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Pizza Wheels Are Inadequate — Use a Rocking Pizza Cutter Instead

It’s the superior way to slice a pie

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Overhead view of two New Haven-style pizzas with charred crust. One is topped with clams.
There’s a scientific reason so many pizza cutters are bad at their jobs.
Bill Addison/Eater

Most wheel-shaped pizza cutters have a fundamental design flaw. Because of this, they’re flimsy, they’re impractical, and above all, they’re an inefficient use of force. I can’t count the times I’ve rolled one over a pie only to find that it barely made a dent in the crust.

Think about the way you use a traditional pizza wheel (not the ones with blade covers that look like this): Your arm is extended, and you’re grasping the wheel’s handle. To make a cut, you have to push down at an angle while sliding the wheel forward. I won’t pretend to have a PhD in physics — I’m just a girl, standing in front of a pizza wheel, wondering why it’s so bad at its job — but from a physics perspective, there are so many problems here. Luckily, the answer can be found at approximately a 9th grade science level. And while wheel-shaped cutters with handles are an affront to logic, there’s another style that gets it right: the rocking pizza cutter.

Imagine this: Your pizza crust is thick, and you’re struggling to cut through it with a pizza wheel. Intuitively, you lift the handle up so that it forms a steeper angle relative to the blade, and you can press down directly to make the cut. A steeper angle equals greater downwards force. If you were struggling to move the wheel forward, however, you’d aim for a shallower angle, dropping the handle down and setting it up like a pool player holding a cue. The problem is that the conventional pizza wheel asks us to cut downwards and forwards at the same time by holding the handle at about 45 degrees. This effectively halves your force, splitting it between the two directions. Instead of accomplishing both cuts, you accomplish neither.

Now, consider rocking pizza cutter, a simple tool consisting of one long curved blade with handles, either running the length of the blade or rising up at 90 degree angles on either side. To cut your pizza you just grab the handles and push straight down. All of the force you’re applying will travel straight into the pizza where it belongs. Instead of rolling a wheel forward to cut across the width of the pizza, you simply rock the blade to one side while continuing to apply downwards pressure. With a single firm push, the pizza cutter will easily snap through the crust, whether it’s a bubbly Neapolitan slice or a thick and chewy Sicilian pie. Plus, rocking pizza cutters are sturdy. Unlike pizza wheels, there are no moving parts, so a rocking pizza cutter will never break. For added flair, they come in aesthetics ranging from handsome with walnut handles to medieval weapon.

If you have a pizza wheel and you love it, I’m happy for you. If, however, you have a wheel that essentially cuts a dotted line through all of your pizzas, a rocking pizza cutter is the clear solution.