A mandoline is a kitchen tool that helps speed up vegetable-and-fruit prep tasks by allowing for uniform cuts in a fraction of the time it takes to chop with a chef’s knife. But it’s not for the faint of heart: Those perfectly even slices can also cut your fingers, especially if you use one incorrectly. So we looked for the best mandolines that’ll let you get the job done without risking injury.
The most important feature in a good mandoline is the blades: Look for hardened stainless steel and micro-serrated V-shaped blades that require less pressure to slice through food, compared with traditional straight or round blades. Depending on the amount of food you want to process, consider whether a hand guard is included for added safety—or, at least, easy-to-use levers to adjust the size of the blade. A nonslip base and notches at the base that fit over a bowl help you keep the mandoline stable during slicing, too.
Another consideration is the number and variety of blade settings and types. A basic model offers a fixed single straight blade with various width levels, while more sophisticated mandolines allow for multiple blade styles and shapes, like waffle and wavy cuts or small julienne pieces. If you’re a professional cook, you may prefer a no-frills French mandoline with a range of precise thickness levels—though it can be bulky to use.
When choosing a mandoline, consider its stability and how easy it is to clean. Many models are made from plastic and have a limited number of blade settings; sturdier, metal-framed options can be more expensive but last for years under heavy use. And always remember to keep a finger guard handy and out of reach of young kids, pets, and curious fingers while using this sharp tool.