Canstar Blue’s grill and sandwich press review has seen George Foreman, Sunbeam, Breville, Kmart and Target compared on their performance, ease of use, ease of cleaning, performance, functions & features, design and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
If you’re a grilled sandwich type of person, then a sandwich press is just the appliance for you. They’re quick and easy to use, ideal for busy mornings or even as an afternoon pick-me-up. This small appliance can grill, toast and heat, allowing you to amp up your sandwich making skills without even trying. All you need to do is whack the sandwich together, add some cheese, then chuck it on the grill and voila! You’re a chef!
While this might sound easy, finding the right grill is not as simple. There are plenty of brands out there, so to give you a helping hand, like any sous chef would, we’ve surveyed close to 1,000 Aussies who have recently purchased a new grill/sandwich maker to provide you with their valuable reviews. Brands went head to head on a range of factors including value for money, performance and design but only one took out the top spot – George Foreman.
Named after the retired American professional boxer himself, the George Foreman Grill could fairly be described as revolutionary when it comes to healthy grilling. It achieved five stars for its ease of use, ease of cleaning, functions and features, design and overall satisfaction. It also got a respectable four stars on performance and value for money.
The five brands in our inaugural grill and sandwich press review were rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
Sunbeam, Breville and Kmart all got four stars for overall satisfaction, while Target was left on three stars. In areas that George Foreman may not have done as well, two other brands prevailed. Sunbeam scored five stars on performance, while Kmart secured top spot on value for money. But without further ado, let’s dive into each brand and find out what they have to offer.
George Foreman has six different grills available at the time of writing, ranging in price from $60 to $200. These feature a specific grooved grill design with a patented angle to reduce the fat content by up to 42% apparently, which drains away into a removable drip tray that can be taken off and washed.
Its most expensive unit (GR24001AU) includes a temperature probe that automatically detects the temperature of the meat cooking, allowing you to achieve consistent results each time, according to the brand. Another noteworthy feature is its Sear function with intense 260°C heat claimed to lock in the flavour.
George Foreman was rated five stars for overall satisfaction, ease of use, ease of cleaning, functions and features, plus design. It got four stars on performance and value for money.
Sunbeam has a range of grills and sandwich makers on offer with prices as low as $49.95 and as much as $99.95. Its Cafe Grill models feature ribbed top plates and flat bottom plates, as well as floating hinges to maintain even pressure on your sandwich. These also have removable drip trays with sloped grilling plates, allowing the fat to run down for “healthy” eating.
Its Big Fill Toastie sandwich presses feature deep plates to allow for extra filling. These also cut and seal your sandwiches with their scissor design – first cutting each sandwich into two triangles, then sealing the edges for easy handling. Expect non-stick coating for easy cleaning.
Sunbeam achieved five stars for performance and four stars in all other categories, including overall satisfaction and value for money.
Breville offers nine different models within its grill and sandwich maker line at the time of writing. Its Original 2 Slice model is said to fit jumbo sized toasties, including puff pastry, brioche, croissants and flatbreads. Featuring non-stick plates, this unit can also seal and cut the toastie in half.
Its most expensive in the line-up is the Smart Grill Pro. It provides 2400W of power and comes with removable plates for easy clean up. It also opens up into a BBQ mode. It features an integrated probe claimed to sense the temperature of your meat and indicate when it’s time to take it off to rest. There’s also an LCD display with five settings to choose form including beef, lamb, pork, poultry and fish.
Breville got four stars for overall satisfaction and for all rated variables including performance, ease of use, ease of cleaning, functions and features, design and value for money.
Even if you’re on a budget, you can still enjoy a cheese toastie. Kmart offers four different models all with a price tag of under $30. Its most basic sandwich maker is designed with non-stick plates, ‘Ready’ and ‘Power On’ indicator light, a handle and locking latch, plus fits two sandwiches. It also stands up for compact storage.
The most expensive unit from Kmart is the 4 Slice Sandwich Press equipped with non-stick plates. It offers 2000W of power and comes with ‘Warm Up’ and ‘Ready’ lights. It’s tested to applicable Australian electrical safety standards and is certified as compliant. But if you’re after something smaller you can also pick up the same sandwich press but with 2 slice capacity for $10 less.
Kmart was the only brand to rate five stars on value for money. It got four stars for overall satisfaction and ease of use but just three stars for performance, ease of cleaning, functions and design.
While you can find a range of big brands at Target, it offers just one sandwich press under its own name. The Target 4 Slice Sandwich Press (TARSP32) with 2000W of heating power is aimed to have you toasting your favourite sandwiches in no time.
It features a non-stick cooking surface, a floating hinge system for thick bread and capacity for up to four slices. It also has a stainless steel housing, plus thermostat control with a non-stick coating flat plate so it can be wiped clean for easy maintenance.
Target was rated three stars for overall satisfaction and most other categories except for value for money and ease of cleaning where it scored four stars.
Aside from the brands mentioned above that received the minimum sample size to be included in our ratings, there are several other brands worthy of your consideration:
As well as rating the grills they have purchased in the last three years, respondents to our survey also helped to paint a picture of what to look for when buying a grill in the first place. Here are the drivers of customer satisfaction identified from the research:
Above all, performance is the most important factor in grilling satisfaction, followed by ease of use and value for money. When you’re craving a toasted sandwich, you want a grill that can do the job without the fuss. And in terms of value for money, you certainly have some cheap options out there, but ‘cheap’ doesn’t always mean the ‘best’ value. For your purchase to represent good value for money, it will likely need to deliver on performance and reliability.
Generally, prices for standard grills/sandwich presses start at around $20, but you could easily pay up to about $500 on more sophisticated grills with additional functionality. Our survey found that households spend an average of $65 on new grills/sandwich presses, with most keeping their unit for six years, so it may be worth spending a little more upfront as it should last you some time. Only 11% of respondents wished they had spent more on a better grill/sandwich press.
Naturally your budget determines which grill you will ultimately go with. The good news is you’ll find perfectly capable grills and sandwich presses at different price points to suit a range of budgets.
When it comes to choosing the right grill, you should first look at the size you need. Think about the kinds of food you will want to cook on your grill or sandwich press and how many people you might be cooking for. You might also consider how much space you have in your kitchen to store this appliance. While it may be fairly small, large four slice units can be pretty bulky. Only 11% of survey respondents said they wished they had purchased a bigger model.
You’ll also want to look at additional features such as slanted designs, allowing excess oil to slide off into an oil drip tray. Non-stick plates might further help with the clean-up. In addition, floating hinges might be useful as they’re designed to maintain even pressure on your toastie, especially if you are using thick bread.
When choosing which brand to go with there is plenty to keep in mind. Before jumping into any purchase, it would be wise to do your research so that you find exactly what you’re looking for. Our survey revealed that 22% of consumers don’t use their sandwich press/grill as much as they thought they would. So, before you send your money down the drain, consider if you really need one.
For those on a budget, Kmart and Target might be brands to consider with their models being priced under $30. This is decent value if you’re new to the grilling game and just trying your luck. However, Sunbeam was the only brand to achieve top marks in performance, the most important factor, while George Foreman pleased consumers in most other areas. So, depending on what you’re looking for, you can choose accordingly.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Yuriy Golub/shutterstock.com, Ashley Whitworth/shutterstock.com
*Prices taken from respective retailer websites, correct as of November 2019
Our latest customer satisfaction research on grills and sandwich presses saw a number of brands rated best in different categories:
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used a new grill or sandwich press in the last 3 years (this includes grills, presses, jaffle makers, etc that have a closable top/lid) – in this case, 848 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.