A pot on a table

Best Inexpensive™ Dish Drainer, Electric Kettle, Outdoor Grill

You know it’s a good day for me when my “inner shopper” gets to come out and play.

Researching, reviewing and testing the things that you, My Dear Readers, request is like a license to shop till I drop—all the joys without the horrible side effects of overspending. Coming up with solid recommendations for the best inexpensive options is one of the most satisfying things I get to do. I’d say we have a good thing going on.


I’m one who relies heavily on a dishwasher, which means I haven’t owned a dish drainer or even thought about that until just recently when I heard from Pam:

I recently replaced my wire dish drainer rack and couldn’t find anything but small replacements drainers with small drainboards. What’s going on? Any ideas where to find a bigger dish drainer (NOT plastic) and drain board?

Pam’s right. Huge, metal dish drainers are a thing of the past. But not to worry. After a bit of searching, trial and some error—and tremendous need now that I do have a dishwasher (we’re remodeling!)—I’m excited to reveal my Best Inexpensive™ pick, which I absolutely love.

POLDER DISH RACK AND TRAY. I love this dish drainer because it is stainless steel, elegantly designed and includes both a drain try and separate drying tray. That effectively doubles the space of the rack itself—and the drying tray stores beneath the rack when not needed. That makes this Polder Dish Rack and Tray versatile. About $40. 

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Dish Rack and Polder


EPICA CORDLESS ELECTRIC KETTLE. Years ago, my proper Scottish mother-in-law introduced me to the joys of an electric tea kettle. Such a thing was so difficult to find in the U.S., so she had it imported for me, complete with a cumbersome electrical cord and hefty price tag. It was functional but hardly attractive. In fact, I would hide it in a cupboard between uses. All that has changed as evidenced by this gorgeous, sleek, cordless Epica 6-Temperature Variable Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle. So easy to use and look at that price! Just set the exact temperature you want your hot water, set it on its heating base and in what seems like seconds, hot water. Beautiful on the counter and so convenient with its cool touch handle and auto shut-off features. About $40.

Kettle and Steel



Now that outdoor grilling season has arrived, the requests have been piling up for an affordable and reliable way to enjoy summer grilling without having to spend the big bucks.

With a good deal of effort and hours of consideration, I’m thrilled to have narrowed the large and quite complicated field of outdoor grills to two: One that uses charcoal, the other liquid propane.

WEBER ORIGINAL KETTLE. Here it is—the classic, original, reliable 18-inch charcoal grill from the grilling experts at Weber. The 18.5 diameter plated-steel cooking grate is spacious, its porcelain-enameled bowl and lid super attractive. Weber Original Kettle is easy to clean, even easier to use and just a wonderful all-around grill. About $80.

Grilling and Weber Original Kettle

Here it is: Best Inexpensive™ Bed Sheets

WEBER LIQUID PROPANE GRILL. A step up in functionality, this grill is so sweet. Made of cast aluminum, this baby heats up quickly to the exact heat needed to grill. The design allows for proper circulation of heat which means fabulous grilling. This Weber Liquid Propane Grill has an easy-start electronic ignition, one stainless steel burner and 189-square inches of cooking area, and offers direct or indirect heat options. This beauty comes in a bevy of color choices, too. (Uses one liquid propane cylinder, sold separately in home improvement centers, discount department stores or outdoor and camping centers like Cabelas and REI.) About $200.

A tray of food on a table, with Grilling and Propane

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3 replies
  1. Anne Shelton says:

    Recently saw a wire dish drainer that fits in one side of sink, and includes a corner plastic compartment (removable) to corral
    cooking utensils. I think it was at Fred’s Discount store. About $8 –don’t remember if it included a drain pad. I have been using one like it for several years in the sink, and love it — got mine at Fred’s.

  2. Emjay says:

    I am thankful I no longer need an electric tea kettle. any kettle takes up too much room on the counters. We installed an instant hot water dispenser in the counter next to the sink. The heater part of it is under the sink and the dispenser faucet is unobtrusive on the counter. Hot water on demand is great fir soups, warming baby bottles, tea , and so on.


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