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Slotted Spoons

From Bistro Steak Dinner

How we tested

We rely on slotted spoons to remove and drain small or delicate foods from boiling water, hot oil, or sauce. To find the best model, we rounded up eight dishwasher-safe nylon, silicone, and stainless-steel spoons, priced from $6.99 to $34.00, and used them to fish out green peas, poached eggs, meatballs, and jumbo shrimp from liquids in different kinds of cookware.

The first things we noticed were the differences between handles. Long handles were better because they kept our fingers away from the heat. Additionally, we preferred rounded handles over flat ones, and we preferred handles without dedicated grips, which limited our holding options. Drainage was not an issue; despite different perforation areas, sizes, and configurations, all the spoons filtered out water, oil, and sauce equally well. While we generally preferred spoons that held more food, the depth and shape of their bowls mattered more than capacity. Shallow bowls slid under food more easily than spoons with deep bowls, and broad bowls held large, irregular foods like jumbo shrimp more securely.

The material of the spoon gave us mixed benefits. Nylon and silicone slotted spoons were lighter than stainless-steel models and thus easier to use for extended periods. Silicone spoons were easy to hold, but their tacky exterior meant that their bowls tended to catch and drag on the bottom of pans. More problematic, nylon and silicone bowls tended to be thicker, making it harder to get them up and under food in skillets and saucepans; these spoons tended to push slippery shrimp and meatballs around instead. By contrast, stainless-steel spoons were heavier but typically had much thinner bowl edges, making it easier to slide them underneath food. The metal spoons were also more durable.

Our new favorite, the Cuisinart Stainless Steel Slotted Spoon, $9.12, provided the best of both worlds. It had a wide, shallow, very thin bowl that slid under food easily, and because its comfortable, rounded handle was hollow, it was almost as light as a nonmetal spoon.

Methodology

We tested eight nylon, silicone, and stainless-steel slotted spoons priced from $6.99 to $34.00, using them to extract different foods (small green peas, poached eggs, meatballs, and shrimp) from cooking vessels of varying sizes and heights (skillets, saucepans, and stockpots). We rated the spoons on their weight, balance, dimensions, maneuverability, bowl design, handle design, durability, and stain and odor resistance. All models were purchased online and are ranked in order of preference.

BOWL DESIGN: Spoons with large, wide, shallow bowls made of relatively thin material made it easy to get under food; they received more points.

EASE OF USE: We gave more points to lightweight spoons that were comfortable to use for extended periods and didn’t drag on the bottoms of the pans.

HANDLE DESIGN: We awarded more points to spoons with long, comfortable, balanced handles without dedicated grips (which limited our hand position options).

CLEANUP AND DURABILITY: We docked points from spoons that scratched, stained, or retained odors after more than one wash.

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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.

$248.64*
Recommended

Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.

$141.90*

Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

$67.99*
Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

$49.93*
Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.

$129.95*

Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.

$99.95*

Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.

$24.99*

Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.

$35.88*