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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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What an interesting contraption this is, and if I'm honest one I hadn't realised existed before seeing it here on Amazon. An aluminium cylinder with a rotating rubber grip on one end and a removable rubber cap on the other, using Mastrad's nutcracker is as simple as lifting the cap off, placing a nut inside, replacing the cap and then turning the grip until the nut cracks. The grip is linked to a rotating metal jaw inside the top section of the nutcracker, so turning the grip turns the jaw, which in turn presses the nut against the nutcracker's rippled interior, hopefully breaking it. Because the grip and the jaw are connected by an internal gear mechanism, each turn of the grip exerts a lot of pressure on the nut, so you don't need to be strong or dextrous to use it.

As the cap is left on during cracking, there's zero chance of any bit of shell exploding out over the carpet or into your eye, while a plastic window in the cap lets you see the cracker's progress as you turn the grip. Once the nut is cracked, the best way to go about things is to turn the nutcracker upside down while holding the cap on, then pull the cap from the body, leaving the nut and shell in the cap, ready for separating; it's a fiendishly simple yet very reliable system that has yet to fail on me.

Not everything is rosy in the land of Mastrad, though. Some awkwardly-shaped nuts take a little manoeuvring to get into the correct place to be broken and it also has to be said that some nuts just don't break particularly cleanly - hazelnuts crack very well, walnuts less so, with almonds somewhere in between. I'm yet to try my old favourite, the brazil nut, but I suspect that with its hard, irregular shell it may prove something of a challenge to crack the shell without taking the nut with it. Another point to note is that while the internal jaw is metal, the nutcracker's interior is plastic, and given that the interior takes half of the brunt of the cracking process it would seem to be the weak link here. There's also some 'play' in the rotating grip, which is by no means a problem but it does make you wonder how the grip is connected to the body and how much use (and abuse) it can put up with.

But although the Mastrad does have its quirks, they're no more prominent or serious than those on any other nutcracker, and certainly not enough to prevent me from wholeheartedly recommending it. Prior to buying the Mastrad, I had considered a bewildering array of nutcrackers of all kinds from various manufacturers. I settled on this one partly because it intrigued me and partly because it struck me as a clever alternative to the standard 'lobster' nutcracker I had been using, and it is indeed proving a great alternative to that one.
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on 3 January 2013
This is the best nut cracker I've ever used. It's very simple and doesn't need a strong person to work it - even for brazil nuts. It also stops shell fragments flying around the room because everything is captured inside. A brilliant design.
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on 11 February 2015
After years of getting irritated with traditional cast iron nut crackers that broke or produced a mix of shell fragments and nuts that shot everywhere, I started using a mole wrench (see below for guidance on how to use it) after I ran out of nutcrackers when the shops were closed. I was happy using the wrench, but it was a little lacking in elegance sat on top of the basket of nuts in the middle of the table. In December 2014, I treated myself to the Mastrad nut cracker - a novel way of cracking nuts.
At first sight, I was very impressed. It’s nicely made, strong and yes, elegant, sitting atop the basket. Visitors expressed great interest and wanted to try it. This is where it began to come a little unstuck. Hazelnuts crack beautifully, when you can pin them between the crusher and the wall of the Mastrad. Messy shell fragments can be dropped neatly in the bin after picking out the nut. Walnuts too work well enough, though one or two of the largest ones wouldn’t fit in and you still have to winkle many of them out of the remains of the shells.
With almonds and brazils (my favourites) I was no better off than with a traditional nutcracker, except that the Mastrad was strong enough to crack even the tough nuts with relatively little effort. They just rarely cracked in a suitable place to free up the nuts.
Sorry Mastrad. In the end, I’ve gone back to my trusty mole wrench. The advantage of this is it cracks (virtually) all nuts neatly and with relatively little effort. The technique is very simple, and it never crushes the nuts. It’s also quicker to do than it takes to read the paragraph below, especially if you do several nuts of a similar size at the same time.
Caution: make sure the wrench is thoroughly cleaned. Release the jaws of the wrench and widen them until they’re just wide enough to take the nut. Lock the jaws, and adjust the gap so that they just touch the shell. Release the jaws, then reduce the gap between them by a quarter to half a turn. Put the nut between and lock the jaws again. You should find that with a relatively small amount of effort, the shell cracks along a seam without damaging the nut. You may have to repeat if the shell cracks oddly. If you’re concerned about the shell going everywhere, simply put a freezer bag or equivalent over the end of the wrench, or cover the nut in the jaws with your other hand.
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on 16 February 2014
At last a nutcracker that cracks a range of nuts with ease (all the ones i've tried...almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts it's worked really well).
And even has a lid so the bits don't ping everywhere.
Great invention.
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on 27 December 2014
OK for walnuts. Useless for small nuts. Hazelnuts and almonds are just chased around and around and the crushing-piece never gets a grip. With brazils its a matter of chance - just as likely as not to get a handful of fragments.

Disappointing. Very expensive . Can't recommend
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on 16 April 2015
I LOVE IT, it arrived unexpectedly on the Sunday afternoon of the 12/4/15 and been using it ever since on a daily bases, it is heavier than expected and it works a treat , so easy to use but, it still leaves a little mess on the carpet when I remove the lid to take the broken walnut out,( I sit cross legged on my carpet while having my evening meals and watching TV in the evenings ) not as messy as the crackerjack nut cracker, which I also use and the little space man nut cracker, so as you can see I LOVE eating nuts specially walnuts on a daily basis,(in the evenings actually) I tend to alternate as to witch nut cracker to use, my favourite so far is the MASTRAD NUT CRACKER. As I only use walnuts, not too sure how it would work on other type of nuts but by the heavy feel of this MASTRAD it tells me that it would have little difficulty in cracking other nuts like the brazil nuts,the other thing to tell is that it crusches the nuts if not careful. Hope my comments will help decide to buy this, its the easiest nutcracker that I have ever used ( have used quite a few ).The picture does not do it justice, it is BRILLIANT. (believe me I am not on MASTRAD payroll )
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on 11 January 2015
Nuts. So simple yet so difficult, allegedly. This is a clever piece of engineering and so effective. A couple of nuts cracked and you should be an expert. I read some reviews that said it was difficult, couldn't handle small hazelnuts or almonds. No problem, slow down and use both sides of the cracker in the centre. Big ones one side, small ones the other. Then turn it slowly, gently and the whole nut will appear, tip it into the clear end, dispose of the shell and enjoy the kernel. Yum!
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on 1 December 2014
My wife and kids sometimes struggle with traditional nutcrackers, so we bought the Mastrad. It is really easy to use, and even my youngest daughter can crack walnuts with it, without getting bits of shell all over the room. The only down side is that the kids have now become obsessed with cracking and eating nuts.
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on 25 December 2014
As I have arthritis I decided not to go for the cheaper nutcrackers that I have used in the past and having read the reviews I thought I was on a winner with this nut cracker, how wrong could I be. Although cracking walnuts can be achieved with relative ease, they are the only nuts I have succeeded to crack so far, and I have tried several. Definitely not worth the money
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on 5 January 2015
it's quite good, cracks most nuts, struggles with some almonds, the twist action is not quite enough.
it could do with having a ratchet type system where you can twist it, and it will hold so you can then twist again for the tough shells.

it's 100% better than those 'pliers' type. and looks interesting on the side next to the nut bowl.
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