Which salad spinner model can wash and dry your greens without wearing you out?
Published Nov. 1, 2018. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 21: Bistro Classics at Home
If you're trying to eat plenty of greens, there's no better tool than a salad spinner to make short work of cleaning and drying them. But a well-designed model is a must. It should be roomy enough to let you prep large quantities in the fewest possible batches. It must remove water thoroughly so salad dressings can cling and sautés won't splatter. Working the spinner should be reasonably easy and comfortable. And cleanup should be straightforward, with simple parts that don't trap dishwater.
We tested seven salad spinners, priced from $15.94 to $48.99, including the newest version of our former favorite, the OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner ($29.99), which was recently redesigned. All the models in our lineup operate similarly: A perforated plastic basket sits inside a larger, lidded bowl. You use a mechanism—whether it's a crank, plunger, lever, or pull cord—to spin the basket, creating centrifugal force to expel liquid, which collects in the outer bowl, leaving the basket contents dry.
We used each model to wash baby spinach, sturdy kale, spring greens, and heavy, sandy chopped leeks and to extract excess juice from quartered cherry tomatoes for a salad recipe. We measured the capacities of the salad spinners' baskets, evaluated their mechanisms, and checked how much liquid they were able to remove from a measured amount of greens and water. As we used and washed them multiple times, we observed how well they held up and how easy they were to clean and dry. One note: Two spinners, by Cuisinart and Gourmia, turned out to be identical except for color; we tested them individually but grouped them together in our rankings.
The first problem we spotted was capacity. Many models had designs that severely cut into the available space. One was built like a tube pan with a tall central stem, making us fuss to arrange lettuce or leeks around the narrow, doughnut-shaped basket. Another had a wide cylindrical protrusion beneath its lid that hung down 2 inches, slightly crushing baby spinach we'd confidently piled in. A third's basket had a rippled shape supposedly to help liquid escape, but this limited its capacity. The twin models had the smallest, narrowest baskets in the lineup; they were also thin, drooping when we lifted them filled with heavy, wet leeks. Only a couple of models had large, unobstructed, sturdy baskets that let us load in plenty of greens and handle them confidently.
To get greens and vegetables really clean, we like to keep the basket of food inside the outer bowl while filling it with water to thoroughly soak the contents. Then we lift o...
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Lisa is an executive editor for ATK Reviews, cohost of Gear Heads on YouTube, and gadget expert on TV's America's Test Kitchen.