We Tested 9 Magnetic Knife Holders to Find the Best, Most Secure Ones

We tested 9 magnetic knife holders by installing them, measuring their magnet strength, and placing a variety of knives on them over and over again to find the best ones.

a group of magnetic knife bars against white subway tile
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Generally, we don’t recommend knife blocks. They eat up counter space. And all those slots don’t often match up with knives you actually own. Instead, when it comes to knife storage, we suggest a cork-lined knife holder or magnetic knife strip. 

Let’s focus on the later: magnetic knife strips come in different lengths, so you can choose a smaller one to keep just your most-used knives within arm’s reach, a larger one for extra storage, and even buy two and put them side-by-side or stack them vertically for even more space.

Most magnetic knife holders are fairly easy to install, though they all require a power drill. However, some have weaker magnetic fields, causing knives to shift and move around as you attach or reach for them. Others feel loose when mounted. To find the best magnetic knife holders, we tested 9 of them, in a variety of finishes and at different price points.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Magnetic Knife Holder: Jonathan Alden Magnetic Wooden Knife Bar Holder Strip

Also available at Etsy.

The Jonathan Alden Magnetic Wooden Knife Bar Holder Strip is our favorite model. Installation was simple and it had the strongest magnetic field of all the strips we tested, with eight knives clinging easily to the wood strip without moving or shifting. The holder itself features handsome wood, with metal “polka dots” peaking through.

The Best High-Capacity Magnetic Knife Holder: Benchcrafted Mag Block

The Benchcrafted Mag Blok was fairly intuitive to install, though no instructions were given. It had one of the stronger magnetic fields and knives easily attached without shifting. The strip was 18 inches long—slightly bigger than the other holders we tested—and accommodated 9 knives without crowding. It also comes in a  a 12-inch model, if you want something smaller. Both versions are available in five different wood finishes.

The Tests

a magnetic knife bar with several knives on it affixed to a wooden pallet
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin
  • Installation Test: We mounted each magnetic holder onto a wooden pallet—propped up vertically, to simulate installing the strip onto a wall—to see how intuitive and easy they were to put up. We then uninstalled and removed each strip to see how difficult it was to remove them.
  • Magnetic Strength and Capacity Test: We tested each holder with a Gauss meter to check its magnetic field and to see how strong its magnet was. Then, we loaded each strip to its maximum capacity, using a variety of knives (including a large heavy cleaver, chef's knife, nakiri, santoku, serrated bread knife, utility/petty knife, and a small paring knife), to see how many fit and how secure they were.
  • Durability Test: We placed and removed a cleaver on the holder 25 times. We checked to see how easy the knife attached and came off, We also checked to see if repeated use damaged the strip or the knife.

What We Learned

Material Was More Than Cosmetic

seven magnetic knife strips stacked on top of one another
We preferred wooden (or at least mostly wooden) surfaces to metal ones.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

While you might think that the surface of a magnetic knife holder is an aesthetic choice, this wasn’t the case. We preferred wooden strips (or at least where the metal was nearly entirely covered by wood, like with our top choice from Jonathan Alden) over metal ones. Every time a knife was placed on a metal strip, it would make a clanging noise and shift slightly. This happened less with the wooden strips. The softer wood material not only cushioned the knife as the magnet attached to it, resulting in less sound, but the texture of the wood created slight friction, inhibiting the knife from sliding around.

There’s a worry, too, that metal knife strips will ding a knife’s blade when you’re attaching it. While we didn’t experience this, wooden strips alleviate this worry entirely and offer a more blade-safe surface.

However, there is a downside to wood (not enough to not recommend it, but it's still worth mentioning): it's less durable than metal and needs more upkeep. We found darker finished wood showed nicks and scratches more easily than light finished wood. Over time, wood also potentially needs re-waxing or oiling to maintain its appearance and finish.

No matter the material, make it a best practice to ensure knives are always completely dry before placing them on a magnetic holder. Due to the porous nature of wood, water can damage or warp it. Conversely, metal strips won’t absorb any water. This means water will get locked onto the strip where the knife is in contact, potentially creating rust spots on either item.

The (Magnetic) Force Was Strong with These Ones

a variety of different knives hanging from a magnetic wooden knife holder
A strong magnetic field and continuous magnet were essential for knife security.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

We tested magnetic strength on each of the strips by using a Gauss meter, a device designed to test magnetic fields. Unsurprisingly, the most powerful magnetic fields led to the most secure magnetic strips that held knives in place without them shifting or moving. Our favorite magnetic strip, the Jonathan Alden, had the strongest field at 2352.1 Gs. The Benchcraft Mag Blok had a respectable 1882.7 Gs, which was the third strongest field of all that we tested. In comparison, the lowest magnetic field was the NorPro Aluminum Magnetic Knife Bar, with only 642.3 Gs. Knives released easily from the Norpro...too easily. It didn't instill confidence that a knife couldn't be accidentally jostled and sent flying off the holder.

But it wasn’t just about the strength. Some of the models we tested (with strong magnetic fields) lacked continuous magnetic strips and instead had a number of smaller magnets housed in them. This meant smaller knives, like paring or utility knives, would only attach securely to specific areas of the bar, and not to others.

What Size Holder Should You Get?

All the magnetic knife bars we tested ranged in size from 16 to 18 inches. In the end, our favorite knife bar, the Jonathan Alden, was 16 inches long. Though a longer knife bar, like the 18-inch Benchcrafted Mag Blok, did accommodate more knives (one more chef's knife, to be specific), the 16-inch knife bar still fit eight knives—including two chef's knives, a heavy cleaver, a nakiri, a santoku, a serrated bread knife, a utility/petty knife, and a paring knife. (This is a solid collection of knives for most home cooks.)

Installing the Magnetic Knife Holders Was Mostly Intuitive

two wooden magnetic knife holders screwed onto a wooden pallet
It was fairly easy to both install and un-install most of the magnetic knife holders.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Most of the bars did not come with installation instructions, though they did include screws. To mount all the bars we tested, we need to first drill a hole, then use the included screws to attach the bar to the wall (or wooden pallet, in our case) by different methods. This included attaching a metal plate to the wall and having the bar magnetically adhere to the plate, hanging the holder via holes on the back of the bar, drilling and screwing the bar directly into the wall, using plastic pieces on the side to slide the bar onto the screws, and, in once instance, attaching a mounting piece of wood with a built-in level onto the wall then sliding the magnetic bar onto it.

While all of these methods worked alright, some were more intuitive than others. Both the Jonathan Adler and Benchcrafted bars were the most straightforward, with the Jonathan Adler bar including instructions and a paper template so you knew exactly where to drill the holes and the Benchcrafted bar with holes on the strip itself, so you could mount the bar directly onto the wall. All three of the metal bars, as well the Meissermester strip, had you mount a metal plate onto the wall then attach the strip to the plate magnetically. This sounds relatively easy, but was actually the most dangerous and we found that our fingers nearly got pinched between the two magnetic fields.

Uninstalling bars were equally intuitive, as long as you could get the screw out of the wall. The metal strips were the most difficult here, but not impossible. They just required a little brute strength, strong fingers, and a firm grasp so your fingers didn't get pinched yet again when prying the strip off of the metal plate. Bars that were mounted on screws or screwed directly into the wall were much easier to remove.

The Criteria: What to Look for In Magnetic Knife Holder

A magnetic knife strip with a cleaver on it and text points positioned around it
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin / Grace Kelly

We preferred wooden over metal holders. Wood was gentler on knives, quieter, and prevented them from moving around. Though wood does require a little maintenance, its pros outweigh this con. 

Magnetic knife holders with strong magnetic fields and continuous magnets kept knives in place and accommodated knives of all sizes easily. And while we recommend a 16-inch knife strip for most people/knife storage needs, we do have an 18-inch recommendation for those that want something larger. If you just want to keep a few of your most-used knives at arm’s reach, a 12-inch knife strip will probably be fine. 

Finally, make sure the knife holder you select is easy to mount on the wall and is stable once installed. Most of the strips we tested fit this criteria, but there were one or two models that felt unstable or wobbled when installed, making us leery of them.

The Best Magnetic Knife Holder: Jonathan Alden Magnetic Wooden Knife Bar Holder Strip

Also available at Etsy.

What we liked: The Jonathan Alden wooden strip had the strongest magnetic field of all the holders we tested. The 16-inch bar held eight knives comfortably—including two 8-inch chef knives, a heavy cleaver, a nakiri, a santoku, a serrated bread knife, a utility/petty knife, and a paring knife.

Knives attached easily to it and didn't move once in place. Heavy cleavers felt secure, small lightweight paring knives didn’t shift if accidentally knocked, and long chef's knives didn’t swing or tilt when placed on the strip. 

However, the strong magnetic field still allowed you to grab the knives by their handle and easily remove them. The strip itself was made of medium finished wood, with punched holes showing inlaid metal and creating a “polka dot” look. We thought this modern design looked handsome and the contrasting metal dots also helped hide any superficial nicks and scratches on the wood.

Unlike most strips that seem to assume you know how to install them, the Jonathan Alden model came with installation instructions as well as a paper template, which made drilling holes into the right place on the wall easy. Once the screws were installed, the magnetic holder hung securely on them.

What we didn’t like: Because the bar had a wood surface, the magnetic knife holder will periodically need to be waxed or oiled for maintenance.

Price at time of publish: $64

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 16 inches long, 5/8-inch deep
  • Weight: 10 7/8 ounces
  • Care instructions: Maintain occasionally with wood oil or wax
  • Installation instructions: Included; drill holes in wall using included template, then attach screws to wall and mount bar on screws
  • Magnet strength: 2352.1 Gs
A closeup shot of a cleaver on a wooden knife strip
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The Best High-Capacity Magnetic Knife Holder: Benchcrafted Mag Block

What we liked: The Benchcrafted Mag Blok is an excellent alternative to the Jonathan Alden magnetic strip, especially if you are looking for something more traditional in style or have a large knife collection. At 18-inches, the Benchcrafted Mag Blok is one of the longer magnetic strips we tested. It comfortably held 9 knives, including three chef’s knives, a heavy cleaver, a nakiri, a santoku, a serrated bread knife, a utility/petty knife, and a paring knife. 

The magnetic field wasn’t as strong as the Jonathan Alden strip, but was still plenty strong to solidly hold all the knives without any issues. Knives attached easily and didn’t move when placed on the strip. The Benchcrafted strip installation was straightforward, with two brass-colored screws that go directly through the front of the bar. The light finished wood blends into most kitchens and didn’t show nicks or scratches as easily as a darker finish might.

What we didn’t like: Like the Jonathan Alden strip, the Benchcrafted bar has a wood surface which will periodically need to be maintained. Unlike the Jonathan Alden strip though, a small tube of "Block-Butter" is included with this holder.

Price at time of publish: $64.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 18 inches long, 3/4 inch deep
  • Weight: 1 pound, 6 3/8 ounces
  • Care instructions: Wax or oil occasionally
  • Installation instructions: Not included; screws mounted directly through bar
  • Magnet strength: 1892.7 Gs
a cleaver on a pale magnetic knife holder
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The Competition

  • Messermeister Magnetic Knife Strip: This model's magnetic field was a weaker than the Jonathan Alden or Benchcrafted bars, and knives placed on it shifted more because of that.
  • Norpro 18-inch Aluminum Magnetic Knife Bar: This bar had the weakest magnetic field. The plastic edge pieces that are used to mount the bar to the wall felt cheap and fell off mid-testing, making this bar feel unsafe to use.
  • Modern Innovation 16-inch Stainless Steel Knife Bar: This metal bar had a medium strength magnetic field, but the metal had less texture than the wooden bars, which meant knives slid around when placed on it.
  • Schmidt Brothers Acacia Magnetic Wall Bar: While it was fine to put knives onto this holder, the bar shifted slightly when removing heavy knives like a cleaver.
  • Ouddy Magnetic Knife Holder: Like the Modern Innovation, this bar had a medium strength magnetic field and a metal surface that had knives sliding around on it.
  • 360KnifeBlock Bar: This was the most expensive bar we tested, nearly twice the price of our favorites. It also had the most complicated installation system and it didn't seem to have a continuous magnet in it—causing smaller knives to feel less secure.
  • Gorilla Grip Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Strip: Like the other two metal bars, this medium strength holders had knives sliding around, which felt unsafe.

FAQs

Do magnetic knife strips damage knives? 

Magnetic knife strips shouldn’t damage knives. Because the knife isn’t sliding in and out of a knife block or being banged around in a drawer (both of which can damage blades), a magnetic knife strip is actually a great storage solution.

How do you install a magnetic knife holder? 

All magnetic strips do require you to drill a hole into the wall, preferably where the wooden studs are, and mount the strip on the screws. Some strips are attached by hanging them from the screws, with holes in the back of the bar. Some have screws that attach directly from the front of the bar. And some have mounting mechanisms like metal plates or mounting bars that are used to attach the bar to the wall. When installing the metal plates, be aware of your fingers as you connect the magnetic bar to the plate. The strong pull of the magnetic bar can pinch your fingers.

Can you remove a magnetic knife holder once it’s installed?

Yes! As long as you haven’t stripped the screw and can remove the screw from the wall, magnetic strips can be uninstalled. Some are a little more difficult to remove than others, but no magnetic strip installation is permanent.

Should you buy an adhesive magnetic knife holder?

While the easy installation may seem appealing, adhesive magnetic knife strips just aren't as secure as ones screwed into the wall. And you really want something to be secure when sharp knives are suspended from it.

Should you install a magnetic knife holder on the fridge?

Some magnetic knife holders can be installed on the side of the fridge, as they have a magnetic backings. However, this just isn't a super secure place for knives to be hanging. Can you imagine closing your fridge door and having that knock a knife loose, sending the sharp blade flying onto the floor? Not ideal!

After Testing 7 Half Sheet Baking Pans, We Found 2 Solid Picks

We researched and tested seven popular half sheet pans by baking cookies, cakes, and potato wedges.

a stack of half sheet pans
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

We’ve told folks before that half sheet pans (along with cooling racks) are the unsung heroes of the kitchen; they can be used to not only bake cookies, but also to roast vegetables, make sheet pan meals, dry brine chicken and turkey, rest meat, and so much more. We even use half sheet pans to help prep and organize ingredients. And the pans can even function as utilitarian serving trays. Best of all, unlike rimless cookie sheets, half sheet baking pans are usually the same size (18 x 13 inches). So even if you mix and match brands, they should nest and store together easily.

We tested seven popular uncoated half sheet pans to see which held up to a myriad of kitchen tasks. We didn't include any nonstick models, as the darker nonstick coating can affect bake and cook time and will eventually will wear off, limiting the lifespan of the pan. Nonstick pans also have a lower oven-safe temperatures, making them less versatile than uncoated pans.

Though most of the half sheet pans we tested were great and did everything we wanted of them, there were two that stood out above the others. 

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Half Sheet Baking Pan: Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet

Made of aluminized steel, this sheet pan had a comfortable rolled edge which didn't bite into our palms as we hold onto it and made it easy to pull from the oven, even when using bulky oven mitts. The heavy gauge material also resisted warping. Cookies baked up consistently across the pan, delicate cakes came out evenly cooked, and roasted potatoes browned and released without any issues. It's very reasonably priced, too, and conveniently sold in a two-pack.

The Most Durable Half Sheet Baking Pan: Chicago Metallic Commercial II Traditional Uncoated Large Jelly Roll Pan

The commercial grade pan was a heavier gauge metal than most of the other pans we tested, and it heated up evenly without warping. Cookies, cakes, and potatoes came out perfectly cooked and evenly browned. However, as far as we can tell, it's not broiler-safe.

The Tests

baked cookies on a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies Test: We made batches of chocolate chip cookies, weighing each individual ball of dough (in grams) to ensure each cookie was exactly the same weight. We then baked six cookies on each sheet, using a single, fresh piece of parchment paper for each pan, rotating the pan halfway through cooking, and pulling each baking sheet out of the oven at the same time.
  • Sheet Cake Test: We baked a box of prepared Betty Crocker Yellow Cake in each pan. We then inverted the cake onto a cooling rack, looking to see how evenly the cake baked and if there were any evident hot spots.
  • Roasted Potato Wedges Tests: We roasted 2 1/2 pounds of potato wedges per sheet pan to see potatoes roasted evenly and released easily.
  • Warp Test: We preheated an oven to 475°F and placed each empty pan in the hot oven for 20 minutes to see how much they warped (if they did at all). We then removed the pan from the oven and let cool. If warping did occur, we looked to see if the pan snapped back into place.
  • Usability and Cleanup Tests: Throughout testing, we evaluated how easy each pan was to use and hold onto. We cleaned each pan by hand after every test.

What We Learned

Back Up: What's a Half Sheet Pan?

an aerial view of a few sheet pans stacked on top of each other
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Unlike other baking pans (like, say, casserole dishes), half sheet pans are almost all the same size: roughly 18 inches long, 13 inches wide, and 1-inch high. Not only are half sheet pans standard in size, they also fit perfectly in most home ovens with plenty of space around them to allow for air and heat circulation.

The name "half sheet" refers to the size being half the size of a commercial sheet pan. Quarter sheet pans and even one-eighth sheet pans exist, too, and we can safely recommend buying our favorite pans from Nordic Ware or Chicago Metallic in these smaller sizes. (You can read our ode to eighth sheet pans here.)

Lightweight vs. Heavier Sheet Pans

Most of the pans we tested were relatively light, weighing around 1.5 pounds, meaning they were made of a thinner gauge metal. Though nearly all the pans we tested performed fairly well, models made from thinner metals tend to warp more over time. A heavier, thicker, 18-gauge pan, like our favorites, the Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum, resulted in a more durable, warp-resistant baking sheet.

That said, the heaviest pan (at more than one pound more than the Nordic Ware), the Williams Sonoma Traditional Touch Corrugated Half Sheet Pan, cost nearly twice as much as the Nordic Ware and Chicago Metallic pans, but didn’t necessarily perform any better. And handling the pan with oven mitts was awkward because the pan was unwieldy. So, the best sheet pans were actually right in the middle: not too thin to warp, not too heavy to be unbalanced.

Pan Finish Didn't Matter

a closeup of a variety of pans and their different finishes: matte, shiny, and ridged.
We found that pan finish didn't affect performance, though matte finish pans were slightly more difficult to clean and shiny finish pans got scratched looking more easily.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Some of the pans like the Nordicware, Fat Daddio, and NorPro had shiny, polished finishes, while others (like the Chicago Metallic and the Williams Sonoma) had a dull, matte surfaces. The finish didn’t impact performance: we didn't see any noticeable difference when it came to browning, evenness, or stickage.

Matte finish pans didn’t show scratches when scrubbed clean, while shiny pans tended to scratch when scrubbed. This didn't matter a ton to us though, as all uncoated sheet pans will likely discolor with heavy use.

Minor Warping Wasn't Super Concerning

Warping occurs when metal stretches and contracts after being exposed to extreme hot and cold (if you've ever heard a sheet pan "pop" in the oven, that's warping) .

Most of the sheet pans we tested started out flat and then warped slightly when placed in a 475°F oven. But all of them snapped back when cooled, and the warping really was minimal to begin with.  One pan, from Fat Daddio, was slightly warped to start, which meant oil pooled and the potato wedges stuck to the pan in spots. So, if your sheet pan isn't flush with the countertop when you take it out of the box: return it.

Skip the Textured Pans

a closeup of the ridged surface of the williams sonoma pan, which got dark splotches after use.
Avoid pans with textured surfaces like this: they make cleanup a whole lot tougher.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Two pans, the Nordic Ware Prism and the Williams Sonoma, had textured surfaces. These pans were more rigid (which could be a boon to prevent warping), but the texture made cleanup more difficult and the crevices trapped oil, baking it onto the surface. Pans with flat bottoms performed just as well, released baked and roasted food just as easily, and cleaned up far easier.

The Criteria: What To Look for in a Half Sheet Baking Pan

a serious(ly) good half sheet baking pan is uncoated and smooth, heavy-gauge metal, and conducts heat well
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin / Grace Kelly

When looking for a good half sheet pan, select one made from a heavier gauge material, like uncoated aluminum or aluminized steel. These pans conduct heat evenly, release food easily, and are resistant to warping. We also preferred pans with rolled rims, which were more comfortable to grip onto—with or without oven mitts on.

The Best Half Sheet Baking Pan: Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet Pan

What we liked: This sheet pan performed well in all of our tests. Cookies came out golden brown and evenly baked; cakes baked up perfectly springy from edge to center; and roasted potato wedges emerged crispy and released easily. The heavy gauge of the pan made it durable and less prone to warping and its rolled rims were easy and comfortable to grip and hold onto. It's reasonably priced, too.

What we didn’t like: The pan has the Nordic Ware logo embossed on its surface. While this didn't effect performance, oil gathered at the edges of the logo and required extra scrubbing to remove. However, this is truly a small quibble.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 1 lb, 9.25 ounces 
  • Gauge: 18
  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Broiler-safe: Yes
  • Dishwasher-safe: Hand-washing recommended
the nordic ware half sheet pan
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The Most Durable Half Sheet Baking Pan: Chicago Metallic Commercial II Traditional Uncoated Large Jelly Roll Pan

What we liked: This heavy-duty pan was made of a thick gauge metal and yielded great results: cookies, cakes, and potatoes are emerged evenly cooked.

The pan’s matte finish hid scratches better than shinier pans (if that matters to you) and its rolled, slightly angled rim and walls were comfortable to grip.

What we didn't like: Like the Nordic Ware, this pan's embossed logo was a little more finicky to clean. And as far as we could find, it's not broiler-safe, which is a bummer.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 2 pounds, 4.75 ounces
  • Gauge: Unknown
  • Materials: Aluminized Steel
  • Broiler-safe: No
  • Dishwasher-safe: Hand-washing recommended
chicago metallic sheetpan
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The Competition

FAQs

What's the difference between a baking sheet and a cookie sheet?

Baking sheets have raised walls and a rim around the perimeter of the pan, while cookie sheets are flat, with only one raised edge (for you to grab onto). While they are good for baking cookies, without walls cookie sheets aren't as versatile: they won't contain food, oil, or juices from, say, a roast chicken.

What's the best way to clean a sheet pan?

Though a lot of companies say their baking sheets are dishwasher-safe, it’s best to hand wash them since the harsh detergents and high temperatures of dishwashers can dull or damage the pans. We recommend hot, soapy water and a sponge.

What’s the brown burnt-on oil on a baking sheet?

These dark spots are the result of oil and fats heated above their smoke point; the oil polymerizes into a resin that bonds with metal; it can actually help brown food better than a fresh-faced pan.

Though there are ways to remove them, like a baking soda paste or Bar Keeper’s Friend, these spots are cosmetic and won’t affect the pan's performance.

We Tested 10 Microplanes (Rasp-Style Graters)–Here Are the Best Ones

We tested 10 rasp-style graters—grating and zesting a variety of foods—to find out which ones performed the best and were the easiest to use.

a variety of rasp-style graters on a wooden countertop
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

A Microplane is a rasp-style grater, but not every rasp-style grater is a Microplane. But whether you call it a grater, zester, or a Microplane (which one could argue is now a generic term for rasp-style graters, like Kleenex is for tissues) it serves the same purpose: zesting citrus, grating hard cheeses, processing garlic, and even turning spices like nutmeg into freshly ground stuff.

However, the tool's actually only about 30 years old. In 1991, Grace Manufacturing invented the Microplane, but the tool really only exploded in popularity in 1994 after the owners of Lee Valley Tools in Ottawa, CA began marketing them in their mail-order catalogue as a cooking implement rather than one for just woodworking, as they had been thought of before.

So, we were curious: How do other rasp-style graters stack up against the Microplane? To find out, we tested 10 of the most popular models (including several Microplanes), using them to zest citrus, grate garlic and cheese, and more.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Rasp-Style Grater: Microplane Premium Classic Series Zester/Grater

We weren't surprised our favorite rasp-style grater was made by Microplane. The Premium Classic Series Zester zested and grated with ease and was a cinch to use (thanks to its soft-grip handle that was comfortable to hold and helped to minimize hand fatigue).

The Easiest-to-Clean Rasp-Style Grater: Microplane Classic Series Stainless Steel Zester

This all-stainless steel Microplane had a large, flat grating surface, which we found convenient. Its low-profile walls made it easy to remove zest and simple to clean. While it lacked a handle, it was cheaper than the other models we tested.

The Tests

  • Zesting Citrus Test: We zested two medium-sized lemons to see how long it took to remove all of the zest and whether each grater was capable of removing just the zest or also took off some of the underlying bitter, white pith.
  • Grating Hard Cheese Test: We grated one-and-half ounces of Parmesan cheese to see how long each rasp-style grater took to do so and what the resulting texture of the cheese was like.
  • Grating Garlic Test: With each grater, we grated three medium cloves of garlic to gauge the resulting texture. We also looked at how easy it was to clean the grater after using it on a sticky product like fresh garlic.
  • Freshly Ground Spices Test: We grated two grams of nutmeg to see how coarse the resulting grated nutmeg was. We also evaluated whether grating a hard product like nutmeg dulled each grater's teeth.
  • Usability and Cleanup: After each test we noted hand fatigue, how easy the rasp-style graters were to grip and hold onto, and how simple it was to remove zested or grated food from the undersides of the graters. We also cleaned each grater after every use, evaluating any factors that contributed to how easy or difficult this was.

What We Learned

Rasp-Style Graters Can Be Too Dull, But They Can Also Be Too Sharp

two poorly performing graters with citrus zest in them
A grater with too small of teeth (left) vs. a grater with teeth that were angled too high (right).Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

While some of the rasp-style graters were razor-sharp, some struggled at basic tasks like zesting lemons.

These lower-performing graters had too-small holes (like the OXO model, which had teeth that were 3/32-inch wide compared to our favorite Microplane's 1/8-inch width) or the teeth weren’t angled high enough to grate and zest easily. Zest came out mushy and wet, and cheese took longer to grate and required more effort to do so.

Two bowls of Parmesan cheese grated by two different rasp-style graters
An example of a good-performing grater (left) vs. one that grated too coarsely (right).Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Surprisingly, though, some graters were too sharp...or perhaps had teeth that were just angled too sharply upwards. These graters removed the pith as well as the zest, leaving the fruit with striations and grate marks. Parmesan cheese grated coarser, too, instead of the wispy flakes of the higher-performing models. And, possibly worse, food would get caught in or stuck on the grater's teeth, needing more force to run them across the blade. This is potentially dangerous and could increase the chance of your hand slipping.

Width and Length Differences

In general, we liked rasp-style graters that were one to one-and-a-half inches wide, which gave us a nice surface area to work with. And we preferred graters that were about 12 inches long in total—anything more than that and the grater felt awkward and unbalanced to use. Plus, longer graters aren't particularly useful anyways, as when you're zesting or grating you’re only really using a three- to four-inch area and processing food back and forth in short runs.

Handle Material Matters

grating parmesan cheese with a blue microplane
Unsurprisingly, soft, non-slip handles like this one were the most comfortable to hold.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Almost all of the rasp-style graters that we tested had handles, but not all handles felt comfortable to hold. Some handles were made from hard plastic and felt slippery and tough to grasp, creating hand fatigue. The best handles had a soft grip and were made of a non-slip material.

Angled or Bent Graters Weren't As Versatile (or Ergonomic)

zesting a lemon with a stainless steel Microplane
We found straight, rather than bent or angled, graters to be more versatile.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The majority of rasp-style graters are designed completely straight, but a few were bent, for “ergonomic” reasons. However, during some of our tests (like zesting lemons), this bend made the grater awkward to use.

Typically, zesting lemons and other citrus involves holding the grater in your dominant hand and holding the fruit in your non-dominant hand. The rasp-style zester is then turned “upside-down” with the sharp teeth pointing downward. You run the tool over the lemon, removing the zest and letting it accumulate on top of the grater. Once you have finished zesting, or after enough zest has accumulated, you can use a finger to swipe the zest into a bowl or just turn the grater over and tap the grater to remove the zest.

But a bent zester, which is more comfortably held right-side up, forces you to hold the tool in an awkward position upside-down. This means bent zesters aren’t as versatile. Unless you plan on only using the zester to grate cheese or nutmeg, right-side up, avoid getting a rasp-style grater with a bend in it.

The Bottom of the Grater Is Also Important

pushing the zest from the bottom of a grater in a small prep bowl
Lower walls made it easier to remove lemon zest.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Finally, though you wouldn’t think of it immediately, the underside of the rasp-style grater is just as important as the top. If you're zesting the grater holding it upside down, you want the underside to have tall enough sides or walls to catch the zest, but not so tall that it’s awkward or tough to retrieve food. 

Narrow, channel-like undersides made it harder to retrieve zest and were more difficult to clean. We also found that rasp-style graters with thick, plastic frames tended to have deeper inset undersides, which also posed a usability and cleanup challenge.

The Criteria: What We Look for in a Microplane

Microplane image with text points around it
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin / Amanda Suarez

The best rasp-style graters have teeth that are large and high enough that they zest and grate with ease, but not so raised they they dig into the white pith of citrus or require you use more force when grating or zesting. A good rasp-style grater should be comfortable to hold (whether it has a handle or not), but our favorite model from Microplane has a soft, non-slip grip. It should be easy to remove zest from the undersides of the grater, too. It's also worth noting that our top pick, the Microplane Premium Classic Series Zester/Grater, has teeth that wrap around the edges, giving you an all-over useable surface.

The Best Rasp-Style Grater: Microplane Premium Classic Series Zester/Grater

What we liked: This grater easily grated and zested, removing lemon zest efficiently and without disturbing the white pith underneath. It had teeth that wrapped around the edges of the rasp, allowing you to grate and zest small or hard-to-reach spots.

We didn't see any noticeable dulling after grating hard nutmeg. This grater's handle comes in array of fun colors and offered a nice, soft grip, minimizing hand fatigue. The rasp's end also had two small rubber feet, which added stability when used at an angle on a surface like a cutting board.

What we didn’t like: The underside of the grater was a bit narrow, which made it harder to clean than the stainless steel model below.

Key Specs

  • Blade length: 7 7/8 inches 
  • Blade width: 1-inch 
  • Teeth width: 1/8-inch
  • Materials: Stainless steel, TPE plastic handle
blue-handled microplane grater on a wooden surface
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The Easiest-to-Clean Rasp-Style Grater: Microplane Classic Series Stainless Steel Zester

What we liked: The larger, flat surface area of this grater made it simple to balance on a bowl and grate larger pieces of cheese or hard spices that required more pressure and leverage. Its lower profile walls made it easy to collect zest as well as remove it (and clean it). And like all the Microplane graters, its teeth were razor-sharp.

What we didn’t like: There was no handle to this rasp-style grater, so its metal edge started to dig a little into our hands after extended use. Its cover also fit a bit tight, but we found it loosened over time.

Key Specs

  • Blade length: 12 1/2 inches
  • Blade width: 1 1/4 inches 
  • Teeth width: 1/8-inch wide 
  • Materials: Stainless steel
a stainless steel microplane on a wooden surface
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The Competition

  • Microplane Classic Zester/Grater: This rasp-style grater had the same quality and functionality as the Premium series, but the handle was made from hard plastic. It also had indentions where the blade was inserted into the handle, where food could get caught.
  • Deiss PRO Stainless Steel Grater: This was a good grater with a nice, soft, grippy handle. It had a little extra tooth and bite in the blade, but the extra length of the grater made it feel slightly off balance in hand.
  • Zyliss SmoothGlide Rasp Grater: This grater didn’t have enough tooth and the bend in the handle made grating lemons awkward and uncomfortable when held upside down.
  • OXO Good Grips Etched Zester and Grater: This rasp-style grater was one of the worst performing graters we tested, with small holes and teeth not raised high enough. Lemons took a longer amount of time and effort to zest and the resulting zest was wet.
  • Zulay Kitchen Cheese Grater & Citrus Zester: The Zulay had the opposite problem of the OXO with teeth that were raised too high, resulting in coarsely grated cheese and bitter pith in the zest.
  • Microplane Elite Series Grater: Like the other Microplane graters, this rasp-style grater performed fine, but the plastic frame that the blade was set in felt clunky and took up more space in the cabinet.  
  • IC Integrity Chef Pro Citrus Zester: This rasp-style grater looked and felt similar to the Zulay grater, but with slightly less tooth. It still had a lot of friction and needed more effort and care when grating, though.
  • Jofuyu Lemon Zester & Cheese Grater: The grater was easy to clean, but longer and unwieldy.

FAQs

What's the best way to store a Microplane?

Rasp-style graters are razor-sharp, so always store the grater with the cover on to prevent injury and the grater from dulling. You can store the grater in your kitchen drawer, in a utensil crock, or by hanging it up.

How often should you replace a Microplane?

This depends on how often you use it. If you notice that you need more pressure and effort to grate hard cheeses like Parmesan, or your citrus zest is coming out wet and mushy, as opposed to fluffy and dry, then it’s likely time to replace your Microplane.

Can you put a Microplane in the dishwasher?

No, you shouldn't put a Microplane in the dishwasher, as it'll dull the blade faster. It's also a safety risk. You can read more about this here.

We Tested 13 Instant-Read Thermometers–Here Are the Best Ones

We tested 13 models to find the most accurate, quickest, and easiest to use digital instant-read thermometers.

a bunch of instant-read thermometers on a marble countertop
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

We think think every cook needs a good instant-read thermometer. Sure, some folks will only dig it out once or twice a year to make a turkey. But for any sort of roast—as well as for deep-frying, poaching, grilling, and baking—having an instant-read thermometer will help you avoid over- and under-cooking.

One of the most popular, well-rated thermometers (and a long-time Serious Eats favorite), the Thermapen Mk4, was recently replaced with a new model: the Thermapen ONE. So, we decided to test it, along with 12 other thermometers. We also included our two favorite inexpensive thermometers in the lineup (the ThermoWorks ThermoPop and Lavatools Javelin Digital Instant-Read Thermometer), as sort-of control models to compare the performance of similarly-priced thermometers to.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Instant-Read Thermometer: ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE

The Thermapen ONE is just as good as the Mk4 (we had an Mk4 on hand and were able to compare the two). The ONE was accurate and easy-to-use and delivered temperature readings faster than any of the thermometers we tested.

The Easiest-to-Read Instant-Read Thermometer: OXO Thermocouple Thermometer

The OXO Thermocouple thermometer was also accurate and fast. Its stand-out features included a probe that rotated 225 degrees, making it easy to use if you’re left-handed. Its black digital screen and white digits made reading the temperature easy in any setting, whether it was a brightly lit kitchen or the dark interior of an oven.

The Best Value Instant-Read Thermometer: Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo Digital Instant-Read Thermometer

The Lavatools Javelin Pro was accurate and nearly as fast as the OXO. It had a large screen and sharp digits and a great automatic backlight. It also had the ability to hold the temperature reading once taken. At half the cost of the Thermapen ONE and the OXO Thermocouple, it’s well worth its price. You can also check out our review of inexpensive thermometers and we still think theThermoWorks ThermoPop and Lavatools Javelin Digital Instant-Read Thermometer are top-notch picks, too.

The Testing

A Thermapen one taking the temperature of a sous vide water bath set to 134 degrees
The Thermapen ONE was accurate, fast, and easy to use. It checked all of our boxes.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin
  • Sous Vide: We set a water bath to 134°F using the Joule sous vide machine, then tested the water temperature five times at the same place in the bath, to establish a baseline for accuracy and response time.
  • Ice Water: We filled an insulated mug with water and ice, then stirred and let it sit until thoroughly chilled. We then tested the water temperature five times, timing how long it took each thermometer to reach the target temperature (about 32°F).
  • Boiling Water: We brought a pot of water to a rapid boil and tested the water temperature five times, timing how long it took each thermometer to reach the target temperature (212°F).
  • Roast Chicken: We roasted chicken and tested the temperature of the breast to find out how comfortable it was to use the thermometer in different environments, including the dark interior of an oven.
  • User-Experience Evaluation: Throughout testing we evaluated how simple the thermometer was to use, how easy the screen was to read, how comfortable the thermometer was in hand, and any features the thermometer had.

What We Learned

How Instant are Instant-Read Thermometers?

The OXO thermometer taking the temperature of ice water
The OXO thermometer, shown here, gave readings in three to four seconds.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Despite the name, most good “instant-read” thermometers (which some people call meat thermometers) actually take a few seconds to register the right temperature. The OXO's readings were, for the most part, within three to four seconds, while the Lavatools Pro's were between three to five seconds. However, the Thermapen ONE registered temperatures the fastest—between two to three seconds, on average. In comparison, the lower-performing thermometers took anywhere from 10 to 21 seconds. 

Considering the act of just opening an oven can drop the interior temperature up to 50°F, the longer you have to wait, the more heat loss there will be. Worse, though, is having to stick your hand in a hot oven or over a blazing hot stove (like when deep-frying) to take the temperature. So, speediness also affects usability.

Which Instant-Read Thermometers Are the Most Accurate?

The fastest reading thermometer means nothing if the temperature is wildly off or inconsistent. Testing a sous vide bath set at 134°F, ice cold water (32°F), and boiling water (212°F) gave us a fair assessment of how accurate each thermometer was. 

It was actually no surprise that the fastest thermometer, the Thermapen ONE, was also one of the most consistent and accurate. The other two winners, the OXO Thermocouple and Lavatools Pro also gave consistent and accurate temperatures. For all three thermometers, the sous vide bath consistently checked in at 134°F, while the ice water was 32 to 33°F. The three thermometers read boiling water consistently at 211°F. The worst-performing thermometers were often off two to three degrees—and, again, they were also the slowest. It was a double whammy, if you will.

How Screen Differences Impact Usability

An All-Clad thermometer taking the temperature of a roast chicken in the oven
A small screen was tough to read. We much preferred a thermometer with a big screen and large, legible numbers.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The thermometers that were easiest to read were the ones we'll reach for again and again. They had larger screens, had decent backlights, had higher contrast numbers, and auto-rotated so you could read the temperature at different angles. The Thermapen ONE's screen was an improvement over the previous model, the Mk4. The ONE's screen was brighter and had a more neutral-white backlight, making it easier to read. Our other two favorite thermometers had stand-out usability features as well: The Lavatools Pro had a large screen with a light blue backlight that made it easy to read and the OXO had a black screen with bright, white digits that really popped.

The Taylor Thermometer's too-small screen
Another example of a thermometer with a too-small screen.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Conversely, thermometers with small screens or bad backlighting (or both) were harder to use. It's worth noting that not all backlighting is the same. Some models had bright lights that caused glare and made reading the screen more difficult. Others didn’t have backlighting at all, making them harder to read in dim situations (i.e. in an oven when roasting a chicken or, perhaps if you have a low-lit kitchen).

Fold-out vs. Stationary Probe Thermometers

The Javelin Pro with its probe folded out
The Lavatools Pro (shown here) and a fold-out probe, a large screen, and an automatic backlight.Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

It's also worth noting that most of the higher-end thermometers featured a fold-out probe, rather than a stationary one. The latter comes with a cover to house the probe when the thermometer's not in use. Fold-out probe models likely have larger screens, are more compact, are possibly easier to store, and are easier to hold, as they simply offer a larger body to hold onto. Plus, you can use them vertically or horizontally. We still think the stationary ThermoWorks ThermoPop is a phenomenal thermometer (especially for the price). But, if you're trying to decide between the Thermapen ONE and the ThermoPop and have the budget, it's hard to beat the versatility and the features of the ONE.

The Criteria: What We Look for in an Instant-Read Thermometer

A Thermapen ONE with text around it
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin / Amanda Suarez

Most of the thermometers we tested were fairly accurate (off about three degrees max, which isn't ideal but is something most folks can probably live with, like a clock that's accidentally set three minutes faster but you wait years to fix). However, the best thermometers were not only accurate. They read temperatures quickly, were comfortable to hold, had an easy-to-read screen with bold numbers, and had helpful features like automatic on/off (no having to press a button) and an automatic backlight.

The Best Instant-Read Thermometer: ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE

What we liked: The Thermapen ONE gave accurate readings super quickly and always under three seconds and sometimes under two seconds (the fastest of all the thermometers). The pull-out probe allowed the thermometer to be used in almost all situations and orientations and the numbers on its screen auto-rotated, which meant you can hold the thermometer in any direction and still read it. In fact, it’s the only instant-read thermometer we tested with a 360-degree auto-rotating screen. Most instant-read thermometers only offer 180 degrees (upside down), if they rotate at all.

The ONE also automatically lights up in dark situations, making its temperature readings easier to see. And the perimeter of this thermometer's body had a gray nonslip rubber strip that made holding the thermometer easy, even if your hands were wet or greasy.

The ONE also automatically turned on when you pulled the probe out or, if the probe was already out, when you picked it up, which meant not having to fumble with an on/off button. Its waterproof rating of IP67 was the highest of all the thermometers we tested, which made it easy to clean and gave you added security should kitchen accidents happen,

What we didn’t like: The screen didn't have as much contrast as the OXO or Lavatools Pro, both of which are slightly easier to read. 

Key Specs

  • Features: Backlight display, rotating screen, rubber nonslip grip edge
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.5°F (+/- 0.3°C) from -4° to 248°F (-20° to 120°C)
  • Probe Length: 4.3 inches
  • Measurement Range: -58°F to +572°F
  • Waterproof: IP67
  • Warranty: 5 years
Thermapen ONE on a marble background
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The Easiest-to-Read Instant-Read Thermometer: OXO Thermocouple Thermometer

What we liked: The OXO thermometer gave accurate readings across all of our temperature tests. The thermometer was slightly slower than the Thermopen ONE, but the reverse black screen and white digits make the OXO incredibly easy to read.

The pull-out probe can rotate to a 225-degree angle, which made it the easiest to use thermometer for left-handed people. Its screen auto-rotated 180 degrees as well.

What we didn’t like: However, because the numbers only rotated 180 degrees, not 90 degrees, if you pull out the probe 180 degrees and use the thermometer vertically, you have to turn your head to read the screen. The batteries were also a bit of a pain to install, requiring a screwdriver with a small Phillips-head. Other thermometers already had the batteries installed and ready to use.

Key Specs

  • Features: Reverse white digit black screen, 225-degree pull out probe, rotating screen
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.9°F (+/- 0.5°C) from -22° to 302°F (-30° to 150°C)
    Probe Length: 4.2 inches
  • Measurement Range: -58°F to +572°F
  • Waterproof: IP66
  • Warranty: 2 years
OXO Thermocouple thermometer with its probe pulled out and on a marple surface
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The Best Value Instant-Read Thermometer: Lavatools Javelin Pro Digital Instant-Read Thermometer

What we liked: The Lavatools Javelin Pro was also very accurate and unlike the Thermapen ONE or the OXO Thermocouple, the Pro can read temperatures down to the 0.1 decimal. This seems like a great feature, but in practice probably isn’t something most folks need in their home kitchen. (Both the Thermapen and OXO have an option to display temperatures down to the 0.1 decimal as well, but the default factory setting is to give whole number temperatures.)

The Pro's speed is comparable to the OXO, with an average reading of about four seconds. The automatic backlight screen had large digits that made it easy to read the temperature. The screen's digits flipped upside-down if you plan on reading the screen in that orientation, with the pull-out probe rotated 180 degrees. The Pro also had a “hold” feature that allowed you to stop the temperature reading as you put your finger over the starburst-shaped sensor, so you can bring the thermometer closer to you to read it, if need be. Just keep in mind that hold feature stops the temperature at whatever it is when you press the sensor, not necessarily at the thermometer’s final reading.

The Javelin Pro had a large “lanyard hole” in the end which made it easy to grip as you take the temperature as well as attach it to a lanyard, should you want to hang the thermometer around your neck. It also made it easy to hang up, if you have a place to hang tools and gadgets. However, the back of the thermometer is also magnetic, making it convenient to store on the side of your microwave or fridge. Finally, the thermometer is priced at half the cost of the ONE and OXO.

What we didn’t like: The Pro's temperature maxes out at 482°F while the ONE and OXO both max out at 572°F. Rated at a water resistant IP65, you can rinse it with water but not immerse it.

Key Specs

  • Features: Backlight display, rotating screen, magnetic backing, storage hole, hold feature
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.9°F (+/- 0.5°C) from -22° to 302°F (-30° to 150°C)
    Probe Length: 4.5 inches
  • Measurement Range: -40°F to +482°F
  • Waterproof: IP65
  • Warranty: Limited 3 years
The Javelin Pro thermometer on a marble countertop
Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The Competition

FAQs

How does the Thermoworks Thermapen ONE compare to the Mk4?

At first glance the Thermapen ONE looks almost identical to the Mk4. The main physical difference being the old Mk4 has a gray rubber strip on the end of the thermometer body, which allowed for a waterproof seal where the battery compartment went.

The newly designed Thermapen ONE moved the battery compartment to the back of the body, making that gray strip unnecessary. This results in a cleaner, more streamlined design. Beyond the superficial aesthetics though, the Thermapen ONE has a brighter screen that lights up a neutral white, compared to the Mk4's warm, dim, yellow light. This brighter light gives more contrast to the screen, making the temperature easier to read. 

But the biggest change is the speed at which the temperature is read. The Thermapen ONE claims to give accurate temperatures in one second. In practice, we found it took a little longer, but was, indeed, faster than the Mk4.

Can you re-calibrate an instant-read thermometer?

Unlike analogue dial thermometers that can often be re-calibrated with a simple pair of pliers, re-calibrating an instant-read thermometer is a little more involved. A few instant-read thermometers, like the Thermapen ONE and Lavatools Javelin Pro will give you an option to change the internal temperature reading up and down to match known temperatures (like boiling water or ice water). But this requires you opening up the battery compartment and manually adjusting things.

Other instant-read thermometers don’t have this option and require you send the thermometer back to the company to get it fixed, including the OXXO Thermocouple. If your thermometer is in need of re-calibration, check your product operation manual to see if there are instructions on re-calibrating your thermometer. If not, check your warranty to see if repairs are covered, or contact customer service and ask them the best way to return the thermometer for re-calibration and repair.

How fast is an instant-read thermometer?

While not instant-instant, a good instant-read thermometer is very fast. Most instant-read thermometers need a little time to accurate display the temperature. Expect anywhere from two to five seconds for a higher-end instant-read thermometers and up to 15 to 20 seconds for a less-responsive instant-read thermometer.

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