Microplane Adjustable Slicer

Purchasing

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Design & Operation

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The Microplane is sturdily built and substantially larger in overall dimension than other hand-held mandolines we have tested, measuring 15″ (38.2cm) long by 4 5/8″ (11.8cm) wide.  Its cutting deck measures 3 1/4″ (8.4 cm) wide, which is slightly wider than most hand-held slicers.  Click here to see how it compares to adjustable slicers by OXO and Kyocera.

The adjustable stainless-lined cutting deck is raised and lowered by means of twisting a ribbed wheel of gray plastic that spans the entire width of the slicer.  We found that this wheel did not rotate smoothly (it is essentially a plastic-on-plastic screw) and was a bit of a pain to operate.  Lack of depth markings mean that a certain amount of trial and error will usually come into play before the right height is dialed in.  Once set, however, the Microplane’s wheel holds the cutting deck firmly in place, unlike several other slicers where the cutting deck merely rests upon a supporting surface.  Turned all the way to its highest setting, the cutting deck is raised flush with the blade in a non-cutting position.

Performance Tests
Potato: Excellent

The Microplane performed flawlessly, slicing off perfect sections of potato at all thicknesses.  Cut surfaces were extremely smooth and slices were consistent edge-to-edge.

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Even at the thinnest settings (approximately 1.5mm on right) the Microplane produced sections which where of consistent thickness

Zucchini: Excellent

The Microplane performed extremely well, leaving soft zucchini skins intact while slicing cleanly through the flesh to create smooth, consistent slices.

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The microplane produced flawless slices of zucchini with skins left intact.

Tomato: Excellent

We were very impressed by the Microplane’s ability to slice through tomatoes while leaving their skins intact.  Up until 2mm, it produced tomatoes that were consistent in thickness from edge to edge.

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From left are 6mm, 4mm, and approximately 2.5mm slices.

Cabbage: Excellent

The ability to fine-tune the depth of slices was a great advantage in the cabbage slicing test, where “too thick” and “too thin” are sometimes just a millimeter apart.  The Microplane is limited only by its 3 1/4″ width, and by the relatively short distance between the bottom of the ‘V’ and the end of the unit, making it somewhat clumsy to support the cabbage after it passes through the blade.

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The continuous adjustment of the depth wheel is a great help with cabbage.

Lemon: Excellent

The Microplane was one of the top performers in this test, producing perfectly even slices at a variety of depths.  For our test, we attempted to get as close to 2mm (measurement of actual slice) as possible.

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The Microplane had no trouble with the tough lemon skins, and sliced through the seeds as well.

Safety Features

The combination of strong construction and rubberized coatings on the hand grip and feet made operating this device seem more secure in relation to some other hand held slicers.

The Microplane includes a large, two-part hand guard that is bigger than those found on many full-size mandolines.  We felt that the size and weight of this part constituted a real mismatch to the size of the slicer itself.

In our testing we came to the conclusion that safety is closely correlated to the sharpness of the blade and how effective the unit is in cutting with a minimum of force.  The Microplane earned high marks in this regard.

Conclusion
Pros:
  • continuously adjustable from about 1mm to 7mm
  • cuts with minimum of snagging and makes extremely clean slices
Cons:
  • depth adjustment wheel does not rotate smoothly, traps food particles
  • slicer (and hand guard) significantly bulkier than other hand-held slicers
  • expensive relative to other hand held slicers

The Microplane Adjustable Slicer performed extremely well on all of our tests.  Slicing generally required only low to moderate pressure, and the sturdily built Microplane handled everything from delicate tomatoes to hard-skinned lemons with ease.

We appreciated the Microplane’s ability to make continuous adjustments to cutting depth.  This allowed us to literally dial in the correct thickness down to the sub-millimeter, though a bit of trial and error was required.  Our most serious gripe with the Microplane was the fact that this depth-adjustment wheel did not rotate smoothly, and tended to ‘seize up’ at certain points.  We also felt that the adjustment mechanism tended to trap food particles, making the unit more time consuming to clean.

Arriving at a final rating for the Microplane presented a challenge.  The Microplane’s performance was excellent across the board.  However, the unit lacked the ‘grab and go’ convenience of competing hand-held slicers by Kyocera and OXO and we believe users will be less inclined to use it for the simple tasks for which such devices seem ideally suited.  At $40, the Microplane is expensive for a single-purpose device, costing roughly the same as more fully-featured mandolines by Borner, and OXO, and more than the $25 Benriner.

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