12 Best Play Kitchens in 2018

Some of the best hamburgers you’ve ever had were probably made on a play kitchen grill; the tastiest cakes baked in a play kitchen oven.

They are the classic childhood toy that every kiddo should be able to play with growing up, and while there are quite a few options out there, not all of them are worth your money.

They are the classic childhood toy that every kiddo should be able to play with growing up, and while there are quite a few options out there, not all of them are worth your money.

In addition to thinking about the type of material it’s made out of, there are a few other key things you need to focus on while shopping, which we will be highlighting in detail for you in our expert guide.

Top 12 Play Kitchen Sets Comparison Chart

DesignNameMain MaterialRecommended AgeRating (1-5)
  1. Hape Gourmet Kitchen Kid’s Wooden Play Kitchen Wood 3 years + 4.7
  2. Step2 Heart of The Home Kitchen Set Plastic 2 years + 4.6
  3. KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen Wood 3 years + 4.5
  4. Little Tikes Cook ‘n Play Outdoor BBQ Plastic 2 years + 4.5
  5. Step2 Grand Walk-in Kitchen and Grill Plastic 2 years + 4.4
6. Step2 Little Bakers Kitchen Plastic 2 years + 4.4
7. Melissa & Doug Chef’s Kitchen Pretend Play Set Wood 3 years + 4.3
8. Melissa & Doug Cook’s Corner Wooden Kitchen Play Set Wood 3 years + 4.3
  9. KidKraft Vintage Kitchen – White Wood 3 years + 4.2
  10. Little Tikes Cook ‘n Store Kitchen Playset Plastic 18 months + 4.0
  11. Little Tikes Ultimate Cook Kitchen Plastic 2 years + 4.0
  12. Little Tikes Cook ‘n Learn Smart Kitchen Plastic 2 years + 3.8

Start by Comparing Materials

As adults, we not only want to provide our little ones with a safe toy but also one that lasts. There are a few pros and cons to the most common play kitchen materials – wood and plastic – which we will highlight in this section.

  • Wood – Most manufacturers use MDF – a type of wood pulp that is held together by resin – or composite wood, which is a mixture of wood fibers and plastic that is also held together by some sort adhesive that binds everything together. The latter is more commonly known as particleboard.

Wood is much more durable than plastic is, but it won’t hold up well outdoors since the water will soak into the wood material and eventually cause it to rot.

It is also heavier, which makes it harder to move. Always place wooden play kitchens against a wall and, if you’re worried about it tipping, invest in an anchoring kit to prevent it from tipping over.

  • Plastic – Plastic kitchens are much lighter and easier to move around. They can also handle being outdoors since there are no wooden parts that will soak up the water.

Many parents want BPA-free plastic these days, but when it comes to a play kitchen, that’s not the type of plastic they use.

BPA-free plastics are important if they come into contact with food, but this is just a play area and not an eating area.

If you’re purchasing separate play fruits and vegetables, you might see if the plastic is BPA-free since smaller children might put it in their mouths, but don’t be surprised if it isn’t.

Features to Consider

The main theme of the kitchen plays a big role in the decision process, and there isn’t just one single best play kitchen out there. It depends on the interests of the children who will be playing it.

  • Kitchen Contents – Some kitchens are basic while others have quite a few places for your little one to explore. Here’s what you can look for:
    • Sink
    • Oven
    • Counter
    • Microwave
    • Stovetop
    • Refrigerator
    • Grill/BBQ
  • Lights and Sounds – The most authentic play kitchens make sounds – running water, sizzling pots, ringing phones, and lights all make little ones feel more grown-up as they play.

Don’t forget that any kitchens with these features require batteries to operate them, and most sets don’t come with them. If you’re out of batteries, be sure to get some when you purchase the kitchen.

  • Accessories Included – Some sets come with many accessories such as fruit, pans, spatulas, and cups, while others come with just a few.

Most manufacturers sell accessory kits separately, so if the kitchen you purchase doesn’t come with much, see if you can purchase some extra items to give the kids more variety.

Weight, Size, and Number of Kids

Many parents often ask about the weight of the kitchen, and this is something that we looked up for you on the manufacturer’s website for each one in our top five. We also found out the official dimensions of each one.

The size probably doesn’t matter too much if it’s going outside in your yard, but make sure you know where you’ll be placing an indoor kitchen so you can measure the space to make sure it will fit.

Our last suggestion for you before you head down to check out the best play kitchens is to think about how many kids will be using it. Is this going somewhere where multiple kids will be playing with it? If so, a larger unit is best.

For single users, you can either choose a smaller set or go all out on a big one to make them the king (or queen) of the kitchen.

Top 5 Best Play Kitchen Sets Reviews

1. Hape Playfully Delicious Gourmet Kitchen

Weight:  17.7 pounds
Dimensions: 55” L x 32” W x 70.5” H

Hape is a German brand, and they make some of the best toy kitchen sets on the market.

Their Playfully Delicious Gourmet Kitchen is simple, but thanks to its quality design and materials, many parents prefer it to the other brands on our list.

It would be a great starter kitchen for toddlers since it is small and simple. There is a sink, an oven, a stovetop and a cupboard door on the bottom with a shelf on above the faucet.

There are many opportunities to expand this set thanks to the variety of accessories Hape offers. The refrigerator is available for purchase separately (a great addition), and so are some dishes and food items. While it is a shame that the set doesn’t come with a few of these accessories, you do have to remember that the majority of it is made out of wood and the quality is superb. If you’re interested in adding a few pieces at a time, it is worth the investment in the long run.

Be sure not to use this kitchen outdoors. It should be used indoors, and you should never dump water on it when cleaning. Just use a damp cloth with an antibacterial multi-surface cleaner and wipe it down.

2. Step2 Heart of the Home Kitchen Set

Weight: 25 pounds
Dimensions: 45.13” L x 12 W x 48” H

The price is a little higher with this kitchen, but it is also packed with tons of accessories! They give you 41 pieces total to keep your little ones entertained, and there are plenty of ways for them to get creative in this kitchen thanks to the mixture of features.

It has a refrigerator, microwave, cupboard doors, counter space, a recycling bin, pet center, grocery bag and even a little white board that kids can write on and erase as they play.

We like that the phone makes noises and how the stovetop makes a bubbling noise when the water is “boiling.” Kids absolutely love the photo frame above the sink since they can customize it to their latest Monet or a special picture.

Be sure to pick up a few extra batteries for this one since the set does not include them!

3. KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen

Weight: 76.5 pounds (boxed)
Dimensions: 43” L x 17.75” W x 41” H

KidKraft has more of a modern, realistic looking kitchen for those of you who don’t want an eyesore sitting around your home. When looking up the official weight, we saw that it was 76.5 pounds boxed, so we’re assuming that the official weight once set up is slightly less than that. We couldn’t find more info.

The overall main features are similar to the previous model. You have a refrigerator and freezer, an oven, stovetop, sink and some shelving storage. Kids really like the little chalkboard on the freezer, and we thought the towel rack on the end was a nice touch.

As another wood unit, this is to be used indoors and just like Hape’s kitchen; you don’t get any of the food accessories so plan on purchasing them separately.

This is by far one of the most popular play kitchens on the list.

4. Little Tikes Cook ‘n Play Outdoor BBQ

Weight: 18 pounds
Dimensions: 29.25” L x 12” W x 35.25” H

For the grilling geniuses, a play kitchen like this is the only way to go.

This plastic, outdoor-friendly set comes with a dual-level grill, a side burner, a sink, an oven, and a few storage nooks to place everything once the “dishes are done.”

The fire and coal details are pretty realistic. It looks like the burners are on and the grill is actually ready for some steaks!

No batteries are required – which means that it also doesn’t make any noises – and the food accessories are available separately. It doesn’t cost too much more to add them on, however, and we definitely recommend that you get them.

5. Step2 Grand Walk-in Kitchen and Grill

Weight: 50 pounds
Dimensions: 50.75” L x 36.38” W x 47” H

For multiple kids, you need a big kitchen like the Walk-in Kitchen and Grill from Step2.

It has plenty of room for the little chefs, cooks, and bakers to whip up a tasty play meal and the features are definitely cool.

It has an eating counter, a grill area, an oven, refrigerator, cupboards, a sink, microwave and plenty of storage. It comes with a complete set of 103 accessories, which is why the price is slightly higher than some of the others. You’ll need some batteries, as well, since the stove makes sizzling noises as do the buttons on the microwave.

This would be a great addition to a daycare or a home with a few kids to entertain!