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We tested 12 top-rated vegetable peelers: These are the 2 you need for the holidays

Peelers, like any kitchen gadget, are available in abundance in a range of styles, shapes, and colors, from the cheap throwaways you’ve been using for years without a thought to heavyweight luxury and “pro” options. But many vegetable peelers are uncomfortable to hold, and ineffective to use.

After researching top picks from large retailers and kitchen stores––like Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Williams Sonoma––we tested twelve options in both straight-blade swivel and Y-yoke styles. We put them to work on fruits, vegetables, and hard cheeses over the preparation of many meals, and in the end two peelers stood out:

Best peeler overall

The OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler was easy to clean, peeled more smoothly across the surfaces of a range of fruits and vegetables than others, and felt super comfortable to hold for long periods.

Best Y-Peeler

If you prefer a Y-shaped peeler, get the Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler 3-pack. They have smaller blades and cheaper-feeling overall construction, but they peel well and are very easy to clean.

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Best peeler overall: OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler ($10.98; amazon.com)

OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler

Alex Arpaia/CNN
OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler

The OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler doesn’t look like anything special, but sometimes the best tools are those hidden in plain sight. The OXO peeler beat out competitors because it was the most comfortable to use, with a wider handle that was easier to grip than others. It was the smoothest at peeling and excelled on a range of foods. Cleaning the OXO swivel peeler peeler is simple––the blade is easy to scrub around, with ample clearance for sponges, and enough swivel to get into any hard-to-reach places.

As someone who has grappled with carpal tunnel and tendonitis for years, the stand-out feature of the OXO swivel peeler is its wide, thick handle and light weight. Competitors had designs that were uncomfortable to hold, like the Linden peeler, with its sharply edged handle, or too heavy, like the Williams Sonoma Straight Peeler. The OXO’s handle also features two grip spots near the base of the blade, for resting your thumb and forefinger. Although it might seem minor, the thicker grip of this peeler makes a real difference in use, alleviating pressure on the wrists and making it easier to use for longer.

This peeler was also the most consistent and its blade operated smoothly on a variety of foods. Regardless of ingredient, the OXO removed only the top layer of skin. It never varied and pulled long, uniform strips with each pass. Even peeling butternut squash, which many competitors struggled to shave, was simple with the OXO. It removed longer strips of the squash’s thick skin with less effort than others. The OXO also has a potato eye remover located at the top of the device, which is intuitive and simple to use.

Finally, cleaning this peeler is easy, and stood out among the swivel peelers . There is ample space behind the blade to fit a sponge in and remove caked-on grime. And if you need some extra room, the blade turns far enough to make debris a bit easier to scrub off. Some peelers, especially those with Y-shaped designs, were somewhat easier to scrub down, after use. But maintaining the OXO is easy.

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Best Y-Peeler: Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler 3-Pack ($12.87; amazon.com)

Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler 3-Pack

Alex Arpaia/CNN
Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler 3-Pack

Kuhn Rikon’s bright Swiss Peeler 3-pack is a fun alternative to the OXO if you prefer Y-shaped peelers, or are looking for a little more bang for your buck or if you prefer a Y-style peeler. These peelers don’t feel like anything special, but their blades are surprisingly sharp and did the job impressively well. We didn’t love the clunky, plastic eye remover –– it was, frankly, one of the worst we tried –– but the Kuhn Rikons otherwise performed so well, and if one breaks or gets lost, you have two others as backup, that we recommend them despite that glitch.

Despite the Kuhn Rikon’s plasticky construction and tiny blade, it peeled nearly as well as the OXO. The Kuhn Rikon even managed to handle the tough butternut squash well, pulling consistent strips of skin from its surface. The only downside was the eye remover, which lacked a sharp enough edge to pull small, precise pieces from our test potatoes, instead leaving relatively large craters behind.

Beyond great functionality, the Kuhn Rikon is easy to clean, and you get a bunch of them for your dollar. This 3-pack is an ideal option for people who might not need fancy kitchen equipment, or are prone to losing things. These peelers have sharp blades, but they’re not precious, so you don’t need to worry about washing them right away or taking any other measures for good care. Simply put, they’re a solid, cheap option that will get the job done without fuss.

How We Tested

We researched best-selling peelers from retailers like Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond, Williams’ Sonoma and Sur La Table, and brought in those with top customer reviews. We also brought in a handful of fancier “upgrade” options like the OXO pro line, and some nicer stainless models from Williams’ Sonoma.

There are two basic peeler designs to consider: the swivel, and the Y-shape. We tried options of both types, and in each case had a slight preference for those that had a potato eye remover, a convenience feature that came in handy. We tested peelers made from both plastic and stainless steel. While neither material makes a huge difference in functionality, we noticed that the metal peelers tended to be heavy and were uncomfortable for extended periods of use. We also prioritized peelers that worked on a broad range of foods rather than use-specific peelers –– such as those for cheese only, or julienne peelers.

After taking note of the design, we primarily tested for usability. First we held each peeler, noting how each shape felt and whether any handles were particularly uncomfortable or heavy. We then ran the peelers through their paces on carrots, butternut squash, potatoes, apples, lemons, and parmesan cheese. We noted how smoothly they peeled, if any snagged, or if peels got stuck behind each blade, and how consistently each model worked across the different foods. If the peeler had a potato eye remover, we tested those, noting if the tool’s placement was intuitive or not and how well they worked.

Finally, we washed each peeler. The Y-shaped peelers were easy to clean overall, because the blades are fully exposed, making them simple to wipe down with a sponge. Swivel peelers, however, tend to trap grime behind the blades. We wash-tested each with a sponge, to see how easy it was to scrub off persistent grime.

Other vegetable peelers we tested

Chef’n PalmPeeler Vegetable Peeler ($6.99; amazon.com)

The Chef’n was the worst peeler we tried. Its protective cover never stayed on, the blade popped out while we were cleaning it, and the peels got stuck between the blade and the protector that is cradled in your palm during peeling. Furthermore, the Chef’n wasn’t intuitive to use, because it was impossible to see where it’s peeling when in use, making it easy to go over the same territory without even knowing.

Kuhn Rikon Serrated Piranha Swivel Peeler ($13.75; amazon.com)

This peeler was strange to hold, likely because of its arched handle, and the eye remover was located behind the blade, which felt unintuitive to use. The serrated peeler also seemed to remove more skin than the others we tried, and left behind distinct striped lines on the vegetables we tested with, a feature that might not be to everyone’s taste.

Linden Sweden Original Jonas Vegetable Peeler ($8.99, originally $9.99; amazon.com)

Formed from a single strip of molded stainless steel, the Linden peeler’s handle was harsh to hold and highly uncomfortable to use for any amount of time. It also peeled most vegetables poorly, and couldn’t pull strips of peel consistently from any of the vegetables we tested.

Microplane Pro Straight Peeler, Black ($19.95; williams-sonoma.com)

This peeler worked okay on most vegetables, but struggled with the lemon’s thick, soft skin. It was also very heavy, making it unappealing to use for prolonged periods.

OXO Good Grips Pro Swivel Peeler ($14.99; amazon.com)

If you’re looking for a high-end peeler, the OXO Pro Swivel Peeler may be a good option. It was slightly smoother at peeling than the basic OXO swivel, but its stainless steel construction was also much heavier. Because of the weight, we didn’t think this peeler would work well for prolonged kitchen work.

OXO Good Grips Pro Y-Peeler ($14.99; amazon.com)

The ultra-wide handle of the OXO Pro Y-Peeler was uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time. It had the same flatness issue as the standard OXO Y-peeler, but the wider handle made the problem seem more pronounced.

OXO Good Grips Y-Peeler ($9.89, originally $10.95; amazon.com)

Like the OXO Swivel, this peeler had a wide hand grip, but weirdly, the grip lacked any depth. Its handle was wide like other OXO models, but flat, which felt like it put pressure on our tester’s wrist. Nonetheless, this model was somewhat more comfortable to hold than the Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss, if you’re looking for a nicer Y-shaped peeler.

Swissmar Swiss Black and Red Double Edge Straight Peeler ($11.95; amazon.com)

Like the serrated Kuhn Rikon, the Swissmar peeler also had the eye remover facing away from the blade, making it difficult to handle. There wasn’t technically much else wrong, but it did not impress.

Williams Sonoma Prep Tools Straight Swivel Peeler (starting at $17.95; williams-sonoma.com)

Our main issue with this peeler is that the area behind its blade is very small, making it difficult to reach with a sponge for cleaning. The peeler was also quite heavy. It did, however, excel at removing potato eyes, and was very smooth and consistent on most vegetables.

Zyliss Smooth Glide Wide Peeler ($9.95; surlatable.com)

This super-wide Y-peeler is only useful for foods like cheese. Its 4.5-inch wide blade was almost comical next to the other peelers we tested, and it wasn’t practical for everyday peeling tasks. Although the Zyliss was light and easy to hold, it had no agility on a vegetable.

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