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Design & Operation
The de Buyer ‘Kobra’ Adjustable slicer has a sturdy plastic frame fitted with a V-shaped stainless steel serrated blade and stainless cutting deck. The Kobra is large for a hand held slicer, measuring at 14 1/2″ long by 4.5″ wide; its cutting deck is just over 3″ wide.
The depth of slices is adjusted by rotating a red knob on the end of the unit’s handle. Turning the wheel clockwise, towards the “+” lowers the cutting deck and produces thicker slices, while turning it towards “-” raises the deck for thinner slices. Fourteen and a half revolutions are required to move the deck from one extreme to the other. At the fully raised position, the blade is fixed in a non-cutting position, flush with the cutting deck.
Potato: Very Good
The de Buyer produced extremely even slices at all available depth settings with a minimum of pressure required from the user. Unfortunately, we found that the serrations in the de Buyer’s blade leave a telltale grooved pattern on the finished slices (see detailed photo below). Notice how the central section which passes through the un-serrated tip of the ‘V’ is smooth in comparison to the grooved sections on both sides. With potatoes, we felt that this would have little impact on the final product (fries, gratin), but still downgraded the unit’s performance slightly.
As with potatoes, the de Buyer produced extremely even slices with a minimum of force, but we encountered the same issue with the serrated blade leaving marks on the finished slices. With zucchini, we downgraded the unit’s performance more to reflect the fact that grooves were more likely to be observed in finished dishes.
The de Buyer’s serrated blade did an outstanding job of piercing the delicate tomato skin and producing slices which were intact from edge to edge. We produced excellent slices down to approximately 2mm, which is about the limit of any mandoline we have tested. The serrated markings are almost impossible to see and did not impact overall appearance.
The de Buyer did an excellent job of slicing cabbage and we found that its continuous depth adjustment allowed us to fine tune cabbage to our desired thickness.
The de Buyer performed exceptionally well in our lemon slicing test, producing intact sections down to approximately 1.5mm, and slicing through the lemon seeds in the process.
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 Kobra was generally excellent in this regard.
We also appreciated the rubberized handle and non-skid feet on the unit, which made it feel stable during operation, as well as the well-built hand guard.
- continuously adjustable from about 1mm to 7mm
- produced very even slices of all produce we tested
- well constructed and includes good hand guard
- serrated teeth mark certain produce
- expensive relative to other hand held slicers
- non-intuitive, slightly fiddly depth adjustment
The de Buyer Kobra Adjustable Slicer joins a rapidly growing list of products in the ‘hand held slicer’ category, a product group that targets the home cook looking for the fine cutting ability of a mandoline without all the fuss of some full-sized models.
We appreciated the sturdy build of the Kobra and were impressed by its ability to slice through all of our tested produce with ease.
However, we were disappointed by the effect that the model’s serrated blade had on the appearance of some produce. The blade creates cut surfaces with tiny, but noticeable ridges created by the blade’s teeth. To make matters worse, there is an un-serrated section at the point of the “V”, so that the surfaces of certain produce–cucumber, potatoes, zucchini–wind up with a smooth central band straddled by sections marked with grooves from the teeth. We have observed how similar V-shaped blades without serrations–such as the Borner V-Slicer and Microplane Adjustable Slicer–manage to produce exceptional results and wondered why a serrated blade was necessary.
Another remarkable feature of the Kobra was its handle-mounted depth adjustment knob. While we appreciated the potential of its continuous adjustability, the lack of visual indicators means that trial and error usually come into play, meaning even more time spent fiddling with the non intuitive control knob. Marked “+” and “-”, more often than not we found ourselves spinning in the wrong direction.
At $59.99, the Kobra does not present a strong value or feature set and we suggest buyers look elsewhere.