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Design & Operation
Design-wise, the OXO mandoline is extremely elegant, performing a wide range of cutting operations with a minimum number of parts. The OXO is constructed of high quality materials and boasts rubberized handles and retractable feet for an excellent grip. Its wide cutting deck measuring 4 1/4″ across.
The OXO features an ingenious side-mounted control knob that easily controls the thickness of slices by raising and lowering the stainless steel cutting deck above the blade. The clearly marked knob offers depth adjustments in fine increments. By continuing to turn the knob clockwise, the user can deploy either the thick or thin julienne teeth (the cutting deck is automatically set to the proper depth). Another useful feature is the reversible cutting blade which performs both straight and waffle cuts. This quickly slides in and of a slot in the side opposite the control knob.
On paper, and out of the box, the OXO looks fantastic. Unfortunately, its performance was a disappointment.
At the 6mm (1/4″) setting, we found that a fair amount of force was required to pass the potato through the blade, which resulted in some broken slices and rough edges. However, from 3mm to 2mm the OXO produced very good, consistent slices and required less force.
In order to slice tomatoes or other soft skinned fruits with the straight-bladed OXO mandoline, the user will need to move the fruit back and forth across the blade in a sawing motion. We found that in order to do this effectively we needed to hand-feed the produce and wore a cut-resistant glove. Compared to other mandolines we have tested, slicing with the OXO was more time consuming and more waste was left over due to our concern for safety. Ultimately, we were able to produce good, consistent results from 3mm up but the OXO would not be the device of choice for this task.
While it was nice to have all the available thickness options, slicing zucchini with the straight-bladed OXO required more pressure than most other mandolines we have tested and there was a greater than average amount of broken edges at all thicknesses.
The adjustable depth control and wide cutting deck of the OXO both proved valuable on this test. We began at 3mm and found that the cabbage needed to be sawed across the blade. However, when the depth was set to between 1mm and 2mm, we found that there was much less resistance and the OXO produced very even, attractive slices.
We attempted to slice lemons at various thicknesses between 2 and 4mm, but were unable to get satisfactory results.
We had poor results with the OXO when attempting to produce thin julienne strips (or matchsticks) of potatoes or thick french fries. Because the row of teeth are arrayed in a straight line, the leading surface of the potato hits them all simultaneously, resulting in much greater resistance than we found with V-blades. We found that very heavy pressure was required to pass potatoes through the teeth, making this a dangerous operation only to be performed when using the hand guard.
We had a variety of problems when attempting to julienne carrots. We found that the oxo pusher, which lacks a channel to accommodate long ingredients did a poor job holding the carrots. An unacceptably high amount of force was required to feed the carrot through the teeth: in some cases this resulted in the carrot breaking in half, or getting lodged between the teeth. Finally, some of the processed carrot was not completely julienned: it was sliced, but the teeth had failed to separate it into individual pieces.
Potatoes: Very good
The OXO is one of the only models that offers this feature and it produced very good crinkle cut potatoes at 3mm and 2mm: there was a slight bias to the cuts such that at 1mm the slices began to look like bear claws.
Waffle cuts are performed by installing the crinkle cut blade and setting the control knob to the waffle setting. After each pass the user rotates the potato 90 degrees. We produced some perfect slices but found that it was difficult to achieve consistency with these ultra-fine cuts, as can be seen in the photograph below. We are sure more practice would improve these results, but it is definitely not a no-brainer.
OXO should be commended for the safety-related thinking that went into this device. We appreciated the rubberized surfaces on the handle, legs, and base, which contributed to a sense of great stability.
OXO also includes a heavy duty pusher, which also features non-slip surfaces. Aside from its bulk, we did not like the fact that it lacks a lengthwise channel to accommodate long produce such as carrots, making this task extremely difficult, and more dangerous than necessary.
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 OXO was a big disappointment, requiring consistently more pressure than average. Certain operations required, in our opinion, an unacceptably high degree of force.
As with all mandolines, we strongly recommend the use of a cut resistant glove.
- control knob provides easy depth adjustment from less than 1mm to over 9mm in .5mm increments
- julienne blades linked to control knob and deploy easily at pre-set depth
- reversible straight/crinkle cutting blade
- straight blade not as effective as slanted or V-shaped blade, requiring greater user force
- slicing tomatoes and other soft-skinned fruit requires ‘sawing’ them across blade
- Poor performance of julienne and french fry blades
The user-friendly design of the OXO mandoline makes it instantly appealing, especially to the first time mandoline user. We were certainly impressed by its ability to shift from slicing to julienning, to making decorative crinkle and waffle cuts in seconds, without a lot of fussy adjustments.
Performance wise, however, the OXO was a thorough disappointment in all but a few of our tests. Very simply, it seemed that the straight blade of the OXO did not do nearly as good of a job of slicing through produce as V-shaped or angled blades. As a result, more force is required to move ingredients across the blade, a fact which impacts both the appearance of the finished product as well as the safety of the user.
Fortunately for the reader, cheaper and better alternatives exist to the $60 OXO.