It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when. Grating cheese is a normal kitchen activity and the more relevant question is what kind of grater you’re going to use.
Every person who spends a good amount of time in the kitchen knows that he or she will be grating cheese sooner rather than later. Now for grating some serious cheese, the go to equipment is the box cheese grater because it’s the only reliable thing.
Simple as it is, you can count on the box grater to do the job, but often times, the one we have in our kitchen are either outdated or rusty. It’s high time to replace it folks!
Top Reasons to Upgrade Your Cheese Grater
As already mentioned above, if you have been using your grater for some time, it’s probably time to replace it. Whether you like it or not, the teeth of the grater will dull in time just like your kitchen knife. The difference is, while you can sharpen your knife, you can’t do the same thing with the grater.
You might be able to ignore a dull grater for a while, but the longer you wait to replace it, the more difficult it is to use. A sharper grater is just nicer to use because it makes grating noticeably faster and easier. This is particularly true if your grater plays a double role of grating potatoes and carrots. With these root crops, you definitely need a sharp one.
Now, you might find it hard to separate with your favorite grater, but when it’s not functioning well, you just have to let it go. If you have been looking for a replacement, I believe you will love this article because I’ve reviewed here some of the best box cheese graters in the market and I’ve included a few of the things that you should look for when buying one.
Four General Styles of Cheese Graters
Cheese graters come in four general styles. Although I will focus this review with box graters, I will mention the three other styles here just to give you a bird’s eye view of what’s available in the market today. The three other styles have their own advantages over the box grater but I will focus on the latter because it is common in most kitchens.
The most ubiquitous of cheese graters, it’s essentially just a piece of steel that’s shaped like a box hence, the name. It has multiple grating surfaces—medium and large holes, there is the bump if you just want to make powdery cheese and there is the slicer if you want to make slices.
It is shaped similar to a hand held piling tool, it has a narrow and elongated grating surface and it is ideal for smaller task. Grating and zesting hard cheese are well within its alley because its design allows you to employ more strength when doing the job.
The flat grater is basically the single side of the box grater with a handle. Although some have multiple grating surfaces, the most common have single grating surface. You need to hold this horizontally or vertically in order to operate.
Not a very popular cheese grater probably due to its limited use, it basically just places the cheese inside a drum-like container and a rotating mechanism does the grating.
As far as I’m concerned, this is an overly complex machine for a simple job as grating cheese.
Things to Look for in a Cheese Grater
Spending countless hours using cheese graters in my own kitchen, I can say that there are some qualities that you need to find when deciding to buy one. With these qualities, you will find that your grater will be of better use and your experience a fun one.
Ease of use
You don’t want a tool that breaks down on after a few uses, do you? A durable grater will serve you for the long haul and you’ll get the best value for your money. Can it stand long use and abuse? Does it have removable parts that easily break?
Is it dishwasher friendly, or do you have to wash it manually? I’m not a fan of tools that I will have to replace often. I don’t mind spending extra money for something that would last longer.
How is a cheese grater difficult to use? You might ask. But even with a simple tool like a grater, there are ones that are dull to use. How sharp are the grating surface? Does it grate the cheese the way you want it to be, or does it ruin it at all? Do you need to exert a lot of strength just grating cheese?
Cheese graters are really not just cheese graters in an official sense of the word—they are just graters and for that, they grate anything from potatoes to carrots and of course, cheese. Does the grater play the double role well, or does it capitulate when used for something harder?
How I made My Pick
Aside from the criteria above, I also considered how the grating surfaces are made in a cheese grater. There are basically three ways the grating surfaces are made—stamping, etching or a combination of both.
Stamping is basically done by mechanically punching holes in a steel sheet and the side where the holes protrude is what’s used as the grating surface. This process produces a more rigid surface ideal for thick uniform shreds. I would choose this kind of grater if I plan to use it not only for cheese but also for vegetables.
Etching, on the other hand, is produced through a chemical process of corroding and thinning the holes of the grater thereby making it sharper. It can carry out razor sharp precision shreds due to its extreme sharpness and this is what I would get if I’m looking for thin and uniform shreds.
There is just one caveat to etched grater surface, and probably the reason why it hasn’t really replaced the stamped ones, it tends to snag when used for vegetable. Why its surface is really sharp, it’s also very thing and tends to bend when used for harder things like potatoes and carrots.
Last update on 2017-10-17 PST - Details
My Top 7 Cheese Graters
Box cheese graters have been around for some time and maybe this is the thing that you grew up with. I can’t even remember how long I’ve been using this tool in my kitchen but the thing hasn’t changed a bit since I first got my hands on it.
That being the case, it’s a bit difficult for me to write a review about this tool without giving it a really closer look. This review, therefore, is the result of my close observation and experience with these box cheese graters from different brands.
Cuisipro Surface Glide Technology 4-Sided Boxed Grater
If you have grated your shares of not only cheese but also vegetables, you would know that it’s really a taxing experience. The resistance from the food is just too much and when you have to repeatedly do it, you can just imagine the amount of stress that you’ll experience.
With Cuisipro Surface Glide Technology, this resistance is eliminated through the use of repeated groove pattern that you can find spread all over the grating surface.
This technology offers two advantages. First, as already mentioned, it reduces resistance making grating easy and effortless. Second, the groove lengthens the individual blade giving you a larger cutting surface which maximizes your grating for every stroke.
This technology just makes this grater easy to use and it can even play a double role like grating ginger without taking the unwanted fiber with it. I’ve tried grating citrus fruit with it and it just rocks!
Lastly, it comes with a 25-year warranty which tells me that unless I smash it with a hammer, the manufacturer is confident that I can’t break it even after 25 years.
- Really sharp grating surfaces
- Surface Glide Technology really works
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
- There are too many smaller holes and just one big
- There should have been a medium size hole
OXO Good Grips Box Grater
When it comes to making the mundane interesting, OXO is unbeatable. This box grater from OXO seems like the standard box grater that you can find in the market, but wait a minute, it’s not. It actually has a slicer where you can slice cucumber and cheese.
It also comes with a wide and medium surface which makes it ideal for cheese and vegetables. If you’re going grate nutmeg or ginger, it also comes with a small grating surface which is ideal for the job.
This box grater, unlike other graters that are difficult to store, is actually compact and eats up too little space. It comes with a little storage container with a non-slip base which you can use to store what you’re grating.
It attaches to the bottom of the grater to catch the food and when not in use, you can just tuck it in the grater saving space. The container also has measurement markings making it easy to measure the ingredients you’re grating.
It has a non-slip handle which prevents your hands from slipping even when its wet. This means that your hands are safe even when you forget to dry it out. The grater also comes with a non-slip bottom making it steady on the plate or the chopping board. This grater is dishwasher safe, making it so easy to clean.
- Innovative and really useful
- Really sharp stainless steel blades
- The slicer is really handy
- Non-slip features make it safe to use
- The container is small for real use
Spring Chef Stainless Steel Box Grater with 4 Sides, XL
If you’re looking at huge preparation, this box grater is for you. This extra large grater can accommodate large blocks of cheese and huge vegetables without even a hiccup. With its greater holding capacity, you can grate huge quantities of cheese and other food without the need to empty it often. This translates to saving time for big preparations.
Its contoured shape makes grating food easy and you can just see that this grater is not as much designed for home use but rather, for professional usage.
The four-sided design offers greater flexibility. It allows you to do medium grating, coarse grating, fine grating/zester and even a slice a zucchini of cucumber. The comfortable handle provides greater control of the tool.
The sharp stainless steel surface ensures that you get your job done quickly with cleanly sliced and grated food. Looking at the sharpness of the grating surface, you can easily see that this thing is designed for heavy duty encounters.
- The mere size is really a plus for huge preparations
- The grating surface is razor-sharp
- Sturdy and really strong grater
- Too big for regular use and smaller kitchen space
Cuisinart CTG-00-BG Boxed Grater
If you just want a tool that’s decent with few bells and whistles, this is the grater that you’re looking for. The Cuisinart CTG-00BG is a good product that gets the job done without any special features that sets it apart from the rest of the graters reviewed here.
It has a few more features like non-slip handles and bottoms and it makes it a little more above the Norpro grate grater reviewed below.
It follows the classic design with four sides, with one that you can use for slicing. It’s also dishwasher safe, you will have an easy time cleaning it. Its black plastic handle is quite durable although I believe it will eventually break in the long haul.
Its surfaces are really sharp and I had no problem reducing blocks of cheese and different vegetables like beets, carrots and potatoes.
It’s middle of the road price compared to other graters and it’s worth buying if you’re not really looking for a lot of features.
- Minimalist but gets the job done
- Versatile grater capable of doing cheese and vegetables
- Not so expensive compared to the rest of the graters
- Doesn’t offer much features
- You just get what you pay for
Cuisipro 6-Sided Box Grater with Bonus Ginger Grater
If you liked the Cuisipro 4-sided graters, then you will likely fall in love with its 6-sided models. It added two sides to the standard 4 which included a chocolate grater if you like to make desserts and a ginger grater for ginger and nutmeg.
It features a non-slip handle and base making it safe and stable to use. The bonus ginger grater shreds ginger while leaving the unwanted fiber behind.
It has the same Surface Glide Technology which made the 4-sided one so effective and less stressful to use. It’s bigger and a bit designed for larger preparations. It is also bulkier than the 4-sided which makes it not ideal for smaller kitchen space.
It’s not dishwasher safe and the manufacturer recommends that you hand wash the thing. If you will be grating a lot of cheese and vegetables, this is the tool to use. With this tool, you wouldn’t be needing a mandoline for shaving vegetables and citrus fruits.
Just a little caveat, this grater is a bit more expensive than that 4-sided model and if you have it already, there is really no reason to get this one.
- Features the same Surface Glide Technology
- Extra grating surface for chocolate and ginger
- Really sharp grating surface
- Quality product
- A bit expensive than the 4-sided version
Isabella Dora Cheese Grater
If you intend to use your grater not only for cheese but for other harder vegetables as well, the Isabella Dora cheese grater is the thing for the job. The first thing that you will notice with this grater is the silicone handle that not only prevents slipping but really comfortable to use.
By the way it looks, you will immediately notice that it is designed with harder vegetable in mind. It is really a good testimony for its durability because it has to be sturdy in order to deal with harder ingredients.
It has multiple grating sizes which are distributed on six surfaces. You will immediately notice that this is one of those box graters with extra surfaces capable of slicing, zesting and fine or coarse grating.
- Really durable
- Six grating surface allows for greater versatility
- Eliminates the need of other graters
- Some models ship with plastic handles instead of silicone
Norpro 339 Stainless Steel Grater
This box grater is designed for those who just wanted to have something that just works. It follows the minimalist, no frills philosophy of designing tools, the Norpro 339 stainless steel grater is similar to your classic grater. It has you typical four sides, a handle and four grating surfaces of different sizes.
Since it’s stainless steel, it’s recommended by the manufacturer that you wash your hands before using to prevent corrosion.
This grater is good is you just want something you can use without spending a lot of money. It is really affordable and does the job. While this grater is functional, it has fewer features compared to the other box grates reviewed here.
- Stainless steel body and really just does the job
- Affordable price
- Classic design with four grating surfaces
- The handle is just punched attached to the body
- No non-slip feature which is standard for modern grater
- A bit too simple considering the other offerings from other brands
For this review, I would say that the clear winner is the Cuisipro Surface Glide Technology 4-Sided Boxed Grater. The Surface Glide Technology is really a deal breaker for me. It reduces a lot of the stress involved in repeated grating. It’s compact enough, it’s so easy to store in the kitchen and the price is not really that steep.
If I don’t have the 4-sided one, I would pick the Cuisipro 6-Sided Box Grater with Bonus Ginger Grater. It sports the same technology with the extra couple of sides, but this also means I have to be shelling a few extra dollars. I did not pick this up as the winner in this review because there’s nothing that this grater can do that I can’t accomplish with the 4-sided one at a lesser price.
If you just wanted to get the job done without really spending a lot of money of a grater, you can take the Cuisinart CTG-00-BG Boxed Grater or Norpro 339 Stainless Steel Grater. This two follows the minimalist design and presents a grater without all the bells and whistles of the other brands. But don’t the simplicity fool you, it gets the job done and if properly taken care of, it will serve you for the long haul.
Have you been grating cheese and vegetables lately? What is your favorite cheese grater? Would you like to share your thoughts in the comment section below?