They All Slice Or Curl And Some Grate – Which Should You Choose?
If you’re looking around to find the best mandoline slicer for home use and are worried about safety issues too, you should find enough information here about the most popular models to get you started on the right track – buying a mandoline slicer is a serious business because these come with risks attached if you aren’t careful.
With a diabetic husband whose cuts don’t heal easily, deciding to buy a mandoline slicer at all was a big step because of the dangers. I think I asked every friend and read every review posted on the Internet, before taking the plunge.
No two ways about it, mandolins have a hellishly sharp blade – they have to be sharp to do the job we’re asking of them.
Never Take Chances With A Mandoline Slicer!
So before we get stuck into which are the bees’ knees and which ones to leave on the shelf, my heartfelt best advice is if you are seriously contemplating buying one, then get a Kevlar or steel mesh glove as well – and even more important – wear it!
You’ll see them listed with the mandolins beside what ‘people also bought’ for the good reason most kitchen mandoline users don’t take chances, not more than once anyway! The emergency rooms are kept busy with enthusiastic cooks like myself who didn’t wear any protection and weren’t quite careful enough (Yep, it was me that got the cut not my husband!).
The truth is, no matter how careful you are your hand can easily slip with horrible consequences. After that he bought this Steel Mesh Glove which looks too clumsy to wear but is actually very comfortable – and it has saved me from several more bad cuts. We got a medium and it fits both of us, I guess we both have medium sized hands – he went over the top here, there are much cheaper options of protective glove than stainless steel mesh for those less clumsy than me, you don’t need to spend more than the slicer to protect yourself!
On the plus side, once you’ve used a mandoline slicer to prepare vegetables and onions, you’ll never pick up a knife again, there is just no comparison for speed or simplicity and if used correctly, they are way safer than trying to slice an onion with a knife – I’ve had a good few cuts from slicing onions with a knife, but never when using a mandoline – my cut came from it being in the sink covered in bubbles.
By the way, a lot of accidents happen when getting them out and set up, or washing them and putting them away, so beware – they are to be treated with respect whenever you touch them.
Norpro Mandoline Slicer Grater with Guard
There are some pretty mixed reviews on the Norpro, however it get’s the thumbs up from a work colleague, who loves the interchangeable blades and makes good use of them to do all his slicing and grating, labelling this a kitchen space saver too.
He conceded the non-slip legs do slip and doesn’t rate it as heavy duty, though not flimsy either as his has been in constant use for two years and is still going strong.
The Norpro is easy to clean and has good blade safety guards, two features to watch for. If you are someone who wants thick slices for dauphinoise potatoes, this might not be for you, but for prepping salad and getting real thin slices it seems to work very well.
The mandoline slicer Kitchenaid make, is one of the best on the market with good safety features and solid construction to match. My sister has a passion for Kitchenaid gadgets and more or less sticks to them where she can. To be fair the company produces robustly made well designed gadgets for the kitchen which don’t have a high price tag.
She really rates this one and so do I – yes we have this model too.
The retractable blade guard works brilliantly well making this in my opinion one of the safest on the market – and the mandoline doesn’t slip around on pretty much any surface I’ve tried it on, which is a bonus judging by some product reviews.
Unlike most other models, the Kitchenaid comes complete with a nifty storage box and protective covers for the julienne blades, the lack of which is a big grumble on other products.
Kyocera Adjustable Mandoline Slicer with Handguard – Get The Double Edged Blade
At just over $20 and with a ceramic blade, the Kyocera attracts plenty of interest. On the face of it this mandoline is exactly what the majority of us are looking for – a quick safe way of uniformly slicing vegetables or maybe cheese for a sandwich.
True the Kyocera is a pick it up and use it gadget, but there are too many flaws to make it what it could have been, with a bit more thought. The way the blade is positioned makes cutting on the downward stroke a breeze, but food catches as you try to whizz back up again, making it hard to use the safety guard at all.
If you have a Kevlar glove, then it becomes more of an option, but whatever food you are slicing will need to be lifted back up for each downward stroke. Quite sturdy and unlikely to break easily, this mandoline does flex when you push down on it and I’ve found it works best when held over a bowl as this gives it support making it more rigid in use.
Kyocera also make a double-edged mandoline which has addressed my main grumble, as food cuts on both upward and downward strokes. Overall if you’re looking for a fast easy to use inexpensive option, this is really good value for money, but only the double edged blade version which gets good reviews all round.
Chef’n Collapsible Hand-Held Mandoline
I love Chef’n products and bought one of these several years ago, so can offer a personal review. There is something about the cheery colors of Chef’n gadgets which make them look almost made for children – but don’t be deceived, this is no toy!
The Chef’n works just as it says on the box – they are super easy to hold securely with the handle provided and the finger guard is solid. As a first mandoline, this is one of the safest in my opinion, on a par with the Kitchenaid.
Some reviewers say the finger guard lets food slip, but one rule you need to stick to with any mandolin is pushing firmly down on whatever is to be sliced, then making sure the hold is good before you start – if not try again. The prongs are well sharp enough, so as the midwife says, push!
In my opinion it isn’t the food guard, more likely the food itself. Put bluntly, the Chef’n just isn’t as efficient at cutting denser vegetables like potatoes – so if you prepare a lot of them, leave this one alone.
Great with salads, fruit and softer food like courgettes or celery, the slice thickness is easy to change as are the blades for julienne, but not with potatoes!
OXO Good Grips V Blade Mandoline – Featured On America’s Test Kitchen
OXO make several different mandoline slicers and this is the cheapest as well as the best selling of their brand. Quite a few friends have this v-blade style and bought it after seeing it featured on America’s Test Kitchen, where the focus was on safety and efficiency.
One thing several of them said, is that it slices thick firm veggies way better than soft ripe tomatoes – the complete opposite from Chef’n – you really do pay your money and take your chances!
Overall users were pleased with it though not everyone agrees on how easy it cleans, with several muttering about food getting stuck behind the blade.
If you are totally new to kitchen mandolines this is a good bet for the price. Would I buy one for myself or a friend? Hmm, no probably not, but as I’ve never used one personally that could be an unfair decision – but the Swissmar Borner is an excellent choice, has no issue with tomatoes and believe it or not, is cheaper.
Progressive International Folding Mandoline Slicer
This mini review has been added 16/02/14 as a result of several of this smart looking Progressive International model having found their way into the kitchens of colleagues over Christmas. The opinions I have to say are pretty mixed.
There are two new users who found it really awkward to use the first time but practice has helped apparently. You need to put a bit of effort into vegetables like sweet potatoes and consequently they have that slightly thicker side, but it will give you very fine thinly sliced tomatoes, courgettes and other salad goodies.
One colleague and friend returned it after a bad cut which needed three stitches plus liberal amounts of surgical glue! No, she wasn’t familiar with slicers, no she wasn’t wearing a safety glove and no, I didn’t point that out – it would have been mean.
All of them say not to use it on slippery or wet surfaces and there is one universal issue – you can’t cut crinkle chips with this model. I haven’t used it so won’t comment personally other than to say it is very competitively priced and sells very well on Amazon, however there are a good few negative reviews as well as a heck of a lot of good ones. This particular bad boy might be one of those you need to buy and try as it suits some very well – but don’t forget to wear a glove!
Looking For A Curly Veggie Slicer?
If we could only have one slicer in the kitchen, this would have to be in contention because it does a brilliant job in super quick time. Should you be looking for a spiral veggie cutter, then the Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer is a great choice. It isn’t a mandoline, but it is a great little tool.
Not feeling like the most robustly built of contraptions, it has lasted very well including encounters with teenagers, who once shown how to use it safely, get a kick out of seeing the ribbons they’ve made – I know exactly what they mean.
It is now getting pretty stained, despite my best efforts with soda and a toothbrush – bleach works as well as anything.
With suction feet, this curly slicer fixes solidly enough on the counter and if it doesn’t, just damp the feet and try again.
Very safe and easy to use, you put your vegetable or fruit onto the prongs and turn the wheel whilst gently pushing your produce towards the blade. Simple and quick to clean – though it stains – this spiral veggie cutter comes with three different blades, two for different sized julienne spirals and one for ribbon slices.
Because I dry a lot of home-grown produce like carrots, zucchini, apples and pears for use in the winter, we’ve accumulated a selection of mandolins and have a meat slicer, tools which are perfect for the job.
My Paderno was bought for creating delicate aesthetically pleasing salads rather than prepping for dehydration, but honestly this is such fun to use – it’s almost hypnotic watching the spirals! Additionally it’s nice to have small ribbons of dried carrots and potato rather than the usual slices, it just adds variety of texture.
Highly Recommended – But?
One complaint from folks is the wasted produce from the center of your veggies and fruit. Well, we throw the carved out middles into the juicer, and enjoy a drink as we work, or you can freeze the juice for delicious vegetable stock later. Have I recommended this or bought it for family and friends? Yes, they make great gifts and I’ve one or two in mind for Christmas this year.
Swissmar Borner V-1001 Mandoline Slicer
Probably the bestselling mandoline slicer for home use, it comes with three easy change blades plus a storage box. This has the quality there to make it as close to a professional mandoline as you’ll get at the price – but there is one thing to point out.
As most companies regularly do, Swissmar Borner has brought out an updated version which costs a little more and apparently doesn’t work as well. It’s quite clear from reviews that people who updated their mandoline to the newer model wished they hadn’t, I haven’t so can’t comment personally.
However, there are enough grumbles about things which don’t work as well for it to probably be true. Me? I’ll buy this one again and leave the newer versions alone, at least until and unless reviewers change their tune.
The blades on this model are lethally sharp so don’t use this without protecting yourself first. I’ve never cut myself on it but I’m not sure if that’s because the safety features work well, or I’m very wary when using it – probably a healthy combination of both.
Overall for me, the best mandoline slicer for use in a normal family kitchen is the Swissmar Borner V-1001 with the Kitchenaid right behind it. Though they do take a minute to setup, both are very safe, easy to use and clean up at the top of the dishwasher or under the tap.
Both have proved equally robust over several years of regular family use though if you want complete honesty, both are now looking well used. But do you know what? The blades are as sharp as ever and cut with the same smooth ease, so still some life left in what is actually quite a cheap item.
Want to make sweet potato chips? Professional quality stainless steel mandolines will effortlessly produce wafer thin beautifully uniform even slices, no matter what you’re slicing – and you’ll do it much faster too.
If like us you grow and preserve a lot of produce, or you cook for a big family, the ease with which you can slice through potatoes and other dense vegetables will wow you as will the time you save – and the slices are absolutely even, something I can’t achieve with any of the others featured here.
I’ve had a personal recommendation for this top quality mandoline, from a trainee chef (well his father to be precise). The first item on his son’s birthday wish list was a Bron Mandoline Slicer, which we are reliably informed is ‘the best darned mandoline slicer ever made and worth every extra dollar’.
Reviews over at Amazon are good for this model – and they are correct in saying the Bron mandoline pictured here is set up back to front!
Having borrowed and used it for a weekend I’ve got to agree the Bron rocks. Constructed from stainless steel and much more solid than less expensive plastic ones like mine, it didn’t move or slip on any surface, even a wet marble counter top. Sweet potatoes are dense and difficult to slice at the best of times, yet this mandoline went through them like they were zucchinis. The result was wafer thin almost translucent slices.
This was so slick to use I’m halfway tempted to treat myself (I would be wouldn’t I!). The only thing holding me back is just how much of a klutz I am versus how wickedly sharp the blades are – and to be honest I’m not sure I can justify it in that I use a meat slicer for major food prep sessions.
However, there is a lot to be said for using the sharpest implement possible, less effort means less likelihood of your hand slipping and this definitely goes for knives as well.
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for comparisons then three of these are tried and tested personally in a family kitchen and I’ve no hesitation in recommending them to you – others have been recommended by friends or family and again these are honest up front opinions.
Clearly there is only a small selection discussed here, with many more different models and prices waiting to be explored, click the link below to get through to Amazon’s mandoline slicer page – and don’t forget to look at safety gloves, because one day you’ll thank me for nagging!
If you have any questions or want to know more, then drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you within a day, usually less. Thanks for dropping by – hope this helped.