I'd always thought of French mandolines, those precision slicing tools, as torture devices—bulky and burdensome with poor-quality blades quick to dull or rust. Their moveable parts made them hard, and even dangerous, to clean. I had all but given up on mandolines when I found the Kyocera Slicer. Beautifully simple with no moving parts, it's basically a lightweight, easy-to-wash plastic board with a comfy, slightly angled handle. Best of all, its double-sided ceramic blade lets you slice your carrots, potatoes, or cucumbers in both forward and backward motions, and is immune to rust and dulling.
Kyocera Slicer, $25 at kyoceraadvancedceramics.com