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A knife is, arguably, only as good as the cutting board it's being used on. Whether the task at hand is chopping vegetables, carving meat, or prepping a garnish, there's likely the perfect cutting board for it. Plus, these oft-reached-for kitchen tools are versatile: They can act as a serving plate or a layer to protect your table from heat and scratches, for example.
For a wood option, our testers loved the extra space, durability, and gorgeous look of the John Boos Chop-N-Slice Maple Wood Cutting Board. The fact that it's reversible is a plus, too. The Oxo Good Grips Utility Cutting Board is our top choice for plastic because of the ability to throw it in the dishwasher and the rubber grips that keep it from moving around on the counter.
But, how exactly do you pick the right cutting board? Well, for starters, it should give you enough room to chop and slice, and it should be relatively easy to clean and store. It should also be able to stand up to stains and odors, as well as handle slippery foods or juicy ingredients.
To help you find which cutting board is right for your kitchen, we tested them side-by-side and evaluated each on design, size, durability, and overall value. Dozens of breads, fruits, vegetables, and meats were sliced with both straight-edge and serrated knives to make sure the cutting boards that ended up on this list are truly the best.
From plastic to wood, flexible to sturdy, here are the best cutting boards, according to our testing.
Best Overall, Wood: John Boos Chop-N-Slice Maple Wood Reversible Cutting Board
Can be used for chopping
Lots of work space
Needs seasoning before use
Must be washed by hand
This John Boos cutting board is substantial, so you won’t feel like it’s slip-sliding around on your countertop, but it isn't heavy or cumbersome. Made from wood, this attractive cutting board is elegant enough to use to serve cheeses and meats, but it’s also a workhorse in the kitchen. Since it’s reversible, you can flip it over to use the other side when you need a fresh cutting surface.
This cutting board has a one-year warranty. Since it's wooden, it requires a little additional care to keep it in top shape. It should never be left out wet or washed in the dishwasher, and it will need to be pretreated before you use it. This special care is worth it, according to our reviewer: "Because this board was built with professional use in mind, it should last most home cooks a lifetime if it is well cared for," she says. Our tester also noted that while the board seems a little large at first, the extra space ultimately felt like a luxury when prepping food.
Dimensions: 20 x 15 x 1.25 Inches | Material: Wood, Maple | Weight: 9 Pounds
"Considering the long life you can expect from a board like this, the price tag is actually very reasonable." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Overall, Plastic: Oxo Good Grips Utility Cutting Board
Features both flat and grooved-rim surfaces
Nub feet keep it off the countertop
Grooved rim is fairly shallow
The biggest advantage of a plastic cutting board is the ability to pop it in the dishwasher after use (a wood cutting board will crack and deteriorate with dishwasher use). One side of this Oxo cutting board has grooves around the edges to catch liquids before they run on your counter, plus rubber grips so that the board won’t slide around on your kitchen counter.
Our reviewer especially liked that these grips are designed in such a way that she can easily lift the board off the counter without needing to paw at it or slide it to the counter edge. The other side of the cutting board does not have grooves, but can be used for chopping—a reversible board comes in handy if you’re preparing meat or fish and wish to avoid cross-contamination.
The board is made from polypropylene, which doesn’t retain smells and also guards against the kinds of deep scratches that can occur when you're using a sharp knife.
Dimensions: 10.39 x 14.78 Inches | Material: Plastic | Weight: 1.5 Pounds
"If this board were larger, it would be more difficult to store, and if it were smaller, it would be much less useful. As Goldilocks would say, 'It’s juuuust right.'" — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best for Carving Meat: J.K. Adams Maple Carving Board
Large enough for a turkey
Deep wells to catch juices
You’ll find plenty of features in this cutting board that make it a good match for carving meat—like grooves in the board’s surface and a slight slope to one side so that the juices that release from meat all run down into a single large well. This particularly impressed our reviewer, who typically puts her cutting board into a sheet pan to collect overflowing juices when she is carving—with this board, she doesn't have to. This well also makes it easy to spoon the juices out and use them for sauces or gravy.
When you order the J.K. Adams cutting board, you can even choose to add steel spikes to it, which helps keep the meat locked in position as you carve. This sturdy board has substantial size and weight that's perfect for significant cuts of meat; and comes with a five-year warranty.
Dimensions: 20 x 14 Inches | Material: Wood, Maple | Weight: 6.28 Pounds
"We could carve at the table without worrying about staining the tablecloth." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Flexible: Dexas Heavy Duty Grippmat Flexible Cutting Boards, Set of 4
Thin yet sturdy
Grippy bottom prevents slipping
One-sided use only
Juices tend to drip off edges
A flexible cutting board makes transport of chopped-up items easy—just lift and fold up the edges to create a handy funnel to send food into a pot or bowl. You’ll get a set of four in bright colors—each perfect for everyday usage. For thin boards, these are relatively sturdy, even while their thinness makes them easy to store in cabinets or drawers. Moreover, grip marks on one side of each cutting board prevent the cutting boards from sliding around.
"We used these on a smooth countertop and a wooden table, and the boards remained in place with no slipping or sliding as we worked," our reviewer says. Our reviewer also noted that the boards are best used for items that aren't especially wet—like carrots, lettuce, cheeses, and bread.
The plastic is both non-porous and non-absorbent. The colors are attractive and can also help you remember which board you used for which ingredient. To clean, use hot water and soap, or just toss the cutting boards into your dishwasher.
Dimensions: 11 x 8 x 0.06 Inches | Material: Plastic | Weight: 10.9 Ounces
"I used these on a smooth countertop and a wooden table, and the boards remained in place, with no slipping or sliding as I worked." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Design: Sonder Los Angeles Large Multipurpose American Walnut Wood Cutting Board
Padded box for storage or gifting
No juice groove
This board is a showstopper. It’s made from American walnut, with decorative accents from cherry and oak wood. You may find yourself leaving this one on your counter, rather than placing it in a cabinet, just to show it off a little. It also is perfect for displaying food, cheese plate lovers will find that the board is perfect for serving cheese and charcuterie. That’s particularly true since one side of the cutting board has a long groove that’s perfect for a baguette or crackers—or, "I particularly liked the way it looked when it was filled with small bright red tomatoes," our tester says.
But this cutting board is also functional. Since it’s reversible, you can use either side of it during food preparations. The indentation on one side is handy for sectioning off one ingredient if you’re chopping up lots of items or keeping round ingredients from rolling off of the board. Our tester also noted that extra juicy ingredients may leave you with liquid running off the side of the board, so make sure to keep a towel handy while working.
Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 1.1 Inches | Material: Wood: Walnut, Cherry, and Maple | Weight: 6.25 Pounds
"We wouldn’t recommend this board for carving meats or for cutting very juicy fruits and vegetables since the liquid could easily run off the edges." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Small: Thirteen Chefs Villa Acacia Wood Bar Board
Easy to store
Easy to pick up
Requires additional maintenance
Natural wood may warp in transit
If you only have a small job—mincing up a few cloves of garlic, for instance, or quartering a lime—it can feel like a hassle to drag out a full-sized cutting board. Enter the Thirteen Chef's Villa Acacia Wood Bar Board. The grain of the tropical hardwood is beautiful, and at just half an inch thick and 12 x 9 inches in size, it’s lightweight, perfect for smaller tasks, and can be easily stashed away in cabinets when not in use. The board is reversible, with one side that’s totally flat and another with a juice groove running around the edge. Small indentations on the two sides of the cutting board make it easy to pick up.
Our tester liked it for small chopping tasks and advised that you keep a receptacle nearby to place chopped items into, so you can continue to work on its small surface. It works best with fruits and vegetables, but it can also be used to carve or serve cooked proteins. The hardwood makes it pretty resistant to scratches and nicks, with only slight scratching noted after using it with a serrated knife. Beyond slicing, this piece is aesthetically pleasing and would make a nice serving platter—perfect for a cheese plate for two.
While some reviewers claim that this board doesn't sit flat (natural wood will sometimes warp in transit), the manufacturer says that sitting it on a flat surface for a few days will help it settle. That said, our tester's product arrived in good condition and did not wobble when placed on a marble countertop.
To clean, this cutting board can be hand washed with warm water and mild dish soap. Smells can be treated with white vinegar or lemon juice, and stains can be cleaned with salt. Our tester found this method effective for removing the smell of garlic and onion. Note that this board does require regular maintenance. The manufacturer suggests treating it with food-grade mineral oil every three months.
Dimensions: 12 x 9 x 0.5 Inches | Material: Wood, Acacia | Weight: 2 Pounds
"I placed the board on my marble countertop, and it didn't move while cutting up broccoli, bell peppers, and carrots. A serrated knife will scratch a little if you continue to saw back and forth when trying to get through the bottom of a crusty loaf of bread, but other knives, like a chef's knife and cleaver, worked well with no damage to the knives at all." — Bernadette Machard de Gramont, Product Tester
Best Sustainable: Material The reBoard
Pretty color choices
No grips on bottom
Lacks grooves to collect liquids
If sustainability matters as much to you as function and design, you'll find plenty to love in Material's TheReboard. It offers all the benefits of a plastic cutting board, but it's made of 75 percent recycled plastic and 25 percent renewable sugarcane. Furthermore, it boasts a modern, minimal design and comes in four gorgeous earthy tones—including "Tide," a soft blue that our product tester says is particularly soothing.
As for performance and versatility, TheReboard doesn't disappoint. It provides a flat surface that feels sturdy during everyday kitchen tasks such as slicing fruit, chopping veggies for soup, and trimming chicken breasts. Plus, it doubles as a serving tray for charcuterie or cheese platters. A small caveat: There are no feet or rubber grips to keep the board in place during use (though our tester says it doesn't move around much on her tiled countertop), nor does the board have a groove around the edges to collect liquids.
Dimensions: 14.75 x 10.75 x .6 Inches | Material: Recycled Plastic & Sugarcane | Weight: Leightweight
"This cutting board measures about 15 inches long and 11 inches wide, which fit nicely on my countertops and was easily tucked into cabinets." — Sharon Lehman, Product Tester
Best Set: STGA Flexible Board Grade Plastic Kitchen Cutting Mat with Food Icons, Set of 4
Each labeled with food icon
Textured on the bottom
May slip and slide a bit
If you’re looking to avoid cross-contamination, this set of food-grade silicone cutting boards will come in handy, as each one is labeled with a recognizable food icon for poultry, vegetables, red meat, and fish. The icons give it an edge over simply having different colors since you won’t have to remember that yellow is for chicken, while green is for vegetables.
Our tester used these boards to cut a variety of vegetables and raw poultry, noting that the textured side works well to keep slippery items, like tomato or chicken breast, in place. They are generously sized at 15 x 12 inches, so you have plenty of space to work. Moving chopped items to one side of the board will still allow you to have some room to continue chopping, slicing, and more.
The cutting boards are smooth on one side with a textured pattern on the bottom, but some reviewers note that it does still slip and slide around a bit on the counter, so you may want a backup way of securing the board down. Our tester remedied the sliding by either using the board on top of a flat dishtowel or on top of a wooden cutting board, and found it to be secure.
Cleaning up was very easy, as these boards are dishwasher safe. Our tester noticed that there was some slight curving of the board after coming out of the dishwasher, but it was easily fixed by storing the dry board under a flat board or tray between uses. If you happen to notice warping or curving at the edges, you could also simply turn these boards over to flatten out.
Dimensions: 15 x 12 x 0.03 Inches | Material: Plastic | Weight: 11.4 Ounces
"Since they are made from food grade silicone, they are durable, but susceptible to scratches—especially if your knives are very sharp. I didn't notice any scratches during the first couple of uses, but if you are doing heavy-duty cutting, like using a cleaver to hack through a chicken carcass, you may make some marks, but nothing significant enough to render the board unusable." — Bernadette Machard de Gramont, Product Tester
Best Bamboo: Totally Bamboo 3-Piece Bamboo Cutting Board Set
Beautiful bamboo grain
Slim profile makes storage easy
Handle cutouts for holding or hanging
Needs seasoning before first use
Must be washed by hand
These bamboo cutting boards come in three sizes, so you’ll likely always have one available in the size you need. (Or, if you’re working on a big meal, you can have several cutting boards available with different ingredients at once.) Plus, you'll want to show the boards off by using them as cheese or appetizer serving boards, our reviewer says. "From the grain of the bamboo to the rectangular shape with rounded edges, these boards want to be seen," she raves.
Since the boards are thin, storage is easy. All three of the boards are reversible so you can use either side or flip them over to change surfaces between raw and cooked ingredients. As with a wooden cutting board, you’ll want to avoid soaking them during your cleaning process. Unlike a plastic cutting board, wood—or in this case, grass—cutting boards require a bit more care between uses and will crack or splinter if they're cleaned incorrectly.
Dimensions: 13 x 9.5 x 1 Inches | Material: Bamboo | Weight: 1.88 Pounds
"There’s no denying it: These are attractive boards. From the grain of the bamboo to the rectangular shape with rounded edges, these boards want to be seen." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
The John Boos Chop-N-Slice Maple Cutting Board is our top pick because of the large amount of space available to cut your food. Plus, it's sturdy enough for hardcore chopping. If you're in the market for something thinner and easier to store, go for the Dexas Heavy-Duty Grip Mat: It's both flexible and sturdy.
How We Tested
We sent nine cutting boards to our experienced home chefs and product testers, who used them as a base for slicing all kinds of foods, including breads, fruits, vegetables, and raw and cooked meats, to determine which cutting boards are truly the best. Each cutting board was rated on design, size, durability, and overall value. Our testers then offered additional insights on each cutting board's strengths and weaknesses.
What to Look for in a Cutting Board
The most defining feature of any cutting board is the material that it’s made of. Boards are available in a variety of materials such as wood, bamboo, plastic, and rubber. Wooden boards are typically more expensive and can oftentimes be bigger and heavier, which can make them more difficult to clean and store. But, they are the most forgiving to your knife’s blade, and when oiled properly, will not absorb liquid.
Plastic boards are easier to clean, not only because they tend to be smaller (though not always) and weigh less, but because most are dishwasher-friendly. They may be slightly tougher on your knife’s blade than a wooden board, and they may not have the stunning designs that some wood boards do, but they are practical for daily home cooking. Bamboo boards, while aesthetically pleasing and very durable, have a reputation for being extremely tough on your knife’s blade. Rubber boards, which are sometimes flexible, are similar to plastic in that they are on the cheaper side of the spectrum, yet they’re hard on a knife’s blade and are highly prone to cuts and scratches.
Regularly oiling your wooden cutting board is a great way to protect the wood against moisture (which leads to warping and cracking). Any food-safe mineral oil is colorless, odorless, and flavorless, making it a great product for the job. You can also use walnut oil (keeping in mind any nut allergies) or beeswax; just bear in mind that the latter is not a vegan option.
When it comes to cutting boards, considering the size is very important. Assuming that space isn’t limited bigger is generally better but, do keep in mind that large boards can be heavy and bulky, making them difficult to lift, wash, and store. When it comes to thickness, you want a board that offers some elevation but, boards that are too thick can be uncomfortable to use, depending on your height.
If you have small counters, make sure to measure how much space you have because it’s extremely unsafe to have your board hanging over the sink or the edge. Similarly, consider the size of the knives that you use. If you frequently use a 12-inch chef’s knife, a board that’s any smaller than this dimension will not be safe or sufficient for your needs. Before you dismiss small boards as useless, however, consider that they can be quite handy in smaller living quarters (e.g., dorm rooms, camp trips, and beginner kitchens). While it could become inconvenient to prep large batches of vegetables on a tiny board, it can be great for smaller-scale prep, like peeling garlic, slicing berries, or cutting up lettuce, tomato, and onion slices for a quick sandwich.
Grooved or Flat
One defining feature of a cutting board is whether it has a groove around the edge or whether it’s completely flat all around. The purpose of a groove is for collecting meat juices, or anything else that might expel liquid when you’re chopping it, like tomatoes. The downside of a groove is that it will inevitably cut down on how much available space you have on your board for chopping. If you are going to be carving meat often, a groove may best suit your needs. Flat boards are ideal for chopping dry ingredients, like herbs, nuts, cheeses, and veggies.
There are many different features that boards can possess aside from a grooved edge. Some boards are reversible, meaning that you can chop on both sides, which is a great way to avoid cross-contamination. Some boards are outfitted with non-slip grips on the edges or the bottom of the board to ensure that your board is secure on your counter while you’re chopping. You will find handles or tapered edges on some boards, which helps with easy lifting. Some newer versions of cutting boards even offer an indentation in the corner that you can use to prop up your smartphone while you prep. When it comes to wooden boards, there is obviously a lot more room for creative design: some boards have a checkerboard pattern, while others have a striped pattern. The type of wood will impact the color of the board.
With such a wide range of price points, it may be hard to decide whether you want to go the cheaper route or splurge on a cutting board. Like most purchases, it really boils down to what you’re looking to get out of your cutting board. If you are looking for an aesthetically pleasing board that you can use every day in your spacious home kitchen, then it may be worth the investment to opt for a higher-end large wooden board. If the cutting board is for a more temporary situation (e.g., vacation home, dorm room, camping) where you simply need something to put on your counter for basic chopping needs, it may make more sense to save a few bucks and opt for a cheaper plastic board. It should be more than sufficient, especially if design and aesthetics are not a top priority.
Types of Cutting Boards
Most wood boards are made from hardwoods—such as cherry, mahogany, maple, oak, and teak. Hardwoods make for better cutting boards because those trees tend to grow more slowly than softwoods, making them denser. Teak and bamboo are known for being aesthetically pleasing yet extremely hard, and therefore, tough on a knife’s blade. Wood boards also offer eye-catching designs and features (such as checkerboard, stripes, handles, and grips) that boards made of other materials do not.
The way that trees are sliced into planks and then pieced together to form a cutting board varies, meaning that different grains of the wood end up being the surface of the board. There are three types of grains: face grain, end grain, and edge grain (this diagram is a helpful way to visualize the different cuts).
Face grain is the broad cut side of a vertical plank of wood from a tree, and edge grain is the narrow, vertical cut side of those planks. Face grain and edge grain boards both offer long, clean strips of vertical wood with fewer seams than end grain boards, making them less likely to crack or warp. The advantage of an end grain board, however, is that because the ends of the board are pieced together, the board is much easier on your knife blade because it’s hitting the natural vertical wood fibers. Cut marks are not as visible on an end grain board, making this grain highly desirable (and oftentimes more expensive than other wood boards).
The drawbacks of wood are that it does require a bit more care (hello, hand washing) than plastic or flexible boards do. Furthermore, some wooden boards can be extremely heavy or bulky, making them a bit more difficult to store and clean. If the board acquires any cuts or scratches, these can be sanded, or sometimes, they can even heal on their own.
While they may not have the elegant, sleek look that wood boards do, there are plenty of reasons to consider a plastic cutting board. First of all, they’re typically cheaper. They’re also thinner and lighter, making them a much more ideal option when it comes to handling, cleaning, and storing. As far as maintenance, you don’t have to worry about sanding or oiling them, and after you use them, you can wash them in the dishwasher.
The downsides of plastic are: that the surface is a bit tougher on your knife’s blade, and scratches, stains, and grooves tend to develop as you use the board. This means you’ll likely need to replace it after a couple of years (depending on how frequently you use the board). The most common types of plastic that are used for boards are polyethylene and polypropylene. The main difference between the plastics being that polyethylene is softer and offers more flex, whereas polypropylene is harder and more likely to shatter.
Not only are these boards the least expensive variety, but they can also serve a very practical purpose. They occupy very little storage space, are extremely light and compact, and, they are dishwasher-safe. They are commonly sold in sets, so this is a great way to assign one board to raw meats and one board to everything else. Like plastic, this material is prone to scratches, so don’t plan to hold on to this board for too long as you’ll likely have to replace it within a few years—potentially months, depending on how frequently and aggressively it’s used. It may not be the most stunning piece to look at in your kitchen, but it’s a useful board if design isn’t a priority.
We would highly recommend you stay far away from cutting boards made of glass or ceramic. Not only are they prone to breaking and shattering, but they’re also brutal on your knife’s blade.
Oxo offers a wide variety of durable, plastic, double-sided cutting boards with grips and grooved edges for cooks of all levels. Available at a very reasonable price point, these boards are very popular in home kitchens, restaurants, and culinary schools. The brand also offers sets of plastic boards if you’re looking to outfit more than one kitchen.
A staple brand in the world of high-quality wooden boards, J.K. Adams offers boards that are ideal for everything from cutting to carving to serving. Its end grain cutting boards are popular, as well as its edge grain carving boards. Its cutting boards are priced in the mid-range; however, J.K. Adams also offers cheaper serving boards if you want to keep your cutting board and your serving board separate.
This brand offers a wide variety of extremely low-priced, food-safe plastic cutting boards that are perfect if your kitchen is short on space. The boards come in a wide variety of fun colors, shapes, and styles.
When it comes to high-end butcher block cutting boards, Boos is a top competitor. These boards are notoriously thick (2 inches or more) and boast high-quality woods and gorgeous checkerboard (end grain) designs. At a higher price point, you’re getting functionality, design, aesthetics, and durability.
Diligent maintenance is required to get the most years out of your wooden cutting board. After each use, you should wash down your board with warm, soapy water. Regularly oiling your wooden board will prevent cracking and warping while keeping the surface strong, glossy, and protected. If your board starts to rack up any unwanted scratches, you can also take a little bit of sandpaper to it to smooth out the surface.
Plastic boards do not require as much TLC, especially because they’re dishwasher-friendly. If you start to notice knife marks and scoring, you can use a steel scouring pad to smooth out the board. If any discoloration starts to occur, you can make a simple bleach solution and wipe the board clean. Make sure to rinse the board extensively with hot water afterward. Plastic boards are naturally non-porous, so you don’t have to worry about any bacteria build-up, as long as you’re regularly washing it. While they require less maintenance, it’s important to note that at a certain point, the board will acquire scratches and stains that don’t come out, at which point it may be time to get a new board.
How do you clean a wooden cutting board?
Wooden cutting boards should be washed by hand to avoid warping or cracking from the excessive heat of a dishwasher. Regular dish soap, hot water, and a regular sponge or soft scrubby will do a great job cleaning your board. After rinsing thoroughly, allow your board to dry on its side so excess water can drain off.
If you’ve used your cutting board to handle raw chicken, fish, or any other meats that you’re concerned about, you can disinfect your board after washing with a bleach or sanitizer solution before letting it dry. To make a bleach solution, mix 1 tablespoon of bleach with a gallon of lukewarm water.
How do you clean other cutting boards?
Bamboo cutting boards should be washed the same way as hardwood cutting boards. Plastic and rubber boards that are labeled as dishwasher safe should be washed in the dishwasher for the thorough heat sanitizing the dishwasher provides.
How do you oil a cutting board?
Before oiling your wooden cutting board, you should thoroughly clean it and allow it to dry completely. That way oil can completely absorb into the wood without competing with water or food residue. When you’re ready to oil it, use natural mineral oil, beeswax, or an oil formulated specifically for cutting boards. Steer clear of olive oil, avocado oil, or any other oils that may turn rancid quickly.
Apply the oil to a heavy-duty paper towel, or a soft fuzz-free cloth, and begin rubbing it into the wood, going with the grain of the board. Continue to do so until the entire board has been covered (including the sides, and even the bottom if necessary). Apply additional coats of oil if your board is especially dry or continues to absorb oil quickly. Leave the cutting board to soak up the oil overnight before using it again.
How should you store a cutting board?
The way you store your cutting board is an essential part of keeping it clean. While it might seem like you should stack your cutting board flat, it’s going to dry faster and more thoroughly if you store it on its side. That way, the largest surface areas of the board can easily air dry, and you run less of a risk of debris falling onto the board’s surface while it’s not in use—keeping your board in good shape to use for years to come. Make sure that you store any wooden board in a dry area because moisture can promote cracking.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Madeleine Burry has compiled several kitchen-focused roundups for us, including the top dry food containers, nonstick cookware sets, and dinnerware sets.
Sara Tane, who wrote the "What to Look for in a Cutting Board" portion of this piece, is a private chef and food writer that has contributed to The Spruce Eats since October 2020.
The FAQ portion of this piece was written by Jenny Kellerhals, a food writer and professional pastry chef based in Queens, NYC.
Additional reporting for this roundup was tag-teamed by experienced home chefs Donna Currie, who tested six cutting boards on this list, Bernadette Machard de Gramont, who tested two, and Sharon Lehman, RDN, who tested one.