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Categories: Woodworking Plans Dresser | Author: admin 27.12.2012

After spending more than 120 hours on research, interviewing chefs and materials experts, chopping 23 pounds of produce, and using and abusing 22 cutting boards, we found that the Prepworks Cutting Board offers the best balance of cutting feel, durability, and ease of cleaning. After testing 22 cutting boards and spending more than 120 hours on research, we’ve determined that the plastic Prepworks Cutting Board is the best for most people. After a year’s worth of long-term testing, we’re changing our top plastic and wood board picks. Setting this guide to wait status while we investigate some recent bad reviews of our wooden board pick.
Updated with our observations from using both the plastic and wooden picks for nearly a year. If you must get a smaller board due to space constraints, the same picks apply, just go for the smaller version.
This plastic board resists warping, staining, and strong odors better than other plastic boards, while featuring a juice groove, carrying handle, and a textured surface that makes it easier to use.
Now, we don’t regularly like to recommend kitchen products with such a short lifespan, but a sharp knife can do a lot of damage to a board’s surface over a couple of years. This board is expensive for plastic and isn’t quite as pleasant to cut on as the Prepworks, but it comes in larger sizes than our primary pick and looks a tad nicer. If you need a bigger board than our main pick—say, if you regularly break down whole chickens or make enormous stir-fries—the OXO Good Grips 15-inch by 21-inch Cutting Board is a solid pick. This beautiful teak board requires more careful cleaning than plastic boards, but it feels better under a knife and it’s easier to maintain than other wood boards. In the two years since this guide was originally published, I’ve spent at least 120 hours researching and testing cutting boards, using a variety of them in my own kitchen, and interviewing chefs and materials specialists.
You’ll find boards made from a range of materials, but according to our experts, plastic and wood are the best for most kitchens.
Plastic: Plastics are harder on knife edges and will show more gouge marks than wood, but are much easier to clean—which is why we think they’re best for most people.
Wood: Although attractive and easier on knives, wood boards require more maintenance than plastic—they must be washed carefully and oiled on a regular schedule. Composite and other materials: Composite boards are essentially many layers of Richlite baked and pressed together. Many experts strongly recommend having one board large enough to chop several ingredients at once: at least 15 inches along one side. A groove near the board’s edges not only collects juices from roasts, ripe tomatoes, and such, but also can stop stray bits before they tumble off the board. The plastic boards we put through chopping, slicing, beet-staining, garlic-rubbing, and sometimes dishwashing tests.
When asked what board they’d most want to cut on, the chefs I spoke with tended to pick wood or teak blocks. To find the best boards to test, we looked for recommendations from trusted editorial sources, like Cook’s Illustrated and the New York Times. For this update, we considered 30 wood, plastic, composite, and rubber boards that fit our criteria.
Over the course of four months, we used all of the boards, on a rotating basis, in one editor’s kitchen for everyday cooking. Garlic paste (before being evenly smeared), applied to each cutting board to test odor absorption.
In the end, we found that form, function, and feel were a better guide to picking out a good cutting board than a strict focus on knife edge retention. The Prepworks cutting board from Progressive International ($15-$17 in two sizes) has the best combination of kitchen performance and easy maintenance of any board we tested.
The dual cross-hatched surfaces of the Prepworks board makes it kinder to knives, and helps it hold onto food and towels underneath.
The rough texture was the closest match to the kinds of plastic boards used by the chefs we interviewed, and it’s much more forgiving to knife marks. Most plastic boards are entirely smooth, which lets food travel too much during cutting, and also tends to scar visibly. Because it’s made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE)1, the Prepworks is softer and slightly slower to dull knife blades than boards made of harder polypropylene (like our alternate plastic pick). After four months of kitchen rotation, the only discolorations on the Prepworks board have occurred deep inside knife marks, and they are barely visible except up close.
The juice groove on the Prepworks board collects more than enough liquid for most meal prep, and it doesn’t let liquids easily escape. The juice groove on the Prepworks is deeper than those on two other plastic boards we tested, holding 11 teaspoons of liquid (roughly the juice from two lemons). Some of the handles on our tested boards cramped our fingers, or were so big and close to the center that they captured food bits.
As noted earlier, the Prepworks board requires a rag, towel, or, in a pinch, a moistened paper towel underneath it to stay in place on a smooth counter like granite or composite. Unlike some other plastic, wood, and composite boards we tested, the Prepworks is not NSF certified, but it hardly matters. Finally, while the textured surface of the Prepworks board helped keep food in place and gripped rags and towels better, minced onions and cucumbers stuck to the surface, requiring a second, more thorough knife scrape-down to get them off. If you need a larger board than the Prepworks, the OXO Good Grips Cutting Board comes in a reversible 15- by 21-inch size ($25). Our OXO board also bent more than we would have liked through two years of use, despite never going into the dishwasher.
All of OXO’s products are covered by a satisfaction guarantee, which states that you can return any product for any reason if you are not satisfied after contacting the company’s customer service department.
In every test, the Proteak allowed for smooth motion with a very sharp knife, both parallel to and against the grain. Teak also fights off moisture more effectively than the most common wood cutting board materials, so it requires less oiling. Slight beet stains are visible in the grain of a Proteak edge-grain cutting board, but wore off roughly one week later.
Like well-established hardwood board makers, Proteak offers reams of information about the wood it uses: its planting, harvesting, carbon policies, and certifications from the Forest Stewardship Council. Each Proteak board is different, more so than with maple boards, and ages over time into richer colors. Proteak warranties its products for one year against “defects in workmanship and material,” but not “damage resulting from neglect or misuse of the product”—a very standard warranty for a wood cutting board.
The biggest flaw for any wood board is the need for maintenance and caution with liquids to avoid warping, cracking, and splitting. Teak withstands moisture better than most woods, but you must still keep liquids or even subtle moisture from sitting on the board for more than a few minutes.
For wood boards, Chad Ward’s An Edge in the Kitchen offers two cleaning techniques if you need more than a quick, soapy wipe-and-dry after chopping. For real peace of mind, and for boards too big to pick up and turn over, Ward recommends making a thick paste of kosher salt and water, rubbing it across the surface of your wood board, letting it sit overnight, and scraping it off in the morning (with a bench scraper, if you have one). Proteak offers a variety of cleaning techniques for its boards, including undiluted vinegar, a hydrogen peroxide solution, and bleach. To avoid the chance of cracking or warping, never, ever leave liquids on a wood board (and don’t even think about immersing it in a sink!).
There is no one schedule for oiling boards, much like there is no one schedule for watering plants—it depends on the environment in which you’re storing the board.
We loved how our knives felt under the Shun Hinoki cutting board ($60), made of very forgiving Japanese cypress.
Oneida’s Colours 16-inch cutting board ($15) has rubberized grips on two ends and comes in a nice size, but it doesn’t have a juice groove and we found its large handle holes allow juice to drip on the counter.


The Dexas 14- by 17-inch Pastry Super Board ($14) feels smooth under a sharp knife, and the surface has a roughed-up texture that keeps food from slipping.
The first version of this guide had a 15-inch Boos Chop-N-Slice board ($55) as its top recommendation. Brooklyn Butcher Block’s edge-grain board in Walnut ($80) was a wonderfully dark and rich-looking board, and its 12- by 18-inch size was about the same as our main plastic pick.
A few different experts and chefs told us they used colored cutting mats, either on top of wood boards or on other surfaces. We tried out a few composite boards, including three boards from Epicurean: a 15- by 11-inch Kitchen board in Nutmeg Brown ($25), an 8-by-6 Kitchen board in Natural ($12), and a 15- by 20-inch Gourmet Series board with a slate core ($75). We considered some rubber cutting boards, most notably Sani-tuff rubber mats, a favorite of cooks and knife enthusiasts.
The 15-by-20 Cutting Board Company plastic board ($18) doesn’t have handles, grooves, or any other stand-out features.
We found the Stanton Trading Company’s board ($25) softness can be off-putting while slicing and chopping, and after a week’s worth of meal prep, the board had cuts on it that felt too deep . This 12-by-18 end-grain cherry board by Brooklyn Butcher Block ($150) illustrated the trade-offs of end-grain boards over edge-grain too perfectly. The 18-by-12-inch Michigan Maple Block board we tested was nowhere near as finished as it appeared in its online image. Although some butcher block boards may look more pleasant, the plastic Prepworks doesn’t require any maintenance and won’t split from misuse. If that sells out, or if you need a bigger plastic board, the OXO Good Grips 15-inch by 21-inch Cutting Board makes a good alternative.
And although you could invest in a quality wood board that may last longer, the Prepworks is far better for working with raw meats and messy marinated stuff, since it’s easily disinfected in a dishwasher.
Its cutting surface is louder in use than the Prepworks’, and it is a bit tougher on knife blades. A great wood board will be heavier, look striking enough to leave out on your counter, and feel completely natural under your knife. I’ve scoured hundreds of customer reviews, knife and woodworking forum and blog posts, and microbiology and culinary journal articles and white papers. They can be run through the dishwasher, making them more versatile for prepping things like raw meat. But after long-term testing, and considering advice from more experts and Sweethome editors with wood boards, we’re convinced wood isn’t for everyone.
But when asked what they’d buy for a 22-year-old nephew or niece moving into their first apartment on their own, they each replied with some variation of “a plastic board they’ll probably treat terribly and replace in two years”—similar to the boards they received from restaurant supply stores.
We compiled the recommendations of commenters on our site, as well as those from Chowhound, ChefTalk, and Serious Eats forums. We discarded those that were too small, too big or thick for most kitchens, or difficult to reliably locate and buy.
We also traded a handful of contenders and quirky boards between other Sweethome editors and writers for testing. If you have a quality knife made of hard steel, the differences in how one plastic board affects your knife edge versus another is small, and offset by many other factors: acids, interactions with different foods, and other kitchen happenings. The textured plastic makes for easier slicing and keeps the board from slipping better than other models. The Prepworks board has a cross-hatched texture on both sides that keeps chopped bits of food from sliding and that also helps a knife’s edge glide more smoothly. Knife expert Chad Ward told us that while he lacks for definitive proof, he suspects that a “softer board will be easier on your edges than the harder board. That’s more than the similarly sized Premium Bamboo board’s 8 teaspoons, but far less than larger boards meant for roasts, like the Michigan Maple Block and Epicurean Gourmet Series boards we tested.
The handle on the Prepworks, by comparison, is big enough for four large fingers, and because it’s positioned outside the juice groove, food is less likely to roll into the handle’s opening.
At $15 to $17, it costs less than any wood or composite board we tried, and it’s cheaper than all but two plastic boards we tested. This is a habit you should get into regardless: Even with grips or feet, any plastic board should be stabilized. NSF certification is mainly intended for professional kitchens, and many boards from well-known manufacturers—OXO, IKEA, and Oneida, to name a few—lack NSF certification.
Your knife won’t gouge the plastic on most chops and slices, but when it does cut in, it locks your knife in place as if it’s cutting on a rail. Negative reviews address two main concerns: counter slipping, when the board is used with only its rubber feet and no towel underneath, and knife scarring.
It feels better under a knife than all but one board we tested, and it’s easier to maintain.
Compared with the dry-feeling Michigan Maple Block, the too-hard Premium Bamboo board, or the sometimes too-soft hinoki boards we tested, the teak was hard enough to allow for clean cuts, but soft enough to feel smooth while maintaining a relatively sharper knife edge.
In fact, Teak has been used in boatbuilding for more than 2,000 years because of its remarkable moisture-fighting properties. The company’s edge-grain cutting boards are harvested on Mexico’s pacific coast, then processed in Vietnam. After you’re done cutting, you should wipe the board down with warm, soapy water, but never immerse the board in a sink full of water.
We generally recommend cutting meats and messy things on your plastic board, but if you’re dedicated to using only one board in your kitchen, you’d do well to invest in a mat to cover this board for juicy foods.
Ward, however, recommends against using bleach, and so do we after seeing how it dried and discolored a Boos board after one night under a towel soaked in diluted bleach (per Cook’s recommendation). It smells like rich cedar and was the favorite board of sushi chef Legnon, and Sweethome editors were impressed. It feels good under a knife and has held up over two years of testing, and counter slipping is almost non-existent (given the board’s 18-pound heft). After seeing a downward trend in Amazon reviews for the board, and learning more about how the wood dries, splits, and cracks, we recommend a slightly thicker board made from more forgiving materials. We tried out three Enviroboard antimicrobial mats ($25 for three), color-coded for chicken, fish, and vegetable cutting.
We also tested a 15- by 10-inch board from The Adventuresome Kitchen ($30), a family business.
But because these mats are very heavy, sometimes only available through specialty vendors, and almost always come in hospital-beige colors, we didn’t think they were best for most home cooks and opted not to test. If Dexas made this board at a size larger than 11-by-14 inches, it would have made it into another round of testing, but this model could barely hold half a diced onion.
Its offset bricklayer-style pattern looks quite nice, it stays right in place, and slicing and dicing on this board felt good. After two thorough oilings with board cream, the board’s surface still felt like freshly sawn wood. We couldn’t put it through all the tests we put other boards through, but its artistic patchwork look drew just as many stares and praises from people who spotted it. Most plastic cutting boards are made of either high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polypropylene (PP), or occasionally a proprietary blend of polyethylene and polypropylene.
It stood up to sharp knives, dark stains, and strong odors better than other plastic boards. And if you want a more satisfying wood board, and don’t mind the maintenance involved, we love the Proteak Rectangular Cutting Board.
But the OXO board looks less industrial than the Prepworks board, is quite lightweight for its size, and holds even more liquid in its juice groove.
For most people, that board should be the 20- by 15-inch Proteak Rectangular Edge-Grain Cutting Board, a great but remarkably unfussy wood cutting board.


Since 2005 I’ve also cooked most of the meals for my household, which has given me ample opportunity to think about rectangular cutting surfaces. I also interviewed Chad Ward, author of An Edge in the Kitchen, about many aspects of choosing and maintaining cutting boards, and specifically about how knife edges interact with boards.
End grain boards are made of a number of board ends glued together, and they can be more gentle on knives, because the edge slides between the vertical wood fibers. You’ll also find granite and glass boards, but these are even worse for retaining a sharp blade. Since upgrading to a 15-by-20 board for the first version of this guide, I would never go back.
Plastic is a better surface for prepping raw meat, as it’s less likely to stain and can be washed in a dishwasher. Plastic boards tend to be more squirrelly, although some compensate for this by adding borders or feet made of rubbery materials. In the end, we called in 22 boards—nine plastic, eight wood, four composite, and one set of rubber mats—for testing. We noted whether the boards stained or retained odors after letting beet juice and garlic paste, respectively, sit on them for 15 minutes.
It was certainly considered—and one of our chef experts was particularly concerned with it—but if you regularly sharpen (and steel) your chef’s knife, none of the cutting boards we considered will cause you to lose your knife edge midway through dinner prep. The same goes for odors: The Prepworks was tied as the most odor-resistant plastic board we tested. Many of the large plastic boards we tested were too tall on one side for dishwashers and for divided sinks.
We did find that the Prepworks’s groove was less likely to spill over when transporting the board than any of the wood versions we tested. But it’s slightly expensive for a plastic board, and it’s not as pleasant to cut on as the Prepworks. Cook’s Illustrated and our own testing saw an OXO board scar under hundreds of knife marks, but so does any board.
The Proteak board has handles that, while oddly shallow and unfinished, do help with lifting the board. Chef Jennifer Boye, who collects cutting boards, was quickly drawn to its unique looks and pattern, and recommended it as her top wood pick. Spray your board down with the solution, then either turn it on its side to dry (perhaps in a dish drainer) or wipe it down after a bit of soaking. Every month is a smart middle ground for the Proteak, with some grace built into the more humid summer months. They are thicker than most other meat mats, and round instead of square, like the popular and functional CounterArt ($10 for four) and Prepworks ($13 for six) mats.
Its texture is similar to the Prepworks, if not quite as gripping, and its knife feel is better than most dismissed boards. After weeks of rotation and some intentionally abusive tests, this board looked almost untouched.
That’s likely why, months after our beet staining test, and after two attempts to scrub out the stains with lemons and a kosher salt paste, the Michigan Maple board still looked like evidence in a (vegetable) murder case. If you really want to create a home base for food prep in your house, and you can dedicate yourself to caring for it, you’d do well to order a board from Bengston or Brooklyn Butcher Block.
We also recommend an OXO Good Grips plastic board, our prior pick, for larger prep needs or better counter grip, and a wood Proteak edge-grain cutting board for those willing to trade some maintenance for looks and better knife treatment.
For millennia, boat and furniture makers have used teak for its moisture-fighting properties, and that’s exactly why this teak board excels beyond every other wood board we tried.
We cut a total of 15 pounds of onions and 8 pounds of carrots, noting the sound and feel of the boards, and whether they scarred. And while more testing is needed, the Prepworks has warped only very slightly after a dozen (regular cycle, not delicate) dishwasher runs—less than most other boards, which all warp slightly, and definitely not enough to impact the Prepworks’s stability. The board is also louder to cut on than our main pick, especially if you don’t have a particularly thick towel or rag underneath it.
Another note: Do not buy the strange bamboo version of this board, intentionally or accidentally. Proteak grows and processes its own sustainably harvested teak, and the company’s boards look striking and sophisticated. If counter stability without a towel was more important to you than reversibility, you could easily glue some rubber feet to this board. It’s not an unbearable experience, but it’s an incongruous bit of an otherwise solidly built board. It’s too large for many dishwashers, and we also found it warped after a dozen runs through the dishwasher.
When he tried them, Buffalo chef Michael Dimmer said they “feel like nails on a chalkboard … just too hard.” Chad Ward says he likes to use this kind of board when staying at a cabin or bringing food to a friend’s house. The board’s size, weight, and handles make it a good midpoint between leaving out and stashing in a drawer, but the wood looks and feels constantly “thirsty.” It requires a good deal of caution and upkeep for $55. We’re planning a full update to this guide, with details on maintenance, cutting mats, and expert opinions, within the next month.
When a sponge or dishcloth snags on the board, or your knife skips over deep cuts, it’s time for a new one.
Edge grain boards (like our Proteak pick) are the sides of boards glued together in alternating strips, with the sides (edges) facing up. To see how well the boards healed after heavy knife use, we cut crusty bread and soft, raw bacon with a serrated knife, and intentionally marked them with a square of deep cuts. It comes in the best size we’ve found and has a better juice groove and handle than nearly any other board we tested. The juice groove on the 15- by 21-inch board holds roughly 9 tablespoons of liquid, about twice as much as the Prepworks’s groove.
It’s still far more vulnerable to moisture damage and staining than plastic, and cleaning it after cutting meats takes far more effort, but for those with the counter space and the patience for every-other-month oilings, the Proteak is worth it.
In their own tests, Cook’s (subscription required) found the Proteak “retained its satiny, flat surface,” due in part to oily resins sealed in the board, even after three months of heavy use in its test kitchens (“the equivalent of years of use in the average home kitchen”). As it has been stained, smeared, cut upon, and slightly abused, the wood has not taken on a lighter, worn appearance at the center as with a Boos board we tested.
Using a dishcloth is ideal, because they dry out before they can cultivate bacteria and transfer it to your board. Even with regular oilings, it has developed a lightened circle near the center where the majority of cutting happens. For those willing to care for it, this $150 board could be worth the price, but we think Brooklyn’s long-grain (edge-grain) board looks and cuts about as nicely for about half the price. These boards tend to be harder on knife edges than end grain, but they also withstand moisture-based cracking and splitting better, and are easier to clean.
We also noted how much each board slipped across a granite countertop, with and without a towel placed underneath.
The board looks better after monthly oilings, but often appears dried out, especially in winter months. This is by no means a cheap board, but you are paying for time-tested and sustainable materials joined in expert fashion.
Mats are recommended if you make a good number of multi-meat feasts or lack the space to store multiple cutting boards.



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