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Avocado Gadgets

Published May 2016

How we tested

Over the past decade, Americans’ consumption of avocados has doubled to more than one billion per year. As avocados have become more common in American kitchens, so, too, have specialized gadgets that promise to make it easier, neater, and safer than using a knife to prepare them. Were any of these gadgets worth buying? We ordered 10 models priced between $5.90 and $11.19 and evaluated how quickly and how precisely each tool halved, pitted, sliced, and scooped out smaller, denser Hass and bigger, more watery Florida avocados of different sizes and ripeness levels.

Not all of the tools were designed to accomplish all four tasks, and most of them were ineffective at the ones they did perform, halving the avocados with ragged cuts or mashing the soft interiors instead of making even, regular slices from end to end. Some were downright dangerous, slipping and threatening to cut or stab our hands. All of the tools were messy to use, getting little bits of avocado on our hands and arms.

That said, if the prospect of using a knife to pierce an avocado pit makes you cringe, the two-headed OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer, $9.95, is the gadget for you: It didn’t slice or scoop very neatly, but it features an ingenious set of prongs that easily and safely pit any avocado. It also does a decent job of cutting the avocado in half. And if you regularly make large batches of guacamole for parties or need to cut an avocado very precisely for a salad or tartare, the shoehorn-like Trudeau 3 in 1 Avocado Cutter might come in handy. While it wasn’t very good at pitting and its serrated blade wasn’t intended for slicing, it scooped out both Hass and Florida avocado halves quickly and perfectly, leaving virtually no avocado behind and allowing us to cut up the fruit with a chef’s knife in any way we liked.

Methodology

Halving: We awarded full points to tools that were able to halve large and small avocados in a single relatively quick motion. Points were subtracted from tools that weren’t sharp enough to pierce the avocado skin easily or failed to make fluid cuts, bruising, nicking, or sawing at the avocado inside.

Pitting: If the tool was able to get the pit out of the avocado safely and without damaging the surrounding flesh, we gave it high marks. Tools that felt dangerous to use—gouging at the avocado or slipping around the pit—received lower marks, as did tools that mashed the pit further into the flesh.

Slicing: The more precisely the tool was able to slice the avocado into neat, regularly shaped wedges, the more points we gave it. Tools that required us to use our fingers (or a knife) to push the slices through were downgraded.

Scooping: We preferred tools that were able to scoop out each avocado half without leaving much behind, subtracting points from tools that left a lot of wasted avocado in the skin.

Neatness: Gadgets that smeared avocados all over our hands or arms lost points—the messier they were, the lower they scored.

Comfort: We evaluated how easy the gadgets were to hold; tools that had handles that were too long, too short, or too angular/sharp were docked points.

Safety: Tools whose blades, wires, or edges were too sharp or pointy lost points, as did tools whose edges were too blunt, increasing the likelihood that the gadget would slip and gouge us.

Versatility: We awarded more points to tools that were capable of handling a greater range of avocados (big, small, ripe, overripe, and underripe).

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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*