What’s the best all-purpose lightweight cutting board for home cooks?
Published July 23, 2020.
Plastic cutting boards don’t get no respect. Sure, they’re not as beautiful as their wood and bamboo counterparts, and they aren’t designed to last forever—nobody buys one expecting to hand it down to their grandchildren. But these utilitarian boards have their own advantages. Unlike wood cutting boards, plastic boards require no maintenance. They’re thin and relatively lightweight, so they’re much easier to maneuver and clean by hand than heavy wood cutting boards. What’s more, they can be thrown in the dishwasher, a boon for cooks who worry about hygiene when working with meat or poultry. And best of all, they’re comparatively inexpensive, making them accessible to most cooks and easy to replace in the event that they crack or warp.
We’ve never devoted an entire review solely to large plastic cutting boards, and we thought it was high time we put a spotlight on these practical, economical options. So we bought seven models, priced from about $19 to about $70, including the redesigned version of the OXO Good Grips Carving and Cutting Board, our favorite plastic cutting board in an earlier testing of different types of cutting boards. Each model measured about 20 inches long and 15 inches wide—the minimum size we’ve found to be best for all-purpose use, providing enough room to break down a chicken without feeling cramped.
We put the cutting boards to work, using them as we diced onions, minced parsley, pounded chicken breasts into cutlets, and cleaved nearly 10 pounds of chicken parts. We smeared chipotle chiles in adobo sauce on each model to evaluate if it stained and retained odors, and we washed all the boards by hand and in the dishwasher 50 times to test how they held up to extended wear and tear. We also sent copies of each cutting board home with staffers to see how they all fared over the course of a month.
Preferences started to emerge during the very first tests we ran. Stability was critical. While we don’t mind using a gripper mat or a damp paper towel under a board to help keep it steady, we’d prefer not to use one if we don’t have to. Used without these aids, some models just didn’t stay put on the counter. Weight helped: The heavier the board, the more likely it was to stay still as we chopped or diced. We preferred boards that had a little heft to them, weighing between 4 and 5 pounds, or about a third of the weight of our favorite heavy-duty wood board. Weight alone wasn’t enough to keep the boards from moving, though. Rubber grips—feet, strips, or ridges that help anchor the board to the counter—were even more important. Smooth plastic boards that lacked these grips skidded oc...
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Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.