Many of us have accidentally grabbed a hot baking pan with our bare hands or bumped an arm against a scorching oven rack. These irritating and painful incidents can result in burns, scars, and ruined meals, but they’re easily avoided by outfitting your kitchen with the best pot holders. The problem is that not all pot holders are created equal, and there are many options from which to choose.
The best pot holders do more than just protect your hands and arms from blistering-hot ovens, boiling pots, and sizzling pans. They’re also comfortable to wear and can even complement your home decor. This guide outlines the key factors to think about when searching for the right pot holders for your kitchen.
- BEST OVERALL: HOMWE Silicone Oven Mitts and Pot Holders
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Rorecay Extra Long Oven Mitts and Pot Holders
- BEST CLASSIC: DII 100% Cotton, Quilted Terry Oven Set
- BEST SINGLE POT HOLDER: OXO Good Grips Silicone Pot Holder
- BEST HANDLE COVER: Amazon Basics Silicone Hot Skillet Handle Cover
- BEST MATS: Q’s INN Silicone Trivet Hot Pot Holders Drying Mat
- BEST GLOVES: Loveuing Kitchen Oven Gloves – Silicone and Cotton
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Pot Holders
There are many different kinds of pot holders, and understanding the differences between them is crucial when searching for the ideal set. Features such as type and design, the material from which it is made, the size and coverage the holder provides, and whether it fits the home’s aesthetic will all likely factor into your selections.
Most households have at least one of the five types of pot holders: traditional pot holders, mats, handle covers, oven mitts, and gloves. Each type serves a specific purpose, but the best way to protect each user’s hands from burning-hot cooking surfaces comes down to personal preference.
- Traditional pot holders are flat and usually have pockets at the top and bottom of one side into which hands slide. Cooks can grip hot pans or handles using the pot holder as a barrier between their hands and the hot surface. They are easy to stack in drawers because they are flat, and they come in myriad styles and colors.
- Mats are made of durable heat-resistant rubber and are multifunctional. Use them to hold a hot pan, as a landing spot to place hot pans, or even as a drying mat for wet dishes.
- Some skillets and pans have metal handles that heat up while they’re on the stove or in the oven. Handle covers make it easy to move, grab, or remove these types of pans. These pot holders slip over a pan’s handle, and because they’re compact, handle covers slip off for storage or cleaning.
- Oven mitts are kitchen staples and come in all sorts of sizes, materials, and colors. While many are heat-resistant fabric, some are constructed of durable rubber that can be washed easily. Many oven mitts extend past the wrist and also protect forearms from heat.
- Gloves are useful tools when using the oven or the grill. For those who need more dexterity than an oven mitt offers, an oven glove protects the hand and wrist but also allows the fingers to move and grip. Depending on the material these gloves are made from, they can sometimes double as dishwashing gloves.
The best pot holders are typically made from cotton, silicone, or both. These materials are heat resistant and provide excellent protection for hands, fingers, and wrists while cooking, baking, or grilling. Cotton is often used as a lining material for silicone mitts or gloves and in the construction of handle holders and mats. Although cotton is a soft, comfortable choice for a pot holder’s interior fabric, it can be hard to clean if used on the pot holder’s exterior shell (think about what pot holders look like after making lasagna).
Silicone is easy to clean and better at protecting the skin from heat, but it can be uncomfortable to wear if there isn’t a cotton (or other fabric) barrier between the silicone holder and one’s hand.
Size and Coverage
The size of a pot holder matters, and that’s particularly true of pot holders that are worn as gloves. Many gloves are fashioned in what is called “one size fits most,” but they may not fit home cooks with particularly small or large hands. For those categories, look for gloves that are made in a variety of sizes, or choose a different style of pot holder.
The amount of skin the pot holder covers is important, too. Some mats are small and just protect the fingers from burns. On the other hand, some protective gloves might go all the way up to the elbow and shield the forearm, hand, and fingers from heat. The latter is an ideal option for those who cook with a grill or a brick oven, where it’s necessary to insert an arm into the heat source to remove, rotate, or monitor the food.
When shopping for a pot holder, there are a few features to look out for that will make the new purchase even more useful. Pot holders with hanging loops, for example, take up zero space in kitchen drawers. Use the loop to hang the mitt, glove, or mat on a wall (or on the refrigerator door) so it’s out of the way but easy to grab when needed.
Grillmasters who need gloves or mitts to wear while operating a charcoal grill or smoker should consider investing in fire-resistant pot holders, which won’t burn if rogue flames rise unexpectedly from the grill. Pot holders that are not fire resistant could catch fire and injure the user.
Comfort and Ease of Use
When baking a cake, the last thing anyone wants is an ill-fitting oven mitt. To prevent accidents or buyer’s remorse, ensure the pot holder under consideration is made with material that’s comfortable to wear and easy to maneuver. If a scratchy glove is distracting while taking a piping-hot lasagna out of the oven, the cook could end up wearing dinner. Find options with comfortable interior fabric, specific sizing for a good fit, and a simple design to ensure it’s easy to use.
Most of the best pot holders can be used for more than just taking things out of the oven or off the stove. Oven mitts or gloves can also be used around the grill—saving fingers from getting barbecued, for example.
Mats can be used for holding handles or baking trays, and they also work as trivets. Trivets are placed between a hot pan and a table to protect the table from being damaged by extreme heat. Users can also use silicone mats to increase grip strength when opening jars with tight lids.
Pot holders are used primarily for safety reasons, but how these items look in the kitchen is also a worthy consideration. Most pot holders come in a wide range of colors or patterns. Consider the kitchen’s style or design, and try to find pot holders that complement it. This is especially important if the holder will hang on the wall in full view within the kitchen rather than being stashed in a drawer.
Our Top Picks
The most important characteristic shared by these top picks for the best pot holders is that they protect fingers, hands, and wrists from blistering burns. Avoid these painful accidents—and perhaps also discover a kitchen accessory that does extra duty—by considering one of these pot holders.
These oven mitts from HOMWE are made with durable silicone plastic and can fit almost any size hand. The mitt covers the entire hand and has a longer sleeve to protect the wrist and arm from heat and steam. A textured pattern in the silicone helps cooks grip slick items, like polished chrome handles or knobs, more easily.
These mitts are flexible and made with food-grade, BPA-free silicone. Because the silicone is also flame retardant, these mitts will also come in handy when grilling outdoors. HOMWE’s set of two oven mitts and two 7-inch by 7-inch silicone mats comes in seven colors, so shoppers are sure to find one that suits their style.
Heat safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, Rorecay’s silicone oven mitts will keep hands protected through almost any cooking endeavor. The mitts are flame resistant, steam resistant, and even waterproof, making it easy for cooks to pluck lobsters and foods out of boiling water without burning fingers. The mitts’ honeycomb grip pattern reduces the risk of dropping hot pots and pans.
The mitts’ lining is made with thick, premium organic cotton, which provides additional comfort and protection from scorching temperatures. Included with the purchase are two round 7-inch trivets and two mini pinch mitts. This mitt set is BPA-free, machine washable, and available in gray, black, or red.
Bakers and cooks looking for a set of old-school pot holders need look no further: These are the classic square-ish pot holders that have been popular for generations. Made of 100 percent cotton, these quilted terry pot holders are machine washable, resist heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and come with a convenient hanging loop.
DII makes them in 27 colors, so it’s easy to find a color to suit almost any kitchen’s design. They measure 7 inches by 7 inches and can be used as pot holders or trivets. These pot holders are sold in sets of three.
OXO is well-known as one of the best cookware brands, offering a dizzying variety of kitchen essentials—including pot holders. This silicone pot holder comes in seven colors: black, eggplant, gray, navy, red, sage, and teal. The OXO Good Grips’ nonslip silicone is heat, flame, stain, and steam resistant, and the inside of the holder is lined with a soft, comfortable fabric that adds an extra layer of insulation.
Measuring 9.75 inches by 7.5 inches, the pot holder has a pocket into which cooks can slip their hands and protect the skin from hot surfaces. These pot holders can also be used as trivets, and a loop makes them easy to hang. These OXO pot holders are also machine washable.
Those who have cast-iron or other skillets that can be used in ovens know how difficult it can be to remove them from the oven without burning a palm or finger. Handle covers like these from Amazon Basics are a simple and easy solution: Slip these silicone covers over a pan’s handle to protect hands from being burned while adjusting or removing pans in the oven.
The high-quality silicone is safe up to 475 degrees Fahrenheit and will fit over most cast-iron skillets’ handles. These covers are available in three colors, including black, blue, and red, and they measure 5.51 inches by 1.93 inches by 0.83 inches. While these skillet handle covers protect cooks from burning themselves on pot handles, cooks may still need to use an oven mitt or pot holder to shield hands and arms from burning-hot oven racks.
Mats are the most versatile types of pot holders, and these from Q’s INN are an excellent option. They’re made with heat-resistant silicone, have a slip-resistant pattern and texture, and are thin and flexible enough for easy grabbing. These mats can be used as trivets, coasters, jar openers, pot holders, garlic peelers, dish-drying mats, spoon holders, and handle covers. They’re easy to clean and won’t stain or absorb odors.
Q’s INN trivets are available in over a dozen colors and are sold in sets of four round or square mats (or in a pack with both round and square mats).
Oven gloves can be stiff and rigid to cook with, but these food-grade silicone gloves by Loveuing are flexible and allow for improved manual dexterity. They are ideal for grilling, baking, canning, washing dishes, and in any other circumstances where long exposures to high heat may injure users’ hands. They are heat resistant up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
The gloves’ lining is soft jersey cotton, and they are available in “one size fits most,” plus small and extra-large options, so shoppers are likely to find a pair that fits. When they get dirty, simply toss them in the dishwasher to get them clean again.
FAQs About Pot Holders
When it comes to protecting one’s hands and fingers from burns, don’t take any chances. Below are some common questions and answers about pot holders.
Q. Are silicone pot holders good?
Yes, silicone is one of the best materials used to make pot holders. It’s durable, long-lasting, and easy to clean.
Q. How do I choose an oven mitt?
Oven mitts should be chosen based on size and material. Those that are made from cotton and silicone are both comfortable and durable. If style is a factor, be sure to also select a mitt that comes in a preferable color or pattern, too.
Q. How long will my pot holders last?
As long as they are never washed, exposed directly to fire, or thrown about the kitchen, pot holders should last many years. Keep an eye out for frayed or burnt fabric on cotton pot holders, and watch out for dry rotting in silicone. If these issues arise, it may be time to replace the pot holder.