kitchenette has only a two-burner hot plate and a microwave.
I stored the microwave away for countertop space, so even under duress, I can’t stand to use it. I suppose people would argue it has utility, but I haven’t found it cooks things well and I don’t like the experience using it. I find it robs me of the pleasure and the magic of cooking.
Butter Dispenser: Impractical and Messy
The most useless kitchen gadget that was bought for me is a butter dispenser.
I think they’re a great idea in theory—you just squeeze it and your butter comes out! But in practice, they’re never as simple as they seem. You have to make sure you clean the thing with soap and water after every use or else the next time you want to use it, there will be a big glob of old butter stuck in there. And then when you go to squeeze some new butter out, half of it ends up on the floor or your shirt or something else besides your toast.
It’s also hard to figure out how much butter you need at any given time. It’s hard enough just measuring out one tablespoon of butter without having to worry about whether or not it’s going to come out in an even stream (which it almost never does).
Avocado Slicer: Unnecessary and Rigid
The worst kitchen gadget that was ever bought for me was an avocado slicer. If you aren’t familiar with what an avocado slicer is, it basically helps you slice an avocado in one movement. This is the worst kitchen gadget because slicing an avocado is a fairly easy process and doesn’t require a special tool to do this.
Also, the tool is very rigid and can only slice an avocado one way, vertically into slices. I used this gadget one time and it just sits in one of our kitchen drawers. Take my advice, do not buy someone or yourself an avocado slicer.
Banana-Shaped Knife: Impractical and Redundant
It is a knife designed to slice bananas, and its only difference from a regular one is being shaped like a banana. While it may be cute and fun, it may not be practical or necessary since a regular knife can easily slice bananas and be cheaper. I got it for my birthday as I’m a real banana lover, but I must admit—it just exists in my drawer.
Popcorn Maker: Inconvenient and Less Fun
Everyone who knows me knows my go-to snack is popcorn. It was no surprise when a few birthdays ago I received a shiny red popcorn maker.
On the surface, it seemed like the perfect gift, but having limited storage and counter space, it was more of an inconvenience than a blessing. Cooking popcorn in a pan is hands down easier and more exciting. A popcorn maker takes the fun out of making popcorn—waiting to hear the first pop and resisting the urge to take a peek. It was a matter of weeks before I sold it on eBay.
Automated Garlic Peeler: Inefficient and Troublesome
As a tech expert in my professional life, a lot of my friends and family think buying me a gadget for my birthday is original and an easy win. Suffice it to say, most of these gadgets go into the basement never to be seen again!
I have only been gifted a kitchen gadget once and lo and behold, it turned out to be useless.
The offending item was a self-peeling, or rather an automated garlic peeler, but it was actually more trouble than it was worth. Not only was it difficult to use—taking 10 mins to get the garlic in the shredding zone—it left the cloves half-peeled. Resulting in me having to use my trusty knife to finish the job.
Most kitchen gadgets are more trouble than they’re worth. They’re cheaply manufactured and designed to replace a five-minute job with a two-minute one. It’s overkill for such a quick task, anyway.
I prefer to use the tried and trusted traditional tools when I’m cooking. They’re usually more effective, and they don’t take up as much space in my kitchen. They look great too!
Toaster: Redundant for Stovetop Toasting
What’s the need for a toaster when you can manually toast your bread on the stove? I just don’t get it.
As I live alone, I do all the house chores myself so, to give me some ease, my Mom bought me a Mueller UltraToast Full Stainless Steel Toaster, which she claims is the best in the market. This toaster has six browning levels with an LED display, four slices, long extra-wide slots, and a removable tray, but trust me, I have never opened its packaging because I know I will not use it. However, cleaning this one is pretty simple, but I would rather wash a pan than clean it.