A great cutting board can help you become a meal prepping pro in no time. From dicing onions to carving meats, this essential kitchen tool can make the tasks much faster and easier.
In general, the best cutting board is versatile for a variety of recipes. However, as with a chef’s knife, every kitchen should have at least two cutting boards. One for preparing any type of raw meat, the other for chopping ready-to-eat foods (breads, fruits, and veggies).
Whether you cook daily or occasionally, having multiple boards allows you to get the right tool for a given job, which will then help you to avoid cross-contamination. This also comes in handy when you want to prepare multiple dishes at once. So, if you only have one board or notice your current one starts to stain and riddle with deep gouges, it’s time to get an extra workhorse for your kitchen gadget arsenal.
How to Buy the Best Cutting Boards
Here are the important features you’ll need to look for when buying a kitchen cutting board:
1. Types of Cutting Boards
Kitchen cutting boards are typically made of wood or plastic, which will be the main focus in this guide due to their soft, non-abrasive surface. With a quality wood or plastic board, your knives are less likely to be blunted even under heavy-duty use.
There are also boards made of bamboo, rubber, or composite. They are often cheaper, but don’t feel good under a knife. Some can even damage the knife’s blade badly while others tend to lose their smooth cutting surface more rapidly than wood or plastic boards.
Whatever type you choose, be aware that all cutting boards will wear out over time, even when properly maintained. Since a worn board can dull your blades and is an ideal place for bacteria to grow. Thus, you’ll need to replace it with a new one, once hard-to-clean grooves begin to develop.
Plastic Board vs. Wooden Board: Which is the Better Choice?
Many assume plastic boards are a safer choice for preparing raw meat. Because wooden boards aren’t easy to clean and could harbor higher levels of harmful bacteria. So, if you are not diligent when cleaning, germs carried by raw meat will have a higher chance of causing food poisoning.
However, scientific research does not provide enough evidence about wooden cutting boards being any more likely to be loaded with dangerous bacteria after use than plastic boards. So, we think it is entirely possible to handle raw meat on either wooden or plastic cutting boards.
If you buy a wooden board, choose one made from hardwoods like cherry, maple, mahogany, teak, or oak. Since natural hardwoods are considerably slower growing than softwoods, they’re denser, thus providing a higher level of strength and durability.
As a matter of fact, different woods grow with different grains, and how the grain appears will depend on the way the timbers are sliced into planks. In this guide, we consider two popular types of grains in wooden cutting boards, end grain and edge grain.
End-grain boards are produced by gluing together several board ends. They are gentler on knives by allowing the edges to slide between their vertical fibers. Over time, grooves and marks close with greater efficiency. But the exposed ends also cause the boards to dry out, crack, and stain more easily.
To create edge-grain boards, several boards are glued together with the sides (edges) facing up in alternating strips. Compared to end-grain boards, they’re rougher on knife edges, but are easier to clean and can better withstand moisture-based splitting and cracking.
Like wooden boards, plastic boards are also available in many varieties, with Polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) boards being the most favorable. The main differences between these two types of polymers is that PP is harder and less flexible, while HDPE is softer and more shatter resistant.
Plastic Board vs. Wooden Board: The Detailed Comparison Chart
To make your choice easier, below is our comparison chart which highlights the key features and differences between plastic and wooden cutting boards.
|Plastic Cutting Boards||
|Wooden Cutting Boards||
There are a multitude of size options for your new cutting board. This can be as little as 8 inches in length, or exceeding 36 inches. In general, the perfect size for a cutting board is largely determined by the counter space, knife length, and sink dimensions. If, for example, you frequently use a 12-inch knife, a board that’s smaller than this could make chopped food fall over the side. It also will not provide enough room for you to maneuver your blade safely.
Typically, standard-sized cutting boards (between 12 and 18 inches) are spacious enough to prep a large batch of vegetables. However, if you live in an area with premium counter space, or you just want something to handle single-serve fruits, you likely only need a mini board that is between 8 and 10 inches long. Kitchen cutting boards 24 to 36 inches in length are considered oversized. While they are ideal for big meal preps like cutting a whole Thanksgiving turkey, they cannot fit well into a small or standard-sized sink.
In terms of thickness, wooden boards are usually twice as thick as plastic boards, typically between 1 ¼ to 2 inches. More thickness equals more weight, which makes the board sturdier, but also trickier to clean and store. If you want to buy a well-crafted end-grain board, find one with at least 2 inches of thickness to ensure the best possible results.
A thin plastic board is light and compact, which allows for hassle-free cleaning and extra portability. However, a too-thin unit (thinner than ½ an inch) could become unstable while cutting, especially if it isn’t equipped with non-slip rubber feet.
The best cutting board is also a choice between a grooved or flat board.
Grooved boards have a groove around the edge to trap juices from meat, veggies, and fresh fruits. This makes them perfect for those who frequently tacke food that expels liquid when chopping. However, while these units allow you to cook without making a mess, you’ll need to sacrifice a little chopping surface area for this extra convenience.
With an entirely flat surface, flat boards are best for dealing with dry ingredients. Of course, you can also use it to carve a juicy chicken; it just requires a little extra time for cleaning up the mess.
4. Other Features
The best kitchen board should also be the one that can stay stationary. As with a plastic board, the non-slip feet or borders around the edge are the best way to keep it stable. But, if you own a reversible board that can’t stay in place while chopping, you can buy optional accessories to improve this problem, such as rubber feet, rubber corners, or non-slip mats. Just be aware that these additions will prevent you from making use of both sides.
Thanks to the heavy weight, most wooden boards sit solidly on the counter. However, they still can slide around when starting to warp or when you prep food with a dull knife. The only way to ensure the greatest stability for your wooden board is to oil it regularly with food-safe mineral oil, like the Howard BBB012.
Reviews of the Best Cutting Boards 2021
- Home Hero – Best to Buy in 2021
- OXO Good Grips Utility – Best Plastic Cutting Board
- Sonder Los Angeles Highland – Best Value Cutting Board
- John Boos Block MPL2014125G – Best Wooden Cutting Board
- Greener Chef – Best Large Cutting Board
- Farberware Glass Utility – Best Glass Cutting Board
- Ironwood Gourmet – Best End-Grain Cutting Board
- Sonder Los Angeles Alfred – Best Walnut Cutting Board
1. Home Hero – Best to Buy in 2021
The Home Hero is our top pick because we don’t think there’s a board that can beat the value of this product. At an affordable price, it has all the decent features we highly expect, including a sturdy design, high stability, and ideal thickness.
- Includes bonus knife, sharpener, and brush
- Charcuterie board on reverse
- Elegant design
- Reasonable weight
- Shallow side handles
More impressively, included in the beautiful package are a cheese knife, a 2 stage sharpener to restore your knives, and a wooden brush to keep the cutting surface free of mess. Just be aware that while the included cheese knife is serrated, the 2 stage sharpener is not designed for serrated knives.
Made of natural wood, the Home Hero is not only safe to use, its antibacterial properties will reduce the transmission of some infectious diseases spread by raw meat. Measuring about 1.5 inches thick, it makes prep work more enjoyable by sitting securely in place while you dice and chop. You don’t need to use any additional gadgets to prevent your board from sliding all over the counter like some people usually do with a cheap unit.
Large cutting capacity, reversible design, and grooves around the edge are other features that make the Home Hero a superior cutting board for its price range. The grooves are deep enough to funnel all the juices released from meat into a single large well, while the dual-sided styles allow for different uses.
Thanks to these exclusive components, the Home Hero can function either as a deluxe charcuterie board or as a wooden cheese board without any issues. For extra functionality, on the reverse side of the carving board, there is a divot which allows you to hold cut foods or even snacks.
As a wooden board, the Home Hero needs delicate care to keep it in top shape. It also cannot be put in the dishwasher or immersed in a sink full of water. If there is any liquid sitting on the cutting surface for more than a few minutes, it can cause the board to warp, crack, and split badly.
While the Home Hero is of high-quality craftsmanship, if you use it for heavy-duty tasks, it will develop small, permanent cutting marks. But every kitchen board will get scratches with enough use, so we don’t consider this a dealbreaker.
The only drawback for the Home Hero is the shallow side “handle,” which is actually small cutouts on the sides that allow you to get your fingertips into the board for easy lifting. Because the “handle” seems to be unfinished, you’ll need to pay extra attention to make sure this area stays completely dry before storing.
2. OXO Good Grips Utility – Best Plastic Cutting Board
Wooden boards are substantial, but they take a considerable amount of time to clean and maintain. So, for those who hate cleaning after dinner, we recommend the OXO Good Grips Utility cutting board. Toxic-free and dishwasher friendly, this board provides a safe food prep surface for every meal without the hassle of cleaning and daily maintenance.
- Double-sided, non-porous cutting surfaces
- Soft, tapered edges form comfortable handles
- Integrated drip-catcher
- Easy-pour corners
- Non-slip feet
- Dishwasher safe
- Can get scratched with uses
The OXO measures about 14.5 inches long by 14.5 inches wide, which is enough for you to chop, slice, or dice a small mountain of ingredients flexibly. At 1.5 pounds, it’s lightweight, but still stable enough not to slip and slide around your countertop.
The rubber feet on the sides are designed for added stability, but they also make the board slightly bouncy when cutting. Plus, the feet are only helpful for light tasks. When cutting a thicker cut of poultry, you’ll need to place a towel underneath the board to keep it from moving.
Like our top pick, the OXO has a reversible design, so it’s likely you will have two cutting boards for different types of food. The board’s side also has an integrated drip-catcher and easy-pour corners to reduce messes. Everything measures up, we just wish the grippy feet and juice grooves were on both sides of the board.
As mentioned before, all kitchen cutting boards will eventually get scratched, and the OXO is no exception. After several uses, your board can be damaged by hundreds of knife marks. Moreover, while the board is thick enough to ensure your blade won’t gouge the plastic during most food prep tasks, if the knife blade comes down too hard on the chopping surface, it can lock in place.
3. Sonder Los Angeles Highland – Best Value Cutting Board
Manufactured by Sonder Los Angeles, located in the USA, this double-sided cutting board offers an unbeatable combination of functionality, durability, and aesthetics. Though it’s expensive, we’re confident this time-tested design will be the best cutting board you find on the market.
- Offers various size options
- Capable of preventing stains and odors
- Useful built-in sorting compartments
- Resersible, durable, and convenient
- Deep grooves
- Quite expensive
Made of teak wood from Asia forests, the board is naturally filled with rich oils— a special layer that makes it highly resistant to water, staining, and bacteria. Compared to other wood, not only is teak less prone to scarring, it’s also soft enough to avoid putting high pressure on your chef’s knives.
The hand grips are another mark in its favor. Their design offers easy lifting off the counter so you can pick up the cutting board without struggle. We’re also very impressed with the long, deep grooves around the edges on one side of the board, which can catch up to 4.5 ounces of runoff. Thanks to this, you can carve grilled brisket, beef, pork, or ribs without having to worry about excess liquid flowing onto your countertops, floor, or clothing.
The other side of the board doesn’t have grooves. But it does have three separate, built-in sorting compartments for stashing chopped ingredients. With these add-ons, the Sonder Los Angeles board provides a tidy cutting surface while still keeping all items contained and accessible.
And, since the antibacterial components of this surface help prevent stains and odors, you can also use it to hold crackers, nuts, fruit, olives, and more for entertaining your guests, just like a serving board.
Another advantage of the Sonder Los Angeles board is its various size options for you to choose from (18 by 14 inches, 20 by 15 inches, and 23 by 17 inches). Surely, you’ll find the perfect teak board to use every day, and to display proudly on your counter.
The Sonder Los Angeles Highland is not dishwasher safe. You’ll need to wash it by hand to avoid warping and cracking.
4. John Boos Block MPL2014125G – Best Wooden Cutting Board
The John Boos block is better than other wooden cutting boards partly due to its solid construction and sustainable performance. It’s not so hard that it dulls your knife’s edge, but neither is it so soft that it picks up marks and deep cuts. Though it may take you extra time and effort to maintain, it would be a favorite in your kitchen for years to come.
- Easy to lift and store
- Made from sustainably sourced— hand-selected Northern Hard Rock Maple
- NSF certified
- Requires more frequent oiling
The John Boos block is handcrafted in Effingham, Illinois using hand-selected northern hard rock maple— the wood that does an incredible job of resisting stains and odors. At 20 inches in length, it offers plenty of space for you to chop several ingredients at once while not being so cumbersome as to cause issues with storage. It’s also heavy enough that it won’t feel like sliding around on your countertop when you’re trying to carve a big turkey.
Because the John Boos is a flat board, you can cut on both sides without any “front” or “back” side limitations. As a bonus, the sides have built-in handles so you can lift and move the board in the easiest way possible.
Maple can withstand moisture, but it’s not as effective as teak wood. So, compared to the Sonder Los Angeles board, the John Boos block requires more frequent oiling. It also cannot maintain the elegant finish as long as its rival.
We also found this board will develop small cracks in the handles or a lightened circle near their center after 12-15 months of daily use, depending how properly you care for it.
5. Greener Chef – Best Large Cutting Board
Measuring up to 24 inches long by 18 inches wide, the Greener Chef is a great choice for those who usually prepare food in large batches. Compared with other units on our list, it has a roomier cutting surface, so it costs more and takes up more space. But we believe it’s a workhorse you can count on year after year.
- Spacious cutting surface
- Efficiently retains beauty
- Sourced from human rights certified growers
- Naturally microbe resistant
- Splinter-sized pieces can come off the board when cleaning
The Greener Chef is unique in that it’s gentler on blades than any bamboo chopping board on the market. Besides allowing you to tackle even the biggest brisket, its extra-large size is also perfect for kneading dough or rolling and shaping pasta.
Most impressively, every Greener Chef bamboo board is sourced from human rights-certified growers. It’s also 100% free of harmful chemicals, dyes, solvents, adhesives, stains, lacquers, and sealants. For sure, your board will not have a strong pickle-like odor of formaldehyde (a toxic chemical commonly found in low-quality bamboo products from China).
A nice bonus we haven’t seen in any other boards: If choosing two or more selected Greener Chef products, you can save 10% off your purchase using the promo code (GRCHEF10). Other advanced features of the Greener Chef that you’ll love include the deep juice grooves, side handles, reversible design, and microbe-resistant properties.
As a bamboo product, the board tends to be covered with small splinters every time you clean it. So, don’t be surprised if you notice some splinter-sized pieces coming off your board the first time you wash it.
6. Farberware Glass Utility – Best Glass Cutting Board
We only recommend buying a glass cutting board if it is particularly conducive to your needs and lifestyle. Since in general, glass cutting boards will quickly dull your sharp blades due to their hard surfaces. Plus, the amount of friction provided by their surfaces often is not enough to prevent your food from sliding around while chopping.
- Heat resistant
- Easy to clean
- Dishwasher safe
- Hard surface can dull knife
- More prone to slide around while chopping
Compared to plastic or wood, glass is also more dangerous to use. Say for example, if glass is dropped accidentally or used to cut through bone with excess force; it will shatter into small, sharp pieces instead of just cracking or warping like plastic and wooden boards.
In short, glass cutting boards have so many drawbacks that we don’t think they are practical for daily food preparation. However, if you really want one, the Farberware may be the most appropriate choice.
Made of tempered glass, this board is four times stronger than its counterparts. But this doesn’t mean your product is unbreakable. To prevent its textured surface from shattering, we recommend you only use it for handling fruits, cheese, veggies, or any food that doesn’t require excessive cutting force.
The Farberware measures 12 inches long by 14 inches wide by 0.25 inches thick. Like most plastic boards, it also features rubber feet on the bottom. While we found the feet can help the board remain firmly in place better than most other glass kitchen boards on the market, you still have difficulty chopping without laying a damp towel underneath.
The biggest advantage of this glass board over our top pick is that it’s exceptionally easy to clean by hand thanks to the non-porous surface. It’s also dishwasher safe for effortless cleaning.
7. Ironwood Gourmet – Best End-Grain Cutting Board
Boasting a series of advanced features such as the rich, shimmering finish, multipurpose design, and expansive cutting area, this board is certainly among the best end-grain models you can find on the market at this price range.
- Made from gorgeous acacia wood with unique and natural contrasting patterns
- Incredibly durable
- Attractive beauty
- Require sanding prior to using
With its double-flat cutting surfaces, it doesn’t have grooves or built-in sorting compartments. But we assure you the natural density of this acacia board will offer years of excellent service to owners who always keep it well-maintained.
According to the Ironwood manufacturers, all of their boards are made of acacia trees that have been left to age for at least 25 years before harvesting. At this age, the grain structure of acacia wood is almost completely mature, which maximizes the beauty and chatoyancy (the unusual property that changes color and luster in different lighting conditions) of your board.
Because Ironwood doesn’t treat its boards with varnishes or lacquers, the surface can become bumpy from time to time. This is normal and can be smoothed out with high-grit sandpaper and oiled to make the board like new.
The only sticking point we have with the Ironwood Gourmet: while some items are almost flawless, others are shipped with several “glue blotches,” which cannot be removed without sanding. There are also a number of Amazon reviews complaining that you have to polish the board prior to using or it won’t look nearly as beautiful as marketed.
8. Sonder Los Angeles Alfred – Best Walnut Cutting Board
This kitchen chopping board comes with all the features you’ll find in the best value pick, including the deep grooves, built-in sorting compartments, and two-side handles. It even includes non-slip feet which absorb shocks when chopping, keep the board stable during use, and create space for air circulation so the underside remains dry. (Not all Sonder Los Angeles cutting boards are available with rubber feet, so, for us, this is a great bonus.)
- High amount of self-healing properties
- Versatile built-in sorting compartments
- Deep juice grooves
- Removable non-slip feet
- High price tag
Be aware that the feet are removable. To enjoy the non-slip feature right at the first use, you’ll need to attach them to the four small drill holes at each corner of the board on your own.
Regarding performance, it’s almost identical to its teak wood counterparts, even when comparing the different characteristics in terms of color, grain, density, and finish. However, it also could warp, crack, or split if excess moisture builds up inside or on cutting the surface.
Top-Rated Cutting Boards Comparison Chart
|Home Hero||16 inches||Acacia Wood||No|
|OXO Good Grips Utility||15 inches||Plastic||Yes|
|Sonder Los Angeles Highland||18-23 inches||Teak Wood||No|
|John Boos Block MPL2014125G||12-20 inches||Maple Wood||No|
|Greener Chef||24 inches||Bamboo||No|
|Farberware Glass Utility||12 inches||Glass||Yes|
|Ironwood Gourmet||20 inches||Acacia Wood||No|
|Sonder Los Angeles Alfred||17 inches||Walnut Wood||No|
Best Cutting Board Brands
1. Home Hero
Home Hero is popularly known for producing high quality, yet affordable kitchen gadgets, including nonstick cookware sets, stainless steel cooking utensils, and food silicone bags.
Crafted from top-notch materials, all of Home Hero’s products stand out from the rest with their incredible durability, especially the 1.5-inch butcher block style cutting boards. Stylish and practical, they ensure to be an indispensable companion in every kitchen.
2. Sonder Los Angeles
Sonder Los Angeles is a new brand name in the industry that focuses on only one product line— wooden cutting boards. According to the company’s representatives, all Sonder Los Angeles products usually take up to 10 months to prototype, test, revise, and perfect before being launched onto the market. They believe this care and patience results in greater aesthetic beauty and longer functional lifespans.
At the time of writing, Sonder Los Angeles cutting boards are made of teak, acacia, cherry, American maple, Winsome maple, or American black walnut.
3. John Boos & Co
With over 125 years of offering reliability and durability in its gourmet products and foodservice equipment, John Boos & Co. has become a leading manufacturer in the industry.
If you ever buy anything from John Boos, you may already know what you get is not just a product, but also a great experience. Besides including useful manual instructions in every package, this company truly wows its customers with a range of amazing services. If, for example, you have any questions or issues regarding your product, just send the customer service representatives a message either through Amazon or via email, and they will respond within 24 hours.
Cutting boards are a kitchen marvel, especially when you are serious about cooking. Cost aside, material is the most important feature you’ll need to consider carefully when it comes to buying the best cutting board. While there are also some differences in size and design, we don’t think those elements will affect the board’s performance as much as its material.