Salad-eaters need their raw leaves to be clean and dry before being assembled into a salad: Lettuce, rocket and other leaves may contain traces of soil or other contamination when brought from the greengrocer’s stall so will need washing but vinaigrette and other dressings will not stick to wet leaves. The solution is a salad spinner.
Salad spinners typically contain a colander, within a bowl with a cozy-fitting lid. The lid will have a knob on top and a mechanism for spinning the colander. In the past, spinners have been manufactured from metals such as aluminium but modern machines are nearly all plastic, which makes them cheap, easy-to-clean and durable.
To use a salad spinner, leaves are placed in the colander and the bowl is filled with water. The lid is placed on the bowl and the mechanism is operated to spin the colander within the bowl. The water is poured off along with any dirt and the colander is spun again; centrifugal force now pulls any remaining water from the colander into the bowl, leaving the leaves dry. The rinse-and-spin process can be repeated, if necessary.
A frequent complaint is that salad spinners take up too much room on the shelf and that this outweighs their usefulness. However, we think that spinners are a pretty nifty invention and that every home should have one.
Best Salad Spinners
Neat Ideas Spin and Store
The Neat Ideas spinner is a compact jug-based machine with a capacity of around 2 litres. Constructed entirely of plastic, it measures 15cm high at the spout, with a 17cm diameter. The colander is spun within the jug by rotating a disc in the lid. The jug is not suitable for storage since the lid incorporates an open spout, but the spout does enable water to be poured from the spinner without removing the lid. Its size makes it suitable for smaller households (although large salads will have to be divided into two or more loads) but it enjoys generally excellent reviews from users and is recommended for its combination of functionality and low price.
Savant Kitchen Jumbo Salad Spinner
Savant Kitchen offers a family-sized, 5 litre spinner that features a transparent bowl with a non-slip base and a large, easy-turn knob to activate the spinner. The lid fits securely and, to dispose of rinsing-water, it has an outlet-with-strainer positioned on its edge. The spinner can be dissembled for cleaning and is dishwasher safe on the top rack. Manufactured of BPA-free plastics, Savant Kitchen offers a lifetime warranty. External dimensions are 22cm high (including the knob) and a 24.5cm diameter; the basket is 13cm x 21cm (h x d). This Jumbo Salad Spinner is reviewed very favourably by users and is a deserved best seller for its capacity and bargain price.
KitchenCraft Large Salad Spinner
KitchenCraft have designed a good-looking, full-sized spinner with a white lid, a lime-green spinner mechanism and colander and a transparent bowl. All parts are manufactured from BPA-free plastics. The lid locks in place with two clips that grip on the rim of the bowl and the ‘turning disc’ has a large, easy-turning knob. The lid has a strainer/outlet for draining water but also features an aperture through which liquid dressings can be added to the salad. This is a durable spinner that combines bright design with practicality and a very competitive price.
Culina Space Saver Salad Spinner
Culina’s Space Saver Spinner is selected for its thoughtful design. A fold-up handle on the side of the lid is used to drive the mechanism and spin the colander; a stop button on the top of the lid can halt the action immediately. Reviewers comment on the high speed of spin. Capacity is limited at under 3 litres so larger families may need to wash salad in batches but this machine doesn’t need a shelf to itself: it measures 17cm tall with a base diameter of 21.3cm. This is a well-made, efficient little spinner offered at a reasonable price.
Twinzee Salad Spinner
The Twinzee spinner has a 5-litre capacity suitable for most families. The square, transparent bowl is designed with four anti-slip pads for stability during spinning and is covered with a snug-fitting lid. The lid incorporates a gridded spout (for disposing of water without removing the lid) and an unusual mechanism for activating the spin: A large handle is pulled out from the lid to rotate the colander; a ‘stop’ button is located on the lid next to the handle to brake the spin. Potential buyers who have difficulty grasping or turning a round knob may find this design easier to use. Constructed of BPA-free plastics and dishwasher-safe, the Twinzee Salad spinner is a nicely-designed, quality product that enjoys excellent reviews.
Oxo Good Grips Salad Spinner
Oxo have designed a ‘Good Grips’ spinner with a pump-mechanism, similar to a child’s spinning top, making it particualrly suitable for users with arthritic hands who cannot cope with a turning-knob. A white colander is contained inside a transparent bowl with a see-through cover; all parts are BPA-free and dishwasher safe on the top rack. The cover is fitted with a large, central pump-piston that is depressed to spin the colander, and a ‘stop’ button is located alongside the pump, which can be locked in the ‘down’ position for more convenient storage. This is a full-sized spinner but a smaller version is available, marketed as the brand’s Little Salad Spinner. While a little more expensive than our other picks, this is a well-designed, easy-to-use spinner that is well worth considering.