Is it Worth Buying a Panini Press?

August 21, 2023
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It Depends on How Much You Love Panini Sandwiches

There is no denying the delicious temptation of a panini sandwich. Its crispy outer crust and gooey, delicious cheese make it an elevated sandwich. Many people enjoy paninis in restaurants or cafes, but it is possible to make paninis at home with the help of a panini press.

Most panini presses have only one use (making paninis) and can be pricey for such a limited-use appliance. Is purchasing a panini press worth it? Let’s find out.

Delicious Panini Sandwiches are Worth the Cost of a Panini Maker for Many People

Is it Worth Buying a Panini Press?

If you enjoy paninis but struggle to make them at home, purchasing a panini press is worth it. This is especially true because you can buy a high-quality panini press (also called a panini maker - they’re the same thing) for quite a small sum.

They also do not take up much room in your kitchen compared to other appliances. Paninis are easy to make and delicious, so buying a panini press is a smart move.


Let’s take a look at all the advantages that come with buying a panini press:

Achieve the Perfect Panini Shape

Nothing makes a panini shape quite like the panini press. There’s just something different about that shape that makes the sandwich so much nicer.

The lovely, symmetrical lines and perfectly sized edges leave you with a panini that just looks perfect.

Major Time-Saver

A panini press is nice and straightforward. You can prepare your panini ahead of time; even freeze it if you want. Popping the pre-made sandwich into the press and leaving it for a few minutes couldn’t be simpler!

The panini press is a fantastic option if you’re in a hurry and want a quick meal to go. You could achieve a similar result with a typical George Foreman grill. However, paninis made in those tend to spill out the sides, so it isn’t quite as convenient.


Good quality panini presses aren’t hard to come by. You can acquire a decent one for a very small cost. Commercial and professionally used presses tend to be quite pricey. If you just need one for personal use, a cheaper one will do just fine!

Panini Presses Aren’t All That Expensive


Now, let’s take a look at the possible issues that come with buying a panini press, shall we?

Uneven Cook

Sometimes, people find that their paninis don’t cook evenly all the way around. Some parts of the bread may still be soft instead of brown and crusty. If this happens, you may find some of the contents leak.

Typically, uneven cooking happens if you buy a particularly cheap panini press. Alternately, your press may require maintenance.

The Bread Quickly Goes from Brown to Black

Generally, you need to watch a panini press quite closely, as it cooks the sandwich in a short amount of time. As little as ten seconds could be the difference between a perfectly cooked panini and a blackened mess!

How Much Does a Panini Press Typically Cost?

Panini presses range in cost depending on the model. You can purchase a panini press for a small amount of money on Amazon. On the other hand, you could buy a professional, restaurant-grade panini press that costs an arm and a leg!

So, what’s the difference between an inexpensive panini press and an expensive one? Both of them will grill your sandwiches, right?

It comes down to little features and your goal for your panini press. If you purchase the affordable press, you may not be able to cook more than one sandwich at once, it may be a little harder to clean, and it may take longer to cook your panini.

Any affordable panini press will cook your sandwich, but it will probably be smaller, will not offer adjustable temperatures, and cannot cook more than one sandwich at once.

Panini presses that cost a bit more offer extra room on the inside, could offer customized temperatures and look more aesthetically pleasing in your kitchen.

If you work for a restaurant selling panini presses, you should opt for a more expensive panini press. However, if you purchase the panini press to cook paninis at home for yourself, a cheaper option will get the job done. Evaluate your situation and see what will work best for you.

What Features Should You Look For in a Panini Press?

While a panini press seems like a simple machine, several features can vary based on brand, price, and other factors. There are specific features that most panini presses include, such as plates, size, heat settings, and hinges. Keep these features in mind while you shop.


The top and bottom plates are arguably the best features of your panini press. They provide the perfect amount of crispiness and grill marks and ensure that your sandwich cooks through. Here are the different types to look out for:

Non stick Plates

Non stick plates are the easiest option. They make clean-up a breeze because you don’t have to worry about scrubbing food residue off your cooking plate.

A woman standing in front of a kitchen with a food processor.

Non Stick Plates Can Make Kitchen Cleanup a Breeze

Cast Iron Plates

A cast iron plate is more durable than non-stick plates but can be pricier and harder to clean. They retain a high temperature but take longer to heat up.

Fixed Plates

Generally found on lower-cost panini presses, fixed plates are attached to the panini press and do not come off. This makes your panini press lighter and more portable. However, it also makes it harder to clean.

Removable plates

Removable plates are found on higher-end panini presses and can be removed for cleaning.

The Size of Your Panini Press

Sizing also varies in different types of panini presses. Consider how much space you have in your kitchen. If your counter space is limited, you should opt for a small panini press.

If you have the space for a large panini press and have a large family, you will be able to cook multiple sandwiches at the same time.

Heat Settings

Heat settings vary depending on your model of the panini press. If you invest in a pricier panini press, you may have the option to set a specific temperature.

The temperature control also allows you to cook other foods on your panini press, like smash burgers. More expensive panini presses can also sear your sandwich or meat.

Other panini presses might function more like a toaster where you turn a dial to turn the heat up and down.


There are two panini press hinges: the traditional hinge and the floating hinge. The floating hinge is the more desirable of the two hinges because it can open to a flat surface.

This does not limit the size of your sandwich and provides a flat top grill cooking surface. The floating hinge opens the options of what you can cook on your panini press to breakfast foods, steaks, chicken, and more.

The traditional hinge limits your panini press to strictly paninis and limits the size of your sandwich because its range of motion is smaller.

Looking for the Best Panini Press? Here are Some to Consider

The following panini makers are highly ranked and reviewed online. They range in price, size, and design so that you can find the perfect panini press for your needs.

Best Affordable Panini Press - Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press Grill

This panini press is very affordable but has nearly five stars on Amazon. It’s large enough that you can cook two sandwiches at once, and its sleek design will fit nicely on your countertop.

It has a floating hinge as well so that you can make more than just paninis. The top locks to avoid spillage, and it is highly ranked for their versatility, durability, and ease of use.

Best Design - Cuisinart Griddler

The Cuisinart Griddler is a sleek, stainless steel panini press with floating hinges. It mimics the classic grill style with three black front dials and a foldable lid.

It has non-stick plates, and adjustable temperature controls perfect for cooking more than just paninis. It also includes a drip cup and cleaning tool.

The Cuisinart Griddler

Best Easy Clean - Breville Sear and Press Grill

Not only can you whip up delicious paninis on this press grill, but you can also easily grill vegetables and meat. This panini press includes non-stick ceramic plates and one-touch buttons and is dishwasher safe.

Skip the scrubbing and throw the plates in the dishwasher for a quick clean-up. It is more mid-range in price but is certainly worth the investment. Its sleek silver design will look great on your counter without taking up too much space.

The Breville Sear & Press Grill

Best for Thick Sandwiches - Breville Duo Nonstick Panini Press

Similar to the Breville Sear and Press in appearance, this panini press was created specifically for thick sandwiches. Its floating hinges ensure that no matter how many meats, cheeses, and toppings you add to your paninis, the Breville Duo will be able to handle it.

It has nearly five stars on Amazon and is a more affordable option than the Breville Sear and Press Grill.

Best Small Panini Press - Brentwood Compact Dual Sandwich Maker

Live in a studio apartment? Have limited counter space in your kitchen? The Brentwood Compact Dual Sandwich Maker is a great option for you. At only 10 x 9.7 x 4.3 inches, this little panini maker can be easily snuck into a cupboard or wedged next to your toaster.

Though it’s small, it can still make two sandwiches at once, and its non-stick plates make clean-up easy. This panini press is a great option for those who live by themselves and do not need to make that many sandwiches at once.

Best Professional - Globe GSG14D Commercial Panini Press

Running a restaurant? This professional panini press has cast iron smooth plates, a temperature controller that goes up to 570 degrees, a digital timer, and four programmed recipes.

Its adjustable hinges allow for multiple thick sandwiches at a time. Its nonskid feet grip the counter so that it will stay in place in your busy kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Should Buy a Panini Press?

If you find yourself frequently buying paninis from restaurants or delis, it could be a good financial investment to make them at home instead. They are easy to make, and you can easily find an affordable panini press that will get the job done.

What is the Difference Between a Panini Press and a Sandwich Maker?

A panini press is a more versatile, and usually larger kitchen appliance that has more extensive functionality than a sandwich maker. Panini makers usually come equipped with multiple grill plates for various functions.

They almost always come with a grill plate that leaves marks on sandwiches, as well as flat removable plate.

Sandwich Makers - Like this Breakfast Sandwich Maker Tend to be More Simple Appliances

A sandwich maker (or sandwich press) is much more simple. Its sole function is to toast and sometimes seal sandwiches in a pre-designed shape. A sandwich maker is the perfect appliance to make something relatively simple like a grilled cheese sandwich.

For more information check out our article on the difference between a sandwich press and a panini press.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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