Fred's guide to the best Kitchen Tools and
Some recommended products based on long term use.
Updated 31st March 2013
Best Quality Non Stick Pans tested
Woll Saucepans - Are they the best?
After buying dozens of non stick Teflon coated pans from companies
like Tefal I got fed up with having to replace them after 3-4 years
as the Teflon wore out. I even bought the best Tefal pans from John
Lewis with a "lifetime guarantee" but even they got fed up with replacing
Then I saw the German made Woll pans at at the Ideal home show and
was impressed with their durability. They looked like the ones that
are used by James Martin on Saturday kitchen so I guessed they must
At the show a gobby scouser attacked one
with a knife and bragged how tough and durable they are. He also said that they are so
slippery that you can cook without oil and nothing will stain them. Suitably
impressed I bought 3 for £160 and thought my saucepan woes were
Within 2 months one developed
rusty bobbles and had to be replaced. I found that they did stain
and even when I followed the advice of soaking overnight in biological
washing powder the stains remained.
At the grand Designs show I found another gobby geezer selling Woll
pans, using the same patter. I
asked why my pans are stained and wont clean. The salesman asked if I had used Olive Oil in them?
As this will cause the fixed on stains.
Silly me! I only followed Jamie Oliver's advice and the
thousands of years of tradition in the Mediterranean and used Olive
Oil in my saucepan.
Seems like the super hard wearing , top quality pans can't cope with
hot olive oil?
My Woll pans are 3 years old now and one is badly stained . Despite being heavy,
and expensive, I do like them and especially love the easy removable
handles that save space and make washing up easier.
p.s A couple of readers have recommended Circulon Pans as the best ?
think I might just have to try one...
Revive Miracle cleaner - does it work?
Whilst visiting the Good Food Show I was drawn to a demonstration by
a gobby geezer. This time it was revive miracle cleaner.
Mr Gobby demonstrated it
cleaning black carbon off an old cooker using a mere feather touch so I
duly bought some, and left the show immediately to clean the carbon
off my Woll frying pan.
Call me stupid, but after 20 minutes rubbing and no result I gave up!
What did I do wrong? answers on a postcard please.
So are Woll pans the best and worth the megabucks? and why was my
Revive so useless?
Let me know what you think so I can share it with my readers.
I have spent 15 years testing and reviewing gardening and DIY tools, so now I
will use the same skills to test kitchen tools.
Watch this space for further news
I rubbed this pan for 20 minutes with Revive.
Not only did the Genie fail to appear but my pan was still black
I am yet to be impressed with Revive Power Paste, even though my
friend said it was the best thing for her hob.
Best kitchen Cleaning Products
I have also tested Cilit bang against a range of other products
and found that it cleans the best.
However I also found that many kitchen items can be cleaned to
perfection by using soaking in hot water and baking soda
for burned on stains or just soaked in vinegar - for glass and
TOP TIP FOR LONG LASTING NON STICK PANS
I have been told by experts in the field that the 2 main reasons
for wear and degradation of non stick surfaces is
2 washing in dishwashers
3 using metal utensils - (so buy this silicon spatula below)
So despite what you may read on the labels and how you see the
celebrity chefs cook if you want your non stick pans to last a
long time then wash them by hand and don't get them too hot!
The best kitchen knives
At shows and" in store demonstrations" you will often see a gobby
geezer, selling a wonder gadget
that will change your life.
Some 10 years ago I saw a gobby scouser in Debenhams demonstrating the
worlds sharpest knife. He used it to cut through a can of corned beef
and then a steel bolt! In the South of England we use something
called a hacksaw for that sort of thing but suitably impressed I
purchased several of the worlds sharpest knives, one for myself and
others as gifts.
I also got - not one , not 2 but 3 other little knives totally free!
10 years later I still have my "worlds sharpest knives" and my family
still have their incredibly practical Christmas presents.
The knife is still sharp and is great for cutting bread and frozen
pizza.( it probably stayed sharp as I never used it to cut steel bolts.)
It has a serrated edge so is not so good at most other kitchen tasks.
I have no idea where you get one and the company was listed as
being in the World trade centre.
In my kitchen I use a 15 year old Sabatier chefs knife for most tasks.
better than anything else I have tried and will probably last longer
than I will.
The Chefs knife is the most versatile and useful of all kitchen knives.
Mostly you can use it to do all jobs. Specialist knives for bread ,
fish, etc are great but I think these sets with 15 or so are over the
top. I have 7 knives I use frequently.
The secret to fast, easy, cutting and making your kitchen knife last as
long as possible is careful sharpening, avoid the dishwasher and store
Best Way To Store Kitchen Knives
The most practical way to store kitchen knives is on a magnetic strip.
There is no contact or wear on the blade edge and your knives are easy
to identify and access .I much prefer a magnetic knife holder to a
wooden block and if you buy a long magnetic holder you can also saw it
down and make a smaller one too or cut it to the perfect size for your
The best chopping boards
Top Gourmet Chopping Boards
Wooden chopping boards are truly tried and
tested and very-eco friendly. However they are hard to clean easily
as they are not suitable for dishwashers.
I use the top gourmet boards that are made from
natural fibres and are dishwasher safe. They also look extremely
cool, especially the black ones.
After 3 years my Top Gourmet chopping board has
been in the dishwasher many times and is showing some cut marks
but still in one piece.
I think the main advantage of the Top Gourmet
chopping board is that it is thin and easy to store.
My 15 year old Sabatier chefs knife
Note the funky black hi- Tec chopping board,
see report below.
Magnetic Knife rack in 3 lengths
The best kitchen knife sharpeners tested and reviewed
To sharpen my 15 year old Sabatier kitchen knife I use a tungsten
carbide V shaped sharpener.
On the TV you see the chefs wavy around furiously with a big steel rod
and hear lots of grating and gnashing sounds. Whilst this makes good TV
it is not really necessary and can be dangerous if you slip.
A modern alternative is this specially designed "wipe twice" tungsten
carbide knife sharpener that has a V shaped blade to give you the
This is the original, top quality, American made Tungsten carbide knife
sharpener and not one of the many cheap and nasty Chinese copies that
may ruin your knives. Another great knife sharpener that uses the same
tungsten blades is the Anysharp Global which sticks itself down on your
worktop by suction. It claims to be the worlds best knife sharpener - I
would say it's pretty good.
The small tungsten blade in the USA made Accusharp is reversible and
So I think its better than the Anysharp.
Sabatier knives are made in France and refer to a family of knife makers
from one area and not a specific company.
Buy a good quality Sabatier knife and you will grow to love it.
The small tungsten blade in this USA made product is reversible and
replicable. Beware of cheap Chinese copies !
The best vegetable peeler?
I am currently testing a range of kitchen peelers including the OXO good
grips peeler, some cheap plastic ones, some Swiss plastic peelers and
peeler with a ceramic blade.
I am also testing the much hyped Swiss made , stainless steel Titan
vegetable peeler with it "ingenious" (not) plastic board thingy.
The Swiss made Titan peeler was too brutal and removed so much peel that
I hardly had any vegetable left!
The 3 plastic Swiss made peelers from Kisag came in a set for £12 and
are designed to give different results. The green one is a standard
peeler and was overall the best I have tried. The red and orange
ones gave a coarse peek and were good for making colesaw and even
If the Kisag green peeler was available on its own I would say it is the
best and worth buying. A notable feature of this peeler is that it takes
off the thinnest slither of peel so will save you a lot of money in
wasted food in the long run. Other peelers in my test removed thick
layers and waste a lot of food.
Sold on its own the OXO good grips peeler as
a very good peeler due to its comfortable design, fast performance and quality
build. It is available in 2 different forms and has one of the highest
Amazon reader review rating of any product I have ever seen. This is a real
must have kitchen tool that every home should own.
I tested these 5 peelers as well as the OXO good grips
peeler, and a totally useless designer peeler with a ceramic
Ceramic blade peelers are rubbish because the
blade is brittle and can easily be damaged, it is like using the
edge of a plate
so imagine how fragile that is if they try and
make it as thin as steel!
Peelers with ceramic blades are a gimmick - don't
waste your money.
The best plastic storage boxes since Tupperware
Lock & Lock plastic containers
I still remember my
sister having Tupperware parties in the 70's and the incredible
excitement caused by a plastic box. (or was it the free cheesy
watsits?) Tupperware was great but they don't party like they used
to. Today my excitement is caused by a new plastic box.
Having used these
boxes for 5 years I can honestly say they are the best I have tried. (and
I own dozens of different types)
I am - sadly, a
plastic food box Anorak!
The precision made
mouldings are easy to secure and undo as they have four good sized
The boxes are sealed
airtight by a silicon seal that has lasted well even after
constant dishwasher use.
I bought some
cheaper "knock offs" from Tesco to test and the blue seals in these
fell out after a couple of months and the lids warped, rendering
them virtually useless and a total waste of money.
opposite shows some of my Lock and Lock collection. I have 10
different size containers but there are many more.
The best kitchen Scissors
Scissors are such an essential tool in the kitchen
but I am surprised at how many people put up with really hopeless
ones, and also grubby rusty ones that can harbour bacteria.
Over the last 20 years I have tested many
different makes and my favourite scissors for the kitchen are
the type that come apart in an instant for cleaning.
The German manufacturer Wusthof has made this type
of Chefs Scissors and knives for decades.
These scissors are so well made and seem to cut
everything from fish, small bones, bacon, Pizza, and they are especially
good at cardboard, which is handy for packaging materials and
something that a lot of flimsier scissors dont handle well.
The "killer application" on the Wusthof scissors
is the quick and easy way they come apart so you can clean them
thoroughly and properly.
With so many nasty bugs on raw meat is it
essential that kitchen scissors are cleaned well and I think this is
the best and safest way to do it and the Wusthof scissors are
designed to be dishwasher safe.
If you think £20 is a bit steep for a pair of
kitchen scissors ( I don't ) then Oxo Good Grips make a similar pair
that are cheaper and are good quality too.
Separating Kitchen scissors
The Wusthof ones have a crusher between the handles whilst the Oxo
Goodgrips ones have a herb stripper.
You can see from the image opposite that the Oxo scissors are slightly
longer and have larger handles. This makes them more comfortable to use, especially if you have large hands. However the cutting action of the Wusthof scissors is more precise and I am sure they will last longer due
to their very high standards of materials and manufacturing. "You pays
your money - you take your choice!
Non Separating Kitchen Scissors
I am currently testing the latest Fiskars and Kitchen Devils Scissors.
Both are made by Fiskars of Finland who have made over 900 million
scissors since 1967 and are also one of my favourite manufacturers of
garden pruning tools.
So far I am most impressed with the Kitchen Devils Control Kitchen Shear
as it is so comfortable to use and its curved serrated blade cuts
through chicken and fish so easily. The safety catch is suitable for
left and right handed users.
Great for fish, meat and packaging.
They come apart in a click for easy cleaning!
Wusthof vs Oxo Kitchen Scissors
Coming soon - Under Testing
Fiskars Kitchen Scissors
& The Kitchen Devils Kitchen Shear
Orca Silicon Oven Mitt & other Silicon
I first saw this glove being demonstrated by a man at a
Trade show. At first I thought he was a lunatic with a
glove puppet but soon I discovered that it was a new type of oven glove.
It protects more of your arm than most
oven gloves and is easier to keep clean but the silicon is a bit
thick and makes gripping anything a little tricky. My smaller
more flexible silicon oven glove is better, but could do with
being a bit longer, so I now use the red materclass model.
I am also testing a new silicon collapsible
funnel and collapsible snack boxes.
Space saving fold down silicon
I first saw this product a couple of years ago as
a prototype and am thrilled it has now made it into production.
Silicon is an amazing material that I use frequently in the
kitchen as it is so flexible, but durable and easy to clean.
No-one has enough room in their shed or cupboard so a bucket
that folds down after use for easy storage is such a useful
Another nice feature of a silicon bucket
is that it is soft so if you are someone who bruises easily it
is a nicer bucket to use than the hard plastic
types. These 7 litres silicon collapsible buckets come in a
range of colours, and there is also a small 1.5 litre version.
This silicon glove protects your wrists but this one was a bit too
stiff to enable a good grip on the pot.
I now use the Master class Seamless model shown below which is
longer and more flexible.
A silicon spatula is easy to clean and also protects your pans
from scratching and its fine edge leaves no debris when you
slide it around the sides. The silicon spoon rest is another
good product that is dishwasher safe as well.
Collapsible Silicon Bucket
now you see it
now you don't!
KARCHER WV50 ELECTRIC WINDOW VACUUM
A Totally New Way To Clean Windows
This excellent new invention from Karcher of
Germany is a sort of cross between a wet -n-dry dustbuster and a
Firstly you soap up the window using a sponge (or
the spray gun and sheepskin supplied) and then swipe down the window
with the vac and in seconds you will have a perfectly clean window
with no smears or mess. All the dirty water is sucked into the
integral tank and kept away from the window.
The Karcher WV50 window vacuum is great on tiles
and cars too. I now use the Karcher every time I wash my car to dry
it off quickly after rinsing. This stops those annoying water spots
appearing. I find that the new smaller 170mm head is best on my cars
as it copes with the angles of the glass better.
I am a pretty hard person to please when it comes to
new gadgets but this one beat my expectations and also impressed my
window cleaning friend Chris and Polish cleaning lady ,who calls me
MacGyver, due to the enormous amounts of gadgets in my house.
You can see a short video of the Karcher
WV50Electric Window vacuum being used at my house
The Karcher WV50 did come with a spray bottle with a
built in cleaning head and can be used with just a drop of washing
up liquid or you can buy special Karcher window cleaning fluid ,
designed for this gadget.
The spray bottle/soaping head is now an accessory
and one you don't really need as any old sponge or cloth with do.
Its a Squeegee that vacuums the soap and dirt clean away!
Great on car windows too!
Now available with a narrower head for small
Georgian type windows!
Home-Tek Steam Mop
The chemical free way to clean lino and tiled
I have owned 2 of these handy gadgets or over 4
years now and would not be without one. As a wheelchair user I tend
to make a mess of my floors and taking my shoes off when I come home
does not help!
A steam mop is basically a kettle on a stick
pushing its steam through a microfiber pad. My first one came with
small pads but these have now been improved and are larger and
better. The hi Tec pad and hot steam make a superb job of cleaning
away dirt and grime. I have 5 pads and put them all in the washing
machine after using them
The home-tek steam mop is great on sealed surfaces
like vinyl, lino and tiles. However I don't recommend it on
laminate or thin wooden floors as the heat of the steam can damage
the surface coating or warp the material
It comes with a carpet cleaning
attachment with bristles on it but I found this did not work
effectively on my carpets.
Some early y models like my ones suffered from a
minor fault that caused leaks. One of my ones developed this but was
easily repaired by my friend who opened it up and re-attached the
small tube from the tank to the outlet. Despite this, the small tank
capacity and short cable I do think the Home-Tek steam mop is a
superb bit of kit that will pay for itself eventually by saving you
money on cleaning fluids.
The best and easiest to use kitchen bin
This is my stainless steel one touch bin that
graces my kitchen and adds a touch of style and sophistication to my
rubbish disposing activities.
Whilst I acknowledge that plastic has advantages
when it comes to kitchen hygiene I generally don't like to see much
of it in my house.
This high quality and well designed bin has a
removable plastic liner and the top skilfully covers the bag inside.
The best feature is the one touch mechanism which
works using a spring mechanism so there are no batteries to replace.
Simplehuman Products make a range of these bins in
every shape and size as well as other stainless steel kitchen
accessories designed to make
simple tasks easier. What I like about
the products from this company is that they ingeniously practical
and unusually well made.
Click to See Simplehuman products
Get steamy on your kitchen floor!
Best Water Tank Air Fresheners, Purifiers/
Goodshpere, LuminAire and Purair models
tested and reviewed.
Is this the answer to smelly kitchens?
These strange looking gadgets are often seen at
shows, exhibitions and on the shopping channels where some of the
salespeople make astonishing claims. If you believe the sales hype
then this is
one of those must have gadgets that will truly change your life.
I bought and tested 4 models over 4 years and I
would say my health was not improved but my rooms smelled better.
However, to be fair and impartial, I can say I do
like these products and use them a lot. What you are buying is
very basic. Its a bowl of water that is agitated by a fan driven
blade. In the process air is dragged in and filtered through the
water, thus reducing smells and removing some particles. . Also you can put in essence (
or chemicals) so
that the out going air smells nice. Some models also have built in
LED lights to add "mood" to your room.
What you are not getting is a medical grade
ioniser or air filter that is proven to cure your asthma , insomnia,
allergies or any
Call me the worlds worst salesman but I like to
tell it as it is. I am happy to recommend these products to help
make your kitchen smell better or to reduce the smell where someone
smokes. There will be an element of extra humidity during use but
technically speaking I don't think Ionisation is correct.
So which model is best? That depends what you
Most have plastic bowls which are ok but can melt in the
dishwasher. All of them make noise!
The Goodsphere has a glass bowl and a separate
(colour changing) LED light
plate. The Goodsphere was the original product and is the most
expensive. My one lasted 3 years then the motor wore out. It
is great if you want the choice of colour of light and want to wash
the bowl in a dishwasher.
The home Iconic or Pureair is the cheapest, it is
large, has a plastic bowl that melted in my dishwasher and no light.
It also comes in random colours so you might end up with a green one
when you wanted a white one.
The LuminAire has a built in blue LED light,
plastic bowl and is reasonably priced. It is simple and
effective, but appears noisier than the Goodsphere. The LED light can be turned off
if you don't like it.
The JML globe air refresher appears to be a knock
off of the Goodsphere and the one I purchased arrived with a power
supply fault so I sent it back for a refund and did not try
it. It has a plastic bowl and is cheper looking than the Goodsphere
but arguably more stylish.
What is the best Essence for
your Goodsphere, Luminair, PureAir ?
The original Goodsphere essences seem to be the
best. The original essences that came with the other 2 were ok.
A word of warning! I bought some replacement
PureAir essences on promotion at the ideal Home show. I discovered that they
were not as potent
and on testing discovered that they were diluted
when compared to the original ones supplied with the machine.
I also accidentally bought fake Goodsphere
essences from ebay that where highly diluted.
Recently I bought these new Goodsphere samples,
(pack of 5) they are small but potent.
Use my links to be sure of getting the best
quality products and please let me know what
Portable, cheap air purifier for Kitchen Smells
The LuminAire (shown central in this image) gives off a nice blue
glow. The Goodsphere (right) has a range of colours.
I also tried to test the JML Globe but it arrived with a fault,
peeed me off so I sent it back.
The essences below are cheaper than Goodsphere but not as potent in
The best salt and pepper pots
(also known as salt mills)
T &G Stainless steel ceramic grinders
I have bought so
many salt and pepper pots in my life I was beginning to wonder
if I had developed some sort strange fetish!.
The main reason
was that most of them fell apart, wore out , went manky or
leaked particles all over my table.
Finally I think
I have found the ultimate long life, stylish salt and pepper
pots. These easy to fill pots are well made and have ceramic
grinders that are supposed to last years. 3 years on all is
looking good and I can honestly now say these are the best I
The clear glass means you can always see when you are running
low of salt
The stainless steel is top quality and cleans well.
These mills are easy to turn.
Battery Powered Salt & Pepper Mills
Whilst this may
sound like a good idea in practice these products are hopeless
and a waste of money.
Firstly to have
the power to crush salt or pepper they need at least 6
Then you will
find that salt attracts moisture which will not only clog up
the grinder but it may corrode the batteries and terminal.
Thirdly, many of
these products are cheaply made rubbish and the gear cog just
New Page -Coming Soon
WHICH IS THE BEST ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH?
Results from my long term trial of the Philips
Sonicare Vs the Braun Oral B
Undoubtedly I prefer the Philips Sonicare as the high
speed vibration of the head is light on your gums but leaves a great
shiny finish and feel to your teeth.
The Philps Sonicare vibrates at a very high speed
whilst the Braun brushes rotate relatively slowly.
I have used different versions of the Philips Sonicare
toothbrush for over 10 years. I also occasionally try the Braun Oral B
brushes to see if they have improved.
Whenever I go back to the Oral B my dentist notices
that my teeth are not so clean.
The Oral B toothbrushes are cheaper to buy and so are
the spare heads.
Some people don't like the high speed and vibration of
the Philips Sonicare so prefer the rotation of the Oral B brush
I think that the expensive versions of both are a
waste of money. Why pay another £50 for a timer or a flashing light.
The links below will get you the best prices, way
cheaper than Boots and genuine parts.
Beware of cheap knock offs from China sold on ebay!
USE LINK BELOW TO GET THE BEST VALUE ON MY RECOMMENDED VERSION OF THE
Use the links left and right to save £££s on genuine toothbrush heads
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