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The latest in salad spinners

Salad spinners are listed in order of preference. Some models may be available at retailers in addition to those listed. Internet prices do not include shipping.

Green machine

The large Zyliss Smart Touch spinner easily handles 10 cups of lettuce leaves. There's a lever-activated mechanism that you push up and down. For storage, this lever is held flat by the lock button.

What's the difference: This spinner comes in small (two to three servings) and large (four to six servings) sizes. It's available in white, but looks much cooler in bright lime green.

What we thought: Did a great job of quickly drying lots of lettuce. The big bowl makes a nice serving piece.

How much: About $30 at Sur La Table stores and $25 at

Keep it simple

The Cuisinart spinner is black and white plastic with a rubberized bottom to keep the bowl from slipping. You can fit up to eight cups of lettuce, but you get better results with half that amount at one time. There's a rubber oval knob you turn to get things whirling.

What's the difference: The lid has a place for one hand to hold the spinner while the other one grasps the knob. The colander is designed to do double duty as a strainer for hot pasta.

What we thought: This spinner is just right if your kitchen or salads are on the small side. It's easy to assemble, use and clean. Dries the greens, but the bowl is not nice enough to use for serving.

How much: About $15 at and at Bed, Bath & Beyond stores.

Heavy metal performer

This is Oxo's newest salad spinner. The large, stainless steel bowl holds about 12 cups of lettuce. There's a flat, circular knob that you press to spin the inner basket.

What's the difference: There's a brake button you push to stop the spinning instantly. The plastic lid comes apart for cleaning.

What we thought: It's hard to say what the advantage of a more costly stainless steel bowl is, unless you want it to match the rest of your kitchen. But this spinner performed well. So well, in fact, that 30 revolutionsis overkill. Half that many turns get the leaves thoroughly dry.

How much: About $50 at and Williams-Sonoma stores.

Divide and conquer

KitchenAid's new Salad and Fruit Spinner includes a large, clear plastic bowl, a white colander and a bright red lid and base. It dries more than 12 cups of greens at a time. The spinning mechanism is a plunger.

What's the difference: With eight parts, this spinner has more pieces than any of the others. There are three removable dividers, to separate different types of produce.

What we thought: The design is clever, and it effectively dried lettuce. But I couldn't remove the plunger, which made cleaning difficult, since this part is not supposed to be immersed in water.

How much: About $32 at Kohl's and Target stores.

Full circle

Farberware's Soft Grip Deluxe Salad Spinner has a knob that rotates a circle on the lid, which, in turn, spins the inner basket. It can handle about 10 cups of lettuce at once. It has the same red and white color scheme as the KitchenAid but is smaller. What's the difference: There's a removable red, rubbery ring on the bottom to keep the unit from sliding around. The bowl has a pour spout that is a good place to rest serving utensils.

What we thought: For a low-priced spinner, this model performed well. The bowl would be fine for a casual serving piece.

How much: About $13 at Wal-Mart stores.

Gettin' cranky

Copco's classic spinner holds about eight cups of lettuce and consists of three white pieces -- a bowl, colander and lid. To spin, turn the crank.

What's the difference: The handle and bowl can be hung for storage.

What we thought: The price is right, but the lettuce didn't get dry enough, even when the crank was put into overdrive.

How much: About $10 at Bed, Bath & Beyond stores.

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