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Potato mashers may seem like kitschy, one-use products, but they’re actually the secret to making soft, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes that aren’t sticky. Some can double as a meat tenderizer and pound chicken cutlets to make mouth-watering chicken breasts and can mix up egg salad, guacamole, hummus, baby food, pie fillings, refried beans and anything else you might reach for a fork for.
Do you need a masher? “Their large heads and long handles make them easier and faster to use than a fork,” says Nicole Papantoniou, Senior Testing Editor of the Good Housekeeping Kitchen Appliances Lab. “They also help prevent overworking your potatoes, like a food processor or mixer would, which causes potatoes to get gummy.”
In the Good Housekeeping Institute, our experts test hundreds of kitchen products a year, from chef’s knives to meat thermometers and hundreds of other kitchen gadgets. We leaned on our expertise and hundreds of hours of categorical testing to round up the best potato mashers you can buy. Though we haven’t formally tested potato mashers in the Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab, our experts weighed in on what makes a great masher, considering things from each masher’s construction to its ease of cleaning and special features to make mashing any number of foods easier.
What’s the difference between a potato masher and a ricer?
- Potato mashers are handheld tools that are used to press and mash potatoes manually. The heads vary: Pick from perforated or tined designs for a finer and smoother consistency, or single-wire, which makes a more coarse, rustic mash.
- Ricers use a plunger to push the cooked potato through holes in a perforated basket (think giant garlic press). They produce a fluffy mash, which means airier mashed potatoes – just don’t overmix and you’ll get a very smooth, even consistency.
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Best Overall Potato Masher
Stainless Steel Potato Masher
This potato masher’s perforated head has smaller holes in the center and larger ones around the edges, which the manufacturer claims makes mashing faster. It has a wide handle with soft grips so you can get a good, comfortable grasp and a scraper along the side that can clean the bowl as you go.
- Various sized holes makes mashing faster
- Built-in silicone scraper
- Large holes may leave some lumps
Best Value Potato Masher
Stainless Steel Masher
This is a good budget option, or a good starter masher, for a low price under $3. Unlike many cheap mashers, this one has a stainless steel body. It also has a substantial handle to make mashing easier, and it’s dishwasher safe. The head is a bit smaller than other models, so the job could take longer.
- Inexpensive, but has a stainless steel body
- Soft, heatproof handle
- Head is a bit small for larger batches
Best Single-Wire Potato Masher
Stainless Steel Good Grips Potato Masher
If your hands need ergonomic design, but you’d rather have a single-wire masher, OXO has another option with the cushy non-slip handle of Good Grips, but with a stainless-steel wire head that can get into corners more easily than a round perforated head. GHI testers liked how it prepped potatoes quickly and how easy it was to clean, but the same open spaces in the head that make it easy to clean mean it takes longer to get a smooth mash. Testers warned it could turn a lumpy, uneven result.
- Non-slip handle is easy on weak hands
- Easy to clean
Best Potato Ricer
FreshForce Potato Ricer Press
Most ricers require some elbow grease, but this one has a gear mechanism that gives the plunger a boost. Thanks to the leverage, you need less force to work it, which makes it good for the best ricer for cooks with arthritis or other hand issues. The basket is removable and dishwasher-safe, so it’s easier to clean. The design is sleek, but like many ricers, it’s a space hog in the kitchen drawer. Another downside is the price: It’s pricier than a masher or even some basic ricers.
- Easy on hands
- Removable basket makes it easy to clean
- Bulky for kitchen drawers
Best Potato Masher for Easy Storage
Stainless Steel Potato Masher
This tool solves the old problem of how to stash a bulky masher in your kitchen drawers because the head folds flat for easy storage. Our experts said that it made lumpless, fluffy mashed potatoes in no time and its rounded mashing head doubled as a bowl scraper.
- Lab expert favorite for ease of use
- Folds for neat storage
- Head doubles as a bowl scraper
- Opening and closing can take elbow grease
Best Potato Masher for Nonstick Pans
Good Grips Nylon Potato Masher
This potato masher with nylon head is ideal for nonstick pans; it’s sturdy, heat-resistant, and dishwasher-safe. Testers found it a little tricky to use and said it left lumps and made mash that wasn’t as fluffy as stainless steel models. Coming from the OXO Good Grips line, it has the same ergonomic features that make it comfortable for arthritic hands.
- Nylon head won’t scratch nonstick pans
- Sturdy, heat-resistant, and dishwasher-safe
- Tricky to use
- Mash is less fluffy and even
Best Electric Potato Masher
Potato Masher Accessory Hand Blender
This attachment for the Philips immersion blender will make mash in no time with little effort. The perforated head turns your stick blender into a motorized ricer. It makes mashed potatoes and performs all the other possible uses of a masher, but with no effort, so it is the best choice for cooks with limited mobility, and they don’t need to buy yet another kitchen appliance.
- Add-on to existing appliance
- Good for cooks with hand and arm issues
- Risk of overworking the mash
- More expensive than a manual masher
Best Potato Masher for Weak Hands
Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher
The ergonomic design of this potato masher reduces stress on hands, especially when making large batches. The wide horizontal handle and the broad mashing plate absorb and distribute pressure evenly and lets the user mash down, instead of pounding down with a vertical handle, so it eases the strain on weak hands. The oval shape lets the mashing plate get more easily into corners, but the six-inch handle can be a bit short when working with large bowls or reaching inside a deep pot.
- Ergonomic design eases strain on hands
- Large head means faster work
- Handle may be too short for big batches and deep pots
Best Potato Masher for Kids
Heavy Duty Potato Masher
This one-piece masher is similar to the OXO Smooth Masher, but it’s a one-piece stainless-steel design that looks good out of the kitchen drawer, too. It has a large perforated head and horizontal handle, but is slightly larger than the OXO. Its taller, extra-wide handle can be used with both hands to ease the pressure and also makes it easier for kids. The one-piece design makes it sturdy and easy to clean, but the steel handle can be slippery when wet.
- Handle is wide enough to use with two hands
- Stainless steel looks good on the kitchen counter
- Steel handle can get slippery
Most Stylish Potato Masher
Gourmet Stainless Steel Wire Masher
This masher has a large head that may not fit in your kitchen drawer, but no matter; the handle comes in colors like red, aqua and tangerine, to match KitchenAid’s small appliances. This is a popular seller on Amazon, where reviewers note the handle is not just nice to look at, but also comfortable and doesn’t slip off wet hands. The head is large, so it does the job fast; it’s also study and reviewers say it’s very easy to clean.
- Rubber handle isn’t just decorative, it’s comfortable
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
- Large head makes it hard to store
- Stainless steel wire can scratch cookware and bowls
What to consider when shopping for potato mashers
- Head configuration: The head is an important piece of the masher. Perforated and tined heads produce a smoother, more even result than single wire heads; larger perforations require less force than smaller ones, but give you a coarser result.
- Material: Most of the best mashers have stainless steel heads, which are durable and usually rust-resistant, but if you plan to use your masher on a non-stick pan, you may want to consider a softer material like nylon or silicone to avoid scratches.
- Size: A masher with a large head may make short work of your mash, but it could be more cumbersome to use for smaller batches and harder to store. Most mashers have rounded heads for a good reason — most pots and bowls are round! Wired ones can still get into corners, too, but for the easiest usage, we recommend a potato masher with a curved edge.
- Handle: Choose a potato masher with a long and sturdy handle to keep your hands out of the mash. We recommend opting for one made of one continuous piece to avoid breaking. Some come in colors to match your other appliances.
- Ease of cleaning: You don’t want to spend as long scrubbing your masher clean as you do using it, so consider: Is it dishwasher safe or can it be cleaned easily?
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