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Mini Whisks

Published June 2020

How we tested

We love our favorite all-purpose whisk, but sometimes we want a smaller tool for beating a few eggs or emulsifying just enough salad dressing for one or two people. That’s where mini whisks come in. At about 5 to 7 inches in total length—half the size of the whisks we ordinarily use—they’re ideal for these smaller jobs, and their more petite profiles mean they’re easier to store as well. We’d never tested these tools before, and we wanted to know which model was the best for home cooks. We bought six mini whisks, priced from about $3 to about $17, using them for a number of tasks where we wouldn’t want to bother with a bigger whisk: combining dried herbs and spices for the spice mix za’atar, beating two eggs, emulsifying vinaigrette, mixing a honey-mustard dipping sauce, and whisking together a cornstarch slurry.

Head Design Is Key

We were surprised by how much we enjoyed using the better models. All the whisks worked well, capably blending and beating the ingredients to a uniform consistency, but some did so a bit more quickly and efficiently than others. Head design was critical in this regard. We preferred whisks with slightly broader, more bulbous heads measuring about 4.75 to 5 inches in circumference, as they were big enough to cover more ground more quickly but still small enough to reach into the edges of a measuring cup or small bowl. Broader heads also helped beat egg yolks into egg whites and emulsify vinaigrettes a tad faster than whisks with narrower heads; the broader the head, the more of its wire loops came into contact with the food, moving and incorporating more of the ingredients with each stroke. For similar reasons, the more wire loops the whisks had, the better and faster they generally were at integrating the ingredients. A whisk with just three loops seemed to glide through the food rather than mix it, especially when compared with those that had five, six, or even seven loops. 

Handle Design Matters, Too

When it came to evaluating how comfortable the whisks were to hold, we learned that the dimensions and design of the handle were important. We liked whisks with handles measuring about 2.5 to 3 inches long. Any shorter and there wasn’t quite enough room for our hands to grasp the whisk comfortably; any longer and we had to choke up on the whisk a bit to muster control over the head. We also liked thicker handles, as they were easier to grasp for more extended periods than narrow, pencil-like handles, which made our hands cramp slightly. Also, these narrow handles were often a tad more flexible than we preferred, so we had to use more effort to keep them from bending and wobbling, especially when whisking stiffer or more viscous substances such as the cornstarch slurry. 

We also had a slight preference for handles that didn’t have loops for storage at their end. The loops got in the way or dug into our palms when we were gripping the handle, and we’re more likely to stick these tiny whisks in a drawer than to hang them up by their loops anyway. 

Finally, we liked handles that were made of smooth metal and were completely sealed off at their base, where the wire loops connected to them, as they were easier to clean. Bits of food or liquid tended to collect in the crevices of handles made with coiled wire or in any handles that were open at their bases, requiring a little more attention when washing.

The Best Mini Whisk: The Tovolo Mini Whisk

In the end, our favorite was the Tovolo Mini Whisk. It had a relatively broad head with five wire loops, allowing us to effortlessly beat eggs, emulsify vinaigrette, and blend sauce. Its smooth metal handle was just the right length and thickness for most hands to hold comfortably; it had no storage loops that got in the way of our grip, and the base of the handle was completely sealed to prevent bits of food from getting in. We think that if you have this whisk around, you’ll use it more than you think.

Methodology

  • Test six mini whisks, priced from about $3 to about $17 per whisk

  • Beat eggs

  • Emulsify vinaigrette

  • Combine ingredients for za’atar

  • Blend honey-mustard dipping sauce

  • Whisk a cornstarch slurry

  • Wash 10 times according to manufacturers’ instructions

Rating Criteria

Performance: We evaluated how well the whisks beat, blended, and emulsified ingredients.

Ease of Use: We considered how comfortable the whisks were to hold and how easy they were to control and direct.

Ease of Cleanup: We evaluated how easy the whisks were to clean.

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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*