Borner V-Slicer Plus Mandoline

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Design & Operation
The Borner V-Slicer with slicing tray in place: small julienne (L) and large julienne/french fry (R) trays shown in foreground.

The Borner V-Slicer with slicing insert in place: small julienne (L) and large julienne/french fry (R) inserts shown in foreground.

The Swissmar Borner V-Slicer Plus Mandoline has a utilitarian-looking design, consisting of a long, rectangular cutting deck in which are mounted the V-shaped slicing blades. Three removable inserts slide in and out of a slot above the blades; the first is a reversible and performs thin (3.5mm) and thick (7mm) slicing, while the other two create thin and thick julienne strips. The width of the Borner cutting deck is approximately 3 3/4,” or 9.2cm.

The slicing and julienne inserts are extremely easy to switch in and out of the unit. The reversible slicing insert produces slices of approximately 7.5 mm on one side and 3.5 mm on the other (we found that the actual thickness of slices depends on the type of produce). The large and small julienne teeth cut a large 7mm size suitable for french fried potatoes, and a small size appropriate for carrots.

Cleaning the unit is extremely simple. All components slide into an included plastic storage sheath, or case. We found this to be the least-well-thought-out aspect of the model, as the julienne inserts were difficult to insert and remove from the enclosure.

Performance Tests
Slicing
Potato

Using both the thin and thick slicing trays the Borner produced perfect cross-sections of potato with very little force required from the user. The two depth options are the only limitation of the Borner, and users desiring ultra-fine potatoes for potato chips may be disappointed. We subtracted a star from the Borner’s rating to reflect this limitation.

bornerpotatoslice1crop

7mm slices in front, and 3.5mm slices behind.

Zucchini

All mandolines handle zucchini fairly easily, but the Borner excelled at zipping through skins without tearing, and produced slices of consistent thickness. We did notice that the grooves in the slicing insert tended to mark the zucchini if too much downward pressure was used: this can be minimized by using a light touch.

bornerzucchinicrop

Thick and thin (foreground) slices of cucumber show all edges intact.

Tomato

The Borner’s steeply angled V-shaped blades had no trouble cutting through tomato skin and leaving slices that were fully intact edge-to-edge. It was hard to imagine needing slices thinner than the ones produced by the thin side of the slicing insert.

Thick 7mm and thin 3.5mm (foreground).  Both were perfect.

Thick 7mm and thin 3.5mm (foreground). Both were perfect.

Cabbage

The width of the Borner’s deck accommodated a quartered medium size cabbage, and its length supported the cabbage on the ‘follow through’ as it passed the blades. Cutting was extremely fast and efficient, but we did miss the ability produce a thinner shred than that produced by the 3.5mm slicing blade, and docked the score one star.

3.5mm slices of red cabbage.  Slicing cabbage was extremely quick and required little pressure.

3.5mm slices of red cabbage. Slicing cabbage was extremely quick and required little pressure, but we missed the availability of other depth settings for a finer shred.

Lemon

The Borner’s blades sliced through the lemons (and their seeds) with ease and produced perfect slices that were actually thinner (we measured them at 2.5mm) than we expected.

bornerlemoncrop

Julienne
Potato

Cutting french fries on other mandolines was generally an exercise in futility, and a dangerous one at that. The Borner did require moderate pressure, but considerably less than any competing model. We believe this is a result of the Borner’s steeply angled V-shape, and the fact that the potato encounters the julienne teeth gradually, two at a time, thereby reducing the amount of friction at any one point. The cut surfaces were extremely smooth and square.

bornerfrenchfriescrop

Matchstick potatoes (L)  and french fries (R) were both perfect, with glassy-smooth surfaces. Only moderate pressure was required to feed the potatoes.

Carrot

The Borner’s julienne blades cut through the hard carrots with less pressure than any other mandoline we have tested, and the semicircular channel in its hand guard made it possible to spear carrots on the metal prongs: this made the job both faster and safer for the user. The cut surfaces were extremely smooth and square but very slightly thicker than some other mandolines. See a comparison here.

bornercarrotscrop

The Borner produced a julienne of carrot that had perfectly smooth surfaces, though it was slightly larger than some other mandolines.

Safety

During our testing, we found that the single greatest factor in determining mandoline safety was how much pressure was required to feed produce through the blades. In this respect, the Borner was outstanding, requiring less force, overall, than any other adjustable mandoline we have tested to date. As with all mandolines, however, we strongly recommend the use of a cut resistant glove.

The second major factor was the design of the hand guard: the one supplied with the Borner was uninspiring in appearance but excellent in operation. Five metal prongs hold produce in place and an articulated pusher helps force it toward the blades. The base of the guard also features a channel that allows long ingredients like carrots to be held by the prongs and fed easily through the julienne blade.

Two rubber feet on the bottom of the cutting deck farthest from the handle helped keep the unit secure on the cutting board, but more rubberized surfaces would have been welcome (on the handle, and on the ‘hooks’ that allow the entire unit to latch onto the rim of a bowl).

Conclusion
Pros:
  • Excellent overall performance
  • Very little user pressure required to feed produce
  • Effective hand guard
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Only two thickness options
  • Thin julienne is slightly thicker than some other models
  • Fiddly storage ‘sheath’

The Borner V-Slicer is the current favorite of our testers in the adjustable mandoline category, performing very well or excellently in every test we threw at it. Better yet, at $40 (Amazon) it represents an incredible value.

The most notable feature of the Borner’s design is the steeply angled V-shaped blade which seems to glide through produce, requiring less pressure than any mandoline we have tested to date. Not only did this produce cleaner slices, but it also required less pressure from the user to pass ingredients through the blades, making it safer to operate.

We appreciated how easy it was to switch the cutting and julienne inserts, which snap in and out in seconds. In our julienne tests, we found that the Borner was by far the easiest and safest to operate and produced french fries and carrot sticks that were perfectly smooth and square.  The dual-sided cutting insert does lack the flexibility of some other models (see below), but it removes the trial and error process that greater adjust-ability usually necessitates.

The only potentially serious limitation of the Borner is its lack of greater control over the thickness of slices. For most applications, we believe that one or the other of the two available settings will be perfectly suitable. However, in some cases we did miss the greater control found on most other mandolines to dial in even finer settings. Users intending to produce extremely fine strands of cabbage, or paper thin slices of potato for chips should be aware of this limitation. The other minor issue we had was the size of the Borner’s small julienne, which created carrots that, while excellent, were slightly larger than some competing models.

Currently, there is no mandoline which performs all tasks perfectly. The Borner’s limitations may be an issue for certain users, but for most, we believe the model’s strengths make it the best overall option currently available.

Highly Recommended