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Cherry Pitters

Published April 2018
Despite our best efforts to confirm the long-term availability of products we test, we recently learned that Tovolo has discontinued our winning cherry pitter. Our runner-up, the Chef’n QuickPit Cherry Pitter, is our new winner.

How we tested

You can pit cherries by hand, but a cherry pitter can save lots of time, quickly pitting the fruit so that it can be used for preserves, pies, and more. These gadgets can also be used to pit olives. Since our last testing, many new products have entered the market, and all of them work in essentially the same way: A mechanism drives a dowel through the stem end of a cherry and pushes the pit out the bottom. Some, such as our former winner, the Progressive Prepworks Cherry-It Pitter ($15.00), have several dowels to pit multiple cherries simultaneously; others handle just one cherry at a time. We bought 12 models priced from $3.99 to $19.99—eight single pitters and four multipitters, including our previous winner—and put them to the test, pitting nearly 50 pounds of cherries and 5 pounds of olives to find the best tool for the job.

Cherry Pitter Performance Problems

A basic problem emerged immediately: Most of the models just weren’t accurate. Only one successfully removed 100 percent of the cherry pits. The other models were inconsistent, making it impossible for us to recommend half of them; when you’re eating cherry pie, the last thing you want is to bite down on an errant pit. Some models simply didn’t stabilize the cherries adequately, so they slipped around within the loading chamber, forcing the dowel to enter the fruit off-center and sometimes miss the pit entirely. Curved dowels or dowels that entered the cherries at an angle sometimes pushed the pit sideways into the fruit; dowels that plunged straight down into the cherries were more successful. And finally, some dowels were too narrow to dependably find purchase on the pits, skidding past them instead of pressing them through. Dowels that were at least 0.28 inches in diameter tended to be more accurate, and our winner had fairly thick dowels—almost 1/2 inch across, which helped it remove all the pits every time.

That said, thicker dowels, including the ones on our winner, tended to make bigger holes in the cherries, wasting a tiny bit more of the fruit (about ¹/16 teaspoon per cherry with our winner). Most of our testers were willing to sacrifice aesthetics and a little fruit for better speed and accuracy; after all, a cherry pitter won’t save you any time if you have to go back and pick through the fruit to make sure the pits came out. In fact, because their performance was so unreliable, two of the multipitters actually took longer to pit 1 1/2 pounds of cherries (7 1/2 to 8 minutes) than most of the single pitters (6 to 7 minutes). Our favorite multipitter, however, was both accurate and fast, dispatching the same weight of cherries in just 31/2 minutes.

Big, Neat Multipitters versus Smaller, Messier Single Pitters

Performance aside, other factors made certain pitters neater and easier to use. The multipitters were much tidier, thanks to attached plastic bins that collected the pits and lids that efficiently contained any juice. And fairly little effort was required to press down the dowels, which were usually embedded in the multipitters’ lids. But these gadgets were also somewhat bigger and had more parts to clean by hand (though all models were dishwasher-safe). And with the exception of our winner, multipitters also required a little more fussing (lifting trays, counting pits) to figure out when they had failed.

While single pitters were simpler and more compact overall (easier to clean and easier for us to tell when they had missed the pit), they were generally messier: The worst ones shot pits across the kitchen or sprayed cherry juice all over our arms, the walls, and the counter. Single pitters also required more hand strength, asking users to repeatedly squeeze levers or triggers to deploy the dowel.

Though our previous winner, the Progressive Prepworks Cherry-It Pitter, still did a good job of pitting cherries, it was eclipsed by a newer product, the Tovolo Cherry Pitter ($15.28). This multipitter accurately pits every single cherry, thanks to its large, straight plastic dowels and unique design. Its accuracy and large capacity (up to seven cherries at once—the most of any pitter we tested) combined to make it the fastest model in our lineup, and it was very neat, collecting all the dropped cherry pits in its large, removable base. This durable model was still going strong after pitting an additional 8 pounds of cherries. It also excelled at pitting olives and smaller, more delicate sour cherries.


We tested 12 dishwasher-safe cherry pitters priced from $3.99 to $19.99, including eight single pitters and four multipitters, which are capable of pitting several cherries at once. We started with an elimination round in which we pitted 10 cherries, timed the process, and disqualified models that failed to pit three or more cherries or took longer than 1 minute to get through all 10. We used the remaining models to pit more sweet cherries, plus olives and sour cherries, again timing the process. We evaluated these pitters on performance, ease of use, and neatness.

Performance: We rated each pitter on how consistently and accurately it removed pits from the cherries and on the size and shape of the holes it left behind.

Ease of Use: We evaluated how fast, easy, and comfortable it was to load, pit, and remove cherries; we also rated how easy each model was to clean by hand.

Neatness: We evaluated each pitter on how much of a mess it made, awarding more points to those that collected the pits and kept the splatter to a minimum.

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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.