Kitchen tongs are mission-critical tools for moving hot pans, deftly adjusting large food items, and even cooking food directly on the fire, from campfire cheese to roasted garlic. What kind of tongs are the best?

Chowhound user TeRReT uses cheap, heavy-duty restaurant supply tongs (usually with no locking mechanism or tension spring) for moving hot trays and grabbing hot pot handles, and can’t stand tongs made from thin metal. Others agree—you’ll never wear out tongs from a restaurant supply place, JayL says, and they won’t break the bank, mike0989 says. The minimal kind with no locking mechanism or spring don’t have anything to break or pinch you, tim irvine says. Chowhound iluvcookies got some 10 years ago at a restaurant supply store for less than $10, uses them every day, and says they still work great.

Chowhound kcshigekawa has had good results with OXO tongs with a locking mechanism; even after years of dishwasher cleaning, they still work fine. However firecooked experienced broken springs after a year of dishwashing OXO tongs and now hand-washes. According to tanuki soup, Cuisipro tongs are similar to OXO, but easier to clean and with a nicer locking mechanism.

Locking mechanisms can pinch your fingers, c oliver says, but on the other hand, unlocking your tongs gives you a chance to have fun expressing your inner kitchen cowboy, hill food says, flipping, spinning, and unlocking. Kris in Beijing unlocks tongs the same way action movie stars reload a pump-action shotgun with one hand, while Chemicalkinetics uses a more feminine tummy bump. And DuffyH uses a hip bump; her son slams them against the counter to unlock. (All of these methods involve keeping your fingers away from the locking mechanism—avoiding painful pinches and associated rude language!)

Discuss: So I’m getting a little kitchen tonged off

Photo by Flickr member Andrew E. Larsen under Creative Commons

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