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Corn Strippers

Published March 2021

How we tested

Cutting corn off the cob can be a pain. The process is often messy, scattering kernels everywhere but the bowl or cutting board you’ve placed under the corn. And it’s prone to error: Cut too deep and get some of the hard, fibrous material that connects the kernels to the cob, or cut too shallow and lose out on some of that sweet, sweet corn. It can also be slightly dangerous—many of us worry about our knives slipping as they slice through the juicy corn. Enter corn strippers. These specialized gadgets promise to make the whole process of cutting both raw and cooked corn off the cob easier, safer, and more foolproof than using a knife. Since we last tested corn strippers, our former favorite was discontinued, so it seemed like a good time to take a new look at these gadgets. So we bought seven models, priced from about $7.50 to about $24.00, and used them to shear off kernels from ear upon ear of both cooked and raw corn. 

Performance—and Safety—Vary Widely

Technically speaking, almost all the gadgets were capable of cutting corn off the cob. Only one failed outright. Built like a long, narrow wooden mandoline, it mashed the corn instead of slicing it off, no matter what we did to adjust the positions of the blade and corn. This corn mandoline was also the only gadget that truly made us fear for our fingers. Every time an ear of corn hit the blade, it stopped short and refused to go further unless we pushed very hard. Pushing hard wasn’t a good idea: With no guard with which to hold the corn, there was a distinct risk that our fingers would slide full force into the blade if we did so. We gave up trying to use this device after three attempts.

The rest of the strippers were safer to use, and most did in fact remove corn kernels from the cob. Alas, few did so well. Four of the strippers resembled vegetable peelers with curved blades. In theory, they made sense: Run the blade down the side of the cob and off come the kernels. The blades themselves were all sharp and cut easily, but the results were uneven; it was hard to gauge just how deeply to dig in with the blade, so some kernels were sliced off with the hard pith attached, and others were left half on the cob, requiring an extra pass to slice off the rest.

Another model, consisting of a circular blade enclosed by a ring of plastic, showed more promise. We simply placed the end of an ear of corn into the blade and then rotated the corn with one hand and the ring with another to cut off the kernels. We had to concentrate to keep the ring perfectly centered around the core of the cob, or else we cut unevenly or too deep, leaving pith on the kernels. We got decent results as long as the ears were perfectly straight, but it was a lost cause on ears that were slightly irregular. What’s more, this model couldn’t handle narrow ears of corn, which just slipped through the ring blade with only the tops of their kernels shaved off. 

Our favorite model improved on the design of the rotating stripper. To use it, you stick the corn into a plastic tube and center it using prongs on the base and top. Then you insert a metal cylinder with sharpened teeth into the top of the cob; by pushing this cylinder down into the corn while rotating it, you slice the kernels off. Pull the metal cylinder back out, and the cob remains inside, leaving only the kernels behind in the plastic tube; you can then use a plastic dowel to push the cob out of the metal cutter. Like the previous model, this one couldn’t handle narrow ears of corn, as the ring was too big for them. And it sometimes cut unevenly on ears that weren’t quite straight. But otherwise, it did a surprisingly good, even job of stripping the corn.

Neatness and Ease of Use Matter

The models varied significantly in terms of how neat they were and how easy they were to use. Our favorite model offered one significant advantage: Because the corn was completely enclosed inside the plastic tube, any mess was completely contained. Not so with the other models, which sprayed kernels and corn juice everywhere as we cut, offering no improvement over our usual setup with a knife and bowl or cutting board.

Our favorite model was also fairly easy to use. Once we learned how to secure the corn on the prongs inside the tube, the process was relatively fast and painless; the only real annoyance was that there were so many parts that had to be cleaned afterward. 

The Best Corn Stripper: The RSVP International Deluxe Corn Stripper

We think most people should stick with a chef’s knife to cut corn off the cob—it’ll do a better job than most of these gadgets and can handle ears of corn of different sizes and shapes. But if you really, really hate this task—especially the mess—you might like the RSVP International Deluxe Corn Stripper. At its best, this gadget will strip the kernels off the ears easily, evenly, and quickly; better still, it’ll keep your countertops free of sticky bits of corn and juice. The downsides? It can’t handle narrow or irregularly shaped ears of corn, and you’re left with four parts to clean, instead of just your knife.

Methodology

  • Test seven corn strippers, priced from about $7.50 to about $24.00
  • Strip five raw ears of corn
  • Strip five cooked ears of corn
  • Wash 10 times according to the manufacturers’ instructions

Rating Criteria

Performance: We rated the corn strippers on how evenly and well they removed corn kernels from ears of different sizes and shapes.

Neatness: We rated the corn strippers on how well they contained errant corn kernels and spray.

Ease of Use: We evaluated how easy the corn strippers were to use and clean.

Safety: We evaluated how safe the corn strippers were to operate.

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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*