Need to create uniform vegetable slices for your favorite salad or ratatouille? A mandoline can quickly and easily cut almost anything you throw at it, including potatoes to make a mound of ultrathin chips or tomatoes to create thick slabs to pair with mozzarella for a Caprese salad. However, these devices can just as quickly and easily nick your fingers, so it’s important for a good mandoline to come with safety features that help protect you while assembling, slicing, and cleaning.
To find the top mandoline, we sliced, julienned, and waffled bushels of vegetables and can say with confidence that the KitchenAid Mandoline Slicer (available at Amazon for $74.01) is the best mandoline slicer we tested. However, it’s large and somewhat pricey for a kitchen gadget.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive tool that you can stash in a drawer, our top choice is the handheld Progressive by Prepworks Adjust-a-Slice Mandoline (available at Amazon).
KitchenAid Mandoline Slicer
In our tests, the sturdy KitchenAid Mandoline Slicer really had no competition for either great results or ease of use. It cut everything from ripe beefsteak tomatoes to plump eggplants to pickle-sized cucumbers into uniform thin, medium, and thick slices, leaving little waste behind. As we worked, food virtually glided over the wide and smooth stainless-steel cutting surface.
The stainless-steel blade and runway are housed in a black plastic casing that has a large handle and a leg that unfolds, stabilizing the mandoline while you’re working. To adjust the slice thickness, there’s a large knob with five settings, clearly marked in fractions of an inch from 1/16 to 5/16. The settings click firmly into place.
There are also settings for waffle slices as well for thin julienne strips and French fries. To cut strips or fries you need to change the blade, which is done easily without risking a cut finger.
The KitchenAid includes a large handguard with prongs that grasp food securely. It fits comfortably in the hand, making it easy to push food forward over the blade. Because the guard is so easy to grasp, you’re likely to use it, protecting your hands from the risk of injury.
There are a few other safety features, too. When it’s on the zero setting, the blade is level with the cutting surface making it hard to accidentally cut yourself. There’s also a plastic cover that snaps over the blade as an extra precaution. The julienne blade comes in a slim protective case, too.
For storage, the food pusher and the extra blade in its case can be snapped onto the back of the mandoline so you only have one item to store and don’t have to scrounge around for the parts. However, at about the size of a DVD player, it’s a bit bulky and will take up some room in a cabinet or closet. All of the parts except for the blade cover and case are dishwasher safe.
Most home cooks will enjoy having the Prepworks by Progressive Adjust-a-Slice Mandoline in their arsenal for the occasional time when they need to slice evenly, perhaps to put out a pretty array of tomato slices for a buffet or slice onions for French onion soup.
This handheld tool won’t set you back a bundle and can easily be stashed in a kitchen drawer. It has a sharp blade and a nice wide runway. It’s very easy to adjust the thickness of the slices by simply sliding a switch and changing it from slicing to julienning.
With this mandoline you don’t get a huge choice of thicknesses; there are only three settings and the thickest is just 3/16 of an inch. On the thinnest setting, as with all handheld mandolines, it’s hard to get perfect slices, especially of juicy foods like tomatoes and lemons.
It comes with a handguard that has spikes to anchor the food. As you get to the end of a potato or carrot, it's difficult to push food over the blade but it will easily handle cucumbers.
This gadget can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher. The blade locks when it’s not in use and it doesn’t need much storage space.
Slices smoothly and gives even results on thicker settings
Easy to adjust
Blade locks for easy storage
Slices are fairly thin at all three thickness settings
Hi, I'm Sharon Franke and I’ve been testing and writing about kitchen equipment for decades. Before that, I worked as a professional chef in New York City restaurants for seven years. When I’m not working, I’m busy cooking for family and friends. At heart, I’m a minimalist and primarily depend on a small collection of basic cooking utensils to prepare everything from simple salads to fancy terrines. An assortment of sharp knives has pride of place in my kitchen and I can slice up a slew of onions or shred a head of cabbage in less time than I can assemble some mandolines. However, when I have a craving for homemade potato chips, want to indulge in an au gratin, or am making cucumber salad for a crowd, a mandoline is indispensable.
I tested 11 mandolines, including stationary and handheld models. On each, I sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, lemons, and eggplants on several thicknesses.
With models that included specialty blades and/or settings, I julienned carrots and zucchini, waffled sweet potatoes, diced onions, and spiralized zucchini and carrots.
High marks went to mandolines that yielded uniform slices without the need to exert undue pressure. As I worked, I paid particular attention to how safely each vegetable slicer could be used. I also noted how many thickness settings each mandoline had and how easy it was to change from one to another.
I checked to see if each mandoline came with additional blades to expand its versatility and if so, how easy it was to change the blades. Lastly, I considered how convenient it was to clean and store each mandoline.
What You Should Know About Buying Mandolines
What is a Mandoline Slicer?
A mandoline is a device with a flat cutting surface that contains a sharp blade in the middle. You use it to slice by pushing food down the cutting surface, or runway, through the blade. As the blade is held at a steady height from the runway, each slice will come out the exact same thickness.
There are various designs ranging from small gadgets that you hold upright or place over a bowl to large models that stand steadily on the workspace.
On most, you can adjust the distance between the runway and the blade so you can get slices of varying thicknesses according to your preference or what you are preparing. Most also come with settings and/or additional blades to make waffle slices and/or julienne cuts.
Are Mandolines Safe?
Many mandolines also come with handguards that prevent you from slicing fingers as you push food down the runway and through the blade. However, many handguards don’t grasp food well, are wobbly, or feel uncomfortable to hold, making them awkward to use so you can’t exert steady pressure and produce even slices.
In general, you get better leverage and control while gripping food with your hand. However, that comes with a risk of injury. As you create slice after slice, you’re likely to build momentum, and before you know it, your fingers might get snipped. That’s why mandolines have a reputation for being dangerous.
Let’s be clear. A mandoline is not an essential piece of kitchen equipment. Chefs love them because they cut food evenly and make it possible to create beautiful-looking dishes and replicate them day after day.
However, for home cooking, absolute uniformity isn’t necessary. Most of us aren’t surrounding a disc of tuna tartare with cucumber slices or draping overlapping rounds of potato over a fish filet. While slices that are exactly the same size will cook more evenly, slight differences in thickness won’t make a huge difference. In fact, the only dish I can think of where absolute uniformity is critical is potato chips. All of which is to say, you don’t need a mandoline.
However, in addition to helping you fry up perfect potato chips, they come in handy for cutting consistently even slices of cucumbers for bread and butter pickles, Idahos for scalloped potatoes, or onions, tomato, and zucchini for a layered summer vegetable casserole. If you’re making eggplant rollatini you can get beautiful planks of eggplant. When you have an urge to make a waffle fry or julienned carrot salad, the specialty blades can come to your aid.
But for everyday cooking in small quantities, I highly recommend equipping yourself with one of our recommended chef’s knives and keeping it sharp by using one of our best knife sharpeners. You’ll find you can cut food just as thinly and quickly with a well-honed knife and some practice, to get very even results.
How to Use a Mandoline
Here are the steps for successfully using this device:
Cut the ends off of food so that you create a flat surface on either end. A flat surface will be easier to grasp with the handguard and to slice. If an item is long and thin like a cucumber or a zucchini, cut it in half as you’ll get more leverage with a shorter item.
Position the mandoline perpendicular to your body as you’ll get better control by pushing forwards rather than sideways.
We can’t say it often enough: Use the handguard or equip yourself with a glove or towel.
Find a good balance between being timid and overly zealous. In order to get a clean uniform cut, you want to push the food with a bit of force but not so aggressively that you lose track of what you’re doing. This is especially important if you don’t heed our advice and push with your hand, as you’ll need to watch and stop slicing before your fingers reach the blade.
If food accumulates under the mandoline or in the blade, stop and move the food or clean the blade or you’ll find food jamming up.
Other Mandoline Slicers We Tested
Dash Safe Slice Mandoline
The Dash Safe Slice has an unusual design. Unlike other mandolines, the food is placed inside an angled chute. Using one hand, use the pusher to move the food toward the blade while your other handle pushes down a handle to activate the blade. Neither hand ever gets anywhere near the blade, making this the safest mandoline you can buy.
This design also helps you slice every last bit of food. A small container sits under the mandoline to catch the slices as they fall off the blade. However, the chute is only about 2 ½ inches in diameter so you need to halve or quarter many foods before you slice them. This means you can’t get beautiful rounds of tomatoes or long slices of eggplant. This mandoline is better for small items like brussels sprouts or radishes that are hard to slice on a traditional mandoline. It is sometimes difficult to position foods right up against the blade, leading to uneven or irregularly shaped pieces.
The Dash has eight thickness settings, ranging from 0 to 8 millimeters or from paper-thin to 3/10 of an inch. To adjust the thickness of slices, just turn a dial on the back of the mandoline—setting it to cut matchstick, julienne, or diced pieces. However, it’s somewhat awkward to reach and as the white numbers on a white background are very hard to read.
Pieces of food get trapped in the blade mechanism where they’re tricky to remove. A small brush for getting into the grooves is provided. All the pieces of the Dash are dishwasher safe if placed in the top rack. For storage, the mandoline collapses, but you’ll also have to store the chute, pusher, and food bin.
Although the Chef’n 4-in-1 Glass Mandoline created perfect slices of varying thicknesses, it was somewhat inconvenient to use.
For starters, the instructions that come with the product are minimal and the print is so tiny that I literally had to pull out a magnifying glass to read them. There are 10 thickness settings that only range from 1/8 to ¼ inch; the numbers and lines that indicate them are small and spaced very close together so you have to squint to see them. To change the setting, you have to depress and twist the dial simultaneously and you can only turn in one direction; if you miss your setting you have to go all the way around again.
The cutting surface is made of glass which helps food move smoothly as you push it down through the blade. However, the prongs in the handguard don’t grip food well if an item is larger than a lemon or a small onion, making it difficult to maintain steady pressure as you slice. The Chef’n has two julienne settings and a crinkle blade that is housed in a slim protective sheath when it’s not being used. By turning to the lock setting, you can prevent accidental finger nicks. This model is not dishwasher safe.
Ask any chef and they’re likely to say a Benriner mandoline is in their knife kit. They like this Japanese mandoline for its convenient size and sharp blade. As it doesn’t have legs, it’s not bulky but it has a wider runway than other handheld models which makes it possible to slice large vegetables like Vidalia onions or eggplants.
It doesn’t have marked settings but it can be adjusted to an infinite number of thicknesses up to about ¾ of an inch. While this gives you lots of versatility, it makes it difficult to be consistent from use to use. To change the thickness, turn a dial on the back of the mandoline and push down on the top of the runway. It’s not terribly inconvenient, but it’s not as easy to use as a dial with precise settings that lock into place.
The Super Benriner comes with a better handguard than the original model, but the pros find it virtually useless. This one has spikes to hold onto food but it’s still small and not easy to grasp, which makes it very tempting to push a potato or a cucumber with your hand. However, for the most part, you can depend on the Benriner for beautiful slices, although on the thinnest setting, it did mangle a ripe tomato and an eggplant.
There are hooks on the slicer to keep it steady over a bowl as you slice. Along with the Benriner, you get three additional blades for fine, medium, and coarse strips. It doesn’t include a waffle blade. The blades come in a small insubstantial plastic sheath that could easily rip and/or be misplaced.
If you plan to use the blades, you have to be vigilant about where you store them to prevent hurting yourself and to find them when you need them. You have to clean the Benriner by hand and the white plastic housing will become stained by beta carotene-rich vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes. For storage, you can adjust the blade so it’s level or below the cutting surface to protect against accidents.
The OXO Good Grips V-Blade Mandoline Slicer stands steady on a leg that unfolds but it’s not as sturdily built nor as wide as the other standing mandolines we tested. While it gave better results than smaller inexpensive models, the results weren’t always perfect, especially on the thin setting. If you want long slices of eggplant or rounds of lemon, you need to stick to the thickest setting.
On the side, there’s a color-coded knob to choose a thickness level—ranging from 1/16- to 1/4 -inch. There’s also a little chart on the mandoline that gives the thickness of each color setting in fractions of a millimeter and an inch. We found it tricky to select the settings as they’re close together and impossible to click the dial into place for the thinnest one.
The handguard has prongs that hold onto the food well but it doesn’t nestle into the hand like the one that comes with the KitchenAid. OXO provides three additional blades for small and large julienne strips, and for wavy slices, which are all stored on the mandoline itself so they won’t get lost. All the parts, with the exception of the blades, can be placed in the top rack of the dishwasher. You will get staining from carrots on the white blade housing.
Keep in mind that the OXO is considerably less expensive than the other standing mandolines. If you’re not looking to spend much but want more capabilities and a wider blade than that’s included in a handheld gadget, this is a good option.
The Fullstar Mandoline and Spiral Slicer 6-in-1 is an inexpensive gadget. It consists of a rectangular plastic bin with a surface on top into which you snap one of two slicing blades, a julienne blade, a grater, a ribbon blade, or a spiralizer.
In addition to a handguard, the Fullstar comes with a cut-resistant glove. It’s hard to get a good grip on the mandoline while you’re slicing as there’s no handle and you do have to exert a good deal of pressure, but you can get clean slices for most foods with the exception of ripe tomatoes. The julienne and grater blades also give good results, but we found the ribbon and spiral blades difficult to use and didn’t deliver zucchini or carrot strips worthy of throwing in a salad or a sauté pan.
All of the pieces can be tossed in the top rack of the dishwasher. A small brush is included for cleaning the spiralizing blade. There is a small case to hold the blades and the handguard and the other pieces stash in the bin.
The De Buyer Revolution Dicing Machine, which is made in France, is by far the most expensive mandoline we tested but we can’t say it’s worth the splurge. In all fairness, it has a sharp blade and a runway that’s wide enough for an oversized eggplant. And if you slice without the handguard (carefully, please) you can get good results.
To use the handguard, slide the plastic slider onto the frame of the mandoline and then place food into the slider. The handguard is then placed on top of the food. We found the handguard difficult to push. Food did not slide smoothly down the runway and it often jammed up in the blade. Plus, the slicing blade has micro-serrations that leave tiny teeth marks on food slices.
Of all the models we tested, this one can create one of the greatest ranges of thicknesses from thin enough to see through to 1/2-inch. However, there are no marked settings to ensure consistency. To adjust the thickness, you turn two screws in opposite directions, push the blade up or down, and then retighten the screws. There are lots of sharp edges on the frame, which make the deBuyer unpleasant to handle as you work.
The slicing blade reverses to become a waffle blade and a small cartridge on the bottom of the mandoline holds three julienne blades. Using one of the julienne blades along with the slicing blade, you can also dice and cut diamond-shaped pieces. However, using carrots, zucchini, and onions we found it complicated to make these cuts and got poor results. You can put the frame but not the blades or pusher in the dishwasher. The slider and the handguard rest securely on the mandoline so you only have one item to store but it is large and awkwardly shaped.
It's hard to beat the low price of the Oxo Good Grips Hand-Held Mandoline. Plus it’s easy to use and small enough to store in a drawer.
It works perfectly well for slicing a few cucumbers for a salad or apples to decorate the top of a French tart, as long as you don’t use the thinnest settings. It’s not the tool for an oversized eggplant or tough sweet potato.
To use, slide a switch to select one of the three settings, the thickest of which is only 1/8 of an inch. After you’re finished, you can toss the Oxo in the dishwasher. The blade locks to prevent accidental cuts when you reach for it.
The handheld Zyliss 4-in-1 Slicer Grater comes with four attachments that snap into the cutting surface; two have slicing blades and two have grating surfaces, making this a versatile gadget. Both slicing blades are very thin but cut cleanly. Using the thinner one, we sometimes got uneven or in the case of a ripe tomato, mangled results.
All of the pieces can be tossed in the dishwasher for cleaning. For storage, they all snap together so that although the mandoline may be a bit too bulky for a drawer, it won’t take up excess space in a cabinet.
For a low price, the Müeller Pro-Series Multi Chopper and Slicer promises a lot of versatility but it gives inconsistent results. While it produces fairly even slices, you definitely have to put some elbow grease into creating them. It’s hard to get a good grip, the mandoline moves around as you work, and you have to exert some pressure.
This gadget consists of a rectangular plastic box with a lid into which you slide one of the blades, which include two for slicing, two for julienning, and one for grating. We found it a little tricky to install them. In addition, it comes with a special lid and three different dicing blades that convert this mandoline into an alligator cutter; you use the lid to force a half an onion or other food through a grid to produce little squares. We found it harder to press the food through than on other similar products we’ve used.
You can place all of the parts in the top rack of the dishwasher. A little tool to clean the dicing blades is included. While there are two cases to hold the blades, you’re still left with three pieces to store.
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