A mandoline is by far the easiest and most efficient way to uniformly cut food. Depending on which blades are included, you can slice, crinkle and waffle cut, julienne, chip, grate and zest. Of course, you can always do these tasks by hand, but it's extremely hard to do so with as much accuracy or speed.
Mandolines are great for making soups, salads, slaws, pickled vegetables, potato and vegetable gratins. If you prefer a smart restaurant-style finish over the rustic look, then this is definitely the gadget for you.
When buying a mandoline, the first aspect to look at is which functions you're likely to use. Slicing is the core feature of any mandoline, but does a broad range of thicknesses with precision measurements appeal, or would two to three options suffice?
A julienne blade saves a lot of time if you otherwise do this by hand. Some offer only small julienne, others will produce French fry-style chips. We tend to think of crinkle and waffle cuts as a fun but nonessential addition, yet they can provide an interesting texture to soups and salads, and why not if the option's there?
Grating and zesting are handy too if you want to cut back on how many different gadgets you have in the cupboard, although the surface area tends to be smaller. If you're used to a big box grater, you might find this slower.
Safety is another consideration. Look for blade locks, a sufficiently large hand guard/feeder, non-slip feet and a handle.
There are a few mini mandolines on the market which might also be worth considering if their specific uses encompass your needs. Joseph Joseph's Handi-Grate slices small items like garlic and ginger and even comes with a hand guard. Flip it over and there's a fine grater for zest too.
Microplane offers a slightly wider slicing tool. It works very effectively for cutting rounds from long vegetables such as courgette and cucumber. However, if you want to use it for smaller foods or anything where your hands need to get close to the blade, we'd suggest buying the hand guard as this is not included.
Read on to find five mandolines worth investing in. For over 200 expert buyer's guides, visit our product review section for everything from the best food processors to the best blenders and best coffee machines.
OXO Good Grips chef's mandoline 2.0, £70
Most versatile mandoline
This mandoline offers an impressive 21 settings, including different widths for slices, starting at 0.5mm and going up to 9mm in 0.5mm increments. You can also do crinkle and waffle cuts, but these need to start at around 4mm to be effective as the grooves are quite deep on the blade.
Using the julienne settings, you can cut matchsticks and fine chips with ease. Extra marks were given for it being dishwasher safe, sturdy and easy to set up, with a super-simple illustrated instruction booklet. We also liked the spring-loaded hand guard/feeder which requires less coordination than ones that you have to manually push down as you slice.
Zyliss multi-prep mandoline
Best mandoline for a variety of foods
The most impressive feature on this mandoline is the well-designed hand guard/feeder. Like the OXO version, it's spring-loaded, but it has a couple of extra features too. On one side the feeder hooks onto the mandoline body so it fits neatly within runners for smooth slicing.
The other side flips up and there are teeth at one end, so if the food doesn't fit into the feeder, it can wedge securely underneath, meaning you can slice longer veg lengthways. There's also a hole in the feeder, allowing you to stand foods such as carrots and cucumbers upright, giving the option to cut rings.
The versatility of the hand guard/feeder means there's no need to use the mandoline without it, whatever food you're slicing, boosting its safety credentials. As for different cuts, the mandoline slices in thicknesses from 0.5-6mm, offers crinkle cuts and two sizes of julienne. The julienne are either matchstick or slightly bigger, but ideally we'd have liked an option for fries. Waffle cuts were a little tricky to achieve. The mandoline is dishwasher safe.
PL.8 Professional slicer, £32.99
Best value mandoline
This mandoline was our runaway favourite for the occasional user, offering fantastic value for money and effective slicing and julienning while not taking up much cupboard space. It's a handheld mandoline, but with a comfortable grip on the handle and non-slip stand, it remains stable while in use.
The mandoline produces slices in three thicknesses, which are noticeably different and easy to engage, unlike many we tried. There are also three sizes of julienne. The hand guard/feeder is generously proportioned and sits well on the runners, making it easy to use without slipping. Grating, crinkle and waffle cuts are not an option, so if you're after a wider variety of cuts, this isn't the one for you.
Cuisipro handheld mandoline
Best space-saving mandoline
If you want one gadget to cover a number of jobs, then this Cuisipro mandoline could be the solution. There are five thickness settings for slicing and two different blade widths for julienne, with the ability to adjust thickness from matchsticks to French fries. Crinkle and waffle cuts work best in two thicknesses, which we feel is sufficient.
Add a grating blade to the mix and this gives a variety of useful functions in one tool. The lock mode does leave the julienne blades a little exposed, but there's the ability to take all the blades out for storage, meaning you can slide the mandoline into a small space without concern for safety. The hand guard/feeder is small compared to some we tested, but it runs smoothly so is easy to use.
What to look for when buying a mandoline
1. Ease of assembly and disassembly: A mandoline that's awkward to set up and take apart is likely to stay in the cupboard. We looked for products that were simple to put together, with clearly marked settings.
2. Practical design/ease of use: Blades should be easy to swap and adjust. The hand guard/feeder got extra points if it was large or flexible for different food shapes and sizes, spring-loaded or it included a guide rail.
3. Variety of settings: We took into account the size of the mandoline over options it offered, expecting more from the larger ones. Effectiveness over number were favoured in our final line-up.
4. Ease of cleaning: Dishwashing was not essential as long as cleaning by hand proved easy – this hung largely on how simple the mandoline was to take apart and access any food debris.
5. Safety: It's extremely easy to cut yourself with a mandoline due to the sharpness of the blades. We looked for a versatile hand guard, non-slip base and handle, blade lock and ease of assembly to avoid accidental slipping.
How we tested
We tested each of the blades and thickness settings using a variety of foods. We wanted to see how the mandolines coped with softer items, such as tomatoes and harder ones, like carrots. We tested what we deemed to be common uses, including potato slices and chips, courgette ribbons, carrot rounds and julienne, tomato and orange slices, crinkle cut cucumbers and grated cheese.
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This review was last updated in September 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at email@example.com.