Small appliances and gadgets can be addictive and with their every improving aesthetics and added features it’s easy to get lured into a purchase without adequate consideration of why and what you set out to buy in the first place. For those reasons alone, here’s a list of essential criteria that must be given due consideration before a hasty purchase is made.

Size and Function

What are you going to use an appliance for and how big it is should always be at the forefront of your pre-shopping checklist. Size is important for two reasons: you need adequate room to store it (don’t just plonk it on your counter); and depending on how large and cumbersome it is (a standing Kitchen Aid, for example), you might be dissuaded from using it often due to the sheer labor and laziness of having to bring it out of its storage area. Slothful as this may seem, it is a reality of a busy kitchen; so before you heedlessly dismiss it, give it a second thought.

Multifunctionality

Having fewer appliances that are capable of doing more rather than more appliances that perform lesser tasks just makes more sense. A good food processor will chop, knead, mix and slice, and while you might only be looking for something to whip up a quick mayonnaise in, you certainly won’t be sorry anytime you prep to cook that these hard workers slice and dice as well.

Cost and Other Considerations

Should you buy the Kitchen Aid hand mixer that retails at $79.99 or a generic one for around $20 or less. In this instance, it probably doesn’t matter: an electric hand beater is not meant to be a heavy-duty performer—it doesn’t have to be up to a Herculean task, there are only so many things it can do anyway. Any odd brand will probably do the job just fine. I have a GE mini food processor that I purchased during my college days, for a negligible amount, that I’ve subjected to every torturous task possible that’s still good as new. It’s gotten a little louder—probably out of sheer protest—but the little devil is still going strong.

If you’re in the market for a standing food mixer or a multifunctional food processor, or a good espresso machine, the rules are different. Given that you now want more out of a single machine in terms of performance and function, you should expect to pay more. While some appliances might still be overpriced, you are now entering a different class of machines and durability matters at this price range. The more costly food mixers on the market today are commercial grade, high-performance beasts that use epicyclic or planetary gearing that results in better load distribution and output, so the monetary investment might just be worth your while and your wallet.

Clean-up

If you’re reluctant to lug your appliance from wherever you store it to your counter to use it because of its size and weight, imagine how much less you would want to bring it out if the components are not dishwasher safe or difficult to get clean. Keep it real and do not go for something that you will need to use often and have to hand wash. Once the novelty of the appliance has worn out, you will be reluctant to use it because of the hassle to clean it and it will only sit pretty in your cupboard.