All-Around Champ: De Buyer La Mandoline Swing
Reasonably priced and user-friendly, this model is a great value for the money. The straight blades are razor-sharp and made for smooth slicing on almost everything except tomatoes and carrots. The spring-loaded pusher is easy to use and roomy enough to hold an average-size potato. This mandoline really excelled at crinkle and waffle cuts, but without measured markings you have to guess as you adjust for thickness. The Swing comes with a double-sided blade that’s straight on one side and serrated on the other (for crinkle and waffle cuts), and a double-sided julienne blade with 4 mm (3/16 inch) and 10 mm (2/3 inch) widths. It’s available in a variety of colors—orange, green, red, and black.
Best Buy: Oxo Good Grips V-Blade Mandoline Slicer
This plastic model with a surprisingly sharp V-blade is a solid entry-level mandoline. It can slice in thicknesses from 1/16 inch to 1/4 inch, create two widths of julienne cuts (1/8 inch and 1/4 inch), make crinkle cuts (but not waffle), and even dice (1/8 inch and 1/4 inch), a feature the other models do not have. The large pusher has an easy-to-grip shape that keeps your hand comfortably away from the blade. A color-coded dial makes it simple to set the thickness of a cut, but there are only four thickness settings. As a result, the French fries we made with this model were pretty thin. The blades store neatly under the unit.
How it works:
• A mandoline consists of an angled “runway” with a sharp blade mounted across the middle. The top half of the runway adjusts in height to vary the thickness of your cuts. The bottom half doesn’t move.
• Most mandolines feature “pushers” with protective hand guards to hold the food in place as it slides down the runway and across the blade. The sliced food falls underneath.
• For julienne slices, mount an additional blade with teeth in front of the straight blade.
• For crinkle cuts, replace the straight blade with a wavy, serrated blade.
• For waffle or lattice cuts, use the crinkle-cut blade to make the first (very thin) cut, then slide the pusher—with food attached—back up to the top, rotate it a quarter turn, and slide it down the runway again.