Handheld Graters (Rasps)
Good for: Shredding directly into a bowl or a pot (rasps are much handier than box graters for this task). With only a single (medium to small) hole size, they work well for small quantities of hard cheese or other foods, such as baking chocolate and coconut.
Look for: A handle with a grip that prevents slipping; a large grater plate (more surface area equals less effort).
Tip: If your hand tires, hold the rasp at a 30-degree angle against the counter for leverage. If cheese or chocolate starts to melt in your hand, place the food and the grater in the freezer for a few minutes, then grasp the food with a kitchen towel and continue to work quickly, says Linda Carucci, author of Cooking School Secrets for Real World Cooks (Chronicle Books, $23, amazon.com).
Shown: Microplane Series 35000 Medium Ribbon Grater, $15, microplane.com.