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Oven Mitts

Monday, 19 January 2009 | Tags: ,

Oven mitts are insulated mittens for handling hot objects and taking items out of the oven. More and more high-tech options are becoming available, so we find out which mitts can take the heat best without losing a grip on things.

The Basics

  • Traditionally, cotton mittens and quilted pads have been used to protect hands, requiring many layers of insulation to provide good heat resistance. Unfortunately, they are often too thick and don’t provide much dexterity and gripping ability.

  • If you’re considering high-tech alternatives to cotton, choose materials like silicone, neoprene or Kevlar, which all have high levels of heat resistance:

    • Silicone mitts are molded, thin, flexible, rubbery mitts with a ridged palm. They are waterproof, stain-proof, easy to clean (can go in the dishwasher) and should withstand up to 600º F (316ºC). They provide a great sense of touch, and allow you to plunge your hand into a pot of boiling water.

    • Neoprene mitts are the same material as wetsuits and protect up to 500°F (non-continuous contact). They are seamless so can also be used to reach into hot liquids. The fabric is textured, which provides a non-slip grip and increased control. They are stain resistant and can also be washed in the clothes washer or dishwasher.

    • Nomex and Kevlar blend mitts use materials found in body armour (Kevlar) and fire fighter’s gear (Nomex). These materials can withstand up to 500°F and are usually machine washable.

    • Fire-retardant materials like a silicone or Teflon spray can also be applied to a conventional cotton mitt to provide increased protection from high temperatures up to about 200°F

  • If you buy mitts designed as a cotton-synthetic blend, ensure the cloth parts have been treated with heat-resistant and/or flame retardant materials like silicone.

  • Your oven mitts should fit comfortably. It shouldn’t feel clumsy or bulky when handling utensils and pans.

  • Look for mitts that have a size range rather than one-size-fits-all. Women typically have smaller hands than men, and require a smaller mitt for maximum control and dexterity.

  • Mitts designed with a non-slip grip should feel natural when handling cooking tools.

Other Considerations

  • Sleeve length: if you reach in and out of a deep oven frequently, consider mitts with a longer sleeve length to protect your forearms.

  • It’s easy to accidentally dip a mitt into your pot or pan, so make sure your mitts are washable.

TEST CRITERIA

We tested these oven mitts for heat resistance, comfort and usability:

  • Chef Pro (cotton with Teflon coating): $9.99/pair
. .
  • Kitchen Grips (neoprene): $59.98/pair
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Norpro (silicone with cotton lining): $25 each
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Orka (100% silicone): $37.99 each
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Heat Resistance Test

We set each mitt on a grill above a pot of molten metal for 15 seconds and measured the interior heat with a digital, instant-read thermometer.

  • Chef Pro did moderately well

  • Kitchen Grips had the hottest interior temperature

  • Norpro did well and kept the interior at a comfortable temperature.

  • Orka won the test with the coolest interior temperature.

Usage & Comfort Test

We used each of our test mitts for a few days during our regular cooking activities.

  • The Chef Pro mitts didn’t hold up well and ended up with numerous burn marks and small holes in them.

  • The Kitchen Grips did have grip, but they were a bit awkward to use. They were stiff and didn’t bend very well.

  • The Norpro was too large for a woman’s hand, so they weren’t comfortable to wear or use.

  • The Orka mitt provided the best fit and grip of all our test products. It was flexible and comfortable, and easy to manipulate.

OUR TOP PICK

The Orka oven mitt, even though it was the most expensive, proved to be the best mitt for heat resistance, and the most comfortable to use.

 

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