The top kitchen tongs

A good pair of tongs is integral to the cooking process. After all, you can’t grab a piping-hot chicken breast or remove pasta from boiling water with your bare hands. It’s also inconvenient to handle raw beef patties and then repeatedly wash your hands. Plus, some tasks, such as precision plating, simply require more than your bare fingers.

There are specific varieties of tongs that help with each of those tasks. Who knew that there were so many different kinds of tongs? Many are made from metal, but some have non-marking silicone tips and others are made entirely from wood. Before you make your decision, here are a few things to consider. 

What to look for when buying tongs

Material

Steel tongs are the most resilient, and you’ll find a large collection of all-metal tongs in any restaurant kitchen. Restaurants use them because the metal construction can withstand repeated trips through a high-temperature commercial dishwasher.

Most cooks prefer metal tongs with silicone accents for home use because of the added grip. Aside from grip, many tongs have silicone tips that won’t scratch even the most delicate surfaces.

There are also some tongs made of wood. These aren’t usually used for cooking but for more delicate tasks such as removing waffles from waffle makers or toast from toasters because they can’t handle much heat.

Finally, you may run into some plastic buffet tongs in your search, but their low cost and minimal advantage aren’t worth worrying about unless you’re looking for budget-friendly options and aren’t as concerned with longevity.

Locking and spring-loaded hinges

You almost certainly want tongs with spring-loaded hinges. In fact, most cooks will toss a pair of tongs in the trash once the spring breaks. Manually reopening tongs every time you use them is basically an impossible task.

Some tongs consist of just a single piece of metal that acts as a combined hinge and spring. These are usually reserved for handling pasta and salads and aren’t that great for cooking hot food.

Locking hinges make it considerably easier to store tongs, whether in a drawer or hanging on the wall. They typically use a simple mechanism to lock in a closed position. All you have to do is push gently on the tongs’ hanging ring, and they should open smoothly.

Length

For most tasks, 9 to 12 inches is the right size of tongs. Longer is better if you’re barbecuing, and you can even find some great 16-inch options to ensure the grill doesn’t burn you.

You’ll also find some especially short tongs in the range of 4 to 5 inches long. These are usually meant for special purposes, such as waffles and toast.

Kitchen tongs FAQ

Why do cooks click tongs before using them?

A. Often referred to as a “test click,” this is a common phenomenon you can observe in likely every professional kitchen worldwide. No one really knows where this tradition started, but many seasoned cooks simply aren’t comfortable using a pair of tongs until they’ve clicked them together once or twice. Once you try it, you’ll understand.

Are metal tongs safe for cast iron?

A. As long as you use a little care, metal tongs shouldn’t scratch a properly seasoned cast-iron pan. In this context, seasoning doesn’t have anything to do with salt or herbs, but instead the layer of plasticized oil that gives cast iron its decent nonstick properties. A good seasoning layer will be resilient enough to resist minor scratches, so long as you don’t put too much force behind them. Nonetheless, it can’t hurt to use silicone-tipped tongs to ensure you preserve the cast iron’s seasoning.

Best kitchen tongs

Oxo Good Grips

Oxo Good Grips

They come in 9- and 12-inch versions, have silicone tips and grips and are about as sturdy as they get. 

Sold by Amazon and Sur La Table

Grillhogs Barbecue Tongs

Grillhogs Barbecue Tongs

They measure 16 inches long with serrated and perforated tips that help you get a reliable hold on the juiciest burgers, hotdogs and more. 

Sold by Amazon

Amazon Basics Stainless Steel

Amazon Basics Stainless Steel

They sport silicone grips and a reliable locking mechanism, in addition to standard metal jaws that make it easy to grab slippery foods. 

Sold by Amazon

Oxo Good Grips Spatula Tongs

Oxo Good Grips Spatula Tongs

A little different than most, these have flat and somewhat flexible spatula-style jaws that are perfect for removing sandwiches from nonstick grills and flipping delicate foods such as fish fillets. 

Sold by Amazon

Dreamfarm Clongs

Dreamfarm Clongs

These novel barbecue tongs have an angled section that lets them stand angled upward, so they don’t get dirty every time you put them down. There’s also a convenient cutting edge that lets you slice into meats on the grill to get an idea of how done they are. 

Sold by Amazon

Laboos Magnetic Bamboo Tongs

Laboos Magnetic Bamboo Tongs

It’s a good habit to avoid using metal or silicone tongs around electric heating elements. These low-cost bamboo tongs are perfect for pulling delicate foods out of toasters and toaster ovens. 

Sold by Amazon

Allwin Kitchen Tongs

Allwin Kitchen Tongs

This two-pack of silicone-tipped locking tongs comes in various colors to match your kitchen decor. 

Sold by Amazon

Wenfei Spatula Tongs

Wenfei Spatula Tongs

The flat, rigid tips are great for grilling tasks such as flipping burgers without breaking them. 

Sold by Amazon

 

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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