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If you’re reaching for folded up dish towels to handle the hot stuff in your kitchen, it’s time to consider new and safer options. You need better gear to protect yourself from molten hot pizza stones, fajita-sizzling cast iron, scorching splashes of boiling pasta water, and chili-filled Dutch ovens that weigh a ton. There’s a pot holder or oven mitt out there that will match your kitchen, feel comfortable in your hand, and keep you free from burns. Here are the best ones.
Best Overall Oven Mitts: HOMWE Extra Long Professional Silicone Oven Mitt
Cover hands and lower arms
Textured for more secure grip
Thinner and flexible
Keep lining dry to avoid heat transfer
Many modern oven mitts incorporate silicone into their design. This can result in thick, bulky, and hard-to-maneuver mitts. These mitts, on the other hand, are thinner and more flexible than you’d expect. They give you all the dexterity you want in the kitchen. They’re lightweight and stand up to heavy use.
The lightly patterned surface makes them exceptionally grippy. The design offers ample coverage to protect your arms as well as your hands from the heat of the oven and hot pots and pans. If you’re in camp mitt, this pair is sure to exceed your expectations.
Best Overall Pot Holders: Ritz Royale Collection 100% Cotton Terry Cloth Pot Holder
Eight color choices
Easy to wash
May need to be replaced quickly
Less safe with heavier pots and pans
The trend in pot holders and oven mitts alike has been toward higher-tech materials and novel designs in recent years, but traditionalists will love this old-school pot holder. It will likely remind you of the ones your grandmother has used since before you were born.
Fluffy terry cloth provides better heat protection than flat fabrics. It conforms easily to pot handles when you grab them, leaving heavy, hot items feeling secure in your grasp. Yet, it isn’t flimsy—the terry cloth can stand up to cast iron skillets that have been roasting in a 500-degree oven. When this pot holder gets grimy, just toss it in the washer and dryer. Another bonus? The timeless, no-frill square will also double as a trivet.
Best Silicone: OXO Good Grips Silicone Pot Holder
Pot holder/mitt combo design
Textured non-slip silicone grip
Sold individually, not as a set
This pot holder is more comfortable to hold than many others made from silicone. It’s also surprisingly agile in your hand. A silicone ring is attached for easy hanging, and although you can’t toss it in the washing machine, it wipes up very easily after splatters or spills.
The OXO Good Grips Silicone Pot Holder is available in neutral white and black as well as cherry red, should you want a pop of color for your kitchen. Like other pot holders of this style, it can serve as a trivet at the table.
Best Hybrid Pot Holder/Oven Mitt: Ritz Royale Terry Cloth Mitz
Pot holder/mitt combo design
Attractive color choices
Sold in set of 4
May not fit larger hands comfortably
Can’t decide between pot holders and oven mitts? This design offers a best-of-both-worlds quality, straddling the oven mitt/pot holder divide. It's easier to maneuver than the typical oven mitt, yet it offers more coverage than your standard pot holder. It's also a snap to put on and off. Made from sturdy cotton and terry cloth, it can go into your washer and dryer.
Best for Large Hands: Big Red House Oven Mitts
Thick cotton mitts with silicone grip
Fits large and small hands
Safer for extra hot and heavy items
Silicone may peel off in washing machine
These mitts fit comfortably over big hands thanks to a spacious interior. They were designed by a chef who knows what home cooks want in their oven mitts. Even though there’s plenty of space for meaty paws, they are also comfortable for smaller hands as well, making them a good choice in multi-cook households.
They have a good combo of silicone and cotton, so they're easy to maneuver while still being great for grabbing hot items, like steamy dinner casseroles. The terry cloth lining makes them comfy to wear and even more heat resistant.
Best for Small Hands: Le Creuset Fingertip Pot Holders
Teflon-coated nylon resists steam and grease
Safe for machine washing
Doesn't cover wrists or arms
While oven mitts built to accommodate larger hands can be beneficial for many cooks, they may be unwieldy and difficult to use for smaller hands. The entire grip is taken up by holding onto the glove itself, and it’s hard to get a grip on the pot or pan you’re trying to move. These smaller potholders have pockets on the top and the bottom for fingers to slide into above and a thumb pocket below for a more natural grip. The potholders maintain heat resistance with Teflon-coated nylon, lined with a thick cotton terry cloth padding. Measuring eight inches long and five inches wide, these potholders are built to fit snugly in the palm of your hand.
Best With Fingers: Grill Armor Gloves Extreme Heat Resistant Oven Gloves
Extremely high heat resistant
Glove shaped instead of mitts
Cuffs for wrist and lower arm protection
Light fabric color shows stains easily
Thick and sturdy, but lightweight, these oven gloves will let your fingers feel free. The surface is trimmed with silicone grips to keep pot handles and utensils firmly in hand. You can confidently reach into your hot oven and move things around without worrying about burns.
The cuff means your wrists will be protected as well. If you’ve ever felt like a traditional oven mitt hinders your freedom of movement and ability to grab hot cookware, these are just what you’ve been looking for. Remember, like most oven mitts and pot holders, these aren’t waterproof, and if they get wet, you’re more likely to get burned.
Best Farmhouse Style: Food52 x Farmhouse Pottery Double Oven Mitt
Beautiful cotton and linen patterns
Attractive farmhouse aesthetic and storage
Covers arms and torso from heat
More expensive option
Difficult for turning large sheet trays
These are oven mitts that function like one very long pot holder with deep mitts at each end. While not the most contemporary style, these cotton-insulated oven mitts are styled with a classic farmhouse design and beautiful cotton and linen fabrics. The pockets are large enough for nearly all hand sizes, and the connecting material is large enough to wrap around large stock pots to protect both your arms and torso from the heat. For storage, the potholders can either be laid flat or hung over the oven door handle for quick access while cooking. The oven mitts can be machine washed, but it’s recommended that they lay flat to dry to avoid shrinking.
If you're in the market for an oven mitt, we recommend the HOMWE Extra Long Professional Silicone Oven Mitt because it's lightweight and flexible, but stands up to heat and heavy use. As for a pot holder, the Ritz Royale Collection 100 Percent Cotton Terry Cloth Pot Holder is a nostalgic, machine-washable option that ensures better heat protection than flat fabrics.
What to Look for When Buying a Pot Holder or Oven Mitt
Pot Holder vs. Oven mitt
People tend to prefer either a pot holder or an oven mitt when cooking, based mainly on what feels most comfortable to use with a secure grip. For some people who like the ease of kitchen towels but find they need more insulation, a traditional pot holder is a rational choice. For those who find themselves getting singed going in and out of the oven or pouring sauce out of a pot, an oven mitt is the safer option. The decision ultimately depends on how much protection you’re looking for and what feels the most secure. Also, it’s a good idea to keep both handy for different situations so that you’re covered.
Traditionally, pot holders and oven mitts are made with cotton, either in one thick layer of terry cloth or quilted. This is how many options today are still made. A more contemporary option is silicone, used for its slip-resistant grip, water and grease resistance, and high heat capacity. Typically silicone gloves are lined with cotton for additional protection, or thicker cotton mitts and holders have a silicone coating. Additionally, some mitts are made with materials like Teflon-coated nylon to provide a thick layer of protection that helps resist steam and oil.
There is no wrong option when it comes to material. The most important thing to remember when using gloves made of any material is that they should be kept dry. If they get damp or wet while you’re using them, their heat resistance is severely diminished, and you risk getting burnt through your mitt.
As a general rule, oven mitts provide more hand and wrist coverage than pot holders alone. Oven mitts come in different lengths, which you should consider if you’re prone to burning yourself while cooking. Pot holders fit in the palm of your hand, but can also provide extra coverage with pockets for fingers.
Most oven mitts and pot holders are safe to clean in the washing machine, although care should be taken when drying. Since most are made with cotton components, they have the potential to shrink in the dryer, and line drying is the safest option. Realize that your mitts will likely stain and get burnt over time, which will never entirely wash out. The sturdier the holder you begin with, the longer it should last.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Joy Manning is a food writer and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in many publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post. She’s the author of "Almost Meatless" and "Stuff Every Cook Should Know."
This roundup was updated by Jenny Kellerhals, a food writer and professional pastry chef for over a decade in NYC. Oven mitts that resist steam and oil are an essential part of every pastry kitchen, and Jenny prefers the OXO Good Grips Pot Holders or the Le Creuset Fingertip Pot Holders for daily use.