Any apple corer will get the core out of an apple, but some do it a lot more deftly than others. We tested several models to see which finer points of finish and design were most critical.

After doing a lot of push-twist action, we settled on the following:

L'ECONOME (Inox-France, about $6): Opening is three-quarters of an inch wide, with smooth, sharpened rim, stainless-steel chassis, wooden handle with a slight pear shape that fits well in your hand. Hit/miss: Low-tech and solidly made/ the apple core is sometimes hard to remove, and this model's not for the dishwasher, but L'Econome also makes this corer with a plastic handle.

MESSERMEISTER ($6.95): Same-size opening with a serrated rim, stainless-steel chassis, plastic handle with texturized grip and hanging hole; dishwasher-safe. Hit/miss: Nonslip handle/ serrated edge goes into the apple soundly, but tears the skin on the exit end of the apple.

PROGRESSIVE ($3-$4): Opening is seven-eighths of an inch wide to allow for the plunger to push through; stainless- steel tube with smooth, sharpened rim and plastic plunger; dishwasher safe. Hit/miss: Plunger features a molded plastic apple design that makes it clear what this tool is for /the apple core was surprisingly difficult to extract from the device; pieces do not lock together, so the plunger may go astray in the typical kitchen junk drawer.

-- Bonnie S. Benwick