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156 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice sandwich press and electric griddle
1. PERFORMANCE
First, I'd like to discuss the performance of the unit. It's brilliant! I honestly didn't have high expectations for a hot sandwich press, but I've been very happy with it over the past month. Here are some of the items that I've made the most and my remarks:

- Sandwich Wraps: Absolutely fantastic results. I can tailor the cooking...
Published on December 22, 2009 by Adam Wood

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369 of 387 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful solidly designed and built press that really would have been better with removable plates.
The immediate comparison I made when I received this Panini press was to the Cuisinart GR-3 Griddler Jr, Brushed Stainless Steel, and the key difference between the two products (and the reason I'm giving the better constructed, perhaps even better performing press three stars rather than five) is you can remove the plates in the Cuisinart, and you cannot in the...
Published on December 17, 2009 by W. C. Bryant


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369 of 387 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful solidly designed and built press that really would have been better with removable plates., December 17, 2009
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This review is from: Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press (Kitchen)
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The immediate comparison I made when I received this Panini press was to the Cuisinart GR-3 Griddler Jr, Brushed Stainless Steel, and the key difference between the two products (and the reason I'm giving the better constructed, perhaps even better performing press three stars rather than five) is you can remove the plates in the Cuisinart, and you cannot in the Breville. Convenience and ease of use are central considerations when it comes to just how much you're going to want to use these 'extra' kitchen devices, and if it's a headache to clean something like burnt/stuck preserves, then you're going to be less likely to want to pull it out and use it again.

I want to back up a little bit, because I think Breville generally designs and manufactures outstanding high-quality but still affordable products. This press is no exception. Having used both this Breville and the aforementioned Cuisinart, I would give the Breville the edge on almost every single front. It feels more solidly constructed of higher quality materials, it seems to heat more evenly, although the Cuisinart does allow a range of temperature settings as opposed to Breville's one-temp-fits-all approach. I actually like having one flat and one grilled plate in the Breville, compared to the two grilled plates in the Cuisinart -- the flat surface providing a much more even and consistent heat that really radiates into the middle of the sandwich better than the more limited surface contact provided by just grill plates (but you still have the all-important texture and grill marks from the top plate). Both adapt to larger sandwiches. Both sport non-stick surfaces (although the Breville's is much smoother as the Cuisinart employs a grittier non-stick treatment). Both are perfectly sized for a couple good-sized sandwiches, without all the wasted space that comes with and from the larger models in each line.

I like this press enough that even as I wrap this review up I wonder if I should be giving it 4 stars rather than 3. Standing on its own, it deserves every bit of 4 stars. It's when it's held in contrast to a like-priced alternative like the Cuisinart that the Breville loses some of its luster, and then really only due to a question of pure convenience (in the form of removable plates).

If those removable plates aren't of particular importance to you, I actually recommend this press over the Cuisinart. For me, the convenience of cleaning the removable plates provide is what makes it an easy decision between the two when I want to grill a sandwich.
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156 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice sandwich press and electric griddle, December 22, 2009
This review is from: Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press (Kitchen)
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1. PERFORMANCE
First, I'd like to discuss the performance of the unit. It's brilliant! I honestly didn't have high expectations for a hot sandwich press, but I've been very happy with it over the past month. Here are some of the items that I've made the most and my remarks:

- Sandwich Wraps: Absolutely fantastic results. I can tailor the cooking time for how firm I want the tortillas to be, and the internal ingredients are nice and hot. Having a flat bottom plate and ridged upper plate gives them a perfect combination of toasting and grill marks. The ability to set a minimum height between the top and bottom plates works wonders for veggie wraps because otherwise (at least with mine) the ingredients don't support the weight of the top plate and the wraps get smashed. The tortillas slide right off the non-stick coating, and any ingredients that spill out during cooking have cleaned up very easily.

- "Grilled" burritos: Again, fantastic. Just like a sandwich wrap but with other ingredients. I've started to grill these with the fold facing upwards to help prevent ingredients (such as salsa or guacamole) from leaking out during cooking.

- French Toast: Works pretty well. I have made it three times so far, each time with the lid down but locked in the second highest position (I haven't tried just cooking one side of the toast by leaving the lid up, yet). If the bread isn't too wet, then it works very well. If the bread is very moist, though, it doesn't cook through to the center very well. With the egg, this items does make it a bit more difficult to clean the non-detachable ribbed top plate.

- Pancakes: Works pretty well. The two drawbacks are that the top plate is still being heated even though I'm not using it, and (more important for cooking performance) the temperature of the griddle portion isn't adjustable. Pancakes do come out pretty well, but not as good as on my other griddle that I use on the stove. Also, for some reason the first batch of pancakes sticks to the griddle a bit. I haven't run into that on any other food so far.

- Ham: Cooked great, but I'll never do it again because of the mess. Because of the splatter from the juices, I closed the top lid. The bottom flat plate was pretty easy to clean off, but the ribbed top plate took a while because the nooks and crannies of the ribs make it more difficult.

2. WHAT I REALLY LIKE
- The floating hinge. That is fantastic and makes cooking thick sandwiches and wraps easy.
- The locking height adjustments. This works wonders for less solid foods like toast and veggie wraps.
- The front handle. Might seem silly to mention, but the handle stays cool and opens the press easily.

3. WHAT I WOULD CHANGE
- Add a power button. I would prefer to not have to unplug it to turn it off. When the unit is heating, there is a decent spark that gets generated at the outlet when I unplug it (same thing happens with my George Forman grill)
- Make the heating plates removable, at least the top ribbed plate. These clean up pretty easily, so this is minor, but it can be a bit tedious trying to clean the top plate.
- Add a temperature adjustment. This is pretty minor to me because it typically works great, but for pancakes (which are shown on the box as a breakfast item), an adjustment would be nice.

4. FIT AND FINISH
This is my third Breville appliance, and I was expecting the same level of fit, finish, and attention to detail on this press as I had with the other two (Breville BJE200XL Juice Fountain and Breville BKC700XL Coffeemaker). Upon opening the box, the packaging (at least of my unit) was a bit sloppy with the protective plastic bag around the press not fully covering it. After taking the unit out of the box, I noticed that the fit and finish aren't as nice as my juicer and coffee maker. For example:
- Some of the bolt holes and rounded corners on the lever arms are sharp as if they weren't properly deburred.
- The bottom plate has some rough patches on it
- The power cord and cord-wrap on the bottom plate aren't very well design, IMO (but that's just personal preference)
I mention all of that for one reason - if you are looking at this press because it is a Breville and you have a certain expectation of quality like I did, then those comments might be important to you. I did not remove any stars for this because the unit is nice - it's just not as nice as I had expected from this brand (which I think actually speaks highly of the brand).
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151 of 163 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm im-Pressed: A Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo Nonstick Panini Press Review, December 30, 2009
This review is from: Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press (Kitchen)
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Since 2006 I have owned and regularly use a Breville 800GRXL Die-Cast Indoor Barbeque and Grill for making panini, grilling, and more. Previously I owned and was greatly disappointed by the Cuisinart GR-4 Griddler with removable plates. The removable plates are a nice concept, but not an important feature for me. Knowing the quality of the Breville 800GRXL, I eagerly wanted to try the Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo. Even so, I didn't think I would want to use both over time.

The Panini Duo is a no fuss non-stick panini press. The top floating hinged ribbed plate and flat bottom plate are coated with non-stick Quantanium(tm) allowing for oil free cooking while resistant to scratching even when using metal utensils. The top plate features adjustable height settings for making open faced sandwiches or desserts.

At first I compared the Panini Duo to my 800GRXL and thought I would miss features such as the drip tray, plate tilt feature, or the ability to lay out flat. However the lack of features and versatility of the Panini Duo, by comparison, are by design. The purposes of these two appliances are not the same.

The simplicity of the Panini Duo is this appliances strongest feature. I can quickly make two paninis by plugging in the outlet, assemble the sandwiches while waiting for the green light, and placing the paninis into the press. Since oil is not required, I made panini without buttering the bread. I prefer the butter flavor; however the bread still came out a toasty brown and crisp. I have toasted buns for burgers by leaving the top open. Additionally I reheated pizza by using the adjustable height feature to heat from above and below. These are all tasks I could accomplish with the larger feature rich Breville 800GRXL, but not with the same ease and efficiency.

While I will use the larger more versatile Breville 800GRXL for cooking breakfast, grilling, and preparing larger meals, the Panini Duo has become my favorite appliance to prepare a quick hot sandwich. The compact size is perfect for making lunch for me and my other half while taking little counter or storage space. If you are looking for a simple panini press for two, the Breville Panini Duo is the perfect choice.

PROS:
Quantanium non-stick surface
Simple to use and care for
Adjustable height feature for melt and open face sandwiches
Oil/butter not needed for healthier cooking
Perfect for a family of two

CONS:
Lacks features found in many panini presses
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This has revolutionized the way we eat ! 1 year later, we still use 4 nights a week, July 14, 2011
This review is from: Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press (Kitchen)
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When the Breville Panini Press first arrived, I was skeptical that it would provide us with healthy meals or earn a permanent spot on our already clutter counter of small appliances. We already had a Smoothie Maker, a Quesadilla Maker, an Espresso machine, a Senseo, a multitasking Toaster Oven, a Food Steamer, an Electric Wok, a stand-alone coutertop Convection Oven and several more "Foodie" trends. We used the Panini Press right away and loved it but in the back of my mind, I wondered if our infatuation with it was just another passing fancy. I'm pleased to say that after a year of use, we still turn to our Panini Press at least 4 nights a week for either our main course or to prepare light snacks. Almost all the other small appliances I listed above have been swept OFF the counter and a special place of honor created for the Breville. Why? well, how about we start with the fact that since we've been using it both my wife and I have dropped over 20 Pounds? Yeah, that got your attention eh?

I admit, it took us a few days of experimentation to learn how NOT to overstuff a sandwich as well as which spreads to use in what amounts. Getting it right almost forces you to eat smaller amounts but we didn't mind because of the new variety of sandwiches and grilled wraps we could toast up. Once we got the size and portion issues down, we were making all manner of new, low fat, high nutrition hot sandwiches with smaller amounts of new, sharper cheeses, aged or smoked meats and savory condiments as well as adding in some marinated and/or freshly thin-sliced vegetables. The Floating Hinge is really great and allows you to use artisan breads made from many whole grains without worrying about breaking the machine. There is a limit to how big a meal you can make but our slederized waistlines like that. It's not a negative for us. We view it as "automatic portion control". The machine is very easy to use right out of the box and becomes even easier over time. You don't need to add any fat to the cooking surface which is great! In addition, once the grilling surface is hot enough, a "Ready" light pops on.

A big plus in my eyes is that you can adjust the top grill with the ribs in it that makes the "grill marks" so the floating hinge can handle different thickenesses of bread, or meats if you're using it that way. You can also set the top plate so that it radiates heat downwards like a broiler for wonderful open-faces melts. We like grilling meat on the Press almost as much as making a new Panini flavor! Finally, the bottom grill is flat and perfect for Sunday morning Lemon Ricotta Pancakes or Stuffed French Toast! Honestly, the Breville does so many thing that we rarely turn on a burner or the oven anymore which is a huge convenience for us since we live in a home in Los Angeles without Central Air Conditioning. It heats up quickly and cools down fast -long before the cooking heat from the grills have any time to turn my kitchen into a sweltering nightmare.

We love our Breville so much that we gave one to my parents for a Christmas gift along with a recipe book. They enjoy it as much as we do but more for the convenience of cooking for two people than for the reasons I mentioned. That actually is a big selling point. If you live alone or are a couple without kids, it makes grilling up a steak and serving a great salad about 15 minute affair from start to finish, including the easy cleaning y wiping it down with a paper towel. if you have kids of any age, it makes it easy for you to cook something up for them in minutes or allows older kids to just make what they want.

We are still using ours more than every other night and we haven't gotten bored or tired of the possibilities for it yet. That's saying something since our Quesadilla maker is back in it's box, the Smoothie Maker broke and the Breville and the Toaster Oven are the only two small appliances I still keep out on the counter. Since we got our Panini Press, we've both lost weight and we find we are enjoying a greater variety of entrees than we did before it arrived. It's just so convenient to use that even the fast food franchises close by and the Sandwich shops I used to love the indulge in on weekends no longer seem like viable options when we can plug in the Press and have something better, faster and in our own home without having to get in the car. Our Breville provides us with really fast food , but fast food of the nutritious variety!

We highly recommend this to anyone for themselves or as a gift. It's one of the few small appliances that earns what little counterspace it takes up. It's well-made, easy to use and can be a real help to someone trying to cook in a small kitchen during the heat of summer. If mine ever broke, and it shows no signs of wear & tear yet, I'd immediately buy a new one!
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would be much better with removable grill plates, December 31, 2009
This review is from: Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press (Kitchen)
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This is the third clamshell grill I've used and my second panini press. I also own the Cuisinart GR-4 Griddler Stainless-Steel 4-in-1 Grill/Griddle and Panini Press, which also works for paninis, and what I mainly compared this to. The Breville is designed mainly for paninis, but it can be used for most griddle functions like bacon, pancakes, The product states that you do not need butter or oil due to the surface of the grill plates. While this is true and I found that the sandwiches don't stick to the surface very easily, butter or a non-stick spray makes for an easier cooking experience and a better-tasting sandwich. I think the main thing you want to look for in a grill or panini press is how powerful it is. The Breville is 1500w, which is about as powerful as you're going to get for a panini press. Anything too low, like a George Foreman grill (which ranges from 700-11100 watts), and your sandwich will not cook evenly or quickly. The second thing you usually want to look for is a floating hinge, which the Breville also has. This means that the hinge is not static and rises and lowers in height so that it adjusts for whatever size sandwich you're cooking. The Breville rises up to 2", which is really all you need for a panini (anything higher than that and the inside of your monstrous sandwich will not cook). The hinge also has a lock on it with four different settings, so you can lock the top plate in place instead of having it rest completely on the sandwich. This is something that most other presses don't have. I noticed they recommended one setting for toast, and I did find it created some decent toast, but it was a pain having to watch it and I don't think it will be replacing my toaster oven anytime soon. You can also use this to cook an open face melt, which I tried and came out perfectly. This is great for open face tuna and chicken salad melts, which you can't cook on a regular panini press. The third thing you want to look for is an adjustable temperature setting. The Breville doesn't have one of those, although this is really more important for grilling and not as critical if you're using the press solely for paninis. There are times where you might want to use a lower setting; for instance, if you have a sandwich with a lot of cheese inside it, you would want it on a lower temperature to ensure the cheese cooks before the outside of the bread burns. The average home cook probably doesn't need this though. It appears that the single setting temperature on the press comes out to about 350°.

The size of the press is big enough to hold 2 sandwiches (even using larger panini bread) without having to jam them up against each other. Considering the size of the press, one of the best things about this model is that you can lock the plates and store it vertically. I have a small kitchen and my Cuisinart Griddler takes up a considerable footprint in it. This press is too big and heavy to really store in a cabinet, so you kind of need to leave it sitting out on the counter. Fortunately, it takes up very little room when stored vertically. I wish all presses did this.

My only real problem with the Breville, and the reason I can't give it five stars, is that the cooking plates are not removable for easy cleanup. I have no idea why they didn't do that. It would be so handy to snap off the plates and run them under the faucet with some soap. Given that the bottom plate is flat, it's not too difficult to clean if you cook a regular sandwich on it, but I like to use the press for things like fish and chicken, and they can make a real mess on the grill (especially the top plate which has grill lines). Snap off plates would have made this product perfect. Until they add that, I'd have to recommend the Cuisinart GR-4 Griddler Stainless-Steel 4-in-1 Grill/Griddle and Panini Pressover it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR BREVILLE PANINI DUO, April 11, 2012
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This review is from: Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press (Kitchen)
My 14-month update. I STILL use this amazing panini grill nearly every day. Sometimes twice. I use it for so many things that I would find it hard to be without now. It is very easy to keep clean, it still looks new, and I still love it.

Update October, 2012: I know, it is hard to believe. I still use this nearly every day, and often, twice a day. Some of the further uses I have found: quickly re-heat pancakes or waffles...just pre-heat, put the lid right down on them, set the timer for a minute or two, and they are done. I make instant French toast by dunking a thick slice of home-made raisin bread into fork-whipped egg, soak both sides, put the bread on the pre-heated surface, pour any leftover egg over the top, put the lid down...and one minute later...PERFECT. I have also been using it to "bake" frozen fish filets (you know....Gorton or whatever....) I do put foil on the bottom, spray some PAM on it, spray PAM on another piece of foil, lay that ON the frozen fish, then put the lid all the way down. I give it about four minutes. The fish is a bit oily (the guts get a little squished out of the "crust,") but it is hot clear through and totally delicious...and saves you about 40 minutes of oven time too!

Update end of June, 2012: I am still using my Panini Duo nearly every day. This morning I tried pancakes. I wasn't sure how that would work, only doing two pancakes at a time. Still, there are only two of us, so I gave it a try. Check out the pictures and you can see the result. I made blueberry/coconut pancakes (kind of an improvised recipe). I found that 1/3 cup of batter, lid put down but not touching the pancakes, and 4 minutes per side, worked perfectly. Unlike my stove-top griddle, the Breville surface heats up uniformly. That is the best thing about making them on the Panini maker. I am pretty sure I couldn't have burned these if I tried. They are probably too light for some, but so incredibly perfectly cooked inside...you should try it.

Most Recent Update: I am still using this appliance nearly every day. It is so easy to use, and I keep it right on my counter (locked and standing on end - takes up virtually no space.) It still preheats in 3-4 minutes, and then cooks whatever I am cooking quickly. I just put up a picture of French toast....truly divine.

I have had my Breville Panini Duo for a few weeks now. I think I have used it every day. There is always something different to try. So here are some of the many uses I have found for it, most of which have saved me 30-45 minutes of the oven being on (especially nice now that it is summer-like weather.) Reheated leftover home-made pizza; heated the chips for bean dip (pre-heated the machine, laid a piece of foil on the surface, put on the pizza (or chips), put the lid down so it was not touching the food...and presto. Two minutes for chips, about 10 minutes for the pizza. I have made garlic bread, oven-fried potato slices, potato pancakes, tuna patties, turkey patties, French toast, grilled bagels, and of course, panini sandwiches. I LOVE this machine, and no, I do not work for Breville! I am a self-employed composer (among other things) who really loves kitchen "gadgets."

There seems to be a concern among reviewers about the "plug" "unplug" versus an on/off button. You should know, if you are letting this issue stop you from purchasing, that it is not a "toaster plug." It is a large, very insulated plug with a "handle" on it....incredibly safe, solid and very easy to plug and unplug.

I researched for days and days, reading hundreds of comments, and then finally decided on the Breville Panini Duo. When I purchased it at Amazon, it was $57.99....and with Prime shipping it was an extra bargain. It came today...and I won't have any bread in my house until Sunday! But I was eager to try it out, so I decided to see what else I might use it for. We love oven fries. Oven fries involve 15 minutes of pre-heating the oven to 425. Then baking the fresh-cut potatoes for a half an hour, turning once. We do not do this at all in the summer, for obvious (heat) reasons.
After wiping down my Breville, I plugged it in, then got out one large potato. I sliced it in approximately quarter inch wide slices, plunked them into cold water, and by the time I had done that, the grill was saying it had pre-heated. So I quick drained and patted dry the potato slices, poured a little olive oil in the bowl and stirred it around, then carefully put all of the potatoe slices on the grill and closed the lid. 12 minutes later (after approximately two minutes of pre-heating time) I had the most delicious potatoes ever. Crispy on the outside, nice and done on the inside....machine already unplugged. Fabulous. Probably wouldn't have needed the olive oil, but I am not used to cooking without it. Maybe next time I will try without.

I have never had a panini sandwich, so I am looking forward to MANY of those, even if we never get fancier than smoked turkey and swiss cheese on whole wheat bread. But I am thinking I will be using this machine for many, many other things as well. Cooking for two...it is a perfect size.

So today, (2nd day,) still having no bread, I decided to further experiment. I made tuna patties (simple....a can of good tuna, some chopped onions, oat bran (I had no bread crumbs either), a spritz of lemmon juice and some chopped up cabbage (I often use broccoli instead, and normally stir in an egg, which I did not do this time.) Anyway....less than 5 minutes to heat the grill, and 6 minutes to cook the tuna patties. While they were cooking, I whipped up the "potato cakes" I make with leftover mashed potatoes and egg. Took out the tuna, put on the "lumps" of potato....they were done in 4 minutes, thoroughly cooked, crispy on the outside, lovely on the inside. If you miss the buttery taste (normally I would fry each of these items in skillets or griddle with olive oil and a little butter) you can spread some butter on after. I am not sure yet how to use olive oil when I want to. I am afraid it will get too hot while the thing is heating up...and I am afraid to put it on WHILE the griddle is hot.....so I guess I will do some experimenting about that.

I love this machine so much, thought I would do another update. For my third use....I did another version, using the leftover tuna patties, stirred them into mashed potatos with an egg and cheddar cheese, all together. This time when the grill was preheated I did pour a bit of olive oil on the flat plate and spread it with a spatula, there was no sizzling or popping or anything dangerous, although I tend to wear an oven mitt because I am not used to the machine yet and am afraid of getting burned bumping into the top grid. Anyway, I spooned my concoction on, closed the lid, set the timer for 5 minutes, and that was all it took. Delicious. And by the way....there is no reason on earth to have removable plates...this is SO easy to wipe down when it is cool.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compact and durable., November 30, 2009
This review is from: Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press (Kitchen)
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Breville is the original inventor of the sandwich toaster. Breville is very reputable brand known for it's highest quality of small kitchen appliances. The Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press is compact, effortless to operate and easy clean. This is perfect for a single person or small family since it can only handle two sandwiches at a time. I use to own the Cuisinart GR-4 Griddler Stainless-Steel 4-in-1 Grill/Griddle and Panini Press but it recently was put to "rest". Although the Breville is a lot smaller than the Cuisinart, it has it's own unique features. Just like the Cuisinart, the Breville's top plate floats to accommodate to the thickness of any sandwich. This allows uniform heating instead of one end "squished" down and over toasted. One feature I found very useful is the locking adjustable top plate function. This is great for toasting and heating open-faced sandwiches and cooking fried eggs. It wills heat/cook the top of the foods without allowing the plate to touch the top of your foods. The plates are made from Quantanium, a non-stick coating system with titanium alloys for scratch resistance and durability. Even though the plates are not removable like the Cuisinart, clean up is effortless. Since you do not have to use cooking spraying or butter, a soft wet cloth will easily wipe away any food that has spilled over. There are no temperature settings but if you only plan on using this for simple foods such as toasting sandwiches and possibly frying eggs, it should not be a problem. You can store it in vertical or horizontal position, a locking feature that keeps the plates closed together allowing it to be stored vertically. The Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press is also very affordable compared to many other sandwich toasters out in the market.

Overall this is a great sandwich press for a single person or small family. I give it 4 stars for it's design and durable construction, but it losses 1 star for it's non removable plates. I would rather take off the plates and be able to wash them thoroughly.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of both worlds (flat and wavy grill plates), August 30, 2010
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This review is from: Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press (Kitchen)
I just purchased this from a big bed and bath store at a great price but noticed Amazon just lowered their price on this to match which makes this an EXCELLENT buy (at less than $20 off retail). I was surprised by the reviews on this, but I'm thinking that expectations were different for it since it used to be at a higher price point (it retails for $69.99) than say a Cuisinart GR-1. I didn't think it was fair that everyone was critical of this because the plates weren't removable when the Cuisinart GR-1 isn't removable either yet got nothing but glowing reviews but now that the prices on these are the same, the Breville Panini Duo should win hands down.

I love the Breville because of the plates and because it's 1500 watts. The flat plate is a necessity to me because it just cooks more evenly and ensures it cooks properly. I don't mind the wavy upper grill plate although it seems silly but after reading reviews, people love their grill marks. If you really must have the grill marks on both sides you can flip it over after a minute or two. This unit gets plenty hot in a very short amount of time and makes it quick to make a good sandwich. I've found sandwiches cook very quickly in this and get nice and golden.

Cleanup is great thanks to the flat plate on bottom (bottom always gets messier than the upper plate). One thing about this unit is how small it is in its storage position. I think someone posted a picture here of it upright stored. The cord wraps around the bottom of it, and it just takes up very little space when stored upright. My husband gave me nothing but grief about buying a sandwich press but even he had to admit that he liked how it stored. This unit is also built heavy-duty and is very simple to operate.

I was so close to buying another sandwich maker but am so glad I read through reviews and did some research. The Breville is a good compromise with one flat plate and one wavy plate, and it gets plenty hot to make excellent sandwiches. I make a lot of sandwiches for my family/kids and this is so much easier than heating up a griddle over the stove. I own a George Foreman grill as well, but I just didn't think it did as good of a job on sandwiches and is awkward because of the tilt. The Breville browns and heats to perfection and for this price, is a must have for any family that makes sandwiches.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product that works well, however there are better alternatives., November 25, 2009
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S. Power (Austin, Texas, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press (Kitchen)
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This single purpose machine is very good at it's single purpose: making sandwiches. It is better at this task than any other product on the market. If that is all you are looking to do, this is the one to buy. It's only downside for that purpose is that the plates that contact your food are not removable or dishwasher safe. You have to clean it with a wet towel or sponge. Either method works well, and the plates have a very effective non-stick coating.

Several products from the George Foreman line are similar to this machine, about the same price range, and do much more than just make sandwiches. You should consider those products, especially the ones with removable, dishwasher safe plates, before you settle on this machine from Breville.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressively Solid!, May 10, 2014
This review is from: Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press (Kitchen)
When I first started researching panini presses, I started visiting every department store and comparing the models in person. Not ONE department store model met my standard for durability. And no one stocked the Breville Panini Duo. The private store brands like Bella were so light weight and so poorly constructed that I couldn't even take them seriously. But the Breville didn't have the coveted "removable plates," and I wanted the very best press with the most valuable features.

I took a chance and ordered the Breville since no department store stocked the Breville Panini Duo. Prior to ordering the Breville, the Cuisinart Griddler and been the front-runner. The Cuisinart Griddler and the removable plates, but it just didn't have a very rich fit or finish. Furthermore, the Cuisinart Griddler (even the deluxe model) had plates that seemed "grainy," for lack of a better description. How awful that would be to clean.

I got the Breville, and the quality matched that of my Breville Smart Toaster and my Breville Die-cast Hemispher Blender. Now, mind you, I'm not in love with all things Breville. I looked at their stand mixer and determined that it wasn't functional enough to meet the demanding tasks for which it was designed. But the team at Breville got this panini press right! The fit and finish are impeccable. The brushed stainless is premium and does not show fingerprints. The black handle is cool to the touch.

Let me address a criticism expressed by one reviewer:

"It doesn't have an on/off switch." This press is so simply designed that an on/off switch would simply be unnecessary and redundant. When you plug the machine in, it reaches top temperature and the green ready light flicks on quickly. I couldn't believe it. The top plate is flexes and adjusts perfectly to press your sandwich without destroying it. Set your timer for about four minutes and you'll have a beautiful, delicious panini. The temperature adjusts as the sandwich is cooking.

Tips:

If you have something juicy in your sandwich like a tomato, position it in between two other ingredients, such as two pieces of cheese. Do this as opposed to layering several pieces of cheese one on top of the other and putting the tomato on top or on the bottom of the sandwich.

Butter the outer top piece of bread on the sandwich. This will give you a crisp panini. Do not butter the bottom piece of bread. I don't know why it works this way, but it does.

Cleaining:

When the chipper Aussie in Breville's video showed that "all you need to do is wipe down the Panini Duo with a wet paper towel after it cools," I thought it was a ridiculous claim. My thought was, "yeah right, and I'm Mary Queen of Scotts." Well, crown me and call me Mary, because Breville's claim is legit. The press is a snap to clean up. The non-stick coating is like none other. It is not like the cheap teflon coating that chips off and poisons its victims. It is a quality coating, that has some thickness to it. Also, this press has a nice, deep lip all the way around it so that you don't end up with food or ingredients on your countertop.

I would recommend this press to anyone considering a panini press. It is the most durable I found, and it has proven to be a stellar performer as well. By the way, it locks which makes it easy to store. It takes up much less space than its competitors, but offers one of the largest (if not the largest) cooking surface. You can buy this one with confidence. I paid $65 with free shipping directly from Breville. Note: Breville limits you to two of these presses per household, so I'm guessing the $65 is a promo price of some kind.
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Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press
$110.00 $69.95
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