Clingfilm: it’s one of those items you never really think about, but that is very, very useful! Use it for covering the top of tin cans where the contents have only been half-used, for wrapping sandwiches for the kids or for your lunch at work, and for many, many other uses, too. It’s versatile, it’s practical and – here’s the thing – it comes on a roll! You, like all of us, will have spent many a time trying to unroll a piece of fil neatly – it’s a bit like finding the end of the Sellotape – only to end up with a lot of wasted clingfilm, so what’s the answer? A dispenser, of course, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today.
Before we go on to give you details of ten clingfilm dispensers – some of the following items also dispense tin foil and paper towels, two more items that are useful and messy to handle – a brief history of clingfilm for you, as we bet you don’t know what it was first used for (and neither did we)!
Clingfilm as we know and use it first became commercially available as long ago as 1949 – in America, of course – but it has its origins in a more unusual industry. In the USA – and in some other countries – you will see and hear it referred to as ‘Saran’. Saran is a substance that – like many that go on to become household items – was discovered by accident by a worker at the Dow Chemical company in 1933. We know it as a sticky film – it was originally, in chemical terms, polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) – but it’s first use was in spray form.
What was it sprayed onto? Fighter planes in the US Air Force, as added protection! It was later put to other uses, such as a protective coating on car interiors, and an added lining on soldiers boots, before it came to be a food covering. The 21st version of Saran – or clingfilm – is made from slightly different compounds that are guaranteed food-safe, and that is the potted history of clingfilm. Now, let’s talk about clingfilm dispensers.
How a Clingfilm Dispenser Works
Let’s keep this short and sweet: a clingfilm dispenser – you will see various designs on our list but they all follow the same concept – takes the form of a container, usually mounted on the wall, in which there is a holding system for the roll of clingfilm. This is drawn through and aperture, on the outside of which will be some form of blade. The film is pulled against the blade, and you have a nice, neatly cut piece of film, ready to wrap up your food.
Let’s get down to business, and have a closer look at the ten best clingfilm dispensers we found during our research.
The Top 10
Leifheit Parat F2
You may think a clingfilm dispenser to be a simple product, yet this one does three jobs in one go. It dispenses clingfilm, tin foil, and also hand towels, all from one device that mounts – it’s simple to hang it – on a wall. What we will say is that this is not the most attractive item you will have in your kitchen, and is perhaps aimed at the commercial rather than the domestic market. Nevertheless, it’s a clever product and a very popular one, too.
The clingfilm and the foil roll holders both feature very sharp blades for quick cuts, while the towels hang from the lower section so they’re easy to get at. It takes standard-sized rolls up to 30.5cm, and is very simple to refill. It also comes with a 3-year warranty, and all the fixtures are supplied. Buyers like the fact it is supremely practical and fits on the inside of a door, but we did find some buyers who mention it is made from cheap plastic, and that it does not cut properly. At the price, it’s worth a look.
This simple design of clingfilm dispenser has only one segment, but the blade is designed to cut either clingfilm or foil – even ‘strong foil’ as the description explains. It is, again, designed for the standard 30cm refill, and is very simple to set up. This one is designed to fit inside a kitchen drawer – a clever touch – or to hang on the wall, but be aware that the wall fittings are not supplied with this one, although anyone handy at simple DIY should be able to handle it.
This one is designed to be very simple to use and has a concealed cutter, and is sensibly priced at under £15. We found many customers who reckon it’s a great little item that does the job they are looking for, but there is a problem: it would seem this one does not work with every type of roll – just a certain type that has a specific fitment – so you’re regular supermarket brand rolls may not fit.
Contura Triple Roll Dispenser
To be honest, we are among the sort who like to keep everything neat, tidy and close to hand in the kitchen, and as this is another triple roll dispenser, it is definitely of interest. As with the first triple-dispenser we looked at, this one is perhaps a little ‘industrial’ in terms of design, but it is more attractive. However, it’s practicality that is to the fore with these devices, and this one is nicely designed and finished in stainless steel.
Cutting foil and film using hidden, patented cutting blades, and dispensing towels from the lower roller, this wall-hanging model – no fittings supplied – supposedly fits the standard sized rolls, but we have come across users who say they cannot find the right size of cling film roll, although the foil is standard fitment. It’s not cheap at a touch under £30, but it’s worth checking out if you want a triple dispenser.
Wrapmaster has a wide range of these devices – we’ve already looked at one above – and this one, the 4500, is intended for use where space is limited. It’s a single-roll dispenser, and can be used for both film and foil, and is not designed for hanging on a wall. It can stand on a bench or be fitted in a drawer should that be an available option. It has hidden blades for safety, and is simple to refill.
However, we came across a repeated problem with this one, and it’s becoming a familiar one: only Wrapmaster rolls – of both foil and film – will work with this design. Some customers have said it does take other makes, but is ‘awkward’ to use unless you buy the special, branded items which – naturally – are far more expensive than the supermarket examples. It’s also quite pricey.
This model is another of the 3-in-1 designs and is by far the most attractive of those we’ve seen so far. It’s designed for foil, film and towels below, is wall-mounted, and you have to supply the fittings yourself. It is good looking – a more sleek design than some of the others – and comes with a patented blade design that is intended to make things easier. However, customers have complained it’s not easy to use – in fact, some say it simply doesn’t work.
When you buy this one, you get with it a roll of film, foil and towels, and it would seem that you need to buy bespoke items for it, too. This is not unusual, but it does mean you might find – like some customers – that it is not suitable for regular rolls from your local supermarket. It’s not the cheapest, but if you want a dispenser that looks decent and you can sort the roll supply, it’s OK.
Emsa 515233 Smart
This rather neatly designed model comes from Emsa, a company with a range of products of this type and similar, and is perhaps the most attractive design so far. Of course, practicality is all when it comes to these items, but if you’re going to hang one in your kitchen – it’s wall mounted although you need to supply your own fixings and also comes in several colours – it might as well look decent, and it’s very sleek.
This one may also be fitted on the inside of a cupboard door, and has a clever sliding cutter so you can choose the size of the film or foil that you need. Many buyers commented on its practicality and ease of use, but some have said it doesn’t cut very well, and it is fiddly to use. These are, we should say, criticisms levelled to some degree at all of these, and we think this one is sensibly priced for a good looking item.
Leifheit Clingfilm Cutter
So far, all the cutters we have reviewed have been designed to be mounted somewhere – either on a wall, in a cupboard or drawer or elsewhere – but this clever device is designed to be portable. It works with film and foil and, rather than cutting the film and taking it where you need it, you take the cutter to the workbench and, holding it in your hand, cut there and then. It’s clever, and a sensible idea where space is short.
Does it work? Many customers have reported this to be an excellent device that does the job it is designed for, but – once again – others have suggested that you need to buy a precise size of roll of film or foil, and that this can be difficult to find. It takes film on rolls up to 33cm wide, and is guaranteed for 3 years, and at the price we think it a great idea for using at barbecues, picnics and other events where you may need one of these.
Kitchen Craft Master Class Dispenser
This stainless steel model from Kitchen Craft, a known brand with many such items across a wide range, is one of the 3-in-1 type, and handles film, foil and towels at the same time. It is perhaps aimed at commercial kitchen use in cafes or restaurants, but would not look out of place in a modern kitchen with its industrial-look metal finish and design. It is not a cheap item, however, so you need to consider it carefully.
This is a wall-mounted model – once again, the fixings are not supplied – that is quite a size, so not for inside a cupboard, and it can handle up to 35cm rolls. The main problem we have with this one – besides the cost which is far more than any of the above – is that while we found a few buyers who liked it, most did not. Complaints amount to it not cutting properly, messing up the rolls inside the unit, and it generally being of poor quality.
ChicWrap Catering Dispenser
We’ll start by saying that this one is certainly intended for catering or restaurant use, rather than a domestic kitchen. Unusually, it’s a wooden device – wrapped in a plastic coating – as opposed to metal or plastic, and it is quite big, chunky and finished in a rather wild scheme picturing kitchen utensils. It’s not designed to be mounted but to be moved around, and has rubber feet to stop it sliding when in use.
This one features a slider button that cuts the film or foil accurately – it can only take one roll at a time – and is substantial, plus the actual cutter is hidden for safety as tends to be the norm with these items. It has simple lift off lid and drop in roll refill system, too. The one downside we have to mention is that it is not cheap; you won’t get much change from £50 with this one, which is considerably more expensive than most of these.
Lakeland Compact Dispenser
Our final example is this compact, portable and hand-held dispenser from the Lakeland brand. It’s simple and designed specifically for clingfilm, and it’s very cheap indeed. All you do is drop the roll in – it takes all types up to 30cm rolls – and pull the film out until you have enough, then drag it down onto the cutting edge. That’s it, there’s nothing over-clever, and no need to worry about fitting it anywhere.
However, here we go again, it would seem many of the supermarket rolls are wider than this dispenser, and the maker wants you to buy its own brand rolls which will either be more expensive or difficult to find. This is not unique to this model, so bear that in mind. At the price – you won’t pay much more than a fiver for one of these – we reckon it’s a great choice for a caravan or camping trip, but might not be ideal at home.
That’s our list of 10 clingfilm dispensers for you, and we think we’ve covered available models very well. Which is for you, and what do you need to consider when you’re choosing one of these? Let’s have a little recap before we give you our verdict.
Important Factors to Consider
The above 10 clingfilm cutters all have one thing in common: complaints about finding the right sized roll in a supermarket. Thus, we advise that you check carefully – in the first instance – whether or not the one you want will use your brand of supermarket roll, or you may find you have to buy more expensive branded rolls from the maker.
The next point to consider is whether you want a 3-in-1 model, or a single roll device. The former are clever and convenient in a very busy kitchen, but are they necessary in a domestic family kitchen? We’re not so sure as they are large and rather ugly, and might only be of interest if you use paper hand towels, clingfilm and tin foil all the time – which is unlikely except in a catering environment.
Then, you need to consider whether you want a mounted model, or a hand-held and – if the former – where you want it mounted. Some can be mounted on walls, others inside cupboard doors or even inside a drawer, while the handheld models you can simply put away when not in use.
The choice is yours and, with one of each type at least on our list, we’re sure there will be one for you, but which one do we recommend? Let’s see if we can wrap this up!
We’re going to give you two options: the first is our choice of 3-in-1 dispenser, and that one would be the Leifheit Parat F2, simply because of those of thus type, it comes across as the most reliable and capable, if not the best looking, and it’s cheap for a 3-in-1 model.
But, overall, we would recommend that for a clingfilm dispenser that can also be used with tin foil, our choice would be the Emsa 515233 Smart. The designers have clearly taken their time with this model – it’s very sleek, very simple and comes in a range of colours – which is something some others have not done, and it combines good looks with practicality and all at a sensible price. It can be mounted on a wall or inside a cupboard or used as a stand-alone device, too.
That’s our selection of clingfilm dispensers for you, and we hope we’ve helped you find the model that is best for your requirements.