Update (October 2023): I wrote this article in July 2022. Though I have made several additions and subtractions to my original list of the best smash burger presses, a lot has changed in the burger world in the past year, with many new tools (and perfect ones) entering the market. My opinions have also evolved as I’ve used some of these tools more and tested new ones. So I wrote this article from scratch to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information possible. Some products in the previous article have disappeared, while others have taken a back seat.
The perfect smash burger is a thing of beauty (and a joy forever). It’s juicy inside, flavorful, and has a perfectly crispy crust outside. But making a great smash burger takes more than just good meat and technique. You also need the right tools.
That’s where the smash burger press comes in. A smash burger press is a simple tool that helps you create the perfect smash burger every time. It has a heavy-duty surface to flatten a burger patty down to size.
In this article, I’ll review only the best smash burger presses on the market, curated based on key features such as ratings, price, functionality, and ease of use, to name a few.
So, whether you’re a seasoned grill master or a novice, read on to learn more about the best smash burger presses on the market.
What’s in a name?
Burger press, hamburger press, smash burger press, meat press, bacon press, grill press, and you name it, are pretty much the same.
What we call a smash burger press by any other name would do the same thing: create smash burgers, aka smashed burgers.
Smash burgers are made by placing a ball of ground beef on a hot griddle or skillet and then using the press to flatten it into a thin patty. This creates a crispy crust outside with a juicy center. While you can use a simple scapula to do the job, a super thin patty isn’t always guaranteed.
That said, in my view, a smash burger press is a tool that smashes a burger patty while it’s on a hot griddle or skillet. It’s different from a smash burger patty maker, which presses the patty before it goes to the cooking surface. Some people prefer smash burger patty makers, so I have also ranked and reviewed the best smash burger patty makers separately. I have also included a buyer’s guide following the reviews to help you make an informed buying decision.
Best Smash Burger Presses
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Cuisinart Smashed Burger Press, 6.5” – Simply the Best
I loved the Cuisinart Smashed Burger Press for its quality, price, and ease of use. I sang its praises from the tops of the mountains but still refused to call it the number one smash burger press. It had just an adequate size (of 6.5 inches) and weight, had a wooden handle placed at a comfortable height, and was sturdy and durable. However, the only thing it was missing was a flat bottom.
It carried a lip around its outer edge, making it unsuitable for smash burgers. A short raised rim is okay and even helps form a uniform patty. However, if it rises any higher, it’s more trouble than it’s worth. The same went for the Cuisinart Smashed Burger Press.
It had a raised edge that measured approximately ⅜ inches. However, after many negative reviews about the same problem, the sense finally prevailed, and the manufacturers said goodbye to the raised rim for good. Good riddance.
Back to the review, it’s inarguably the most efficient and user-friendly option on our list. However, it carries a wooden handle; no matter how well made, wooden handles chip and come off. Another con is that the handle is attached with a single screw on either side. This means the handle can rotate, and it does after a few uses.
Another thing to note is that it’s cast iron and needs regular seasoning. So, if you’re a lazy a** like me, you’re better off with a stainless option on our list.
Overall, the Cuisinart Smashed Burger Press has everything in its arsenal to make it an excellent burger press. It’s well-made and performs very well. Can’t recommend enough.
- Adequate size and weight.
- Wooden handle placed at a comfortable height.
- Sturdy and durable.
- Easy to use and clean.
Used to have a lip around the outer edge (this has been fixed in newer versions)
- Like all wooden handles, its handle is prone to chipping and breaking.
- The handle can rotate.
Lodge 8″ Cast Iron Round Flat Grill Press – Overall Best
What I love the most about the Lodge Grill Press is that it’s USA-made and lacks the drawbacks and caveats of the other smash burger presses. First, it’s one solid piece of metal with no weak points or joints to break. No separate handle… no screws– just plain, continuous metal, making cleanup a breeze.
Second, it’s thick, round, and flat with no lip around the edge/raised edge that restricts your ability to flatten a smash burger patty to its maximum. It has none of the design flaws of any other smash burger press.
Third, it measures 8 inches and weighs 3.5 pounds, just the right size and weight for all your pressing and smashing tasks.
Last but not least, it’s the most simple yet versatile option on our list–you can press smash burgers with it, use it on steaks for a deeper sear, or even place it in the oven.
On the downside, it’s made of cast iron, which makes it prone to rust. If you can’t get off your a** to give it a hand wash and season it, it’s not for you.
However, the handle could have been a bit higher and larger for a more comfortable grip. In the center, the handle is 1.5 inches high from the top surface of the press, which is fine, but I still wish it could have been larger. Besides that, I have had no complaints with this press–happy customer.
You may also want to consider the Lodge Flat Press with a rectangular surface and the Lodge Panini Press with a rectangular, ridged lower surface. While Lodge offers eight grill presses, I wouldn’t recommend anything from their offerings other than these because they have some issues.
- Made of one solid piece of metal–no weak points or joints to break.
- Thick, round, and flat–no lip around the edge.
- Measures 8 inches and weighs 3.5 pounds–the right size and weight for all your pressing and smashing tasks.
- Versatile–can be used for smash burgers and steaks and even placed in the oven.
- Made of cast iron… will rust if not properly cared for.
- The handle could be larger and higher for a more comfortable grip.
HULISEN Stainless Steel Bacon Press, 8.5” – Best Stainless Steel
The 8.5-inch Hulisen Bacon Press weighs 2.6 pounds, which may seem surprising for a stainless steel press of this size. However, it is understandable because the press is 2.5 mm thick. (This extra thickness is what accounts for the heavier weight.)
The brushed, commercial-grade stainless steel surface is durable, rustproof, and easy to clean. The flat stainless steel surface makes it essentially non-stick.
The handle is also quite thick, secured by two rivets on each side. The wooden grip is also held in place by two screws on either side, stopping the rotation of the handle. This all translates to a stout, stable handle.
The press cleans up easily with little effort. However, due to a wooden handle, it’s not dishwasher-safe. For a completely dishwasher-safe option, you might want to consider the HULISEN Stainless Steel Burger Press, which costs almost half its wood-handled counterpart. However, it’s also half as thick as the former.
“Price is what you pay, value is what you get.”
- Durable and rustproof.
- Flat, stainless steel surface helps reduce sticking.
- A thick handle riveted tightly by two rivets on each side.
- Two screws on either side of the grip mean it doesn’t rotate.
- Easy to clean.
- It’s not dishwasher-safe.
Meykers Burger Smasher, 6.3” – Best Budget
This burger smasher is made of all one-piece 304 stainless steel. However, that’s not even the best part of it. I love it more because it’s thicker and sturdier for its price. And, above all, it carries a 1-year warranty.
If it breaks, and that day may never come, you can ask for a refund or replacement… no questions asked. Considering its build quality, I can say it’ll probably outlast you.
If you want a hassle-free smash burger press, go for it.
- One-piece 304 stainless steel.
- Thicker and sturdier than many stainless steel burger presses of the same price point, even those above its price point.
- Cost-effective, but not cheap.
- No-mess cleanup. Dishwasher-safe.
- Not any. Literally none.
This press features the most ergonomic handle design. The price is also affordable. It does its job effortlessly and is easy to use and clean. Made of stainless steel. No complaints, highly recommended.
Bellemain Bacon Press, 8.5” – Best Value for Money
This 8.5-inch, 3-pound bacon press is made like a brick. Bellemain is a word I have long associated with quality, and using their press has reinforced my belief.
It has the right, nay ideal size and weight for pressing bacon and smashing smash burgers. The lower surface has raised rails to effectively sear the meat and deep valleys to lock in fat and juice.
Given its size and weight, it can easily smash four .33-pound burgers in one go.
The only downside is that the wooden handle can roll, which is an issue common with all burger presses with a two-screw handle attachment.
Bellemain also offers a non-rotating, rectangular option at a lower price if a fixed handle is your number one priority. This option also features a wooden handle, but the handle design is such that it doesn’t rotate.
Overall, for their price, both of Bellemain’s presses are a steal of a deal.
- Heavy-duty cast iron construction.
- Ribbed bottom for effective searing and locking in fat and juices.
- Versatile for a variety of tasks.
- The handle can roll.
I love this burger press (or meat press) for its quality construction. The press is made in Victoria’s own factories in Colombia–they never outsource it–and the look & feel of their press validate it.
However, the biggest selling point of the Victoria Meat Press is its textured bottom. The square dots are neither too subtle nor too prominent–they help to distribute heat evenly across the burger patty, resulting in a more evenly cooked burger, and they don’t make cleanup a mess.
It also has the sturdiest wooden handle among all such presses on our list. The wavy design of the handle is another plus.
Victoria also offers a round burger press with a removable wire handle. This handle is a bit different from other wire handles in that it has no screws but still fits snugly into its holders and doesn’t move.
Both tools have quality construction, weigh about 2.5 pounds, and come pre-seasoned with flaxseed oil.
- Premium construction.
- Thoughtful design.
- Textured bottom for even heat distribution.
- Strong wooden handle.
- The rounded version comes with a removable wire handle.
- Pre-seasoned with flaxseed oil.
- Cleaning a textured bottom is more difficult than a smooth bottom.
The Norpro Bacon Press is solidly built and weighs 1.36 kg. The underside is nicely grooved–the grooves are shallow and wide enough so that nothing gets stuck in there but not too wide to leave wide, puffed-up gaps on your burgers. It has a wooden handle, which used to be rotating. However, they have recently redesigned it so it doesn’t spin anymore, which is another plus. The handle is also stout.
Overall, the press is quite ergonomic, and a large diameter means you can press multiple smash burgers in one go.
On the downside, it comes unseasoned and will rust immediately if you don’t oil and heat it. You can trust the pre-included instruction manual to season it properly.
Since (almost) all raw cast iron cookware is pre-seasoned nowadays and being used to it, the very first sight of this press was unspeakably ugly to me. However, it’s still an excellent smash burger press for its price. It has a good size and weight, is well-built, and is comfortable to use and clean.
- Sturdy. Will last a lifetime with proper care.
- Good size and weight. Can smash multiple hamburgers simultaneously.
- A redesigned handle to prevent rotation.
- Comes unseasoned.
Jim Beam’s product listing says it’s 0.02 pounds, which seems to be a typo because the press weighs slightly more than 3 pounds. And while the company doesn’t say anything about where it’s made, the quality is more American than Chinese. Its chances of rusting are dim with proper care.
However, all cast iron cookware needs babysitting, and this burger press is no exception. The motto goes, “You treat cast iron well, and it will serve you well.”
It has a wooden, non-rotating handle. The wood handle edges hang well past their cast iron seats or holders. This design, while checking the rotation of the handle, makes it more prone to breakage. You may want to give the edges a little sanding.
Overall, it’s an excellent smash burger press, especially considering the value it provides for its price.
- Easy to use.
- Does what it promises.
- The handle design makes it prone to breakage.
This cast iron grill press has a winding, cool-to-touch steel handle. Even though separate from the body, the handle is comfortable, stable, and sturdy. It doesn’t have a nut and bolt attachment–the screws go into tapped holes, almost a snap-fit arrangement.
It has a well-thought-out design. The center of the press is thicker than the ends, providing more pressing power where needed the most. The lower surface is grooved, helping sear the burger’s outer surface and melt the meat’s inner fat more effectively. The grooves produce excellent grill marks.
It’s a solid, reasonably thick piece of cast iron that will last a lifetime with proper care. It weighs 2.88 pounds, which couldn’t have been more optimal.
On the downside, I don’t see a reason for the grooves on the top. The only thing they serve is to make cleanup a mess.
- Coiled steel handle.
- Thick center with tapering ends for more pressing power.
- The grooved underside helps sear the burger’s outer surface and melt the meat fat better.
- A solid, thick piece of cast iron that will last with proper care.
- Weighs 2.88 pounds, which is just optimal for a smash burger press.
- Grooves on the upper surface aren’t cleanup-friendly.
Other excellent smash burger presses
The most affordable option on our list so far. Inexpensive but not cheap (in terms of quality.) Does its job efficiently. The only caveat is that the handle is secured with only two screws, one on each side, so it can start rotating after some time.
It comes from a reputed brand, and I must say it stays true to its name. It’s colossal… can smash four burgers in one go. The build quality is great. It also doesn’t cost much.
Sturdy and affordable.
Commercial CHEF Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Press, 7-Inch Surface with Grill Marks
Just another good value-for-money smash burger press.
Another excellent smash burger press. A lot of positive customer reviews for this product speak for themselves.
Excellent quality and design. Highly recommended.
Best Smash Burger Patty Makers
This list of the best burger patty makers comes from a guy who doesn’t use any patty maker.
Why don’t I use a burger patty maker? Because I press my burgers (or, more precisely, meatballs) after moving them onto the skillet/griddle.
A burger patty maker helps you shape and fashion your burgers before you cook them, helping you achieve burgers of uniform size/thickness.
However, when cooking, a burger puffs up in the middle while its edges get burnt. You must press down on the center to keep this from happening and to be able to cook your burger evenly.
So, even if you have a burger patty maker, you still need a smash burger press.
But here’s a list of the best smash burger patty makers from the person who doesn’t use them.
I challenge all of you to find a better smash burger patty maker than this. Stop looking elsewhere for the most efficient and easy-to-use-and-clean burger patty maker.
Made of ceramic, the Quxija Burger Press is available in four colors. No metal, no lead, no harmful non-stick coating, and yet essentially non-stick and easy to clean. It’s also dishwasher safe. Don’t tell me the definition of the perfect smash burger patty maker.
On the inside, it has a striped surface. There’s no separate handle that can bend or break.
You just need to be careful so as not to drop it. It stands no chance.
Here are some other good patty makers based on quality, material, design, and ease of use.
Types of patty makers to avoid
More often than not, you should stay away from plastic burger patty makers as they lack the necessary pressing power.
You should also not buy an overly sophisticated, adjustable burger patty maker as they’re delicate and have more parts to break, even when metallic. These burger makers also make a lot of mess, such as meat sticking between the components.
Smash Burger Presses: Buyer’s Guide
Here are some pointers on how to choose the best burger press:
Shape and size
A smash burger press should not have a raised rim. The name “smash burger” comes from the thin, smashed patty that is its defining characteristic. A press with a lip around its edge prevents you from smashing the patty to its fullest potential.
The shape of a burger press also matters. Round presses tend to outperform rectangular ones because they align better with the traditional round shape of hamburgers. However, larger, rectangular presses can accommodate more burgers simultaneously.
While larger presses can cook more burgers simultaneously, they often yield subpar results. They function like lids, trapping heat and steam around the burgers. The trapped steam prevents browning, leading to less appetizing, pale, wan, wet, or soggy burgers.
The base of the press can be either flat or grill-shaped. Flat presses are user-friendly, easy to clean, and apply pressure evenly. Conversely, presses with a grill-shaped bottom distribute fat more evenly, sear burgers more efficiently, and leave appealing grill marks, enhancing the overall taste.
Material & Texture
Stainless steel presses are easier to clean and require less maintenance than cast-iron models. They have a flat bottom, which makes cleanup even easier.
Cast iron presses are superior to stainless steel presses because their heavier weight applies the right amount of pressure to the burger. However, they require hand washing and drying after each use and may need oiling to prevent rust. Despite the extra care, their performance often justifies the effort. These presses can have either a smooth surface or one with bumps or ridges, which can be more challenging to clean.
Pro tip: Preheating your burger press before use can help brown both sides of your burger simultaneously, saving time and ensuring a perfectly cooked burger.
A burger press that weighs between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds is ideal for searing burgers. Presses that weigh less than 1 pound may not apply enough pressure to create a good sear, while presses that weigh more than 4 pounds can be difficult to use.
The handle of a burger press is an important factor in its usability, and it is the only part of the press that can break.
Presses with handles molded from the same cast iron or stainless steel as the press’s bottom are more durable. Ideally, the handle should rise at least 2 inches above the top of the base for easy and safe handling. Low handles can be challenging to grasp and may require a towel to hold due to the heat from the press’s base, making them cumbersome.
In my experience, wooden-handled presses are more ergonomic than those with metal handles, but they are also more prone to breakage. However, I believe that the ergonomic benefits outweigh the risk of breakage. Even if the handle does break, it is a relatively inexpensive part to replace.
When buying a press with a wooden handle, check its design, i.e., how it is attached. For example, wooden handles often rotate but won’t if secured with two screws on each side.
What’s a smash burger?
A smash burger is made by smashing a ball of ground beef onto a hot grill or griddle with a spatula or a press. This creates a thin, crispy patty with a well-browned crust and a juicy, flavorful interior.
What happens when you press a smash burger?
When you press a smash burger, you create a larger surface area for the Maillard reaction to occur. The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars when heated. This reaction is responsible for the browning and flavor development in many foods, including burgers, steaks, and bread.
When you press a burger patty, you flatten it out so that more surface area is exposed to heat. This allows the Maillard reaction to occur more quickly and thoroughly, resulting in a burger with a richer, more flavorful crust.
In addition to creating a more flavorful crust, pressing a burger patty can also help to keep the burger juicy. When you press the patty down, you force some of the juices out of the center of the patty and towards the edges. This helps to prevent the burger from drying out as it cooks.
Last but not least, pressing a burger patty also helps to ensure that the burger cooks evenly. When a burger patty is cooked without being pressed, the outer edges of the patty will cook faster than the center. This can lead to a burger cooked through on the outside but still raw on the inside. Pressing the patty helps to distribute the heat more evenly so that the burger cooks evenly from edge to edge.
How do you press a smash burger?
- Heat up a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
- Add a small amount of oil or butter to the pan.
- Form the ground beef into loosely packed balls about 2 inches in diameter.
- Place one of the burger balls on the hot pan and immediately press it down with the smash burger press.
- Hold the press down for 10-15 seconds or until the burger patty is flattened and has a good sear.
- Flip the burger patty and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes or until cooked through.
- Repeat steps 4-6 with the remaining burger balls.
- Serve the burgers in buns with your favorite toppings.
Here are some additional tips for using a smash burger press:
- Use 80% lean ground beef for the best flavor and texture.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan. Leave enough space between each burger patty so they can cook evenly.
- If the burger patty sticks to the pan, lift and reposition the press.
- Don’t press down on the burger patty again after you flip it. This will release the juices and make the burger dry.
- Serve the burgers immediately for the best flavor.
You can also use a spatula or the bottom of a measuring cup to smash the burger patties. However, a smash burger press will give you a more consistent and even result.
Here are some of the benefits of using a smash burger press:
- It creates a thin, crispy patty with a juicy interior.
- It’s easy to use and doesn’t require any special skills.
- It’s a relatively inexpensive kitchen gadget.
- It can be used to make multiple burgers at once.