Which kitchen island is the best?
If you’re looking for a way to expand your counter space or want to add seating in a compact space, a kitchen island can’t be beat. These versatile kitchen cabinets allow you to expand and expand your culinary activities beyond the confines of your built-in countertops. Some kitchen islands come with extra storage and drawers for overflow utensils, cutlery, and kitchen appliances.
For a kitchen island that’s neutral, mobile, and has plenty of extra storage space with ample work space, the Winsome Wooden Drop-Leaf Kitchen Cart is a great choice.
What to know before buying a kitchen island
On wheels or stationary
The first big decision to make is whether or not you want your kitchen island stationary or on wheels. Fixed kitchen islands tend to be larger and become a permanent fixture in a particular spot in your kitchen. On the other hand, rolling kitchen islands can be moved around as needed and can even be used as extra serving space or as a beverage cart at parties.
When considering the materials, you have options for the countertop and the base. Common countertop materials are wood, natural stone, and metal.
Wood is a classic choice and most kitchen islands use hardwoods like oak, maple or cherry. The top can be a single slab or a piece of butcher block glued together. If you choose a butcher block countertop, make sure the seams are completely sealed. One of the advantages of wooden counters is that you can safely cut directly on them. However, even with the ability to cut directly on a wooden counter, some people choose to use cutting boards. This preserves the surface and keeps it free of potential bacteria from food debris.
Natural stone tops in granite, marble or slate are sophisticated and virtually maintenance free. These types of countertops excel in culinary tasks where temperature is important (i.e. baking and chocolate working). The main drawback, however, is that these types of countertops can easily nick your kitchen knives. You will need to use a cutting board to keep them sharp.
For a more industrial look, heavy gauge stainless steel metal countertops are a good option. They are the countertops of choice in commercial kitchens, and for good reason. Metal countertops are nearly indestructible, you can cut right into them, and they’re easy to maintain.
The base of your island is another opportunity to bring a touch of design to the kitchen. Again, wood is a common material, but solid wood can be heavy. Some manufacturers use a mix of wood and MDF, which helps keep things light.
You can also find kitchen islands with a metal base. These tend to be sleeker and more minimalist, and they look more at home in a modern or industrial style kitchen.
The size of your kitchen island refers not only to the size of the entire room but also to the size of the work surface. If you need a lot of space but not all the time, look for a kitchen island with extendable sides. This allows you to expand whenever you need more workspace.
What to Look for in a Quality Kitchen Island
Since you’re already considering a kitchen island for an extra work surface, it makes sense to capitalize and choose one with extra storage space underneath. It can be something as simple as a few shelves, or you can opt for an enclosed cabinet.
Another great storage option is a drawer for extra utensils or cutlery. You can also use a drawer in a kitchen island for specialized tasks. For example, if you only use your marble kitchen island for chocolate work, store all your tools in the drawer for easy access.
A towel rack keeps this essential gear close at hand when you need it. You can never have enough towels in the kitchen.
A nice extra feature for oenophiles is a wine rack. This allows you to keep your favorite vintages close at hand.
How much you can expect to spend on a kitchen island
Kitchen island prices range from basic $60 models to large full cabinets that can cost $2,000 or more.
Kitchen Island FAQ
Can wheels be added to a fixed kitchen island?
A. In some cases, yes. It really depends on what type of base you have. A kitchen island with an MDF base may be too flimsy to add wheels, but solid wood bases can often require the drilling necessary to add wheels.
Can you use an outdoor kitchen island indoors?
A. Yes. Some kitchen islands designed for outdoor use work great indoors. Because they’re built to withstand the elements, they might even hold up better than indoor kitchen islands.
What are the best kitchen islands to buy?
Kitchen island top
Winsome Wooden Drop-Leaf Kitchen Cart
What do you want to know: The warm beech wood of this kitchen island matches a wide variety of kitchen styles.
What you will love: This island has two drop-leaves to expand the counter surface from 25 inches to 45 inches. It’s on casters, so you can move it wherever you need it. It includes a cabinet with a door, plus a drawer and a shelf.
What you should consider: Assembling this can be very difficult; two is easier.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Top kitchen island for the money
Linon Granite Kitchen Island
What do you want to know: The granite countertop brings a touch of luxury to an otherwise affordable room.
What you will love: It features a wire storage basket, storage for four wine bottles, and a drawer. It’s small but sturdy and can fit a toaster oven or microwave. Casters roll smoothly but lock for added security.
What you should consider: The granite counter is only held by two wooden pegs.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Home Styles Americana Kitchen Island
What do you want to know: If you need a bigger room, this is the island for you.
What you will love: This stationary kitchen island features 50 inches of work space and generous storage space behind double doors. It has a drop-leaf bar and an oak top. The base of the island is in white painted oak and shelves are cut into the sides for storage. There are two shelves behind the doors.
What you should consider: It’s heavy and has a very traditional style that may not go with more modern or industrial kitchen styles.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.
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