Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press Review

Super sized non-stick plates perfectly cook everything from toasties to bacon and eggs for a complete meal in minutes - this kitchen appliance is ideal for busy families like ours!

Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press Review

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  • Easy for anyone to use
  • Versatile, can cook complete meals
  • Cooks reliably and super fast
  • Easy to clean non stick plates


  • Large size takes up valuable counter and storage space
  • Floating top plate fiddly to use and doesn’t sit parallel
  • Excess cooking fat drips down the back

Review Summary

As a convenience loving, time-poor family who are also partial to a good toastie, we were keen to try out a model that promised to not only perform as an awesome sandwich press but also as a handy grill to cook a variety of food items for quick and easy meals.

We have loved our Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press and it has indeed delivered on these promises. The versatility, speed and convenience of use far outweighs its niggling issues for a fair price tag.

Overall Rating: 


Ease of use

Food quality

Build quality and design

Ease of cleaning


Introduction: our family and what we wanted

A sandwich press is a must-have in our family kitchen. My toddler and I are both avid toastie fans and they work a treat for a quick, no fuss meal. After years of purchasing small, cheap sandwich presses that did the job to varying degrees of success, I decided to splurge a little and try out something a bit more luxe.

Enter the Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press. A step above a regular sandwich press, this kitchen appliance has the size and power to grill foods that aren’t just bread, from bacon and eggs in the morning to steak and veg for dinner. Bonus, I felt good about myself knowing that I’m feeding my family healthy foods, as thanks to the non-stick plates no oil is needed to cook, and any excess oil from the food just drips off the tilted grill plate.

We’ve had it for about a month now and I’ve told my partner that our lives have noticeably improved after the purchase of our Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press, and I was only half joking.

Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press Review - closeup shot
Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press Review - closeup shot 2

Why I love it

So why did I choose this model? Firstly, its large size. It can toast four standard sized sandwiches at once so meals can be ready in record time. Its large plates also mean you can comfortably grill, for instance, protein on one side and veg on the other without any cross contamination between the two. This is particularly useful for fussy toddlers! One thing I always disliked about small sandwich presses was that there was so little space the cheese would often ooze out of the sides of the press - not anymore!

Secondly, it’s easy for anyone to operate. Simply turn the dial to either the “sandwich press” or “contact” setting, plug it in and turn on, and wait about a minute for the green light to turn on, and you’re ready to go.

Integrated smart cooking features, like is found in the Breville the Smart Grill Pro or other more premium models (see our selection of the best sandwich presses here), would no doubt be even more convenient, however this wasn’t necessary for our needs especially given the price point and would better suit those who are looking to cook a lot of meats to particular temperatures.

Sandwich press features

Importantly, the Sunbeam Grill both heats up and cooks super quickly. I normally turn it on first, then prepare a couple of simple sandwiches and by the time I’m finished it will be fully heated. Pop the sandwiches in and by the time I’ve put the ingredients away and wiped down the benchtop they’re ready to eat!

It really couldn’t get any easier and it produces yummy toasties that are golden and crispy on the outside with melty, cheesey goodness on the inside, just like they should be. The quality non-stick plates means it’s not necessary to butter the outside of the bread to achieve that beautiful golden exterior either.

Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press Review - toast

The top plate swivels so it always sits flat on your sandwich - no more uneven cooking or fillings spilling out the sides. I really love the grill marks left by the ribbed top plate - it adds a bit of pizzazz and makes a simple sandwich seem so much more gourmet. I’ve also been known to finish veggies quickly using the press just for the beautiful grill marks and it makes for great food presentation when entertaining.

A small gripe: the top plate is quite heavy which, if you are using regular sliced bread, does cause your sandwich to get rather squashed and flat. Using thick slices of a nice crusty bread will solve this problem.

Grilling features

This grill is especially great for making super crispy bacon in minutes, with the added bonus of no bacon fat splattering everywhere. I would never be able to achieve this level of delicious crispiness cooking bacon in a frypan, and any excess oil on the bottom plate drips neatly into the drip tray.

Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press Review - bacon

However, the excess oil on the ribbed top plate does not as there is no drip tray at the rear of the grill. When you lift it up, the hot oil drips down onto the cords and countertop, which is a hassle to clean and over time, oil would absorb and ruin the fabric cord. This is my main complaint about this grill - to me, it would be such an easy solution to work a rear drip tray or lip into the design.

The floating top plate is perfect for broiling, making open melts and mini pizzas, or anything else that requires contactless heat from above. This model has included a four position locking mechanism so you can adjust the height of the top plate depending on what you’re cooking which is a nice added feature over the previous model, however it isn’t as effective or as easy to use as I’d like. It can be quite fiddly and seems to get jammed regularly. Due to the slant on the bottom plate, it doesn’t sit parallel to it, so whatever is at the back of the grill will cook faster than what’s at the front.

Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press Review - the slant

As an enthusiastic egg eater, I’m also impressed with how nicely and evenly it fries an egg (can you call it fried if there is no oil?!) whether you like it sunny side up or over easy. However, due to the tilt of the lower grill care needs to be taken when cracking the raw egg onto the grill as gravity will cause some of it to drip down into the drip tray. This can be countered by using a spatula to keep it from dripping, but it’s not exactly convenient.

Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press Review - egg

Cleaning and storage

The bottom flat plate is super easy to wipe clean, no cleaning product needed (the ribbed top plate understandably takes a bit more work but not a problem if attended to straight away, before it has cooled) and the drip tray is of a sensible size, lightweight, easy to remove and replace and also a breeze to clean either by hand or in the dishwasher. The stainless steel exterior also wipes easily but there are a few hard to reach nooks and crannies that are prone to build up.

Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press Review - bottom flat plate

The unit is quite large in size so it might not be ideal for you if you’re short on bench space. There is a locking mechanism which enables it to stand upright and there’s also a fairly clunky cord wrap on the feet of the unit, however it is still quite bulky and could be tricky to store in certain cupboards.

We are lucky in that we have ample kitchen space so this wasn’t a deterrent to us at all. It’s used at least four or five times a week here and has a permanent home out on the bench top, so we also haven’t needed to store it away. However, as great as our Sunbeam grill is, I would rethink my need for this product if our kitchen was much smaller or if I only wanted it for occasional use.

This model is big sister to the Sunbeam Compact Cafe Grill, which is practically the same except a lot smaller (two sandwich capacity) and I would recommend this as an option if space is an issue for you.


All in all, the Sunbeam Cafe Contact Grill and Sandwich Press did everything I hoped it would do, and maybe even a little more. The quality of the food I have made (not just toasties!) has been impressive and while at first I was concerned that there was only one heat setting, that one setting has proved to be suitable for sandwiches, eggs, bacon, veggies and even chicken and beef.

Would I buy again? Absolutely. If you’re like me and after a bit more functionality over just a sandwich press, its range of features, efficacy and ease of use totally justifies its price point without going too crazy. Its asking price may be a bit steep if you’re only going to be toasting the odd sandwich, so if that’s the case, take a look at other more affordable options. Are there things I would change? Sure, but most of these are minor or countered easily enough; for me, none were deal breakers.