The Best Potato Masher, Ricer, and Food Mill

If you want just one tool for mashing, get the OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher. We reached this conclusion after spending 21 hours on research and looking at 39 mashers, potato ricers, and food mills, plus interviewing two pro chefs and giving our biceps a workout crushing a combined 51 pounds of potatoes, apples, and tomatoes. The Smooth Potato Masher was the fastest and easiest to use, and the least messy, among all the tools we looked at. It can tackle mashed potatoes for two or 20, and true to its name, it produces supremely smooth, fluffy mash. Plus, it’s comfortable, efficient, and effortless to clean and store. The Smooth Potato Masher’s simple design can quickly produce ultra-chunky or super-smooth results—and everything in between. And it’s one of the least expensive implements we tested.

Our main pick came as somewhat of a surprise. When starting this guide, we’d assumed that a potato ricer would make the best mash, since it’s the tool that a host of magazines and cookbook authors recommend. Yet we found that the OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher made a light, fluffy mash on a par with that of every ricer we tested, and it was also much simpler to use. Our assembled tasting panel agreed.

In case the OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher sells out, we’d get the Best Manufacturers Waffle Head Potato Masher. It has the same type of grid plate, but its longer, straight stainless-steel handle provides a little less leverage and cushion than the OXO’s soft U-shaped one. This masher is just as sturdily constructed, a snap to clean, and easy to store.m

If you can’t stand any lumps, you should opt for the Chef’n FreshForce Potato Ricer. Not only does it make a smooth, fluffy mash (perfect for things like gnocchi), but it was also the easiest to operate and clean of the ricers we tested. However, it offers less versatility than a masher and produced slightly grainier spuds in our tests.

For tomato sauce, applesauce, berry jams, or similar foods that need straining and puréeing, you should get the OXO Good Grips Food Mill. Note, however, that we didn’t love the thin, loose consistency of potatoes passed through any of the food mills we tried.

Table of contents

  • Why you should trust us
  • Which tool to buy
  • How we picked and tested
  • Our pick
  • Flaws but not dealbreakers
  • Long-term test notes
  • Runner-up with a straight handle
  • Also great: best potato ricer
  • Also great: best food mill
  • A good budget food mill
  • Care and maintenance
  • The competition

Why you should trust us

I’ve worked in the food industry—with stints in a restaurant kitchen, cookware retail, and chocolate making—since 2002. I serve as the managing editor of the print quarterly The Art of Eating and have written for that magazine as well as for Condé Nast Traveler, Feast, Jamie, Saveur, and Tasting Table, among other publications.

For this guide, I interviewed Lillian Chou, former food editor of Gourmet magazine and a food writer and consultant, and Tim Kemp, culinary manager of home cooking delivery service at Blue Apron. Chou and Kemp both cooked professionally in restaurants for many years as well. In researching the best mashing tool, we looked closely at a number of magazine editorials and cookbooks, and we scoured Amazon top-seller lists and user reviews for the most popular mashers, ricers, and food mills. We found that experts have strong and differing opinions about which tool works best for creating a perfect, pillowy mash.

Which tool to buy

masher group

From left to right: our favorite potato ricer, masher, and food mill. Photo: Kate Milford

If you’re satisfied with the mashing tool you already have, by all means, keep it. But if you find the tool frustrating to use or clean, or if you always seem to produce a gluey mash, you should try one of our picks. There’s more than one way to mash a potato, so choose the type of tool based on the consistency of mash you like and your personal cooking style.

  • Masher: This is the simplest mashing tool—just a grid plate connected to a handle—and it’s the best choice for achieving a rustic, somewhat lumpy consistency, though the better mashers are also capable of achieving a creamy texture. Mashers are the least fussy (no assembly required and easy to clean), and you can also use them to make guacamole and chunky applesauce.
  • Potato ricer: If you prefer a smooth, lump-free mash, you’ll find the ricer a revelation. It looks like an XL garlic press and extrudes airy bits of potato that resemble rice (hence the name). People primarily use them for spuds, but you can also use them for making fine-textured things like baby food. Ricers are a bit fussier to operate and clean than a masher, and since you can rice only a small portion at a time, they’re not ideal for large amounts.
  • Food mill: Basically a mechanical sieve, a food mill has a hand crank that pushes ingredients through a perforated bottom plate. Because they can remove skin and seeds, food mills are best for quickly puréeing big batches of soups and sauces, including tomato purée, fruit preserves, and applesauce. We didn’t love the watery-yet-dense consistency of mashed potatoes from a mill, but some people do (especially French-trained cooks). If you take on a lot of projects that require straining and puréeing, you’ll want to pick up a food mill, which accomplishes both with little effort.

How we picked and tested

You should never use a hand mixer or food processor; both are punishing to those fragile, starch-filled cells.

Whether you choose a humble potato masher, a ricer, or a food mill, the basic strategy behind making good mashed potatoes is the same. When you cook a potato, the starch lining the cell walls absorbs the water around it and swells, becoming a gel and filling up the cell. Bad mashed potatoes happen when the cells break open, spilling the sticky gel, which then results in a mash with the consistency of library paste. For fluffy, smooth mashed potatoes, you must minimize the abuse you inflict on the potato cells. (That’s why you should never use a hand mixer or food processor; both are punishing to those fragile, starch-filled cells.)

masher group

The mashers that made it to testing, clockwise from left: Harold Import Dual, Cuisipro, OXO Good Grips, Jamie Oliver, and Best Manufacturers. Photo: Winnie Yang

A good masher should break up potatoes easily so that you don’t have to pound the same cells over and over again. The best have a perforated plate rather than the classic zigzag wire loop. The handle should be comfortable and allow you to mash without too much effort. A good design will also minimize the amount of potato that gets stuck to the grid plate, making for more efficient mashing and easier cleanup.

The best ricers have comfortable handles and a lever that will efficiently force potatoes through the hopper. Sturdy metal handles are better than plastic ones, because their rigidity will apply more force to the lever. A pot rest can help you steady the ricer if you have to squeeze the handles with both hands (though we found that our top pick is easy enough to squeeze without a pot rest). A variety of discs with different perforations gives you options for levels of smoothness. The better ricers are easy to clean, while the lesser ones get bits of potato stuck in every crevice.

Good food mills have smooth action and a nice amount of grab, so you don’t have to constantly scrape food down the sides. Models with three feet are more stable and sit on a wider range of vessels than those with a hook or prongs. Mills with a rubberized knob on the crankshaft are also easier to turn, particularly with wet hands. In the end, we gravitated to the food mills that are the easiest to put together and take apart. For many people, assembling a mill is enough of a pain that they’d rather not use one at all.

We found that experts have strong and differing opinions about which tool works best for making a perfect, pillowy mash. For simple mashing tasks, Blue Apron’s Tim Kemp said he likes the classic potato masher because “it’s dummy-proof, doesn’t make a mess, and is stress relieving.” In his 15 years as a professional chef, he’s mashed more than 10,000 pounds of potatoes. Former Gourmet food editor Lillian Chou told us, “Mashers are better if you like your potatoes lumpy and with skins.”

According to food writer Jeffrey Steingarten, chef Thomas Keller, Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required)Food & Wine, and Bon Appétit, among many other authorities, the best tool for mashing is a potato ricer. Since the potato cell passes through the ricer’s hopper only once, the incorporated air helps achieve fluffiness—which is especially good for making gnocchi. The main drawbacks to a ricer, as Kemp said, are that “the small hopper is easily overfilled, stuff sticks to the plunger, there’s a big mess factor, and a lot of elbow grease is required.”

Culinary professionals seem to like food mills as much as ricers. Cook’s Illustrated says a mill produces a smoother, creamier mash than a ricer, and pro chefs (especially French-trained ones) favor mills for that reason. Kemp, who prefers a mill, told us, “A food mill will do much to enhance the sexiness of your purée.”

For our 2014 guide, we started with a field of 14 mashers, 13 ricers, and nine food mills based on reviews from Cook’s Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. We eliminated tools that had consistent complaints and less-than-stellar ratings from Amazon reviewers, as well as those that cost more than $75. Of the top masher finalists, we cut those made of nylon (sturdier stainless-steel ones are widely available), along with mashers that use the wire zigzag loop design, since both Cook’s Illustrated and The New York Times say that mashers with a disc plate are more efficient. In the end we had five mashers, six ricers, and five food mills to test.

For the 2015 update, we looked at two more mashers—the Dreamfarm Smood and Prepara Flip—along with the OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Adjustable Potato Ricer. We tested those three against our original picks, the OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher and the Chef’n FreshForce Potato Ricer. (We did not find any new worthy food-mill contenders, so we did not retest those.)

To test the mashers, I measured out 1 pound of boiled potato chunks and mashed for about 1 minute with each (which, for the ones that worked, was sufficient to achieve a mostly lump-free and fluffy mash).

For the ricers, I portioned out 1 pound for each and then weighed how much potato would fill the hopper about two-thirds full, using the option with the smallest holes when the tool came with interchangeable discs. Since some ricers are recommended for making baby food, we made applesauce using the two best-performing ricers from the mashed potato test. (The ricers did a pretty good job with the cooked apples, but overall we prefer a food mill for making purées.)

To find the best food mill, I puréed tomato sauce following the method described in this Serious Eats post, using 2 pounds of tomatoes and the fine disc for each mill. I also passed 1½ pounds of cooked apple through each food mill using the coarsest disc, noting again how well the mills performed the task.

For the grand finale, we made mashed potatoes with the top masher, ricer, and food mill following these instructions from Serious Eats. Because the texture of mashed potatoes is a personal preference, we wanted to see how multiple people would react to mashed potatoes made with each tool. For the original guide, we convened a panel of three tasters and asked each one to vote for a personal best. One of the judges favored the riced potatoes, but the other two preferred the potatoes processed with the masher. For this year’s update, we had two different tasters join us for testing, and both liked the creamy, smooth texture of the riced potatoes but said that the mashed batch was just as good for people who like a rustic, chunkier texture.

masher potatos

The mashed potato face-off. Can you tell which is which? Photo: Winnie Yang

We also noted how easy or comfortable each tool was to use, how effective it was at the task, how easy it was to assemble and disassemble (when applicable), and how easy it was to clean.

Our pick

The OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher is the best mashing tool for most people. In our tests, the shape of its grid plate broke up potatoes more efficiently without trapping mash, and the U-shaped handle offered better leverage. It also produced the smoothest, fluffiest mashed potatoes of all the mashers we looked at (second only to ricers). The Smooth Potato Masher is effortless to clean, and with a stubby shape and ergonomic horizontal handle, it stores nicely.

masher oxo smooth

The OXO masher has the most effective grid plate and the easiest-to-hold handle we’ve found on a masher. Photo: Kate Milford

For speed, the shape of the perforations matters more than the size of the masher plate.

Because of its grid (or waffle-patterned) plate, the OXO masher cut through the potato like butter. Whereas mashers with round holes, such as the Cuisipro and the Jamie Oliver, would flatten the potato into a pancake and then slide around on it, the OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher cut straight through the potato all the way to the bottom of the bowl with one downward twisting motion. In fact, in our tests we found that for speed, the shape of the perforations matters more than the size of the masher plate.

With some of the other mashers, potato tended to get stuck on the plate, and I had to stop intermittently to scrape it off. But with the OXO, the potato either slid off or could be flung off, which made for faster, more efficient mashing. The grid’s larger holes also made it easier to clean than the competition; any remaining potato bits rinsed right off under running water.

The OXO’s short U-shaped handle offers better leverage. In contrast to a stick handle, where you’re using mostly your forearm in a straight-up-and-down motion, the OXO’s design lets you engage your elbow to punch downward with more power. You get less strain on your forearm because your wrist is in a more neutral position, and by pressing the masher down with the meaty part of your palm, you can put some body weight into the motion. Because you can easily hold the OXO one-handed, your other hand is free to hold the bowl steady. The soft, rubbery handle helps you keep a comfortable, firm grip, even if your hand is wet. Its short, fat shape allows it to fit fairly easily in a drawer or a dishwasher, though not in a utensil container like a stick model would. You can also hang it from a peg or hook.

masher test group

The U-shaped handle of the OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher (left) gives more leverage and feels less awkward and tiring for mashing than stick mashers like the Best Manufacturers model (right). Photo: Winnie Yang

In our mashed potato face-off, we found the OXO made a fluffy mash on a par with riced potatoes. One person on our original tasting panel preferred the even consistency of the riced spuds, while another liked the slight lumpiness of the mashed potatoes, but I thought they were pretty much equivalent (perhaps tasting more potato-y even), as did the tasters on the panel for our update. And in fact, packed into the same container and reheated a couple of days later, the two batches were indistinguishable from each other. For the effort involved, the OXO masher was the clear winner.

Cook’s Illustrated also recommends the OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher but says, “The larger perforations allowed a bit more potato through, so it took longer to get the job done.” (I was worried about that at first but ultimately didn’t find it to be the case.) This masher is also highly rated on Amazon, with a current average of 4½ stars (out of five) across 216 reviews.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Some Amazon reviewers complain that the short handle causes their knuckles to drag through the mash. I didn’t have this problem, but I also have small hands and mashed a maximum of 2 pounds at a time. It could be more of an issue if you are working with larger amounts and have bigger hands. Using a wider bowl or dividing larger amounts and mashing each portion should help.

As mentioned, the U-shape means the OXO probably won’t fit in a utensil crock, but it’s otherwise much more compact than other versions. If you can’t spare any drawer space, try our runner-up.

Long-term test notes

After a year of occasional use, the OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher has held up and continues to be our preferred tool for mashing potatoes.

Runner-up with a straight handle

The Best Manufacturers Waffle Head Potato Masher has plate perforations like our top pick and is nearly as effective at getting to the bottom of the bowl. It’s about 1½ ounces lighter than the OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher, which makes mashing things faster a bit easier, but its stick handle is more awkward to wield and provides less power in mashing. It also has a smaller face plate. With a little extra work, it can make potatoes almost as smooth as the OXO can.

The metal handle is less comfortable and could be slippery, but overall the masher has a slim profile and can fit in a utensil container or drawer. It’s as easy to clean as the OXO.

Amazon reviewers love this masher: Currently they give it a 4.7-star average (out of five) across 51 reviews.

Also great: best potato ricer

We prefer the ease of use and the fluffy-textured mash of the OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher, but if you want a ricer for a slightly grainier, airier texture (for recipes like gnocchi), the Chef’n FreshForce Potato Ricer was the clear winner in our tests. Its clever design required significantly less effort to use compared with the other ricers we looked at, its handles were the easiest to hold, and its two-piece construction made it convenient to fill and clean.

The Chef’n takes much less effort to use than other models because of a smart gear mechanism and the way that the handles are attached.

The Chef’n takes much less effort to use than other models because of a smart gear mechanism and the way that the handles are attached. Ricers are basically levers with the fulcrum located at the end of the handles, on one side of the hopper. With levers, the farther the input force is from the fulcrum, the more the output force is amplified.

What Chef’n has done is place the fulcrum farther back. Instead of the simple screw hinge that every other ricer has at the fulcrum, there’s a dual gear mechanism, turning the Chef’n ricer into a compound lever that significantly increases the force applied to the potatoes when you press down on the handle—much more so than in other ricers. Chef’n claims this reduces the amount of force required by 65 percent, and while we didn’t measure the exact amount of force we used for each ricer, we did find the Chef’n to be significantly easier than the competition.

masher chef n ricer

The Chef’n ricer’s nifty gear-and-fulcrum setup is one of its main selling points.The Chef’n was one of the few in our test group that didn’t have a pot rest, but that wasn’t much of a problem for us; you don’t need to bear down on it against the pot, because squeezing the handles is so easy. Photo: Kate Milford

The handles weren’t slippery when wet, their edges were smooth and easy on hands, and they didn’t flex too much when we applied force (flexing handles was an issue with nearly all the other tested models). And because they weren’t too large or set too far apart—like those of the industrial-size ricers—getting my hands around them wasn’t a problem.

Another smart feature of the Chef’n design is that rather than using a removable disc, it incorporates a whole cup with a perforated bottom that slips into and out of the handle. You can easily fill the cup with potato and then put it back in or clean the cup between mashings. The hopper can rice about 1 cup of potatoes at a time when two-thirds full, so it has about the same capacity as the squarish RSVP ricer.

One of the Chef’n ricer’s few flaws is that it comes in only two pieces. Some of the other ricers have interchangeable discs with different-size perforations, but the Chef’n model’s cup has only small holes. You have fewer pieces to lose, but you get no choice in how fine your purée will be. This is moot for mashed potatoes but possibly an issue if you prefer a coarser applesauce.

The Chef’n gets a lot of love on Amazon, with a 4.7-star average (out of five) across more than 100 reviews.

Also great: best food mill

We don’t think most people want the liquidy mash that a food mill produces, but if your goal is to churn out big batches of French-style purées and sauces, we like the OXO Good Grips Food Mill. All of the mills we tried processed about the same, leaving minimal pulp. But the OXO provided a better experience, with the easiest assembly; long, nonskid feet that stay put over a wide range of vessels; and the best handle and knob among all the models we tested.

You have to take apart and reassemble a food mill every time you clean and use it, so how well it snaps together matters as much as how smooth the purée is. The OXO food mill is incredibly easy to put together and take apart. The cross-piece attachment that connects the crank and mill to the bowl has wide slots, and a clever button located at one end allows for easy release, so assembly requires very little effort or strength. The other mills we tested either relied on the classic spring-loaded handle assembly or had smaller slots for inserting the crank in place.

masher oxo food mill

We found the OXO food mill the easiest to assemble and take apart, thanks to wide slots on either end of the cross-piece attachment and a button that releases the bar. Photo: Kate Milford

Stability while milling is another point of differentiation. Most of the other mills are designed to sit deep inside the pot or bowl, held in place by the long handle and either a small hook or an ear-shaped handle. That means that not only is it hard to get them to stay put when cranking, but you also have less room in the bowl for your purée to rise before it hits the bottom of the mill. OXO solves this problem with three unique, non-skid feet that open out to 11½ inches in diameter, long enough to handle bowls with wider mouths (though none of the mills worked with a 12-inch-diameter, 4-quart Pyrex bowl). The feet are also collapsible, so the mill stores as easily as a saucepan.

The OXO’s handle is not only ergonomic but also equipped with a nice rubbery grip that’s easy to hold onto, even when your hand is wet. (In comparison, the Kuchenprofi’s flat metal loop was hard to hold onto.) I also found that the rubbery knob on the crank made it easier to turn.

This mill has a high amount of grab. For both apples and tomatoes, it was able to pass almost all the pulp through and didn’t require much scraping with a spatula—spinning the blade backward was enough to get whatever was left. It had no trouble grabbing and breaking down big apple chunks.

As with the other mills we tested, the OXO was easy to clean: Seeds and skins rinse right off under running water.

Compared to the masher and ricer, the food mill was terrible for mashing potatoes.

However, compared to the masher and ricer, the food mill was terrible for mashing potatoes. In our test, much of the potato ended up sitting above the blade, and we had to scrape it down with every crank. This was not an issue with denser, wetter foods such as tomatoes and apples that we milled. The resulting loose mash tasted more potato-y than the others, but nobody preferred its texture.

The OXO is one of former Gourmet editor Lillian Chou’s favorite food mills—she has a collection—because “the feet come in and out, the round handle is really comfortable in your hand, and the feet grip and don’t slide around.” She said, “If there’s one I would recommend, it would be the OXO.” On Amazon, as of this writing its owners have given it an average rating of 4½ out of five stars across 544 reviews.

A good budget food mill

Another great value is the RSVP Classic Rotary Style Food Mill, which also did a satisfactory job in straining and puréeing, requiring just a little scraping down with a spatula to get everything in front of the blade. It’s pretty much identical to the Moulinex food mill, a classic beloved by food-industry people and available only in Europe. It’s also similar to the OXO, with three legs that sit on top of the vessel, which makes it very stable. Like the OXO, it can also handle a wide range of vessels. This one has the narrowest slot, so assembly requires a little more effort than with all the other models but not so much as to be frustrating. Our main issue with this RSVP is that the white plastic is a little harder to clean and attracts tomato stains.

masher rsvp food mill

Like many plastic items, this RSVP food mill readily picks up tomato stains. Photo: Winnie Yang

RSVP’s plastic food mill also has a recommendation from Cook’s Illustrated, which says it “excelled at berry purées and applesauce.” Cook’s Illustrated adds: “The plastic is not as strong as [their pick, the Cuisipro’s] stainless steel, but for occasional use it works just fine.” Amazon reviewers currently give it an average of 4.3 stars (out of five) across 126 reviews.

Care and maintenance

Mashers and ricers are relatively straightforward to operate, but food mills, as our expert Tim Kemp pointed out, can be prone to user error. For all of the models except the Mirro Foley, you should put the disc in with the rough, convex (pointy) side facing up, and then you should insert the shaft into the hole to hold the disc in place. To pass the food through the disc, turn clockwise. If you’re processing dense, wet foods like tomatoes or apples, usually turning the handle counterclockwise will catch any large chunks that get stuck, but you may occasionally have to use a spatula or something similar to scrape the food down under the blade.

Cleaning potato bits off all these tools is much easier if your kitchen faucet has a spray attachment, but in our tests none of the tools were really difficult to wash. You’ll definitely be doing yourself a favor if you at least give the tool a thorough rinse before the potato has dried. If you do end up with a spud-encrusted masher, ricer, or food mill, a good soak in warm or hot water should take care of it. You may also want to try using a bottle brush to get into all those tight spaces in a ricer or food mill.

The competition

The Prepara Flip Masher produced smooth but drier, less creamy mash than our top pick in our tests, and the straight handle requires a little more effort to use. It does perform a neat trick, however: Squeeze the legs holding the mashing disc, and you can rotate the disc so the whole thing stores flat.

The Cuisipro Potato Masher seemed promising at the outset because its handle is shaped like the highly rated OXO’s, and it has a plate with greater surface area. However, it was completely ineffective at mashing. The ovoid, tire-tread-like perforations didn’t cut through any of the potato. The Cuisipro managed only to flatten the potatoes against the bottom of the bowl without breaking them up at all and then slid across the compacted surface, knocking a potato out of the bowl.

masher cuispro

Not much potato actually makes it through the Cuisipro’s ovoid perforations; everything gets flattened into the bottom of the bowl instead. Photo: Winnie Yang

The stick-handled Jamie Oliver Stainless Steel Masher required two hands and a lot of effort. Rather than mashing, the round perforations just punched out pieces of potato, leaving little cylindrical nuggets of spud that stuck in the holes. Cleaning was consequently a pain, because I had to really get in there and pop those cylinders out.

The Harold Import Dual Potato Masher stacks a plate with round perforations above a wire zigzag loop. The heaviest model of the group, it required a great deal of effort to mash. Much of the potato didn’t make it from the bottom wire loop through the top plate, and I had to continually scrape potato off each level between mashings, a difficult task since the bi-level assembly obscured the view.

The spring-shaped head of the Dreamfarm Smood seemed promising, but in practice, mashing merely compressed the head and flattened the potatoes into a pancake. To break up the potatoes, I had to work it around and back and forth in the bowl, which required a lot more effort than I used with our top pick and our runner-up. It also resulted in a gummy, pasty mash that still had large, unpleasant chunks in it.

masher dreamfarm smood

The Dreamfarm Smood tends to flatten potatoes instead of mashing them. Photo: Winnie Yang

We eliminated the WMF Profi Plus in the testing we did last year for our party hosting guide because the stainless handle was too slippery, the mashing plate was small, and it was hard to get smooth results with.

The OXO Good Grips Potato Masher gets good Amazon user reviews, but we eliminated it from testing because of its zigzag-wire design, which we couldn’t see competing with the grid or perforated-plate designs on other mashers.

The wire Harold Import Two In One Potato Masher Mix ’n’ Mash, which looks a little like a flattened whisk, is just a variation on the inefficient zigzag-wire style.

We dismissed the Cuisipro Fiberglass/Nylon Potato Masher because it’s made of nylon and isn’t any cheaper than similar stainless-steel models.

ricer group

Ricers are the mashing tool that many food magazines and books recommend. Photo: Winnie Yang

The OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Adjustable Potato Ricer performed almost as well as the Chef’n ricer that we liked best, but it required a little more effort to use since it has the usual screw hinge and not the compound lever of our ricer pick. I was unable to use the OXO with just one hand, too, and I found that cleaning the perforated plates was a bit harder because of some of the smaller holes. Also, the additional coarse and medium discs are unnecessary if you’re using the ricer primarily for mashed potatoes. If you do need to make a coarser product, this OXO tool has a particularly ingenious mechanism in which all the discs screw to the head together, and for whatever consistency you want, you just twist the head to the appropriate setting. This ricer is well liked on Amazon: Currently, across 143 reviews, it has an average of 4.4 stars out of five.

The RSVP Potato Ricer is far and away the favorite among Amazon reviewers and was a previous Sweethome pick, but I found it required somewhat more effort to use. The plunger had a natural tendency to flop over the opening of the hopper, but unfortunately it never lined up to plunge properly and had to be nudged into place first. The plastic handles bent in at the end and bled off some of the applied force, so the plate wouldn’t fully mash all of the potato every time. The handles also got slippery when wet, and overall this ricer felt flimsy next to the sturdy Chef’n. It’s nice that this tool has multiple disks, but the insert that holds the plate in place is fiddly to remove. The RSVP ricer is Cook’s Illustrated’s (subscription required) top pick. It’s also the top-ranked ricer on Amazon, and at this writing it has an average of 4½ stars (out of five) across 687 reviews.

masher nopro deluxe ricer

Industrial-size ricers like the Norpro Deluxe, pictured here, tended to pack potato into the bottom of the hopper instead of passing it through. Photo: Winnie Yang

In testing ricers, I quickly learned that bigger is not better. I wasn’t able to get the Norpro Deluxe Cast Aluminum Jumbo Potato Ricer to mash even the same amount as a regular-size ricer. All the potato just got jammed into one solid cake at the bottom of the hopper, and no matter how hard I pushed, I couldn’t force the plunger any farther. I eventually gave up and scraped all the potato into the Chef’n to get the job done. Encountering this problem when trying to tackle a huge quantity of potatoes would be especially terrible.

I had the same issues with the RSVP Endurance Jumbo Potato Ricer. It required an unreasonable amount of effort yet still couldn’t pass most of the potatoes fed into its hopper. For the amount of space it takes up, this is unacceptable.

The Browne Stainless Steel Potato Ricer is uncomfortable to use. The edges of the handles are sharp, and they bite into your hands when you squeeze. The action feels a little rough, too. It’s one piece, so it’s cumbersome to fill and clean.

Although the Kuhn Rikon Potato Ricer has recommendations from the Los Angeles Times and Good Housekeeping, we found it awkward to use. It’s remarkably bulky because it has storage for its discs built into the head, but the hopper is regular size. It’s even more cumbersome than the Browne ricer because it’s so top-heavy. The handles are slippery when wet and too large for small hands to get around.

At the time of our original testing, the OXO Good Grips Potato Ricer had mediocre ratings and lots of complaints on Amazon, so we opted not to test it. Since then, however, its reviews have improved, so we may consider it for our next round.

The Culina Premium Potato Ricer is nearly identical in design to the RSVP and about the same price, but it doesn’t get outstanding reviews on Amazon, so we opted not to test.

We also passed on testing the MIU France ricer. It has the same design as the poorly performing Norpro Deluxe, and its handles appear even less comfortable.

mills group

The RSVP Endurance (bottom left) and the OXO Food Mill (center) have feet that keep them stable when in use, while the others have the less stable hooks that hang over the lip of the vessel. Photo: Winnie Yang

The RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel Food Mill has a comfortable, round wooden handle that’s easy to hold. Because it depends on hooks rather than feet to secure it to the bowl, the mill doesn’t work in vessels with a wide mouth, and it doesn’t sit very stably in the vessels it does work with. It has a more conventional assembly than the OXO, requiring a little more work to get the crank into the slot. While it did have a little trouble with one big apple chunk—I had to break that up with a spoon—it generally did as well as the other food mills in puréeing and straining. It’s a totally different design from RSVP’s plastic mill and very similar to the Kuchenprofi we tested; the materials and construction seem just as high quality, but at half the price, it’s a much better value. Amazon reviewers think highly of the RSVP food mill—currently it has a 4.4-star average (out of five) across 95 reviews.

The Kuchenprofi Professional Stainless Steel Vegetable Mill, the most expensive model we tested, was the most effective at passing; it left me with nearly dry tomato skins and seeds, and it didn’t need any scraping down at all. However, its handle—a wire loop that’s a little wide for small hands—is uncomfortable and can be slippery when wet, so holding the mill steady can be hard. While most of the food mills in our test group came with three discs, this one had four, with the additional “grating disc” meant to be used for tough-skinned items like apples, bell peppers, or tomatoes. But the extra disc doesn’t make up for the price, the uncomfortable handle, or the unstable base.

The Mirro Foley Stainless Steel Food Mill is not designed like any of the others. It looks more like a saucepan with perforations in the bottom. The handle is a metal loop like the Kuchenprofi’s but a little narrower. The single hole size is quite fine, and in our tests it seemed to juice the tomatoes more than pulp them, leaving the greatest amount of pulp behind. Unlike with the other mills, the handle isn’t spring-loaded into slots on either side of the hopper but is instead held in place with a thumbscrew on the underside. The effort required to put this mill together and take it apart is on a par with that of the other mills we dismissed.

masher miro foley

The Mirro Foley food mill’s crank is held in place with a thumbscrew instead of a spring-loaded cross-piece. Photo: Winnie Yang

We also looked at the Cuisipro Deluxe Food Mill but eliminated it, before testing, for its hefty price and middling Amazon ratings (3.9 stars out of five on average, across 49 reviews).

The Weston Food Mill has multiple complaints from Amazon reviewers about food just spinning around without passing through the cone, so we also decided against testing this one.