There are several high quality mandoline slicers on the market today, and some have even been designed so intelligently that we are going to talk about them just to highlight the out of the box thinking that went into making them. We are also going to check out one of the cheapest mandoline slicers on the market, but one that still delivers an adequate level of quality. Finally, we are going to look into some very fancy looking recipes that only a mandoline slicer can help you do with ease, and we are also going to consider some of the more important aspects of caring for your mandoline slicer. However, before we go into that, and just in case you are in a rush and do not want to spend too much time reading an in depth article, you should know that, in my submission, the best mandoline slicer is the OXO Good Grips V-Blade Mandoline Slicer. Still, there are several caveats to that statement, and you should read on if you are interested in our reasons for choosing the OXO.
Of all the reasons I have heard in favor of the mandoline slicer, there are two that have any chance of standing up in an argument with a spouse that may not want to buy one. The first one, and the one that has the best chance of making a positive impression, is that it will allow you to cut vegetables in equal sized shapes. That is actually a more significant gain that you would be inclined to give it because, if you were to go to almost any online recipe video, you will notice that any chef will tell you about cutting your potatoes, carrots, or whatever else needs to be cooked, in equal sized slices, cubes, or other shapes. The other reason that is just as good but may not be as forceful, is the fact that a mandoline slicer will make most jobs in the kitchen that much easier and faster.
Why You Can Trust Me on This
As you may have read in the About Us section of our website, we are not a family of chefs, nor a big corporate website that can go out and buy dozens of mandoline slicers just to do comparative tests. However, I have been a huge fan of this technology since I first caught a glimmer of it when it first came out on some shopping network. I bought my first one back in the 90s, and changed several over the years. In addition to that I have had to defend my choice against several macho friends who used to think that mandoline slicers were not really important. Notice how I said “were” and not “are”, and that is because most of them have already bought one in the meanwhile. So, I naturally helped them choose theirs, and I was able to help them choose, and also got too see several different models of slicers. However, this has taken place over the span of more than 10 years, so you should take these choices with a grain of salt. Still, I am confident that the general principles I use when choosing a mandoline slicer are strong, and, by using them, you can definitely pick the one that suits you best.
How to Choose the Best Mandoline Slicer
At a glance you may think that all mandoline slicers are the same, and it is only the blade that makes a difference. That is certainly not the case! The blade itself is quite important and we will focus on what to look for when dealing with that aspect, but there are other features that are equally as important. Some mandoline slicers allow you to select different thickness levels when cutting while others are fixed. You also need to pay close attention to the quality of the plastic surrounding the blade because that can easily get stained from carrots or even tomatoes. Finally, there is the design aspect of most mandoline slicers. The basic design is certainly common, but, as you will see if you peruse our best choices, there are certain designs that are so out of the box you may have never picked them for mandoline slicers in the first place. But before we get to that here are some of the things you need to pay particularly close attention when choosing a mandoline slicer.
Most people believe that the blade is the most important part of a mandolin slicer and I am not going to disagree. All I am saying is that there are a lot more things that you need to pay attention to, but, of course, you need to pay attention to the quality of the blade in the first place. There are many reasons why you need to do that, but in particular because I have found it is very difficult to sharpen it because it is shaped to form an angle and it is almost impossible to get anything to sharpen that angle. You obviously need to make sure that the blade comes pre sharpened, but you need to make sure that it will keep its edge for as long as possible. However, a good indication of the fact that a blade is sharp enough is the fact that the manufacturer has gone to the trouble of using high quality steel. So, you are basically getting 2 birds with one stone if you are focusing your attention on the metal of the blade.
There are three keywords that I generally look for when choosing a new mandolin slicer: I need to see that it is made from Japanese or German steel, it needs to say something about surgical grade steel, or, I need to see that the slicer was made in the USA and not just assembled here. There are other indicators that you can choose, like good reviews on Amazon and the like, but the safest bet is to stay away from any type of sharp edge thing, including scissors and knives, where the manufacturer has not had the good sense of highlighting in some way the quality of the steel they have used.
I am not talking here about the design characteristics of the entire mandoline slicer, because I am going to go into that later on. The thing that you should be wary of when looking at the body of a slicer is whether or not it is dishwasher safe. You need that feature not only for the convenience of it, but also because there are certain types of vegetables that will somewhat stain the plastic. Particularly if you go on slicing carrots day in and day out, you will notice that the runway will get an orange tint quite fast. That is why it is important to have a mandoline slicer that you can place in the dishwasher on its highest temperature setting at least every once in a while if not every time. You should also pay close attention to the runway as it needs to be designed in such a way as to prevent the vegetables from sticking to it. The best design has a textured, long grooved design that is both easy to clean and will also let most slices just slide on down to your bowl.
The Adjustment Capabilities
If all you want a mandoline slicer for is a particular type of French fries, or just some fancy julienne style tomato slices for salads, than one of the cheaper models on the market should be just fine for you. But the thing is that mandoline slicers are actually capable of helping you with so much more than that. You can use it for different types of vegan rolls, or you can alternate the thickness of the slices you are going to cut, and it can even help make some delicious sandwiches. In fact you can find my favorite recipe for a vegan roll right here. But this recipe is only possible because I am using the Oxo mandoline slicer and I can adjust the thickness of my vegetables from 1.5 all the way to 6 millimeters, which would be somewhere between a tenth and a fifth of an inch. So I strongly encourage you to consider that possibility, although I will admit that some of the cheaper models on the market do not have this feature, and yet they use the best quality steel for their blades. Here I can only encourage you to check out my favorite choice for the best mandoline slicer on a low budget below.
Specific Mandoline Slicers to Consider
As mentioned before I think the OXO Good Grips V-Blade Mandoline Slicer is the best option you currently have on the market today. However, there are other options to consider, not the least of which being the Benriner Japanese Mandoline Slicer, which you can find as my favorite budget friendly rice cooker. I have also checked out some of the best choices you have if all that concerns you is the blade, as well as my favorite body design mandoline slicer. So, I will take just a few more minutes to explore with you those possibilities before we focus on the review for the OXO mandoline slicer.
Best Budget Friendly Mandoline Slicer
Interestingly enough one of the cheapest mandoline slicers on the market is also one of the best. I am, of course thinking only about the products that are of high enough quality that I can confidently recommend to you, because you can buy a 10 dollar mandoline slicer and it will be so difficult to use that you will probably end up slicing the tips of your fingers along with your potatoes.
That is to say, you should expect to pay somewhere in the 20 dollar range if you are to get a good quality mandoline slicer. And if you are going to pay that, then the Benriner Japanese Mandoline Slicer is your best choice. As you probably know the Japanese sword is the ultimate weapon in terms of its cutting edge and it was made possible because the Samurai would fold and stretch the metal just like the French chefs would stretch the dough for their croissants. Today almost all cutting edges in Japan from scalpels to scissors are made using that technology and the Benriner mandoline slicer uses it as well.
“Make sure to keep your knives sharp. I have seen more accidents happen when people tried to use dull knives than with sharp ones” Rex Hunt Fishing Stories
The result is a cutting edge that will not lose its edge no matter how often you use it. The only problem with this particular mandoline slicer is the fact that you cannot adjust the thickness of the slices so your French fries are going to either be extremely soft, if you let them fry only until they turn golden, or, they will be very crispy if you let them cook until they get a slightly brownish color. And, of course, depending on what other recipes you will be using, there will be other challenges to overcome as well.
Best Body Design Mandoline Slicer
If there is one thing I do not particularly like about mandoline slicers, or most graters for that matter, is the fact that they can be rather messy. Except for the driest of vegetables, like carrots, everything else, including tomatoes and cucumbers, are going to drip a lot of juice that will run down from your cutting board and onto the table, whereas most grated cheese will end up as far away as the floor, no matter how careful you are. And that is why I am so very impressed with the way the Home Native Adjustable Mandoline slicer has been designed. What they did was to take the classical mandoline slicer but adjust its edges to become the lid for a Tupperware style container. This way you can slice to your heart’s content, and no mess will escape the cutting blade.
Still, the reason why the Home Native mandoline slicer is not my favorite choice of all time is the fact that the blade is not as sharp as the one on the Benriner. In fact Home Native actually encourage you to use a zig zag motion to cleanly cut through tomatoes, where as with the Benriner slicer you can just slide the tomato against the blade. Still the blade is sharp enough to easily cut through potatoes and it does allow you to cut different thickness slices with the same blade.
Best High End Mandoline Slicer
As is the case with almost everything else in my kitchen, I am not a fan of high end products. Some of them do have interesting features, I would admit that, but they are not so impressive as to warrant the extra expense. Worse still, some of them are merely flashier, with no extra features to actually make them worth the money. However, that is not the case with the Progressive PL8 Professional Mandoline Slicer. I still believe that it is a little bit too expensive, but the fact that the entire cutting surface is made from stainless steel is impressive indeed. Not only does it look extremely good on a counter top, but it is also much easier to clean and almost impossible to stain. There is also the fact that all the components click together with ease, and give you a sharp, positive response to your actions.
“The thing I should wish to obtain from money would be leisure with security.” Bertrand Russell
You can also chance the thickness slices from 1 mm, to 3.5 mm, 5.5 mm and 7.5 mm. I am going to stick with the European measuring units because that is the way Progressive decided to write them down, and that is how they appear on the dial on the side of the slicer. The other thing that makes the Progressive Mandoline Slicer a high end product is the fact that the blades do not need to be removed in order to be changed, you just need to turn a nub to go from the regular blade to the julienne blade. There are also cutting prongs that slide out of the body of the slicer so you can cut your French fries into different thickness levels. So, as long as you can afford it, the Progressive is certainly worth the money and its high end status, but, for me, I prefer to go with something a little thriftier.
The Best Mandoline Slicer – The Complete Review
As you may have gathered so far, there are several check points that a mandoline slicer needs to hit before it can become my favorite, and I will admit that I have had several favorites along the years. The one that I think is currently the best is the OXO Good Grips V-Blade Mandoline Slicer.
I do not enjoy paying even a cent over what I need to when I am looking for a new device for my kitchen. That does not mean that I will choose the cheapest product, because I have what I like to think of as a high quality standard. Still, I always shy away from the high end products, particularly those marketed that way. A good example here would be an iMac, or, to stick to the purposes of this article, the Progressive Mandoline Slicer. They certainly do look cool and slick, even to me, but I have to remind myself that the Oxo Mandoline Slicer is just as good, if not even better from certain perspectives.
The Thickness Level Option
I like to use my mandoline slicer for a lot of dishes, from the ratatouille I started cooking when I saw the famous animation that goes by the same name, to my favorite vegan dish that I have showed you earlier how to cook. However, I would not be able to cook all of those, and to make my favorite McDonalds style fries, without a mandoline slicer that would allow me to change the thickness levels of the slices I need. The Oxo allows me to choose between 4 thickness levels ranging from 1.5 mm to 6 mm, and, while I do miss the extra 1mm in width I would get with the Progressive, I only wish I had that when cooking fries, so it is not that significant as to worry about it.
The other thing I like about the Oxo is the fact that the body is dishwasher safe so even after years of use it looks like new. I do have to wash the blades by hand because the extra moisture in the dishwasher might rust them prematurely, but, in all honesty, I have had several situations where I actually did pop them in the dishwasher and then just made sure to tap them dry and add a bit of vegetable oil over the blade so as to further insure that it will not rust.
Perhaps I should have started with a discussion about just how the sharp the blades on the Oxo mandoline slicer really are, but I have already told just how important that is for me, so, obviously, I would not have even considered this product otherwise. So, to go into it a bit more deeply I will mention that the blade is made from hardened stainless steel and it is quite thick, particularly for a mandoline slicer. That tells you there is a lot of structural resistance behind the design so it will take a lot of use without losing its edge. Further than that, I have personally used this model and, after entire year of very intensive use, it has not lost its edge.
Why Go With the Other Options
The Oxo Mandoline Slicer really is my favorite slicer on the market today, however, there are a couple or reasons why it may not be the best choice for you. First of all, there are a lot of moms who buy this kind of think simply because their kids love French fries and they are tired of slicing the potatoes by themselves, and, like me, do not like the frozen ones. So, if that is you, and you are certain you are not going to use the mandoline slicer for anything else, you may notice that the Oxo is one of the more expensive choices on this list, so why not just go with the cheaper alternative. There are also some households that cultivate a very high tech, modern look and, I will admit that, while the Oxo is certainly an excellent mandoline slicer, it really is not that sexy as the Progressive PL8 Mandoline Slicer, aka the high end choice we talked about. Of course, that is a bit more expensive, but I don’t think a modern kitchen owner will worry about the couple of extra bucks.
But Do You Really Need a Mandoline Slicer?
The one thing that will always be frustratingly present in any conversation you may have about buying a mandoline slicer is whether you really need a mandoline slicer. People tend to think of slicing and dicing as such a basic skill that talk of improvement in this area is perceived as questioning their abilities. However, the truth is that slicing is not actually as easy as it seems, not if you want to get perfect results, and also it takes a lot of time to do it, if you are to do it right. To get to the point, while it is true that a mandoline slicer is not absolutely necessary, it is useful enough and it helps get the job done faster, to the point where it is well worth the 20 to 30 bucks it costs. And, ultimately, that is really the point: a mandoline slicer is so cheap, especially the most affordable model we have already talked about, that it really is a no brainer to get one considering how much you would get out of it.
How to Care for Your New Mandoline Slicer
Unlike other products we have talked about here and we are going to discuss in the future, a mandoline slicer is fairly idiot proof. However, there are a couple of things that you can do to make sure you will get the most out of it. First of all, even if on some of them it does not say so, you should never wash the blade in the washing machine. Even if its stainless steel, hot water in the amounts that a washing machine uses, does things to metal, it starts the oxidizing process that will ultimately lead to rust. Even before that you will notice the blade grow duller, that is because, even though it may not be visible to the naked eye, the edge is the first thing to be attacked by rust.
However, this presents a challenge because the plastic body of the mandoline slicer does tend to get stained by the juices of the vegetables you are cutting. In fact, I have even seen the mandoline slicer of a friend who loves French fries, and she has them at least once per day, so that her slicer has received a yellowish patina on the runway. Of course, her problem is not the fact that she uses it so often, but that she never washes the plastic body in the dishwasher. And, as long as you do it after each use, and set the runway facing downwards, it will keep its nice, fresh out of the box, white color. However, if your mandoline slicer does start picking up the color of the fruits or vegetables you are cutting, there are a couple of things you can do. My favorite is to use WD40 to spray it on, leave it a few seconds to act and then wipe it off. Of course, make sure to also wash the mandoline slicer in the washing machine afterwards to get rid of any smell that may linger on. Other friends of mine who are a little bit squeamish about using the stuff your mechanic uses to fix your car, use the smallest setting they can find on their slicers and just slice the peel off of a lemon. Lemon peels do tend to have some cleaning properties that I am not very familiar with, but they do work, particularly if you rub the entire runway with the rugged side of a kitchen sponge right afterwards.
Using a Mandoline Slicer
Different mandoline slicers have different ways that their pieces fit together, so it would be impossible to give you exact directions on how to use one. However, the one thing that is common to all is that the pieces need to click in place firm, so you will need to really push down on them. I mention this because one of the first problems I had when using the Oxo, was that I never pushed down really hard when changing the runway from the plain, smooth one, to the teethed one that was used for long thing slices. As a result its edge would always stick out and I could never get to cut the really thick pieces. The other thing that is connected with this problem is to really look on carefully because there are some mandoline slicers that have a hook or something similar underneath the pieces that can be taken off, and you need to pinch that hook before you release the various parts of the mandoline slicer. I have never had a problem with this, nor have any of my friends, but I always worry that someone, someday, will pull on a part a little too hard, fail to notice the hook, break if off, and then no longer be able to use that particular blade.
The other thing that you absolutely have to be careful with, is the fact that some people tend to stop using the food holder after awhile. Personally I know just how sharp those blades can be, particularly since that is the first thing I check when and if I decide to buy a mandoline slicer, so I always use it. The thing to remember whenever you start using a mandoline slicer, is just how painful and uncomfortable it can be if you try to wash a razor blade and run your finger along the blades instead of downwards, or, if you get a nasty paper cut. Well, the blade on a mandoline slicer is just as sharp as that on a razor blade but the gap between it and the plastic body is so much greater so if you take a slice out of your finger you will have to deal with it for several weeks and may even be left with a scar. So, stay safe people! And take your time!
My last remark may have scared you a bit and I will confess that was my intention. A mandoline slicer is a very smart, easy and comfortable tool to use, but it can also be dangerous precisely because it was designed to slice so easily. I really do think that it will make your life easier and your dishes tastier, so I hope you pick one of my favorites for your next acquisition.