Our Essential Kitchen Gear Under $10

Make your kitchen work better without breaking the bank.

Published Mar. 2, 2023.

I test kitchen equipment for a living. It’s often fun and delicious, like when I’m mixing up 10 batches of Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies in one day to test hand mixers

Sometimes it’s more tiresome, like when I’m trying to wrangle all of those mixers’ cords, rebox them for storage, then package and label 10 batches of cookie dough for my coworkers, friends, or neighbors. 

If you’ve ever dreaded a boring or tiresome kitchen task such as labeling leftovers or decluttering, chances are my team and I have done it dozens—maybe hundreds—of times as part of testing. 

What does this mean for you? We know how to make lots of kitchen tasks less tedious, and we want to let you in on our secrets. Here are some products we swear by that will save you time and energy (without making a huge dent in your wallet). 

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Step Up Your Labeling Game

If you don’t label your leftovers, start now. It will help you find what you’re looking for when you’re digging through your fridge or freezer. We recommend a trusty roll of simple masking tape (try a fun color!) and a permanent marker

To help dispense and tear that tape neatly, I love the Tadpole Tape Cutter, which easily attaches to any masking tape roll. Use it to cut tape for spice jars, food containers, and more. Be sure to add the date when labeling, and place the tape on the side or top of each vessel, depending on where it will live in a drawer, cabinet, or refrigerator. 

Masking tape makes labeling leftovers a breeze.

Unbox Like a Pro

When I receive a lineup of appliances (like nine countertop ice makers), I have to make unboxing and setup as neat and streamlined as possible. 

My coworker Miye recommended these small but mighty boxcutters from OLFA, which have retractable blades that are simple and safe to use. They are life-changing. I can store them anywhere, they stay razor-sharp, and they work better than any other boxcutter I’ve tried. In the era of online shopping supremacy, it’s time for you to grab a set. 


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Get Your Cords Under Control

Another essential? Cord wraps. They loop securely around cords, corralling things in place. They’re designed to stay attached to the cord even when its fully unspooled, which means you won’t lose them.

I don’t just use them for blender or mixer power cords, but also for my computer and phone charging cables. If you’re tired of untangling cords every time you need to plug things in, wrap them up

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Tools that Aren’t Just for the Toolbox

I take product specifications at the beginning of every testing cycle, which means I measure every inch of each model I’m using. I love using a small rotary measuring tape for this, but its usefulness doesn’t stop there. It’s a compact and portable ruler that I use for rolling out pastry, measuring drawers and cabinets to see if tools will fit, and more. 

I also keep a pocket screwdriver in my kitchen drawer, which comes in surprisingly handy for tightening loose kitchen hardware, unscrewing the covers to appliances’ battery compartments, and making small repairs to tools when testing durability. 

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