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Hot (or at least heated) kitchen appliance may just be a shelf

The Sunpentown SD-1501 Dish Dryer features a utility that may be useful, but is it worth it?

Space-age in appearance, but perhaps not so futuristic.

For the gadget-obsessed there is a certain amount of satisfaction that comes from being the first on the block to own the hottest new item. Similar to this thinking, owning an obscure appliance can often result in the same satisfaction. Sometimes, these hard-to-come-by items feature a utility so obvious that one wonders why everyone on the block doesn't have one. Often, eventually everyone on the block does manage to get his hands on said hot new gadget or appliance. This is not one of those times.

The Sunpentown SD-1501 Dish Dryer may have obvious usefulness, but is most likely destined for obscurity. Complete with a 3.4-liter capacity, the 150-watt countertop appliance has enough space for four place settings. Featuring timed and automatic drying cycles, the device dries a load in as fast as 20 minutes. Overheating protection is incorporated, shutting off the unit when temperatures reach 116 degrees Fahrenheit.

Clearly, a countertop dish dryer would come in handy (occasionally) for households without a dishwasher, but at a cost of around $100, the price seems a bit high for an appliance that only does half the job. (Portable countertop dishwashers are available new for--oddly enough--about twice the price.) However, as a cool-looking storage shelf (which is what this is destined to become), well then, for that use this particular gadget is spot-on.