10 Kitchen Items You Should Always Buy Secondhand


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Secondhand Staples

Before you splurge on your next big kitchen purchase, ask yourself this: Does it really need to be new? Not only can you save yourself a substantial amount of money by thrifting kitchen pieces, but better yet, there are certain secondhand kitchen items that are arguably better than their modernized counterparts. Let's take a look at the most notable kitchen products that you should always opt for buying secondhand (and be sure to read to the end for our No. 1 pick).


1. Pyrex

Pyrex has been around for ages (since 1915), and it’s stood the test of time for good reason. When you thrift Pyrex kitchen pieces, you'd be wise to keep your eyes peeled for Pyrex products that have the all-caps “PYREX” on them. This indicates that they’re made from borosilicate glass. This is a special combination of boron oxide and silica that is extremely durable and resistant to heat. 

When under heat, these Pyrex pieces only end up expanding 33% as much as competitor brand pieces do. However, Pyrex did eventually make the shift to using tempered glass instead, due to boron being so expensive and toxic. You can differentiate between the highly sought after vintage Pyrex pieces and the modern Pyrex pieces in that the modern Pyrex pieces will feature all lowercase letters. 

Cooking timer as chicken on the wooden table

2. Kitchen Timers

Any home chef will ramble on to no end about the crucial role that a kitchen timer plays in controlling the chaos of the kitchen. There’s no getting around that many worthwhile recipes require you to be attentive so that you’re not overcooking or undercooking a particular dish. A new kitchen timer can cost over $10, so you might as well make the effort to find a much cheaper alternative that’s already served some time in a kitchen.

A man wearing black chef's apron, holding barbecue tools: bbq tongs, spatula.
Dmytro Varavin/istockphoto

3. Aprons

A new kitchen apron that’s of decent quality can end up costing around $30. Instead, you could scour your local thrift shop for a used kitchen apron that could cost under $5, and even feature a snazzy vintage aesthetic at the same time. Just throw it in the wash when you get home.

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Pink lemonade with lemon, lime and strawberries

4. Drink Pitchers

Drink pitchers are one of those indispensable kitchen items that are perfect for days when you're craving an iced tea or fruit-infused water. Instead of shelling over anywhere from $15 to $20 for a new drink pitcher, you can visit your nearby thrift store to find a much cheaper glass pitcher alternative. What’s more is that a glass pitcher can be a great decoration piece when you put a bouquet of flowers in it.

Related: 15 Things You Should Never Buy at a Thrift Store


5. Tablecloths

Tablecloths are incredibly effective at elevating the overall aesthetic of a dining table. Plus, they can save you the extra time and effort that would go into vigorously cleaning your dining table. A new tablecloth can cost anywhere from $10 to $30 when purchased at general stores, but your average secondhand linen purchase will cost much less.

Related: The Best Online Thrift Stores for Buying Used Furniture (and Other Household Goods)

Barbecue Grill Portable

6. Mini Grills

Mini grills are instrumental when it comes to cooking a proper burger, steak, or even certain sandwiches. It’s not entirely uncommon to happen upon a reasonably well-preserved mini grill at a thrift store. If you do end up finding one and determine that it’s held up over time, bring it home with you. New mini grills will be much more costly. 

Related: 8 Thrifting Tips You Need To Know, According to Redditors

Bellemain Stainless-Steel Measuring Cup Set

7. Measuring Cups

Measuring cups are just one of those kitchen items that you’ll find yourself using time and time again. The best part about buying measuring cups secondhand is that thrift stores are seemingly doing all that they can to free up precious shelf space by selling their measuring cups for dirt cheap. Pro tip: Look for the metal kind, which tend to hold up over time more than their plastic counterparts.

Modern tea coffee and sugar bowl in pantry shelf

8. Canisters

Instead of storing your coffees or teas in the containers or bags that you bought them in, you can further stylize your kitchen by using secondhand vintage canisters. Oftentimes, vintage canisters will feature all kinds of cool designs on them as well.

Made By Design Mixing Bowl Set

9. Mixing Bowls

Mixing bowls tend to last a long time, and secondhand stores make a habit out of collecting the older glass mixing bowls. Sometimes these can end up being both dishwasher and oven-safe. Just make sure you properly assess any used mixing bowls that you set your sights on for chips or cracks.

Lodge 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Skillet

10. Cast Iron

Cast-iron cookware might be the greatest of all time when it comes to scoring secondhand kitchen items. The general consensus among many cast-iron elitists is that vintage cast iron is notably better in quality due to companies downgrading their production methods to meet steady surges in demand. Your typical secondhand cast iron will come pre-seasoned, and will also be ready to clock in for cooking duty as soon as you clean it.