Kitchen appliances, gadgets and accessories have come a long way since the glory days of the egg beater and rolling pin. Today, there are hundreds of labor-saving and value-enhancing kitchen items on the market; most can be easily bought online.

Here’s a set of handy kitchen items that are probably missing from your kitchen right now, along with links pointing to places where you can find them online.

The Spongester
The modest but ultra-useful kitchen sponge has been a kitchen fixture for millennia. However, homemakers and chefs continually struggle – not always successfully — to make sure that “good sponges” (used for cleaning dishes and countertops) and “evil sponges” (used on the sink, drain and other dirty places) never meet up to exchange nasty micro-organisms. Enter The Spongester – a simple, perforated stainless steel rack whose one and only job is to separate good and evil sponges in order to discourage – and, hopefully, banish forever – the bane of cross-sponge contamination. $28 from

The OMAR 2-section shelving unit
Most kitchens – even those whose cabinets are adequately spacious – could do with a little added storage space, but kitchen wall space – often confined to the area between the countertop and the upper cabinet bottom – is often too scarce to accommodate additional shelving. If you have this problem, consider the Omar 2-section shelving unit. This free-standing, 77 and ½ inch tall stainless-steel unit, when placed in a hall or room adjoining your kitchen, can serve as a standalone pantry, thus taking storage pressure off your cabinets. $135.96 from

The Panasonic NB-G11OP Flash Xpress Toaster Oven
This high-tech toaster is visually impressive, compact (10 ½ inches high x 13 inches wide x 12 inches depth), powerful (1300 watts) and fast (it claims to be able to cook 40 percent faster than competing toaster ovens). Though, it’s spacious enough to accommodate 4 slices of toast or one 9-inch personal pizza, making it an ideal servant for the breakfast and after-school crowd. Equipped with a removable tray and non-stick interior, the NB-G11OP is also easy to maintain. $120.99 from

The First Alert Kitchen Fire Extinguisher
Until robotic chefs become commonplace in the American home, the dangers of a range, toaster or other fire in the kitchen will haunt homemakers. But, a small, easily-accessed fire extinguisher like the First Alert  KFE2S5-B:C Kitchen Fire Extinguisher can keep a simple cooking mishap from spreading into a home-threatening disaster. $22.89 from

The Collapsible Salad Spinner
Your kitchen may already be equipped with a salad spinner, but ask yourself this: how much expensive cabinet real estate is that spinner claiming in its off time? If the answer is “too much,” this collapsible salad spinner will help ease the crunch; it collapses down to a very reasonable 3.25-inch height when not in use. $29.95 from

The Simpleware Eco Flow Perforated Cutting Board
Cutting boards have been standard kitchen fixtures since the dawn of time, but they all share a common flaw: any delicious juice generated in the cutting runs off the board to be lost forever.  But this innovative, perforated cutting board from Simpleware solves the “loose juice” issue. This 8 ¾ x 12 ½-inch board is made of two dishwasher-safe pieces that snap together, making it easy to recover that prized juice after the cutting is done. $15.72 at

The Nubee Infrared Temperature Gun
Your oven display reads “350 degrees.” OK, that’s fine, but what’s the actual temperature of that London broil in there? Just point the Nubee NUB8500H non-contact Infrared Temperature Gun at your target and you’ll have a definitive answer. This light, handheld temperature-reading gun is effective through a wide-temperature range (-58F to 932F), making it useful in the kitchen, work room or other place where you’ve just got to know the real temperature of any object, including your computer! $19.98 at