The Best Tongs Aren't Just an Extra Set of Hands

The grippy, durable OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs are our top pick

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From home cook to professional chef, those who spend time in the kitchen swear that tongs are a must-have utensil—and some may even say they're the one kitchen gadget they can’t live without. As an extension of your hands, tongs are useful for grabbing hot things you can’t touch: You can flip a sizzling steak in a pan, twist pasta to coat it with sauce, or remove things from hot water—to name only a few useful examples.

Tongs generally come in small (6 or 7 inches), medium (9 to 12 inches), and large (12-plus inches) lengths. They're typically built of two handles attached at one end with a spring and have scalloped grippers at the other end. Kitchen tongs can be made out of stainless steel, and some have silicone or nylon tips over the grippers. Most have some closure mechanism for easier storage, either hanging or in a drawer. And finally, people definitely have opinions on what they need in a quality set of tongs.

Based on these considerations, I chose the OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless Steel Locking Tongs. It's easy and comfortable to use, with the perfect amount of spring tension—and it's made of high-quality stainless steel that lasts a long time.

Read on and find out the rest of my picks for the best tongs to add to your arsenal of kitchen equipment.

Best Overall

OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs

4.7
oxo-good-grips-tongs

Amazon

What We Love: Easy to use, good spring tension, durable construction, comfortable grip, locks for easy storage

What We Don't Love: Some say that spring tension gives out over time, tongs sometimes don't lock properly

Thousands of online reviewers (and one of our editors) gave the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Locking Tongs rave reviews, making these some of the most popular tongs on the market. The tongs, which also come in a 9-inch version, are affordable, and several users report them being simple and comfortable to use, with the proper amount of tension in the spring to allow for gripping food items with ease. A pull tab at the end of the handles will lock the tongs closed for easy drawer storage. A hole in the pull tab allows them to be hung if needed. These tongs also come in 9-inch and 16-inch sizes. 

Made of durable, long-lasting stainless steel, OXO Good Grips tongs can withstand very high temperatures, so they're great for turning or flipping items that are being prepared in high heat. These tongs have removable rubber inserts on the handles for easy and comfortable gripping. The tongs are dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.

Price at time of publish: $16

Material: Stainless steel and silicone | Length: 14 x 1 x 2 inches | Weight: 0.4 pounds | Heat Resistance: 500 degrees Fahrenheit | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes

Best Budget

Vollrath Company Utility Tongs

vollrath-tongs

Amazon

What We Love: Heavy-duty, long-lasting construction; comes in a variety of convenient sizes that are good for different uses

What We Don't Love:
No silicone tips, no locking mechanism

Some chefs and home cooks alike prefer tongs that are made from the same type of high-quality materials as is used for medical supplies. Polar Ware, a Vollrath company, makes stainless steel materials for medical and restaurant use. They’re economical yet will last a lifetime. These ones are the budget version of those tongs, made by the same company.

“Tongs are so important in the kitchen! I am not fussy about much, but I am very particular when it comes to tongs. I’m not a fan of the lightweight or silicone ones,” says Chef Virginia Willis, a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author, chef, and Food Network television personality based in Atlanta. “I love the 9.5-inch heavy-duty stainless steel ones you can buy at the restaurant supply store," she says, adding that she also really likes the little 6-inch version of these tongs for traveling.

"The most important thing is the gauge of the metal so that they have some heft behind them and are not flimsy. And the scalloped edges provide a secure grip on the food.” — Chef Virginia Willis, James Beard Award Winner and Cookbook Author

Price at time of publish: $10

Material: Stainless steel | Length: 11.8 x 1.6 x 1.6 | Weight: 2.8 pounds | Heat Resistance: Up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit | Dishwasher-Safe?  Yes

Best Budget, Runner-Up

HOTEC Premium Stainless Steel Locking Tongs with Silicone Tips

hoetc-tongs

Amazon

What We Love: Silicone tips mean these can be used on nonstick pans, can handle heavier items, has good tension, easy to close and store

What We Don't Love: Some reviewers claim that silicone tips began to fall apart after several uses

This set of 9- and 12-inch tongs are sturdy and lightweight, made of high-quality stainless steel and silicone, which can withstand temperatures of almost 500 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re anti-rust and anti-corrosion and can be thrown into the dishwasher for easy cleanup. The handles have silicone grips making holding them comfortable and preventing slippage, and the silicone tips are useful when preparing food in nonstick pans because they won’t scratch the surface like metal tongs would. There is a rubber ring at the top of the tongs that can be pulled to lock the tongs in the closed position or pushed in to unlock it, and in the closed position it can be stored neatly in a drawer or it can be hung by the ring.

Many reviewers like that, with its price hovering around $10, this set of tongs is budget-friendly, and that the locking mechanism keeps tongs from popping open and jamming drawers. They also report that the tongs are sturdy enough to use on heavier items and have a good grip while being lightweight. 

Price at time of publish: $11

Material: Stainless steel and silicone | Length: 13 x 2 x 2 inches and 10 x 2 x 2 inches | Weight: 10.2 ounces | Heat Resistance: up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes

Related: The Best Cooking Utensils

Best Set

Daily Kisn Kitchen Tongs, Set of 3

kitchen-tongs

Amazon

What We Love: Great value for the price, versatile, easy to clean

What We Don't Love: Some say locking mechanism failed, silicone tips are not super durable

This colorful set of tongs received thousands of positive ratings online, with reviewers loving that the three sizes added versatility to their ability to perform tasks in the kitchen. Users also say they can be used to pick up everything from heftier items such as steaks to delicate items like asparagus because they have good tension. 

Many users also appreciate the silicone tips that make cooking in nonstick pans possible. They also highlighted how easily the set cleans up either in the dishwasher or using soap and water, and how great the tools' value is for their price.

Price at time of publish: $10

Material: Stainless steel and silicone | Length: 7, 9, and 12 inches | Weight: 11.2 ounces | Heat Resistance: up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit | Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Related: The Best Kitchen Towels

Best for Barbecue

Weber Precision Grill Tongs

weber-original-tongs

What We Love: Good length for barbecuing, self-closing feature, good amount of tension, sturdy

What We Don't Love: May be too long to fit in a regular kitchen drawer

Tongs that are used for grilling, barbecuing, or any cooking involving an open flame or the extreme heat coming off of a charcoal grill by necessity need to be a few inches longer than the average set of tongs to avoid getting burned. 

“The main things I look for when I select tongs for grilling is the length of the tongs—I want a long ring so the hair on my knuckles won’t burn off over the fire,” says Jason Ganahl, founder of GQue BBQ, barbecue champion, and self-proclaimed maestro of meat, based in Denver. “I also look for sturdiness: I want something that will last for years, not just one or two grilling seasons.”

Among the best features of the tongs, reviewers highlight the length being important, the tongs' teeth providing an excellent grip on the food, and the self-closure mechanism that locks the tongs when you squeeze them closed.

Price at time of publish: $23

Material: Stainless steel | Length: 18 x 1.7 x 2 inches | Weight: 1.4 pounds | Heat Resistance: 480 degrees Fahrenheit | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes

Related: The Best Grill Tongs

Best for Serving

Tenta Stainless Steel Kitchen Tongs

tenta-kitchen-tongs

Amazon

What We Love: Professional look and feel, reviewers say they’re great for buffets and meals

What We Don't Love: Some say these are too lightweight

When it comes to serving, tongs are a useful utensil to have, whether at an informal family meal or an event with a buffet. Though these tongs are designed for serving, many online reviewers report that they also work well when cooking. They’re lightweight and do not have a locking closure or a hinge, making them more aesthetically pleasing than utilitarian, other users say. Still, their high polish finish adds a touch of class.

“These tongs are perfect for serving, and for the price, they're easy to replace if needed,” says Kristin Hazlett, a Denver-based personal chef and recipe developer. “Their size provides versatility, whether you’re plating salads or serving a delicate fish filet. They are easy to clean and just go into the dishwasher after an event.”

Reviewers described using them for events, and that they liked that the tongs are lightweight, easy to handle, easy to clean, and a good size to work with. 

Price at time of publish: $12

Material: Stainless steel | Length: 12 x 1.8 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 0.4 pounds | Heat Resistance: 480 degrees Fahrenheit | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes

Related: The Best Kitchen Shears

Best Mini

Soleader Mini Serving Tongs

soleador-serving-tongs

Amazon

What We Love: Surprisingly effective at gripping small items; users like them for ice, toppings, and appetizers; attractive; long-lasting

What We Don't Love: Mainly decorative

Made from food-grade 340 stainless steel, these small tongs won't corrode or rust—they’re made to last. They’re mirror-polished and thus are a great addition to any bar or serving setup. These tongs have smooth edges and no hinge. Plus, according to reviewers, they're a good weight to hold comfortably and pick up items with ease. Their size is designed for serving small things like sugar cubes, cookies, ice cubes, brownies, slices of cheese or meat from platters, pickles, and shredded items.

Reviewers online gave these tongs mostly positive ratings, saying that they were great for serving and entertaining, and aren't thin and flimsy. Furthermore, users say that the tongs look and feel like a quality item. Purchasers also reported being able to run them through a dishwasher without a problem.

Price at time of publish: $10

Material: Stainless steel | Length: 6.3 x 3.9 x 0.4 inches | Weight: 0.2  pounds | Heat Resistance: Up to 480 degrees Fahreinheit | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes

Related: The Best Placemats

Final Verdict

The OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs were my top choice because of their high-quality, durable construction, as well as their excellent tension and comfortable grip. On a budget? The Vollrath Utility Tongs are a great choice—they're lightweight yet sturdy and come in various convenient sizes.

How We Selected

Rebecca Treon used her extensive knowledge as a busy mom and home cook who purchases kitchen tools for her household, as well as input from her expert sources, to select her top picks for the best tongs. She also factored in customer ratings and reviews and information available from manufacturers. Rebecca's experts were: Chef Virginia Willis, a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and chef; Jason Ganahl, founder of GQue BBQ and barbecue champion; and Kristin Hazlett, a Denver-based personal chef and recipe developer.

What to Look for When Buying Tongs

Material

The majority of tongs we reviewed are made of durable stainless steel, which is long-lasting, versatile, and can withstand high temperatures. Those with silicone tips can also be used for cooking, especially when cooking in a nonstick pan, because they won’t scratch the surface. Both stainless steel and silicone-tipped tongs are food-safe and heat-safe. Using plastic or wooden tongs to cook is not recommended. 

Dishwasher-Safe

Tongs made from stainless steel or silicone are easy to clean because they are dishwasher-safe. Some tongs have removable parts that can be washed separately, but no one wants to waste time cleaning after they spend time cooking, so time-saving benefits, such as ease of cleaning, are a bonus.

Length

Tongs that range from 9 to 12 inches are best for everyday use because they are the most versatile size. There are also smaller tongs that are around 6 inches long, as well as long 17-inch tongs that are used for barbecuing. Another factor to consider is how wide the tongs open in your hand—if it’s too wide, they can be hard to grip. 

Handle

Many cooks appreciate having the silicone padded handles on tongs. They’re removable for cleaning and make gripping the handle easier and more comfortable, but they aren’t necessary. 

Versatility

Tongs are one of the most useful and versatile kitchen utensils a cook can have, because they can be used for turning meat, grabbing, turning pasta, and even serving. They can be made of solely stainless steel or tipped with silicone, both of which are good for withstanding high temperatures. Some have a lock feature that makes storage in a drawer or hanging easy. Some have a feature that clicks closed when you squeeze it. 

FAQs

What are the different types of tongs? 

Tongs can range from those used for serving to those designed for high-heat cooking, such as barbecue. The majority are stainless steel and may have silicone tips, which are designed for use in the kitchen.

Are stainless steel tongs safe? 

Stainless steel is arguably the best material you can use for tongs, because they can withstand high temperatures of up to almost 500 degrees Fahrenheit, are easy to wash, and are durable and rust-and corrosion-resistant. 

What's the best way to clean tongs?

Most tongs can either be cleaned with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.

Can silicone tongs be used for frying?

Silicone tongs can be used for frying, as they are heat- and food-safe. Stainless steel does hold up better because silicone can warp or crack over time and with repeated exposure to high temperatures. Silicone is said to be able to be used in temperatures up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, and most frying temperatures are in the 350-degree range.

Why Trust Simply Recipes?

Rebecca Treon is a freelance writer specializing in food, travel, and lifestyle. Her work has appeared in BBC Travel, Huffington Post, Hemispheres, Thrillist, and many others. She is the Denver and The West Correspondent for Time Out and is currently a book called “Colorado Food Trails.”

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