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April/May 2018

Cherry Pitters

De-stoning cherries is the pits—unless you have the right tool.

UPDATE: APRIL 2018
Despite our best efforts to confirm the long-term availability of products we test, we recently learned that Tovolo has discontinued our winning cherry pitter. Our runner-up, the Chef’n QuickPit Cherry Pitter, is our new winner.

How We Tested

You can pit cherries by hand, but a cherry pitter can save lots of time, quickly pitting the fruit so that it can be used for preserves, pies, and more. These gadgets can also be used to pit olives. Since our last testing, many new products have entered the market, and all of them work in essentially the same way: A mechanism drives a dowel through the stem end of a cherry and pushes the pit out the bottom. Some, such as our former winner, the Progressive Prepworks Cherry-It Pitter ($15.00), have several dowels to pit multiple cherries simultaneously; others handle just one cherry at a time. We bought 12 models priced from $3.99 to $19.99—eight single pitters and four multipitters, including our previous winner—and put them to the test, pitting nearly 50 pounds of cherries and 5 pounds of olives to find the best tool for the job.

Cherry Pitter Performance Problems

A basic problem emerged immediately: Most of the models just weren’t accurate. Only one successfully removed 100 percent of the cherry pits. The other models were inconsistent, making it impossible for us to recommend half of them; when you’re eating cherry pie, the last thing you want is to bite down on an errant pit. Some models simply didn’t stabilize the cherries adequately, so they slipped around within the loading chamber, forcing the dowel to enter the fruit off-center and sometimes miss the pit entirely. Curved dowels or dowels that entered the cherries at an angle sometimes pushed the pit sideways into the fruit; dowels that plunged straight down into the cherries were more successful. And finally, some dowels were too narrow to dependably find purchase on the pits, skidding past them instead of pressing them through. Dowels that were at least 0.28 inches in diameter tended to be more accurate, and our winner had fairly thick dowels—almost 1/2 inch across, which helped it remove all the pits every time.

That said, thicker dowels, including the ones on our winner, tended to make bigger holes in the cherries, wasting a tiny bit more of the fruit (about ¹/16 teaspoon per cherry with our winner). Most of our testers were willing to sacrifice aesthetics and a little fruit for better speed and accuracy; after all, a cherry pitter won’t save you any time if you have to go back and pick through the fruit to make sure the pits came out. In fact, because their performance was so unreliable, two of the multipitters actually took longer to pit 1 1/2 pounds of cherries (7 1/2 to 8 minutes) than most of the single pitters (6 to 7 minutes). Our favorite multipitter, however, was both accurate and fast, dispatching the same weight of cherries in just 31/2 minutes.

Big, Neat Multipitters versus Smaller, Messier Single Pitters

Performance aside, other factors made certain pitters neater and easier to use. The multipitters were much tidier, thanks to attached plastic bins that collected the pits and lids that efficiently contained any juice. And fairly little effort was required to press down the dowels, which were usually embedded in the multipitters’ lids. But these gadgets were also somewhat bigger and had more parts to clean by hand (though all models were dishwasher-safe). And with the exception of our winner, multipitters also required a little more fussing (lifting trays, counting pits) to figure out when they had failed.

While single pitters were simpler and more compact overall (easier to clean and easier for us to tell when they had missed the pit), they were generally messier: The worst ones shot pits across the kitchen or sprayed cherry juice all over our arms, the walls, and the counter. Single pitters also required more hand strength, asking users to repeatedly squeeze levers or triggers to deploy the dowel.

Though our previous winner, the Progressive Prepworks Cherry-It Pitter, still did a good job of pitting cherries, it was eclipsed by a newer product, the Tovolo Cherry Pitter ($15.28). This multipitter accurately pits every single cherry, thanks to its large, straight plastic dowels and unique design. Its accuracy and large capacity (up to seven cherries at once—the most of any pitter we tested) combined to make it the fastest model in our lineup, and it was very neat, collecting all the dropped cherry pits in its large, removable base. This durable model was still going strong after pitting an additional 8 pounds of cherries. It also excelled at pitting olives and smaller, more delicate sour cherries.

Methodology

We tested 12 dishwasher-safe cherry pitters priced from $3.99 to $19.99, including eight single pitters and four multipitters, which are capable of pitting several cherries at once. We started with an elimination round in which we pitted 10 cherries, timed the process, and disqualified models that failed to pit three or more cherries or took longer than 1 minute to get through all 10. We used the remaining models to pit more sweet cherries, plus olives and sour cherries, again timing the process. We evaluated these pitters on performance, ease of use, and neatness.

Performance: We rated each pitter on how consistently and accurately it removed pits from the cherries and on the size and shape of the holes it left behind.

Ease of Use: We evaluated how fast, easy, and comfortable it was to load, pit, and remove cherries; we also rated how easy each model was to clean by hand.

Neatness: We evaluated each pitter on how much of a mess it made, awarding more points to those that collected the pits and kept the splatter to a minimum.

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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
Recommended

Tovolo Cherry Pitter

DISCONTINUED

Tovolo Cherry Pitter

Capable of processing seven cherries at a time, this large multipitter was the fastest and the only reliable performer in our testing. No pit could possibly escape its big, straight dowels, which punched slightly oversize holes in the cherries, a sacrifice that most users were willing to make. It was easy to load, neatly contained cherry juice spray, and collected pits in its base.

More Details
Neatness
Ease of Use
Performance
DISCONTINUED
WINNER
Recommended with Reservations

Chef’n QuickPit Cherry Pitter

$9.99

Chef’n QuickPit Cherry Pitter

The best of the single pitters, this model resembled a plastic toy gun: Just pull the trigger to plunge the straight, moderately thick dowel into the cherry pit. It was easy to insert, stabilize, and remove the cherries, and while this pitter wasn’t quite as neat, quick, or accurate as our winner, many testers preferred its more compact profile and simpler operation.

More Details
Neatness
Ease of Use
Performance
$9.99
Recommended with Reservations

Progressive Prepworks Cherry-It Pitter

$11.48

Progressive Prepworks Cherry-It Pitter

Our former favorite, a relatively compact multipitter, still does a good job of pitting cherries. But the field of cherry pitters has grown since our last testing, and this model proved to be slower and slightly less accurate than our new winner. A few minor quibbles: It’s harder to tell when the cherries have been successfully pitted, and it’s easy to accidentally press the tab on the outside of the cherry-holding tray, shooting the pitted fruit into the air and making a mess. And though the tray itself can be removed, the other parts can’t, so there are more nooks and crannies to clean if you’re washing by hand.

More Details
Neatness
Ease of Use
Performance
$11.48

Cuisipro Cherry/Olive Pitter

$12.99

Cuisipro Cherry/Olive Pitter

With a large dowel that pierced the cherries at a slight angle, this stapler-like model missed a few pits here and there but generally got the job done. That said, it was a bit messy, spraying more cherry juice than other models, and a shunt meant to channel cherries into its loading chamber actually made it trickier, not easier, to insert and center the cherries for pitting, slowing the process.

More Details
Neatness
Ease of Use
Performance
$12.99

Progressive Prepworks Cherry Pitter

$7.99

Progressive Prepworks Cherry Pitter

Although capable of tackling six cherries at a time, this multipitter took longer to process 1.5 pounds of cherries than any of the higher-ranking single pitters, in part because it just wasn’t very accurate, forcing us to stop repeatedly to check that it had done its job. It was easy to load and contained messes pretty well, but it was on the larger side and had few removable parts, making cleaning fussier. This model also included a tabbed holding tray that was easy to accidentally press, catapulting cherries through the air.

More Details
Neatness
Ease of Use
Performance
$7.99

OXO Cherry and Olive Pitter

$12.99

OXO Cherry and Olive Pitter

Despite a narrow dowel that punctured cherries at an angle, this stapler-like single pitter did an acceptable job, missing just a few more pits than higher-ranked models. Though we easily loaded and removed cherries, this pitter was one of the messiest, sending a ton of cherry juice backsplash onto the walls and our aprons.

More Details
Neatness
Ease of Use
Performance
$12.99
Not Recommended

Westmark Cherry and Plum Stoner/Pitter

$19.99

Westmark Cherry and Plum Stoner/Pitter

Handling like an old-fashioned librarian’s stamp, this model was pretty big for a tool that deals with only one cherry at a time. It was fairly easy to operate, but with one of the narrowest dowels in the testing, it wasn’t very accurate, missing the pit with four of 10 cherries. And it was messy: Because there was no space under the cherry holder to place a bowl, pits and juice landed wherever they liked.

More Details
Neatness
Ease of Use
Performance
$19.99

Fox Run Multi-Cherry Pitter

$11.99

Fox Run Multi-Cherry Pitter

Resembling a miniature carousel, this multipitter did a good job of containing messes—but did little else. Inserting and removing cherries was tricky. Plus, its narrow dowels made it quite inaccurate—it missed many pits and slowed our progress because we had to check each batch and often redo it.

More Details
Neatness
Ease of Use
Performance
$11.99

Kitchen Gizmo Cherry Pitter

$13.98

Kitchen Gizmo Cherry Pitter

This pitter has a small funnel that acts as a holding bay, theoretically allowing you to load up to 15 cherries as it automatically channels them one at a time past the dowel, which punched straight down. In practice, however, cherries got stuck at the juncture between the funnel and the cherry-punching area, arresting our progress. And because we couldn’t easily center the cherries under the dowel, this model often missed the pit; cherries also frequently got stuck on the dowel and had to be pulled off by hand.

More Details
Neatness
Ease of Use
Performance
$13.98

Zyliss Cherry Pitter

$10.99

Zyliss Cherry Pitter

Inaccurate, messy, and a pain to use, this compact single pitter was a disappointment from start to finish. It was hard to load and sprayed juice and pits everywhere—that is, when its curved dowel actually succeeded in making contact with the pit. A tiny bin under the cherry holder was meant to collect pits, but it was next to useless, filling up after just two cherries and often swinging open unexpectedly.

More Details
Neatness
Ease of Use
Performance
$10.99

RSVP Endurance Cherry and Olive Pitter

$8.31

RSVP Endurance Cherry and Olive Pitter

Simplicity rules? Not with this minimalist all-metal single pitter, which was hard to load and uncomfortable to operate. The narrowest dowel in the testing made it a true exploratory mission to find the pit each time, and with no way to summon adequate force behind that dowel, this model was quite inaccurate, missing four of 10 pits. It was also very messy, decorating the walls and our aprons with cherry juice.

More Details
Neatness
Ease of Use
Performance
$8.31

Fox Run Cherry Pitter

$3.99

Fox Run Cherry Pitter

This small cherry-shaped pitter had a good-size dowel that punched straight down, giving us hope that it would be as effective as it was cute. We were quickly disabused of this notion: Because there was no way to stabilize the cherry in its large holding chamber, the fruit slipped around too much, making it difficult to center and successfully pit. As a result, six of 10 cherries weren’t pitted on the first try. It also showered us with cherry juice and frequently launched pits across the counter.

More Details
Neatness
Ease of Use
Performance
$3.99