Oven mitts fall under the category of kitchen products that are entirely unsexy but utterly essential. Sure, they don’t have the wow factor of a sleek stand mixer, but oven mitts perform an arguably more important function: Protecting your hands from painful burns. And our favorite Big Red House Oven Mitts(available at Amazon for $13.99) protect your hands better than most.
Whether you’re an occasional baker or experienced chef, your oven mitts are the sole protective layer between your sensitive fingers and a brutally hot pan—which means that mediocre quality really isn’t going to cut it. That’s why we tested eight of the top mitts on the market to find out which ones could actually handle the heat.
We held onto hot trays, moved scalding oven racks, and picked up kitchen utensils, paying careful attention to things like how quickly heat moved through each glove to our hands, general comfort, and whether we were still able to perform simple kitchen tasks while wearing each mitt. And after a comprehensive workup, we finally found an oven mitt that just plain protects our hands without getting in the way. Perfect.
These are the best oven mitts we tested ranked, in order:
Big Red House Oven Mitts
Homwe Silicone Oven Mitts
Grill Armor Gloves
Cuisinart Oven Mitts with Non-Slip Silicone Grip
The 'Ove Glove' Hot Surface Handler
San Jamar Cool Touch Flame Mitts
Mastrad Orka Kitchen Silicone Mitt
Williams Sonoma Oven Mitt
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Sometimes a product just gets everything right—and the Big Red House mitts get everything right. I hardly would’ve expected a layered cotton mitt to hold its own against silicone and Teflon varieties, but they're the only ones that protected my hands for more than four minutes while I held a baking sheet straight from a 450°F oven. In comparison, the runner-up for that test was only comfortable for just over one minute.
The heat protection is surely the most important thing, but there’s more to like about the Big Red House mitts. They’re nice-looking (simple and classic) and lined with soft, comfortable terry cloth. Silicone striping helps with grip. They don’t dwarf my woman-sized hands, which I really appreciate, but they aren’t so small that my male roommate couldn't comfortably wear them (I had him try them on too). I found it easy to shift a hot oven rack while wearing them, though picking up spoons in my gloved hands proved slightly more difficult. Finally, at $13 a pair, they’re an excellent bargain.
If you’d rather grab a pair of silicone mitts than stick with plain old cotton, Homwe’s offering is probably your best bet. I was able to hold a hot tray for almost a minute before the heat began to feel painful, and my hands were really comfortable inside the mitts, which are lined with soft fabric. A downside is that these mitts were way too big for me (and even too big for my male friend, whose hands are much larger), but unlike some of the bulkier mitts, these are thin enough that I was still able to maintain the necessary control to grab utensils, stir a pot, and take a cookie sheet out of the oven. That said, if you have small or medium-sized hands, you might find the size annoying.
The gloves are especially long, which means they protect your forearms in addition to your hands and wrists, a nice design choice.
Hi, I’m Kori. I used to be a Home and Outdoors Editor at Reviewed, which means I’ve done a great deal of cooking both professionally and personally. This also means I’ve burned my fingers while cooking—a lot.
From bear paw shaped novelty oven mitts, to the oven gloves commonly used in the Reviewed test labs, to the more traditional gloves I typically don at home, I’ve tried all kinds. Some worked OK, like Reviewed’s oven gloves. Others, like the bear paw mitts, were thrown out in a fit of anger after hot bakeware singed my hands through the fabric. Until I began testing for this review, I’d never actually tried an oven mitt that felt as protective as it should. And now that I've seen what's out there, I refuse to use subpar oven mitts in my home again.
Testing oven mitts is a tricky business, so each test I performed was carefully designed to provide important information without requiring me to burn my fingers in the name of data. In order to check how effectively each mitt protected my hands from heat, I placed a sheet pan in a 450°F oven for half an hour. I then used each mitt to hold the pan, measuring the length of time I was able to do so before it got uncomfortably hot. Four minutes was the maximum length of the test, but only one mitt (the Big Red House) made it that far. To further test heat protection, along with dexterity, I also ran the oven at 350°F for one hour, then used each mitt to move an oven rack to a new position.
Moving racks isn’t the only kind of kitchen task you might need to take on with a mitt on your hand, so I also wanted to try a few more precise operations, I used each mitt to pick up and use both a large wooden mixing spoon and a normal metal dinner spoon. It wasn’t a deal breaker if I struggled a bit with dexterity, but I took issue if I struggled a lot.
I checked each mitt to ensure that it was machine washable, easy to store, and easy to put on or remove. Finally, I noted whether the mitts were comfortable to wear.
What You Should Know About Oven Mitts
Most oven mitts are made of either fabric (usually cotton) or silicone. Some are made of a combination of the two, like a cotton-lined silicone mitt or a cotton mitt reinforced with silicone. Cotton is generally softer to wear and easier to wash in a machine, but silicone can be more durable and provide a better grip and easier spot clean situation. I tested one mitt made of a different material entirely—the kevlar San Jamar mitt—but a kevlar mitt is an outlier.
Oven mitts come in three major styles. The most common (and most traditional) is shaped like an oversized mitten, which is an easy one-size-fits-all style that allows your hand to fall naturally open but has the downside of limiting your hand movement. An option that allows for better dexterity is the mitt that is shaped like a glove, though a glove shape is tougher when it comes to fitting all hand sizes comfortably, not to mention it just plain looks unattractive. You’re also unlikely to find a silicone glove, which is only a negative if you specifically want silicone. Some oven mitts choose to separate your thumb from the rest of your fingers but are shaped more like a hand puppet than a mitten. This provides a natural grabbing shape, but it situates your thumb directly below the rest of your fingers, which can feel uncomfortable.
There’s really no hard and fast rule about which material and style make better oven mitts. Some of the silicone mitts did a great job at heat protection, while the worst mitt at the job was cotton. However, the winning mitt was also cotton—layered cotton, that is, with silicone striping for grip. Ultimately it comes down to what style you find the most comfortable and which specific mitts happen to do a better job at protection, regardless of the type of fabric—and that information is luckily readily available because I tested all these mitts myself.
Other Oven Mitts We Tested
Grill Armor Gloves - Extra Long Cuff
It seems unfair to lead with something subjective, but it has to be said—these gloves are so very ugly that it’s hard to imagine wanting them in my kitchen. But if you can get past appearances, there are some definite pros to opting for this style of mitt.
The biggest pro is probably dexterity—obviously having your fingers separated allows for control that most mitts lack. I found this was actually detrimental when moving a rack in the oven with one hand, since my fingers slipped through the gaps between the metal bars. However, so long as I used both hands I didn’t find this to be much of an issue. And when it came to using spoons and picking up items, these gloves have clear advantage over most of the mitts out there.
The gloves were also fairly heat-resistant, allowing me to hold a hot tray for more than 30 seconds before I had to worry about burns (and let’s be real—why would you need to hold a hot tray for more than 30 seconds?). However, I found them scratchy and uncomfortable to wear, which is a major problem in my book. They fit my male friend’s hands better than mine (the fingers were about an inch too long for me), but he noted that they were a bit of a hassle to take on and off. If you specifically want gloves, these are the ones. Otherwise, go with the Big Red House mitts.
These mitts protected my hands against heat for longer than every other glove I tested, apart from the winning Big Red House mitts. My objections to them are purely design-related. Most of the oven mitts I tested look like oversized mittens, while a few look like gloves. The Cuisinart fits neither category and instead is shaped more like a hand puppet, with your fingers populating the top part of the puppet’s “mouth” and your thumb occupying the bottom. I found this ideal during those times when I wanted to put on a puppet show for my dog, but less ideal for every other time I used the mitts. It’s not that I struggled to use a mixing spoon (though it was admittedly tough to pick up an ordinary dinner spoon in these mitts), just that the design forces your fingers into a position that doesn’t feel particularly natural or comfortable.
Furthermore, the hanging loops on these mitts are made out of metal, which looks like a nice feature but in reality thumps uncomfortably against your arms when the gloves are in use. I felt a shock of cold where the metal struck my skin, but I can imagine a situation in which the metal could get hot from contact with a heat source, something I especially wouldn’t want to touch. Finally, unlike any other mitt in the group, Cuisinart recommends you wash these mitts by hand rather than tossing them in the washing machine. Not a deal-breaker, but definitely an annoyance.
The ‘Ove’ Glove may have a catchier name than Grill Armor, but visually it’s pretty similar—by which I mean it looks like an unattractive garden glove. During testing, I found it to be good at its one major selling point: allowing my hands to remain dexterous while I wore the glove. As with the Grill Armor pair, it was a little annoying to have my fingers separated when I was moving the oven rack, but I had no problem picking up and using silverware and other kitchen tools.
Heat protection was a little worse than with the Grill Armor gloves, but not by a whole lot. However, it must be stated that I found this glove to be fairly uncomfortable. My testing notes read, “Weird combo of too tight and too big,” which strikes me as a problem because my hands aren't particularly big and I think larger hands would likely find the tight parts even tighter than I did.
Can pick up silverware and kitchen tools while wearing them
I was eager to try out what would surely be the most protective mitt on my list, since the San Jamar mitt is made out of kevlar—not to mention there surely had to be a reason it cost so much more than the other mitts, right? However, I really disliked this oven mitt. Some of the other designs were big, but this one was huge, to such a degree that it’s hard to imagine the size of hands it might fit comfortably. It also felt even more shapeless than usual, and the kevlar fabric was both uncomfortably scratchy to wear and slippery to grip objects with.
I also didn’t feel the mitt met my expectations when it came to protection, allowing me to hold a pan straight out of a 450°F oven for just over 30 seconds before it got too hot to hang onto. It’s not that 30 seconds isn’t plenty of time for most situations that would call for an oven mitt, it’s just that the San Jamar and I don’t know why you’d drop that kind of cash when you can have something better for far cheaper.
In all honesty, this was my least favorite mitt of the bunch. It allowed me to hold a hot baking sheet for 30 seconds before I had to put the sheet down, which is the only reason it’s not positioned dead last. That said, allow me to explain my dislike in detail.
The removable (and machine-washable) cotton lining of the mitt feels okay, but the silicone exterior does not. Unlike all of the other silicone mitts, the Mastrad is made out of a gross, tacky silicone that immediately collects all the loose hair, lint, and oven soot it comes into contact with. It has that uncomfortable puppet-like shape that I so disliked in the Cuisinart mitt, but combined with the silicone this gives it an appearance that caused me to write, “looks like a blobfish,” in my testing notes. Also, as with the Cuisinart, I found the shape forced my hand into a position I didn’t find particularly comfortable. I dreaded wearing this thing during every part of testing.
The most traditional of the oven mitts I tested, the Williams Sonoma mitt reminds me of the ones I already have in my kitchen—by which I mean it will only keep your hand safe from a hot pan for about 6 seconds. Even if you’re simply removing a cake from the oven, 6 seconds is probably cutting it pretty close.
I thought this mitt was the most attractive of the bunch, but on the inside I could feel the ragged edges around the seam when I was wearing the thing. Also, even though the mitt felt thinner than most of the others, it didn’t give me great control over my hands, making it difficult to use utensils without removing the mitt. I’m not suggesting you absolutely avoid this mitt because I think it’s on par with many of the mitts most of us have in our homes, but I also can’t particularly recommend a mitt that only keeps your hand from getting too hot for less than 10 seconds.
Kori began her journalism career as a teenage fashion blogger and has enjoyed covering a wide variety of topics ever since. In her spare time, she’s an amateur poet, avid reader, and gluten-free cake baker extraordinaire.
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