OXO Products seem to be taking over the world (or at least kitchen departments) at the moment. So I thought it was time to have a little look at just why a brand developed in only the 1990s has been such a runaway success. It seemed a little surprising that a company could become quite so well known, with such simple kitchen tools like salad spinners and vegetable peelers that we already owned before!
Thus, because I have a deep love of all things kitchen related and shiny, here’s a little bit about the brand, followed by the pick of the crop of the best Oxo Good Grips products on offer:
OXO Products – The Company
Well, it turns out that Oxo do more than help cooks, they also produce cleaning, office, children and gardening products. Frankly all I really care about are their kitchen tools! But, finding out a little bit about the company has been rather interesting.
According to their marketing blurb it all started when the founder (Sam Farber) asked the blindingly obvious questions “Why do ordinary kitchen tools hurt your hands? Why can’t there be wonderfully comfortable tools that are easy to use?”. It seems his wife had mild arthritis that made using common kitchen utensils difficult and sometimes painful. An idea was borne; to create tools that were comfortable and easy to use for all.
This is not a product line devoted entirely to those with particular difficulties such as arthritis (though it does suit them very well), but rather a line developed to be easy for all ages, abilities, strength and sex to use. To that end the company continues to win awards for creating tools to be used by all.
The success of the brand goes to show that it isn’t just those with arthritic wrists that invest in Oxo kitchen utensils. We all find them comfortable to grip and easy to use. Managing to convince consumers to pay more for such basic tools such as peelers, bottle brushes and so on has been a genius idea for the company. A start up in 1990, with sales of over $273 by 2004 these are obviously gadgets being bought by the masses.
But, are OXO products worth the extra investment? Well, of course it really depends on just how tight your budget is, and just how more comfortable you want your utensils and gadgets to be. Personally I doubt many of us will buy the entire range, but there are a few key pieces that I believe at least really are worth the extra investment:
Best OXO Good Grips Products
Well of course, these are only going to be kitchen products. But still there are a huge range to choose from. So narrowing down the choice to 5 key pieces you might want to consider to introduce the Oxo range was pretty difficult. However, since I love a challenge, and enjoy rummaging through customer reviews here’s my pick of the best products in the OXO Good Grips range:
1. OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner
Love them, or loathe them (usually those that have to do the washing up are in the latter category!), nothing beats a simple salad spinner for getting your greens fresh and dry in no time at all. Conventional versions tend to rely on turning the whole thing by hand which can be particularly awkward for those with wrists or fingers that have even the mildest arthritis.
I am lucky enough to have fingers and hands in full working order, but my mother-in-law has difficulties when her osteo-arthritis flares up. So it was she that first introduced me to the Good Grips range when she bought an OXO Salad Spinner.
Because one handed operation is so simple, I believe the salad spinner to be one of Oxo’s best product. With hundreds of customer reviews giving on average 4.5 out of 5 stars on amazon I am pretty sure I’m not alone in thinking this is a great kitchen gadget. Do be warned though, just like every other salad spinner out there, this can be fiddly to wash up unless you have a dishwasher, and it is all plastic. That’s why its relatively inexpensive, light-weight and easy to use, but it also means it is unlikely to keep on spinning for decades. I particularly like the fact that the plunger pushes down for easier storage, but I do wish they would invent an easier to clean version!
2. OXO Good Grips Digital Scale with Pull-Out Display
I took a look at the OXO Digital Scale when Steve did his round up of the best electronic kitchen scales. There are plenty of great digital scales available. But sometimes, you end up not being able to view the display due the large size of the bowl being used to do the measuring.
This is most problematic on scales that allow you to weight larger items, such as these which cope with up to 5 lbs in weight. Ingeniously OXO decided to make the display flexible. By pulling out the display you can check your measurements no matter how big the bowl.
Just like much of what OXO do, the idea is idiotically simple, but very clever. I also like the fact that the numbers are large and very easy to read, and there is an indication of how much weight you have left to add. This is particularly useful (and very clever), if like me you have previously broken scales by adding too much weight because the bowl was heavier than you thought.
If you have never used something over-sized that has meant you cannot see the display on your kitchen scales you might think this is not the product for you. There are cheaper digital scales that are just as good in terms of measuring, (such as the EatSmart Precision Pro Scales featured previously). But if a pull out display is useful to you, you would like a large display, and a feature that stops you overloading the scale these are definitely worth a look. Overall customers are rating these kitchen scales with 4.5 out of 5 stars, for ease of use and build quality.
3. OXO Good Grips Mixing Bowls
Sometimes it is the simple things isn’t it? I thought a mixing bowl was simply a bowl for mixing. I also thought it rather annoying when my mixing bowls started spinning along with the ingredients, and to be honest I never even thought about the fact that I had to mix quickly to prevent warm things cooling, and cold things warming.
Then along comes a set of mixing bowls that doesn’t slip and keeps things the temperature you want them to be!
The OXO Good Grips mixing bowls are a white plastic on the inside, and stainless steel inside. This helps stop the transference of heat from your hands to the ingredients inside, and the rounded non-slip bottoms are an absolute dream. I quickly became a convert, though I do admit these are rather pricey for bowls in which to mix!
4. OXO Good Grips Cherry Pitter
Not for everyone of course, but if like me you love cherries (and have a few cherry trees) you might know just how messy pitting cherries is. the OXO Cherry pitter is all smooth sturdy plastic for a comfortable grip (as you would expect from the Good Grips range), but it is also the one way to pit cherries without getting quite so messy.
A small cup collects the splatter juice and stones for you. However, even OXO cannot be guaranteed to stop all splatter, so be sure not to wear white when pitting your soft fruit at home – you have been warned!
5. OXO Good Grips Mandolin
OXO produce a range of mandolins, but to be honest I have found that the only one you really need is the cheapest; the OXO handheld mandolin. It’s super comfy to hold, and feels safe (which is a definite bonus if like me, you’re a tad on the clumsy side).
I think many of the V-shaped mandolins are simply far too expensive, and fiddly with all their interchangeable parts. This however, is simple and very straightforward. Of course being a hand-held model it isn’t great for slicing everything (I would give onions a miss, for example). But, for pretty even slices of cucumbers, and ginger for example it is perfect.
You still need to be careful (even when doing the dishes) as this is very sharp, but that is what you want from any good slicer, so I can’t complain that OXO’s is sharp too!
Oxo Good Grips Kitchen Products
In the end, I could have included far more Oxo Good Grips products in my list (garlic crusher, hand-held mincer, vegetable peeler; the list goes on). But, I had to stop somewhere! In truth there were quite a few items I felt where a little over-priced and not really any better than generic (and cheap) alternatives. But the brand still has a lot to offer if you research well and check out all the reviews available from previous customers online.