It all starts out completely innocent. One day you mention that you like toast and then end up receiving five toasters in one holiday season. Don’t condemn your loved ones to meals consisting only of toast. Follow this guide to giving kitchen appliances as gifts so your family can have some variety in their diets without having to worry about the hassles of store return policies.

For the Baker

mom tying daughter's apron in front of mixerFor the budding baker in your life, a mixer makes a good gift. If your loved one has very little experience baking, a hand mixer might be the way to go. It takes up less space and is great for light baking. 

If your family member bakes more than once a week, he or she might benefit from a stand mixer. It can be a more permanent fixture in the kitchen and can come with a variety of attachments for different purposes, such as meat grinding or pasta making.

For the College Student

If the staple of the average college student’s diet is ramen, then a microwave is a prime appliance for the college lifestyle. It provides an alternative to a toaster or toaster oven, which are often banned from dorm rooms. 

In addition to the microwave, you might want to purchase some ceramic or glass bowls for your favorite students so that they aren’t at risk of chemicals leaching onto their food from plastic containers when they’re heated up. 

You might even be able to convince them to steam some vegetables to go with their noodles. The only limiting factor that might accompany a microwave is a maximum wattage restriction. Different universities may have different maximums in order to meet fire safety codes.

For the Grill Master

man grills chickenWhen looking at grills as potential gifts, you have to choose between gas, electric, or charcoal, and then you have to compare warranties. What kind of grill you buy may also be limited by the recipient’s living circumstances. 

If they live in an apartment or condo, you’ll probably have to settle for an electric grill unless he or she is planning to move somewhere that allows open flames and has more space. If the recipient lives in a house with enough outdoor space, you can select a gas or charcoal grill.

Gas and charcoal grills each have different benefits. Gas grills tend to cook food faster, but charcoal grills give you more room to experiment with the grilling process. Before you choose a grill, make sure to look through the varying points on the warranty. If you aren’t sure how to read a warranty, read these tips.

For the Whole Family

There are certain appliances that the whole family uses, such as refrigerators and stoves. These are big purchases, and as such, you may want to take the recipient with you to make sure he or she agrees on the specs of the appliance, even if it means you’ll lose the element of surprise. 

Your gift will also be more enjoyable if it comes with a detailed warranty that includes repairs and, if required, replacement. If you’re looking at a new stove, you’ll also want to consider the pros and cons of gas stoves versus those of electric stoves as well as which would be easier to have installed in the recipient’s kitchen.

If you decide to give an appliance as a gift this season, make sure you research its ins and outs. Use this holiday gift guide to give your loved ones the right appliances for their needs. (Hint: It’s probably not a toaster.)