A good set of tongs can make cooking safer and easier. 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.
To help you answer these questions, we researched and tested several of the top tongs on the market. These tongs ranged from silicone-tipped tongs and those specifically for grilling to budget sets and wooden ones designed for fishing bread out of toasters. We used each pair of tongs to grill steaks, roast vegetables, and plate noodles, and then rated the products on their ease of use, design, grabbing ability, and more. Read on and learn more about the best tongs to take your cooking (and serving) from amateur cook to top chef status.
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
Edge is a little thick for sliding under certain foods
This pair of tongs by OXO features a silicone head with scalloped edges, making it easy to grab onto food firmly while also being safe for use with nonstick cookware and bakeware. Made of sturdy stainless steel, they're capable of lifting and turning thick pieces of meat without warping or bending. This pair also features silicone grips and a thumb rest so you know where to position your hand for the best grip.
During testing, we noted that the angled head lets you grab food securely without having to squeeze too hard, though the thicker edges of the tong's head made it slightly difficult to slide under a burger patty or pan-seared steak that hasn't fully released from the skillet. Still, it worked well to pull slippery noodles from boiling water and toss vegetables while roasting on a baking tray, offering great control and overall ease of use.
Aside from using them for cooking, they're a good size to use for serving salads or plating up green beans—they're pretty versatile. These are heat-safe to 600 degrees and dishwasher-safe for cleaning, and they feature a lock so you can store them easily.
Price at time of publish: $14
Material: Stainless steel, silicone | Length: 9 inches | Weight: 5.7 ounces | Heat Max: 600 degrees | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes | Number of Pieces: 1
HOT TARGET Set of 3 Tongs
Three different lengths
Might be too flimsy for heavy foods
Don't be fooled by the price tag of these tongs—they're inexpensive, but they work wonderfully. This set includes three pairs: a 7-inch, 9-inch, and 12-inch version, so you have every size you need at a great price point. Each pair has a slightly angled silicone-tipped head that lets you grip without squeezing too hard and a lock to keep them closed for convenient storage.
We used the middle-sized pair to stir fry noodles in a nonstick pan and found them lightweight and easy to maneuver, with no worries about damaging the pan's coating. The smallest pair of tongs was used to pluck pastries from a baking sheet with ease, and the largest pair to flip steak in a cast iron pan. There wasn't much to find wrong with this set, though its lightweight quality could work against it if faced with oversized, heavy cuts of meat like brisket or whole chickens.
All of these tongs are heat-safe up to 600 degrees F. When it's time to clean up, toss them in the dishwasher, and they'll be ready for your next meal. They come in black, red, or multicolor (which can come in handy for avoiding cross-contamination).
Price at time of publish: $10
Material: Stainless steel, silicone | Length: 7, 9, and 12 inches | Weight: 2.2, 4.2, and 4.9 ounces | Heat Max: 600 degrees | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes | Number of Pieces: 3
DRAGONN 12-inch and 9-inch Stainless Kitchen Tongs
Safe for high heat
Easy to clean and store
Can scratch nonstick surfaces
Made primarily of stainless steel, these metal-tipped tongs also have a comfortable silicone grip so you have great control, even when you're working at a distance. The included 12-inch pair is long enough to give you room to flip foods in the pan without worrying about being hit with oil splatter or holding your hand over high heat; the 9-inch pair is the right size for serving food or mixing up a salad.
We like how lightweight these tongs are and used them to sear steaks and pan-fry Korean mandoo while keeping a comfortable distance. The thin edges made it easy to slip underneath the steaks for better grip and to gently pry them off a carbon steel pan if they get a bit stuck. The thumb rests add to the comfort and security of the grip.
Since these are made of metal, they are safe to use on the barbecue grill, but they shouldn't be used with nonstick pans as they might scratch them. They are incredibly easy to clean with a quick run through the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $6
Material: Stainless steel, silicone grip | Length: 9 and 12 inches | Weight: 3.7 ounces/5 ounces | Heat Max: Not specified | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes | Number of Pieces: 2
Best for Barbecue
GRILLHOGS Luxury 16-Inch Barbecue Grill Tongs
Long length great for grilling
Oak panels stay cool
Loop for hanging
Hand wash recommended
Heavy cuts of meat require heavy-duty tongs, and this pair from Grillhogs is up to the task. Made from high-quality stainless steel, the grips are made of smooth, damage-resistant oak wood and keep the tongs cool while you're flipping sausages, vegetables, and chicken wings on the grill.
During testing, we zeroed in on the sturdiness of these tongs, using them to grab an entire roast chicken from its pan without any fear of slippage. The slightly angled heads allowed maximum grip without having to squeeze the tongs too tightly. The 16-inch length of these tongs makes it easy to reach across a large barbecue grill surface or deep into an oven without exposing your hands to too much heat.
We tested the 16-inch version, but these tongs are also available in smaller 9- and 12-inch sizes. All of the sizes feature a pull-tab locking mechanism for storage and a loop to hang them on your grill's tool rack when not in use. Because of the wooden handles, it's best to wash these by hand.
Price at time of publish: $12
Material: Stainless steel, oak wood | Length: 16 inches | Weight: 9.6 ounces | Heat Max: Not specified | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but hand wash recommended | Number of Pieces: 1
Bent handle keeps head off the counter.
Heat-safe to 500 degrees.
Lightweight to prevent hand fatigue.
Might be too light for very heavy cuts of meat.
Click lock takes getting used to.
This uniquely-designed pair of tongs (called "clongs") by Dreamfarm features a bend in the handle that keeps its head elevated off of the countertop and a sharp point and divot that you can use to pierce and separate sausage links while grilling. While most other styles of tongs have a pull tab to lock the pincers closed, this pair uses a click-to-lock mechanism that functions much like a retractable ballpoint pen—simply use your thumb to activate it.
These tongs seemed too light to handle very heavy cuts of meat during testing, but worked well for individual-sized steaks. We also tested them on other typical BBQ foods—pulling corn on the cob from boiling water and transferring roast potatoes to a serving platter—and found them to grip well without feeling too heavy or difficult to keep closed.
We tested the 15-inch pair, but this style of tongs is also available in a 10-inch model, as well as a silicone-tipped version that is safe to use with nonstick cookware. All versions of clongs are heat-safe to 500 degrees and can be cleaned easily in the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $35
Material: Stainless steel | Length: 15.6 inches | Weight: 7.9 ounces | Heat Max: 500 degrees | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes | Number of Pieces: 1
Best for Toast
Laboos Magnetic Bamboo Toaster Tongs
Fits toaster slots
Magnet for hanging
Set of two
Made using sustainable materials
Must be hand-washed
It can be really tempting to use your fingers to fish a piece of toast out of the toaster, but for safety's sake, pick up a pair or two of these toaster tongs instead—you'll thank us later. Made from renewable bamboo, these tongs feature a magnet that allows you to store your tongs on any magnet-friendly surface for easy access.
We appreciated the magnet feature, as the tongs can be stored right on the side of the toaster (or toaster oven). The tongs provided a secure grip when pulling thick pieces of brioche from the oven, as well as when flipping blinis in a frying pan. While they're too small and not really meant for use as full-on cooking utensils, they're great for grabbing breakfast items like pancakes, waffles, and drained strips of bacon.
To keep these in top condition, wash them by hand. These come bundled in a set of two, so you’ll always have one handy for the toaster while using the other to pluck a teabag out of a hot cup of tea.
Price at time of publish: $9
Material: Bamboo | Length: 8.7 inches | Weight: 0.8 ounces | Heat Max: Not specified | Dishwasher-Safe: No | Number of Pieces: 2
The OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Tongs are a versatile set 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, which are built like a pair of spatulas and also function as tongs.
How We Tested
We researched 11 of the best kitchen tongs in multiple categories, looking at bestsellers, market analysis, and customer reviews. Then, we purchased a majority of those tongs—nine, to be exact—and used each set for a variety of kitchen tasks, including grilling steaks, picking up roasted vegetables from a baking tray, pulling noodles from hot water, and plating each of those foods.
We took note of any features that helped with hand grip and fatigue and the tongs' grip, as well as how well they were able to slide under food. We also looked at characteristics that allowed us to use the tongs on various kinds of cooking surfaces or made them easy to clean. All of the tests evaluated the tongs on ease of use, design, grabbing performance, and ease of cleaning.
Other Options We Tested
- Norpro E-Z Grab and Lift Mini Tongs: We liked the idea of these tongs, but upon testing in a home kitchen, we found that they were too specialized to be considered a must-have. Designed with one spatula end and one pronged end, they're primarily meant for lifting waffles from a waffle iron. Although we tried to find other uses for these tongs, they were cumbersome to close since their design has them in the "open" position at all times, and they require quite a bit of grip strength to use (plus, there is no way to close them for compact storage).
- Oneida Raffia Salad Tongs: This classic pair of salad tongs seemed great on paper—they're rust-proof and lightweight, and they feature a scissor-style handle that makes it easy to serve salad with one hand. But during testing, we found the scissor grip to be uncomfortable and the tongs themselves to be on the flimsy side. While still a great value for those who want a pair of metal salad tongs, we decided to leave these off our list.
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 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 can 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 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 and ensure that 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 that 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?
Bernadette Machard de Gramont is an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. After a two-year stint at Williams-Sonoma Headquarters in San Francisco, she now researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools and interviews field experts for their insights. She personally tested nine of the tongs mentioned in this article.
Rebecca Treon updated this piece. A freelance writer who focuses on food, travel, and lifestyle, her work has appeared in BBC Travel, the Huffington Post, Hemispheres, Thrillist, and more. She is the Denver and the West Correspondent for Time Out and is currently writing a book called “Colorado Food Trails.”