Cuisinart Griddler ($130)
Not only turns out a perfect pressed sandwich, with enough heat to melt cheese and warm meat quickly, but also opens up for use as a grill or a griddle. Removable plates make this press the easiest to clean.
VillaWare Uno ProPress Contact ($80)
Extra-hot plates and a heavy top make thin, crispy panini. The machine comes with a tool for cleaning in between the grooves. Chrome design has a stylish retro look (www.villaware.com).
Krups FDE-3 ($80)
The flexible hinge is ideal for thick sandwiches: The top comes down flat, so fillings don’t get squeezed out. A lock secures the machine for upright storage. The shiny exterior chrome tends to show fingerprints.
GE Panini Grill 169078 ($32)
This machine feels lighter than the others tested. A side knob helps keep the lid open when necessary and closed for easy, upright storage (www.walmart.com).