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January/February 2016

Manual Citrus Juicers

The Amco Houseworks Lemon Squeezer has long been our favorite manual citrus juicer. But when we started replacing kitchen copies every couple of months because of worn or chipped enamel, we wondered if there was something more durable that we would like equally well.

How We Tested

The Amco Houseworks Lemon Squeezer has long been our favorite manual citrus juicer. But when we started replacing kitchen copies every couple of months because of worn or chipped enamel, we wondered if there was something more durable that we would like equally well. We tried 12 models, priced from $5.99 to $23.04, in a variety of styles: countertop reamers, handheld reamers, and presses. We rounded up righties and lefties with small and large hands to put the juicers through their paces. The ability to efficiently juice lemons and limes was a must, but models received bonus points if they could also handle medium and large oranges. We juiced at least 50 pieces of fruit with each model. Handheld reamers performed the worst. While some testers thought these compact, knob-like tools worked quickly and were easy to clean, most lamented that they sprayed juice all over their hands and dropped seeds into the juice. Worse, they were inefficient, collecting on average 30 percent less juice than the top-performing press style. Tabletop reamers fared somewhat better, eliminating the mess with their built-in collection bowls and seed grates. Unfortunately, the extra parts also meant more to disassemble and clean—not ideal when you only need a few tablespoons of juice. While we liked a few tabletop reamers with less fussy designs, this style produced an average of 17 percent less juice than press juicers, which, in general, we preferred above all.

Press-style models quickly trapped seeds and extracted the most juice with minimal effort. Their one flaw: Some smaller models had trouble accommodating large lemons (though most fruits could be quartered into smaller pieces that fit). Our favorite, the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer ($23.04), was the most accommodating of the bunch and could even fit medium-size oranges with ease. It extracted far and away the most juice of any model in the lineup. Its larger, slat-like holes were also more efficient, draining the most juice without splattering or overflowing. Plus, it’s durable: Its tough plastic exterior showed no signs of wear, even after squeezing more than 200 pieces of fruit.

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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

$33.31*

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.