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The Best Handheld Spiralizers

Vegetable “noodles” aren’t going away, but tabletop spiralizers are bulky. Are smaller, handheld versions up to the task?

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Published Sept. 1, 2017.

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What You Need To Know

Handheld spiralizers promise to cut ribbons and noodles from a variety of produce without taking up as much room as tabletop models. They’re simple tools that operate like pepper mills or pencil sharpeners: Holding the canister-like base with one hand, you use your other hand (or a pronged holder) to twist a piece of produce over a series of blades set into the spiralizer’s top, and noodles or ribbons come out the other side. We wanted to know if any of them could compete with our favorite tabletop spiralizer, the Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer ($33.24). So we tested four models, priced from $14.95 to $24.99, and compared them with the Tri-Blade, using each to spiralize zucchini, beets, apples, carrots, and butternut squashes.

Testers appreciated the smaller footprint and uncomplicated design of the handheld models; they’re easier than the tabletop models to set up and clean and more intuitive to use. But the admiration largely ended there. Most of the handheld models had sharp blades and were capable of making nice-looking ribbons and noodles from all the produce we threw at them, but they took about six times as long as the Tri-Blade to do so: The handheld models processed a single 8-ounce zucchini in an average of about 2 minutes, while our favorite tabletop model breezed through it in 30 seconds.

Worse, the handheld versions took a lot of effort to operate—it’s hard on the wrists to twist a zucchini around and around for 2 minutes, let alone a chunk of dense butternut squash. It’s even more difficult for left-handed cooks: Because of the positions of the blades, produce can only be twisted clockwise, a direction that lefties found particularly awkward. And while a few of the models came with rubbery bands to make the bases more secure, most were made of slippery, hard-to-grip plastic. If you’re cooking for more than yourself—for example, spiralizing the six zucchini needed to feed four people—the time (12 minutes) and labor can add up.

Moreover, the handheld models required users to trim the sides and sometimes the lengths of longer, wider produce before it could be spiralized—an annoying extra step that isn’t necessary when you spiralize on the Tri-Blade. We preferred models with canisters at least 2.5 inches in diameter, as these allowed us to trim less off the sides of wider pieces of produce. We also preferred models that didn’t make us cut long produce in half in order to fit inside the canisters, as two of the models did.

We’ll take a faster, more efficient tabletop spiralizer over a slower, more labor-intensive handheld model any day. Still, if you have limited storage space and pl...

Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.
*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.

Miye Bromberg

Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.

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