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Small Salad Spinner

Published April 2020
More on the Best Salad Spinner
We also love the full-size version of this salad spinner. Our full review of salad spinners with detailed brand comparisons is available here.

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.


Methodology

  • 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


Rating Criteria

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.


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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*