How does the compact version of our favorite salad spinner compare?
Published Apr. 7, 2020.
We love our favorite full-size salad spinner by OXO. It works very easily—you can push the central knob on the lid to spin the basket with just one hand—and it was the most effective of our testing lineup at cleaning and removing water from a variety of produce, with plenty of clearance under the basket to collect runoff and keep it off the dried produce. Its lid is simple to pull apart (and click back together) for washing and drying, and it's dishwasher-safe. We also like that its lid knob can be locked down flat for a more stackable, compact profile. But at 6 inches tall and 10.5 inches wide, it still takes up a lot of space, particularly in a small kitchen. What’s more, its generous capacity of about 5 quarts is great for making large salads for four to six people. But if you’re feeding fewer people or want to spin just a handful of herbs clean and dry, could a smaller version, just 4.75 inches tall and 8 inches wide, with a 2.44-quart capacity, perform as effectively?
To find out, we tested the mini version of our winner, the OXO Good Grips Little Salad and Herb Spinner, putting it through the same paces as its larger sibling—with scaled-down amounts of food. We rated it on performance, ease of use, capacity, and cleanup/durability.
Salad spinners serve two purposes: cleaning produce and then drying it. You put food in the perforated basket inside the bowl, fill the bowl with water, swish the food gently with your hands in the water, and then pull the basket out of the bowl and dump the water. If the food needs more cleaning you can repeat this step. When the food is clean, you place the basket back in the bowl; put the lid on the spinner; and start the spinning action, which uses centrifugal force to spin water away from the produce, through the basket, and out into the bowl, leaving the food in the basket clean and dry.
In our tests, we washed and dried baby spinach, red leaf lettuce, sliced leeks, and a large bunch of fresh cilantro and extracted seeds and excess juices from a pint of quartered cherry tomatoes as called for in our recipe for Greek Cherry Tomato Salad. With the greens, we carefully weighed them, placed them in the basket, added ½ cup of water to the bowl, spun them dry, and reweighed both the greens and water to see how dry the spinner left the greens. This small spinner performed on par with the full-size version. It removed nearly all the water, on average leaving only about ½ teaspoon (out of the ½ cup) clinging to both the greens and basket walls after spinning for 30 seconds.
The basket easily ...
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.
Lisa is an executive editor for ATK Reviews, cohost of Gear Heads on YouTube, and gadget expert on TV's America's Test Kitchen.