A spiralizer is a kitchen utensil or appliance that cuts fruit and vegetables into spirals. These pasta-like noodles and ribbons can then form the basis of a healthy main dish (zucchini pasta, anyone?) or the garnish for a salad. Spiralizing food can be a great way to get fussy kids to get their daily serve of fruit and veg.
Basic spiralizers tend to create noodles of one shape and size, but there are plenty of more advanced models available that can make noodles of different widths and shapes, and in some cases even peel vegetables.
Pros and cons
You can get creative. If you're tired of serving up fruit and vegetables to your friends and family in the same old way, a spiralizer can help you mix things up a bit. They allow you to try your hand at a wide range of new recipes you may not otherwise consider.
Great-looking results. If you fancy yourself as something of a master chef, a good-quality spiralizer can help you create dishes that look quite impressive.
Healthy habits. Love pasta but want fewer carbs in your diet? We all know the importance of eating fruit and veg, and spiralizers make it easier to incorporate a host of these healthy ingredients into your everyday meals.
Good for fussy eaters. If you face a daily battle to get your kids to eat fruit and vegetables, a spiralizer can help turn the foods they dread into something unusual, interesting and even fun.
Not versatile. Let's face it, there aren't many people that actually need a spiralizer. Sure, spiralizers have their uses and benefits, but they're far from a must-have kitchen utensil. If you're not worried about finding new ways to dish up fruit and veg for your kids, then your money could be better spent elsewhere.
Takes up space. Spiralizers are something of a trendy item at the moment but as any glimpse into the drawers and cupboards of household kitchens around the country will reveal, trends don't always last.
Added expense. Think twice before potentially paying more than $100 for an appliance you might only use a couple of times and then completely forget about.
Types of spiralizers
If you want to buy a spiralizer for your kitchen, there are three main options to consider:
Handheld. Lightweight and compact, these portable units are typically the cheapest of the bunch. They're a useful entry point for anyone who wants to experiment with spiralizing. Handheld models often come with fixed blades, but some models offer interchangeable blades. However, they're more labour-intensive than benchtop models and may not be suited to firmer vegetables.
Benchtop. These models sit on your kitchen bench and require you to manually turn a crank to cut your food into spirals. They tend to feature interchangeable blades so you can cut your food into a variety of shapes. Most let you spiralize your fruit and veg horizontally, but some models allow you to feed in your items vertically.
Electric. At the top end of the price range are electric spiralizers which support interchangeable blades and don't require any effort on your part. Some of these products are dedicated spiralizing appliances, but some food processors and mixers also come with spiralizer attachments. You may want to check out our guide to the best food processors for more information.
How to compare spiralizers
Before choosing a spiralizer, you'll need to think carefully about what you want to use it for, how often you plan on using it and how much you're willing to spend. This will help you choose a spiralizer that's the best fit for your requirements.
Factors to consider when comparing spiralizers include:
While some spiralizers only cut food into noodle shapes, others can also transform fruit and veg into ribbons and curls. Check whether each model comes with additional interchangeable blades and what shapes they can cut. This won't be an essential feature for everyone, but it does provide extra versatility and freedom in terms of the dishes you can create.
Ease of use
Is the spiralizer simple and straightforward to set up and use? Does it securely hold onto the food you want to spiralize? How much elbow grease will you need to use to get the desired results? Will it stay stable while on the benchtop or being held? Tabletop spiralizers are easier to use than handheld ones but electric models tend to be the most user-friendly of all.
Most good spiralizers will have a bowl or "catch zone" to collect your noodles as they're churned out and stop them falling onto the floor or bench. This can help simplify the spiralizing process.
Amount of food
Think about how many people you'll be cooking for. While smaller handheld models will be fine for serving a couple of people, a large benchtop model may be a good investment if you've got a lot of mouths to feed or simply want to create large portions.
Most models won't spiralize the piece at the end of your fruit or veg that is held in place by the machine. However, some models will also leave behind additional waste in the form of a central "core".
Be aware that the blades on spiralizers are quite sharp. If possible, choose a model that is safe to use without having to worry about your fingers getting too close to the blades. This is especially important if you've got kids who like to help out in the kitchen.
Size and storage
Check the dimensions of each spiralizer to work out how much space it will take up on your kitchen benchtop or in a cupboard. Also, consider whether you can store any spare blades in the base of the unit.
Do some research to find out how easy a spiralizer will be to clean. Parts that are not only removable but also dishwasher-safe are a big plus, while some models include a cleaning brush to help you reach between the teeth of the blades.
If you're considering a food processor or mixer, make sure you consider factors such as what other tasks the device performs, its capacity and how easy it is to use and clean.
Recipe book. While there are plenty of spiralizer recipes online, some models will come with a recipe booklet to help you get started with your new purchase.
Warranty. Check whether the spiralizer comes with a warranty, particularly if buying an electric model. Read the fine print to find out exactly what the warranty covers and how long it lasts.
Price. While you can pick up a basic handheld spiralizer for $15 or $20, most benchtop models are $50 and above. If you want an electric spiralizer, prices start at around $50 and can go well beyond $100.
Tim Falk is a writer for Finder, writing across a diverse range of topics. Over the course of his 15-year writing career, Tim has reported on everything from travel and personal finance to pets and TV soap operas. When he’s not staring at his computer, you can usually find him exploring the great outdoors.
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