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Mandoline or v-slicer recommendation

I am looking to purchase an inexpensive mandoline or a v-slicer. I want it mainly for thinly slicing potatoes (like for au-gratin dishes). I was going to get the Progressive Mandoline or V-slicer that Cook's Illustrated recommends, but it doesn't get great reviews on Amazon. So now I'm looking at either the Swissmar Borner or a Benriner (it seems like the Benriner gets mentioned quite a bit on this site). Does anyone have any input on either of these?

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  1. As an aside, I have never found cooks illustrated to be particularly accurate, and find that the reviews on Amazon are usually right on. I bought a cheapo mandoline about 4 years ago, and I have never used it since improving my knife skills and learning how to sharpen my knives more accurately <G>

    1. I have had my Benriner for about 15 years. I love it. For the home cook, I don't see any reason to go to a more higher priced mandoline.

      1. If you decide on the Benriner, be sure to find a finger guard. This baby is super sharp! I don't have a guard and don't know where to get one, so this stays in the cabinet while I use a plastic Hoan brand that I bought in the 1970's for about $30. It's still sufficiently sharp for gratin slices, shredding and juliennes. I definitely will replace it when dull. I like the looks of the OXO, but have read that it doesn't shred or julienne. Since I already own it, maybe I'll try to "Rube Goldberg" a guard for the Benriner.

        3 Replies
        1. re: amazinc

          >> If you decide on the Benriner, be sure to find a finger guard.

          I often just use a thick oven mitt to protect my hand. I can never find the finger guard in my drawer of kitchen doodads.

          1. re: amazinc

            You could get a cut resistant glove - either as kitchenware or probably cheaper as fishing gear. I can say from experience they protect against fairly firm brushes against a Benriner blade though they're not actually cut "proof." You have to be careful, but another advantage is they give you grip and finer control than you'd have with something like a mitt. I think mine (a fish "fileting glove") was ~$15.

            FWIW, they do sell replacement blades for the Benriners, so they probably sell the guards, too. You could check www.korin.com, I've bought blades from their brick&mortar store, or just google it.

            1. re: MikeG

              cut resistant gloves are beauty for this device. Much better than the guard that comes with it that most cooks throw away as soon as the box is opened. A simple towel also works.

          2. I've had one of these for close to 20 years and it's still going strong.
            http://www.epinions.com/reviews/Borne...

            1. I have used a mandoline for slicing potatoes and it is great. For everything else is there really an advantage over a knife. Remember a knife is really easy to clean.

              2 Replies
              1. re: wdames

                Michel Richards shows a neat way to get a perfect micro dice using the benriners. It's something I can do with a knife (though not as perfect) but it's much faster with the mandoline.

                1. re: vanillagorilla

                  I saw him do that brunoise on Chef's Story. It was pretty cool. I think he made an apple risotto using brunoise of apple.

              2. My Boerner V-Slicer is my favorite kitchen tool. It shreds/juliennes fine or coarse, and slices thin/paper-thin. Extremely sharp, but the food-holder keeps fingers safe. The bottom has cut-outs on either side to hold it in place over one of your own rectangular containers or pans. Boerner also makes an all-plastic fine-coarse grater. It's only a few dollars, a cheap-looking flat thing, but it's very sharp and makes fast work of grating potatoes for latkes. Via eBay, you can usually get good prices on either.

                1. I love my v-slicer and use it all the time, especially for slicing potatoes. Purchased at the county fair probably 10-15 years ago. Just recently broke part of one side of the hand guard (the part that slants up) and was doing a search for one. Amazon has one for under $7 on sale now. Just put V-slicer in the search box at the site and it will bring lots of machines and parts up. Borner wants about $10. I recently bought a v-slicer for a friend on ebay for under $15. You just have to be patient.

                  1. If you've never used a mandolin, you may not like it. Many of the Amazon reviews are clearly from people enticed by Cook's to buy their first one. That particular mandolin is perfectly good - and all are sharp with the real differences being ease of cleaning and how well the guard, if any, works. You can spend a lot but only do that if you've used one for a while and want to upgrade ... and that basically means you have better skills and are willing to take on the danger. The good things about the one Cook's recommends are that the guard actually is useful - so you won't slice your fingers - and it's very easy to clean. All mandolins have their quirks.

                    1. Costco has a French import stainless steel mandoline for about $50.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rainey

                        I bought one of those from Costco and returned it the next day. Next to useless for any thing but potatos.

                      2. If you get the Benriner, I would advise you to get the extra wide one. I have had a cheap old mandoline that I bought from the long defunct Lechter's many years ago. The cutting surface is 3 1/2" wide which is adequate. Last year I bought a new Benriner and I've been rather disappointed. The standard Benriner has a cutting surface width of only 2 3/4". That's okay for some vegetables but not for most onions and many other vegetables and fruits for which you might want to use your mandoline.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sam D.

                          I have both the standard and the wide Benriner. I still use the standard one more often. The wide one has two set screws instead of one so if they are not set at the exact same place the cuts will not be even.

                        2. As a teenager in 1977 I bought my mother something called a "Miracle Chef" v-slicer at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver. It's still in her regular use and works beautifully, better than my Benriner.

                          I've just Googled it, and found it on ebay and also still made by Boerner.

                          1. Eons ago, I received a Boerner V-slicer as a Christmas gift. I saw "as seen on TV", it was plastic and appeared to be very cheap. It went in the pantry to be forgotten. Yesterday, I decided to make homemade potato chips and remember the V-slicer. What a great tool! I was just doing simple thin slicing, but you can flip the adapter to get a thicker slice at about 1/4 in. There are 2 other adapters for julienning (sp) or making fr. fries. Con's - the slicing thicknesses are fixed, but for my cooking needs, that's not a big deal. I see (google) that Boerner has a couple of other more expensive, *prettier* models, but have the el-cheap-o that costs around 35 - 40$$.

                            1. I have one of the cook's illustrated recommended mandolines. I have cut myself on my old Benriner and got annoyed with the narrow runway. I would recommend three things, a mandoline with a slanted blade or V blade, some type of guard for your fingers and a easy adjustable blade. Mine has two adjustments on each side. Maybe it is just me but It is awarkward to get them both even.