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February/March 2018

Garlic Presses

Sure, you can mince garlic with a knife, but a good garlic press makes the job faster and easier. 

How We Tested

A garlic press is meant to be a convenient alternative to a chef’s knife, giving you minced garlic in seconds—no knife skills required. This small everyday tool is usually quite simple: The traditional design consists of a hopper or perforated basket that holds garlic cloves, a plunger that presses garlic through the perforations, and a lever mechanism or handles that force the plunger down on the cloves.

Our longtime favorite garlic press, the Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press, makes quick work of mincing, is comfortable to hold, and is easy to clean—but at $44.95, it’s expensive. With new and cheaper models on the market—including a cube‑shaped gadget and a curved model that rocks back and forth—we wondered if any could offer reliable mincing at a lower price. We selected nine products (including our former winner) ranging in price from $14.99 to $44.95 and put them to the test.

We used each press to mince peeled garlic cloves, and because some presses claim to work with unpeeled cloves, we tried those, too (both with and without their woody stems). To test how mince quality affected flavor, we made infused olive oil, and to see how the garlic fared in a cooked application, we made batches of our Pasta with Garlic and Oil. Finally, we asked users of different hand sizes and skill levels to mince peeled and unpeeled cloves with each press.

Examining Mince Size and Quality

There were minor differences in mince size, with most garlic presses giving us a paste-like consistency. Two presses produced a mince with slightly larger pieces, but one model had drastically different results than the rest: It created little columns of garlic, like a julienne. With the exception of that model, the presses we tested produced minced garlic that was acceptably sized and uniform, so there were no noticeable flavor or texture differences in our infused oils or pasta dishes. (An uneven mince can result in unevenly cooked bits of garlic and inconsistent texture in a dish.)

Ease of Use: Less Strain and a Simple Design Are Best

There were real differences among the presses when it came to ease of use, however. Two presses required our full body weight to force garlic through the perforations, straining our shoulders and wrists. And unpeeled cloves were challenging for all models. The fibrous skin was harder to get through, not to mention that the minced garlic tended to spray in different directions as it emerged from the press. Our winner and other highly rated presses made the arduous task slightly easier, though it still required some effort.

Another issue? How easy it was to load garlic into the hoppers of some models. One press had a small 1¼-inch opening between plunger and hopper, and with little room for our fingers, it was difficult to insert cloves. Another model’s arm swung wide open, so it flopped about as we loaded cloves, making the process less efficient. We preferred hinged models with handles that opened wide enough to give us plenty of garlic-loading leeway but not so much that the handles moved wildly while we inserted cloves.

Some models had additional design features that were useless—or worse, that hindered performance. One model’s “ejector,” which operates much like a portion scoop’s release mechanism, inadvertently trapped some of the garlic underneath while flinging the rest toward us. The cube-shaped model had a push-down lid that put users’ fingers at risk; it once snapped shut on a tester’s finger and drew blood. Yet another product’s handle had an attached cleaning brush that kept popping out mid-mince. In short, our favorite products were intuitive and easy to use, with simple, streamlined designs.

Cleanup: Plunger Design Is Key, and a Pull-Out Hopper Helps

Finally, cleanup was critical. Two models had multiple parts—one press had six pieces—that required disassembly prior to washing. This meant we had to keep track of the parts and put everything back together after each use, which is totally impractical for a tool that’s all about convenience. Another design flaw we noticed was plungers covered in nubs, which trapped garlic and made the plungers difficult to clean. Our top two presses both had a smooth, flat surface that pushed garlic through a perforated hopper, with no protrusions to clean afterward. Our favorite press had the added feature of a swing-out hopper that made it easy to remove clove remnants.

The Best Garlic Press

Ultimately, we can fully recommend only one garlic press. The Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press ($44.95) again beat out the competition, giving us uniformly minced garlic with minimal effort. Its weighty, curved handles; stainless-steel construction; and pop-out hopper made for a comfortable, easy-to-clean press that was smooth to operate—even with tricky unpeeled garlic cloves. While it was the most expensive model we tried, we’ve used this garlic press in the test kitchen for years, so we can say with confidence that it is a good investment.

Methodology

We tested nine garlic presses priced from $14.99 to $44.95. We minced approximately 20 cloves per press, testing with medium-size peeled and unpeeled cloves, with and without their woody stems. Four additional testers of varying hand sizes and skill levels also evaluated the presses, and we minced an additional 25 cloves with our top-rated models. We assessed garlic flavor and texture by preparing our Garlic Basting Oil for Vegetables and our Pasta with Garlic and Oil (Aglio e Olio) with top-rated models. We tested durability by washing each press 10 times in the dishwasher and scraping garlic off the face of the press with a paring knife a minimum of 25 times. Prices listed are what we paid online. Test scores were averaged, and the garlic presses appear in order of preference.

Performance: Testers minced both peeled and unpeeled cloves, giving highest marks to models that consistently pressed the entire clove, producing an acceptably sized and uniform mince.

Ease of Use: Testers minced both peeled and unpeeled cloves, rating presses highest if they were intuitive to use, efficiently minced cloves, required minimal strength to operate, and were easy to load.

Cleanup: We cleaned clove remnants from the press and disassembled and washed all parts after mincing garlic, giving highest marks to models that were fast and easy to clean with no disassembly required.

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The Results

Note: Cook's Country continuously updates our equipment reviews and taste tests. The written content below is the most up-to-date information available and may not match what appears in the video segment.

Key:
Good
Fair
Poor
Winner
Recommended

Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press

$44.95

Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press

Our former winner, which is made from stainless steel, again worked seamlessly from start to finish. Its comfortable handles opened wide, allowing us to easily load cloves. It produced a uniform mince, handled unpeeled cloves well, and quickly rinsed clean. Two minor issues: We pinched our fingers between the handles a couple of times, and garlic sometimes squished up and around the plunger if we minced multiple cloves at once. But overall we loved this sleek, easy-to-use press.

More Details
Cleanup
Ease of Use
Performance
$44.95
Recommended with Reservations

OXO Good Grips Garlic Press

$15.99

OXO Good Grips Garlic Press

This press was easy to use and to clean and produced a mince that was slightly larger than most of the lineup, owing to its larger, square perforations. However, testers didn’t love its wedge-shaped hopper, which had an open side that let garlic slip out. The hinged arms also seemed loose, as they swung around during clove placement and cleaning.

More Details
Cleanup
Ease of Use
Performance
$15.99

Zyliss Susi 3 Garlic Press

$19.99

Zyliss Susi 3 Garlic Press

One of the lightest models in the lineup, this press was easy to use and produced a nice uniform mince; it even handled unpeeled cloves with relative ease. However, the built-in cleaning tool—which latched onto the handle—was easy to knock out during use, so we kept having to retrieve and reinsert it. This model’s coating also showed scratches from the paring knife (which we used to remove minced garlic from its face). Finally, we had to repeatedly reposition the plunger because it didn’t always shift into the proper position on its own.

More Details
Cleanup
Ease of Use
Performance
$19.99

Calphalon Gadgets Garlic Peel and Press

$14.99

Calphalon Gadgets Garlic Peel and Press

This press was straightforward and comfortable to use when mincing peeled cloves, and it minced unpeeled cloves fairly well—albeit with some discomfort. Cleanup was a pain, though, as garlic remnants got stuck in this press’s 1/8-inch-long nubs and took extra time and attention to excavate. Testers also noted that the hopper was small, barely able to fit one large clove.

More Details
Cleanup
Ease of Use
Performance
$14.99
Not Recommended

Chef’n FreshForce Garlic Press

$20.00

Chef’n FreshForce Garlic Press

We didn’t like this model’s flimsy construction—the plastic handles seemed to bend when we tried to mince garlic cloves—and the hinge didn’t allow the press to open very wide, so it was difficult to place cloves in the hopper. Mincing also wasn’t smooth: We often got lots of garlic juice first, followed by a sudden burst of minced garlic later on.

More Details
Cleanup
Ease of Use
Performance
$20.00

Leifheit Garlic Press Knobi-King

$17.99

Leifheit Garlic Press Knobi-King

Testers had mixed feelings about this ring-shaped metal model with a plastic handle on one side and a curved, perforated face on the other. Users had to press down on a garlic clove and then rock the press back and forth—almost like using an iron with a curved surface. We liked the mince uniformity and consistency, but we often had to use our full body weight to get a good mince, which strained our shoulders and wrists. Also, garlic cloves sometimes slipped out from underneath the curved face, and it was much harder to mince multiple cloves at once.

More Details
Cleanup
Ease of Use
Performance
$17.99

Urban Trend Forza Garlic Press

$19.99

Urban Trend Forza Garlic Press

Though this press is supposedly designed to be used one-handed, testers frequently had to use two hands and their full body strength to operate it. It sometimes slipped on the counter, and it hurt our wrists because we had to push down so hard. There were three parts to this press, and minced garlic wound up in all of them, making garlic retrieval confusing and time-consuming. The hopper basket where you place the garlic is intended to be removable, but it sometimes got stuck, forcing us to jiggle it a few times to remove it.

More Details
Cleanup
Ease of Use
Performance
$19.99

RSVP International Garlic Cube

$15.99

RSVP International Garlic Cube

This press’s cube-shaped design was unique but ultimately worthless because, as one tester noted, it gave us “little columns of garlic,” like a julienne, instead of minced garlic because it forced each peeled clove through a metal grate. This press also occasionally pinched our skin when we closed the lid, drawing blood and making us overly cautious when using it. As if that weren’t bad enough, it had six parts—all of which had to be disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled after every use.

More Details
Cleanup
Ease of Use
Performance
$15.99

KitchenAid No Mess No Stress Garlic Press

$19.99

KitchenAid No Mess No Stress Garlic Press

This model, which looked and felt cheap, was rife with issues. It didn’t efficiently mince the entire clove, which created a lot of waste. It also wasn’t clear where to place the cloves, and the press took a lot of strength to operate. The “ejector” tool, which is like the release mechanism of a portion scoop, created two additional problems: It trapped some of the garlic underneath, making the press impossible to fully clean, and what wasn’t trapped was ejected toward the user—landing on one tester’s shirt.

More Details
Cleanup
Ease of Use
Performance
$19.99