Best Oven Mitts of 2020
The Cuisinart Silicone Oven Mitt is all about multifunctionality. The medium-long cuff wards off oven rack burns and the thick insulation provides a level of heat resistance that's more than adequate for cooking or baking with cast iron. The silicon wrapped palm provides an anti-slip grip. Moreover, the fit of the mitt provides plenty of sensitivity for easily removing the lid of a dutch oven or latching onto the ears of a pie dish. A thorough inspection of the construction of these gloves indicated that they're sturdily built and primed for prolonged, heavy use.
There's not a whole lot to complain about with Cuisinart's mitts. We will say that some people might not like the "lobster claw" design that puts the thumb under rather than next to the fingers. The fit is on the larger side as well, so folks with smaller hands might find them too baggy. Finally, this model is really hard to get on without a free hand unless they're hanging from a hook. That said, the mitts have a big metal ring sewn onto the cuff which makes the described one-handed maneuver possible. All and 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. They boast an exterior completely made of silicone, which makes them easy to clean because they're resistant to liquids or stain-causing oils. The grippy nature of the silicone is also quite useful when handling the small ears of pie dishes, removing pyrex and cast iron lids, or cranking hard to open jars. Finally, these gloves are available in two size options — one size fits most and an L/ XL — a rare feature to be sure.
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 ~8 seconds. Although that level of insulation provides enough time to get a hot item from the oven to the stovetop, if you frequently bake or cook at high temperatures than we would recommend other products over the LoveU.. Finally, we were concerned that the fit might be too baggy for some. The loose fit, however, 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 long enough for the heat to bleed through — more than 40 seconds. Not only does the cotton insulation provide 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. We were also concerned about the durability of this product because it didn't take much for the hook loops for hanging to tear out under minimal strain. Aside from the hook loop issue, the rest of the construction appears to be solid, with the main seams sporting three thread overlock stitches. Overall, these mitts' superior heat protection outweighs the weakness of the hook loops.
Although we like the length of these mitts, even people with larger hands might find that the fit on these gloves is on the looser side. This can make grasping smaller items a bit 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 wet hands can cling to the material and cause them to turn inside out if you're not careful.
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. The hook loop stitching is sturdy, too, unlike many of the other models we have tested.
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, they will probably be cut a little too big for you. Additionally, they come with a potholder that seemed to be a bit redundant, so having the option to purchase them separately would have been nice. Aside from these two minor complaints, we were quite pleased with the quality of these simple and effective mitts.
Out of all the models we reviewed, the All-Clad Textiles Silicone Oven Mitt is one of few that is sold as a single mitt. However, there are plenty of kitchen tasks that 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, some cooks will likely say that one mitt won't be sufficient. Additionally, this model 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 seems to decrease as one's hand size grows. That said, those with medium hand sizes will find this model to be a good fit that's capable of being slid on one-handed from a hook or laying on a countertop.
We found the Cuisinart Neoprene Mini Oven Mitts to be well suited to the specific needs of a toaster oven. First, it's designed as a half mitt that does not extend beyond the palm, so they're 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 has a decent grip, but it is not suited for high heat. With prolonged exposure to excessive temperatures, it will surely melt. Additionally, the shallow purlicue makes gripping handles difficult, to say the least. Despite these shortcomings, these mitts work quite well for a toaster oven where a traditional mitt or potholder would be overkill and occupy precious space in a small kitchen or breakroom. 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 have a snug fit 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, the seperate fingers on these gloves 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 ADOBE 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 only cover the fingers and thumb, leaving the palm and wrist exposed. As such, this model is best for pinching the ears of dishes or grabbing the edge of a baking sheet. 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 they can easily be wiped down if they get dirty. Thus, they are ideal for a camping kitchen kit.
It could go without saying, but all the benefits these mitts supply come with corresponding detriments when used outside their appropriate context. Due to the limited depth of the finger and thumb slots, it is impossible to make a fist, so 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 it 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. This trio has combined culinary experience that extends over 30 years. 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 outside culinary professionals. With much deliberation, we narrowed the field of candidates down to 26 models that we purchased for testing. Our team then devised and implemented simple tests informed by our understanding of the needs and safety concerns of 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. The details of these evaluations, as well as the products that performed well in each, are discussed below.
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 product performance. It should come as no surprise that there is a direct connection between the thickness of the mitt 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. We then pulled the pan out while wearing one of the mitts and timed how long it took for the heat to become uncomfortable — an internal heat of right around 130º F. For those who wonder why we chose to heat the pan to such a high temperature, its because this is the maximum heat generally used in a home kitchen. For example, when using a dutch oven or 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 might be safe to guess 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 include the All-Clad, HOMEWE, and Homemaxs to your shortlist.
Freedom of hand movement is critical for certain cooking tasks such as pinching the ears of dishes, removing lids, and 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. If your thumb and forefinger do not fully seat in the mitt, you will likely have problems — particularly when gripping handles.
The Semboh barbecue gloves have a real advantage in this analysis as they allow the fingers and thumb to move independently. Additionally, the fit of the glove is quite snug, while the deyan and cotton layers are relatively thin. The combination further enhances sensitivity. Despite the LoveU. gloves' roomier fit, they too provided 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 positioning. While we didn't always like the lumpy feel of the full silicone palms of the Cuisinart, we couldn't deny that the grip was superb on small edges. However, testers with big hands felt that the improved movement from the better fitting Homemaxs outweighed the benefit of full silicone palms.
Donning and Doffing
While it's not a necessity, it is certainly to your benefit if you can get a mitt on and off one-handed. Cooking can be involved, and at times there isn't a free hand. Those models with cuffs that are wide, short, or altogether absent have the advantage in this evaluation. In particular, the SWISH ADOBE, 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, this type of use resulted in several hook loops failing during our tests. See "Construction and Durability" for more details on this issue.
As was discussed above, dexterity in a mitt or glove plays a large part in the result of the fit of the product. 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 our sizing analysis, our main focus is the depth of the purlicue or space between the thumb and forefinger. If this portion of the glove or mitt is too small, that's when we noticed there is typically a problem when gripping. In particular, we found this to be the issue with the SWISH ADOBE, it was almost impossible to get a grip.
Most of these mitts are cut for you if you have hands that are average-sized and below. However, if your hands are on the larger side, we recommend you look to the Homemaxs, Cuisinart Silicone for mitts, and the Semboh for gloves. All three of these models have full depth purlicues, allowing the thumb and forefinger to completely 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, we had several of the hook loops sewn into the cuffs of the mitts fail in the course of our review. This led us to methodically analyze the stitching of all the models in this review.
The Cuisinart Silicone, HOMEWE, and Homemax mitts all have sound stitching and solidly secured hook loops. Both the LoveU. and Semboh gloves also display quality construction, though the latter's hook loop could be secured a bit better. Conversely, we were disappointed with the Big Red House mitts as they display shoddy stitching and a hook loop that tore out with the slightest of pressure.
There are dozens of oven mitts on the market today, and it can be confusing 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 26 of the best models. Our analysis reveals which mitts have the best insulation, freedom of movement, fit by hand size, and quality of the construction. As a result of this research, you have all the information needed to make an informed decision without spending all day on the computer. Bon Appétit!
— Nick Miley