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Design & Operation
The Kyocera is shaped like a small paddle and is molded of very lightweight plastic. Measuring 11″ long (just under 28cm) by 3 5/8″ (9.3cm) wide overall, the usable width of the cutting deck measures 2 7/8″ (7.5 cm) wide.
The Kyocera is notable for its use of a fixed ceramic blade, installed on a 57° angle in relation to the direction of cutting. We found that it cut through most produce like the proverbial knife through butter, requiring only the slightest of pressure from the user. The only exceptions were tomatoes and lemons, where it did not perform as well as steel-bladed models (see below).
The Kyocera is incredibly easy to operate. The device has four depth settings of 3mm, 2mm, 1.3mm and .5mm. By rotating a square rod underneath the cutting surface to the desired setting, the cutting deck which rests on the rod is moved up or down in relation to the blade thereby producing thinner or thicker slices. We only wish the numbers were a bit easier to read.
The Kyocera is not only easy to adjust, it is also very simple to clean. The plastic and ceramic design mean that it can be tossed in a drying rack after each use. Kyocera states that the device is top-rack dishwasher safe.
The Kyocera produced outstanding results slicing potatoes. Even at 1.3mm the slices were consistent in thickness.
The Kyocera performed well at 3mm, which is already extremely thin for a slice of tomato. Results were hit-or-miss at 2mm. In general, we found that the results with the Kyocera were not as good as obtained with mandolines equipped with steel blades, and it sometimes faltered even at its thickest setting with larger or slightly riper tomatoes. We theorized that the lack of a burr on the ceramic edge made it less effective in penetrating the tomato skin.
The ceramic blade produced slices were that were extremely smooth and even in thickness at all available depth settings. Minimal pressure was required.
While not really an appropriate task for a small hand-held slicer, we were able to produce excellent slices at the 1.3mm, 2mm, and 3mm settings. Processing a quarter cabbage, as seen below, was unwieldy, but ‘doable’. We attempted to hook the slicer to a bowl, but found that its lack of rubberized surfaces meant that it slipped around the bowl and seemed even more unsteady.
When slicing firm fruits, the Kyocera performed very well at 3mm and 2mm. We found that the ceramic blade was perhaps less efficient in cutting through the thick citrus skin in relation to some steel-bladed slicers, but the results were still very good.
Results were not as good when processing riper lemons, and the performance gap between the Kyocera and steel-bladed slicers was magnified. Below is an image showing a comparison of slices from the same lemon, with one half processed with the Kyocera and the other half processed with a steel bladed model.
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. The Kyocera was generally exceptional in this regard.
However, the Kyocera’s hand guard is completely ineffective. Not only is it hard to grip, but the smallish plastic prongs on its underside are incapable of gripping produce of any kind. As a result, we used the device in conjunction with the hand guard from the Borner V-Slicer (available at Amazon for about $8), and wore cut-resistant gloves.
We would have liked to see a safety setting which would lock the blade in a non-cutting position. We also wish the unit featured rubberized surfaces on the handle or feet and hope that Kyocera includes them on future iterations of this mostly excellent product.
- produced outstanding slices of most produce with very little force
- extremely simple to adjust
- clean up couldn’t be easier
- lacks effective hand guard: no rubberized non-slip surfaces
- not as good as some metal-blade models at slicing tomatoes and lemons
The Kyocera was selected as our top pick both for its tremendous slicing ability as well as its hassle free operation. In this respect, we believe it is a tool that is perfectly designed to perform the daily slicing tasks that are too time consuming, or (for many of us) too skill intensive too do with a chef’s knife.
For most slicing tasks, the small Kyocera performs as well as any mandoline we have tested, hand held, or otherwise. We found that it produced extremely consistent slices with a minimum of force required from the user. Coupled with how easily it is to clean, we believe it will be the obvious choice for small job like slicing a cucumber or two into a salad, but it can also perform big jobs like slicing pounds of potatoes for a gratin just as well as a much larger mandoline.
The Kyocera is not perfect. It lagged several steel-bladed mandolines in our tomato and lemon slicing tests, although it certainly performed adequately. We would also love to see a future model incorporate slip-proof surfaces, a blade locking feature, and perhaps a better attempt at an effective hand guard.