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Pineapple Cutters

By Cook's Illustrated Published May 2012
Update: September 2012
Earlier this year we chose the Rösle Pineapple Slicer as our favorite tool for slicing and coring a whole pineapple. The only problem? Its $30 price. Now another manufacturer has come along with a similar corkscrew design costing a third less. For $19.99, our new winner let us cut into the pineapple without having to remove and reposition our hands with each twist, making the task go a little faster. The measurement markings on the shaft of the slicer also let us gauge how deeply to cut into the fruit without punching through the bottom. This feature allowed us to remove a good 1/2 inch more fruit than the Rösle, which had us relying solely on our intuition to know when to stop slicing. Another boon: Our new winner's narrow slicing base let us lay it flat in a drawer—not so with the wider Rösle base.

How we tested

Canned pineapple—or even precut supermarket wedges—can’t compare with a fresh, whole pineapple for juicy, tart sweetness. But removing the fruit’s spiky rind and tough core takes a sharp chef’s knife and patience, not to mention time and skill.

Specialized pineapple cutting tools separate the core, or the core and skin, from the flesh with some time-saving pushes or twists of a handle, and some even slice the fruit into rings at the same time. To find out whether any of them are worth buying, we rounded up six brands in a range of styles (priced from $7.99 to $30, all dishwasher-safe), bought a case of pineapples, and got to work.

The least effective design—a pair of thin, steel half-circles attached to a short plastic handle—required an awkward rocking motion to force its flimsy blades through the fruit. It was a bit frightening, too, since it was impossible to use without having one hand in the way of its blades. One tube-shaped model removed only the core, and while it did so quickly and cleanly, we still had to pare away the pineapple’s diamond-patterned skin and “eyes” with a knife. Another “stab-and-push” style tool with two concentric circular cutters required too much effort and wasted a lot of fruit.

We preferred the corkscrew-style corer/slicers, all of which worked nearly effortlessly. These hollow, serrated tubes with a spiral-shaped blade at one end simultaneously slice and separate the fruit from the core and rind with several clockwise turns of a handle. When the corkscrew models had spiraled to the bottom of the pineapple, we simply lifted the tool out, holding a neat stack of evenly sized rings. To extract the slices, we detached the handles and slid the fruit off. The only drawback was waste: These corer/slicers left significant amounts of fruit still attached to the shell (as much as 1/4 inch in places), particularly if the tool was inserted at a slight angle. In the end, a few differences among the three corkscrew-style cutters left us with one clear standout, a sturdy stainless-steel tube with a comfortable plastic handle that gave us good leverage. Its heft and design made it easy to twist straight down, generating less waste than the other models and making 30-second work of an ordinarily arduous task.

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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*