Benriner mandolines are fixtures in many restaurant kitchens, and for good reason: They earn top ratings from owners and critics alike. Although they can't dice or make crinkle or waffle cuts, Benriner mandolines can cut slices and make julienne cuts in three widths. Benriner mandolines don't have feet, so they must be set over a bowl or cutting board. Owners call these mandolines easy to clean: Just dunk them in soapy water and rinse (they are not dishwasher-safe, however). Several reviewers warn that the Benriner's finger guard is narrow, a potential safety hazard if you don't use protective gloves. The Benriner mandoline is available in three sizes: standard (2.5 inches wide; *Est. $25), super (3.5 inches wide; *Est. $50) and jumbo (4.5 inches wide; *Est. $50). The Jumbo Benriner can be difficult to find, however, and retailers and reviewers tend to use different names for these products, which may prove challenging when it comes to finding the size that you want.
We read the best review of the Benriner mandoline in a major cooking magazine; out of 10 mandolines reviewed, the Benriner is named a "highly recommended" slicer and praised as "reasonably priced." We also found shorter reviews of Benriner mandolines at Tibesti.com, Chow.com and The New York Times. To round out the picture, we read dozens of owner reviews of Benriner mandolines at Amazon.com and Cooking.com, where the majority of users say they are satisfied with their purchase.
1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
At Cook's Illustrated magazine, editors test 10 mandolines, rating them on their straight, julienne and waffle cuts, as well as safety features, design and user friendliness. Editors say the winning model feels very safe and sturdy, and it made short work of all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Others models tended to feel unsteady or have inadequate guards, editors note.
Review: Mandolines, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, May 1, 2008
The Benriner mandoline earns an average rating of four stars out of five in more than 30 reviews here. Owners report that it's easy to use, adjust, clean and store. Several say that the finger guard is practically useless, however, and one user describes a mandoline-related injury in rather graphic terms.
Review: Benriner Mandoline Slicers, Contributors to Amazon.com
Food writer and chef Louisa Chu discusses one mandoline, one turning slicer and one cut-resistant glove. She calls the Super Benriner an "excellent, proven slicer," and she likes the 5-inch-wide blade, which makes slicing onions a snap. Chu also notes the lack of a storage container for the mandoline and its detachable blades, an oversight in her opinion.
Review: Cut It Out: Gadgets for Perfect Julienne and Curls, Louisa Chu, June 6, 2007
It's unclear whether reviewer Scott Liebfried, a professional chef, bases his picks for the best mandolines on personal use or not. He names one of five "best of the best" slicers, and says it's perfect for cutting vegetables for stir-fry dishes or for preparing salads.
Review: Best Mandolines, Scott Liebfried
Editors at Chow.com list their top-10 inexpensive kitchen tools in this non-comparative review. Aida Mollenkamp and Regan Burns describe the Benriner slicer as "wallet-friendly, extra sharp, reliable, and compact." They don't list any negatives, however, nor do they recommend other mandolines.
Review: Save Your Dollars, Aida Mollenkamp and Regan Burns, April 2, 2007
Among mandolines that garner more than 10 reviews here, the Benriner earns an overall rating of 4.1 stars out of five from about 20 users. Most say they would purchase this mandoline again, but one or two users complain that this mandoline is cheaply made. Unlike other Benriner mandolines, this model, which carries the Joyce Chen name, also has an attached plastic container for collecting slices.
Review: Benriner/Asian Mandoline Plus, Contributors to Cooking.com
Editor Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan offers a rave review of the Benriner mandoline. Unfortunately, the review is brief and focuses more on general uses for mandolines than on the Benriner. She does caution readers about the finger guard, however.
Review: Best Products: Benriner Mandoline, Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, Oct. 21, 2005
8. The New York Times
Denise Landis says that the Jumbo Benriner is "worth keeping on a kitchen hook" if you need to slice at lot of vegetables at a time. She also briefly discusses a smaller Benriner mandoline, saying it is comfortable to use. She doesn't mention any drawbacks to either model.
Review: For Thin Veggies, At a Slender Price, Denise Landis, March 17, 2004