What's Best #1: Pot Holders

This is the first in what I hope is a series of threads. What I’m asking here (and hope to continue for other cooks’ tools) are:

What do you consider the best tool for the job? Why?
Do you have it/them, or do you just covet?
What did you use before, that you stopped using?
Do you consider the item a bargain or a luxury?
How would you improve it?

I’ll go first, but please, anyone feel free to chime in with a WB#2

Pot holders… For something so simple, this is not an easy choice. I’ve had small ones, big ones, leather ones, silicone ones, terry, canvass, Nomex, Kevlar, quilted, waffle. I’ve tried Ov-Gloves, fireman’s gloves, welder’s gloves, slip-on handle sleeves and side towels. Round, square, oblong. Even those weird “Muppet Mouth” silicone grabbers. I can’t say I’ve tried everything, but I’ve tried a lot.

Mostly, the pot holders I’ve tried fail in at least one aspect. I find the silicone ones slippery, and they crack. The leather ones won’t wash, and most fabric ones don’t last if washed [Thank you, Sampson for enabling emphasis]. Gloves and mitts are hard to get on and off, get separated, take up a lot of room, etc. Cheap fabric ones are too small and often too thin.

After making numerous mistakes with pot holders, I’ve settled on the Ritz Royale Collection Pocket Mitt, like these: http://www.amazon.com/Ritz-Royale-Collection-Pocket-2-Piece/dp/B0067HFRM6

I like these better than anything I’ve tried for the following reasons. They’re relatively large, the terry is rugged and durable, and it’s double-thick. I use them mostly as a conventional potholder, but they’re thick enough to also use as a mitt. They’re presentable at table as trivets. They wash up beautifully without much fading. They’re sold in a wide variety of sensible colors (I like the beige and black). The hang loop is not a joke like on most pot holders, and I’ve never had any stitching/piping come loose. Strangely enough, I also find them to be quite scorch-resistant–I have dropped them onto active electric oven coils with surprisingly little damage. Some smart designer also offset the entry into the “mitt”, so you can slip it on one-handed.

At $6 apiece, considering their functionality, ergonomics and durability, I think these are a steal and a luxury.

The only improvement I can think of would be to lengthen the “mitt” length dimension by another inch; this would help protect cooks’ wrists when reaching deep into an oven.

So… what pot holders do y’all like?


Sampson, how do I add photos?

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I’m an oven mitt kind of gal, and always go with the terrycloth outside/heat resistant silver lining inside, like these:


But they are harder and harder to find (at least in the color I want). Used to be able to find them on occasion at Sur la Table, but not sure if they still have them.

I’ve been sorely disappointed in every silicone potholder. They never seem to protect as well as they’re supposed to. Lately I’ve been using basic Crew Ware potholders–terry on one side, smooth on the other–that I bought at a local kitchen supply store. They seem to work fairly well if I’m not hanging on to something hot for a longer period of time.

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Hi, Linda:

Maybe my hands are too big–I’ve never found one of the resto mitts that I can get into/out of easily. I do use XL firemans’ gauntlets for BBQ…


Those are almost identical to the ones I’ve been buying for years from Williams Sonoma. Love them.

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I probably don’t use pot holders enough to feel the difference, or that I have never had a pot holder which is much better than others. They seem to be about the same to me.

  1. The best pot holder is the one which can a) insulate heat and b) securely grab the item (not slippy).
  2. I have a few pot holder, but sometime I just use kitchen towel. For example, I actually like to use a towel for my wok and fry pans instead of a pot holder. For bakweare, I like to use pot holders.
  3. I think I always have used pot holder.
  4. I consider my pot holder to be neither bargain or luxury
  5. All my pot holders seem to be ok, but better heat insulation will make them better.

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Ha ha ha

There we go! (And Ck, I’ve always loved your avatar!)

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Yep, those are the ones I like best too. Mine are at least 6 years old and in pretty good shape despite constant use. Wouldn’t hurt to get a couple more though so thanks for the link.

The towel hanging on the oven door is my favorite, because I can find it - and
it seems to find it’s way home by itself.

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I hate the feel and effort it takes to put on any kind of mitt, though I could go with a pot holder like Kaleo’s. But I’d be mortified to show you the two I use almost exclusively, made for me for a buck or two by two very young girls, maybe 6 y.o. in colors I chose (purple with green); custom, bitches! :wink:

Seriously, I’ve had them and used them for over 25 years, from their little square metal loom to my kitchen. Huge sentimental value. They’re lookin’ a tad worn, but still intact and do the job.

No potholders in our house. A few years ago I threw them all out. I found I was just always reaching for the tea towel. The pot holders were clunky and I never felt like I had a good grip on things. They were taking up valuable real estate in my kitchen and were never used. So out they went.

I have one of those, but most often use a different Ritz mitt: http://www.amazon.com/Ritz-Royale-Collection-Black-4-Piece/dp/B0067HFRCQ/ref=sr_1_12?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1443162108&sr=1-12&keywords=ritz+oven+mitt It is smaller but works for me for most purposes. I too have the “muppet mouth” one, which has not degraded, but which hasn’t protected the heel of my hand well enough when used on a cast iron pan handle. The silicone type that slides on as a sheath over pan handles is better for that. It does get hot if left on the pan, but mine is red so it’s a good reminder that the handle may still be too hot to handle (pun intended). I also have a terry mitt, which might also be a Ritz produce, that is good protection, but 8 times out of ten I use the smaller Ritz mitt in my link.

Great minds, kaleo. After years of experimentation and trying every new thing out there, this is what I use as well. I love that they protect the back of my hands (for preventing oven-rack burns) and that they’re easy to get on and off. I don’t care that they don’t last all that long since they’re not very expensive and I like being able to toss them in the laundry. Hated silicone in all forms; hated mitts. I’m done thinking there’s anything better out there. These are it for me.

I seem to get emotionally involved with pot holders. My mother did too. I think she was still using a “braided” potholder I made for her on one of those little square “looms” when I was in 5th grade when she died of old age! Up until a couple of months ago when a friend who knows full well what a coffee freak I am gifted me with a mitt/potholder set with a coffee mug design, my “newest” potholders are maybe a decade old?. I usually get them at Walmart. The ancient set has “French Chefs” on them and have a few burns on them as well, but I keep using them. Hey, they have character! Absolutely NOT interested in silicone oven mitts or pot holders.

HOWEVER…!!! Here’s a don’t-burn-yourself-in-the-kitchen gadget that I do use and love!

I bought mine way back when the company was brand new. In other words, they are probably close to a decade old maybe. If you’re like me and often burn yourself putting things into or taking them out of the oven by making unintended contact with the flesh-searing oven racks, these are fabulous! Worth 400 times their weight in pot holders!

I have two black Ultramitts in cool designs–one with jalapenos, the other is a print of assorted kitchen tools. I purchased them a few years back from a now-defunct local kitchen store. Cotton outside with silicone in the grabby part, machine washable. No worries about these wearing thin and burning myself as I have with previous mitts. Plus, and this is important, I love how they look! They go nicely with my sunroom decor. :smile_cat:


I bought this silicone pot holder a couple years ago and it has become my favorite.

Very cool! Would be even more so if it had a fin on top as it looks like Jaws to me. :smile_cat:

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo