If you want the best pot holders of 2020, look no further. Our culinary experts researched and bought 26 top models for in-house testing. While many kitchen heat protection products look similar, our evaluation illustrates that there are big differences in insulation, quality of constriction, and versatility. So, whether you're looking for silicone pot handle cover for your cast iron, or a pad that doubles as a hot plate coaster, we've got you covered with product specific analysis that will aid you in picking the right product the first time.
The Best Pot Holders of 2020
The PratiPad Plus might be the perfect set of pot holders. These pads offer ample insulation, sensitivity, and plenty of real estate. They are easy to clean and they don't hold stains. They're grippy as all get out and they double as a coaster for a hot plate. What's not to like?
We put these puppies through the wringer in our evaluation, even resorting to trying to pull them apart just to see if they'd give — they didn't. The only detail that we can find to criticize these holders is that the honeycomb pattern offers a lot of little pockets for food to get stuck in. That said, we rubbed these guys with a number of foods and rinsed them out with no difficulty at all.
This hot handle holder has insulation for days, well, over half a minute anyway. Seriously, it was hard to hold-up the 6 lbs cast iron pan used for the test for the amount of time it took for the heat to bleed through to the tester's hand. This product is ridiculously affordable but not cheaply made. Its ⅛ inch thick silicon means it'll hold up in a busy kitchen. Additionally, the silicone is oven-safe up to 475º F for stove to oven finishes recipes.Our only complaint about the Amazon Basics is that it has a generic shape that didn't fit any of our pan handles well. The result is usually space at the end of the sleeve and the flare not meeting the pan rim. Fit aside, this holder is quite effective and the multiple color options give it some pizazz, too.
All-Clad makes a sharp-looking, effective product. The hourglass shape with the silicone ribs makes it easy to grab 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 is made out of cotton that will show stains and require laundering occasionally. Other than these two issues, we think that this is a fine product that looks good enough to hang from the stove or refrigerator.
We frequently hear from older cooks that they gave up on cast iron because it's too heavy. The Crucible handle sleeves go a long way at 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.
In comparison to the other hot handle holders we've looked at, these are a bit lower quality. First off, they are thin and offer about half as much insulation as other silicone models. Additionally, they are not rated for the oven. That means that if you're popping a pan in the oven to finish off a dish then you have to make the awkward move of removing them before closing the 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 like that this particular style of holder has pockets for the hands to slide into as it makes it easy to grab cookware while providing completely protecting vulnerable skin.
On the flip side, these holders are quite big 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 the all-cotton construction increases the likelihood of permanent stains. Despite these concerns, 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 they didn't forget about the hook loops either. They come in a two-pack and are washer machine safe, so you'll always have a clean one when you need it.
Our main concern about these holders is that they are relatively thin, they are entirely made of cotton and they have a loose fit. The cotton means that they are prone to staining and that they can't go in the oven. The loose fits just means that they feel a bit lumpy when gripped though it also means that they slide on and off easily. All and all, we think that these handle sleeves will fit many a cook's 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 secure grips, 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, so it is limited in that way. Despite these limitations, this is a very nice holder that will fit in nicely in most kitchens.
What sets the Lodge ASHH11MPK apart from other hot handle holders is that it is fit to a specific set of pans from the same manufacturer. Namely, the keyhole-style handles on pans 9" and larger. When matched to the appropriate handle, the fit is as good as we've seen with any of the hot handle holders. Additionally, it comes in a cornucopia of colors to add a little flare in your kitchen.
While this model is designed for Lodge specifically, it 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. It isn't oven-safe either. Yet, if it's a snug fit that you want on your Lodge key-hole handle, you'll be glad that you went with the ASHH11MPK.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our research team consisted of barista, professional baker, 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 consutomer comments as well as seeking industry insight. After much consideration, we culled the candidates to 26 products that we bought 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 AmazonBasics silicone hot 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 said pan elevated before the heat bled through, making our grip uncomfortable — approximately 130º F.
The AmazonBasics allowed the tester to hold the cast iron for 38 seconds, long enough to make it hard to keep it elevated. To put that into context, the next closest competitor is the All-Clad holder at 20 seconds. Following on the heels of the All-Clad is the Lodge silicone hot handle holder at 17 seconds.
The remaining models came in around 10 seconds. The exception is the Lodge Stripped hot handle holder which only managed to protect the user for 6 seconds. In the Lodge Stripped'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 AmazonBasics 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 here reviewed. Without question, the PratiPad leads the pack in this assessment and for good reasons. This model can be used in multiple ways such as a hot plate coaster, as a hot handle holder as well as in a pair for grabbing pie and casserole dishes. The PratiPad's all silicone construction is grippy and, at 7" on a side, they 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 they offer plenty of protection for those working with big 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 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 testing of holders 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 very strong showing, which is saying a lot because they are much more complicated to manufacture than the PratiPad.
When we make an assessment of 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 there are specific marketing claims — for example the AmazonBasics claims that it is oven-safe up to 475º F — we test them. In this particular case, the otherwise bomber AmazonBasics began to smoke leaving us to conclude that this is only a safety feature and not an intended use.
It should be noted that we excluded a number of products from this review that we tested and found to be too low of quality to warrant a review. With that in mind, you can rest assured that all the remaining products here reviewed are of a decent quality.
The above article covers 2020's 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