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The humble salad spinner may seem like an unnecessary kitchen tool, but we beg to differ. There are lots of reasons to keep this gadget in your cabinet. It's revolutionary when it comes to yielding crispy, fresh greens, as the centrifugal force created by spinning draws the liquid from spinach, arugula, and more, warding off lingering moisture that might make your salad soggy or even moldy. It also provides optimal cleaning without much hands-on time. Sure, hand washing your greens will do the trick just fine, but a salad spinner will pull out dirt particles hidden in ribs and crevices.
The convenience of cleaning and prepping large quantities of greens, vegetables, and fruits cannot be understated. Many models even double as serving bowls and colanders. That collard green gratin just got a whole lot easier, and all the veggies in your antipasto salad can be drained, cleaned, and washed in the same container.
Here are the best salad spinners.
Best Overall: Oxo Good Grips Salad Spinner
Easy to use
Grip on bottom discolors over time
Bulky to store
Oxo is a widely recognized and trusted brand for durable, intuitive, and efficient kitchen tools. This salad spinner is no exception. With this model you can easily prep, wash, and dry a large amount of lettuce, strawberries, bulky root vegetables, canned beans, and so much more. At 4.95-quart capacity, the basket is able to handle enough food for a family meal. It comes in green and white, and all the pieces are top-rack dishwasher safe.
Standout features include the patented plunger, which is incredibly easy to operate—even one-handed. It only takes a couple of plunges to get it going fast enough to spin out a head of leafy romaine, but it's delicate enough to not bruise fresh berries or herbs. When finished simply press the brake; it responds quickly. The flat, wide base has a rubber ring that holds it stable on the counter.
Cleaning and storage are equally simple. The lid pops apart for easy washing, and the slots in the basket are evenly spaced to avoid hidden bits of cilantro or endive. The plunger neatly locks into place, making a flat top that's easily stored and stacked upon. Like other Oxo products, it's made to last, even when you use it as a colander for hot foods or a bowl as a serving dish. The clear bowl is a great receptacle for brightly colored salads.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Westmark German Vegetable and Salad Spinner With Pouring Spout
Easy to clean
Pour spout to drain excess
Hand crank keeps it from storing flat
The big difference between this and our top pick is the operating mechanism. The Westmark is a German-made salad spinner that utilizes a hand crank instead of the pump action, which makes it more difficult to store. That said, it does have an ingenious pouring spout that makes getting rid of excess post-spin liquid a cinch with no mess running down the side of your bowl. The spout can even be gripped while greens are processing, adding to the stability of the unit.
With a 5-quart capacity and dishwasher-safe parts, the Westmark is a great option. Like other models, the work bowl can be utilized as a serving bowl when not in use.
Best Steel: Oxo Steel Salad Spinner
Doubles as a serving bowl
Must dry after use to avoid rusting
Can't see greens unless colander is removed
If you're looking for a salad spinner that's efficient, but also modern and attractive, the Oxo Steel model is a great choice. It has the elements expected from Oxo's trusted brand, plus a sleek design that looks as good on the table serving your freshly spun salad as it does on the counter as a tool. The 4.95-quart basket capacity is ample to clean and dry at least one head of lettuce or two for smaller types, like radicchio or red leaf.
The patented pump-action plunger makes one-handed operation easy, and the built-in brake mechanism skids your spinning to a halt quickly. When finished, the plunger neatly locks into position, making for easier storage. The bowl is made of food-safe stainless steel and the cover is acrylic, so you won’t be able to see your food spinning other than through the top. This model has a base coated in non-slip material that keeps the spinner stable during operation, but you're are not limited to spinning with this model. It easily doubles as a sturdy colander, even with hot pasta or steamed vegetables, and because of its gorgeous design, it begs to be used as a serving bowl on your table.
Best Compact: Oxo Good Grips Little Salad and Herb Spinner
Works just as efficiently as larger version
Small footprint for easy storage
Silicone grip on bottom discolors over time
Sometimes you only want a petite spinner that stores compactly, but has the oomph of larger models. The Oxo Good Grips Little Salad and Herb Spinner is perfect for small portions of lettuce, berries, and especially bunches of fresh herbs with its 2.5-quart basket. Its diminutive footprint makes storage simple, even for small kitchens.
Just like the larger model, this one has an easy pump-action spinner and patented brake to stop with ease. The clear bowl allows you to see when greens are dry, and the plunger locks flat in place for stackable storage. All parts can be washed on the top rack of the dishwasher.
Best for Small Spaces: Prepworks by Progressive Collapsible Salad Spinner
Collapses for storage
Small knob design slightly difficult to operate
Takes longer to dry greens
Road trips, camping, barbeques, and dorm life just got easier with the Progressive Collapsible Salad Spinner. If you need something that won't break, but can handle washing and drying your lettuces, this 3-quart model with its silicone construction and collapsible design is a wonderful option. It actually reduces to just 3 inches when fully collapsed—storage could not be more convenient.
It has a non-skid base that provides security while processing greens. The lid utilizes a large knob that operates the spinner both clockwise and counterclockwise directions, and it stops on the spot via the built-in brake. It's also safe to put in the dishwasher on the top rack, making for no-fuss cleanup. If you're pressed for time, simply take the basket out and use the bowl as a serving dish.
Best Large-Capacity: Farberware Professional Salad Spinner
Easy to operate
Meal prep for weekly lunches is made easy with the Farberware Professional Salad Spinner. With 5.5 quarts of capacity in the basket, and an almost 7-quart bowl, you can easily wash and dry multiple heads of lettuce. It can also be used as a colander for other kitchen tasks, like draining pasta or washing bulky vegetables.
Operation is easy with the pump-action plunger and stopper. This model also has a locking mechanism for the plunger, which makes for flat storage. If you host larger family meals, the Farberware Professional Pump will make salad, fruit, and vegetable prep stress-free.
The Oxo Good Grips Salad Spinner (view at Amazon) is our top choice because of its large capacity, patented brake, and easy-to-use patented plunger. If you're looking for something more compact to use at your next outdoor barbecue, go for the Progressive Collapsible Salad Spinner (view at Amazon). The sturdy silicone design is unbreakable and easy to store.
What to Look for in Salad Spinners
Type of Spin Action
- Knob-style spinners: This model features a small knob poised atop a gear disc. As you spin the knob, the inner basket begins to spin. It can be bulky for storing because the knob sticks out.
- Handle-style spinners: Easier on the hand than the knob variety, a handle-style salad spinner is also difficult to store because of the awkward shape. The extended handle is attached to the gears, and as you manually spin the handle, the basket spins.
- Pull-cord spinners: Think of your lawnmower—that's how a pull-cord spinner operates. You pull the cord to set the basket in motion. Though it takes light effort to operate, it's vulnerable to cord damage and is most likely to break.
- Pump spinners: This model can be operated one-handed and is often easy to use with just some pressure on the plunger. It's usually quite powerful, but requires little hand or arm strength to operate. Many also have plungers that lock into place to make for easier storage.
Appearance of the Bowl
Sometimes, you can find an outer bowl with a flow-through design with holes in the bottom to drain the water as you spin. The advantage is that the lettuce dries faster, but this has to be done over a sink to avoid messy spillage. Many types of salad spinners have an outer bowl that doesn't feature holes in the bottom, though. The upside is that you can do your spinning on the counter, but you must dump your bowl periodically to drain the water. There are some models, like the Westmark, that have pour spouts that allow for a more convenient draining experience.
As far as bowl material goes, for efficient spinning, you need to be able to see your product to know when it's dry. Clear bowls are best for this, but they're not as attractive if you want to also use it as a serving bowl. Stainless steel tends to be more expensive, but make attractive serving bowls.
There are two considerations here: How much storage space you have and the needs based on your family size. The largest basket has capacity for up to 6 quarts of greens, while the smallest can accommodate about 2.5 quarts. If you're feeding more than a couple people regularly, the larger model is the way to go, but if it's just you and one other person, the smaller model can get the job done.
With storage, the plunger models usually lock down and can be stacked, but they're still a little bulky and awkwardly shaped. Knob or handle models are not stackable and present even more storage challenges. If space is a consideration, the smaller models or even the collapsible types may be a better choice.
Keeping the spinner secure while operating is a concern. Look for a wide base to ensure stability and features like non-slip coating or feet that make them even more balanced and steady.
How do you use a salad spinner?
The answer to this will depend on the type of spinner you purchase, but as far as basics go, prepare your ingredients by chopping up vegetables, greens, fruits, or whatever you plan to wash and dry in the spinner. Place those ingredients in the basket (greens first and then other salad accouterments) and run cold water over the basket to thoroughly flush the dirt and debris. Place the basket in the work bowl and affix the lid. Start spinning via crank, plunge, pull-cord, or twist-knob, depending on your style of spinner. Stop once you see water in the bottom of the bowl with dirt or debris in it. Remove your ingredients and move to the next one.
How do you clean a salad spinner?
Many salad spinners are dishwasher safe, at least on the top rack, but you can also clean them by hand. To clean by hand, pour dish soap in the salad spinner, and then put warm water about halfway up. Replace the lid. Activate the spinner via plunger, cord, hand-crank, or knob, and make sure you get a good spin going to push all the bits of leftover food out of the holes. Stop the spinner and drain it. If your top comes apart, separate the lid pieces and place them in your drying rack. Clean the bowl and basket with a damp sponge to get any last bits of food debris, rinse the basket and bowl, and either dry by hand or place in the rack with lid pieces to dry.
If you choose to wash in the dishwasher (be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions to ensure this option is safe for your spinner), separate the lid pieces if they come apart. Place the basket, bowl, and lid pieces in the dishwasher (probably on the top rack). Run on a normal cycle. Once complete, make sure all parts are dry, or hand dry any still-wet parts. Reassemble and store.
Is a salad spinner necessary?
A salad spinner is not a necessity, but it does make meal prep a lot easier—and not just for greens. You can wash and dry a multitude of lettuces and other greens, like kale or collards, but you can also efficiently wash and dry fresh herbs, berries, and bulky vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes. You can even wash and dry your hand-wash-only laundry. It's an efficient way to complete the task, but you may want a separate spinner.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who has prepped a lot of salads over the years. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she knows the importance of thoroughly washing and drying your vegetables. She loves her Oxo Good Grips Salad Spinner for its durability and functionality. It helps that it can be used for rinsing beans, washing and drying herbs, and lots of other tasks, as well. Carrie's work has appeared in many publications, including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.