How we tested
Chopping a pile of vegetables can be wearisome work even for cooks with sharp knife skills, so the idea of a helper tool sounded appealing. With the hope that a food chopper could rival the precise, even cuts of good knife work, we hacked through assorted vegetables, herbs, and nuts with five manual models ranging in price from $20 to $45. The results were miserable. All models failed at chopping carrots and celery into even dice, producing anything from rough chunks to fine bits. Even worse, the hard and fibrous textures of these veggies, respectively, got caught in the blades, grinding chopping to a halt. Delicate herbs fared no better; some were bruised while others were minced to a pulp. Onions, furthermore, wound up flattened and crushed. Most managed to chop almonds into reasonably uniform bits—but mainly because their containers kept the nuts from jumping all over the counter. Since we’re not willing to pay $20 or more for a tool that can perform only one narrow function, we’ll stick with our chef’s knife.