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Innovative Garlic Gadgets

Published March 2012
Update: February 2014
We have been notified by the manufacturer that the MIU Stainless Steel Garlic and Truffle Slicer has been discontinued.

How we tested

Lately a whole world of gizmos has sprung up, promising to do everything from chop, mince, and slice to shred, grate, and crush garlic—and even remove its smell from your hands. We tested five new tools to see if any were worth adding to our arsenal. In the end, we didn’t find anything that we couldn’t live without, but we did love a mini mandoline that smoothly churned out perfect slices of garlic. Two of the gadgets were amusing and effective but hardly essential: a stainless steel soap bar with an impressive ability to neutralize garlic odor (any stainless steel surface will do the same) and a rolling garlic chopper that resembles a toy truck. The last two, a rocking garlic crusher and a plastic garlic grating card promising to get the job done without shredding your knuckles, were nice ideas but performed terribly.

Garlic Press Alternatives

The garlic “Rocker” by Joseph Joseph is a curved, perforated strip of stainless steel designed to crush garlic with a downward rocking motion, but it didn’t live up to its hype. Nearly half of each clove got stuck in the oversized, widely spaced holes, leaving us with a scant pile of hexagonal pellets and a clogged tool. The Chef’n GarlicZoom XL ($14.99) is a clear plastic ball that holds several peeled cloves. Its rubber wheels turn inner blades that cut the garlic as you roll the gadget back and forth on a countertop. We found it convenient for quickly chopping large quantities of garlic, but it gave a somewhat irregular mince. Its razor-sharp blades and numerous nooks and crannies made cleanup a pain. 

Faster Than Knife Work

For quickly and evenly slicing garlic, the MIU Garlic and Truffle Slicer is hard to beat. This 8 1/2 by 2-inch mini mandoline features a plastic cup that holds a single clove firmly in place and protects your fingers as you slide it along the stainless steel slicing blade. It effortlessly reduced a whole clove into sleek, paper-thin coins, without leaving behind a wasteful nub. Although it’s a bit limited in its use (the grater side of the blade mangled cloves), at only $5 it’s worth having on hand for making fried garlic chips to top soups, salads, and side dishes.

Instead of a Rasp Grater

For grating garlic into a puree, the GarlicCard, a textured piece of plastic the size of a credit card, promises to get the job done without shredding your fingertips. It did work, but its small grating zone made it much slower than using our favorite rasp grater and its nubs trapped garlic so that we were left with a reduced yield and tedious cleanup.

Better Than Soap and Water

The Amco Rub-A-Way Bar is a block of stainless steel shaped like a bar of soap that claims to erase garlic smell from your hands. It worked like magic, with just a little cold tap water. Theories abound as to how it works—the most plausible being that the metal binds to garlic’s odorous sulfur compounds, removing them from your skin. We did get the same results from rubbing our hands on a steel bowl, but the soap bar shape was easier to use (and to clean).

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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.

$248.64*
Recommended

Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.

$141.90*

Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

$67.99*
Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

$49.93*
Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.

$129.95*

Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.

$99.95*

Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.

$24.99*

Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.

$35.88*