Best Pot Holders of 2021
The PratiPad Plus might just be the perfect pot holder. It offers ample insulation, gripping sensitivity, and plenty of useful surface area. This pad is easy to clean and doesn't seem to hold stains. Its honeycomb texture provides excellent grip, and the silicone material easily doubles as a coaster or a hot plate. What's not to like?
We put the PratiPad Plus through the wringer in our evaluation, even attempting to pull the silicone material apart to see if it would rip or tear, and it didn't give. Our only minor complaint is that food is prone to getting stuck in the surface due to the multitude of little pockets. Even still, we rubbed all kinds of food all over the honeycomb exterior and were able to rinse it clean with no difficulty at all.
All-Clad makes a sharp-looking, effective product. Its hourglass shape and silicone ribs make it effortless to use one-handed and easy to grip even the smallest pie dish ears. The holder has more than adequate insulation and heavy stitching that speaks to durability.
While the All-Clad is certainly a capable mitt, it is limited in that there isn't a matching holder for more demanding hot work. Additionally, the holder's cotton fabric will eventually show stains and may require cleaning or laundering. Other than these two issues, we think this is a quality product that looks good enough to hang from your stove or fridge.
This hot handle holder from Amazon Basics has plenty of insulation and lasted for over half a minute in our insulation testing. The insulation was so effective that it became hard to continue holding the heavy, 6-pound cast iron pan used for the test for long enough for the heat to bleed through to our tester's hand. Though this product is ridiculously affordable, it's not cheaply made. Its ⅛-inch thick silicone construction means that it should hold up to use and abuse in a busy kitchen. Additionally, the silicone is oven-safe up to 475º F for recipes with stove-to-oven finishes.Our only complaint about the Amazon Basics is that it has a generic shape that didn't fit any of our pan handles super well. The result is usually space at the end of the sleeve and the flare of the holder not quite meeting the rim of the pan. Fit aside, this product is quite effective, and the multiple color options bring some pizzazz to your stovetop.
We frequently hear from older cooks that they gave up on cast iron cookware because it's just too heavy. The Crucible handle sleeves go a long way towards mitigating the burden of heavy cookware. Having the dependable grip of silicone on both the handle and tab of a combo cooker is helpful for all users, even the brawny baker. Additionally, cutting the weight borne in half by using two hands effectively doubles the insulation duration — a definite plus given this model's moderate thickness.
Compared to the other hot handle holders we tested, the Crucible is a bit lower quality. First off, it is thin and only offers about half the insulation of other silicone models. Additionally, it is not rated for use in the oven, meaning that if you're popping a pan in the oven to finish off a dish, you'll have to make the potentially awkward move of removing the sleeves before closing the oven door. That said, we think that this tool has its place in the right kitchen as sometimes one hand just isn't enough.
The Maison d' Hermine double holder offers users superb hand and forearm protection. The model is easy to hang over a cupboard door or on an oven handle. The construction is of high quality, and the insulation is more than adequate. We also appreciate that this particular style of holder has pockets for the hands to slide into, making it easy to grab cookware while providing complete protection to vulnerable skin.
On the flip side, these holders are large when compared to other models in the class. As a result, if you're using just one hand, the extra material can get in the way. The loose material combined with all-cotton construction increases the likelihood of permanent stains. Concerns aside, we were impressed with the effectiveness of this design when using both hands, as well as the sturdy construction of the product.
While the Lodge Striped hot handle holders are not the best for insulation, they fit a large variety of handle styles and look good to boot. The construction on these sleeves is high-quality and includes thoughtful details like hook loops. This model comes in a two-pack, and the holders are washing machine safe, so you'll always have a clean one when you need it.
Our concerns with these holders are that they are relatively thin, have a loose fit, and are made entirely of cotton. The cotton construction means that they are prone to staining and can't go in the oven. The loose fit just means that they can feel a bit lumpy when gripped, and also means that they slide on and off easily. Overall, we think that these handle sleeves will fit many cooks' needs, and they look nice as well.
This simple and effective holder is one of the few models we reviewed with a hand pocket. This feature, combined with the silicone exterior, makes sliding the OXO on one-handed a breeze. The silicone stripes make for a secure grip, even on smooth Pyrex cookware. As we've come to expect from OXO, the construction is top-notch, as evidenced in the heavy stitching and robust hook loop.
The main problem we see with this model is the white terry cloth insulation inside the pocket. Kitchens can be messy places. As such, we prefer colors that don't easily show stains. Additionally, this model is sold as a single holder, making it more limiting than products sold in a pair or a set. Despite these limitations, this is a quality holder that will fit in nicely in most kitchens.
What sets the Lodge Silicone Handle Holder apart from other hot handle holders is that it is fit to a specific set of pans from the same manufacturer — the keyhole-style handles on Lodge pans 9" and larger. When matched to the appropriate handle, the fit is the best we've seen with any these products. Additionally, it comes in a cornucopia of colors to add a little flair to your kitchen.
While this model is designed for Lodge specifically, it also works well with other pan handles. The knock against this tool is that it's a bit more expensive and a little less insulated than the competition, and it isn't oven-safe. Still, if you're looking for a snug fit for your Lodge keyhole handle, you'll be glad that you went with the Lodge Silicone Handle Holder.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our research team consists of professional baker, barista, and café manager Michelle Powell and obsessive home baker and cast iron crusader Nick Miley. This duo has a collectively culinary background of over 30 years. Whether it's baking quiche for a lazy Sunday brunch or hustling in an artisanal bakery for the weekend rush, these two are overly familiar with kitchen hot work.
This review began with an exhaustive investigation of the pot holder market and what distinguishes this type of heat protection equipment from oven mitts and gloves. We analyzed over 100 products, reading consumer comments as well as seeking industry insight. After much consideration, we culled the candidates to 8 products, purchasing them for in-house testing. Our team then designed and executed basic but revealing tests primed by our knowledge of the safety issues specific to culinary hot work.
Analysis and Test Results
Our analysis incorporates five avenues of investigation that collectively define a quality pot holder. Namely, these are insulation, construction/ durability, and convenience/ versatility. The details of these evaluations and the top-performing products are discussed in detail below.
The insulation metric is an evaluation of the heat protection offered by each product. The Amazon Basics silicone handle holder is far and away the best heat shield in the class. We know this to be the case because we heated an 11-inch, 6-pound cast iron pan to 500º F then grabbed the handle with each holder. We timed how long we could keep the pan elevated before the heat bled through, making our grip uncomfortable — approximately 130º F.
The Amazon Basics holder allowed the tester to grip the cast iron for 38 seconds, long enough that the heavy pan became difficult to keep elevated. For some context, the next closest competitor is the All-Clad holder at 20 seconds. Following on the All-Clad's heels is the Lodge silicone hot handle holder at 17 seconds.
The remaining models all came in around 10 seconds. The exception is the Lodge Striped hot handle holder, which only managed to protect the user for 6 seconds. In the Lodge Striped's defense, this is more than enough insulation for stovetop applications where you are not bearing the full weight of the pan. In contrast, products like the Amazon Basics and the All-Clad are suited for high heat baking and broiling applications.
Convenience is an umbrella term that describes our assessment of the versatility and ease of use of each holder tested. Without question, the PratiPad leads the pack in this assessment, and for good reasons. It can be used in multiple ways — as a hot plate coaster, a hot handle holder, or as a pair for grabbing pie and casserole dishes. The PratiPad's all silicone construction is grippy, and at 7" on a side, will cover even the largest hands. Additionally, the silicone is practically stain-proof; cleaning is as easy as spraying them down in the sink and hanging them to dry.
While certainly not a real competitor with the PradiPad, the Maison d' Hermine double holder is the next best performer. This scarf-like model offers pockets on either end for the hands, thus improving dexterity and grip. They are easy to get on and offer plenty of protection for those working with large and heavy cookware.
Of course, the single-holder models — and to a greater degree, the hot handle holders — offer the least amount of versatility. However, both the All-Clad and the OXO offer a good grip, and the latter provides users with a hand pocket for improved hand movement. Of the hot handle holders, the Crucible tab and handle set provides users with the greatest holding options.
Usually, we do not comment on the durability of products as we do not have data covering the months or years that are needed to make an accurate assessment. However, we observed enough shoddy construction and failure during our test period that we decided to create a separate metric for our findings. Once again, the PratiPad proved to be a boss with its simple but near-indestructible design. The All-Clad also made a solid showing, which is saying a lot because they are much more complicated to manufacture than the PratiPad.
When we assess the manufacturing quality, we take a methodical look at all the stitching, turning the holder inside out if necessary. We perform a knuckle roll test where the seams appear weak, and of course, we use the heck out of them in the course of our testing. If possible, we test any specific marketing claims — for example, the Amazon Basics claims it is oven-safe up to 475º F. In this particular case, the otherwise bomber silicone holder began to smoke, leaving us to conclude that this is only a safety feature and not an intended use.
It should be noted that several products that we tested were found to be too low-quality to warrant a review, so we excluded them. With that in mind, you can rest assured that all the remaining products here reviewed are of a decent quality.
The above article covers the best pot holders for both specific tasks as well as general use. We evaluated each model for its insulation, convenience, and construction. Collectively, these assessments and tests address every aspect of these products that make for a quality pot holder. With the information provided, you have all the details needed to make the right decision on the best holder for your kitchen needs. Bon Appétit.
— Nick Miley