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Behind the Design of the OXO Salad Spinner

Behind the Design of the OXO Salad Spinner

Ever wondered what a salad spinner does and why you need it? We take you behind the scenes on how we developed our salad spinner so you don't have to worry about sad salads.

3 min read

After years of product development, we introduced the first-ever pump-activated salad spinner, now one of our most iconic products. Pull-string salad spinners weren’t cutting it for us. The design requires a decent amount of strength to yank the string, and often ends up spinning out of control on countertops (makes us feel a little dizzy just thinking about it). At OXO, we’re driven to do better, so when we saw only pull-string spinners in stores, we knew we wanted to design a better salad spinner.

The Design

Drawing inspiration from an old-school children’s toy, we decided to go for a pump. Using a pump makes it easy for everyone to use, plus it gives you a sense of satisfaction. The button also makes the salad spinner a one-handed device. You don’t have to hold down on the spinner with one hand while pulling the string with your other hand.

design evolution

How Does the Salad Spinner Work

Once we had the spinner design down, we had to figure out how fast it should spin. If it spun faster, would the salad greens dry even more? Turns out no. Early on in the development process, we calculated the surface tension of water droplets on lettuce to determine the precise level of centrifugal force required to dislodge the water and dry the lettuce without damaging it. Once we determined the surface tension, we could figure out how many RPMs the spinner needed to reach in order to thoroughly dry salad greens. We even hooked the spinner up to a motor to test the speed (and watched behind plexiglass with our safety glasses on!).

We tested all sorts of lettuce and herbs. Romaine, iceberg, kale, and arugula; giant bunches of cilantro and parsley. You name it, we tried it.

Salad Spinner

Making it Better

Over the years, we’ve made improvements to the salad spinner based on consumer feedback and our own experience. The lid now comes apart so it’s easier to clean. The basket design evolved to prevent any lettuce from getting stuck in its holes. The latest model has a clear lid so you can watch the salad spinning (which is pretty satisfying) and the lid is flat for easy storage and stacking in the fridge.
oxo salad spinner line art

Of course, we’re confident that our Salad Spinner does a great job washing salad greens, but leave it to all you outside-of-the-box-thinkers to find non-salad uses for it, too. Check out this hand-powered centrifuge constructed with an OXO Salad Spinner to diagnose anemia. Or these Spin Art cookies for your next birthday party. And if that’s not enough, you can even wash your beans, bathing suits, lingerie, and so much more with it!

Looking to upgrade your salads even more? Check out how to make better summer salads.


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