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If you're serious about salads, and find yourself jealous of other people's perfect julienne, a mandoline slicer is the kitchen gadget you need in your life.
It might seem like a fairly simple item, but with so many options to choose from, trying to find the right one to fit your needs can be overwhelming.
Here at BestReviews, our mission is to help you find the perfect products to suit your requirements. We test items in our dedicated labs, consult experts, gather product data, speak with existing customers, and never accept free samples from manufacturers. The result? Fair, thorough, and unbiased reviews that will aid you in making informed purchases.
When you're ready to buy, scroll up to see our five favorite mandoline slicers. But first, read on for our full guide to learn all you need to know about mandoline slicers and how to select the best one for your kitchen.
You can find two varieties of mandoline slicers on the market: handheld models, and those that come on a stand.
Handheld mandoline slicers have a handle that you hold on one end, while you rest the other end against a bowl or cutting board. Some users find these models easier to control, whereas others feel safer with a more sturdy model. Since they have less parts to them, handheld versions tend to cost less than those models with a stand.
Mandoline slicers that come on a stand tend to be more solid, and some people feel like they're safer to use, especially those new to mandoline slicing. The legs or platform may or may not be adjustable to allow for different angles.
Many users find mandoline slicers on a stand easier for achieving more adventurous types of slice, such as julienne or waffle cuts.
Mandoline slicers come with either straight, diagonal, or V-shaped blades.
Traditionally, mandoline slicers had straight blades, and most French models still do. While this blade type is great for slicing hard and dense fruits and vegetables, such as potatoes and apples, it tends to crush soft produce, especially items with strong skins, such as tomatoes.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
Progressive International PL8
The Progressive International PL8 Professional Mandoline's combination of durable, food-grade plastic and stainless steel represents a wonderful compromise between the metal and plastic construction camps. The safety hand guard holds food securely and does not bind in the track during slicing, and a foldable leg with rubberized grips keeps the PL8 at the right angle for comfortable slicing. Instead of relying on separate blade attachments for julienne and other cuts, the PL8's onboard blades – straight, wavy, and julienne – do all the work.
Diagonal blades cut one part of the produce first and gradually slice through the rest, meaning you don't need to exert as much force to cut your produce. As such, softer fruits and veggies, like peppers and tomatoes, remain intact.
V-shaped blades are like having two diagonal blades, so they, too, are good at cutting soft foods. Whether or not they're better than diagonal blades at slicing soft produce without crushing it is debatable (you'll find users in both camps, and some that say they're equally good), but they're definitely the most popular choice.
Diagonal-bladed mandoline slicers are better for cutting soft produce than those with straight blades, but you'll find V-shaped blades the most common option
The cutting guard of a mandoline slicer is sometimes called a "safety guard" or a "food holder." It's essentially a handle with spikes on one end and a plastic or metal plate in between. The spikes stick into the end of whatever food you plan to slice, you hold the handle while you move it back and forth over the blades, and the plate protects your fingers from contact with the blade. Without a cutting guard, it's quite easy to give yourself a nasty injury on a mandoline slicer, so make sure your chosen model comes with a good one.
Mandoline slicers can be tricky to clean for two reasons. First, food can easily get trapped in the blades, and it can be tough to get into all the nooks and crannies on some models. Second, the blades are very sharp, so you have to be careful when washing them by hand, which can cause you to be less thorough. If you have a dishwasher, we definitely recommend buying a dishwasher safe model. A dishwasher will get the blades cleaner without risking you slicing your fingers.
Since you need to exert more force to slice produce on a mandoline slicer with a straight blade, soft fruits and vegetables don't fare as well as tougher varieties do.
Most mandoline slicer blades are made from either stainless steel or ceramic. Both have extremely sharp edges, but ceramic is designed to stay sharp, whereas stainless steel needs sharpening. How regularly a steel blade needs to be sharpened depends on how often you use your mandoline slicer. The only problem with ceramic is that it can't be sharpened, so if it does become dull (for instance, through misuse) it will need to be replaced.
Mandoline slicers have interchangeable blades for performing different jobs. The standard blade is for creating regular slices (though you may have several for creating cuts of varying thicknesses), but most models also come with blades for shredding and julienning. Less common blade types can create cubes, waffle cuts, crinkle cuts, and dices. These less common blades come as standard with some models, but will need to be purchased separately for others, if they’re available at all.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
The HomeNative Adjustable Mandoline Slicer covers all of the usual slicing, grating, and shredding needs of most home cooks. It can also handle hard, root vegetables, soft tomatoes, cheeses, and some types of meat! The base has three permanent depth settings: 1 mm, 3 mm, and 5 mm. The four blade attachments can handle everything from zesting fruit peels and grating spices to processing waffle fries and shredding cabbage.
It's best to cut long vegetables, such as cucumbers, into shorter lengths before slicing, as you have more control.
Make your own chips by slicing potatoes and other root vegetables, then baking or frying them.
You get the most even results slicing produce using quick motions. As long as you have your cutting guard in place, there's little risk of you slicing yourself.
When using your mandoline slicer, push the food downwards towards the blade, rather than pulling it towards you.
Always keep children and pets away from the razor-sharp blades of your mandoline slicer.
Just how much should you expect to pay for a mandoline slicer?
Basic mandoline slicers, including handheld models, start at about $10 to $15. They may not come with a large range of blade types, and their performance will be poorer than high-end models, but they're fine for occasional use.
Mid-range mandoline slicers cost roughly $15 to $30. They tend to be easy to use, and they come with a number of different blades.
High-end mandoline slicers cost between $30 and $70. In this price range, expect top-notch performance and a large amount of spare blades and accessories.
Q. Are mandoline slicers safe to use?
A. A mandoline slicer's blades are razor sharp, so you should always exercise caution when using them. Even experienced chefs have shaved off the tip of a finger using a mandoline slicer in an unsafe manner. Always use a cutting guard or cut-resistant gloves when slicing produce, and be careful when handling the blades to wash them or to swap one type for another.
Q. Can I buy extra blades and accessories for my mandoline slicer?
A. Some mandoline slicers come complete with a wide range of blades and other accessories, such as a box in which to catch the sliced produce. If your chosen mandoline slicer lacks an accessory you want, you may be able to buy it separately. However, bear in mind that these accessories aren't universal, so a blade designed for one mandoline slicer won't fit on a different model.
Q. Why do I need a mandoline slicer?
A. Mandoline slicers cut fruits and vegetables much thinner and more uniformly than most of us can cut by hand. Evenly sliced produce makes for even cooking, and it looks much neater, too. What's more, once you've got the hang of using your mandoline slicer, you'll cut your meal prep time in half, as it's much quicker than using a knife.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.