Which mandoline slicer is best?
While a good chef’s knife is the backbone of a cook’s toolset and one of the most versatile tools in any kitchen, there are some tasks that a simple knife can’t quite accomplish. Making large amounts of paper-thin slices or an ultra-tiny brunoise cut, for example, can be awfully hard for anybody without a ton of practice. For these and various other tasks, a mandoline slicer can really come in handy.
The Benriner Super Slicer is consistently rated as the top mandoline slicer on the market, which is not surprising when you consider that it’s basically the industry-standard mandoline for professional kitchens.
What to know before buying a mandoline slicer
Without a doubt, the most important thing to remember when selecting a mandoline slicer is that it might be the most dangerous item in your home kitchen. A mandoline doesn’t look intimidating by any means, as it’s little more than a few pieces of plastic and a thin, sharp blade. In practice, though, the method of using a mandoline properly can introduce hazards to your fingers and palm.
Mandolines are operated by holding a piece of produce flush against the body of the tool and repeatedly bringing your hand into close proximity with an incredibly sharp blade. The blade is extremely sharp out of necessity, as a dull or damaged blade makes a mandoline immensely tough to use.
How to stay safe
One way that most mandolines are designed to mitigate this risk is with a small guide made of plastic that slides onto the tool’s body, holds the produce in place and is then held by the cook. The extra layer of hard material does a great job at protecting your hands from cuts. However, most users claim that these plastic guides make it significantly harder, if not impossible, to obtain the thinnest and most consistent cuts.
Another popular way to avoid injury when using a mandoline is with a fiberglass cutting glove.
Such as this popular model from NoCry.
Keep in mind that you’ll want to cover that cloth cutting glove with a protective glove (most cooks prefer nitrile gloves) to keep everything perfectly sanitary; otherwise, food particles could get trapped in the cutting glove and contaminate it.
Aside from using the right personal protective equipment, careful attention and practiced technique are of prime importance if you want to use a mandoline slicer quickly and safely. Always exercise caution and make sure you’re focused on any task that involves a blade — not just when using a mandoline.
It’s also highly recommended to brace and push the food across the mandoline slicer’s body using the palm of your hand while your fingers stretch out as far as possible, instead of holding and pushing the food with your fingers. This greatly minimizes the risk of removing a fingertip by accident. Even with this careful technique, though, a cutting glove is still highly recommended, because a properly sharp mandoline slicer can also make short work of your palm if you’re not being careful enough. Trust us when we say that you don’t want to deal with the recovery from a mandoline injury.
What to look for in a mandoline slicer
Taking it apart
This might seem trivial at first glance, but the nature of the mandoline means it’s extremely prone to having small bits of food lodged into it at various points. Not only is this unsanitary, but it can also damage the tool in both the short and long term. Generally speaking, the simpler and easier a mandoline’s overall construction is, the easier it will be to clean and the longer it will last. The best mandolines out there are, for the most part, remarkably durable just because they have very few moving parts to degrade or break.
Most mandolines these days have some kind of blade guard. While it’s true that not everybody likes using the guard, it’s also true that not all guards are the same. Some of the most recently updated and top mandolines on the market have redesigned guards that are, by some accounts, much easier to use than the guards on older models.
Aside from that one piece of protective equipment, you actually won’t see a ton of attachments or accessories on a good mandoline. Some have more in-depth blade guards or highly protective handles, but commercial-grade models generally do not.
One thing you should look for, though, is an easily removable blade. This makes everything easier to clean and lets you use alternative blades for the julienne and fine julienne cuts.
How much you can expect to spend on a mandoline slicer
The most affordable ones worth recommending cost about $20. You can spend up to around $100, but research indicates that the best models are priced at about $60.
Mandoline slicer FAQ
What kinds of foods can I cut with a mandoline slicer?
A. It’s impossible to make an exhaustive list, but some of the toughest foods to slice are actually pretty easy to deal with if you have a good mandoline. Large and resilient produce like sweet potatoes and beets or small, tricky vegetables like radishes become simple to cut with a razor-sharp mandoline slicer. Similarly, you can use one to make matchstick or even fine julienne cuts on carrots, which are notoriously labor-intensive to prep by hand. Softer foods like cured meats and even some moderately hard cheeses are also great candidates for mandoline slicing.
How do I maintain a mandoline slicer?
A. Since a mandoline’s blade is fixed to the tool’s body, doesn’t come into contact with cutting boards and generally isn’t used for removing hard, woody flesh, mandoline slicers don’t need to be sharpened nearly as much as most knives do. The most important maintenance is keeping the whole thing clean and dry between uses.
When it does come time to touch up the blade, a traditional high-grit water stone.
Like this King combination stone is an excellent choice that you can also use on your other knives.
Alternatively, a ceramic sharpening rod can get the job done a bit more conveniently, although it won’t usually provide quite the same level of edge precision. Both methods require a little practice to get right, but neither is terribly difficult and both are relatively effective.
What’s the best mandoline slicer to buy?
Top mandoline slicer
What you need to know: This industry-standard mandoline is the clear leader in pro kitchens and the best choice for most users.
What you’ll love: The design of the Benriner is simple, essentially timeless and as durable as they come. The blade is also as resilient as any other, if not more so. While there are larger and smaller versions, this “Super” variant is the easiest to use and accommodates almost every food you can throw at it.
What you should consider: With only basic safety equipment offered (it comes with a plastic blade guide and that’s it), it requires a bit more practice than others to achieve fast and safe use.
Top mandoline slicer for the money
What you need to know: It’s compact, convenient and, above all, affordable, making it a good choice for those who only need a mandoline occasionally.
What you’ll love: The knob and caddy on this one are remarkably easier to use than the blade guards and caddies on most other models. So, if you’re a beginner at using these highly sharp and reasonably intimidating tools, this one’s the perfect choice.
What you should consider: It doesn’t include any different blade styles, so you’re limited to making paper-thin slices with this one. To complete your fine julienne cuts, you’ll have to break out your chef’s knife.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This one’s a luxury option with a wide base and high weight that make it as stable as can be.
What you’ll love: The most obvious pro is the V-shaped blade, which offers a more consistent cutting experience for some users. It includes three inserts, each capable of cutting at a few thicknesses, so you can make short work of a wide variety of ingredients. The nonslip feet and ambidextrous food holder and blade guard make it among the safest options out there.
What you should consider: It’s a touch expensive and not exactly the easiest to keep perfectly clean.
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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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