HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


BEST CUTTING BOARDS - Bamboo vs. Others

  • s

I'm looking for a new cutting board and want something that will last, be easy to clean and easy on knives. Money is not an issue, I'm prepared to spend on something of good quality.

I know, all of the above describes a good quality bamboo board. And I was ready to buy one, but then came accross an interesting looking brand called Epicurean CS. It looks good, sounds great and I'm almost sold. Does anyone have any experience with these? Check out the website here:

Does anyone have any other favourites? All of your opinions are appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. John Boos cutting boards are very highly thought of


    I've used bamboo, which is ok. I like it better than the "soft" white plastic. You probably know to stay away from the hard almost glass like plastic. I recently found a relatively thick wooden board at ross, acacia, i think, that has the little moat ringing the board. Those moats definitely come in handy if you're cutting anything juicy.

    3 Replies
    1. re: chuckl

      I love my new Boos board. Reversible maple. Better than any plastic I've ever used.

      1. re: hollerhither

        I've had my Boos for almost 18 years! Still amazing. It's the maple reversible block and with regular care (a little mineral oil goes a long way), it will last me another 18+! It has no cracks in the block and it's the perfect size to stow away or even bring camping!

        I've used it with my Wusthof knives from the beginning and haven't regretted a day.

        1. re: hollerhither

          Just love my Boos 18x24 maple board. Worth every penny.

      2. My favorite is my own - and edge-grain maple about 34"x18". If I had a do-over, and money was not an issue, I have the same in end-grain maple. I love the size, the easy-on-the-knife aspect of wood, and the presence of the board. I have other boards, as well, for smaller tasks, but they're incidental and semi-convenient for the most part (laziness factor...<g>...grab another board for the onions Hub will chop). For myself, just one good large cutting board suits. And wood is not difficult to clean. Truly.


        2 Replies
        1. re: cayjohan

          Yes! Though an end grain board that size is going to have to be at least two inches thick. So that's about 8 board-feet and at 4lbs a board foot, it's going to weigh over thirty pounds.

          Still, this would definitely be the ultimate in chopping technology.

          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

            Mine is 1 3/4 inches thick (edge grain) and weighs a lot. You bet I love it! And you bet I know the weight investment!


        2. I have 3 Read laminate cutting boards, they seem to be the same thing as the epicurean boards:


          I like them a lot, they never warp, can go in the dishwasher, and don't hurt my knives.

          1. I do know that End grain wood cutting boards due last longer, and I'd also say get a board that is a little on the thicker side

            1. I use a big bamboo board, but 99% of the time top it with a flexible silicone cutting mat. A few dozen of them live in the drawer directly under the cutting board. Chop an onion, toss the mat in the dishwasher. Cut up a chicken, toss the mat in the dishwasher. They're cheap and convenient, and make it really easy to avoid cross-contamination. Plus you can pick them up and funnel the ingredient into the pot / mixer / wok. Try doing that with a big bamboo board!!!

              5 Replies
              1. re: alanbarnes

                Interesting... where do you get such a silicone mat?

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    I've used those mats on the granite counter top and it still feels too hard. I've used them on top of my wood board when boning chicken and such but have never really liked the feel compared to cutting directly on the board plus the board is more stable and less likely to slip or move while cutting. I have never had a problem with a wood board and food poisoning. I just wash after working with animal proteins with soap and water. No special treatment of acid or bleach.

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      I've used several types of plastic mats and agree that the thin ones feel awfully hard and tend to slip around and curl up at the edges. The ones that I use now are made of silicone that's quite a bit thicker than some others, so they feel fairly soft and lay flat. Plus they have dots of non-stick material on the back that keeps them firmly in place on the counter or the cutting board.

                      Not to say that wood isn't just as good, but for my purposes I prefer the silicone. I can go through half a dozen mats in the course of preparing a meal; not having to stop to wash the board is convenient. And I do like the ability to pick up the mat and funnel ingredients into a bowl or pot.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        Thanks Alan. The ones pictured looked just like the plastic ones I have. I'll have to look for the silicone ones and ditch the others.

              2. I just go with standard issue jelly boards- no salt and lemons or anything the wood boards need, just chuck 'em in the dishwasher.

                5 Replies
                1. re: JCap

                  how do your knives like the jelly boards?

                  1. re: chuckl

                    They love them- it feels really smooth, and I don't detect any faster than normal dulling. I'm sure they cost less than $10, so it's an inexpensive option as well.

                    1. re: JCap

                      they just look like colorful versions of the white soft plastic boards, right?

                      1. re: chuckl

                        Woops- I was referring generically to all soft plastic boards. I have 3 white ones and a blue one, they are what I prefer to cut on. The blue one has faded a bit with dishwasher use.

                        1. re: JCap

                          I buy the cheapie white ones 4 at a time and just recycle 'em when they're ratty looking. Bamboo is pretty but best for flooring. I got a local garage-based cabinet guy to make a thick,round, Chinese-style board from local maple. Beauty! A different wrinkle on the "100 mile" dogma.

                2. Bought a "Grand Epicure Pro" cutting board about 6 months ago. Love it!
                  It is similiar in appearance to the Epicurean CS which you mention,and I also was deciding between it and the one I eventually chose.
                  Very thin and lightweight. Good on the knives. 11 1/2 inches x 18 inches. Just the right size. It has a maple finish, but is basically a laminate. Lies quite flat while chopping no warping . Check them out.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: easily amused

                    I have 2 Epicureans and love them. They are kinder to your knives than wood, I also find i can chop faster, my knives don't tend to slip much and kind of grip the board. Dishwasher safe and they have the NSF seal of approval.

                    1. re: Candy

                      The only thing stopping me from getting one is that it seems to me like it's a very hard surface... which means a very loud noise when chopping and not the same feel as wood. Do these bother you? (Or do you even notice them?)

                      1. re: SMOG

                        I've never noticed any noise and though the surface seems harder than wood it is not. I'll be adding more to my collection and jettisoning some old plastic boards. I do have 1 wooden board. I hardly ever use it.

                        1. re: SMOG

                          >> " it's a very hard surface... which means a very loud noise"

                          No it doesn't. If you bang a knife against a hunk of granite it's not going to make much noise at all. Even though the granite is much harder than anything else you might be banging your knife against.

                          Hardness is a much different thing than resonance. And resonance is unrelated to whatever the surface of your board might be.

                          Plus for the most part when done right, "chopping" isn't that crazy stereotypical samurai hacking thing; it's a gentle rocking of the blade
                          that would be pretty much silent even on a snare drum.

                          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                            Yes, I agree 100% with your points. My comment was based mainly on the CI review of cutting boards, where they say they didn't like the board because of the loud knife sounds. Seems, though, that actual users of the boards here don't agree. But who knows what context they were testing the board under.

                            1. re: SMOG

                              I don't pay much attention to anything CI says, I am assuming you mean Cooks Illustrated? Their reality seems to be coming from a different planet..

                              1. re: Candy

                                I agree - I rarely agree with them (though obviously others do!).

                              2. re: SMOG

                                You want loud? You should hear the *THUNK!* *OWWW!* my 20-pound+ butcherblock makes when I drop it on my foot ... :)

                                Sorry I misread your note, I haven't looked at the CI article yet.

                                Checking out the Epicurian site, it looks like their boards are some sort of paper plus phenolic resin. The old name for that was Bakelite, the brown stuff radios were made with in the 1950s. It's also the substrate printed circuit boards are made from. Nothing wrong with that, but knowing what those things are like I'd guess the boards would have a bit of clatter to them.

                          2. re: Candy

                            I like the Epicureans (and I don't think they're that noisy). Not exactly the same feel as wood either, though.

                            I have started mostly using a plastic board instead, though, after a knife skills instructor turned me onto the plastic ones with built in rubber feet. I mean you can put a wet towel underneath the Epicurean boards, but built in feet is much more convenient. Looks like Epicurean now has a model that has removable silicon feet on the corners, which would be great.

                        2. I do think the wood boards have been shown to be self cleaning as far as bacteria goes, bacteria counts go way down in minutes, of course you do need to wash the excess food crud off occaionally, I use dish soap at the sink and dry with a paper towel and ready to go again. the plastic boards do need to be disinfected. not sure about bamboo, might try one.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: dijon

                            That's interesting- I've never heard that before. Does the type of wood matter?

                            1. re: JCap

                              If you do a search for "bacteria wood plastic cutting board" or the like on the net you'll find a ton of info and discover there are two primary schools of thought:
                              1. Wood is safer.
                              2. Plastic is safer.
                              Both sides bolster their arguments with scientific studies. Both sides claim that
                              the scientific study done by the other side is flawed.

                              This is a pretty common situation in science, actually, and what it means is
                              were still at the "we're not quite sure" stage. What is clear is that people in
                              general are not dropping from cutting board related illnesses and in the
                              rare case when someone does, it's most likely a result of more general
                              issues of hygiene.

                              So pick what works for you and keep it reasonably clean and the chances
                              are excellent you'll be perfectly fine.

                              1. re: Chuckles the Clone


                                Thanks for the report, in that case I'll stick with my 40 year old end grain maple wood board which is more aesthetically appealing and doesn't get the deep knife cuts in it that plastic does. Unfortunately, some of the glue is giving way and a few joints are opening up, so might give bamboo a try too.

                          2. I have 2 beautiful hand-made hardwood cutting boards that must be 15 years old and they still look fantastic. Well, I do have to say that the side of the smaller one is a little blackened because I turned on my gas burner under it without realizing it. But beside that, they look almost new with minimal care.

                            1. In February Cook's Illustrated rated the Snow River Utility wood-laminate board as their number two pick behind end-grain style bamboo. The Epicurean wood-laminate got a low score in part due to a loud knife strike.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Romanmk

                                While I normally trust CI's reviews, I have no idea how they thought the Epicurean have a loud "knife strike". The Epicurean boards I have work essentially like regular wood boards (not surprising, since Epicurean boards are made of wood).

                                1. re: Shazam

                                  I was happy to read that there is a less expensive brand of wood-laminate board out there.

                                2. re: Romanmk

                                  The Snow River Utility board has been discontinued, and the replacement model now has a Not Recommended rating by CI.

                                  I'm also a fan of having several cutting boards: plastic when you know you want to chuck it in the dishwasher, flexible for things you need to carry to the cooktop, wood for veggies (and yes, I also put my flexible mats on top of the wood for a softer feel) and cooked meats. I have one red plastic one only for raw meat that so far has few gouges in it, but when it does become scarred it is recyclable. I tend to like the softer plastic boards, but they do scar easily and thus become non-food safe. That said, a little bleach in the sink and a nice long soak can delay replacement for a fairly long time. I'm thinking about a good quality wooden board, because my cheapo one has one spot where the edge grain is splintering. Anybody have an alternative to John Boos? I want a reversible one with one side grooved that isn't too heavy so I can lean it against the backsplash out of the way until I need it. I tend to grab my plastic ones constantly, the wooden one maybe every few days.

                                3. i love my bamboo boards.

                                  and while the jury is still out, i find the information on wood being safer than plastic more compelling than the other side. but that's neither here nor there

                                  1. Bamboo is very hard. That means it will last a long time, but that it will dull knives a lot quicker than other boards. It's a trade-off you should be aware of. I like AlanBarnes suggestion, to use the silicone mat on top of the bamboo.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: applehome

                                      Bamboo does seem to be harder, especially the non-end-grain types. With these boards, you're cutting across the grain of the bamboo. I've found that this dulls my knives faster. A lot of these also come in opposing grain - the ends are capped by a different colour bamboo running in a perpendicular direction. I would NOT recommend these since, as these boards do still expand and contract, and since the grains run in different directions, the end pieces eventually separate from the rest.

                                      I DO love the fact that bamboo is a SUSTAINABLE product however, so I'd recommend the end grain bamboo boards, which works fairly well and looks good too!

                                      1. re: can_i_try_some

                                        The only thing that worries me about Bamboo (it's great stuff!) cutting boards is the same wonderful properties that make is sustainable (if farmed correctly, maple can be completely sustainable, again, if farmed correctly, but that's another topic) -- the fact that it is fast growing, like all memebers of the grass family. Becuase it's a member of this family, however, it contains rather high amounts of silica -- SiO2, or the same stuff glass, sand and quartz are made out of. I cannot imagine that is good for you knives...

                                        In regards to the epicurean boards, I hate them! I belong to the camp that cannot stand the sound of the board... I know, it's odd, but I just cannot handle it.

                                        1. re: mateo21

                                          I've never got a good answer to the "what holds the bamboo together?" question. People wave their hands and say "it's a sustainable resin". But what is it? Since at least half and likely more of the mass of a bamboo board is this resin, it probably needs to be taken into consideration before getting all green about it.

                                      2. re: applehome

                                        I have not found that my knives are dulling faster. With steeling after every use, they are staying sharper than with my old maple board. And the bamboo is whisper quiet.

                                        My bamboo is edge-grain, not the more expensive end-grain.

                                        1. re: toodie jane

                                          Edge-grain bamboo gets fuzzy and splintery. I've barely used mine and it's the case already. I've also ingested too much silica as just about anyone on pharmaceutical drugs, and supplements have (leading to the same symptoms as auto-immune diseases). I'd never get another edge grain bamboo board, and would hesitate to get an end grain.

                                      3. Safety/bacteria issues aside (it seems you can find something to support your opinion whether you prefer wood or plastic anyways), I just think wood or bamboo is more attractive - a gorgeous wood cutting board is just more aesthetically pleasing than a piece of a plastic or silicone, and you can always pick up a few of those silicone mats like Alanbarnes recommended if you want to make clean-up and such simpler (and they do make it easier to transfer your chopped food to pots).

                                        As far as brands go, here's a link to some excellent choices, including the John Boos: http://www.3luxe.com/category/Cutlery... .

                                        Be sure to post about your experience with whatever board(s) you end up getting!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jazspin

                                          My take as well.

                                          The Boardsmith makes some beautiful boards and prices are excellent


                                        2. i use a rubber cutting board that is easy on my knives and is nsf certified

                                          this thing. http://www.atlantafixture.com/Detail....

                                          i want the thick 1 inch one like the pic, but i only have the 1/2 inch thick one

                                          1. I have never understood cutting boards without moats--it drives me nuts!

                                            Almost every night I cut up tomatoes and I cut up fruit; were do cutting-board designers imagine the juices will go?

                                            I prefer not-too-heavy ones that can go in the dw.



                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Fine

                                              You may want to invest in sharper knives and take the time and effort to keep them sharp, if in fact you're getting so much juice on the cutting board that you need a juice groove simply with tomatoes and fruits. Imagine the nutrients you're wasting. Carving boards generally have the grooves and even wells, but most cutting boards are flat. Even when carving, if you're getting lots of juice flowing out of your meats, you haven't let them rest enough. Grooves just get in the way when you're trying to dice or mince. Check out the cooking shows - how many plastic, grooved boards do you see professional chefs using?

                                              Look at the Read products link in Buckethead's post up above - the Polylite boards should meet your needs.

                                              1. re: Fine

                                                try seeding your tomatoes first, and catch the bits and juice in a bowl. Then cut your tomato meat on the board.

                                                Personally, I do a lot of sweeping of chopped/minced veg off the board, and a moat would drive me crazy. I did watch the video on the Epicurean boards, though, and they have several models with moats.They also have a carving board with gripping dots for the meat, though don't know how effective they look.

                                                1. re: Fine

                                                  Plastic boards can be found with grooves on one side. I have a few, like the softer ones best but the hard ones don't scar as easily. All can be bleached and go in the dw.

                                                2. Hey everyone, my apologies for the extremely delayed response (recently got back from holiday!). After reading all the feedback, I finally decided to give the Epicurean CS board a try. It's a composite board, as mentioned above and in other posts here. I was really debating against wood, and my decision came down to the weight, size and ease of cleaning (dw safe, etc).

                                                  I have to say, although I've only used it a few times, I'm really enjoying it. It's so easy to clean and care for, light enough to carry to the pots 'n pans with no problems. And when I'm done, I just put it in the cupboard, where it takes up no room at all. Haven't tried it in the dishwasher yet. My fear of it being loud when cutting on has disappeared... it's no louder than my last wood board.

                                                  The cons are that it had a strange smell when wet, but this seemed to have gone away after a little use and some heavy washing; and that given it's weight, it slides on the counter much more easily than a heavy wood board, although I haven't had any major issues with this.

                                                  So overall, I'd recommend this board. Thanks!

                                                  1. I'm in the Boos board camp. I love it...I esp like my knife-feel on the board.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: OCAnn

                                                      I've had a Boos reversible maple cutting board for about 8 years. It has worked fine but recently it started warping and I wanted to upgrade from an edge cut board to an end cut board.

                                                      I really like the boards over at ozark west. They are the boards you see all over TFN (e.g. the dark walnut board on Giada's show).

                                                      I found a guy down in texas who makes mesquite boards so he made me this:


                                                      Same size as my Boos, end cut mesquite and looks beautiful. My Wusthofs love me :)

                                                      1. re: meadandale

                                                        Indeed, a beautiful board! And a bit pricier than the Boos...but I'm sure it's worth the money.

                                                        1. re: OCAnn

                                                          Considering that the Ozark West boards run almost $300 for a 16x20 board, I figured I stole mine at about $150, which included the shipping.

                                                          I hadn't seen the boards at boardsmith--they look very nice as well and they are very reasonably priced.

                                                          If anyone is interested, the guy who made my cutting board is here:


                                                          His name is Vaughn and he'd be more than happy to work with you to custom make whatever you want in mesquite. Tell him Charles sent ya :-


                                                          BTW, I'm in no way affiliated with this guy, just a happy customer.

                                                      1. Just a head's up to those who may still be looking for a board, my local Big Lots had the Tru Bamboo XL Oval Cutting Board with stainless trim -- this board:


                                                        for $25

                                                        It's heavy, 2 inches deep, 21.5" x 12", nicely made, and at $25 a steal.

                                                        Of course, your Big Lots may or may not have them.

                                                        There is one left at the Big Lots on Coral Way and 27th Avenue in Miami as of when I left the store this evening.

                                                        1. I used to clean the wood board with lemon juice (fresh squeezed!) and sea salt. I now toss the plastic guy (rubber feet!) into the dishwasher. Knives are happy, granite counter tops are happy, I'm happy. Every now and then I throw half a lemon into the disposal for old time's sake.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: steve h.

                                                            Save the lemons for eating and cooking with and use straight white vinegar and salt if you want. Much cheaper and just as effective if not more so. Lemons have gone up to around $0.50 eacj in most places.

                                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                                              I was thinking exactly the same thing. Lemon is pretty darn expensive these days. A gallon of distilled white vinegar is about $2.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                Makes me feel guilty for the lemons still on my tree, and here it is the end of the season...

                                                          2. Well, I guess it depends on the chef :)

                                                            My husband buys me a new cutting board every couple of years. And I don't like throwing away things, so I keep them all. I have wood, and I have plastic, and I have bamboo and I have other kinds and shapes. He got me the bamboo online somewhere, I don't remember where. Bamboo cutting boards need to be oil every once in a while, but they last long. I have been using this one for over a year, and not a scratch! Go bamboo!

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: patsy1914

                                                              "I have been using this one for over a year, and not a scratch! Go bamboo!"

                                                              Your knives would be happer if there were scratches on your cutting board. If there are no scratches, then either the board is too hard or your knives are too dull to cut it. Neither situation is good. Bamboo is not the best cutting surface for a knife.

                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                Would have to agree. Something has to give

                                                              1. My favorite is bamboo cutting boards because it is stronger than maple. People do add revilatizing oil on these type of cutting boards because it makes it look more attractive and extends its life.

                                                                I know some people prefer plastic cutting boards also. I think it is mainly for the lightness and color. But main thing is what you feel is best.

                                                                This article rates the top cutting boards:

                                                                1. I've been using the thick white plastic boards exclusively for some years. Only for one reason: sanitation.

                                                                  Wood or bamboo boards can work just as well, and not hurt your knives, and for sure be more attractive. But there's a lot more salmonella about, it seems. And I'm not a vegetarian, which means I cut red meat, fish and fowl.

                                                                  The plastic boards go into my dishwasher. When someone comes up with a good-looking wood or bamboo board that will do that, I will buy it.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: emu48

                                                                    Epicurious wood boards can go into dishwashers, but of course, they are not true wood cutting boards.


                                                                    1. re: emu48

                                                                      Hope you're still here, as well as any who participated here.
                                                                      Study shows that a used plastic board actually is MUCH harder to remove bacteria from than a used wood cutting board. It also shows that the plastic surfaces tend to allow the bacteria to populate and grow, where a wood cutting board won't. They recommend a maple wood board, as the grains are tightly knit, and not so hard that they dull the knives quicker.

                                                                    2. I have an end-grain acacia board, commonly known as monkeypod wood. It's 8 yrs old and going strong, and only gets oiled maybe twice a year. It's mostly used for making sandwiches. In addition, I have a 14 year old 24"x24" island that stands at the end of my small laminate-topped built-in island. I use that for *almost* everything. I seldom do more than give it a quick wipe. I have 2 soft white plastic boards that we use for prepping raw meat and to cut watermelon. I began cutting melons on them when I discovered that I really dislike the taste of garlic-onion watermelon. :)

                                                                      But! As of this very day, I'm switching to my brand spanking new Boos island top in edge-grain maple. Hubs just installed a larger island (original was 24"X36") that's 36"x60" and the top was custom ordered to fit with a 6" overhang on one end. It's gorgeous and I can't wait to cut it to ribbons, figuratively speaking. :)

                                                                      1. One thing not mentioned on this thread is contrast.
                                                                        For precise cuts I find a board that is a different color than the food I am cutting works very well. I find a stack of the poly boards in white and bright colors to be very handy. That and good strong under-cabinet/overhead lighting. Run those suckers through the dishwasher and replace often.

                                                                        1. I love my Epicurean boards- wouldn't trade 'em. One even sat over a forgotten gas burner that was turned on. Damage to the board was limited to a ring of slightly raised char, which I sanded off. The burned side is as functional as it ever was.

                                                                          I also like the light weight and thin profile. I'm too short for my arm to be in the most comfortable position for chopping on most kitchen counters. End grain cutting boards are beautiful, functional, and a pleasure to use, but the extra thickness puts them out of my comfort range.

                                                                          1. I don't have time to read through all of the posts, but bamboo though desirable because of it is a "green" and renewable resource is not really desirable for knives. The boards are so dense and hard they dull knives more quickly than more resilient surfaces.

                                                                            1. Try this fancy solid-wood (and copper) one from Amoretti Brothers www.amorettibrothers.com