Small Salad Spinner
How we tested
We love our favorite full-size salad spinner by OXO. It works very easily—you can push the central knob on the lid to spin the basket with just one hand—and it was the most effective of our testing lineup at cleaning and removing water from a variety of produce, with plenty of clearance under the basket to collect runoff and keep it off the dried produce. Its lid is simple to pull apart (and click back together) for washing and drying, and it's dishwasher-safe. We also like that its lid knob can be locked down flat for a more stackable, compact profile. But at 6 inches tall and 10.5 inches wide, it still takes up a lot of space, particularly in a small kitchen. What’s more, its generous capacity of about 5 quarts is great for making large salads for four to six people. But if you’re feeding fewer people or want to spin just a handful of herbs clean and dry, could a smaller version, just 4.75 inches tall and 8 inches wide, with a 2.44-quart capacity, perform as effectively?
To find out, we tested the mini version of our winner, the OXO Good Grips Little Salad and Herb Spinner, putting it through the same paces as its larger sibling—with scaled-down amounts of food. We rated it on performance, ease of use, capacity, and cleanup/durability.
How Salad Spinners Work
Salad spinners serve two purposes: cleaning produce and then drying it. You put food in the perforated basket inside the bowl, fill the bowl with water, swish the food gently with your hands in the water, and then pull the basket out of the bowl and dump the water. If the food needs more cleaning you can repeat this step. When the food is clean, you place the basket back in the bowl; put the lid on the spinner; and start the spinning action, which uses centrifugal force to spin water away from the produce, through the basket, and out into the bowl, leaving the food in the basket clean and dry.
The Small Spinner Is a Powerhouse
In our tests, we washed and dried baby spinach, red leaf lettuce, sliced leeks, and a large bunch of fresh cilantro and extracted seeds and excess juices from a pint of quartered cherry tomatoes as called for in our recipe for Greek Cherry Tomato Salad. With the greens, we carefully weighed them, placed them in the basket, added ½ cup of water to the bowl, spun them dry, and reweighed both the greens and water to see how dry the spinner left the greens. This small spinner performed on par with the full-size version. It removed nearly all the water, on average leaving only about ½ teaspoon (out of the ½ cup) clinging to both the greens and basket walls after spinning for 30 seconds.
It Holds Enough Greens for a Salad for Two
The basket easily accommodated 3 ounces of baby spinach or red leaf lettuce, enough to make a salad for two people. Six cups of sliced leeks, from two large leeks, filled it to capacity, but it was able to wash them effectively, removing all the sand on this typically gritty vegetable with a few rinses before spinning them dry. There was enough room for a pint of quartered cherry tomatoes (it could have held double that amount), and the spinning extracted plenty of the tomato juice and seeds for our recipe.
As for handling and cleaning, its pushing mechanism was very easy to use and its brake was comfortable and stopped the spinning basket instantly. Disassembling the spinner and lid for cleaning was simple, and its large smooth surfaces could be thoroughly washed and dried quickly. It emerged from the dishwasher unscathed, but not when we dropped it from counter height; a few pieces at the edge of the clear plastic lid snapped off on impact, and a crack appeared on the lid near the breakage. That said, the lid damage was cosmetic, and the spinner performed as it did when new. We like this “little” salad and herb spinner and can recommend it either as a compact add-on to the larger spinner for bigger households or on its own for smaller families.
Test the OXO Good Grips Little Salad and Herb Spinner, priced at about $25
Test its fit and performance with enough greens and produce for a household of two:
3 ounces of baby spinach
3 ounces of red leaf lettuce
2 large leeks, halved and sliced thin
1 large bunch fresh cilantro
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered, as called for in Greek Cherry Tomato Salad
Measure how well the spinner can clean and dry a measured amount of greens and water, repeating the test five times and averaging the results, including before and after washing the spinner in the dishwasher and before and after dropping the spinner from counter height
Add water to bowl with basket inserted, noting volume that fits in bowl before it enters the basket
Wash by hand after each test and once on the top rack of the dishwasher
Evaluate ease of use, cleanup, and durability
Performance: We looked at how well and thoroughly the spinner could clean and dry a variety of produce.
Ease of Use: We evaluated how difficult it was to handle, assemble, disassemble, and spin the device.
Capacity: We assessed how well the spinner could fit and clean produce for a household of one or two.
Cleanup/Durability: We considered whether cleaning and drying the spinner was easy and whether it could withstand accidents and abuse.