Potato mashers are often overlooked as kitchen utensils, but make no mistake…these tools are handy and important if you find yourself cooking with potatoes or other root vegetables often. When it comes to whipping up homemade mashed potatoes or applesauce, potato mashers simply can’t be topped. Potato mashers come in a couple of different styles and can be found made from a few different types of materials.
Stainless Steel potato mashers are our favorite to utilize here at kitchen season. The stainless steel properties of these products make them extremely durable and effective when mashing up food. Stainless steel is also heat resistant and generally dishwasher safe, making them our favorite models in part because of the extreme ease of cleaning.
Plastic Potato mashers are generally the most comfortable to use, but tend to be more prone to bending or ruin. The plastic is less durable than metal, and can sometimes get warped when run through a dishwasher. These models generally fall on the cheaper end of the spectrum, but you get what you pay for, and oftentimes they can tend to wear down over time.
These tools are often handheld, with a long handle that connects to a broad, often flat head (or the mashing part), that allows you to push down and use applied pressure to bust apart and “mash” up the fruit or vegetable of your choice. In order to get maximum production from a potato masher, make sure that the potatoes are boiled or heated up prior to getting to work. The heat helps to soften starchy food products, an important factor that makes the crushing/mashing process less labor intensive.
The head of a standard potato masher is often ridged or wired, allowing for the ability to crush up the desired food item beneath it for maximum effectiveness when mashing. Found commonly in a “wave” shape, these types of potato mashers are ideal for light duty work. They can handle a few potatoes with ease, but generally don’t perform as well with larger amounts of food. The ridges on the head help to split open the food being mashed, an underrated but effective method when prepping the food during the cooking process.
Potato mashers usually come with long handle that provides extra force for crushing, and the user is able to harness their own strength when pushing down on a potato or other fruit/veggie. The longer the handle, the more power and stability you’ll have when crushing potatoes and other foods. The rule of thumb is that the handles should be or exceed 4 inches long.
The head of a standard potato masher are usually made from a stainless steel or hardened plastic, and it’s important that they utilize tough yet flexible materials considering the force that is being utilize to crush up food. Simply place the potato or other food item on a hard surface, and force the potato masher down to crush the food up from a solid texture to a softer one, that’s easier to cook through, boil, or fry.
Using a potato masher is a manual process; it’s important to understand that the strength that you put in effects the quality of the mash that you’ll get out. The handles are often grooved or ridged to ensure that your hands don’t slip much during use. We love mashers with plastic handles. These tend to be the most comfortable to grip when prepping food, as metallic handles sometimes have a nasty habit of being uncomfortable or rough on the hands.
Potato mashers usually retail for between $15 and $30, although cheaper or more expensive models can be commonly found on the marketplace. Stainless steel models will generally be priced higher, while plastic models can be found on the cheaper end of the spectrum. In terms of performance, we prefer models with metallic heads, but enjoy using softer plastic for the handles as they limit any uncomfortable stress that can be experienced from repeated usage.
Types to Consider
Standard potato mashers are generally a bit awkward in terms of sizing. They’re long with broad heads, so storing them in your standard utensil drawer might not be the perfect fit. We recommend keeping a potato masher in a jar or container that houses spoons, basting brushes, or other utensils that are too long for drawers. These tools are generally extremely light, but strong enough to handle the repeated pressure applied when pressing down often with force. Standard potato mashers are most commonly found in 2 distinct models, wave shaped and perforated.
As the name implies, the head of these mashers are generally wave shaped, allowing the user control and the ability to rotate the tool to grip round foods and slippery objects. These potato mashers are light weight and best suited for light work; they may struggle with effectiveness when trying to mash a large quantity of products. We recommend making sure that the fruit/vegetable is properly heated up to provide less resistance and stress on the wave shaped masher. Additionally, these mashers tend to be more prone to bending and warping, as they have less surface area and don’t handle tension as well as other models.
These potato mashers generally have a wide, circular face with holes in the middle. They handle larger work loads well, and allow for for the user to exert more pressure when crushing. These potato mashers are generally sturdy and durable, and ideal for crushing larger quantities or harder vegetables and roots. These mashers can be slightly more difficult to clean due to the smaller and more numerous holes found on the head of the device.
Besides the standard potato mashers mentioned above, models now exists that help to enhance the quality of the mash. These potato mashers are generally handheld, but shaped like a nut cracker, with 2 handles feeding into a masher on the end. These ricers can handle heavy duty fruits and veggies, so you won’t have to use a cutting board or tabletop surface for balance and support. They allow you to take the food of your choice and place it directly in the potato masher, usually in an attached container, and use the force of your hands to crack apart the food.
The end product is generally mashed to perfection and separated into a compartment that can be removed and cleaned separately. They’re easy to use, but generally more expensive than the standard potato masher models. These models are also versatile; generally they come with other features such as potato ricers which allow you to change settings and filters to choose the grade of mashing available. If you’re looking for settings to help make fluffy mashed potatoes, these might be the way to go. While generally more expensive than standard mashers, their versatility and multi-purpose use makes them ideal for professional grade chefs and cooking enthusiasts.
Love hash browns or finely shredded, thin slices of potatoes? These devices are for you.
While it may seem silly to focus on the brand when considering which potato masher to get, that couldn’t be further from the truth. While most people might casually grab one in any kitchen store, or order whatever model pops up on Amazon, not all models and brands are created equal. These products have been a staple in the kitchen for generations, and certain companies have refined the potato masher to perfection. If you’re looking for a quality potato masher that is effective, durable, and comfortable, consider checking out some of our favorite brands.
OXO is a kitchen brand that we love, as they make fine kitchen products for affordable pricing. Founded in 1990, this brand has grown into an international powerhouse, but it’s their handheld products that we have fallen in love with. Oxo is known for creating handheld kitchen utensils with comfortable grips, an important distinction when choosing the right model of potato masher. They produce a wide range of models, but generally their potato mashers have a stainless steel head for mashing, with a comfortable and soft plastic handle to reduce the stress on your hands when crushing. Their products are consistently among the top that we’ve tested, and their mix of performance and affordability means that you simply can’t go wrong with an Oxo product.
Kukpo is a brand that can be found online at retailers like Amazon and Walmart, and specialize in producing high quality steel products. Their potato mashers are generally on the more expensive end compared to other brands, but perform exquisitely against other models. Kukpo is notorious for providing a comfortable, flexible grip and their models are amongst the easiest to clean that we have reviewed. We love their horizontal model of potato masher, a unique and highly effective model that is worth the price tag.
Zyliss is an international brand that has been perfecting kitchenware since 1951, and offer a bevy of high quality products that consistently perform at the highest level. The potato mashers that they offer are generally made from stainless steel with silicone coating for increased comfort and performance. Their products are generally cheap and can be found at most online retailers and brick and mortar stores. Their products generally come with an extended warranty, another added bonus when considering your next kitchen product purchase.
Priority Chef is a small, family owned company that is taking the kitchen world by storm. Found on most online retailers, they produce high quality and professional grade products that stand the test of time. While not expensive, their products aren’t the cheapest, but you get what you pay for and for our money, you simply can’t go wrong when you see purchase one of their products. We love Priority Chef for their Potato Ricers, which we’ve tested and found to be the best in the market.
Care and Maintenance
Potato Mashers are generally easy to clean and maintain. Most models are suitable to clean in the dishwasher, and it’s important to wash after each use since these products are designed to intimately mash and break up food. The holes in perforated models provide ample nooks for bacteria to cling to and breed if not cleaned properly, and it’s important to ensure that food is thoroughly washed away after use. Before tossing in the dishwasher we recommend a thorough rinse under the faucet.
If you don’t have a dishwasher at your disposal, make sure to use a sponge to scrub the potato masher completely. Dishwashing soap and warm water will do just fine. We like to soak our potato mashers after each use in soapy, warm water for around 10 minutes before removing and drying thoroughly with a fresh dish cloth.
Wave shaped potato mashers require a more delicate touch than other models. They are generally less sturdy than perforated models and ricers, and can bend under pressure, so make sure that when stored it’s not being crushed underneath heavier tools and appliances.