Potato Mashers

From Cook's Country | October/November 2016
  • Print

Overview:

Do you look at your potato masher and think, “That is a great tool that does its one job really well?” If not, maybe it’s time for an upgrade. Traditional mashers have long, solid handles attached to either a wavy wire or a perforated disk, but we’ve seen a number of products with innovative designs such as a coil shape or a spring-loaded handle. Could any of these new products make mashing easier?

To find out, we rounded up 15 different mashers priced from $6.99 to $29.99—five wavy, five perforated, and five innovative—and started with an elimination round to weed out any that were unacceptably flawed. We used each product to mash 2 pounds of boiled Yukon Gold potatoes (the type of potato we use most often in our recipes) in a large saucepan, counting the number of passes it took to get rid of lumps and rating each masher on comfort and durability. Products that bent or warped, were painful to hold, or took more than 50 passes to mash the potatoes (the best took around 30) were immediately out. This included most of the… read more

Do you look at your potato masher and think, “That is a great tool that does its one job really well?” If not, maybe it’s time for an upgrade. Traditional mashers have long, solid handles attached to either a wavy wire or a perforated disk, but we’ve seen a number of products with innovative designs such as a coil shape or a spring-loaded handle. Could any of these new products make mashing easier?

To find out, we rounded up 15 different mashers priced from $6.99 to $29.99—five wavy, five perforated, and five innovative—and started with an elimination round to weed out any that were unacceptably flawed. We used each product to mash 2 pounds of boiled Yukon Gold potatoes (the type of potato we use most often in our recipes) in a large saucepan, counting the number of passes it took to get rid of lumps and rating each masher on comfort and durability. Products that bent or warped, were painful to hold, or took more than 50 passes to mash the potatoes (the best took around 30) were immediately out. This included most of the innovative products—their uncomfortable handles and inefficient mashing plates made for slow and painful mashing.

That left us with nine mashers, which we tested by mashing starchier russets, softer sweet potatoes, and more Yukon Golds in 2- and 4-quart saucepans and an 8-quart Dutch oven.

We also had different testers (men and women, lefties and righties) try each masher on a measured amount of boiled potatoes. In total, we muscled through almost 150 pounds of potatoes.

We immediately noticed that mashers with perforated mashing plates (which are round or oval) made smoother potatoes and took less effort than wave-style products. The larger gaps in wavy mashers often left lumps of untouched potato, and these mashers’ blocky footprints made it difficult to navigate the circular edges of pans, especially in smaller saucepans. Testers preferred perforated mashing plates with lots of small holes—our two favorite mashers had 50 or more—which made a smoother, more even mash. Wave-shaped mashers also occasionally bent or warped during tougher mashing, while the solid plate on most perforated mashers stayed rigid.

The size of the mashing plate was also a point of contention. The plates on the mashers ranged from 7.6 square inches to 14.6 square inches; our favorites fell solidly in the middle. Mashers with plates that were too large struggled to maneuver in smaller 2-quart saucepans, while petite products took almost twice as many passes to mash the same amount of potatoes. The ideal was a plate with an area of about 10 square inches (about the size of a baseball), which speedily navigated pans of all sizes.

Testers also zeroed in on the size, shape, and material of the handles. Larger-handed testers had trouble holding handles that were 4 inches or shorter; thin, short, or metal handles were uncomfortable and slippery. Lefties and righties of all sizes preferred handles around 5 or 6 inches long with a slight curve and a secure plastic grip.

Finally, we washed all the mashers by hand after each test and ran them through the dishwasher 10 times to simulate months of washing. Lower-ranked products trapped potato in hard-to-reach spots or emerged from the dishwasher warped and scratched. Our favorite products were easy to clean by hand and still looked as good as new after multiple runs through the dishwasher.

Our favorite product was the Zyliss Stainless Steel Potato Masher ($12.99), a traditional perforated masher that has a long, curved plastic handle and a sturdy, circular plate; it was maneuverable, comfortable, and efficient.

less
  • Product Tested

    Results Key:

    Good ★ ★ ★ Fair ★ ★ Poor
  • Highly Recommended - Winner

    Zyliss Stainless Steel Potato Masher

    This tall tool has a sturdy metal mashing plate supported by a long, curved handle made of slip-free plastic. The plethora of small holes on its mashing plate made an ultracreamy, smooth mash, and its handle felt comfortable in hands of all sizes. Its round mashing plate eased effortlessly along the edges of every pan and made quick work of mashing all types of potatoes.

    • Comfort ★★★
    • Mashing ★★★
    • Durability ★★★
    • Compatibility ★★★

    $12.99

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    Prepara Flip Masher

    This innovative masher’s convex plate promoted a gentle rocking motion, allowing us to build momentum as we mashed. Its 73 holes produced supersmooth potatoes, and its curved plastic handle was comfortable for all except the largest hands to hold. One qualm: While this masher folds flat for storage, the folding mechanism trapped food and triggered once during mashing.

    • Comfort ★★
    • Mashing ★★★
    • Durability ★★
    • Compatibility ★★★

    $14.79

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    WMF Profi Plus Potato Masher

    Our old favorite, this perforated oval masher made relatively smooth potatoes and easily navigated around the edges of pans. A few testers lamented its shorter handle and smaller footprint, but most found this masher comfortable to hold and easy to maneuver. Its handle had a very slight bend after extensive mashing, but testers didn’t notice a performance difference.

    • Comfort ★★
    • Mashing ★★
    • Durability ★★½
    • Compatibility ★★★

    $19.69

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended with Reservations

    OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher

    This masher’s horizontal handle was comfortable to hold and easy to maneuver. While it made relatively smooth potatoes, its shorter stature meant we were constantly banging our arms against the hot lip of the pot as we mashed, especially in taller Dutch ovens. Still, this masher was sturdy and worked quickly.

    • Comfort ★★★
    • Mashing ★★
    • Durability ★★★
    • Compatibility

    $12.99

  • Recommended with Reservations

    KitchenAid Wire Masher

    While this wave-style masher maneuvered easily in larger vessels, its long footprint clunked around in smaller saucepans, banging into sides and sloshing potatoes over the edge. Its plastic handle was comfortable and sturdy but a smidge too small for larger hands. Still, most potatoes made with this masher were deemed perfectly acceptable.

    • Comfort ★★
    • Mashing ★★
    • Durability ★★★
    • Compatibility ★★

    $11.88

  • Tovolo Silicone Potato Masher

    Recommended with Reservations

    Tovolo Silicone Potato Masher

    While we liked that this plastic masher can be used on nonstick surfaces, it slipped and slid as we tried to mash in traditional stainless-steel saucepans. Though its thick metal handle was comfortable to hold, its wavy mashing plate had trouble maneuvering in smaller saucepans and produced slightly lumpy potatoes.

    • Comfort ★★
    • Mashing ★★
    • Durability ★★★
    • Compatibility ★★

    $14.95

  • Not Recommended

    OXO Steel Potato Masher

    “Seems like it was made for a smaller person with a smaller pot and smaller potatoes,” said one tester about this masher’s teensy footprint and stubbier handle. Though it felt sturdy in smaller hands, this product took almost double the number of passes to achieve the same results as larger mashers, especially in bigger pots. Larger testers also struggled to find a comfortable grip.

    • Comfort ★½
    • Mashing ★½
    • Durability ★★★
    • Compatibility ★★

    $11.99

  • Not Recommended

    OXO Good Grips Nylon Potato Masher

    This plastic masher’s thick, flat base was clunky to lift and struggled to push through a thick mash. Its deep tines trapped potatoes and were a pain to clean by hand (the dishwasher fared much better). While its long, grippy handle was ultracomfortable, it once detached from the base while we mashed.

    • Comfort ★★
    • Mashing ★½
    • Durability ★★
    • Compatibility ★★½

    $6.99

  • Not Recommended

    Calphalon Nylon Potato Masher

    This lightweight plastic masher felt cheap and flimsy, forcing us to mash gingerly. Its larger holes required us to make more passes, and its diagonal mashing plate had trouble getting into the edges of smaller saucepans. After a few trips through the dishwasher, this masher emerged scratched and nicked.

    • Comfort ★½
    • Mashing ★½
    • Durability ★★
    • Compatibility ★★½

    $10.54

  • Not Recommended (Eliminated)

    Reo Potato Masher

    The combination of this product’s curved plate and its horizontal handle made for unsteady, painful mashing. It took a tight, clenched grip to maneuver this masher through the potatoes, and its irregular shape struggled to reach into the edges of the pot. Its plastic handle emerged from the dishwasher scratched.

    • Comfort
    • Mashing ★½
    • Durability ★★
    • Compatibility

    $12.99

  • Not Recommended (Eliminated)

    Zwilling Twin Pure Stainless Steel Potato Masher

    This masher, which already looked like a bent spatula, was too easy to warp and deform—just a little bit of pressure in the wrong direction sent the handle collapsing toward the slotted mashing plate. Though its long handle felt comfortable in testers’ hands and kept our arms elevated from the hot pot, its small plate took extra effort to get the job done.

    • Comfort ★★
    • Mashing ★½
    • Durability
    • Compatibility

    $29.99

  • Not Recommended (Eliminated)

    Harold Import Co. The World’s Greatest 2-in-1 Mix’n Masher

    World’s greatest? Not unless you like cramped hands and lumpy potatoes. This masher’s flimsy wires, which are meant to double as whisk tines, slipped around as we pressed it into potatoes and made a smooth mash impossible to achieve. Though its long handle was comfortable enough, our hands were still aching by the end of testing from the extra effort required to control its unwieldy tines.

    • Comfort ★★
    • Mashing
    • Durability
    • Compatibility

    $16.19

  • Not Recommended (Eliminated)

    Joseph Joseph Smasher

    This spring-loaded perforated disk barely made a dent in boiled potatoes, leaving a compacted layer of unmashed potato pressed into the bottom of the pan. We struggled to find a comfortable grip around its paltry keyhole-shaped handle, and the exposed spring under the handle occasionally gunked up with potato, rendering the masher useless.

    • Comfort
    • Mashing
    • Durability
    • Compatibility

    $20.49

  • Not Recommended (Eliminated)

    Kuhn Rikon Potato Masher

    This wavy masher had thin tines that easily warped as we mashed. After just one use, its very thin wires were bent and stretched, as if it had been used for years. The threat of warping caused testers to loosen their grip, leading to lackluster, fairly lumpy potatoes. A few also found the thin metal handle uncomfortable to hold.

    • Comfort ★★
    • Mashing ★★
    • Durability
    • Compatibility

    $19.69

  • Not Recommended (Eliminated)

    Dreamfarm Smood

    This product’s coil shape and inept mashing left us wondering if we had accidentally mistaken a whisk for a potato masher (we hadn’t). Its handle moved around like an unwieldy joystick on its unstable base, forcing us to tighten our grip to keep the handle steady. After just one use, this masher had a prominent lean from warped and stretched coils.

    • Comfort
    • Mashing
    • Durability
    • Compatibility

    $24.95

  • All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
In My Favorites
Please Wait…
Remove Favorite
Add to custom collection