Best Salad Spinners of 2020
A salad spinner washes and prepares salad greens in no time at all. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best salad spinner for your busy lifestyle.
Spinning and Winning: Here's How to Choose the Best Salad Spinner
Washing and preparing lettuce for a salad isn't a difficult task, but it can be a time-consuming one. The salad spinner was invented in the 1970s and, despite some initial criticism that it was just another kitchen gadget, it has become a kitchen staple for many people ever since.
Today, there are more salad spinners on the market than ever. Wading through the options can feel overwhelming. But for many of us, the thought of a crispy green salad topped with any or all our favorites—croutons, bacon bits, sunflower seeds, ranch dressing—makes the search worthwhile.
If you want to buy a quality salad spinner and aren't sure where to start, BestReviews can help. We do the hard work of consulting experts, sifting through consumer reviews, and testing products so you don't have to. Any product we test is purchased online or off the shelf, and we always decline free manufacturer samples to maintain our objective viewpoint.
We created the following shopping guide to help you make an informed decision. When you're ready to choose a salad spinner, be sure to check out three of our top picks above.
Salad Spinner Anatomy: The Basics
A manufacturer may put its own unique "spin" on a salad spinner, but each salad spinner shares a similar basic anatomy: A slotted basket or colander fits inside a larger bowl. The bowl is capped by a lid that features a spinning mechanism—a handle, button, or pull cord that spins the inner basket.
When the handle, button, or pull cord is activated, the inner basket spins, creating a centrifugal force powerful enough to whisk water away from the greens to the outer bowl. Once in the outer bowl, the water can be drained, leaving behind clean produce that's dry and ready to be eaten.
A Note About Spinning Mechanisms
As mentioned above, a salad spinner has one of several different types of spinning mechanisms. A hand-cranked handle may require more physical effort than a push button. However, a spinning mechanism that requires more effort to start may actually get the inner basket to spin faster, which in turn removes more water from the produce.
A Note About Lids
Regardless of which salad spinner you choose, it should have a snug-fitting lid. A lid with a locking mechanism is preferable, as it helps prevent your greens from making a hasty exit while they're spinning. Easy-snap locks work best and won't slow you down.
A Note About Materials
Most salad spinners have inner baskets made of BPA-free plastic. This is important, because unlike certain types of plastic, BPA-plastic is thought to be a food-safe material.
The outer bowl of a salad spinner may be made of plastic, glass, or stainless steel. If you want the ultimate in durability, we recommend a salad spinner bowl made of stainless steel.
Salad Spinner Power: Manual Versus Electric
There are two basic types of salad spinners: manual and electric.
Manual Salad Spinners
Manual salad spinners operate via physical force. There are manual salad spinners with handles, push buttons, hand pumps, and pull cords. One design isn't necessarily better than another, but potential buyers should be aware that twist handles and pull cords often require the most physical exertion.
Electric Salad Spinners
Electric or battery-operated salad spinners work with the push of a button. These appliances do an adequate job removing water from greens, but they often cost twice as much. Some electric salad spinners reach higher speeds than manual models, making them strong enough to strain pasta as well.
Salad Spinner Prices
- $10 to $15: In this price range, you can find some small salad spinners made of plastic. Spinning mechanisms of all types can be found here. Some inexpensive salad spinners have locking lids; others don't. Similarly, some have nice-looking outer bowls that can be used to serve food, and others don't.
- $15 to $30: In this "middle" range, you'll find some excellent salad spinners, many of which are made of quality plastic. The best offer a high degree of durability, a smooth spinning mechanism, and the ability to function as both a colander and a salad bowl.
- $30 to $50: Here you'll find stainless-steel salad spinners, models that include extras like a cutting board or knife, and models that can be also be used as a food processor.
- $50 and Up: If you buy a premium salad spinner in this price range, it will likely be electric and/or made for commercial use. Many commercial-grade salad spinners can hold up to five gallons of greens—enough to serve 15 to 20 people.
Q. Can I wash my salad spinner in the dishwasher?
A. The answer to this question depends on your particular salad spinner. Those that aren't made of BPA-free plastic may not be suitable for the dishwasher. Others may contain components that could be damaged by the force and temperatures found in a regular dishwasher cycle. Before you purchase a new salad spinner, check the manufacturer specs to find out how to clean it.
Q. How big of a salad spinner should I get?
A. To choose a salad spinner size, consider how many people you typically need to feed. Here's a quick capacity and serving guide to help you decide:
- A two-quart salad spinner is suitable for feeding one to two people.
- A three-quart salad spinner is suitable for feeding four to six people.
- A four- or five-quart salad spinner is suitable for feeding six to eight people.
If you plan to prepare bulky vegetables or spin other foods like pasta, you might want to consider buying a larger-capacity salad spinner. However, you'll need to store the salad spinner somewhere, and larger units consume more space.
Q. I have severe arthritis in my hands. Is there a type of salad spinner that would work for me?
A. You want an electric or battery-operated salad spinner, because it will take all the manual labor out of drying your vegetables. With the press of a button, your greens will be ready to add to a salad. Electric salad spinners can also be used for drying berries, herbs, and pasta.
Q. I wash vegetables and make salad almost every day. I've gone through several inexpensive plastic salad spinners, but I'd like something more durable. What should I get?
A. Because you clean and eat vegetables often, you might consider a salad spinner with a stainless-steel outer bowl. Stainless steel is tough and durable. But plastic isn't completely out of the question, both for the outer bowl and the inner workings. Look for a salad spinner made of thick plastic that doesn't flex.
Q. I don't have a lot of storage space in my kitchen, but I eat vegetables often enough that I'd benefit from a salad spinner. How much space do I need for storage, and are there features that make them more compact?
A. The storage space needed for a salad spinner varies by the size and model you choose. However, there are some features that can make storage easier. Salad spinners with a press-down top button often have a lock position that holds the button down to make the spinner more compact for storage. The handles on many salad spinners can be folded down or stored inside the inner basket when not in use.