I've always used a potato masher but I'm thinking of finally breaking down and buying a ricer. Are the potatoes that much better with a ricer? Does it take a lot longer?
Several years ago my mother bought me a ricer not knowing what it is.
it makes far better mash potatoes than a masher & I'll never go back to a masher for potatoes.
I do still use a masher if I want texture in mashed swede for example.
The only faff is that it only holds a few spuds at a time so is a bit time consuming but no more than trying to get a smooth mash with a masher.
I own the four most common mashing tools I've seen around:
Ricer with various discs
Electric hand mixer
For good and a little rustic I always use my UK made hand masher
If I want fluffy and creamy, I go electric hand mixer.
Ricer is too time consuming for potatoes I personally feel and the food mil is even more of a time hog and mess maker.
I do like the ricer for make spatezle but I now have a spaetlze maker so the ricer sits in the back of the cabinet.
Buy or borrow a ricer and try it, but I personally didn't feel any ROI after I bought mine and it was a Williams Sonoma high end ricer.
Depends on how you like your mashed potatoes. If you want them smooth, go for a ricer. I stay away from the mixers because it seems to over do it, making the potatoes kind of gummy/starchy. I prefer a ricer or food mill for smooth potatoes. That said, I like a more "rustic" mash with a variety of textures, so use my hand masher.
The ricer doesn't take too much longer, just more to clean.
One is not better than the other, just different. Ricer gives a fine puree but I would recommend a food mill instead because it is more versatile (milling tomatoes for one) and handles a larger volume without your hand getting tired. You have to squeeze a ricer whereas a food mill has a handle you turn.