How to buy the best spiralizer
By Siobhan Chan
How to buy the best spiralizer
How much to spend, what type of spiralizer you need, and features to look out for. Your path to perfect courgetti starts here.
If you want to cut down on carbohydrates, spiralizing vegetables to create pasta-free noodles such as courgetti can be a great place to start. A good spiralizer will help you create long, spaghetti-like noodles and ribbons with ease.
In this expert guide, we'll tell you how much you should spend to get the best spiralizer, what useful features to look for and which type will suit your noodle needs.
Want to see which spiralizers most impressed our experts? Head straight to our page on spiralizers compared to see our top picks for 2017.
How much should you spend on a spiralizer?
Most spiralizers fall somewhere between £20 and £30, but there are a lot of deals out there, so you can pay a lot less if you look around online. Ultra-simple handheld spiralizers can be picked up for as little as £5, which is the perfect price point if you're just starting out and are unsure if spiralizing is really for you. Electric spiralizers, which take the hard work out of turning veg into noodles, are more expensive, so expect to pay up to £50.
Typically, the more you spend, the more additional blades and attachments you'll get with your spiralizer. If you're keen to make noodles of varying thickness, using lots of different vegetables, it's a good idea to look for one with additional blade attachments and one that can take different sized vegetables.
If you think you'll be mainly using your spiralizer to create classic courgette spaghetti – affectionately known as courgetti – a simple version might suffice, but if you want to whip up some sweet potato rosti, or create thin vegetable ribbons for salads, then one with a wider choice of blades would be better.
Read our spiralizer first look reviews to get our expert verdict on whether cheaper models match up to the pricier ones, and to find out which spiralizers we recommend.
Which type of spiralizer should you go for?
There are four main types of spiralizer to choose from: handheld, horizontal, vertical and electric.
Handheld vegetable spiralizers, typical price £5 - £15
These tend to be the cheapest option, and work in a similar way to an old-fashioned pencil sharpener. Unlike horizontal and vertical models, handheld spiralizers have no handle to turn the vegetables so you have to do the hard work yourself, and manually twist your veg through the blades. You'll usually get the choice of thin or thick noodles.
These spiralizers are best for taller and thinner pencil-like vegetables such as carrots and courgettes, due to the shape. Larger veg will need to be cut to fit. They can be tiring to use and you'll need a good grip. You also usually end up with a stub of vegetable that can't be spiralized. However, they are worth considering if you only want to make small quantities of vegetable spaghetti every so often, plus they're quick to use and easy to store.
Horizontal vegetable spiralizers, typical price £15 - £35
These use a rotary handle with spikes or grippers on the end to hold vegetables in place horizontally. You turn the handle and gently push to churn your vegetables through the blades at the end. This type of spiralizer is a good choice to accommodate varied shapes of veg, from courgette to beetroot. Most, though not all, horizontal spiralizers come with blade storage shelves included and three or more blade options, from thin noodles to wide ribbons.
The main downside to this type of spiralizer is that you will usually be left with a chunk of unprocessed vegetable (about 1cm at the top) and a long core up to around 1cm thick. This means you'll either have to chop it up and add some chunks to your meal, or bin it. The grip can also be slightly less secure with these spiralizers than on vertical or handheld alternatives. They require a consistent firm pressure, otherwise you can end up with uneven results - small 'half-moons' instead of nice even noodles. Most come with suction feet to stop them sliding around, with varying degrees of success.
Vertical vegetable spiralizers, typical price £15 - £35
Vertical spiralizers feed in the veg from the top rather than the side. They tend to be far less prone to losing grip and letting the vegetables slip out thanks to the spikes that hold the veg in place. As most people will find it easier to apply pressure downwards, they also demand less exertion than some horizontal spiralizers, and slippage isn't as much of an issue.
Like horizontal models, they can generally accommodate different sizes and shapes of fruit and veg. However, as vegetables have to be sandwiched vertically between the handle and the blade, you're more likely to have to cut them shorter to fit, spiralizing in sections, which can add extra time and means less lengthy noodles.
Electric spiralizers, typical price £25 - £50
If you've ever spiralized more than a few courgettes at once, you'll know that it can be tough on the arm muscles. Enter electric spiralizers, which do the hard work for you. These look and work like a food processor, so you only need to lightly push veg down onto the motorised blades to make speedy spiralised vegetables. If you're a courgetti convert, or on a healthy eating plan like Slimming World or Weight Watchers and needing to swap pasta for vegetable noodles, then an electric model might be worth the investment.
Electric spiralizers are quicker to work than manual models, but they work best with thinner courgette-like veg. Larger or awkwardly shaped veg will need to be cut to fit. You also tend to get less choice of blades - usually just two.
We've tried out the most popular models, including electric versions from Morphy Richards and Tower. Find out which ones we think are worth buying in our electric spiralizer reviews.
What useful spiralizer features should you look for?
There are a few nifty features that can help to take the effort out of spiralizing, and also make a big difference to the quality of your spiralized vegetables.
Some of the most useful features include:
- blade storage – most horizontal spiralizers, and some vertical models have a compartment at the base for storing different blade options
- noodle container – some spiralizers have a container to catch the noodles – great for reducing mess
- dishwasher-safe parts – look for a spiralizer with dishwasher-safe parts to speed up cleaning
- interchangeable blades – for creating noodles of different widths, this can increase versatility
- suction feet – look out for these on horizontal spiralizers, which are prone to slipping forward as you spiralize
- cleaning brush - handy for getting between the teeth of the spiralizing blades safely
Courgetti - and other spiralizer recipes?
Spiralizers are probably best known for creating courgetti – a popular alternative to spaghetti using spiralized courgettes instead of pasta to make vegetable spaghetti. The uniform shape and soft nature of courgettes makes them one of the easier veg to spiralize, and reports are that sales have rocketed in Britain since spiralising became popular.
But spiralizing is not just about courgetti. If you're serious about vegetable noodles and splash out on a more versatile spiralizer, you can try other vegetables that make scrummy alternatives to courgetti, such as sweet potato, carrot, celeriac, beetroot and butternut squash.
Sweet potato and squash are sturdy and filling alternatives to pasta, that work well as thicker noodles and are popular choices for spiralizing, but pretty much anything firm enough to hold its shape as you spiralize will work.
There are plenty of tempting spiralizer recipes around on the web, but you can also use spiralized vegetable spaghetti in place of pasta in your favourite dishes. We recommend trying celeriac noodles with a bolognese sauce, spiralizing fennel for winter salads and slaws and, as a decadent treat, try roasting thin potato noodles for an addictive crunchy rosti-type side dish.You can even add interest to your salad by spiralizing your ingredients, such as cucumbers or onions, first. This can also be a great way to get kids into veg.