- 1 I don't even have a kitchen (or need more room): Get you a burner for $60
- 2 My mixing needs are... unconventional: A huge KitchenAid stand mixer for $250
- 3 I'm Sayling away: Buy my office chair for $433
- 4 Le Creuset, Le Creu-shmay: Buy a Lodge dutch oven for $45 and save your money
- 5 Bean there, done that: This $60 burr grinder will make your coffee WAY better
- 6 Please hear me out: A $75 kitchen thermometer
- 7 Slice and dice: Get the gold standard in food processors for $100
- 8 For the chef who doesn't want to cook: Instant Pot Duo 8-quart for $65
- 9 Backpacks are for people who like their shoulders: Buy the best messenger bag for $50
- 10 Everyone needs an everyday pan: All-Clad's $120 Essential Pan will outlive you
- 11 This deal sucks: The Dyson V10 Motorhead stick vacuum is $280
If you want great deals on tech, our truly gargantuan Black Friday 2019 roundup is where you should start. It's just massive. But Black Friday has rarely been about gadgets for me, and I imagine that's true of a lot of us. It's about lame stuff, too, like socks and underwear! But for me, the most exciting part of Black Friday tends to be the stuff that ends up in my kitchen, and this year is no different: there are a lot of great deals on cooking gear, and even if you're a novice home chef, I have some picks I think you'll appreciate. Also, just some random stuff I like!
I don't even have a kitchen (or need more room): Get you a burner for $60
The Deal: Duxtop 9100 countertop induction burner ($60, $10 off)
Not everybody has a stove, and some people like life that way. Or, some people just don't... have a kitchen, by choice or not. Or maybe you really need that fifth burner. In any case, cooking is not an impossibility! In years past, induction burners were the stuff of professional kitchens and high-end in-countertop ranges, but now? They're just another thing you plug in a wall. This Duxtop 9100 is pretty much the gold standard for home induction burners, and it's on sale for $60 ($10 off) at Amazon right now.
Yes, you need induction-compatible cookware (anything with a magnetic stainless steel core or made of cast iron should work), but that doesn't need to mean "expensive." Just look up induction + pan/pot/skillet on Amazon and you'll be fine. The great thing about induction, aside from being able to have a stove without a stove, is the ability to set precise temperatures for cooking. It's a whole lot more scientific than a dial that has one through ten settings, and many chefs swear by their induction tops.
My mixing needs are... unconventional: A huge KitchenAid stand mixer for $250
The Deal: KitchenAid Professional 6-quart lift-head stand mixer ($250, $80 off)
Listen, if you're cooking for a large group, or you're getting into the big wide world of breads, cakes, and confections, a stand mixer can be a lifesaving appliance. It can also be a pretty expensive one. Every year, without fail, Costco puts a Kitchen Aid pro-line 6-quart stand mixer on sale for $250, $80 off the normal price.
While this deal doesn't come in all of the fun and exciting colors of the KitchenAid Classic and Artisan series of tilt-head mixers, this pro model offers a more powerful motor and larger mixing bowl for tackling bigger, tougher jobs. Its lift-head design also eliminates a common failure point for KitchenAid mixers (the tilt mechanism).
Does everybody need a heavy duty stand mixer? No. But if you've been on the fence about investing, you're getting KitchenAid's more durable, powerful model for a price far closer to that of the smaller tilt-head models. It's worth considering.
I'm Sayling away: Buy my office chair for $433
The Deal: Herman Miller Sayl office chair ($433, $76 off)
I love my Herman Miller Sayl chair. Not only is it a stunning piece of designer furniture, it's extremely supportive, durable, and comes with a 12-year warranty. I've had my Sayl the better part of five years now, and it still feels as tight, quiet, and classy as the day I first rolled it across my extra thick plastic chair mat.
Is $433 a lot of money for a chair? Sure. But if you're spending hours a day in it, a chair is not a difficult investment to justify, both for your health and your wallet. Having an ergonomically supportive chair is important, and buying one that's going to last will ensure that high initial investment amortizes in your favor.
I admit, the look is not for everyone — it's a love it or hate it kind of design. But when it comes to comfort and quality, it's all love with Herman Miller chairs.
Le Creuset, Le Creu-shmay: Buy a Lodge dutch oven for $45 and save your money
The Deal: Lodge 6-quart enameled cast iron dutch oven ($45, $15 off)
Here's a little secret about enameled cast iron: it does not last forever. The cast iron portion may well, but that whole "enamel" part is a fancy way of saying "baked paint," and things which are painted eventually start to lose that paint. Even your $350 Le Creuset or Staub is not immune to the ravages of time and dish soap, and so I've personally never understood why you'd buy one for anything but their admittedly iconic aesthetic (not that I fault anyone for that).
This Lodge 6 quart dutch oven does look like a Le Creuset knockoff, because it is a Le Creuset knockoff. And guess what: it works just as well as the real deal. If, after 10 years, you finally chip the inner enamel down to the iron, or you accidentally leave it a hot oven too long and the exterior paint cracks, you won't experience the dread of destroying a finely-crafted French cooking vessel. It'll just be time to buy another Lodge. Maybe this time, in orange!
Bean there, done that: This $60 burr grinder will make your coffee WAY better
The Deal: OXO BREW conical burr coffee grinder ($60, $40 off)
The secret to the best homebrewed coffee, it is widely agreed, is the grind. While I'm over here in the stone age with my Hario hand-driven burr grinder (it's a fun little morning workout), you probably don't want to be. And though those small rotary blade grinders are cheap and convenient, the fact is that you have exceptionally little control over what they're doing with your precious beans. Blade grinders often get coffee much too fine, resulting in acrid, over-concentrated java that'll make your stomach turn.
This $60 OXO electric burr grinder won't win you eyebrow-raises from the truest of coffee snobs, but it'll get you freshly-ground beans in a consistently-ground size appropriate to your brewing method of choice. A burr grinder is preferable to bladed for a variety of reasons (control, heat, consistency), and there are some pretty expensive ones out there, but as an entry-level tool, this OXO gets high praise in customer reviews and uses legit conical steel burrs (unlike some other cheap burr grinders).
Please hear me out: A $75 kitchen thermometer
The Deal: Thermoworks Thermapen thermometer ($75, $25 off)
This is another thing that so many people don't need, but that some of us will endlessly appreciate. The Thermapen thermometer is that thing. It is the fastest, most accurate, and stupid-simple kitchen thermometer in existence. I use it on the stove, the grill, for roasts, breads, sauces, and even the water for my coffee. Normally, it costs $100. For Black Friday, it's down to $75.
Are there thermometers with Bluetooth, apps, memory functions, alerts, timers, and statistics? Yes. And depending on the job you want a thermometer to do, those may be better options. I tend to veer more toward the analog side of electronic in the kitchen, though, and the Thermapen is the best of the best in that category.
It can read temperatures as low as -58F (-50C) and as high as 572F (299C) safely. And for the vast majority of that range, it is accurate to within 0.7F (0.4C). It also reads those temperatures within 3 seconds, without fail. The newest Mk4 variant on sale here is much more fully-featured than my lowly Mk2, but I can vouch for the Thermoworks brand: my Thermapen has been used and abused for years, and apart from replacing the watch-style coin battery a while back, it hasn't skipped a beat. Did I mention it's also waterproof?
Slice and dice: Get the gold standard in food processors for $100
The Deal: Cuisinart 14-cup food processor ($100, $50 off)
There is no better tool for the lazy chef than a food processor. It is also an indispensable one for the home chef of ambition: for blending purees, sauces, and even small batches of dough. But if you need to dice or shred onions, carrots, or just about anything else that physically can be torn apart, there is no substitute for a proper food processor.
A lot of us still may be holding on to the dinky little mini food processors we had in our first apartments, but speaking from experience, I can tell you those things are total garbage compared to the near 800 Watts of unbridled savagery that is the Real Cuisinart(TM). For $100, the only thing stopping you here should be counter space: this thing is big, it's heavy, and it's absolutely worth lugging out of a cupboard when you need to call upon its unique set of skills.
For the chef who doesn't want to cook: Instant Pot Duo 8-quart for $65
The Deal: Instant Pot Duo 8-quart ($65, $75 off MSRP)
If the idea of cooking flows no creative juices in you whatsoever, but the thought of all the money you'll save by not eating out does, allow me to introduce you to the internet sensation known as the Instant Pot.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away called Your Grandma's House, there was probably, hiding in a forlorn cupboard, something called a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers developed a bad rap among home cooks for being fussy, messy tools that could even be dangerous if improperly handled, but they were also magic: completely tender, fall apart beef roast in under an hour? Pile of dry beans to savory-sweet barbecue side in just as long? With the magic that is pressure cooking, time itself seems to warp.
The Instant Pot is the modern incarnation of that largely bygone kitchen appliance, and it has an absolutely insane cult following. And for good reason: it's a set-it-and-forget-it meal system that can transform a pile of ingredients into a homecooked bowl of comfort with next to no intervention from you, and it can do it a lot faster than a crock-pot. Seriously, there are entire recipe books devoted to this thing.
The Duo isn't the newest model, but it's all most people need. The third-generation Ultra adds a few new features that Instant Pot enthusiasts have been asking for, but unless you basically plan to run a full-service kitchen and bakery (yes, people make cakes in them) out of your plug-in pressure cooker, the extra money it'll cost is not necessary. Also, I know 8 quarts sounds like a lot, but it doesn't actually hold 8 quarts of anything. The Instant Pot cannot be used in pressure cooking mode more than 2/3 full, meaning its actual capacity is just a little over 5 quarts. At $65, it's a total steal.
Backpacks are for people who like their shoulders: Buy the best messenger bag for $50
The Deal: Timbuk2 Classic messenger bag ($50, $75 off)
I've had my current Timbuk2 Classic messenger bag for about five years now, and it gets a lot of abuse. When it's not on my back, it gets tossed across hotel rooms, sits on the floors of cars, trains, and planes, and generally just takes a beating. The thick, strong nylon strap and shell are pretty much indestructible, the rear of the bag and shoulder have good padding, and the organization is very good. It holds a surprising amount of stuff, too: the "small" I use has 14 liters of internal capacity, owing to the fact the bag can be hugely expanded by loosening up the exterior straps that hold down the flap. I actually use this as my overnight bag frequently: there's enough room for a full change of clothes, my toiletry bag, laptop, chargers, and a large camera.
The Timbuk2 is is the go-to messenger bag for a reason, and my current one will likely be replaced by another when the time finally comes. By the way, I don't recommend the large model: it's absolutely massive, and really designed as a full-on travel backpack, versus a briefcase replacement. Stuffing that thing to the brim probably will wreck your shoulder.
Everyone needs an everyday pan: All-Clad's $120 Essential Pan will outlive you
The Deal: All-Clad d5 Essential Pan 3-quart ($120, factory second quality)
As something of a stainless steel cookware enthusiast, it's hard for me to turn down a good deal on a good, solid pan. And while I won't be grabbing this 3-quart Essential five-ply model from All-Clad's VIP factory sale today (I have enough pans at the moment), I think I might be able to convince you why you should.
All-Clad's American made cookware is what you'll find in many world-class kitchens, and it's not just for the name: the stuff is ridiculously tough. I have a few pieces from the d5 line in my kitchen, and it's seriously heavy, well-constructed cookware. The five-ply design also means it radiates heat more evenly than All-Clad's standard (but excellent) tri-ply pans, though that does drive up the price significantly.
The d5 line, to me, sits well between All-Clad's entry-level stainless and its ultra-lux (and, in my opinion, highly unnecessary) copper core models, and I think is best bought in the company's more versatile pots and pans versus the kind of stuff you'll only be breaking out a few times a year. This Essential pan is designed to be a jack of all trades: saute, simmer, braise, reduce, fry, mix, and serve. The double handles mean it goes straight from the stove to the table with ease, and the half-skillet, half-saute design is easily my favorite to use in the kitchen for smaller one-pot meals. Is it expensive? Yes. But it's a pan you and your kitchen can grow into, and frankly, old with. With a simple stainless steel abrasive cleaner and the rough side of a sponge (and some elblow grease), they look brand-new after even a serious scorching.
This deal sucks: The Dyson V10 Motorhead stick vacuum is $280
The Deal: Dyson V10 Motorhead stick vaccum ($280, $120 off MSRP)
While I have a lowly V8 model, this V10 Motorhead stick vacuum from Dyson is the one I probably should have bought. It lasts up to 60 minutes on a charge (20 minutes with the Motorhead attachment), and I can guarantee you right now that you will be blown away by the suction power a Dyson stick vacuum achieves. Even my older V8 is easily the most powerful vacuum I have ever used, and the motorized, direct-drive bristle cleaner picks up things in my carpet I didn't want to know were there.
At $280, yes, this is a very, very expensive vacuum. But I can assure you, the liberty of going cordless with your primary vacuum cannot be understated. It truly is glorious, tidy freedom. Dyson's stick vacs won't be great for large homes or as shop vacs (they aren't rated for wet vac duty), but they're undeniably versatile, and the bagless canister system means dumping out the contents is a breeze. Its various attachments also don't require dealing with hoses, and eliminate the need for owning a separate hand vacuum. Now that I have one, I'm ruined for life: cordless vacuums are game-changers.