A good cutting board is a kitchen essential. It might not be as flashy as a chef’s knife, and you can’t use it to cook a meal like your favorite cast iron skillet, but you also can’t get started without one. You'll want a sturdy, durable surface as you practice your chop, slice, and dice—like our top pick, the Totally Bamboo Kauai Cutting Board (available at Amazon) . That means it should last a long time, keep your knife intact, and not slide dangerously around the counter as you slice.
There are thousands of cutting boards on the market. Some are gigantic wooden carving boards that require hand-washing and regular maintenance with mineral oil to keep them at their best. Others are smaller, dishwasher-safe models made from plastic, glass, or composite material. There's so much variety in this category that it can be hard to know the good ones from the not-so-much.
We selected several top-rated products of all styles and sizes and ran them through some pretty rigorous testing. Our picks include a bamboo cutting board that was a pleasure to work with, a composite board with large grooves to catch liquids from meat or tomatoes, a beautiful wooden block that adds functional style to your kitchen, and an easy-to-clean, recycled plastic option for working with raw meats.
Totally Bamboo Kauai Cutting Board
The Totally Bamboo Kauai Cutting Board has the best feel and balance of all the products we tested. It's heavy enough to pass our stability and balance tests, but light enough to easily maneuver and clean. Plus, its 14.5 x 11.5-inch size makes it the perfect cutting surface for most household cutting tasks.
The Totally Bamboo board also looks beautiful, thanks to a two-tone bamboo color scheme. Bamboo looks like wood, but it isn't. It's a hard grass that grows very quickly (as much as two feet a day!), making it a sustainable, renewable resource. Some say that bamboo is too hard and can dull your knives, but we didn’t measure any noticeable dulling during our tests.
Like wood cutting boards, bamboo does require regular maintenance to keep the board from splitting over time. Never allow it to sit in a pool of water or take a spin in the dishwasher. If treated regularly with food-grade mineral oil, these cutting boards will last for years. In fact, I’ve owned this exact board for over five years and it’s still as flat and stable as the day I bought it.
When cutting juicy fruits or carving meat, you might want a product that can catch excess liquids. The Epicurean Gourmet Series Cutting Board is perfect for these situations. Its wide juice grooves hold an impressive amount of liquid—1/2 cup, to be exact, which is more than double the capacity of the similarly-sized Prepworks board.
The Epicurean is lightweight, easy to store, and dishwasher-safe. The composite model is made up of wood fibers and resins pressed together under extreme pressure. Its nonporous surface didn't absorb any liquid during our tests, and it resisted beet juice stains admirably. While the Epicurean is on the expensive side, it didn’t warp at all in the dishwasher, and it barely scratched during use.
The hard surface was loud when I hacked away with my knives, but I didn't notice any dulling. Our only major problem arose when I attempted to slide chopped onions off the surface of the board and they snagged in the wide groove. Luckily the board is reversible, and the other side is flat.
I have to admit: I sort of fell in love with the Teakhaus Carving Board. If only I had room on my countertop for a butcher block!
The Teakhaus’ size and heft make it more of a specialty board than a catch-all winner. It was too large to fit in my kitchen sink, and its considerable weight made it difficult to move, even using the built-in hand grip. That being said, the wood felt great under my knife. The heavy-duty block didn’t move (not even a smidgen) as I enthusiastically chopped and minced. The use of teak, a high-oil wood, fought off moisture better than the other wood boards. It didn’t absorb any water, and it held the largest amount of liquid (2/3 cup) in its groves before spilling over. I had plenty of room to slice and dice without having to push everything into bowls.
Wood boards are great for your knives and they can last forever when well-cared-for. They do get nicks and scratches after extended use, but they are self-healing and close over time. Like bamboo boards, wood models need to be treated regularly with food-grade mineral oil to keep them in good condition.
For those with the patience to clean this beautiful beast, the Teakhaus is a gorgeous piece and would make a stylish addition to any kitchen with enough counter space.
The Material reBoard is a little more expensive than most of the plastic cutting boards we tested, but it’s totally worth it. According to Material, these BPA-free cutting boards use zero virgin plastic: They’re made with 75% recycled plastic and 25% renewable sugarcane to add durability. We’re willing to cough up a few extra bucks knowing that these cutting boards make our kitchens more sustainable.
After putting the reBoard through our tests, we think the price tag is justified by performance, too. It was as quiet to use as a wood cutting board but much easier to clean by hand because of its lightweight profile.
Both sides are completely flat, which makes it reversible and easy to move food off of the board without snagging on grooved edges. On the flip side, because it doesn’t have grooves, it’s not ideal for cutting juicy foods.
While we prefer to hand-wash models so they last longer, this cutting board is also dishwasher-safe and it didn’t warp in the machine’s high heat. We also found its lightweight causes the board to move around if it’s not anchored on a towel. But, those are small complaints that wouldn’t keep us from making this purchase.
Hi, I'm Lindsay Mattison, a trained professional chef and cutting board enthusiast. I'm not joking—my favorite cutting board is on a short list of essentials I'd want if I were ever stranded on a desert island.
In culinary school, I spent a lot of time in front of cutting boards, perfecting my knife skills. I went on to become the chef of a farm-to-table restaurant, which meant I spent hours and hours at the prep table slicing up farm-fresh veggies. It was there that I learned a good cutting board is just as important as your blade. I'd love to use that knowledge to help you find your new favorite cutting board.
We tried ten products of various sizes and materials in our test kitchen (three boards, including two OXO cutting boards, have since been discontinued). Each one was different, but the top cutting boards needed to share three important characteristics: sturdiness & balance, ease of use, and durability.
It’s important that your cutting board stays put as you chop. Boards that shift or slide during use create an unsafe situation for you and that very sharp knife you're wielding. We assessed sturdiness & balance by mincing garlic and chopping onions, checking to see if the board sat flat and still on the counter.
A heavy cutting board may stay put during use, but no one wants a board that's too heavy to carry to the sink for cleaning! We determined ease of use by weighing each board to see if it was easy to pick up and put away. Then we checked if it had enough surface area to handle everyday tasks. Finally, we measured its ability to handle juicy foods by calculating liquid absorption and how much liquid the grooves (if present) could hold.
Cutting boards aren't typically pricey, but like anything you spend money on, you're going to want your board to last as long as possible. We tested durability by running boards that were marked as "dishwasher safe" through the dishwasher, checking afterward for warping. We examined how the surface stood up to our sharp knives, foods that tend to stain, and foods that tend to leave unpleasant odors.
We also sharpened our knives before using each cutting board but found that none of the materials had a noticeable effect on dulling the knives. We didn’t, however, test any glass, marble, or ceramic boards, which are notorious for destroying your knife's edge.
Other Cutting Boards We Tested
Prepworks by Progressive Cutting Board
Formerly our pick for the best plastic cutting board, the Prepworks by Progressive Cutting Board is still a great option. It's big enough to use for tasks like breaking down large roasts or chickens, and the grooves are deep enough to hold 1/4 cup of liquid.
This no-frills plastic board performed well during testing and we appreciated that it didn’t slide around much as we sliced and diced. Unlike other plastic cutting boards on the market, this one doesn’t retain odor. The one major downside to this product is that you’ll notice knife marks on its surface and potential discoloration over time.
John Boos Chop-N-Slice Maple Wood Reversible Cutting Board
The reversible maple John Boos board is flat on both sides. It’s nice and heavy, so it doesn’t slip at all while chopping, but that weight makes it slightly difficult to clean. While it performed on par with the other boards, we preferred the teak wood used to construct the Teakhaus board over the maple wood used in this John Boos board. Maple is a dry wood, which felt unpleasant to chop on. In addition, the Boos absorbed more liquid than most of the boards.
This is a great wood cutting board, but it will require a lot of maintenance and upkeep to prevent that dry maple wood from splitting.
The OXO Good Grips Cutting and Carving Board has, well, a good grip. Rubber edges hold the board to the surface as you cut. It's a nice feature because they’re located on the side, so the board is still reversible. It looks much more elegant than Prepworks plastic cutting board, but unfortunately, it's too large to fit in the dishwasher. That nullifies its dishwasher-safe claim by default!
The surface was a little slick for our liking, failing to grip the food as we chopped. And while the board features juice grooves on one side, they are too shallow to retain any liquid.
There’s nothing terrible about it, but there’s also nothing that makes it shine—except its size. If you’re looking for a very large, inexpensive cutting board, this is the one.
We wanted to love the Fredericks and Mae Chopping Block as soon as we unboxed it. The design on this plastic cutting board goes above and beyond, with a smooth, confetti-splashed surface and a wide handle that come together to look like a showpiece. Unfortunately, it didn’t fare well during our tests.
We loved that this one-inch-thick cutting board was heavy enough to stay in place when chopping, slicing, and dicing, but the weight made it a little difficult to clean. The plastic also scratched easily, so it might fare better as a serving piece rather than a regularly-used cutting board. Since it’s also one of the most expensive products we tested, we would have a hard time justifying the purchase.
Farberware 11" x 14 " Thick Nonslip Bamboo Cutting Board
If you’re looking for an inexpensive bamboo cutting board, the Farberware 11" x 14 " Thick Nonslip Bamboo Cutting Board is pretty attractive. But when it came to performance, it fell short compared to the other cutting boards we tested.
While we liked that the nonslip feet on each corner of the board kept it from moving around as we used it, they also made it difficult to slide food off the board without catching. Cleaning beet juice around the feet was a little challenging, too. The board’s grooves weren’t as helpful as we thought, either, as they weren't deep enough to hold much liquid.
All in all, the price on this board makes it perfect for a rental property or an addition to a camping box, but it’s not ideal for everyday use.
Nicole Home Collection Flexible Plastic Cutting Board Mats
Plastic mats are great for keeping your work surface sanitary when cutting fish, meats, or poultry. Some place them directly on the counter, while others place them on top of wood cutting boards. Unfortunately, the Nicole Home Collection Flexible Plastic Cutting Board Mats were so thin they wouldn’t lie still on a counter or a cutting board, even with a towel underneath. They arrived warped and warped further in the dishwasher.
I didn’t feel in control or safe while using these cutting board mats.
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