Recently, someone asked me about spiralizers. She asked me to recommend a spiralizer on the basis of economy (price), as well as usability. Although she did not ask about durability, I will add that into my review, as that is, in my book, at least as important as price.
When I started my search for a spiralizer, I had heard of appliances which would make pasta from vegetables. I was attracted by the comments which indicated that “angel-hair” (very thin) pasta could be made with a spiralizer. That was what I wanted.
Here is the list of all of the spiralizers I have bought and used, in order of purchase. My favorite is the last one.
The first spiralizer I heard of was the Spirooli, which was recommended to me by the folks at Raw Soul restaurant in New York City. It turned out that the Spirooli had been discontinued by that time, and I had to jump through hoops to get mine. No problem! The exact same appliance is now marketed as the World Cuisine spiral vegetable slicer. This appliance is nice because it is made from sturdy plastic, is easy to clean, and stands up to harder vegetables like beets and carrots. What I did not like was that it only made very thick “noodles”, which then required marination and/or dehydration to make a nice soft pasta, to my liking.
The Joyce Chen spiralizer is probably, immediately, the cheapest and easiest to clean, but I do not like it because it breaks easily. Since mine broke within about 6 months of purchase, although I enjoyed it a lot and used it 2-3 times weekly, I would score it as expensive. What I liked about it was that it made “angel hair” thin strands of vegetable “pasta”. It also has a nice little cup into which your spiralized vegetables fall (but you have to keep emptying it). There is also another virtually indistinguishable product , the MIU FRANCE Vegetable Julienne Slicer
After the Joyce Chen disaster, I pouted for a while, and lived without a spiralizer. Then I saw the The Kanekichi Benriner Turning Slicer in a Japanese market. It went to the top of my list of spiralizers I thought I wanted, but it was always too expensive. When a local Japanese market decided to unload its stock at $25 a pop, I flew in there and picked one up. That was the best and worst $25 I have ever spent. The machine does everything the World Cuisine does, spiralizing-wise. The machine seems quite sturdy. It is, however, a nightmare to clean. You need a screwdriver to take it apart to clean it each time you use it, and then, of course, you have to reassemble the whole thing. (I gave it to a Japanese friend who, apparently, does not mind the work). I only used this monster once before I decided that it could not live in my kitchen. Anyway, it did not make the “angel hair” vegetable “pasta” I was after, and I almost cut my finger off cleaning it.
The Benriner Cook’s Help spiral slicer is the one I have settled on. It works similarly to the Joyce Chen spiralizer, but it is made of stronger stuff. It is a bit of a chore to clean, but not too bad — I have a dedicated toothbrush to clean the blades, and about every 3 or 4 uses, I take it apart and give it a good scrubbing (usually not necessary). The Cook’s Help was the one which a helpful Japanese person finally fingered as the machine used in a number of local Japanese restaurants to make the fine daikon threads you see on plates of sushi. The Benriner does cost about three times what the Joyce Chen does, but I have had mine for 3 years now, and it still hasn’t broken (whereas, with no malice aforethought, I managed to break the Joyce Chen within 6 months). You do have to set the machine up on a plate or a large bowl to catch your spiralized vegetables, but that is the no big deal.
Final judgement: If you think you are going to want to make angel-hair pasta from squash or any hard vegetable (or fruit, like apples or pears), I would go with the Benriner Cook’s Help. It is straightforward and easy to use, relatively easy to clean, and sturdy enough to survive even a rough kitchen life (mine has to go to a shelf in the hall after it dries, and it has fallen to the floor a couple of times, but it has never complained). I have used my Benriner at least 4 times a month for 3 years, and it is still doing fine.