The Best Kitchen Tools and Gadgets

Some recommended products based on long term use.

Updated 19th September 2021

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Best Kitchen Scissors

Kitchen Knives

Knife Storage and Sharpening

Non Stick Pans

Vegetable Peelers

Plastic Food Storage Containers

Silicone Oven Gloves

Grunwerg Vektra Eco Kettle

 

         

I am undertaking long term testing of peelers, scissors, saucepans pans and other important kitchen tools

 

 
 

The Best Kitchen Scissors - Tested and Reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

Scissors are such an essential tool in the kitchen but I am surprised at how many people put up with really hopeless ones, or grubby ones that can harbour dangerous bacteria.

Over the last 20 years of running Fredshed I have gathered and tested many different makes and types. My favourite scissors for the kitchen are the type that pull apart in an instant for better cleaning.

I call these separating kitchen scissors.

The German manufacturer Wusthof first made this type of Chefs Scissors and their design has been copied (and improved) by the Oxo brand.

Great for fish, meat and opening packaging. They come apart in a click for easy cleaning!

 

Original Wusthof Versus Larger and Cheaper OXO Good Grips Scissors

 

Best Kitchen Scissor Test

Both scissors are so well made and 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 don't handle well.

The "killer application" of separating scissors is the quick and easy way they come apart so you can totally clean them.

With so many nasty bugs on raw meat is it essential that kitchen scissors are cleaned well and these scissors are designed to be dishwasher safe.

The Wusthof ones have a crusher between the handles whilst the cheaper OXO Goodgrips ones have a herb stripper.

The Oxo scissors are slightly longer and have larger handles. This makes them more comfortable to use, especially if you have large hands.

The cutting action of both are precise and very impressive.

After 7 years my Wusthof scissors come apart too easily now so overall I prefer the cheaper OXO Good Grips version which has surprisingly lasted better.

OXO Good Grips Kitchen and Herb Scissors

 

Best Fixed blade Kitchen Scissors

Fiskars Kitchen Scissors

Fiskars Kitchen Scissors

I have been using these Fiskars Kitchen Scissors regularly for about 8 years. They 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.

These classic scissors have a serrated blade and cut through chicken and fish so easily. The moulded handles are comfortable but for right handed users only.

If you want a simple, reasonably priced kitchen scissor that will last for years and still cut perfectly the classic orange coloured Fiskars kitchen scissors have been in production for decades and their wavy serrated blades enable them to cut anything from paper to gristle with ease. This is one of those tools that every home should have and will remain sharp, without sharpening for many years.

 

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The Best Kitchen Knives

In my kitchen I use a 15 year old Sabatier chefs knife for larger tasks. It cuts incredibly well and will probably last longer than I will. Please note that not all Sabatier knives may be as good as my old one because Sabatier is not an exclusive brand but a name applied to a range of brands, so the quality will vary between manufacturers. Sabatier is a French family that started making knives 200 years ago but split off into various factions who all had the right to use the family name. Use the link below to buy a genuine Sabatier chefs knife and support this page and my work.

Sabatier Professional Kitchen Chef Knife - 8in/20cm

The "Chefs knife" is the most versatile and useful of all kitchen knives. You can use it to do most 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, but mostly use my Sabatier Chefs knife and Victorinox Tomato knife.

My 2 favorite knives and 2 favorite scissors are kept close to my sink and chopping area.

If you want a top quality knife with a more modern look then Global is the brand to look at.

I recently sharpened up an old set belonging to a friend and was amazed how light they were.

Despite years of neglect in a family kitchen I was able (with 3 stage sharpening) to get these knives back to being super sharp and durable.

This would not be possible with cheap knives and is a credit to the craftsmanship of Global .

Global knives are hand forged in Japan from a unique stainless steel to make them incredibly durable.

 Global 35th Anniversary Special Edition Pro Chef’s Knife with 19cm Fluted Blade – Cromova 18 high Carbon Stainless Steel

 

Fred's Kitchen Knife Tips

The secret to fast, easy cutting and making your kitchen knife last as long as possible is careful sharpening, avoid the dishwasher and don't store it in a draw with other utensils!

 

 

Best Small "must have" Kitchen Knife

The best £7 you will ever spend on kitchen tools!

 

Victorinox Tomato knife

 Victorinox 3-Piece Swiss Classic Paring Knife-Set, Stainless Steel, Green/Orange/Red,

If you want a small multi-purpose serrated knife then I recommend the Victorinox tomato knife

It is made in Switzerland by the same company who make Swiss army knives and is the best all round knife I have ever used.

Forget the tomato tag, this knife will cut ANY vegetable as thin as you want. I also use it on meat, fish and bread.

They make superb steak knives at the table and are available in sets of 4 and different colours.

I gave one to my favourite market trader who uses it daily for virtually everything on her stall.

The serrated edge is great on bread but the size limits it to rolls and small loaves really.

For around £6 it is a total bargain and my most used kitchen tool that almost every visitor to my house has ended up buying.

It is also available in green and other colours as shown in this image with my favourite peeler and scissors.

 

 

Victorinox - Tomato Knife 11cm (2 Pack)

V Sabatier Cook's Knife Size: 20 cm

 Global 35th Anniversary Special Edition 7-Piece Knife Set containing 6 Knives & 1 Knife Block

 

The latest and Best Chopping Boards Tested and Reviewed

Epicurean Composite Chopping Board

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 Epicurean, top gourmet boards that are made from natural fibres and are dishwasher safe. They also look extremely cool, especially the black ones.

After 4 years my 2 Epicurean chopping boards have been in the dishwasher many times and apart from a few fine cut marks are in great shape.

Another advantage of the Epicurean chopping board is that it is thin and easy to store.

 

Folding Chopping Boards

I love my Joseph Joseph folding chopping board, it makes it much easier to pour chopped veg into a pan.

So far my one has lasted 3 years of regular use.

 

TopGourmet Kitchen Series Cutting Board Wood Fibre Black

 Joseph Joseph Chop2Pot Plus, Folding Chopping Board, Large - Red

 

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Best Way To Store Kitchen Knives

 KitchenCraft Magnetic Knife Holder for Wall, Plastic, 33 cm

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 kitchen.

 Magnetic Knife Holder for Wall - 40 cm Wooden Magnetic Strip in FSC Certified Bamboo

Magnetic Knife Holder/Wall Stainless Steel - 40cm(16inch)

 

The best kitchen knife sharpeners tested and reviewed

 

Accusharp Knife Sharpener

To sharpen my 15 year old Sabatier kitchen knife I mostly 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 correct angle for dual edged blades.

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 but the suction fails after a while and it is a very basic coarse sharpener.

See my page on sharpening tools

 

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Best Non Stick Pans tested

Woll vs Circulon Saucepans  - which is the best non stick saucepan?

My very old but still intact Circulon Infinite  non stick pan

My expensive heavy and dissapointing German made Woll pans

TOP TIP FOR LONG LASTING NON STICK PANS

I have been told by experts in the field that the 3 main reasons for wear and degradation of non stick surfaces are

1 Overheating - this breaks the bond between metal and teflon

2 Washing in dishwashers - heat & corrosive chemical

3 Using metal utensils - (so buy the silicone spatula below)

1 teflon and 3 ceramic pans

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 JL got fed up with replacing them and refused. So forget the promise of a "lifetime guarantee.

Unless they mean the lifetime of a Hamster? 

Next I spent £160 on 3 German made Woll pans at at the Ideal home show.  They looked like the ones that are used by James Martin on Saturday kitchen so I splashed the cash.

At the show a gobby salesman attacked a Woll pan with a knife and bragged how tough it was.  He also said that they are SO slippery that you can fry WITHOUT OIL and nothing will stain them.

Very quickly I found out you can't fry without oil for long as the food will stick and the pan will overheat and be permanently damaged.

Even using oil within 2 months one Woll pan developed rusty bobbles and had to be replaced. I also 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. Shame the gobby geezer selling them to me didn't mention this.

Seems like the super hard wearing , top quality pans can't cope with hot olive oil?

My Woll pans are 7 years old now, still work but are badly stained and no longer non-stick. Despite being heavy,  and expensive, I do like them because of the easy removable handles that save space and make washing up easier.

 My oldest non stick pan is made by Circulon. It is nothing fancy but has lasted nearly 10 years.

Circulon Infinite Hard Anodised 20 cm Frying Pan - Black

Circulon Infinite Hard Anodised 26 cm Chef's Pan with Steel Lid - Black

 

 
 

Under testing - Ceramic saucepans

GreenPan on test in the Fredshed kitchen

The latest trend in pots and pans is the ceramic coating that is marketed as being tougher and safer that teflon.

My long term tests do show that the black teflon (PTFE) non stick on even the most expensive pans does deteriorate and I do wonder where those particles end up?

I am testing some ceramic pans and so far they are very good, however other online reviews are mixed which may be due to various qualities of various makes and maybe user error?

Some companies are marketing ceramic pans as being so slippery they don't need oil to cook. I think this is nonsense and will probably lead to damaging the pan. Whilst the ceramic may be very hard it is bonded onto metal and this bond will be a weak point that will not benefit from overheating.

My first ceramic frying pan is 4 years old now and made by Greenpan, it is excellent and still holding up along with my 3 year old Kuhn Ricon pan.

GreenPan Cambridge Infinity Ceramic Non-Stick Frying Pan, Black

 

Ioven Silicone Spatulas - 10 Inch (Set of 4)

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!

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The best vegetable peeler?

I have been testing and comparing many kitchen peelers for over 10 years, including the OXO good grips peeler, some cheap plastic ones, original Swiss peelers and even a peeler with a ceramic blade.

My conclusion is that the best is the classic Swiss peeler, with its Y shaped handle and precision blade.

There are now Chinese copes of this but if you can buy a genuine Swiss made one you cna be sure of its quality

The  plastic Khun Ricon Swiss made peeler costs only a few founds and is unbeatable. The  red and orange ones shown are from are also Swiss made from a brand named Kisag. They gave a coarser peel and were good for making coleslaw and even grating cheese.

If you just want a normal peeler buy the Kuhn Ricon one. 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.

The Chinese made OXO good grips peeler is also good,  very comfortable, fast and well made. It is available in 2 different forms and has one of the highest Amazon reader review rating of any product I have ever seen. A decent Swiss peeler is a real must have kitchen tool that every home should own.

 

 Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler, Orange

Kisag Swiss peeler set

OXO Good Grips Y Peeler

 

I tested these 5 peelers as well as the OXO good grips peeler, and a totally useless designer peeler with a ceramic blade.

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.

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The best plastic storage boxes since Tupperware

Lock & Lock Food Storage 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 8 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 clips.

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.

The picture opposite shows some of my Lock and Lock collection. I have 10 different size containers but there are many more.

After 10 years most of my Lock & Lock boxes are fine apart from the smaller round ones where one of the flaps has snapped off. I think the round lids are more likely to break as it is harder to position them correctly than the square lids. Not a big problem if you are careful but worth a mention.

 

Lock & Lock Food Storage Set 6 Piece

Lock & Lock Stackable Airtight Container Rectangular 350ml

 

Food Containers with Air Removal

Food Containers with a Vacuum Pump

These superb quality plastic containers are similar to my beloved Lock n Locks but have a small valve on the top that allows you to suck the air out and create a vacuum.

Food decomposition is largely due to air (oxidisation) so if you remove the air out the food lasts so much longer.

I put chopped lettuce in a vacuum container and left it for 2 weeks in the fridge and 2 weeks in the boot of a car and when I opened the lid the lettuce was fresh and edible and only showed a slight sign of browning on one small edge.

Sadly after 3 years some of the lid clips are breaking off but I think this may be my fault due to operator error.

Each container takes about 3 pumps to remove the air but you have to remember to release this vacuum when you want to open the lid.

You release the vacuum by pressing the green button and you will hear a hiss.

If you forget to do this the lid is hard to get off and could snap especially if its cold.

Use the link below for plastic versions and glass versions from the Kuhn Rikon company.

KUHN RIKON Vacuum Storage System Glass Container, 1.52L

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Best Silicone Oven Gloves

Silicone lends itself to a wide range of uses in the kitchen due to its resistance to heat and stains and the fact that it is easy to clean.

 

Silicone Oven Gloves Tested and Reviewed

Orca Silicone Oven Mitt

Mastrad Orka Silicone Oven Mitt, Black

I have been testing 3 Silicone oven gloves over the last 5 years.

My original black one was a bit short and didn't totally stop the heat.

Silicone gloves can also be a bit thick and make gripping anything a little tricky.

Mastrad have redesigned their Orka Mitt to make it more flexible and have added a cloth liner.

The cloth liner gives more protection and lets the silicone be thin enough to enable a good grip on the pot.

I now use this bright green version all the time and declare it the best Silicone oven glove!.

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Most Efficient Eco Kettle

 

I have been using this Vektra insulated kettle since November 2015.

I bought it as I got so fed up with throwing away broken kettles from the big brands, and wanted to save some money on energy too.

I had one issue with a broken lid catch but the UK based manufacturer Grunwurg replaced it under warranty.

If you have any problem contacting the manufacturer they also have a shop in the Islington design centre in London.

I really like this kettle even though it is a bit heavy to use, as it gives off very little steam and saves cash.

If it lasts a long time I am sure it could repay its high initial cost by saving energy - after 6 years I think it has saved a lot of energy and money.

 

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If you found my advice helpful and would like to support my work, please return to this page and use my links when purchasing your tools.

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Or if you prefer, you can make a small donation using the PayPal button below.

 Thanks - Fred

 

 

 

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