We skinned pounds of potatoes, eggplants, squash, lemons, apples, and tomatoes to figure out which peelers could earn a place in your toolkit—and which are all show and no action. Here they are, in order of our preference (within each category):
- OXO GoodGrips Swivel Peeler: The favorite in this category—perfectly balanced in the hand and glides over produce with smooth, even cuts.
- OXO GoodGrips i-Series: Handle feels good, and blade is sharp (and can be replaced when necessary). Still, not as well balanced as the original.
- Henckel Twin Cuisine: This handsome design is also a good weight, but you can't see the blade when peeling. Wonderful on apples.
- Kuhn Rikon Piranha Peeler: Has a serrated blade that does an amazing job on tomatoes. But for anything else, the stripes it leaves behind make produce mushy.
- KitchenArt Gel Grip Swivel Peeler: The balance was off on this silicone-handled peeler—it simply wasn't as comfortable as its Y-shaped counterpart (see below).
- Maril Batali Serrated Peeler: Strange in the hand—all the weight seems to be in the handle, rather than the blade. Only works well on tomatoes—is this why its packaging says, "The Italian Kitchen"?
- Cuisinart Vegetable Peeler: An odd shape, and the hard plastic becomes slippery. Blade not very sharp.
- Carlisle Stainless Steel Peeler: This is the one we all had decades ago; it's still uncomfortable and, even when brand- new, not quite sharp enough.
- Analon Peeler: Faltered on every fruit and vegetable we tried; thick metal band over the blade makes it hard to see what you're doing.
- Rösle Peeler: "For left- or right-handed use," its ad boasts. But since the blade doesn't swivel, it only ensures that lefties and righties will find it equally difficult to use. Didn't do a good job on anything.
- Rösle Extra Fine Peeler: Though supposedly for thin-skinned produce, it didn't perform particularly well on them—or anything else.
- Firmgrip "Y" Peeler: The favorite in this category. Nice size for hand, peels great thin slices, and strong enough for squash.
- Kuhn Rikon: Another darling of our test kitchen. Tiny, lightweight, with a nice sharp blade, and comes in a pack of three. Minimal flesh removed.
- OXO GoodGrips Y Peeler i-Series: Sharp, wide blade, and its heft works in its favor. Pretty comfortable.
- Kuhn Rikon Deluxe Dual Peeler: Both julienne and peeling blades are very sharp and work on all fruits and vegetables. Awkward handle.
- KitchenArt Gel Grip Horizontal Peeler: A very cushy handle makes this peeler comfortable, though a little heavy. Good on everything, especially eggplant.
- OXO GoodGrips Y Peeler: Works well on all produce, but not as nicely weighted as the i-Series.
- Kyocera CP-10 Ceramic Peeler: Handle feels too skinny; peels a little bit too much off. The plastic head actually began to bend while working on butternut squash.
- Kyocera CP-8 Ceramic Peeler: Very sharp, but a little too lightweight - feels like it would break easily.
- Kyocera Ceramic MEGA: Awkwardly big; blade is too wide. Actually does a worse job on the large vegetables (squash, eggplant) that it's supposed to be good at. Blade absorbs stains.
- Ticera antibacterial: Though it looks of the space age, its chunky design impedes its control. Not good on small things.
- Rösle Swivel Peeler: Though the only functional Rösle we tested, it still wasn't great. Good on tomatoes.
- Leifheit Feel It: Nice looking and compact, but unfortunately useless on most items—one tester attempting to peel a tomato almost shaved her finger off.
- Kyocera The Perfect Peeler: Has a knob on the back so you can change the orientation of the blade from horizontal to vertical and back again. If only it would lock in place—the head spun around as we were using it.
- Chef'n Palm Peeler: It's been on display in every Bath, Kitchen, and Yonder store for years, and we were curious, too. But it's just as goofy as it looks—though in theory you slip it on like a ring and peel with ease, it tended to pop right off right in the middle of a stroke, and even under the best conditions, the cuff of plastic hid too much of the action. We're okay with holding a peeler in our hands, thank you.