The Best Salad Spinner

If you’re looking for a salad spinner to keep your greens fresh and clean, look no further than the OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner. After 15 hours of research comparing 22 models and head-to-head tests between three salad spinners, we found the OXO to be simple to use, efficient, and gentle on our food. It managed to dry both hardy spinach and delicate raspberries without bruising—something the competition can’t do consistently. Even after overloading it with dill, its seamless mesh bowl was easiest to clean of those we tested.

The OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner dries spinach and delicate raspberries without bruising, and is the easiest to clean of all those we tested.
We’re not the only people who love the Good Grips: Good Housekeeping loves it. Cook’s Illustrated crowned it king of the salad spinners. Amazon reviewers give it 4.5 stars over more than 1,600 reviews. That made it an obvious choice to test, but it also made us more critical. At the Sweethome, we’re inclined to disbelieve the hype. We went out of our way to make sure we we weren’t missing something small and mighty that might be better.

Turns out everyone else is right. Salad spinners are simple things, and the Good Grips doesn’t add on anything weird or unnecessary: it just spins, and it does it damn well.

Also Great
The OXO Stainless Steel Salad Spinner is a good runner-up if our main pick is sold out, or if you want something that doubles as a serving bowl. It’s more expensive but can be dual-use if that’s your priority.
If our main pick is sold out, or you’re looking for a salad spinner that also doubles as an elegant serving bowl, we recommend the OXO Stainless Steel Salad Spinner. It’s pricier than the Good Grips, but its spin mechanism and performance are identical, and its stainless steel bowl is large enough to double as an attractive serving bowl. But ultimately, the Good Grips is a better combination of affordability and performance, which is why it ended up as our pick.

Table of contents

Should I upgrade? | How we picked what to test | Our pick | Flaws but not dealbreakers | What if it’s sold out? | Care and maintenance | The competition | Wrapping it up

Should I upgrade?

The less water you have on your lettuce, the better your vinaigrette will stick…
First off: If you’re a regular consumer of salad in any capacity and you’re not taking advantage of a salad spinner, stop being silly and buy this sooner than later. A salad spinner will get your greens cleaner than handwashing will (by making sure to actually remove the dirty water, instead of letting it sit on the leaves) without any of the mess and hassle. The less water you have on your lettuce, the better your vinaigrette will stick, too.

If you’ve already got a salad spinner and it’s treating you fine, feel free to keep using it. You have our permission. If it’s getting your salad greens clean without too much trouble, there’s no need to upset the status quo. But if you’re unsatisfied, or if you’re using a small or cheap (or both) model like the IKEA Tokig, consider upgrading. It’ll make a big difference in both the amount of greens you can clean at once, and in how easy it is to clean them.

How we picked what to test

(Left to right) OXO Good Grips, Xtraordinary Home Products, Norpro, OXO Stainless Steel.

Left to right: OXO Good Grips, Xtraordinary Home Products, Norpro, OXO Stainless Steel.

A salad spinner is a simple machine that needs to do a lot of things well; it has to spin fast enough to dispel water from your favorite greens quickly. It has to spin slow enough to wash delicate berries and herbs without ruining them. It needs to do so without being difficult or cumbersome to use. It needs to sit still and not wobble wantonly. It must be easy to clean, without tiny nooks and crannies perfect for bits of spinach to hide in. And it should be sturdy and hard to break.

People use their salad spinners for all sorts of things: lettuce, raspberries, spinach, herbs, washing t-shirts. It’s easy for a salad spinner to spin really, really fast, and that seems great on the surface, especially if you’re just using lettuce, which isn’t terribly prone to bruising or breakage. A great salad spinner tones that down a bit, making it possible to have a truly multifunctional machine without sacrificing drying speed and ability. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk, but absolutely necessary to separate the decent from the great.

It’s important that a salad spinner be easy to use, too. Granted, most of the ones we encountered weren’t difficult to deal with—just twist the handle at the top and push down on the pump or pull the string. But how much effort they took to actually spin the basket differed greatly. Some, like the Good Grips, required very little effort to get some decent speed going. Others required some serious cranking before they started moving. Yeah, those’re great for toning your arm muscles, but you’re making salad, not lifting weights. It shouldn’t be a difficult process.

Once the basket inside is moving, the best salad spinners remain steady.
Once the basket inside is moving, the best salad spinners remain steady. A lot of the ones we tested—and reviews for the ones we didn’t test complained about this, too—wobbled incessantly, to the point where I was worried they’d topple right off the table. The wider the base, the steadier they remained, and the closer to center the pump or turn mechanism was, the more balanced it felt.

We started out by surveying the main editorial on the subject: Good Housekeeping, Cook’s Illustrated, The Kitchn, Wall Street Journal, and Epicurious. We also looked at well-loved models on sites like Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond.

We found pullcord-based models, like the Zyliss Easy Spin, to be lacking. Not only were user reviews consistently low across the board, but our own editorial team’s experience with them convinced us that the cords are ultimately too fussy to use and, more importantly, hard to keep clean. With that decided, we kept to pump-action models, like the Good Grips, and handle-based models where you manually spin the bowl.

We also eliminated any spinner that held less than approximately 3-4 quarts of material. Greens are voluminous. Overstuff your spinner and your lettuce will have a hard time actually getting dry. Many manufacturers neglect to mention the capacity of their salad spinners—or, if they do, it’s the capacity for the bowl, not the spinning colander inside. So this took some guesswork: We took any spinner with “mini” in the name out of the running, and we were careful to read reviews to see if anyone complained about the model being too small.

Last, we looked at the model’s base. Going by Cook’s Illustrated’s prior research, we determined that disproportionately small bases led to wobbling and general unsteadiness. That meant that models like the Ozeri Freshspin were dismissed outright.

With those three criteria (and, of course, the weighing of positive and negative reviews), much of the field was eliminated, leaving us with only four contenders: the OXO Good Grips, the OXO Stainless Steel, the Xtraordinary Home Products Salad Spinner, and the Norpro Salad Spinner.

We tested in three rounds. First, we soaked one 10 ounce bag of adult spinach and spun it in each spinner six times. We weighed the spinach dry, after soaking, after three spins, and after six. Next, raspberries: Using a pint, we rinsed them clean and repeated the same process, paying special attention to bruising and parts of the raspberries that were torn off of the fruit. Last, we repeated the process with a bundle of dill, which is both delicate and messy as fronds break off. This helped test which spinners were easy to clean, and which were … well, terrors. Wobbliness and ease of use were also evaluated.

Our pick

The OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner dries spinach and delicate raspberries without bruising, and is the easiest to clean of all those we tested.
The OXO Good Grips is the best salad spinner because it’s versatile and efficient, easy to use and steady, and simple to clean. Because its pump mechanism spins steadily but not too forcefully, it wrung the water out of our spinach and dried our raspberries without ruining them. We had no trouble cleaning out the leftover dill. When all was said and done, it handily beat the three models we tested it against.

OXO Good Grips (left) and OXO Steel (right) in the closed position.

OXO Good Grips (left) and OXO Steel (right) in the closed position.

The Good Grips uses a pump mechanism: you just press down on a large button in the middle of the top and the machine does all the spinning for you, making it the easiest to use. We preferred this effortless, steady speed to the crank spinners, which require quite a bit of exertion to get the basket up to any sort of speed.

We also like its clear, acrylic bowl, which allows you to see how dirty your water is and judge if your greens are truly clean.
The Good Grips also has a wide, flat base that makes it more stable. The sides of the Good Grips go straight down, creating a flat base the same dimensions as the top. It’s much less likely to wobble all over the place as you spin your salad. OXO’s stainless steel spinner uses an identical spin mechanism to the Good Grips, but it’s not nearly as steady due to its smaller base—the stainless steel is shaped more like a bowl. And unlike either the Norpro or the Xtraordinary, the Good Grips has a brake to avoid over-spinning and to let impatient cooks get their greens out quickly. We also like its clear, acrylic bowl, which allows you to see how dirty your water is and judge if your greens are truly clean, unlike its sister model, the OXO stainless steel.

OXO Good Grips (left) and OXO Steel (right) in the open position.

OXO Good Grips (left) and OXO Steel (right) in the open position.

During testing, the Good Grips handled the unique differences between cleaning spinach, raspberries, and dill equally and efficiently.

Spinach, a hardy, sandy green, can withstand centrifugal force without damage. After six spins, the Good Grips removed 27 percent of water weight from the spinach, bringing them down to 119 percent of their original, dry weight. No, it wasn’t the best-performing machine, but our spinach was still dry — and as we learned, models that handled spinach great handled everything else terribly.

When we tested with raspberries, the Good Grips got them to within one percentage point of their original weight (to be precise, 100.52%, dropping to 98.45% after another six spins). That was by far the best performance. While other machines removed more water, but they also removed more raspberry. For example, the Xtraordinary Home Machines salad spinner removed more than 12 percent of the raspberries’ original weight, in addition to the water needed to clean them. That’s because they spin too fast, without any means to moderate the force. That’s okay if you’re only drying greens, but if you want to do anything else with your salad spinner, the ability to be effective and gentle trumps pure power.

Drying dill showed which spinners had crevices for fronds to get stuck in. By far, the Good Grips was the easiest to clean (except for the OXO stainless steel model, which was precisely identical in terms of ease of cleaning). Unlike the other machines, the holes in the colander are evenly spaced, so there are no hidden spots along the seams for little bits of dill or what-have-you-not to get trapped in. We just held it under the faucet and, ta-da!, clean. The others took a fair bit more poking and scrubbing to get out the little bits of dill that trapped themselves in corners.

The OXO Good Grips dried raspberries the most with the least mess.

The OXO Good Grips dried raspberries the most with the least mess.

Besides us, a lot of people love the Good Grips: Good Housekeeping says, “When it comes to salad spinners, Oxo’s Good Grips is tops.” Cook’s Illustrated liked how its “patented pump mechanism was the easiest to use among the models we tested, and its performance remained superb, holding plenty of greens and getting them drier than rival models.” Amazon reviewers love it, giving it 4.5 stars over more than 1,600 reviews. Jessica Harlan at About.com’s Cooking Equipment subsite gave it 5 stars, saying, “The iconic OXO Salad Spinner is an essential tool for making salads: it quickly washes and dries greens, and can also double as a salad serving bowl and as a colander.”

Like all OXO products, the spinner comes with a satisfaction guarantee, so if you ever have trouble of any sort, you can call them.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

It’s a large salad spinner, and the lid isn’t completely flat.
Other editorial reviews point to very few flaws. The only one found consistently is that it’s not particularly easy to store. (And that’s true.) It’s a large salad spinner, and the lid isn’t completely flat. But that’s a drawback we’re willing to deal with in light of its many, many excellent features. The pump handle can be locked down in the pressed position for storage, though.

We do wish it spun a little quicker, but as we learned in testing, that’s a false dichotomy: it does a great job drying greens still, and its more restrained RPM means it’s great at drying other things, too.

Last, its push mechanism does take up some room in the bowl we wish could be allocated to whatever you want to put inside. But considering the machine’s large size, it’s not really necessary—the Good Grips is still very, very roomy.

What if it’s sold out? (or if you want a stainless steel serving bowl)

Also Great
The OXO Stainless Steel Salad Spinner is a good runner-up if our main pick is sold out, or if you want something that doubles as a serving bowl. It’s more expensive but can be dual-use if that’s your priority.
Right now, the only brand of salad spinners we’d consider recommending is OXO. If you can’t get your hand on the Good Grips, take a look at the OXO Stainless Steel Salad Spinner. It costs $20 more than the Good Grips, and while it’s not exactly $20 better, it does have some things going for it; if you’re looking for a salad spinner that also serves as an attractive serving bowl, go ahead and spring for the stainless steel.

Its drying performance was nearly identical to the Good Grips, as its pump mechanism and basket construction are, in almost every regard, exactly the same. It did manage to get the spinach six percent closer to its original weight than the Good Grips did, although that difference was small enough to be user error. With raspberries, it lost a little more than four percent of the raspberries’ initial weight after two sets of six spins. That’s slightly more than the Good Grips but still far less than the Xtraordinary spinner.

Because its base is smaller than the Good Grips’s, we found it just a bit wobblier in testing. Not as much so as either the Norpro or the Xtraordinary, though—it still was very secure. Because it has the same mechanism as the Good Grips does, it’s still super easy to use; it’s just, on occasion, a wee bit off-kilter. Similarly, its inner colander is constructed identically, and was equally simple to clean.

If you’re keen on a nice-looking stainless steel serving bowl, get this bowl. With the colander removed, the inside can double as a serving bowl. We wouldn’t recommend the stainless steel over the Good Grips for any other reason, but if your table setting really needs something extra, you’re not losing any functionality by opting for this version–just losing a bit more money.

Care and maintenance

The Good Grips is top-rack dishwasher safe; the lid comes apart easily so you can clean it separately.
The Good Grips is top-rack dishwasher safe; the lid comes apart easily so you can clean it separately.

We recommend washing greens in the bowl itself, separating the leaves and soaking them in water for a few minutes to remove sand and dirt before spinning. For more information, Colorado State University has a detailed guide to cleaning different kinds of produce.

The competition

The Xtraordinary Home Products salad spinner certainly spun fast, bringing the spinach down to only 104 percent of its original weight. But it decimated the raspberries, wobbled around, and was extremely difficult to clean. It might have a high RPM, but it fails almost every other test.

We eliminated the Norpro practically out of the box, thanks to its extremely difficult-to-spin handle. Considering its average performance in nearly every test, it’s clear we made the right decision.

The Excelsteel Cook Pro Salad Spinner has decent reviews on Amazon, but when weighing availability issues and the not-infrequent complaints that the machine broke immediately, we decided to pass.

Guzzina Latina’s great reviews made us almost call it in for testing, but after watching it for a while, we found numerous availability problems. And considering its price, we can’t imagine it’s $20 superior to the OXO—if you can even get it in-hand.

The Progressive Collapsible Salad Spinner was “not recommended” by Cook’s Illustrated, who said, “The single reason to buy this collapsible model is if your kitchen is very cramped; it has no other advantages.” Good enough for us.

I’ve had the IKEA Tokig for many years, and it is the worst (Sweethome and Wirecutter editor in chief Jacqui Cheng agrees). It’s small and wobbly and a pain to use. Sure, it’s $4. It’s worth every penny.

A lot of people like the Zyliss Easy Spin, but its pullcord can start to look and feel like a grimy, wet shoelace—not to mention numerous complaints of quick breakage.

The Ozeri Freshspin’s itty bitty base eliminated it from the running, as did the complaints that the salad spinner left their greens wet. Not good.

Cuisinart’s salad spinner design is so similar to the Xtraordinary’s, we wonder if they come from the same factory. Bad reviews make it a pass.

We took a look at the Progressive International Salad Spinner/Washer, but its design has a confounding flaw: the base has giant holes, so either you’ll have to wash over the sink every time or get used to your kitchen getting soaked.

Good Housekeeping may be fond of the Zyliss Smart Touch, but Amazon reviewers aren’t. They don’t like how hard the mechanism is to operate and how quickly the model breaks.

Wrapping it up

We think the OXO Good Grips is the best salad spinner you can buy, bar none. It’s strong enough to wring water out of leaves and to dry berries without ruining them, and should you make a mess, it’s super easy to clean. Plus, it’s so simple a kid, or possibly even your pet, could use it. Everyone says it’s the best salad spinner out there, and we agree.

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Sources

  1. Salad Spinner Reviews, Good Housekeeping
  2. Salad Spinners, Cook's Illustrated, April 1, 2013
  3. Regina Schrambling, The Best Salad Spinner: No Strings Attached, Epicurious, February 28, 2011
  4. Emma Christensen, Spin Right Around: 5 Salad Spinners to Consider, The Kitchn, February 17, 2011
  5. Pervaiz Shallwani, WSJ Test Kitchen: Salad Spinners, The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2011
  6. Jessica Harlan, Review: OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner, About.com
  • http://www.joncole.info/ Jon Cole

    Love that feeling when Wirecutter/Sweethome picks what I picked from my own personal research in the past.

    Highly recommend this pick, it works very well and has a pleasing aesthetic to boot. I actually keep it on my counter because of the difficult to store issue and I don’t find it an eyesore to look at on a daily basis. :)

  • Whillowhim

    I’ve used this for a while, and do find it a very nice device. I usually use it for both cleaning and spinning lettuce, making its colander dual-purpose. I chop up the lettuce and put it in the spinner, then fill it with water and agitate a bit to get stuff off the leaves. After a few minutes soaking to let stuff settle to the bottom and to crisp up the lettuce (while I chop up the rest of the salad), I use the colander to lift the lettuce out and dump the water. Then just put the colander of lettuce back in and spin it dry.

  • BlueBoomPony

    Salads are where I get lazy and just buy the bags. Baby greens FTW.

  • Mitchell

    While I don’t don’t the quality of the OXO spinner I do have to question the selection of products. I noticed that OXO products are predominantly used and there may be a bias towards choosing them as the best product or being influenced to believe they are better based on previous choices.

  • zabouti

    IMNSHO you completely whiffed on this one. Being lazy, I use only
    spinners that drain from the bottom so that I can put them in the sink
    and run water through while I spin. I hate having to empty the bowls of
    spinners like the ones you reviewed. Just my $0.02.

  • Joel Santos

    I had this very same one, and I can’t recommend it (based, obviously, on my experience only). I liked the idea behind the mechanism, but I had to apply too much pressure to keep it spinning, and it finally broke after around 6 months of using it.
    I replaced it with a cheap Ikea spinner and I can’t be happier. Cheap and functional, it spins the salad at a trillion rpms (rough eye estimate) effortlessly.

  • eaadams

    Would love a wood salad bowl recommendation. Something presentable for the table and with a fully rounded bottom of bowl. Went to IKEA and their bowl have hard edges on the bottom that isn’t so good for the emulsifying and crushing of stuff to make Caesars etc..

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye
      • eaadams

        Ah a round up. Some of the articles are so long I miss stuff. Thank you.

      • eaadams

        Yea that is a serving bowl. There is something about wood salad bowls that get a patina on them as you grind in anchovies etc… But they are C R A Z Y expensive. Like $120 from William Sonoma for a big one.