To find a tool that works quickly and with the least possible amount of pressure, we asked testers with various hand sizes to try four models ($9.99–$34.99). We gave them everything from hard Parmesan to semisoft cheddar to soft mozzarella, and even a chunk of chocolate.
Not surprisingly, the most important factor turned out to be the size of the grater’s barrel: The larger its diameter, the faster it worked. Models with barrels narrower than 2 inches in diameter came in with correspondingly sluggish grating times, while the widest-barreled (2 5/8-inch) grater zipped through an ounce of cheddar in 15 seconds.
The other major considerations—handle comfort and cleanup—were all about simplicity. Graters that disassembled quickly and contained fewer pieces made cleanup a breeze. We also much preferred classic designs—in which one hand presses a clamp against the cheese to hold it in place while the other hand rotates the handle—to innovative devices. Operating one sleek-looking model, for example, meant balancing its T-shaped body in your palm while painfully pressing the cheese clamp against the barrel with only your thumb. Even an ultra-wide (2¾-inch) barrel couldn’t compensate for the gimmicky peppermill-like design of one model. To generate any shreds at all required twisting the body with considerable force, and even then it produced scrappy, squished bits of mozzarella and a paltry pile of grated chocolate.
The bottom line: No rotary grater is going to match the speed of a box or rasp-style tool, but our favorite rotary model, which sports an ergonomic turn-crank handle and a pair of easily interchangeable wide-mouth drums (fine and coarse), makes short work of small, at-the-table grating tasks—and cleans up in the dishwasher.
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasn’t sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|Recommended with Reservations|
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.
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