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Apple Corers

Published January 2015

How we tested

An apple corer should make fast work of prepping the fruit, with a sharp-edged metal barrel that tunnels out the core with the twist of the wrist. But if the edge doesn’t easily pierce the apple, or if the core gets jammed in the barrel, you might wish you’d used a knife instead. So when we noticed a slew of new corers claiming to make the task easier, we used six (priced from $8.99 to $23.90), as well as our old favorite model from OXO ($8.99), to core bushels of tall, crunchy, and irregularly shaped apples.

All but one of the barrel edges are sharp and serrated and so pierced effortlessly into the apples. The lone outlier failed at this basic task because its cutting edge is not only smooth, so it struggled to break the skin, but also slanted, which caused it to slide on the apple’s exterior and cut an off-center hole.

The diameter and design of the barrel determined how thoroughly it removed the core—and how readily it released it. Barrels that measured 3/4 to 1 inch across removed cores and seeds in one fell swoop without taking off too much edible flesh, while narrower models left behind bits of inedible core, seed, and stem. How easy or difficult it was to release the extracted core, meanwhile, depended on two features: the length of the collar—the ring of metal on the business end of the barrel that grips the extracted core—and, on some models, innovative features that promised to eject the core. In general, shorter collars made the job easier, as longer pieces of metal trapped the core. Innovative core-release functions were hit or miss. The twist-and-push mechanism on one model often slid down the handle, interfering as we tried to push the barrel through the fruit. Two others sported a hinge that let the barrel open to release the core. The tiny clasp on one corer would come undone spontaneously, springing apart and flinging apple pieces across the counter. But the hinged barrel on another stayed securely in the “closed” position and opens with the press of an easy-to-control lever. That feature, plus its sharp teeth, wide barrel, and comfortable handle made our winner extremely user-friendly—and gave it an edge over our previous favorite from OXO.

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The Results


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.


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.


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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.