What sharp teeth it has.
We use rasp-style graters to zest citrus fruits and to grate hard cheeses, ginger, shallots, garlic, nutmeg, and more. One manufacturer has ruled the fine-grating roost for years—heck, it invented the game. Grace Manufacturing, the parent company of Microplane, pioneered and patented a special photographic chemical etching process that creates razor-sharp grating teeth. But their patent on this process expired in 2011, freeing other manufacturers to create their own versions of this handy tool. Could any of them beat our previous favorite? Yes, but there’s a twist.
Microplane Premium Classic Zester/Grater
Reviewed in Cook’s Country September 2017
This Microplane grabbed the top spot thanks to its great performance and its soft, grippy rubber handle that was slightly more comfortable and secure than that of our old winner. Otherwise, their grating surfaces are identical, so they both zested lemons and grated cheese, nutmeg, garlic, and ginger with ease. The Premium Classic came sharp, stayed sharp, and looked as good as new after testing. We do wish it had a wider surface so it didn’t form a trench in our cheese while grating, but it’s still the best option out there.
Size: 3.25 sq mm Cutting Edge Dimensions: 7.25 x 1 in Model Number: 46220
First things first: Is your current grater up to snuff?
FINE TO KEEP
Zest is fluffy and dry.
TIME TO REPLACE
Zest forms wet, oily paste.
Though they're impressively sharp when new, the teeth of even our favorite rasp-style grater can dull over time. To determine whether it's time to replace your tool, grab a lemon (try to find a really bumpy-skinned one) and run your grater over it. If the resulting zest is fluffy and dry, your grater is fine. But if the zest forms a wet, oily paste, it's time for a new grater.
How We Tested Rasp-Style Graters
We tested eight rasp-style graters, priced from $9.99 to $28.00, with testers of varying hand sizes and skill levels. The ideal tool would make delicate shreds from a range of foods and would grate said foods evenly. To begin, we painstakingly counted the number of teeth on each grater and found that it didn’t really matter whether a grater had 255 teeth or 333, but the pattern they were arranged in did matter. Here’s our rasp-style grater testing protocol:
- 1. Grate 1 ounce of Parmesan cheese (timed)
- 2. Zest one lemon (timed)
- 3. Grate a knob of ginger (timed)
- 4. Grate a garlic clove (timed)
- 5. Grate a nutmeg seed (timed)
- 6. Ask three testers to try each model and evaluate their experiences
- 7. Wash each model in the dishwasher 10 times
- 8. Pull each model in and out of a full utensil holder 100 times
- 9. Grate 1 ounce of Parmesan cheese (timed) again to gauge how use affected performance
Grating: We examined the grated Parmesan, garlic, ginger, and nutmeg, as well as the lemon zest. Models that made fine, even, intact shreds of cheese and evenly grated other foods rated highest.
Comfort: We rated each model on how comfortable and secure it felt in our hands. Models with rounded, tacky handles rated highest.
Speed: We timed each test and graded the models on their speed; faster, more efficient models rated higher.
Ease of Use: We evaluated the user experience for each model. Those that required more finicky adjustments while grating scored lower, while those that were intuitive, with just the right amount of bite in the grating teeth, scored higher.
Durability: We rated the models on how their grating surfaces, handles, and frames stood up during testing. Models that remained sharp and looked new at the end of testing rated highest. At the end of testing, we repeated our initial timed Parmesan-grating test to evaluate how the graters’ blades held up over time.