OXO Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer

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Design & Operation

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The OXO Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer is constructed of sturdy white plastic and has a stainless steel blade mounted diagonally across the cutting surface. Notably, the OXO has a adjustable cutting deck molded of transparent plastic, which allows the user to see what is happening beneath the device.

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The underside of the OXO with the white depth bar set at 2mm.

This model is easily switched from slicing at 1mm, 2mm, or 3mm by slicing a black switch mounted to the side of the frame, which raises and lowers the cutting surface. Each position is numbered and clearly legible from above, allowing easy changes on the fly. The OXO also features a LOCK setting which raises the cutting deck to a non-cutting position.

Performance Tests
Potato

At 3mm, the slices were mostly excellent (albeit slightly uneven in thickness): at 2mm, most slices were very good, but some had a single edge that trailed off, as can be seen in the upper left of the photo below. We found that the tendency of the OXO to produce slightly angled slices was attributable to the fact that the cutting deck is not supported sufficiently by the depth adjustment bar, allowing it to flex under the pressure of the potato. At 1mm, the OXO produced poor results.

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2mm (top) and 3mm slices. The slight bias of cuts resulted in broken edges at 2mm and 1mm settings.

Tomato

Tomatoes give many mandolines (hand held as well as full-sized) their severest test. We were impressed to see the blade on the OXO pierce tomato skins without tearing. At the 3mm setting (already very thin for tomatoes, and perfectly appropriate for most any application), nearly all slices were intact. At 2mm (about the limit attainable by any mandoline), the majority (70-80%) of slices remained intact. We attributed broken slices not to the blade, but rather to the unit’s general tendency to produce slanted cuts.

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3mm (L) and 2mm slices

Zucchini

As was the case with potatoes, we noticed that the OXO had the tendency to produce slices that were thicker on one side than the other, due to the flexing of the platform beneath the pressure of the zucchini. At 3mm, the slices were mostly excellent (if slightly uneven): at 2mm we began to see quite a few slices with broken edges.  At 1mm, the slight bias of the cuts meant that most slices had one clean edge and one skinless edge.

From L; 3mm, 2mm, and 1mm slices.

From left are 3mm, 2mm, and 1mm slices.

Cabbage

We were impressed by the small slicer’s ability to produce delicate strands of cabbage, provided that the cabbage is cut into a narrow enough wedge to fit within the OXO’s 2 7/8″ wide cutting deck. We found that the 3mm setting was a bit too large and that the 2mm setting was just about right. Shredding even small cabbage on a hand held device such as this is an unwieldy operation: we docked the score 1 point to reflect this limitation.

1mm, 2mm, and 3mm slices seen clockwise from left.

1mm, 2mm, and 3mm slices seen clockwise from left.

Lemon

The OXO blade cut cleanly through the tough lemon skins and produced consistent 3mm slices. When switched to the 2mm setting, the slightly slanted cuts of the OXO translated into quite a few broken trailing edges.

3mm and 2mm (right) slices.

3mm and 2mm (right) slices.

Safety Features

During our testing, we found that the single greatest factor in determining mandoline safety related to blade efficiency and how much pressure was required to feed produce through the blades. The OXO was generally excellent in this regard.

The OXO features a nice rubberized handle which results in a comfortable and secure grip; a rubberized strip along the base of the mandoline helps keep it stable on a cutting board. We also liked the fact that indents (also rubberized) near the end of the mandoline allowed it to hook onto the rim of a bowl.

Even the handle on the unit’s hand-guard is rubberized. However, the underside of the pusher has a grid of plastic spikes which we found to be ineffective in gripping the any of the produce we tested. For most of our tests we used our preferred Borner hand guard (available at Amazon for about $8).

Conclusion

OXO’s entry into the hand held slicer category reflects the brand’s focus on user-friendly design, but its performance failed to impress.

The side-mounted depth adjustment switch, coupled with clearly marked indicators on the cutting deck make changing the thickness of slices incredibly easy. We also liked the incorporation of rubberized surfaces, which make operating this small OXO feel more secure than some competing models.

We have been critical of the cutting ability of OXO’s two full-sized mandolines. Interestingly, the blade on this small model is extremely effective in slicing through produce–including tomatoes and lemons–with very little pressure from the user.

Unfortunately, this OXO model is not without its own set of limitations. First, it features only three depth settings of 3mm, 2mm, and 1mm (in contrast to four on the Kyocera Adjustable Mandoline Slicer, or the continuous adjustability of the Microplane Adjustable Slicer). We found that results at 1mm were generally poor (see below), meaning that users will be left with just two options 3mm, or 2mm with most produce.

The second limitation of the OXO is its tendency to produce angled slices at all depth settings.  It seemed clear that this was the result of the cutting deck flexing beneath the weight and pressure of produce and the fact that the depth adjustment bar, which supports the cutting deck, is not sufficiently robust. At 3mm this was usually a fairly minor concern but by 2mm it was often a problem. We found the thinnest 1mm setting to be nearly useless because it produced uneven shavings instead of consistent slices.

Not Recommended*

*Review and rating updated on January 22, 2010 to reflect changes in our rating scale as well as new models in the product category.