Potholders are a basic piece of kitchen equipment that we all have in our kitchens and use every day. They don’t get a lot of attention, since they’re not nearly as glamorous as a shiny stand mixer, but we just them for everything from taking cookies out of the oven to removing lids from hot pans. A basic potholder is a terrycloth square (or just a terrycloth towel, for some) and is machine washable. As the technology of everything else in our kitchen has improved, there are many companies out there that have sought to improve the potholder, as well.
In a recent issue (June/July 2015), the staff at the Cook’s Country test kitchen put potholders to the test to see if the new, more innovative models were a better buy than the old standard. They looked for heat protection, as well as ease of use and general maneuverability. The traditional style of potholder finished a strong third place, as it offered acceptable levels protection and maneuverability, and it ranked much higher than all the difficult to hold (or too small) potholders that were primarily silicone.
The top potholder, with a “highly recommended” rating, was the OXO Good Grips Silicone Potholder. This potholder has a soft, cotton backing that gave it great flexibility and made it comfortable to wear. It also has a grippy silicone side that offered great heat protection and allowed for a strip grip. The size allowed full coverage when handing large pots, but it was flexible enough to allow you to pick up more delicate items. The next “recommended” potholder was the Le Creuset Fingertip Potholder. These cottom potholders were small and flexible, with a mostly open back that offered exceptional maneuverability. The trim leaves a lot of your hand exposed, however, so you need to be careful when handling larger dishes with them.