Kitchen tongs are a must-have in any basic kitchen setup; they can be used to turn over food in a pan, extricate pieces of toast from the toaster oven, fish something out of a pot of boiling water, or even reach something on the high shelf of a kitchen cabinet or that's fallen between the counter and fridge.
Here are some tips on choosing the right kitchen tongs:
- Tongs with silicone tips will not scratch nonstick cookware, and also might be better at gripping something slippery, although solid... stainless steel tips (especially ones with "teeth" or fluted edges) can offer a tighter hold on foods.
- Nylon tips are also gentle on nonstick finishes, but they aren't as heat resistant and might melt if left leaning against a hot pot.
- Look for silicone or rubberized grips in the handle as well, which not only can help protect hands if the tongs get hot, but can also make them easier to wield with wet or greasy fingers.
- Spring-loaded tongs, as opposed to those with an X-shaped, scissors-like design, or flexible bent tongs, are more comfortable and easier to maneuver.
- Some spring-loaded tongs have a tab at the top that pulls up to lock the tongs closed for storage; the locking tab sometimes has a hole for hanging from a hook. In some designs, the locking mechanism is even activated simply by turning the tongs upside down.
- Tongs range in size from 6 to 12 inches or more. You'll be able to have more control over shorter tongs, but longer ones are better for using in high-heat cooking as you'll be able to keep your hands further away from the heat. Longer tongs are also safer to use on an outdoor grill. If you have the space and the budget, it's nice to have a long pair and a short pair.
Take a look at the following tong options, there is sure to be an option to fit every need.
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Part of Rachael Ray's popular kitchenware line, this tong set includes a 9-inch and a 12-inch size. Each has silicone heads and handles that can withstand temperatures of up to 500˚F, a tab to lock them closed, and they come in blue, green or orange.
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OXO's Good Grips Locking Tongs have a scalloped edge design on the head that helps grip food without piercing it. They are made of stainless steel, with a soft-grip handle and a tab to lock them in place. They come in a 12-inch size or an extra-long, 16-inch size, and OXO also makes a version with silicone tips.
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Ideal for very precise work or delicate items, like turning individual pieces of bacon or arranging garnishes on a platter of hors d'oeuvres, these Rosle Tongs have skinny, pointed tips that are grooved to help grip food securely. They're 12 inches long and made of stainless steel.
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These versatile tongs can be locked into wide, narrow and closed positions, and the tips have a scalloped side for delicate foods and a toothed side for gripping bigger, sturdier items like steaks. They disassemble for cleaning and are available in 9-inch and 12-inch sizes.