Best Oven Mitts of 2021
Multifunctionality is the name of the game when it comes to the Cuisinart Silicone Oven Mitt. The medium-long cuff fends off burns from the oven rack, and the thick insulation offers a level of heat resistance that's more than adequate for cooking or baking with cast iron. The silicone-wrapped palm provides an anti-slip grip. Moreover, the mitt's fit provides plenty of sensitivity for easily removing the lid of a dutch oven or latching onto the ears of a pie dish. We thoroughly inspected these gloves' construction and determined that they're sturdily built and primed for prolonged, heavy use.
There were very few causes for complaints with the Cuisinart mitts. Some folks may not love the "lobster claw" design that places the thumb under, rather than next to, the fingers. They're one size fits all and built to accompany larger hands, so those with small hands may find them a bit baggy. Finally, this model is tough to put on without a free hand unless they're hanging from a hook. With that said, the mitts have a big metal ring sewn onto the cuff, which makes the described one-handed maneuver possible. All in all, these mitts will handily dispense with any hot work you and your kitchen can dish out.
The LoveU. gloves are unique oven gloves that offer decent heat protection, superb grip, and delightful dexterity. Their exterior is comprised completely of silicone, making them easy to clean since silicone is naturally resistant to liquids or stain-causing oils. We found these gloves' grippy nature to be quite useful when handling the small ears of pie dishes, removing pyrex and cast iron lids, or cranking open tight jar lids. Finally, these gloves are available in two size options — one size fits most and L/XL — to accommodate a range of users.
While these gloves offer plenty of benefits, they are not the best for high heat. When gripping a 500ºF cast iron panhandle, the heat bled through to our tester's hand in just 8 seconds. That level of insulation provides enough time to get a hot item from the oven to the stovetop. However, if you frequently bake or cook at super high temperatures, we'd recommend other products over the LoveU.. Finally, the fit might be too baggy for some. However, the loose fit makes getting these gloves on and off one-handed a cinch.
If you're frequently baking with cast iron or roasting on high heat, the Big Red House mitts provide superior protection for kitchen crucibles. In an insulation test with a six-pound cast iron pan heated to 500º F, our testers struggled to maintain their grip on the heavy pan for the 41 seconds it took for the heat to bleed through. The cotton insulation not only provides prolonged protection, the 4 ½" cuffs supply forearm shielding for all but the deepest ovens.
While these mitts have ample heat resistance, we found them to be not the most sensitive for gripping pot lids or the ears of casserole dishes. This product's durability also caused concern amongst testers as it only took minimal strain for the hook loops to tear out. Aside from the torn loop issue, the rest of the construction appears solid, with the main seams sporting three-thread overlock stitching. Overall, these mitts' superior heat protection outweighs their shortcomings.
Although we like the length of these mitts, even people with larger hands might find the fit to be a little loose. A baggy fit can make grasping smaller items somewhat tricky. The length of the cuff also makes one-handed donning and doffing a tall order unless they're hanging from a hook. Finally, the lining is not secured, so if you aren't careful, wet hands can cling to the material and cause them to turn inside out.
Testers with larger hands were thrilled with the Homemaxs mitts because they could fully accommodate their thumbs and forefingers. At the same time, these mitts provide good insulation, which makes them capable of handling red hot cast iron. Despite the thick lining, this mitt still supplies decent dexterity and is easy to slide on one-handed when laying on a countertop or hanging from a hook. Unlike many of the other models we have tested, the hook loop stitching is quite sturdy.
The main problem that we found with these mitts is that they only come in one size. So, if your hands are small to medium, the cut will likely be a little too big for you. Additionally, the potholders that come with them are a bit redundant, so having the option to purchase them separately would have been nice — although some may appreciate the bonus items. Overall though, we were quite pleased with the quality of these simple and effective mitts.
The All-Clad Textiles Silicone Oven Mitt is one of few sold as a single mitt out of all the models we reviewed. However, plenty of kitchen tasks only require one glove. With that in mind, this model offers plenty of forearm coverage for reaching into tall or deep ovens. Unlike the mitts with full silicone palms, we found the All-Clad's striped application of this grippy material over the thick cotton insulation to be more comfortable and secure when grasping the handles of heavy pots.
On the other hand, many cooks will tell you that one mitt won't be sufficient in an active kitchen. Posing further restrictions is this model fit which is best suited to small to medium size hands. The purlicue (the space between the thumb and forefinger) is cut fairly shallow, which makes obtaining a solid grip around a handle nearly impossible if your thumb isn't fully seated. Thus, the dexterity of the All-Clad decreases as the size of the user's hands increases. With that said, those with medium-sized hands will find this model to be a good fit while still being able to slide it on/off one-handed.
The Cuisinart Neoprene Mini Oven Mitts are well-suited to the specific needs of a toaster oven. First, these are designed as half mitts (so they do not extend beyond the palm), which makes them easy to get on and off. Second, the "lobster claw" position of the thumb under the four fingers makes them ideal for pinching tasks. Finally, they take up very little space. All of these features make them perfect for pulling a tiny baking sheet or rack out of a relatively shallow toaster oven.
The neoprene used on the palms of these mitts provides a decent grip, but the material is not suited for high heat and will surely melt if exposed to such temperatures for prolonged periods. Additionally, the shallow purlicue makes gripping handles difficult. Despite these shortcomings, these mitts work quite well for a toaster oven where a traditional mitt or potholder would be overkill and consume precious space in a small kitchen or office breakroom. In the case of toaster oven mitts, sometimes less is more.
Although the Semboh gloves offer a great degree of hand movement and sensitivity, they are not the best for ordinary kitchen heat protection. However, we did find them to be a great glove for barbecues or brick ovens. Why the distinction? These gloves allow conductive or direct heat to bleed through rapidly, but they're capable of blocking convective heat while supplying plenty of dexterity. Hence, these gloves are great for handling barbecue tools and bread peels above or around open flames.
These gloves fit snugly in the fingers, which adds to the maneuverability, but it makes them difficult to take on and off. Also, the liners are not sewn into place, so there is the risk of pulling them out when removing your hand. Although this isn't a big deal with mitts, these gloves' separated fingers make working the liners back into place quite frustrating. Yet, of all the gloves that we tested, these offered the best forearm protection and the best construction while providing comparable insulation to their competitors.
The SWISH ABODE half mitts are great for any cooking situation where you need a little protection from hot surfaces but don't need to move heavy items or make a closed hand grip. These "lobster claw" style mitts leave the palm and wrist exposed, only covering the fingers and thumb. As such, this model is best for pinching the ears of dishes or grabbing the edge of a rack. The sacrifice in versatility comes with the benefit of simplicity. These mitts stack one inside the other, they're soft enough to tuck into almost any space, and if they get dirty, they can easily be wiped down. As such, they are ideal for packing into a camping kitchen kit.
All the benefits supplied by these mitts come with corresponding detriments when used outside of their appropriate context. Due to the limited depth of the finger and thumb slots, making a fist is impossible. As such, gripping panhandles is out of the question — incidentally, this is why we could not measure an "insulation duration" spec for the SWISH. However, if one uses this protective equipment with properly set expectations, then they are well worth their cost for cooking under the stars.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our crack team of culinary experts consisted of a professional baker, former café manager, and professional barista Michelle Powell; certified nutritionist, Paleo chef, and coffee quality control expert Penney Garrett; as well as an experimental home baker and cast iron evangelist Nick Miley. Collectively, this trio is well over 30 years of culinary experience. Whether it's roasting chicken under a brick in the tiny oven of a one-bedroom apartment or working in a bustling artisanal bakery, this team knows hot.
This review began with extensive research on the oven mitt market. We looked at dozens of products, reading consumer reviews, and seeking insight from culinary professionals. With much deliberation, we narrowed the field of candidates down for purchase and testing. Our team then devised and implemented simple tests informed by our understanding of the needs and safety concerns of those doing culinary hot work in both home and working kitchens.
Analysis and Test Results
Our review analysis consists of 5 metrics that, when met, make for a high-quality mitt. Specifically, these are dexterity, insulation, donning/doffing, sizing, and construction/durability. Discussed below are the details of these evaluations, as well as the products that performed well in each metric.
Providing a barrier between one's hands and hot objects in the kitchen is the reason that oven mitts exist. Yes, some manufacturers say that their products are good for opening jars or handling a frozen turkey, but who do they think they're fooling? Mitts are for grabbing hot stuff. Given this single but crucial function, we spent the majority of our testing time on this aspect of the product's performance. It should come as no surprise that there is a direct connection between the mitt's thickness and the level of heat protection offered. As such, mitts with robust cotton filling like Big Red House and Cuisinart Silicone do extremely well.
To test insulation, we ran a basic but telling test. We heated an 11" cast iron pan weighing 6 pounds in the oven at 500º F for 30 minutes. Wearing one of the mitts, we then pulled the pan out and timed how long it took for the heat to become uncomfortable — an internal heat of right around 130º F. Why did we choose to heat the pan to such a high temperature? It's because this is the maximum heat generally used in a home kitchen. For example, when using a dutch oven for baking or a pizza stone, the oven is preheated to 500º F.
Although this test paints a very clear picture of the insulation quality and the burn resistance of the materials used in the mitts, top-performing products protected the hand for unrealistically long periods. In the case of Big Red House, it was 41 seconds! If you're holding a 500º F pan for that long, it's fair to say that something has gone wrong. That said, we think that any mitt protecting you for 20 seconds or so at this temperature is more than adequate for home kitchen applications. So, for you bakers out there, you can put the All-Clad, HOMWE, and Homemaxs on your shortlist.
Freedom of hand movement is critical for certain cooking tasks such as pinching the ears of dishes, removing lids as well as working with kitchen utensils like tongs and peels. As such, we donned the mitts and gloves in this review and rated them on ease of executing tasks such as removing the lid of a cast-iron combo cooker, stirring roasted vegetables in a cast iron pan, and gripping the edge of a baking sheet. It should be noted that fit plays a large role in dexterity. You will likely have problems if your thumb and forefinger do not fully seat in the mitt — particularly when gripping handles.
The fingers and thumb move independently on the Semboh barbecue gloves, giving them a real advantage in this analysis. Additionally, the fit of the glove is quite snug while at the same time the deyan and cotton layers are relatively thin. This combination enhances sensitivity. Despite the LoveU. gloves' roomier fit, they too facilitated precise movement.
As for the mitts, the Cuisinart Silicone and, for those with larger hands, the Homemaxs were reasonably sensitive considering their thick insulation and finger position. While we didn't always like the lumpy feel of the full silicone palms of the Cuisinart, there was no denying that the grip was superb on small edges. However, testers with big hands felt that the Homemaxs' better fit outweighed the benefit of full silicone palms in this assessment.
Donning and Doffing
While it's not a necessity, if one can get a mitt on and off one-handed, it is certainly to their benefit. Often when cooking, one just doesn't have a free hand available. Those models with cuffs that are wide, short, or altogether absent have the advantage in this evaluation. In particular, the SWISH ABODE, and to a lesser degree, the Cuisinart Neoprene Mini mitts were a breeze to get on and off. However, that ease comes at the cost of protection to the wrist and forearm.
As for those models with a greater degree of skin coverage, we were quite surprised and impressed with the LoveU.'s performance in this task. This glove's exterior is silicone with a raised texture throughout. This model wants to lay flat on a countertop, and so the grippy texture has maximum contact with the surface it's laying on. Thus, there is plenty of purchase for working your hand through the wide cuff and down into the fingers of the glove. While not quite as easy, the Homemaxs also slides on one-handed with little resistance. Many of the other mitts in this review can be donned one-handed when they are hanging from a hook. However, during our tests, this type of use resulted in several hook loops failing. For more details on this issue, see "Construction and Durability".
As was discussed above, dexterity in a mitt or glove owes itself to the product's fit. Because of this, sizing is key in the selection process. It's rare for products to offer sizing options, with LoveU. being a notable exception. During the sizing analysis, our main focus is on the depth of the purlicue — the space between the thumb and forefinger. If this portion of the glove or mitt is too shallow, that's typically when we noticed a problem with gripping. In particular, we found this to be an issue with the SWISH ABODE.
Most of these mitts are cut for hands that are average-size and below. However, if your hands are on the larger side, we recommend looking at the Homemaxs and Cuisinart Silicone if you want mitts and the Semboh if you want gloves. All three of these models have full depth purlicues, allowing the thumb and forefinger to fully seat.
Construction and Durability
We typically won't comment on the durability of items in our reviews because our testing happens over weeks as opposed to real household scenarios of months or years that would provide the appropriate data to assess the long-term performance of products. However, in the course of our review, we had several of the hook loops sewn into the cuffs of the mitts fail, leading us to methodically analyze the stitching of all the models in this review.
The Cuisinart Silicone, HOMWE, and Homemaxs mitts all have sound stitching and solidly secured hook loops. Quality construction is also displayed on both the LoveU. and Semboh gloves, though the latter's hook loop could be secured a bit better. Conversely, the Big Red House mitts were disappointing as they display shoddy stitching and a hook loop that tore out with the slightest of strain.
With hundreds of oven mitts on the market today, it can be confusing and difficult to suss out which models will best fit your needs. To aid you in this process, we researched dozens of these products, buying and comparatively testing 9 of the best models. Our analysis reveals which mitts have the best insulation, freedom of movement, fit by hand size, and construction quality. As a result of this research, you have all the information needed to make an informed decision without spending all day on the computer. With the time you save, you can test out a new recipe or two. Bon Appétit!
— Nick Miley