Are you looking to replace your ratty oven mitts or upgrade from a dishtowel? We tested 26 of the best heat protection products of 2020 and narrowed the vast number of options down to the top products for specific applications and hand sizes. At first blush, all these products seem to serve the same function and at the same level of performance. However, they vary considerably in insulation, materials, cuff length as well as size and finger configuration. Our expert test team draws on years of culinary experience ranging from professional baking and catering to adventurous home cooking.
The Best Oven Mitts of 2020
The Cuisinart Silicone Oven Mitt boosts multifunctionality. The medium-long cuff prevents oven rack burns and the thick insulation provides a level of heat resistance more than adequate for those who cook or bake with cast iron. The silicon wrapped palm provides an anti-slip grip. Moreover, the fit of the mitt provides an adequate level of sensitivity to easily remove the lid of a dutch oven or latch onto the ears of a pie dish. A thorough inspection of the construction of these gloves showed them to be 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 the fingers as opposed to next to them. The fit is on the bigger side as well, so folks with smaller hands might find them a bit 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 making 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.
These unique oven gloves offer users decent heat protection, superb grip, and dexterity. The LoveU. gloves boast a full silicone exterior, making them easy to clean as they are impervious to water penetration and stain-causing oils, etc. The grippy nature of the silicone is also quite useful for handling the small ears of pie dishes, removing pyrex and cast iron lids as well as cracking hard to open jars. Finally, these gloves offer two size options — one size fits most and L/ XL — a rare feature to be sure.
While these gloves offer users a host of benefits, they are not the best for high heat. When gripping a 500ºF cast iron panhandle, the heat bled through to the tester's hand in ~8 seconds. While the insulation provides enough time to get a hot item from the oven to the stovetop, we would recommend other products if you're frequently baking or cooking at high temperatures. A final concern is the baggy fit of the gloves which may bother some folks. However, the loose fit makes getting these gloves on and off one-handed a cinch.
If you are frequently baking with cast iron or roasting on high heat, the Big Red House mitts provide superior protection for kitchen crucibles. In our insulation test with a 500º F six-pound cast iron pan, testers struggled to maintain their grip long enough for the heat to bleed through. Not only does the cotton insulation provide prolonged protection, the 4 ½" cuffs offer forearm shielding for all but the deepest ovens.
While these mitts have ample heat resistance, they are not the most sensitive for gripping pot lids and the ears of casserole dishes. We also had concerns about the durability of this product as the hook loops tore out under minimal strain. Despite the hook loop issue, the rest of the construction appears to be solid with the main seams being three thread overlock stitching. All said, these mitts' superior heat protection outweighs the need to baby the hook loops.
While we like the length of these mitts, the fit is on the looser side, even for those with large hands, making smaller items a bit tough to grasp. 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 will pose the problem of turning them inside out if you're not careful.
Testers with larger hands were thrilled with the Homemaxs mitts as they fully accommodated their thumbs and forefingers. At the same time, these mitts have good insulation, making them capable of handling red hot cast iron. Despite the thick lining, this mitt provided decent dexterity and was easily slid 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, and if your hands are small to medium, they may be cut a little too big for you. Additionally, we would like to have the option to purchase them separate from the pot holder they come with as the pot holders will be redundant for many people. Aside from these two minor complaints, we were quite pleased with the quality of these simple and effective mitts
The All-Clad Textiles Silicone Oven Mitt is one of the few models we've reviewed that is sold as a single. However, there are plenty of kitchen tasks where one gloved hand is all that is required. With that in mind, this model offers plenty of forearm coverage for reaching into deep or tall 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 flip side, one mitt might not be sufficient for some cooks. 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, making a solid grip around a handle a bit insecure if your thumb isn't fully seated. Thus, the dexterity that the All-Clad allows decreases as one's hand size increases. That said, those with middling hand sizes will find this model to be a good fit 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, the half mitt design does not extend beyond the palm and so they are also easy to get on and off. Second, the "lobster claw" positioning of the thumb underneath the four fingers makes them best suited to pinching tasks. Finally, they take up very little space. All of these features make them perfect for pulling a tiny baking sheet or racks out of a relatively shallow toaster oven.
The neoprene used on the palms of these mitts is fairly grippy, but it is not suited to high heat. In fact, it will melt with prolonged exposure to excessive temperatures. Additionally, the shallow purlicue makes gripping handles difficult to say the least. Despite these shortcomings, these mitts work really well with a toaster oven where a traditional mitt or pot holder would be overkill, eating up precious space in a small kitchen or breakroom. Sometimes, less is more.
While the Semboh gloves offer a great degree of hand movement and sensitivity, they are not the best for ordinary kitchen heat protection. They are, however, a great barbecue or brick oven glove. Why the distinction? These gloves let conductive or direct heat bleed through rapidly. Conversely, they are better suited to convective heat protection where movement of the hands is essential. Hence, these gloves are great for handling barbecue tools and bread peels above and around open flames.
Unfortunately, these gloves have a snug fit in the fingers, which adds to the maneuverability, but makes them difficult to don and doff. Additionally, when the gloves are removed, there is the risk of pulling the liners out because they are not sewn into place. While this isn't a big deal with mitts, the sperate fingers of this model make working the liners back into place quite frustrating. Yet, of all the gloves that we tested, these offered the best forearm protections and the best construction while maintaining comparable insulation to their competitors.
The SWISH ADOBE 1/2 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 and pot or grabbing the edge of a baking sheet or grill. The sacrifice in versatility comes with the benefit of simplicity. These mitts stack one inside the other, they are soft enough to tuck into almost any space for easy access and they can easily be wiped down if they're dirty. Thus they are ideal for a camping kitchen kit.
It could go without saying, but all the benefits that these mitts boast are also detriments when placed outside of their appropriate context. Due to the limited depth of the finger and thumb slots, it is impossible to make a fist, and thus gripping pan handles is out of the question — incidentally, this is why we do not have an "insulation duration" spec for the SWISH. However, if one uses this protective equipment with properly tuned expectations, then they are well worth keeping handy for cooking under the stars.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our crack team of culinary experts consisted of professional baker, former café manager, and professional barista Michelle Powell; certified nutritionist, Paleo chef, and coffee quality control expert Penney Garrett; as well as experimental home baker and cast iron evangelist Nick Miley. This trio has a combined culinary experience of 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 as well as seeking professional insight. With much deliberation, we narrowed the field of candidates to 26 models that we purchased for testing. Our team then devised and implemented simple but telling 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 are they 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 if right around 130º F. Some might be wondering why we heat the pan to such a high temperature? This is the maximum heat used in a home kitchen. For example, when using a dutch oven or pizza stone, the oven is preheated to 500º F.
While 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 of time. In the case of Big Red House it was 41 seconds! If you're holding a 500º F pan for that long, 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 such as 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 they have a superb grip on small edges. However, testers with big hands felt that the improved movement from with the better fitting Homemaxs outweighed the benefit of full silicone palms.
Donning and Doffing
While it is not necessary, it is certainly to your benefit if you can get an 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 is in large part a result of the fit of the product. As such, sizing is key in the selection process. Few of these products offer sizing options, with LoveU. being a notable exception. Our main focus in the sizing analysis is the depth of the purlicue or the space between the thumb and forefinger. We found that if this portion of the glove or mitt is too small, then it creates problems when gripping. The SWISH ADOBE, in particular, suffers in this regard, making gripping almost impossible.
If you have hands that are sized average and below, then most of these mitts are cut for you. However, if your hands are large, 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
Typically we do not comment on the durability of items in our reviews because our testing happens over weeks as opposed to 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. 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. The LoveU. and Semboh gloves also display quality construction, though the latter's hook loop could be better secured. 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