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Recommendations for best Panini press/grill sandwich maker

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Help - I want to buy a panini maker to grill my own delicious sandwiches. Too many choices when I did a search on Google. I'll pay up to about $100 (doesn't have to be cafe quality) but best features and results are my priority.

All Chowhound recommendations are appreciated.

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  1. The Krups FDE3 is an incredibly well designed panini press. It should be available for about $100. We use ours more often than we would have anticipated.

    1. I have a krups also . Great machine.

      1. We use our George Foreman. We were a bit late on this particular bandwagon but eventually got one as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago and to be honest, it's been a lifesaver on many occasions.

        1. Which is the cheapest & best brand of Panini press/grill sandwich maker
          ?

          1. A cast iron skillet or other heavy pan and a brick.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bolivianita

              Ahh! - you beat me to my own smart-ass (and very worthy) answer.

              Save your cash and buy yourself something nicer.

            2. I have a Villaware, like it very much. To turn it off, you pull the plug, which eliminates second-guessing (did I remember to turn off the panini maker?....)

              1. What's the diff between a panini press and a George Foreman? I have often wondered.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Snackish

                  About 50 bucks

                2. Still love and use my grandfather's Toas-tite.

                  1. I actually really like my Cuisinart Griddler. It has changable plates and lays flat if you want it to, so you can do panini or "grilled" meats, or lay it flat and use the smooth plates for pancakes or cheesesteaks. For panini, it works as well as the Villaware one that I had before, and I feel like there's more temperature control.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cyberroo

                      I too recommend the Cuisinart Griddler which I received for Christmas last year. I'm very happy with how my panini turn out and it's a breeze to clean.

                    2. I got a Hamilton Beach for Chistmas. It was cheap at 49 buck from Wally World and although it is supposed to be for all kinds of foods, sandwiches is what it does best. PRO's: Has floating hinge for very thick sandwiches or burgers, etc., removes excess grease from meats with grease cup, removeable grill plates for easy cleaning, large grill area, and opens flat-ish for grilling large amounts of food.
                      CON's: Skinny food doesn't actually grill so no cutlets or thin meats, grease cup is kind of small so you have to check it when doing burgers, timer with pre-set temps. so you have to experiment to be sure they're the right amount of time and temperiture for what you are cooking, only grill plates. Would have been nice to have reversible ones to griddle or smooth plates. Then again, it was cheap.

                      It does a really good job on sandwiches and I can fit 4 large ones at a time so for that it's fine.