This page was updated in September 2020.
Anyone who's ever tried to peel a potato with a paring knife will know that a specially designed peeler can save precious time and avoid wastage. Hand-held fixed blades quickly remove skin and peel from fruit and veg, and particularly slick peelers can also be used to create ribbons. All told, they’re an unglamourous but essential piece of kit for your knife drawer that you can pick up for under £10.
Peelers are inexpensive, easy to store, time-saving and safe to use. Using a cumbersome knife instead is more likely to waste fruit or veg as it’s nigh on impossible to get such thin peelings. Plus, depending on your deftness of hand, the sharp pointed blade might pose a safety risk.
One of the biggest questions when it comes to peelers is whether to buy a straight or Y-shaped version. Our food editor-at-large Barney prefers Y-shaped peelers as he finds they offer more control and seem to be quicker whereas our reviewer Caroline likes a straight peeler for manoevering around potato ends and smaller produce. It’s important to find a peeler that feels comfortable in the hand and, as we saw from our sample selection, brands go some distance to creating ergonomic yet stylish peelers.
In the end, swish designs lose to really simple, sturdy ones that allow you full control over the tool. If grip is a concern, a rubber-coated peeler might be a good choice for you. Serrated blades tend to deal with soft or slippery skins better.
So which peelers perfectly marry speed and strength while being safe to use? We tested everyday models to find out.
ProCook Swivel Peeler (£3)
Best economy swivel peeler
We tested a variety of ProCook peelers. This is among the cheaper ones but also the most effective. It tackled potatoes, lemons and tomatoes well and has a pleasant non-slip grip. The appearance is reflected in the price – it's not as smart as some but it gets full marks for doing the job and feels sturdy enough to last.
OXO Good Grips Y Peeler
Best smooth blade Y Peeler and our star buy
This offered one of the best grips of all the peelers we tested - there's no danger of slippage with its textured handle and soft, feathered edges for resting thumb and first finger. The peeler coped well with the rounded ends of a potato which can prove tricky with the wrong shaped peeler or a slippery blade. It's sharp enough too for soft skins and citrus, plus it has a potato eyer. This peeler is worth the extra few pounds and is made of durable plastic.
Kuhn Rikon Piranha Y Peeler
Best serrated blade Y peeler
Most peelers seem to opt for a smooth blade but this one is slightly serrated and this really helps if you want to peel softer skins and pare citrus fruit. It also works well on harder vegetables like potatoes and carrots, making it a versatile addition to your kitchen drawer. The curved handle sits easily in the hand and we liked the appearance. Overall this is a great product that has the look and feel of quality, only missing a feature to remove potato eyes.
Microplane Professional Peeler (£19.95)
Best weighty peeler
If you like the feel of a solid utensil then this peeler is the one for you. It has a weightiness akin to a pro kitchen knife and the curved grip nestles comfortably in the palm. Microplane are known for their quality products and this feels like it'll go the distance. It wasn't the sharpest of all but it did skin potatoes and carrots swiftly, lemons required a little more work and the blade isn't really designed for soft fruits. There's a scoop at the top which digs into potato eyes easily.
Victorinox Peeler (£4)
Best peeler from a knife brand
We tried a few peelers from well-known knife brands and this was the best, and cheap too. It's surpisingly lightweight and unusally angled so depending on your preference you might love it or hate it. It was a little tricky to find the best way to hold it at first, both for peeling and when using the eyer but once we'd got the hang of it, it worked well. The blade is sharp, gliding over a potato, tackling lemon but the tomato took effort.
Zyliss Soft Skin Peeler
Best cheaper soft skin peeler
The Zyliss Soft Skin Peeler gave the Kuhn Rikon Piranha Y Peeler a run for its money, performing well on all fruit and veg we tested. Aesthetically we'd say the Piranha has the edge but this one offers a chunkier handle and a potato eyer. We preferred the Soft Skin Peeler as a great all-rounder over the other Zyliss peelers - there's really no need to buy a different one for each task.
SharpPeel Stainless Steel Potato and Vegetable Peeler (£4.99)
Best stainless steel peeler
The packaging reads 'super-sharp' and this peeler does deliver. It ran smoothly and quickly over potatoes, did a good job on citrus peel and a reasonable one on tomatoes. Its nipped in underneath the Y which proves a comfortable resting place for the hands. Lightweight and stainless steel, it offers a smart and streamlined appearance.
Circulon Momentum Y Peeler
Best of the rest
We tested 23 peelers and this one reached the final cut as a reliable, solid utensil. It has a sharp blade that made short work of potatoes but like many smooth bladed peelers it struggled more on citrus and soft fruits. The mirrored stainless steel Y gives it a different look to the other Ys, a purely aesethetic feature. It's lightweight but not at all flimsy and has a potato eyer. The handle's chunkier and longer than some offering plenty to hang onto.
What we looked for in a peeler:
Grip: When you’re dealing with blades, it’s essential to have a firm hold on your utensil. We looked for handles that not only felt comfortable and secure in the hand but also those with rubber or ribbed surfaces.
Sharpness: We noted how smoothly and quickly each peeler performed, gliding evenly and paring skin away easily.
Weight: We preferred peelers with a little weight as we found this helped with control but have showcased a range to account for different preferences.
Ease of use: For something so simple, it seems to be surprisingly easy to make an ineffective peeler. Some blades get caught and don’t remove skin in one fluid motion. Others just don’t sit well in the hand. We wanted something that made peeling easier than using a knife, not more complicated.
How we tested: We tested 23 peelers using potatoes and carrots, which are likely to be the most commonly peeled ingredients. We tested tomatoes to see how they fared with soft skins and citrus fruit to check how well the peelers coped with paring.
See more products tests in our reviews section.
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.
What peeler do you use? Leave a comment below...