Small appliances you might actually want to give (or receive)
Our small-appliance holiday picks won't end up in the regift pile.
Bunn My Cafe MCU
For $169, the Bunn My Cafe MCU is a single-serving coffee maker that does it all. It comes with different attachments for K-Cups, coffee grounds, tea bags, coffee pods, and hot water. Without a reservoir, you'll need to add water every time, but we like this feature as it gives you greater control over the amount and strength of your beverage. We liked the Bunn so much, in fact, that we gave it an Editor's Choice Award.
The Neato's $450 sticker price and excellent performance make it a top contender in the robot vacuum category. It isn't fancy and it lacks the panache of other robot vacuums, but its linear pattern of room sweeping and consistent pick-up compensate for any personality deficit. The Neato was our top performer with pet hair, making it an excellent option if you're a pet owner looking for a little help with daily floor maintenance.
Affectionately referred to as "the little toaster oven that could" by our appliance editors, the Panasonic FlashXpress wowed us in almost all of our performance tests. A $150 price tag makes it an incredibly reasonable buy compared with other, similar performers in the category and we were impressed by both the FlashXpress' cooking capabilities and its ease of use. It functioned particularly well as a toaster but also made excellent pizza.
With a recently reduced price of $149, the Verismo impressed us with its ability to make coffee and espresso that taste almost identical to their in-store counterparts. We weren't so in love with the latte milk pods, but if you're a Starbucks fan and want an easy-to-use espresso machine for your home, the Verismo might be a good fit.
The Roomba 880 seems tenacious and eager to please, if a little distracted, and we particularly liked the amount of personality it brought to the table or, rather, floor. The Roomba performed well in all of our tests and was a top performer on hardwood floors in particular. While it won't replace your traditional upright vacuum, the Roomba would be an excellent addition if you're looking for something to help with day-to-day maintenance and don't mind the $700 sticker price.
A $299 tag puts the Cuisinart CSO-300 near the top of the category we tested in terms of price, but considering the fact that it is a toaster and steam oven combined, it feels more reasonable. The CSO-300 performed with flying colors in nearly all of our tests, excelling at cooking frozen pizza and reheating leftovers.