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A good set of tongs can make cooking easier and safer. They’re useful for grabbing hot noodles out of a pot of boiling water, turning food in a hot pan, snagging the lid off a hot pot, or serving foods. And while many people probably have a basic set lying around their kitchen, investing in a new pair to use on nonstick cookware or when barbecuing and serving can make all the difference. Before buying a set of tongs, consider their use. Need to pick up hot and heavy meat? Then you'll want something sturdy. Are you cooking on the grill? A long handle will do.
Here, we round up the best tongs to take your cooking (and serving) from amateur cook to top chef status.
Best Overall: OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Tongs with Silicone Heads
Silicone head won’t damage nonstick
Heat safe to 600 degrees
Some users find them heavy
A silicone head with a scalloped edge makes it easy to grab onto food firmly while also being safe for use with nonstick cookware and bakeware. These tongs are sturdy, so you can lift heavy food (think: a small chicken) without worrying about bending or warping. These are heat-safe to 600 degrees and have a nonslip handle and a comfortable thumb rest, making them ideal for prolonged use. They lock closed for storage and are dishwasher safe for cleaning.
Best Metal-Tipped: DRAGONN 12-inch and 9-inch Stainless Kitchen Tongs
Great for grabbing slippery foods
Safe for high heat
Can scratch nonstick surfaces
While silicone utensils are what you need for use in nonstick cookware, steel-tipped tongs are desirable when you’re dealing with slippery foods; the metal edges can dig into the food and hold on tight. They’re also ideal when you’re cooking in a stainless steel pot or pan, and you want to use the tongs to scrape the bottom of the pan. Although silicone-tipped tongs can handle high heat, you probably don’t want to use them when there’s an open flame, like when you’re cooking on a grill, charring peppers on a gas burner, or flambéing foods.
These have nonslip handles with thumb rests, and the gently raised edges on the grips give you a firm grip on whatever food you’re cooking. These have a large loop for hanging, or you can click to lock them for storage in a drawer. These are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and come in a set of two different lengths.
Best Design: Dreamfarm Clongs
Many colors to choose from
Bent handle keeps head off the counter
Heat-safe to 500 degrees
To open or lock the tongs, you only need one hand to click the button on the end. The click-lock mechanism functions similarly to a retractable ball point pen. The silicone tips are safe for nonstick pans and bakeware, and the tongs are heat-safe to 500 degrees.
The tongs have a bend in the handle, so the top of the tongs will sit upright on your counter. While it’s still possible that liquids can drip onto your counter, at least you’re not putting the working end on the counter and then back into the food.
Some users have noted that they’ve had issues with the locking mechanism, but Dreamfarm has addressed this by redesigning the lock and replacing tongs for customers who’ve had the problems. Any new tongs should be just fine. These are available with silicone parts in two different colors, including red, to add a pop of color to your kitchen. They are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Best for Barbecue: GRILLHOGS Luxury 16-Inch Barbecue Grill Tongs
Long length great for grilling
Oak panels stay cool
Loop for hanging
Should be hand washed
When you’re cooking on the grill, long tongs are ideal for keeping you further away from the heat, which is always a problem when you’re reaching for food on the far side of the grill. These 16-inch tongs have solid oak panels on the handles that stay cool and are comfortable to hold while you’re flipping sausages, vegetables, and chicken wings on the grill. Because of the wooden handles, it's best to wash these by hand.
Best Budget: HOT TARGET Set of 3 Tongs
Set of three
Three different lengths
Can be difficult to clean
If tongs are your gadget of choice around the kitchen, then getting a set of three might be a good idea, so you'll always have a clean option handy. This set of three comes with a pair of 7-, 9-, and 12-inch tongs, all for a bargain price. Use the small tongs to flip omelets, while the larger one is great for flipping hot meats. With a silicone head, these won't scratch your cookware. Plus, they have a locking end for storing. When you're all done, toss them in the dishwasher, and they'll be ready for your next meal.
Best for Toast: laboos Magnetic Bamboo Toaster Tongs
Fits toaster slots
Magnet for hanging
Set of two
Must be hand-washed
When you’re toasting short pieces of bread, sometimes the slices don’t rise far enough above the toaster for a safe and easy grab, resulting in you having to reach into the toaster to retrieve them. Metal tongs aren’t a good choice because they can cause sparks, and most cooking tongs won't fit well into the toaster slot. These bamboo tongs are ideal for reaching into a toaster slot to retrieve toast easily.
They fit neatly into a drawer for storage, but the handy magnet on the hinge end means you can also hang them on a metal toaster, the fridge, or a knife rack. These come bundled in a set of two, so you’ll always have one handy for the toaster while using the other to pick up a tea bag from a hot cup of tea.
Best Mini: Norpro Grip-EZ Grab and Lift Silicone Tongs
Unique size and design
Great for waffles
Use might be limited
Sometimes long tongs are just awkward to use. That’s where these mini tongs really shine. The flat spatula side slides under foods, holding them securely, while the top teeth grab on so the food won’t fall off the spatula on the way to the plate. They’re great for grabbing burgers or sandwiches out of an electric grill or sandwich press or for taking cookies off a cookie sheet. The teeth are also handy for getting waffles out of a waffle iron without risking the waffles falling apart.
The sturdy silicone on these tongs can handle the heat but won’t scratch nonstick surfaces. Cleaning is simple since these are dishwasher safe.
Best Spatula Tongs: WENFEI Spatula Cooking Tongs
Set of two
Slides under burgers and steaks
Not for use with nonstick cookware
When you’ve got burgers on the grill or a steak in a cast iron pan, these spatula tongs are the perfect tool for handling them. Forget poking the meat with a fork or trying to lift it with small-ended spatulas. These spatula tongs get the job done. You can easily slide one side under the meat, as the top spatula holds the food securely to be flipped or plated.
These are great for foods that can fall apart easily, like crab cakes and delicate fish filets, but they're just as handy when grabbing asparagus from a pan or reaching into a hot oven. Each set comes with two spatulas. One is 9 inches long and perfect for kitchen use, and the other is 12 inches long to keep you away from the heat of the grill. Made from stainless steel, they’re rustproof and built to last.
Best Salad Serving: Oneida Raffia 11.5-Inch Stainless Steel Salad Tongs
Stainless steel won't rust or corrode
Some users dislike handle design
These will look good in any salad bowl, whether it’s wood, glass, or ceramic. While they look elegant, they’re very affordable, making them a great choice for everyday use for family meals, too.
The metal won’t tarnish, stain, or corrode, even if you’re using them to serve an acidic Panzanella salad or if they're left sitting in a lemony pasta salad on the buffet. You can either hang them by their handles or store them in a drawer. These are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
The OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Tongs with Silicone Heads (view at Amazon) are a versatile set of tongs that can be used with nonstick cookware and handle high heat. If you're looking for something a little different to round out your cooking utensils, we suggest the WENFEI Spatula Cooking Tongs (view at Amazon), which are built like a pair of spatulas and also function as tongs. Use them on the grill to flip burgers or with delicate food that could potentially fall apart when grabbed with regular tongs.
What to Look for When Buying Tongs
Tongs can be made from a variety of different materials, each with its own pros and cons. Metal can handle high heat, but all-metal tongs aren’t flexible and may damage nonstick cookware. Tongs with silicone or nylon tips are safe for nonstick but may not be able to handle super-high heat. Wooden tongs have their own niche, too. No material is wrong—it just depends on how you use the tongs.
Tongs can be very basic, but to be competitive, companies add features that can be useful—or not. Some tongs can lock closed, some have holes for hanging, and some are built for specific purposes. The truth is that a single set of tongs may not be adequate in the kitchens of serious cooks who may need different styles for several different tasks.
Even the most expensive tongs on our list aren’t budget-breakers, but some tongs are certainly a bargain. For infrequent use, opt for inexpensive tongs. However, for cooks who use tongs every day, extra features and superior durability are more appealing.
Can you use silicone tongs on a grill?
Most silicone cooking tools can withstand high temperatures up to 400 degrees and sometimes higher. With that said, some gas grills get much hotter than that, and putting silicone in contact with an open flame has the potential to melt or burn your silicone-covered tongs. It’s best to err on the side of caution and use metal tongs for your next grilling adventure.
What's the best way to store kitchen tongs?
Storing tongs varies, depending on the style of tongs you have. If your tongs lock together, they can be stored in a drawer with other cooking tools or a countertop utensil holder. Some tongs are designed with hooks at the end to hang from a wall-mounted tool rack. These will ensure your tongs stay in good shape. If your tongs don’t lock together or have a hanging hook, hang them in the open position on the side of a utensil holder or over a wall-mounted toolbar. You can also band them together to fit comfortably in a holder or drawer.
How do you clean tongs?
Most tongs are dishwasher safe and should be washed at a high temperature to thoroughly sanitize them after use. If you don’t have a dishwasher or are using wooden tongs, they can be washed with hot soapy water and a scrubby sponge. Sometimes, due to the shape of some tongs, food bits or cooking grease get lodged into hard-to-reach places in your tongs. If this happens, soak your tongs in hot soapy water for 20 minutes or so, and use a small scrub brush to reach into the tong handles or crevices to clean out any cooking debris.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a food writer, product tester, and cookbook author. Beginning with her mom’s most basic kitchen tongs, Donna has used a wide variety of tongs from many different manufacturers in various styles. From toast tongs and super-long grilling tongs to silicone-tipped tongs, she has used just about every type, and she knows what to look for in a good set.