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On eBay there are cheap ceramic vegetable peelers like this:

vegetable peeler

Do they work well? Right now I have a simple, knife-like peeler with a hole in the middle which I hate and I'd like to change. Does this type work better?

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An assessment of worth is a personal value judgement. You might want to change your question to "are they effective". And the answer is yes. Would I personally buy them from ebay, maybe not. –  SAJ14SAJ May 22 '13 at 16:59
    
You can get them almost as cheap from Amazon and from a reputable brand and source... And the Kuhn Rikon ones work well. (Don't think they're ceramic, though). –  derobert May 22 '13 at 17:11
    
@derobert, modifying the Kuhn Rikon search for ceramic, I found incendiary reviews for their ceramic models. Appears different than the pic posted above, so I'm uncertain of the brand. The prices are consistent however. –  ashkan May 22 '13 at 19:42
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6 Answers

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Yes: I find they work very well on easy-peeling vegetables; for example on nice straight carrots or parsnips, I can trim a very thin peel easily and consistently.

No: But on more difficult vegetables, they aren't very good at dealing with tougher or rougher skin. For example on jerusalem artichokes or knobbly potatoes which need eyes removing, they fail miserably.

For a good all-round peeler, I use either a Lancashire (fixed-blade) or Jonas-style (in-line swivel-blade):

Lancashire peeler Swivel-blade peeler

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A guy from work got the peeler i asked about and wasnt impressed. He suggested the same as you. –  Gabriel A. Zorrilla May 26 '13 at 18:10
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The difference between that and what you already have is really just the position of the blade with respect to the handle. With that, you pull along the direction of the handle to peel, while with your current one, you push perpendicular to the handle. (Assuming I understood your description of your current peeler right, anyway.) Which of the two you prefer may be mostly personal preference, though I find that the angle you end up holding your hands at is nicer when you're pushing perpendicular.

You haven't said why you hate your current one, but I'm guessing it's because it's dull, and possibly uncomfortable to grip the handle in order to exert the force you need. (Note that it takes more force when it's dull.)

So your problem may well be solved simply by getting a new, sharper peeler, preferably one with a handle you find comfortable to hold. I'd suggest going to a physical store and actually holding them to get an idea of what you like.

Ceramic vs metal blades is a factor too, of course - ceramic holds the edge better. But I'd worry first about getting something comfortable to use. Better to have something comfortable to hold that has to be replaced a little more often than a nice sharp ceramic blade attached to a handle you hate.

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+1 for suggesting going to the store and trying them. (you might need to bring a few carrots and a potato, just to really try it out) –  Joe May 27 '13 at 1:24
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I find them horrible. The wobbly top doesn't allow to put any pressure and instead of cutting into the vegetable, it flips and scrapes it or slides. The theory that it will follow the shape of the surface is flawed - to get it to sink under the skin you have to push and the flimsy construction feels like it were to snap. Also, the angle is good only for biggest vegetables, you'd have a hard time trying to peel a smaller potato, and with softer vegetables the required pressure will squeeze them. If you try to peel a raw carrot, the blade will catch, flip and then scrape instead of cutting. If you peel a boiled one, it will drag the skin or just snap the carrot if you press harder, to cut.

vincebowdren suggests a better model, the blade is fixed to the handle, at an easy to use angle (the fact the blade is perpendicular like in a shaving razor, is a marketing trick to suggest it works as well as one; it doesn't, trust me.) You can control the angle and pressure better, and it only maintains cutting depth, plus the tip is great for picking out "eyes" out of potatoes and the like.

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How deep a peeler cuts into vegetable matter depends on how big the gap is between the two blades. If you're used to a narrow blade spacing, and switch to a wider one, you'll be horrified at the depth of the peel, Conversely, if you're peeling for stir-fry, a wide spacing, thick peelings, might be preferable.

So whether the pictured ceramic vegetable peeler will work well for you will depend on what its blade spacing is, and what blade spacing you're used to having.

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That type of vegetable peeler can be very effective. A lot is going to depend on the sharpness of the blade, so it will vary from brand to brand. The Kuhn Rikon peelers of that style (with steel blades) have a very good reputation. I have personally used them to do everything from peeling vegetables (carrots, potatoes, eggplant) to making Parmesan shavings, and it worked beautifully for all of the tasks.

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They do work well. As far as ceramic vs metal blades go, ceramic will last longer. But giving the general cheap price it does not really matter.

As an alternative I find these the best and easiest to use:

De-facto global standard cheap plastic potato peeler that actual works

They have the point on the end for removing holes/knobs etc.

And they shouldn't run you more than a few dollars.

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You haven't really tried to explain why they're "best" or "easiest to use". What makes them preferable to any other peeler? –  Aaronut May 25 '13 at 1:09
    
@Aaronut They just are :-) What do you use? –  TFD May 25 '13 at 1:50
    
@TFD: You know as well as I do that that's a very low-quality answer by this site's standards. It's not even really answering the question. What I use doesn't matter - in fact I've tried several types and don't really have a favourite; much like a razor, I think the weight matters more than the orientation. –  Aaronut May 25 '13 at 16:25
    
This doesn't really even answer the question. "Does X work well?" "I use Y!" –  Jefromi May 26 '13 at 0:12
    
@Aaronut updated. –  Petah May 26 '13 at 21:21
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