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What style should you get

Whether you use an oven mitt, pot holder, or oven glove to protect yourself from getting burned in the kitchen is mostly a matter of preference. They’ll all do the job, but each style comes with pros and cons. If you’re unsure of which to choose, here’s a rundown of how they compare:

  • Oven mitts can be bulky, but they offer the most skin coverage compared with an oven glove, pot holder, or side towel. Food writer Melissa Clark says she prefers oven mitts over pot holders or side towels because they offer more protection for her forearms when she reaches into an oven. The biggest downside to oven mitts is that it takes more time to slip them on than to grab a pot holder or towel.
  • Pot holders are smaller than oven mitts and won’t protect the back of your hand or your arm. But some of our team members prefer them because they’re easier to grab in a hurry, and are less clunky for little tasks like lifting a pot lid or holding a skillet handle. They can also double as trivets.
  • Oven gloves offer more dexterity than mitts and more protection than pot holders, which is why pie expert and author Kate McDermott prefers them for the delicate task of removing a pie from the oven without accidentally smashing part of the crust. However, no glove is as heat-proof as a good pot holder or oven mitt, and most don’t offer as much forearm coverage as an oven mitt.

Many cooks also like using a kitchen towel to pick up hot pots and pans. You likely already have these in your kitchen, and they’re a great multipurpose item. In our tests, we also found that our top pick for kitchen towels, the Williams Sonoma All Purpose Pantry Towel, allowed us to hold a hot pan for longer than any glove or mitt we tested when folded over three times. Although we appreciate the flexibility of using a kitchen towel, we decided not to include a kitchen towel as one of our picks for a couple of reasons. First, you have to make sure the towel is folded correctly, which takes more time than grabbing a pot holder. An improperly folded towel can lead to burns, or may flop into the open flame of a gas range as you move a pan around. You can also severely burn your hand if the towel is wet—and because you’ll likely also use towels to wipe messes and dry spills when cooking, they’re more likely to be damp than a dedicated mitt. Wet fabric transfers heat much better than dry fabric because the thermal conductivity of water is about 25 times higher than that of air. So when a fabric towel gets wet, as former Wirecutter science editor Leigh Krietsch Boerner put it, “all of a sudden it’s really good at shooting that heat from the pan to your hand.” A wet mitt or pot holder can be dangerous too, but both offer more foolproof protection since you’ll never use them to dry your dishes.


Post time: Jul-26-2022