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Best chopping board 2021: The best Black Friday offers on wood, plastic and bamboo boards for your kitchen

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Want to slice n' dice without ruining your knives? Find your ideal chopping board with our buying guide

A chopping board is, without doubt, a kitchen essential. The best chopping boards should see you through all your culinary adventures, no matter how tough they may be. It's a faithful companion for all your slicing and dicing needs and a good board will not only make your life in the kitchen easier, but it should also last you for years.

Although a bad chopping board will still get the job done, it won't survive for long. In fact, a poorly made board could end up harbouring harmful bacteria, becoming warped and stain-ridden or even blunt your knives.

To make life in the kitchen a little easier and safer, we've selected some of the best chopping boards that we think tick the boxes for durability, design, budget and other key factors. Check out our quick at-a-glance list below or read on for the full reviews and our guide to choosing the right board for your kitchen.


Save over £20 on Joseph Joseph Index Large Chopping Boards

If you're looking for a selection of plastic chopping boards for all purposes, look no further than our top choice, Joseph Joseph Index Large Chopping Boards. You can now get this set reduced on Amazon as part of their Black Friday deals, reduced from £56 to £35. You can read more about it in our review below.


Best chopping boards: At a glance


How to choose the best chopping board for you

Are wooden chopping boards unhygienic – or is that plastic?

In the past, food hygienists have recommended plastic chopping boards, which are usually made of polypropylene. The thought was that the porous nature of wood meant that it would harbour harmful bacteria; this wouldn’t be an issue with a plastic board.

However, since then scientists have found that wood can help resist harmful bacteria, turning food hygiene orthodoxy on its head. In 1994, Wisconsin University researchers infected plastic and wood boards with E.coli, salmonella and listeria, finding that the wooden boards retained 98-99% less bacteria than plastic. Plastic was said to become an even worse breeding ground for bacteria once it’s scarred with knife marks.

That's not to say a wooden chopping board will be self-cleaning – you’ll still have to wash it. However, it possesses anti-microbial properties that make it somewhat more resistant to bacteria than plastic.

So I should buy a wooden board, then?

Not so fast. Plastic boards are easier to clean than wood, not least because you can slide them into the dishwasher and sanitise them using chemicals and bleach, which rinse off plastic far more easily than wood.

What's more, the retention of bacteria isn't really the problem. The biggest hygiene risk in any kitchen comes from cross-contamination between different types of food, such as raw meat, fish and dough. It hardly matters the material on which you prepare these foodstuffs, as long as you use different surfaces for each food type – and keep them clean.

What are the pros and cons of other materials?

There are plenty of other considerations to make when shopping for a chopping board, including durability and weight, as well as materials such as silicone, bamboo and glass...

WOOD

Pros: A thick wooden chopping block will look magnificent in your kitchen, and its sturdiness has practical benefits, too. You can hack hefty cuts of meat and slice giant loaves of bread (using different sides of the board, of course) without the block budging while you work. Wood also won’t blunt your knives, especially if you go for an “end grain” board that effectively absorbs knife marks. And even when it is covered with knife marks, your wooden chopping board will continue to look great – unlike plastic.

Cons: That cheap wooden board you picked up from your local pound shop is likely to fall apart far quicker than a similarly priced plastic board. In addition, a wooden board is harder to keep clean than plastic. Wood absorbs odours and stains more easily than plastic, but you can't put it in the dishwasher for a clean or even let it soak. Large wooden blocks are also fairly heavy to be easily portable when you're moving around the kitchen.

PLASTIC

Pros: Even cheap polypropylene boards are dishwasher-safe and can withstand rigorous abuse from chemicals, hence their popularity in pro kitchens. They're lightweight and easy to manufacture in different colours, so you can buy a colour-coded set to avoid cross-contamination.

Cons: Plastic boards warp more easily, especially if cleaned in a dishwasher regularly. Their light weight also makes them prone to slipping, which isn't ideal when you're using sharp knives. A knife-marked plastic board will quickly look tatty and harbour bacteria unless bleached to smithereens. As such, your plastic board will need to be replaced fairly often, which isn’t exactly eco-friendly.

SILICONE

Pros: Silicone may one day end the wood/plastic debate by out-doing both materials. Pro chefs already love its knife-cushioning and non-slip properties, its lightweight versatility and ease of cleaning. Designers love silicone, too, because it's flexible enough to morph into pourers, funnels and even bowls.

Cons: Silicone's soft surface is easily damaged by knives. Very high-end thick silicone boards are better at resisting damage, but they're expensive. And no matter how much you spend, silicone is hopeless at resisting stains.

BAMBOO

Pros: Bamboo is a strong, lightweight, affordable alternative to end-grain hardwood. It grows fast and is cultivated without pesticides, so it's more eco-friendly than wood or synthetic materials. And since it's so light, a huge slab-style bamboo board will remain easy to lift.

Cons: Bamboo is harder than any hardwood, and its grain doesn't offer much “give”. As such, it will dull your knives faster than wood, plastic or silicone. Wash it and it will warp, so you’ll have to wipe it instead – and oil it to keep it looking ship-shape.

CHOPPING BOARD MATERIALS THAT DESERVE THE CHOP

Glass: Fine as a worktop-saver; terrible as a chopping board. Glass blunts blades faster than almost any other surface – except marble.

Marble: Stays cool, so it's ideal for rolling pastry and dough, but it isn’t designed for chopping; it will completely ruin your knives. Oh, and if you expose marble to acidic foods, such as tomatoes and fruit, it will dissolve.

READ NEXT: Stay sharp with our pick of the best kitchen knives

The best chopping boards to buy

1. Lakeland Oak chopping board: Best chopping board for bread

Price: £29 | Buy now from Lakeland

When a thin chopping board won’t do, this solid, end grain oak chopping board from Lakeland is a must-buy. It looks great on pretty much all worktops and at 40cm across, it’s big enough to accommodate plenty of food.

Not only is it super high quality, it also comes with four rubber non-slip feet to ensure it stays in place even when you’re slicing tricky foods like crusty bread and butternut squash. We were taken back by just how heavy this chopping board was when it arrived and can safely say that for the price, you’ll struggle to find much better.

Key specsMaterial: End-grain oak; Colours available: 1; Sizes available: 1

Buy now from Lakeland


2. Joseph Joseph Index Large Chopping Boards: Best plastic chopping board set

Price: £56 | Buy now from Amazon

This classic colour-coded set of boards from kitchenware specialist Joseph Joseph is the most expensive item on this list – but if you love cooking (and aren't determined to stick with wood only) then it's a kitchen must-have.

Each of the four polypropylene boards has a soft-grip tab on its edge that’s illustrated with a specific ingredient to reduce the risk of cross-contamination – the different colouring of each board helps in this regard, too – and they come stored in a sturdy, space-saving holder.

Each board also includes a feature designed especially for that ingredient. The meat board has a moat to stop juices spilling over the edge of the board; the fish board has grippers; the cooked food board is equipped with crumb catchers. All four have rubberised feet on both sides, so they're fully reversible and won't slip.

Downsides? You’ll see knife cuts in the boards before long, but this is almost impossible to avoid with a polypropylene board; bear in mind that these boards don't mark as easily as cheaper plastic boards. They're dishwasher-safe – except the textured holder, which should be wiped clean instead – and fairly resistant to warping, too.

The Index set comes in large (34.6 x 27.3cm) and regular (30.5cm x 23.3cm) sizes, in a Silver, Grey, Coast Grey or Coast Silver holder..

Key specs – Material: polypropylene (dishwasher-safe; case is wipe-clean only); Colours available: 4; Sizes available: 2

3. Lakeland Chopping Station: Best budget chopping board set

Price: £35 | Buy now from Lakeland


Finding it difficult to choose between wood and plastic? Then have both, with this colour-coded set that will help you keep your meat juices away from your raw pastry.

This large (37 x 33.5cm) oiled beech wooden board doesn't feel as sturdy as the end-grain oak board further up our list and some users have reported that the wood splits and bows after a few months. But it certainly feels solid at the outset, and is heavy enough to stay put on a work surface; it has non-slip feet on one side, but doesn't really require them – they get in the way if you want to flip the board over.

The smaller (28.5 x 18.5cm) green and red polypropylene boards are less grippy but are at least reversible, and they fit neatly inside a slot in the wooden board to save on storage space.

Key specs – Material: polypropylene (dishwasher-safe) and oiled beech (hand-wash only); Colours available: 1; Sizes available: 1

Buy now from Lakeland


4. OXO Good Grips Utility Cutting Board: Best plastic chopping board

Price: £18 | Buy now from Amazon

True to the Good Grips name, the winning feature of OXO's polypropylene board is a soft, tapered rubber edge that keeps it firmly in place while you work and makes it comfortable to lift, even when loaded with food. You can flip it for double-sided use, and there's a moat on each side to stop any juices flowing over.

The polypropylene of this board is probably the best-quality plastic in our list. It's non-porous, odour-resistant and durable; it’s built to withstand many rounds in the dishwasher without warping. It's better at resisting stains and knife marks than cheaper boards – according to reviews from long-term users – and has enough “give” to ensure your knives remain sharp, although not to the same degree as wood.

OXO's board is fairly large so you’ll need enough space to store it when it’s not in use, or you could opt for the compact size that’s 18.4 x 27.3cm.

Incidentally, OXO (utensils) isn't the same company as Oxo (beefy cubes), but they both have the rights to the original brand name. Thank you, Wikipedia, for that nugget of information.

Key specs – Material: polypropylene with rubber edges (dishwasher-safe); Colours available: 1; Sizes available: 2

5. Joseph Joseph Large Chop2Pot: Best foldable chopping board

Price: £20 | Buy now from Amazon


This fabulous foldable board will keep you in stir-fries for life. Chop anything and everything on its super-hard bamboo surface, then fold it using the silicone hinge and lift – it weighs barely anything – to tip your ingredients into the pot without spilling. It looks beautiful, will stay firm on a surface thanks to silicone feet, and is the most eco-friendly board on our list.

There are a couple of reasons it isn’t higher on the list, though. One, it will blunt your knives in time, as would any bamboo board. Two, although incredibly hard-wearing, water is its kryptonite. It isn't dishwasher-safe, and will warp if you soak it; you can wipe it clean with a damp cloth. Oil it with a food-safe oil such as linseed for maximum durability.

Don't let the above put you off, though. The Chop2Pot is a fabulous board – and the small 25.7cm version makes a great pressie for a foodie, too.

Key specs – Material: bamboo and silicone (hand-wash only, do not soak); Colours available: 1; Sizes available: 2

6. Smidge Dice chopping board: Best eco-friendly chopping board

Price: £45 | Buy now from Amazon

This incredibly stylish offering from eco-friendly brand Smidge is beautifully designed and made from salvaged and recycled paper. It's thin and lightweight, which is ideal if there isn’t space for bulky chopping boards in your cupboards but it’s also spacious enough for big chopping tasks. We tested the largest version (44x1x32cm WDH) which offers ample space, even if you’re cooking for four people. It has a wide crumb groove, making it easy to wipe away any stray bits of food that have collected during chopping. There’s also a spacious hanging hook, so it can easily be kept on walls or on the back of doors.

The only niggle we had is that it marked easily when using heavy-duty knives. If you’re like us though, you’ll have a different chopping board for different tasks and this one is ideal for general everyday use. If you’re looking for a sturdy breadboard, this might not be the one for you, however.

Key specsMaterial: Recycled and salvaged paper; Colours available: 1; Sizes available: 2