Skip to main content
Menu
Search
Menu
Close

Offset Turners

Published September 2019

How we tested

Nine times out of ten, we grab a metal or nonstick-safe fish spatula when we want to flip or transfer food. Their heads are thin and flexible enough to get under the food without damaging it and long enough to do a good job of supporting most foods once they’re off the cooking surface. But occasionally we find ourselves wishing we had a tool that was a bit bigger or beefier—something that could help pick up larger or heavier foods, such as a roast or a cake, or corral and flip more pieces of food, such as roasted vegetables, at a time. 

The solution can be found on the short-order line at your local diner. Offset metal turners look like supersize offset spatulas: Their heads are broad and long, making them ideal for heavy-duty or high-volume tasks. And, as their name implies, there’s a large “offset” angle between the head and the handle, which can make it easier to scoop up lots of food at a time. We wanted to know whether these tools would be worth stocking in home kitchens, so we bought eight models, priced from about $7 to about $32, and put them to the test, using them to lift and transfer large, delicate tarts and heavy hams; to flip and transfer Roasted Cauliflower from How to Roast Everything and Sheet Pan Hash Browns; and to smash, flip, and transfer Griddled Smashed Burgers from The Ultimate Burger. 

Head Dimensions Are Important

We liked most of the turners, though some were better at certain tasks than others. As we’d seen in other spatula testings, the design of their heads was key. Testers liked heads with plenty of surface area—about 23 square inches was ideal—that could pick up a significant amount of food in a single pass without being unwieldy.

The dimensions of the heads mattered, too. We preferred models with long but relatively narrow heads measuring about 7.5 by 3 inches. These longer heads allowed us to easily flip large swathes of hash browns, smash two burgers at a time into thin, crispy patties, and securely pick up large tarts. These models also provided a little more distance between our hands and the surface of the screaming-hot stovetop griddle when we were flipping the burgers. Although turners with smaller heads were better at maneuvering in tighter spaces and a touch easier to control when flipping food, they took about the same number of passes to turn food as our favorite fish spatula, and they could only smash one burger at a time. Plus, transferring tarts with these smaller heads felt a bit precarious.  

Models with broader, square-ish heads offered the greatest security when transferring tarts, owing to their large surface area. They were also good at smashing two burgers at a time. But because they were so broad and heavy (they weighed nearly a pound), they were awkward to maneuver and tired our arms quickly.

Heads of Tapered Thickness Were Best 

The thickness of the heads was also important. Those that were 1.6 to 2 millimeters thick were rigid and didn’t bend when picking up heavy items such as an 8-pound ham. But these same heads were too chunky to get under food easily, instead chipping the edges of delicate tart crusts and pushing cauliflower florets around the baking sheet. Our favorite turners offered a good compromise, with head thicknesses that tapered from 1.3 to 1.5 millimeters at the back ends to 0.6 to 0.9 millimeters at the front ends. As a result, they were sturdy enough to support a whole tart but flexible enough to wiggle under food easily. Most couldn’t support a whole ham, but we found this to be only a small detractor.

Rounded Edges and a Solid Construction

Two final notes about the design of the heads. Heads with square corners did a good job of dislodging food from cooking surfaces, but those with sharper edges often nicked burgers and flaky tarts or gouged the aluminum foil under the cauliflower. Testers preferred heads with rounded edges that slipped under food more fluidly. And while the holes on one model’s head helped drain excess grease, they occasionally caught on the exteriors of soft burgers and cauliflower, tearing them; most testers preferred solid, unperforated heads. 

Handle Angle, Length, and Material Are Important

A few other details helped determine our favorites. First, the “offset” angle between head and handle. We preferred models that had a large, nearly 90-degree angle between head and handle; they gave us more leverage and kept our hands farther from the hot cooking surface than models with smaller angles did. 

Handles that were about 5 inches long were long enough to accommodate hands of all sizes and allowed for more control when flipping or lifting. Longer handles made the turners feel poorly balanced, forcing us to position our hands closer to the heads to get better control when flipping or transferring food. 

We liked handles made from soft or textured plastics, which were easier to grip than models with handles made of slicker, harder plastics, especially when they were wet or greasy. We also voted against wood handles; one was unpleasantly rough, and both of these turners had to be hand-washed—we prefer models that can be thrown in the dishwasher after use.

The Best Offset Turner: Dexter Russell Steak Turner

The Dexter Russell Steak Turner is our winner. Its solid head is long and spacious, so it can scoop up plenty of food at a time. While the back end of the head is thick and sturdy, helping it support large tarts easily, its front edge is thin, flexible, and rounded, allowing it to slip easily under food. And with a 5-inch-long handle made from textured plastic and set at a steep angle, it’s easy to grip and allows for good control. For a less expensive option, we also liked the Mercer Culinary M18310 Hell’s Handle High Heat 8" x 3" Perforated Rounded Edge Turner; its head is perforated, causing it to occasionally tear delicate foods, but otherwise it’s an excellent choice. 


Methodology

We tested eight offset turners priced from about $6 to about $32, using them to lift and transfer large, delicate tarts and heavy hams; to flip and transfer hash browns and roasted cauliflower florets; and to smash, flip, and transfer Smashburgers. We washed them according to the manufacturers’ instructions five times. We evaluated them on their performance, ease of use, and durability/ease of cleanup. All models were purchased online and are listed in order of preference. 

RATING CRITERIA

Performance: We rated the turners on how much food they could hold and flip and how securely they lifted hams and tarts. 

Ease of Use: We evaluated the turners on how comfortable and secure they were to hold and how nimbly they maneuvered around cookware of different sizes.

Durability/Ease of Cleanup: We rated the turners on how durable they were and how easy they were to clean.

3 Sites. No Paywalls.

Included in your trial membership

  • 25 years of Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, and America's Test Kitchen foolproof recipes
  • NEW! Over 1,500 recipes from our award-winning cookbooks
  • In-depth videos of recipes and cooking techniques
  • SAVE all your Favorites for easy access
  • Up-to-Date reviews and product buying guides

Get America's Test Kitchen All Access — become the Smartest Cook you know, guaranteed.

Email is required
How we use your email address

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*