The Tests

  • Insert roll of plastic wrap

  • Mark dispenser position on counter and pull 20 sheets of plastic wrap—five 6-inch sheets, five 12-inch sheets, five sheets big enough to wrap a bowl five times, and five sheets big enough to wrap a bowl containing ½ cup of water five times after heating the water in the microwave

  • Time how long it takes to pull five 12-inch sheets of plastic wrap, to pull five 6-inch sheets of plastic wrap, and to pull sheets big enough to wrap bowl containing ½ cup of water five times after heating it in the microwave

  • Pull 100 sheets of plastic wrap using winning dispenser

  • Attempt to place dispenser in two different shallow kitchen drawers

Store-bought boxes of plastic wrap feature teeth or slide cutters that require the user to keep one hand on the box while attempting to pull and cut tangle-free sheets with the other hand. This can cause ragged cuts and leave the plastic wrap sticking to itself, leading to headaches and waste.

Plastic-wrap dispensers promise to remedy these issues. These products, typically made of plastic or thick cardboard and able to accommodate a variety of roll sizes, all have built-in cutters—either a slide cutter or a push-down blade. They are designed to remain stationary on the counter, freeing up both of the user’s hands to evenly pull and cut tangle-free sheets. To find out if these dispensers were worth using, we purchased three models priced from $11.95 to $23.38 and put them to the test.

We were pleasantly surprised that most of the dispensers were a dramatic improvement on the built-in dispenser that came with our winning plastic wrap, Glad Cling Wrap Clear Plastic. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The ChicWrap Plastic Wrap Dispenser’s slide-cutter knob occasionally got buried under the plastic wrap, forcing us to reposition the plastic wrap before cutting. And this cardboard model was so light that pulling out the plastic wrap shifted the entire dispenser. The only way to avoid this was to awkwardly pull upward and then out before cutting.

But one model fared even worse. The Kuhn Rikon Fast Wrap Flatware Organizer also shifted on the counter when we pulled wrap forward, so again we had to pull up first and then forward. But more problematic was the Kuhn Rikon’s push-down cutting mechanism, which sometimes gave us perforated plastic wrap instead of a clean cut. This product performed better after we shifted our hand placement from the outer edges of the dispenser to the center of the dispenser when we pressed down to cut, though even then it occasionally still didn’t cut cleanly. This dispenser also made a loud croaking noise when we pulled plastic wrap, which didn’t hinder the dispenser’s performance but was certainly bothersome.

The star of the show was the Stretch-Tite Wrap’n Snap 7500 Dispenser ($22.00), which performed the best in every test. Its cleverly concealed blade gave us a clean cut every time, the loading mechanism was smooth and tangle-free, we could pull plastic wrap forward without the dispenser falling over, and its height—it stands tallest of the bunch—made it easier to wrap bowls. In sum, it was easier and faster to use than the box of wrap you buy at the supermarket.

The only catch? The Stretch-Tite dispenser can’t be stored in shallow kitchen drawers, as it stands almost 5 inches high. But it’s a minor price to pay for effortlessly smooth sheets of plastic wrap.

Winning Traits

  • Remains stable on counter when pulling plastic wrap

  • Metal teeth consistently cut completely through plastic wrap

  • Sheets of pulled plastic wrap are smooth and free of tangles

  • Easy to set up and easy to insert roll of plastic wrap