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Types of Mandolines
Basic Mandoline Slicers

Mandoline slicers have a single blade set in a flat runway-style base. Sliding food down the runway and across the blade produces very quick, consistent slicing. The blades can be straight, set on the diagonal or v-shaped. Some mandolines come with interchangeable blades for different cutting styles, although some are easier -- and safer -- to change than others. Handheld mandolines have a slender, flat profile for easier storage, while some mandolines include feet or a stand that hold the tool at a 45-degree angle. Most mandolines come with a hand guard, although the hand guards can vary in quality and sturdiness.

Professional-Quality Mandoline Slicers

Professional-grade slicers are similar in both form and function to the more basic slicers. These are extremely sharp, as are all mandolines, but tend to have less stable and secure hand guards. In fact, in professional kitchen settings, chefs usually remove the hand guards from their mandolines -- they shouldn't, but they do. Professional-quality slicers typically have several blades for making various types of cuts, along with the ability to adjust the height of the table to adjust the thickness of slices.


Also known as spiral slicers, these tools are a hot kitchen item right now. People who have adopted low-carb or Paleo lifestyles love them for making faux "noodles" from squash, zucchini or other vegetables, while others are just thrilled with being able to make fancy vegetable strands and ribbons, thick or thin, for garnishes, salads and side dishes. Spiral slicers aren't as dangerous as mandolines, as the blades are contained inside the plastic casing and therefore aren't as close in proximity to users' hands and fingers during use. Spiralizers are great for people who like to stir fry, too. One professional testing organization was initially very skeptical of the need for a spiralizer, but were charmed with the results, which they said transformed ordinary fruits and vegetables into something special.

Safety is important when using a mandoline slicer

When you're dealing with razor-sharp blades, safety is a must. There are ample opportunities for injury when using mandolines and other slicers: not only could you accidentally slice a finger instead of a potato when you're using one, but you could easily cut yourself when changing or cleaning the blades, as well. When using the mandoline to slice, it's important to use the hand guard, even if it's not comfortable or doesn't feel as efficient. We read too many harrowing accounts of people who thought the hand guard was awkward, or that it left too much wasted produce, or it didn't work for smaller or larger pieces, so they removed it and sliced off a fingertip, or suffered a similarly gruesome injury. It's crucial to always be vigilant and attentive when using a mandoline, and to buy one that is highly rated for a safe hand guard and easy-to-change blades.

Some people are so terrified of cutting themselves that they won't even use their mandoline -- won't even store it in the kitchen, in fact. For them we recommend a pair of cut-resistant gloves; not a bad idea for anyone, really, even if you are using the hand guard. We discuss cut-resistant gloves on our page devoted to the best mandolines. And keep in mind: If you almost never slice anything, you may just need a great knife. If so, check out our separate report on kitchen knives for the best chef's knife, paring knife, knife set and steak knives.

Finding The Best Mandolines
Our Sources1. Cook's Illustrated
Mandolines2. Cook's Illustrated
Spiralizers3. TheSweethome.com
The Best MandolineSee All

We found quite a few professional head-to-head tests comparing mandolines and spiralizers, including  Cook's Illustrated, TheSweethome.com, SeriousEats.com and Good Housekeeping, to name just a few.  To find out how well the top-rated mandolines and spiralizers perform in real-world use, we read thousands of owner-written reviews across sites like Amazon.com, BedBathandBeyond.com, and Williams-Sonoma.com. User opinions are valuable for assessing considerations such as durability, safety, and performance in everyday conditions. We weighed the results of the professional tests against the experiences of actual users to come to our picks for the best mandoline slicers and spiralizers.