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how to choose a hot sandwich maker

Updated on October 28, 2014

Delicious Hot Sandwiches

How to choose a hot sandwich maker
How to choose a hot sandwich maker

Important Features In A Hot Sandwich Maker

A hot sandwich maker will provide you and your family with an endless variety of tasty and nutritious meals but which one is the right sandwich maker for you? This is a simple guide to help you choose the right hot sandwich maker for your needs and get the most value for money.

One of these cookers is also a waffle maker so, if you are looking for a good waffle maker, go no further, this one gets great customer reviews and it also makes hot pocket sandwiches! And, as an added bonus feature, it is a lot easier to clean than just your standard waffle maker too.

Choosing A Hot Sandwich Maker

Hot Sandwich Maker Features

At first glance you might think that all hot sandwich makers are pretty much the same but that is not so at all. For starters, there are two basic types of sandwich maker, the Panini sandwich press and the hot pocket style of sandwich maker that actually seals the filling into wonderful pillows of bread.

Both hot sandwich makers are great but they do make very different types of sandwiches. The Panini press is great for making wraps too but it is only the pocket style of sandwich maker that allows you to easily eat a sandwich on the run, so to speak. And it is only the pocket type of hot sandwich maker that will allow you to fill your sandwiches with steaming deliciousness like beans and bacon or cheese and pepperoni.

Panini Press Hot Sandwich Maker

Selecting a Hot Sandwich Maker For You

Panini press style hot sandwich makers are one of the most versatile kitchen devices you can own. Relatively inexpensive, a Panini press will quickly become an important part of your daily routine, even when you are not making sandwiches. The right press can even function as a griddle, making it an even more valuable addition to your kitchen. The features and functionality to look for in a good sandwich press include the following.

Non-stick Surface. A non-stick surface offers two wonderful benefits. The first is that it is much easier to clean up so you spend more time eating delicious sandwiches and much less time cleaning up. The second benefit is one that is often overlooked and that is the health benefits of cooking with non-stick. Surfaces like teflon and other non-stick products allows us to cook with less oil, fat or butter and most of us could use less of that in their diet.

Floating Hinge. A non-floating hinge i.e. a normal hinge will unevenly squish your sandwiches as it closes so you need to buy a hot sandwich press that has either a floating hinge or an adjustable hinge so that it applies a heated surface evenly to the bread without squashing the sandwich itself.

Removable plates. Sandwich presses with removable plates are easier to clean so this is a nice feature but not vital. A sponge or dishcloth will easily get your sandwich maker clean with just a few wipes. If it does take a considerable effort to get it clean then you might want to rethink your sandwich making strategy.

Adjustable Depth. This is a really cool feature that allows you to adjust the sandwich press for the thickness of the sandwich you are making. Some people like thinner sandwiches and some people, probably people that watch Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, want a giant sandwich that you can barely fit in your mouth. This adjustable depth feature can satisfy everyone's needs.

Physical Size. How many sandwiches are you gong to be making and do you need to serve them all at the same time? You don't want sandwiches getting cold while you are preparing the other ones so make sure that you have the right size sandwich press for your needs. Usually a press that can make two sandwiches at once will be sufficient for most needs.

Lock. A lock to hold the heating plates into position is a nice feature to have but less important on the press style sandwich maker than it is on the pocket style sandwich maker. The real advantage of the lock on the press style sandwich maker is that it allows you to heat food without the food coming into contact with the upper plate. That means you can make great eggs and reheat pizza.

Non-slip Feet. It might seem like a small thing but having non-skid feet on your sandwich maker is a big benefit because these things usually get very hot and you do not want one falling off a counter onto your foot. A little rubber on each foot will do nicely and most models do come with this feature already built in.

Temperature Controls. Being able to adjust your sandwich maker's temperature is especially valuable if you have a sandwich press / griddle combination because then you will also be able to create hotter surfaces for cooking chicken or grilling vegetables.

Sandwich Press / Griddle Combo. These are the best! A sandwich press that is also a griddle is a big benefit.

Hot Pocket Sandwich Maker / Waffle Maker

Many of the features that you want on the hot sandwich press are the same benefits that you will want to see in your hot pocket style sandwich maker so, while I will list them again here, you can read the full description and details in the section titled Panini Press Hot Sandwich Make.

Non-slip Feet. As mentioned in the Panini Press module, non-slip feet are desirable because, especially with a hot pocket style sandwich maker, you are going to want to lock the lid down and sometimes getting it open can require a little force since it is jammed into the bread and probably sealed with some melted cheese.

Lock. The lock is particularly important on this type of sandwich maker because you really need the edges of the bread to be squashed together in order for them to seal properly and keep your fillings inside the sandwich where they belong.

Non-stick Cooking Surface as mentioned above, non-stick means less mess to clean up and healthier eating due to less cooking oil, butter or fat being used.

Indicator Lights for perfect cooking every time, nothing beats these indicator lights that tell you when to put the sandwich in, and when it's done. This really is fool-proof cooking so I strongly recommend that every teenager and ever college student have one of these hot sandwich makers.

Removable, Interchangeable Plates allows you to make both hot pocket sandwiches and waffles. As mentioned in the Panini Press section, removable plates makes cleaning the hot sandwich make easier and you can even put the plates in the dishwasher. That is a major advantage over regular waffle makers that can be extremely difficult to get clean.

Which Sandwich Maker To Buy

Picking a hot sandwich maker
Picking a hot sandwich maker

Which Hot Sandwich Maker Is Best?

Thick Sandwiches Or Thin Sandwiches

Deciding which style of hot sandwich maker to purchase might just come down to two questions, the first being, what kind of eating will I be doing? Will I be eating on the run or in the car? An open style of sandwich such as a Panini requires you to take the time to sit down and use both hands on it while the hot pocket style can easily be eaten with one hand while riding a bike (I know because I have done this on more than one occasion.)

The second question is what style of sandwich do you prefer, thick, tall sandwiches or thinner sandwiches? It is difficult, if not impossible, to make tall sandwiches in the hot pocket style sandwich maker but quite easy to do so in the Panini press.

My Personal Preference
I prefer the hot pocket style of hot sandwiches because I think they offer me something I can’t get any other way, i.e. the ability to make my own hot pocket sandwiches. You might think, “But I can make a pretty great melted cheese sandwich in a pan” and you would be right but it wouldn’t be as good, because it quickly becomes a hot mess when you melt the cheese past a certain point. With a hot pocket style sandwich, the cheese stays inside so you can enjoy every last drop of it.

Ever tried a bean and bacon sandwich? It is divine but try making one Panini style and you will soon see why the hot pocket is the king of the hot sandwiches. One reviewer said her favorite hot pocket was made with garlic toast and filled with Italian sausage or meatballs and mozzarella cheese which she then dipped in spaghetti sauce. Hot pocket sandwiches are good for breakfast, lunch and dinner and you will never get bored with the combinations, that is why this style of hot sandwich is my personal favorite.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Toasted Cheese Sandwich
Toasted Cheese Sandwich

World's Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Although this hot pocket style hot sandwich maker will undeniably make you the world’s best grilled cheese sandwich, don’t let yourself fall into the trap of only making those. This sandwich maker can churn out a staggering variety of delicious, hot sandwiches so experiment with leftovers and see what you can come up with.

Some suggestions from reviewers of this product include:
French toast stuffed with banana
Egg triangles with cheese and bacon
Chicken pot pie pockets
Cornbread with hot dog slices

I like to think of hot pocket sandwiches as though they were Italian Calzones and fill them with things like cheese, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions and spinach.

What is Your Choice?

Hot Pocket or Panini?

See results


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    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      3 years ago from The High Seas

      It seems like such a simple purchase....until you really start looking at all of your different options.

    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 

      3 years ago from New Delhi India

      I have couple of sandwich makers but i wish i had read your hub before i brought my last one.

    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      3 years ago from The High Seas

      I LOVE hot sandwich makers. Sadly I cannot use on on my boat but every time I get to shore it's one of the first things I make for myself.

    • Taranwanderer profile image


      3 years ago

      I had to go with the Hamilton Beach double breakfast sandwich maker. the others are definitely worth a try, though - no size limitations like in mine!

    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      3 years ago from The High Seas

      Om my Neptune! The world of hot sandwich makes just opened up for you.....and what a wonderful world it is! Endless variations of possible sandwich ideas! Your life just got better, I promise you.

    • vespawoolf profile image


      3 years ago from Peru, South America

      I didn´t even know there´s a hot pocket maker. Before reading this article I probably would have chosen a Panini maker, but I agree that there are benefits to making your own hot pockets with runny fillings like beans. Thank you for sharing this useful information.

    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      4 years ago from The High Seas

      If you do, you HAVE to tell me what's the first sandwich that you make with it. I'd just about live on these sandwiches if it was socially acceptable.

    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      4 years ago from The High Seas

      I love paninis but I really love the hot pockets. So easy to eat while you are sailing!

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      This is a seriously important topic, and I happen to be in the market for one so perfect timing for this hub! I have to get my hands on one of these hot pocket makers.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We do not have either kind of appliance but I think were I to purchase one it would be the one to make paninis. I just do it stove top now.

      The ones that could also make waffles would be nice to have. Up votes and will share.

    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      4 years ago from The High Seas

      Come on, no one hates they? Oh wait, I know LOTS of gals that hate cooking. I expect you to buy a copy of my hot sandwich cookbook...when I get around to writing it =)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      I couldn't go without my sandwich maker! Or in fact my microwave, you can see where this is going can't you? lol! I hate cooking!


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