All-in-one kitchen appliances can chop, mix, steam, cook, mince, blend and a whole lot more, which can take a lot of the time and effort out of meal preparation for busy home cooks.
When choosing an all-in-one kitchen machine, the most important factors you'll need to consider are ease of use and your budget. Prices for all-in-one appliances range from a few hundred dollars up past the $3,000 mark, so make sure you shop around before you buy.
Our guide will help you compare the available options and find the best all-in-one kitchen appliance for all your cooking needs.
Compare some of the best all-in-one kitchen appliances
What is an all-in-one kitchen appliance?
All-in-one kitchen appliances (sometimes also referred to as cook processors) perform an extensive variety of essential kitchen tasks. Their purpose is to simplify the cooking process and do the work of multiple conventional appliances, taking much of the hassle out of meal preparation and freeing up space in your kitchen.
The Thermomix is probably the most widely known all-in-one kitchen machine on the market, but several other appliance manufacturers including KitchenAid, Magimix and Tefal offer competing models.
While the exact tasks these machines can complete vary a little between brands, they can typically do the following:
- Weighing ingredients
- Grinding and milling
- Kneading dough
Another appliance that can help you save time and space in the kitchen is a multi-cooker. You can typically use these machines for pressure cooking, slow cooking, steaming, frying, baking, roasting and more. They can't do as much as a fully-fledged all-in-one appliance, but they're generally a fair bit cheaper and well worth a look if you're looking for an easier way to cook.
Check out our multi-cooker buying guide for more information.
Pros and cons
There are a few important reasons why you should get an all-in-one kitchen machine:
- Designed to make cooking easy. If you struggle to find the time or motivation to prepare meals, all-in-one appliances can help you save time and take much of the stress out of cooking. These machines automate much of the cooking process, come with easy-to-follow recipes and help minimise washing up.
- Prepare a wide variety of meals. Whether you want to make mushroom risotto, a gourmet dessert or anything in between, all-in-one kitchen machines tackle a wide range of cuisines and cooking methods.
- Save on space. Rather than relying on drawers and cupboards full of separate appliances that only do one job, all-in-one machines are compact appliances that can perform a wide range of tasks.
On the flipside, there are also a couple of reasons why you might decide an all-in-one kitchen appliance isn't worth it:
- They can be expensive. Most all-in-one kitchen appliances come with a pretty big price tag – we're talking several hundred or even a few thousand dollars.
- Not ideal for all cooks. If you prefer to cook by taste rather than religiously following a recipe and if you love having hands-on control over the meals you prepare, an all-in-one kitchen appliance might not provide the flexibility you need.
How to compare all-in-one kitchen appliances
If you've decided that an all-in-one kitchen appliance is a must-have, make sure you shop around and compare the features of a wide range of machines. While price is no doubt a crucial factor, you'll also need to consider how easy a machine is to use and keep clean, the range of cooking functions it can perform and the number of recipes available.
Key features to consider
The following are the most important factors to consider when comparing all-in-one kitchen appliances:
Price is always going to be a major factor in your decision. While there are some all-in-one appliances available for less than $500, most fall within the $1,000-$2,000 price bracket.
Ease of use
User-friendliness is vital to ensure that you get the most out of your machine. Check if all buttons and functions are easy to access and understand, if the lid is easy to fit and remove, and whether switching attachments and accessories is reasonably simple.
It's also worth pointing out that the sheer range of functions some machines are capable of performing can make them quite complicated to understand at first. With this in mind, take a look at the instruction manual to check whether it offers clear and concise information.
Check out some online reviews of any machine you're considering buying. This should give you a better idea of how an appliance functions in the real world, what its strengths and weaknesses are, and whether people who own the machine would recommend it to other buyers.
Bowl capacities generally range from 2 to 4.5 litres. Make sure the machine you choose has sufficient capacity to prepare meals for your family.
Over the past few years, you may have seen news headlines and stories regarding safety concerns about the Thermomix. In April 2018, the Federal Court of Australia ordered Thermomix to pay more than $4.6 million in penalties for misleading customers "about a safety issue affecting its TM31 appliance, which the company knew about."
While the TM31 was recalled in September 2014 and replaced by newer models, there are now a few key safety features offered by many brands:
- Lockable lid. Look for a machine that won't run until its lid is securely locked in place. This helps prevent spills and reduces the potential risk of burns.
- Speed limit. This feature limits the speed at which you can operate the machine when the temperature inside exceeds 60°.
Other models may come with an automatic shut-off feature for when the machine is overloaded or overheats, or it won't allow you to use certain functions when the appliance is being operated above a specific speed or temperature level.
How easy will the machine be to clean? Most come with dishwasher-safe parts, but some can only go on the top shelf of your dishwasher. It's also worth checking whether the buttons, dials and displays will be easy to wipe down and whether there are minimal cracks where food and grime may accumulate.
Additional factors to think about:
MORE BUYING GUIDES