A great salad starts with perfectly dry greens. If any water remains clinging to the leaves, it'll dilute the dressing, which in turn won’t coat the lettuce, leaving the greens without much flavor. For this reason, anyone who’s serious about salads needs a very efficient salad spinner in their kitchen.
To find which of these drying devices would help make the perfect salad, we put 10 best-selling spinners to the whirl, measuring which product could get greens, herbs, and berries the driest, while still being easy to use and store away.
After drying what felt like a bushel of produce, our top pick is the Zyliss Swift Dry Salad Spinner(available at Walmart for $39.99). If you prefer to splurge on an excellent gadget that can also double as a beautiful serving bowl, we recommend the OXO Steel Salad Spinner (available at Amazon) which includes a stainless-steel bowl rather than a plastic one.
Here are the best salad spinners we tested ranked, in order:
Zyliss Swift Dry
OXO Good Grips Steel
Farberware Pro Pump
Mirloco Salad Sling
Zyliss Easy Spin2 AquaVent Large
Oxo Good Grips
Progressive Prepworks Collapsible
Zyliss Swift Dry Salad Spinner
Hands down, the Zyliss Swift Dry is the best salad spinner among all the products we tested at drying lettuce, parsley, and strawberries.
To operate it, you press down on a large lever, which we found easy to do with one hand. It has a large capacity, accommodating 10 cups of lettuce without squishing any of the leaves.
While the clear plastic bowl works as a serving piece, it’s somewhat utilitarian in design and you’ll probably prefer using a different dish when company comes.
The bowl and the basket can be cleaned in the dishwasher but the lid needs to be hand washed. When the lever is locked in the down position, the lid is perfectly flat so you can store something on top of it.
The OXO Steel is considerably more expensive than all of the other models we tested but it has a handsome stainless-steel bowl that you can proudly bring to the table filled with a salad.
It will hold about 12 cups without having to pack any of the greens down. The OXO Steel came close to our top pick at drying produce, so if you’re willing to spend a little extra and want a spinner and salad bowl in one, we say go for it.
It has a large button that you press down on to get the spinner whirling. It can easily be operated with one hand. When you’re not using it, the pump locks in a down position, giving the spinner an almost flat top and making it easier to store.
Hi, I'm Sharon Franke, and for me, no meal is complete if it doesn’t include a salad. For years, as a restaurant chef and kitchen equipment pro, I turned up my nose at these products, considering them gimmicky. Instead, l used up a lot of paper towels to carefully dry every single leaf of lettuce that went into my serving bowl. But once I finally, if reluctantly, tried a spinner, I was hooked because it gets my greens dry quickly and easily.
Yes, it takes up space but I think it’s worth it. In fact, it’s now the first piece of equipment I pull out every time I enter my kitchen to cook a meal. Before drying my lettuce, I fill it with water and use it to give my greens, as well as all the rest of the vegetables that I’m using for a meal, a good dunking to get them thoroughly clean.
I tested 10 models. A spinner cleans and dries your produce, so we designed tests to do exactly that. Starting with a specific weight, I thoroughly soaked lettuce in water, then lifted it out and weighed it along with any water clinging to the leaves. Then, I dried it in the salad spinner and weighed the spun lettuce to see how much water had been spun off the leaves. I repeated this procedure three times. I then followed the same methodology with parsley sprigs followed by strawberries.
As I worked, I noted if the spinner was large enough to hold the lettuce and how easy it was to use, clean, and store. I took into consideration whether there were any helpful features and whether or not the bowl was attractive enough to be used for tossing and serving a salad.
What to Know About Buying a Salad Spinner
In our tests, none of the products spun off 100 percent of the water from the lettuce leaves. However, some definitely did a better job. For the most part, we didn’t find any of them terribly difficult to use.
The main consideration for purchasing a spinner is how well it removes water from produce. Let’s face it, if a spinner doesn’t get your greens dry, who cares if it takes less effort to use or collapses for storage?
Most of the salad spinners have brake buttons to stop spinning on a dime, which theoretically is supposed to fluff up the lettuce. We didn’t see any benefit to this feature, and in fact, when you interrupt the spinning process, less water is hurled off. While one of the criticisms of these devices is that they crush or bruise produce, we did not see any noticeable harm done to greens or berries during our intense testing.
The baskets included can be used as colanders, too. However, all of the baskets in the spinners we tested have a flat bottom without any feet to protect them from sitting directly in the sink and mixing with any water or liquids already there. Plus, any starchy residue from pasta will be harder to clean off if you wash the basket by hand.
Other Salad Spinners We Tested
Farberware Pro-Pump Salad Spinner
When you push the button on top of the large Farberware Pro-Pump, it develops so much centrifugal force that it keeps spinning for a good 90 seconds. While this requires that you have a bit of patience, it does dry lettuce well. It’s easy to operate this model with one hand and although it does rock a bit while it spins, the product doesn’t “walk” across the countertop.
The clear plastic bowl is attractive enough to use as a serving salad bowl. However, you will need to wash and dry it by hand and it may take a bit of effort to clean off oily dressing.
To get the Müeller moving, pull out a tab while stabilizing the bowl with your other hand. It generates some speed and does a good job of drying.
The squared-off bowl is particularly attractive if you want to use it as a serving piece. It can also be safely popped in the dishwasher, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning off any leftover salad dressing.
The Mirloco Salad Sling is a large microfiber cloth with four elongated corners. While it’s not a traditional salad spinner, it became popular when it appeared on Shark Tank as an alternative product for drying your produce.
To use it, pile your lettuce in the middle of the cloth and then bring the corners together to form a handle. While holding the handle, swing the greens around in a wide circle.
It’s quite effective at absorbing any water that is flung off the lettuce. In the middle of the sling, there’s a layer of plastic so that only one side of the cloth gets wet at a time. You can turn the sling over and dry a second batch of lettuce or a bunch of herbs on the second side. However, if you’re having a party and preparing a huge quantity of lettuce (let’s say more than a pound), you’re out of luck.
After it’s used, the sling needs to be hung to dry. For storage, however, it can be rolled up and doesn’t take up a ton of space. For easy cleaning, the Salad Sling can be tossed in the washer and dryer.
The Zyliss Easy Spin2 AquaVent is set in motion by lifting a handle and pulling on a cord. While not a very difficult procedure, it’s more work than pushing a lever or button or turning a hand crank, and one hand has to keep the bowl steady as you yank. However, this method really gets the bowl swirling and as a result, a lot of water is removed.
The bowl is generously sized and can be used for serving. It certainly looks good enough for casual meals. Both the bowl and the basket are safe for dishwasher cleaning but the lid requires hand washing. As the lid is perfectly flat it’s convenient to store other things on top of it in a cabinet or if you’re using it to store lettuce in the fridge.
There are a few OXO models that are popular with shoppers. While we loved the OXO Steel, this Good Grips version didn't fare as well in our tests. Like the stainless-steel model, it has a pump mechanism that’s very similar to the one in the top-rated OXO SteeL. Just press down on the large button to get the spinner whirling.
Also, it too can be used to serve a salad and is dishwasher safe.
The main difference with this product is that the bowl is made of clear plastic rather than brushed stainless steel. And in test after test, the Good Grips did not give as good drying results as the more expensive steel model.
We’d love to be able to recommend this model by Cuisinart to small families which don’t need to dry more than 8 cups of lettuce at a time. Its compact size means it will take up less precious storage space. However, our tests proved it’s only so-so at drying lettuce. Also, before you start spinning, the lid needs to be locked onto the bowl, which is a small but pesky step.
There’s a hole in the Cuisinart’s lid for running water into or pouring water out of the bowl, but we don’t really see the benefit of this feature.
The clear bowl certainly could be used as a serving dish but it definitely seems utilitarian and not like a tabletop piece. When it comes to cleaning, you’ll need to wash the Cuisinart by hand.
The Progressive Prepworks Collapsible Salad Spinner solves a big problem: the large amount of storage space spinners require. Both the bowl and the basket collapse so that they don’t monopolize a cabinet or shelf and can even be stashed in a drawer.
Unfortunately, the Prepworks doesn’t do a very good job of spinning off water. It operates by turning a handle, but it doesn’t build up much of a swirl. It also has a relatively small capacity, holding just 8 cups of lettuce.
While the bowl could be used to toss a salad, it’s only good-looking enough for very casual family meals. On the plus side, all of the parts are dishwasher safe.
At first glance, the Dreamfarm Spina, with its playful name, seems innovative. It consists of only one part, a basket with a handle that can be positioned three ways. It can stick out horizontally so the basket can be used as a strainer, stand up and become a spin mechanism, and tuck in for storage.
When you use it to dry greens the Spina should get positioned in the sink so that its small foot suctions to the sink bottom. Then, you press down on the handle to start the basket twirling like a top. All of this sounds clever but we found it tricky to change the handle direction and to keep the spinner standing on its foot.
If you load the Spina with more than 8 cups of lettuce, as it spins, lettuce flies out of the basket. And worst of all, it’s not very effective at drying lettuce.
With its small size, it is easier to store than the larger models and it’s easy to clean in the dishwasher. However, all in all, we think the cons outweigh the pros.
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