Best Napkin Holder of 2021
The OXO Good Grips Neat napkin dispenser is the most functional model we tested. It catered to all four napkin sizes we tested, keeping them securely in place. Some napkin dispensers demand a precise dimension from a napkin, but this one allows for versatility. Once you have picked out the napkins of your choice, you don't have to worry about window box fans stealing them away. This product has an innovative pinch mechanism to help keep your napkins in place without making it too hard to pull them out.
Next to some of the other products we tested, the OXO Good Grips Neat napkin dispenser lacks decorative swirls and rustic style. Depending on your aesthetic, you may prefer a different style, but this one would be a good match for a kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Its functionality far exceeded expectations. The only real complaint we had against this product was some glue left from the packaging that we couldn't remove. We thought it might affect the functionality but were pleased to find that it does not, and with a good scrubbing, it should come off.
Although the Barnyard Designs Rustic Wood napkin dispenser held up well against the box fan, without a clipping mechanism to keep the napkins in place, there is no certainty that they will stay put. This product also leaves something to be desired in the durability category. Its wooden frame makes for a charming aesthetic but will undoubtedly break more easily than say, a metal napkin holder. As long as you aren't planning on playing toss or throwing this product against a wall, this napkin dispenser is a beautiful and affordable option for your kitchen table or even your garden on less windy days.
Our critique of Home Basics Scroll Collection napkin dispenser is only that it lacks a clipping mechanism and that sometimes napkins might get caught on its beautiful swirls. Although this product did not seem to need a clipping mechanism to keep all the napkins secure during the fan test, it may not perform so well outside on an especially windy day. We also noticed that when we tried to load the napkin dispenser, sometimes the outermost napkin would get stuck in one of the decorative swirls. However, this napkin holder would work well in almost any other situation and is a great option as it offers artful functionality.
The Saratoga Home Farmhouse napkin dispenser is our favorite model for holding square napkins. It has a nice aesthetic without sacrificing function. The wooden handle that keeps the napkins in place works well, and the notch in the front makes it noticeably easier to grab napkins. The handle isn't too heavy, keeping the napkins in without preventing you from getting them.
Unfortunately, the Saratoga Home Farmhouse napkin dispenser is a little less versatile than some of the other products we tested as it only fits a standard square napkin or smaller. This product is also surprisingly expensive, but perhaps worth it as it does have a classic rustic feel. Despite being limited to square napkins, this napkin holder checks all the boxes and looks good doing it.
The CY Craft Acrylic Guest Towel napkin dispenser is great for rectangular napkins. Its heavier weight means that it won't get bumped around too easily as people reach for napkins, wine, or salt and pepper. It has a unique and modern aesthetic that allows you to keep an eye on when it might need a refill. We were also pleased to see how well it held the napkins in place during our box fan test. The thick plastic walls protected the napkins well. This napkin dispenser also has a notch in the front so that grabbing a napkin is quick and convenient.
Unfortunately, the CY Craft Acrylic Guest Towel napkin dispenser does not have a weight or clip to keep the napkins in place. Without this function, the napkins might blow away with a strong wind. Although the solid plastic walls proved to be effective against our box fan wind generator, outside winds may do a little more damage. However, this is a great product for any indoor setting, such as your kitchen or dining room table, and can be used outside on less windy days.
The Simplehuman Quick Grip is a square napkin dispenser with a clip. This product has an innovative and out-of-the-box design that makes it easier to grab a napkin from any angle, and manages to otherwise keep the napkins in place. This is a great napkin dispenser to place in the center of your kitchen table as it is easy to access from all sides.
Although it is innovative and functional, the Simplehuman Quick Grip napkin dispenser does not have a delicate charm or aesthetic prowess. It is not obtrusively unattractive, rather has a diner feel to it. It also has more moving parts, increasing the chance of problems. The napkin dispenser focuses on function more than form; it does the job well without drawing too much attention to itself.
We did notice that the Artifacts Trading Company Rattan Luncheon napkin dispenser was not the easiest model to grab a napkin out of. Because this product doesn't have a small cut out on the side from which to grab a napkin, it's a little less convenient to grab a napkin quickly. It also only fits square napkins, which can be limiting, and is very light which makes it a little less stable. That being said, it is a beautiful product for square napkins and would be a wonderful and decorative addition to your table.
Unfortunately, the Home Acre Designs Modern Farmhouse napkin dispenser does not have a notch in the side to make it easy to grab a napkin. We found this simple feature can make a world of difference in accessibility. This napkin dispenser is also limited to square napkins. All in all, this is a beautiful, simple, and functional napkin dispenser.
We think the Chez JuJu Gold Towel Caddy is beautiful and fun, but this napkin dispenser was not designed for your garden. When we tested this product with the box fan, it quickly became clear that napkins will fly out of it freely in the wind. When placed next to the fan, the napkins almost instantaneously began lifting out of the towel caddy. This product would be a beautiful addition to your indoor dining set, but we would not recommend taking it outside.
Why You Should Trust Us
Head tester Liv Mertens recognizes the importance of a napkin holder. She and her team have a critical eye for decor and a logical approach to function. When our team sits down to eat, we like to have napkins readily available and preferably tastefully displayed. Whether we are eating outside, inside, or need a tasteful guest towel holder for the bathroom, our team is looking for something practical and classy. We picked out nine of the top napkin dispensers available to test at our own tables. By handling and testing each of the products with our own hands, we were able to gain invaluable insight to pass on to you.
We tried to uncover the best napkin dispenser in every situation, whether that is a napkin dispenser for your garden, your dining room table, or one you can use for both. Our team has carefully taken each priority into account in order to give you a better picture of the products themselves and what to expect as the consumer. We diligently selected the top nine napkins holders to compare against one another, focusing on function, special features, function, and versatility.
Analysis and Test Results
Once we received all nine products, we quickly saw that all of them were made well and did their job in accordance with basic expectations. Deciding which napkin dispensers were the best came down to our testing process. We bought one of every size napkin we could find, set up a box fan, and turned a critical eye on the products. We were working with four different sized napkins: Large square (7.5" x 7.5"), Rectangular (7.75" x 4.5"), Decorative medium square (6.5" x 6.5"), and Small square (5" x 5"). The four different size napkins allowed us to gauge the versatility of each product.
To determine functionality, we considered how easily napkins could be inserted or removed, and their resistance to wind. To test the ease of use portion of the function metric, we simply tried taking napkins out of each product. Although this may seem like a fairly simple test, we did learn a lot. For example, it's easier to grab a napkin if there's a finger notch or if the product holds the napkins in a vertical fashion. The exception to this rule was the Home Basics Scroll Collection. Even though it holds napkins vertically for an easy grab, we noticed that the decorative scrolls would sometimes accidentally catch the outer napkin when it was being loaded up. This was easy enough to fix, but a little annoying and affected the function of the product.
We found that the Simplehuman Quick Grip is the easiest to grab a napkin from because there is access no matter what side you happen to be facing. The products we found difficult to use are those without any notch in the walls, such as the Artifacts Trading Company Rattan Luncheon and the Home Acre Designs Modern Farmhouse napkin dispensers. Both of these products hold the napkins horizontally and do not have finger notches.
We also tested wind resistance. We set up a box fan at the end of a dining room table in hopes of simulating wind — although it is important to keep in mind that wind is much more dynamic than the air coming out of a box fan. In the testing scenario, we place the napkin holders, filled to the brim with napkins, on the table at varying distances from the fan. We were pleasantly surprised to find that all of the napkin dispensers held their own against the box fan except for the Chez JuJu Gold Towel Caddy.
When we were considering special features, we were looking for features that make the product easier to use. The most useful feature was the clipping or weight mechanisms found on the OXO Good Grips Neat, the Saratoga Home Farmhouse, and the Simplehuman Quick Grip napkin dispensers. We found that the clipping mechanisms were a great idea to help keep the napkins in place against the wind or rowdy table guests.
In addition to the useful clipping mechanisms, we also considered aesthetics in special features. If a napkin dispenser can do its job well and look good doing it, it is all that much more desirable. The calculation for aesthetics was admittedly subjective but did follow a general rule. The items that excelled in the aesthetic category were homey and included decorative aspects. We thought the best-looking napkin dispensers were the Barnyard Designs Rustic Wood, the Home Basics Scroll Collection, and the Artifacts Trading Company Rattan Luncheon. Each of these products is not only functional but nice to look at as well.
To evaluate versatility, we tested each of the products against the four different-sized napkins. We found that some napkin dispensers work well with all sizes, while others demand more specific dimensions. Depending on which napkins are available to you or which you prefer to use, versatility could be a make or break factor. The most versatile products were the ones that sit upright, such as the OXO Good Grips Neat, the Barnyard Designs Rustic Wood, and the Home Basics Scroll Collection napkin dispensers. They were also the only models that could house the larger 8.5" by 8" dining napkins.
We put each of these products through rigorous testing in order to discover the strengths and weaknesses of each napkin holder. Whether you like rectangular or square napkins, need your holder to function outside or inside (or both), or if you just want something that looks good, there is a model here for you. By evaluating each of them, we are happy to be able to give you the information you need to make the right decision.
— Liv Mertens