Big City Little Kitchen

The Best Tools for Small Homes

... the endless quest for counterspace...

There is a certain pleasure in having a small kitchen. To some people. "A place for everything, and everything in its place" is just a quaint saying, but if you have a tiny kitchen then this is more of war cry. Big City, Little Kitchen is a site about the best tools, appliances, containers, and everything else that is ideal for small kitchens.

The site is named after the city, but the best tools for small city kitchens are also the best picks for small homes, cabins, trailers, mobile homes, pied-à-terre, van-life setups, dorm room, are any other place where you cook, clean, and live with limited space. This is a site about simple efficiency and compact solutions.

Best Air Purifier for Home

Best Small Air Purifier

We are big fans of the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty air purifier. First of all, it's a true HEPA filter that simple does a great job of removing allergens, dust, pollen, pet dander, and other junk from the air. (We're told it's great at removing pollution and smoke as well, but that's harder to test.) We love the quiet operation, easy controls, and great features, like its energy-saving ECO mode and sleep timer. And, unlike so many air purifiers, we don't even hate the design aesthetics (we can't believe it either).

This Coway air purifier is good for up to 361 square feet of space, which our review and subsequent testing confirmed. It's 3-zone filter system (HEPA, charcoal, and mesh) is great at filtering the air in your home leaving you with a clean, fresh circulation.

Our favorite feature (apart from how well the AP-1512HH Mighty purifier works) is the AUTO mode, which senses the air quality and then kicks from low (nearly silent) to overdrive (blasting) in order to get the air clean as quickly as possible. When the sensor issues the "all clear" then the air purifier's fan slows down again. The downsides of this, our top air purifier, are a price that sometimes peaks above $200, expensive filters (about $50), and a bright blue LED on the top that we just had to cover up for sleep quality.

The Coway's price is, often, an open question. We have seen it fluctuate from $180 to $230 on, with $229.95 being the standard MSRP. The AP-1512HH Mighty's price is the same at, Bed Bath and Beyond, Buy Buy Baby, and others. If you track the price, and you don't care if you get the purifier in white or black then you might be able to get a deal during a price fluctuation. Sometimes the is sold in a bundle with its filter, but this will only save you a dollar or two.

And don't miss this Coway AP-1512HH video review...

Coway AP-1512HH Mighty air purifier unboxing video:

Best Knife for Small Kitchens

Best Kitchen Knife

So what's so great about the Victorinox 8-inch Fibrox Pro Chef’s knife? The thing is, that this is the only knife you need, so while it's not that small, you can get your whole collection of knife as well as your knife block in the garbage. This knife is sturdy, easy to sharp, dishwasher-safe, and cheap enough that you don't need to baby it.

Best Knife Magnet

Best Knife Magnet

Knife blocks are a terrible use of counterspace, but tossing knives in a drawer isn't safe or a nice way to treat your hardware, so what's the answer? This 16-inch stainless steel knife magnet from Modern Innovation. This magnet is simple, sleep and have over 400 reviews on Amazon resulting in an almost perfect rating.

Best Blender for Small Kitchens

Best Blender

If you are looking for the best blender for small kitchens then look no further than the Vitamix 5300. The Vitamix brand likely comes as no surprise, but why the 5300? That's because the 5300 includes the wide-mouth, low-height, "Low-Profile" container that allows this 2.2 horsepower blender to fit under a 17-inch cabinet. That's absolutely mandatory for small kitchens. If you want something quieter than the 5300 you can opt for the Vitamix 750 which is much more expensive, but uses a next-generation motor which is quieter.

Best Glass Storage Containers

Best Espresso Machine

Orderly storage is critical for any small space. And we here at Big City, Little Kitchen prefer storing and reheating in glass containers, instead of plastic. That makes the Glasslock 18-Piece container set a surefire hit for sure thanks to a reasonable price, over-safety, microwave-safety (remove the lid first!) and high-quality lids. Also the rectangle design is much more space efficient than circular containers, so you can maximize the volume of your fridge and cabinets.

Best Espresso Machine for Small Kitchens

Best Espresso Machine

If you are looking for the absolute best, buy-it-once, own-it-forever espresso machine for small spaces, then the Olympia Cremina is the clear pick here. This machine uses a classic design that is almost unchanged since the 1960s and is incredibly compact, thanks largely to it's incredible simplcity and lever design. And it's silent too, since it doesn't have a loud pump like most espresso machines.

Best Mid-range Espresso Machine for Small Kitchens

Best Cheap Espresso Machine

The Olympia Cremina is a masterpiece, but it's not at all cheap. If tou are looking for something a bit more reasonably priced than the Rancilio Silvia is (and for over a decade has been) a fan favorite. It's not quite as compact as the Silvia, but it's still very small -- almost Nespresso small -- and can make barista-level espresso.