Dr. Penny Pincher founded the popular personal finance blog Penny Pincher Journal in 2013 and has published two books about saving money.
Cheap Nutcrackers Break When Cracking Nuts!
I was enjoying a bag of mixed nuts with my sons. My wife brought home a bag of nuts with the standard assortment of nuts you can get at the grocery store around Thanksgiving and Christmas: pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and Brazil nuts. Some people refer to hazelnuts as filberts. All of these nuts require a nutcracker to open. We had just begun to eat the nuts when my son attempted to crack a hazelnut (filbert). The hazelnut won and the nut cracker broke! This was one tough nut!
I was surprised to see that a nut broke a nut cracker made of aluminum alloy. The nut cracker was a few years old, and had likely accumulated stress and strain from cracking hundreds of nuts. A nutcracker breaking while cracking a nut is sort of like a hammer breaking while pounding in a nail- you just wouldn’t expect that to happen…
The nutcracker that broke was one of these shown below that sells for about $5 and includes the nutcracker and nut picks.
Can You Eat Nuts Without a Nutcracker?
We tried to continue eating nuts using only the pick to continue, but that only worked with some of the almonds and walnuts. You can attack walnuts at the bottom with a pick and pry them in half sometimes. Some of the almonds have a fairly weak shell and you can use a pick to open the shell and get the almond out. However we’re out of luck for the hazelnuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts.
Features of the Best Nutcracker
Since nuts are good for you, and since we have almost a full bag of nuts that we can’t eat, we need to find a new nut cracker. Here are some features I would like to see in my next nutcracker:
- Durable- a good nut cracker should not break from cracking nuts!
- Effective- longer handles would provide more leverage to crack those tough nuts
- Comfortable to use- thicker handles would distribute force across your hand more and be more comfortable to use
- Small enough to store easily- Some nut crackers have a wooden base. That seems too big- I am looking for something that will fit in a kitchen drawer
- Low cost- Considering that a cheap nut cracker costs about $5, I would be willing to pay up to $15 for a high quality nut cracker that would last a long time. It seems like a high quality nutcracker could last a lifetime.
Finding the Best Nutcracker
I decided to use my criteria for a good nutcracker and see what I could find for sale. It is worth spending some time, since I don't want to waste time and money buying another cheap nutcracker that will break and need to be replaced again.
"Best Nut Cracker"- Not Really the Best...
This nut cracker is made of plastic and wood. This nutcracker claims to be able to function as a bottle opener as well as a nutcracker, which would be handy. However, since my nutcracker just broke, I decided not to take a chance with nutcracker with plastic parts. Those darn nuts are just too hard!
Set of 6 Lobster/Nutcrackers- But I Don't Really Need Six
This set of 6 nutcrackers is an interesting option. Everyone could have their own nutcracker, and there would be some back-ups as well. But I decided that storing 6 nutcrackers was a bit too much. I would rather just have one really good nutcracker.
Easy Pecan and Nutcracker- A Big Gun
This is a serious nut cracker, and doesn't cost too much. It has a wooden base and adjustable width for the nut cracker to adapt to different sizes of nuts. This looks like a great nutcracker if you have a lot of nuts to crack. But for me and the amount nuts I eat, this would be like using a hammer to swat a fly. This looks too large for me, but may be the best choice for someone who cracks a lot of nuts.
Good Cook- Looks Like A Good Nutcracker
This nutcracker looks sturdy and has wider, longer handles than my cheap nutcracker and would easily fit in my kitchen drawer. This is everything I was looking for in a nutcracker.
Texan York Nut Sheller- Looks Like a Winner
This is a pliers style nutcracker with padded handles. This one is built like a tool and should last a long time.
Drosselmeyer Nutcracker- The Cadillac of Nutcrackers
The Drosselmeyer Nutcracker uses a funnel design to collect all of the nut meat and shell fragments. This nutcracker is made in Sweden and is designed to crack nuts with minimal exertion. I think this would be a good nutcracker for anyone who does not have a lot of hand strength. However, it is more expensive than most other nutcrackers.
And the Best Nutcracker Is...
My favorite choice is the Texan York Nut Sheller. The Texan looks durable, has fairly long handles to provide serious leverage for cracking tough nuts, and would store easily in a kitchen drawer. At under $15, this nutcracker should deliver a lot of value for many years.
If you crack a lot of nuts, consider the Easy Pecan and Nut Cracker which has a wooden base and is built to quickly crack a lot of nuts.
Review of Texan York Nutcracker
My Texan York Nutsheller arrived from amazon! Read my review of the Texan York Nutsheller vs Target's Best Nutcracker.
© 2013 Dr Penny Pincher
Dr Penny Pincher (author) from Iowa, USA on November 11, 2013:
Kidscrafts, I thought about using super glue to repair my broken nutcracker, but I didn't think it would hold up well. Can't wait to try out the Texan York Nut Sheller! Thanks for reading and commenting.
kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on November 11, 2013:
Our first nutcracker broke partially and my husband repaired it with a plastic trap (cable strap strapping tie) so we can still use it. It looks funny.... but I have a backup nutcracker.... just in case :-)
Thank you for studying the best features for a nutcracker!
Have a great day!