The Best Salad Spinners for the Kitchen

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The Best Salad Spinner Options

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Many believe they should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it’s often a pain to wash and dry all those ingredients. Enter the salad spinner, which can accomplish both tasks. They’ll save you time and paper towels and can actually be fun to use. When shopping for a salad spinner, cooks should consider the volume of fruits and vegetables needed during each use, storage space restrictions, and the preferred spin mechanism. The best salad spinner will dry your vegetables with just a couple of pulls or turns and fit neatly into your cabinet.

Features to Look for in the Best Salad Spinner

Salad spinners seem like simple tools, but there are actually a number of things to consider while shopping in order to find the spinner best suited to your needs.

Size

Salad spinners can take up a big chunk of shelf or cabinet space, so it doesn’t make sense to buy a large spinner if you only spin a few greens at a time. On the other hand, a small spinner will quickly become a frustration if you regularly make large salads and need to run multiple courses of lettuce through the spinner because the capacity is so small. Salad spinners are available in a range of sizes to fit different cooks’ needs. Some spinners collapse and self-store, so if storage space is in short supply but you’re in need of large capacity, collapsible spinners are a good option.

Budget

You may find some high-priced models on the market, but while paying for quality materials and mechanics is always worth the expense in durability and longevity, a salad spinner does not need to be expensive to be effective. Many spinners serve multiple purposes as serving bowls or storage containers, as well, so consider how many functions the spinner can perform when evaluating the budget.

Material

Most salad spinners are made of some form of BPA-free plastic to keep them lightweight and easy to wash. Others are made of stainless steel with a plastic strainer insert—these are usually bowls that can be used as attractive serving dishes as well. The choice of material is a style-based decision, with one exception: if you plan to wash a lot of acidic foods in the spinner, plastic will be a better choice, as stainless steel can be discolored by acid.

Our Top Picks

The Best Salad Spinner Option: OXO Good Grips Salad SpinnerThe Best Salad Spinner Option: OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner

Photo: amazon.com

The large-capacity OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner is a highly effective, easy to use salad spinner with a one-handed pump (plus a brake button to slow the spinning action when desired). Additional features include a BPA-free basket that can hold close to 5 quarts of ingredients, a soft nonslip knob which locks down the lid, and a nonslip ring along the base to prevent the spinner from slipping. A flat lid allows for convenient storage. The spinner’s clear outer bowl doubles as a serving bowl, and the spinning basket can be used separately as a colander. In other words, this salad spinner is not just a salad spinner, but rather a true multitasker.

The Best Salad Spinner Option: Prepworks by Progressive Collapsible Salad SpinnerThe Best Salad Spinner Option: Prepworks by Progressive Collapsible Salad Spinner

Photo: amazon.com

Salad spinners can be quite large and difficult to store in kitchens with limited storage. This Collapsible Salad Spinner from Progressive International all but eliminates this problem by collapsing to about half its expanded size when not in use. Though it’s somewhat smaller than others on our list, this salad spinner can handle about 3 quarts of produce at a time. A nonskid base increases stability and ease of use, and the exterior bowl can be used for serving after spinning. The fact that all parts are dishwasher safe makes cleanup simple and straightforward.

The Best Salad Spinner Option: OXO Steel Salad Spinner OOSThe Best Salad Spinner Option: OXO Steel Salad Spinner OOS

Photo: amazon.com

With an inner basket of nearly 5 quarts and an outer bowl capacity of just over 6 quarts, the OXO Steel Salad Spinner is a large-capacity option, ideal for families and people who enjoy entertaining. Conveniently, the steel bowl can be used both for serving at the table one minute and then the next minute for storing greens in the fridge. Since it’s made of stainless steel, the bowl boasts impact resistance and durability—something you don’t always get with plastic salad spinner bowls.

The Best Salad Spinner Option: Good Cook Salad SpinnerThe Best Salad Spinner Option: Good Cook Salad Spinner

Photo: amazon.com

Some salad spinners require you to pinch the inner basket in order to pour out any water collected during the spinning process. The design of the Good Cook Salad Spinner—which features a pitcher spout—eliminates that step. To use this spinner, simply hold the comfort-grip handle and turn the soft-touch knob to spin the basket. When you’re all done, simply pour the collected water out of the side spout. The Good Cook Spinner is durable and dishwasher safe, and its modest price makes it a great value.

The Best Salad Spinner Option: ZYLISS Easy Spin Salad SpinnerThe Best Salad Spinner Option: ZYLISS Easy Spin Salad Spinner

Photo: amazon.com

Not everyone is comfortable using a plunger-style salad spinner. For those people, the Easy Spin Salad Spinner provides a worthy alternative. The ergonomic handle of this spinner is easy to grab onto and pull, and its one-touch brake button provides an added level of control during use. The clear outer bowl of the spinner can be used as a serving dish or for storing leftovers, but while this bowl can be put in the dishwasher, the lid can’t. All parts are covered by the manufacturer’s 5-year guarantee against breakage.

Advantages of Owning a Salad Spinner

The best salad spinners are remarkably versatile tools and can help with a range of kitchen tasks. If you enjoy salads or fresh greens, they can be indispensable.

Washing lettuce and other fresh greens has become ever-more important as listeria outbreaks across the country have increased, so even conveniently bagged salads should be washed before consuming. You can certainly wash lettuce in a bowl in the sink, then pat dry with paper towels, but chances are you’ll end up with a wet salad (and a lot of wasted paper towels). Salad spinners allow you to wash the greens right in the spinner bowl and lift the strainer as many times as necessary to rinse again with clean water before spinning the greens dry with a few quick pulls, pumps, or cranks. Dry greens hold dressings and seasonings more effectively so you can use less for a healthier salad.

In addition, washed greens store better when they have been thoroughly dried, so you can spin your salads dry, then prepare several days’ worth of lunches in advance and still have crisp green lettuce. The spinners are also great for draining pasta, rinsing beans and berries, and draining vegetables that you’ve salted to draw the liquid out of.

Tips for Using a Salad Spinner

While salad spinner bowls are spacious, it is critical not to overload them with the greens you want to wash and spin. Too much food will trap water in between the layers at best, and break or damage the spinner basket at worst. Delicate leaves can also be damaged if the bowl is overloaded or if they are spun with sharper, harder-edged leaves.

Once you’ve placed the leaves in the bowl, fill the bowl partway with cool water and swish the leaves gently to loosen sand or dirt particles. If the lettuce is quite sandy, dump out the water and rinse again with fresh water. When you’re satisfied that the greens are clean, remove the water, place the lid on the spinner, and spin away, keeping a grip on the bowl. You may be surprised at how much water spins out of your greens.

FAQs About Your New Salad Spinner

Q: What is a salad spinner and how does it work?

A: In terms of construction, salad spinners are basically a bowl fitted with a sieve that is slightly smaller, covered by a lid that houses a crank or turning mechanism. The sieve rests on a small knob or bump in the bottom of the bowl. When the button, crank, or pull strong is activated, the inner strainer begins to spin. Salad spinners use centrifugal force to fling water off of salad greens as the inner strainer spins around the central core. The water is collected in the bottom of the bowl to be poured off after spinning, leaving you with dry, fresh, crisp greens or vegetables.

Q: How much salad will a salad spinner hold?

A: Spinners come in different sizes, so the answer to this question depends on the size of the spinner you choose. Regardless of how much the spinner WILL hold, it is important to consider how much the spinner SHOULD hold: an overloaded spinner will damage the leaves and potentially break. If you’re packing in your leaves, you’ve added too much—the greens should be lightly piled into the strainer. Depending on the size of your spinner and how many greens you have to wash and dry, you may need to spin several smaller batches to protect your leaves from damage.

Q: How should I maintain my salad spinner?

A: Most salad spinner bowls are dishwasher safe, while the lids are more likely to be handwash only to protect the springs and strings that power the spinner. That said, most spinner bowls are easy to wipe clean by hand, and some clear plastic bowls might be damaged by the abrasive nature of dishwasher detergents, so hand washing is recommended overall.

More important than how you wash the spinner is how you dry it. Most spinners have metal parts inside the spinner mechanism, while some have strings. The spinners are reasonably airtight when closed, so it’s critical that you thoroughly dry all parts of the spinner before reassembling for storage—including seams and edges that might hide water. Otherwise, your spinner could develop rust or mold.

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