Selecting the right items to equip your kitchen can be a daunting task. In an attempt to simplify this, you might ask what the difference between a kitchen utensil, a kitchen tool, and kitchen equipment is. We’ve broken down the definitions of these items to get the answer for you.
All of these kitchen items are used to aid food preparation. By definition, according to Merriam-Webster, the defining characteristics are:
- Utensil; 1) an implement, instrument, or vessel used in a household and especially a kitchen. 2) a useful tool or implement.
- Tool; a handheld device that aids in completing a task.
- Equipment; the implements used in an operation or activity.
As you can see, these definitions are nearly interchangeable. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and put these definitions into the context of kitchen use.
How Are Kitchen Utensils Used?
Kitchen utensils and kitchen tools are virtually interchangeable as terms go. As you have just learned, a utensil is defined as a tool. So, we will use the term utensil(s) to describe both.
Think about handheld implements in your kitchen like forks, spoons, knives, tongs, whisks, and turners. These utensils are used for eating, stirring, serving, whisking, slicing, chopping, grating, and peeling. Kitchen utensils like these aid in your ability to handle both raw and cooked ingredients.
Now, think about vessels with handles in your kitchen like ladles, measuring cups, funnels, juicers, and sifters. These utensils are used for measuring, serving, transferring, pressing, and sifting. Kitchen utensils like these aid in your ability to transfer both wet and dry ingredients.
Some kitchen utensils are used as multipurpose items. This gives you the versatility to purchase one type of utensil and use it for many tasks. The spatula, for example, can be used for stirring, turning, scraping, beating, and scooping food.
Other kitchen utensils are used for a specific purpose, so you have the right tool to complete the task efficiently. A good example is an egg separator because it is explicitly designed to allow the egg white to separate cleanly from the yolk.
Devices like kitchen timers, meat thermometers, and scales take the guesswork out of cooking. These utensils allow you to cook and bake with precision.
Selecting utensils for your kitchen is all about finding what you need to support your cooking techniques and serving style. Made from diverse materials, utensils are durable and capable of withstanding extreme temperatures as required. Utensils can be coordinated to match your bakeware, pots, pans, and crockery.
Because the same types of utensils can vary in design and use, you should check out our blog, “12 Types of Graters [and How to Use Them]” to get acquainted with different options for your kitchen.
What is Household Kitchen Equipment?
Talking about kitchen equipment typically refers to the larger, either manual or automatic, implements in your kitchen. These are appliances that aid in processing, cooking, baking, and freezing food.
The most common kitchen equipment in household kitchens includes your refrigerator, freezer, oven, stovetop, and microwave. These are the big implements that you operate to keep food safe and edible.
Depending on your preferred cooking techniques, kitchen equipment covers an array of electric and manual appliances. Blenders, stand mixers, food processors, ice cream makers, grinders, and deep fryers are several examples of kitchen equipment used to prepare food.
Food service equipment is essential for keeping prepared foods at safe temperatures, either hot or cold, during extended periods of serving. A chafing dish is an example of kitchen equipment used for buffet service.
Kitchen equipment is a long-term investment for your kitchen. You will want to consider the frequency and type of use, durability, power draw (electric appliances), and storage implications when selecting kitchen equipment. You can coordinate exterior colors, materials, and trim of both countertop standing equipment and mounted/installed equipment to match your kitchen’s decor.
Looking for the best bang for your buck for kitchen equipment? Check out the “Top 10 Deep Fryers at Walmart.”
Now you can clearly define the difference between kitchen utensils and kitchen equipment to select the best items for your kitchen.