Published January 1, 2013. From Cook's Illustrated.
Egg toppers neatly slice off the tops of eggs—a faster, neater, and more precise method of breaking the shell.
Egg toppers neatly slice off the tops of eggs, whether you are serving them soft-cooked or using a raw eggshell as a vessel. These devices claim to be faster, neater, and more precise than the standard method of cracking the shell with the back of a butter knife. We put four models to the test, priced from nearly $6 to more than $26.
The designs fell into two categories: scissor-style and spring-loaded. Not surprisingly, scissor-style toppers look like a pair of scissors that end in a loop instead of straight blades. The loop goes over the tapered end of an egg; when you squeeze the handle, metal teeth emerge to bite into the shell and remove the top 1/2 inch of the egg. Spring-loaded toppers look like little metal plungers: The bowl fits over the end of the egg like a dunce cap. Two pulls on the spring-loaded lever in the handle punctures a circle around the top of the egg that can be gently pried off.
Scissor-style models were faster and did the job, but their shell-puncturing teeth left a jagged edge flecked with shell shards. One model’s flimsy handles bent after only a few uses. Spring-loaded versions fared better. We sliced a dozen eggs with each of these models; while neither perfectly topped every egg, our favorite produced many more shells with precise, clean edges. Its rival had a tighter spring that delivered a too-heavy, shell-shattering strike. Faster than a butter knife, easy, and accurate, our winning topper is a worthwhile purchase if you enjoy soft-cooked eggs.