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Manual Citrus Juicers

Published January 2016

How we tested

The Amco Houseworks Lemon Squeezer has long been our favorite manual citrus juicer. But when we started replacing kitchen copies every couple of months because of worn or chipped enamel, we wondered if there was something more durable that we would like equally well. We tried 12 models, priced from $5.99 to $23.04, in a variety of styles: countertop reamers, handheld reamers, and presses. We rounded up righties and lefties with small and large hands to put the juicers through their paces. The ability to efficiently juice lemons and limes was a must, but models received bonus points if they could also handle medium and large oranges. We juiced at least 50 pieces of fruit with each model. Handheld reamers performed the worst. While some testers thought these compact, knob-like tools worked quickly and were easy to clean, most lamented that they sprayed juice all over their hands and dropped seeds into the juice. Worse, they were inefficient, collecting on average 30 percent less juice than the top-performing press style. Tabletop reamers fared somewhat better, eliminating the mess with their built-in collection bowls and seed grates. Unfortunately, the extra parts also meant more to disassemble and clean—not ideal when you only need a few tablespoons of juice. While we liked a few tabletop reamers with less fussy designs, this style produced an average of 17 percent less juice than press juicers, which, in general, we preferred above all.

Press-style models quickly trapped seeds and extracted the most juice with minimal effort. Their one flaw: Some smaller models had trouble accommodating large lemons (though most fruits could be quartered into smaller pieces that fit). Our favorite, the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer ($23.04), was the most accommodating of the bunch and could even fit medium-size oranges with ease. It extracted far and away the most juice of any model in the lineup. Its larger, slat-like holes were also more efficient, draining the most juice without splattering or overflowing. Plus, it’s durable: Its tough plastic exterior showed no signs of wear, even after squeezing more than 200 pieces of fruit.

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.