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Apr 15, 2009 11:11 AM

Mandolin recs?

Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced mandolin for slicing veggies in my home? I've never used one before so the $60 to $100 range seems steep for a novice.

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  1. I just got a $16 Japanese Benriner at an Asian grocery. Besides making slices, it can make shreds using interchangable vertical knife blades.

    1. If you've never used one, you might consider getting one with a good guard that protects your fingers. The Benriner ones aren't really designed that way. You could try, for example, the OXO or Zyliss ones that have big guards that you grab. These are about $30 to $50, not on sale.

      2 Replies
      1. re: lergnom

        I got the OXO "good grips" mandoline for Christmas and I have to say I found the guard unusable. I mean, it accomplishes the purpose of holding the food in place, but with those little pins that push it down, it mangles most of the food so that you can only slice half of it before having perforated eggplant or zuchini or whatever. I read the suggestion below to get a glove so I got one for about $20 at BB&B and it's terrific. You can move fast with a flat palm and not worry that if your finger dips down that you'll slice it off. And I can go almost all the way through the skinny eggplant or whatever before I chicken out.

        1. re: lergnom

          I like the cut-resistant gloves. I can slice more of the vegetable, and I have more control.

        2. My personal experience is that the wide Benriner is the way to go. It is cheap, effective, and easy to clean and store. (The narrow Benriner is too narrow to be useful.)

          I suggest that you forget about the safety guard altogether and get a Kevlar glove. While most cookware stores sell them, it seems you can get the same glove for a fraction of the cost at outdoor stores and some hardware stores.

          While some others, such as the Oxo, let you do more sophisticated things, they don't work nearly as well for the basics and have a learning curve.

          1 Reply
          1. re: embee

            The Benriner guard seems work perfectly well when it comes to protecting fingers. The question is, does it grip the food well enough? I just made a fennel salad. There was no need for the guard when cutting a few inches off a large fennel bulb. The guard couldn't grip the bell pepper pieces, narrow edge to the board. I didn't try to use the guard with the grapes - but I only sliced about half of each grape, so as to keep my fingers safe. It is probably impossible to design a guard that works with all food, and holds it to the last bit.

          2. America's Test Kitchen just reviewed these on the last show and said that for the price and for the user friendly tools, the Oxo was the best option for about $50. Aside from that they recommended the Kyocera ceramic Japanese hand held mandoline... for I think about $20.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Squirrels

              I've got to disagree with ATK on this. The Oxo mandoline I tried was cleverly designed and had a good guard, but it didn't work all that well. CI said it couldn't slice soft things, like tomatoes. They were right. Their recommended Oxo v-slicer wasn't much better. It also had trouble with tomatoes and was not intuitive to assemble.

              1. re: embee

                You're correct to clarify, it was the V slicer. As I remember though, the Oxo was the one that COULD slice the tomatoes. All the other straight blade versions could not. It seems like you're confusing the 2...?

                1. re: Squirrels

                  No, I tried both. Neither one does soft things very well. The mandoline was easier to assemble and clean than the v-slicer, but the v-slicer is a bit more stable in use. Though I kept the v-slicer, and use it occasionally, I typically reach for the Benriner.

                  1. re: Squirrels

                    If you read their review, they clearly stated that the OXO V slicer did a fantastic job on tomatoes.

                    1. re: bnemes3343

                      That was my understanding as well. Results may vary, I suppose...

                      1. re: bnemes3343

                        All I can say is that, for me, it only slices tomatoes that are hard. When I try to slice a perfectly ripe home grown tomato, both Oxo products fail (though in different ways). I have no idea whether they have redesigned the product since I got mine last year. My Benriner, or a good knife, can do the job.

                    2. re: embee

                      I like the OXO madoline, but those out the worthless guards and use a Kevlar fishmongers from from a sporting goods store. A OVE glove also works if you have it.

                  2. Americas Test Kitchen did a rating of Mandoline's just a week or so ago. Their winner was the OXO Good Grips V-Blade Mandoline Slicer, that retails for roughly $50. The V shaped blade was actually a big part of why they liked it - it is much better for slicing soft things (e.g. tomatoes) than a straight blade. The extra blades are stored under the frame (so they don't get misplaced)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bnemes3343

                      Does OXO not rate high on all the things they test.

                      You can't beat the Benriner for ease of use. It's cheap and works well. They are used a lot in professional kitchens. The blade is easily removed for sharpening on a stone if needed. It's a single edged blade as most all mandoline blades are.