the best mandolines and slicers have
- Sturdy construction. The best mandoline slicers are durable
enough to withstand the pressure of sliding produce down the slicing plane without
wobbling or flexing. Meat slicers should be sturdy and have strong, rubber
suction cups on the legs to keep them securely anchored to the counter. Spiral
slicers should cut long, unbroken ribbons without clogging.
- Comfortable, safe cutting guard. Essential for safety
on a mandoline, the hand guard grips the food and presses it against the
slicer, keeping your fingers away from the sharp blade. The safest guards are
at least as broad as the base of the mandoline slicer, and run smoothly along
the slicing track without catching or jittering. Those shaped like derby hats
with brims wider than the slicing plane feel the sturdiest and are considered
safest. On meat slicers, the blade guard should completely cover the blade.
Always use the pusher on your meat slicer, don't push the meat with your hands.
Spiralizers are safe to use because of the way the blades are set into the
plastic housing; however, great care should be taken in cleaning them -- some
experts recommend a soft brush to clean the blades so you don't have to get
your fingers near them. At the very least, wear a good pair of rubber gloves.
- Razor-sharp slicing. Whether it's ceramic or stainless steel,
the blade should cleanly slice produce without having to push hard against the mandoline. The best mandoline slicers deliver precise cuts
on a wide range of produce, from soft tomatoes to firm potatoes. Some experts
fee that models with V-shaped or diagonally slanted blades perform much better
than the horizontal style. Blades are constructed of either ceramic or
stainless steel. Both are equally sharp, but stainless steel can be sharpened,
ceramic can't. However, the blade should stay sharp for several years. Meat
slicers have stainless steel blades and some can be sharpened. Replace the
blade -- or have it professionally sharpened -- if it begins to pull against
whatever you are trying to slice.
- Several height settings. The more height settings, the more
versatile your slicer will be; enabling you to cut deli-thin slices of
cucumbers, thick tomato slices, or
sandwich-ready cuts of meat. The thickness setting (blade height) should be
easy to adjust and lock firmly in place. Mandolines with pre-set increments are
faster to set up but limiting. Most experts prefer dials that let you select
any cutting height and make fine adjustments as you go. Meat slicer thickness
adjustments generally lock in place.
- An assortment of blades. Many people just need a basic mandoline
for slicing and making julienne cuts, but, some mandolines come with blades you
can swap out to make waffle cuts, dice, shred or even cube. The best meat
slicers will either include a serrated and non-serrated blade, or have the
option to purchase one or the other. Spiralizers should have a variety of
blades you can change out for various thicknesses and shapes.
- Easy to swap accessories. A key to safety with any slicer is
blades or cutting tools that can be swapped out without having to dig out the
blades or fumble with them to put them in place.
- Easy cleanup. The best slicers have a body that washes
easily and doesn't trap food in its crevices. Look for dishwasher-safe models
for fast cleanup, though some manufacturers recommend hand-washing removable
blades to prevent dulling.
before you go
What types of dishes you want to
create. If you need only an occasional slicer, consider a
simple mandoline with a fixed straight blade. For more complex dishes -- such
as fries, chips, stir fry meals and ornamental salads -- select a mandoline
with replaceable straight, julienne and crinkle blades. If you need to slice
meats or cheeses, you'll need a meat slicer, as a mandoline won't perform those
Expect some scraps. The hand guards on mandolines limit
slicing the entire vegetable because of their design, but it' much better to
have a bit left over than remove the hand guard and risk cutting off a
fingertip. Some chefs use a knife to finish that last bit, or just save it for
All slicers are extremely sharp. Owners frequently are caught off guard when using specialized slicing
tools for the first time; learning to clean and switch blades can be difficult
without cutting yourself if you're not careful.
Invest in an extra measure of
safety. Whether you're using a mandoline, meat slicer, spiralizer
or a knife, you may want to look into investing in a pair of cut-resistant
gloves. They've long been available for people who work with cutting tools in
the shop, now they're being redesigned for the home cook, and they can help you
avoid a nasty cut.
Maybe you just need a knife. If you almost
never slice anything, or maybe just slice the occasional potato or carrot, a
mandoline, meat slicer or spiralizer is probably overkill. But everyone needs
at least one good knife. If that's you, head on over to our separate report on kitchen knives for the best chef's knife, paring knife, knife set and steak knives.
Elsewhere in this
Best Reviewed Mandolines and Slicer: The
right slicer can make food prep so quick and easy, you'll wonder how you did
without it. Here are the top mandoline slicers, meat slicers and spiralizers,
plus a great pair of cut-resistant gloves to keep your hands safe.
Best Mandoline Slicers: Mandoline
slicers aren't just for professional chefs anymore. The best mandoline slicers
are razor sharp; but they're also versatile, easy to use, and safe -- if used
properly. They're also highly affordable; none top out at more than $50.
Best Meat Slicers and Spiralizers: Want
to make quick work of cutting large hunks of meat down to size, or make perfect
vegetable spirals or ribbons? We found a great home meat cutter, popular for
those who make their own jerky, and a fun-to-use spiral slicer that will keep
you in curly fries.
Our Sources: We
used these professional and user review sites to find the best mandoline
slicers, meat slicers and spiralizers. They are ranked in order of their
expertise and helpfulness.