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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Ice Tongs Reviewed In 2018Last Updated April 1, 2019
№1 – Ice Tongs, Newness Stainless Steel Ice Tongs, 5.9 Inches (15 cm)
№2 – Zanmini Reusable Stainless Steel Ice Cubes for Drink ,Set of 8 with Tongs Whisky Stones Chilling Rocks
№3 – Cresimo Pro Stainless Steel Cocktail Bar Tool Set & Bonus Fold Out Cocktail Recipe Guide / Bartender Martini Shaker w/ Strainer Corkscrew, Bottle Opener, Jigger, Ice Tongs & Storage Rack
Now, ice buckets can be made from a range of materials. It could be stainless steel, silver, acrylic, galvanized steel, glass, or wood.
The best choice, I would say, is stainless steel because, one, it’s corrosion resistant; two, it won’t break when it falls; and three, it’s just durable. And it looks pretty good.
But if you want to go all out and buy something stunning, you should consider a silver one. The ice bucket could be pure silver (expensive) or another metal silver-plated.
You have seen it when the weather is cold outside and moisture forms on your window pane. Or when you have icy water in a glass and the outer surface starts to sweat.
The scientific term is condensation. And believe it or not, it’s dangerous for an appliance. You see, condensation can cause corrosion of metal surfaces.
A good ice bucket will have an insulated body to prevent condensation. Most ice buckets are double walled, which serves two purposes. One, to keep the coolness inside so the ice can remain dry for longer; and two, to prevent condensation on the outside.
How long the ice stays ice
You want the ice to stay dry and cool for as long as possible. If an ice bucket is insulated on the inside, the coolness will be trapped in the container and maintain the utility of the ice a bit longer.
Ensure you purchase a lidded ice bucket. Lidless ones can’t keep the ice cool and dry long enough.
Logistics: once you chill the wine bottles in your new ice bucket, where do you place the bucket itself? On the table might look tacky to your guests. And you definitely can’t put it on the ground if you want to hold on to your reputation.
You will need a stand to hold your ice bucket. It makes everything better as your customers or friends can reach out for a bottle comfortably. If you are lucky, your new ice bucket will come with a stand as an accessory.
If you are cramped for space, look for a foldable design. And whatever else you do, ensure the stand is sturdy enough to withstand the weight.
Oggi 7440 Stainless Steel Ice and Wine Bucket Review
Coming at number three of the best ice buckets on the market today is the Oggi 7440 Stainless Steel Ice and Wine Bucket. Like the other Oggi products, this bucket comes with an eye-catching design while keeping its functionality high. It features an easily removable flip top lid and ice scoop. It will make an excellent choice for parties and picnics.
To give you optimal results, this particular model features a stainless steel and a flip top lid for easy access to the bucket. The cover offers you a secure fit, so you can keep your ice clean all day long. And because the lid has a clear view, you can easily monitor the amount of ice remaining in the bucket.
When you use this bucket for a picnic, it’s sure to hold up to two bottles of wine, thanks to its 3.8liter/quart capacity. Carrying the bucket around has been made easy with a comfortable, non-slip grip handle that comes with the bucket.
Oggi 7440 Stainless Steel Ice and Wine Bucket is sure to keep your drinks chilled, and make your next summertime picnic a memorable one. It can comfortably hold a bottle of champagne o up to wine bottles.
Even when the lid is removable it doesn’t fully come off; it clicks to the bottom ensuring it doesn’t get lost. The scoop comes with its own storage compartment, ensuring it doesn’t get lost or mess up your workplace.
OXO Steel Ice Bucket
OXO is a popular brand dedicated to manufacturing products that make the everyday life of their consumers easier. The OXO Steel Ice Bucket is enough evidence of the brand sticking to its promise.
The unit comes with highly insulated, double wall design that maintains ice-cold temperatures inside while ensuring the exterior stainless steel walls remains condensation-free. For an ice supply that lasts throughout your party, the unit features a grid of channels at its base that’s separates melted ice from fresh cubes.
This bucket features a flip-top lid for easy one-handed access to the interior of the bucket. Furthermore, the lid has a secure fit, ensuring your ice remains clean throughout. The double wall construction does a great job at keeping their interior cold and preventing outer condensation, ensuring your ice remain chilled for longer hours.
For your serving convenience, it comes with tongs that easily attach to the pegs on the bucket sides. Besides, these tongs have sharp teeth which enable them to grab ice cubes easily. The crystal-clear lid at the top of the unit lets you easily observe the remaining level of ice in the unit and know when to refill it.
Another feature not commonly in all ice buckets is the way this unit keeps your ice cubes elevated. That is, it separates them from melted ice- which contributes to making your ice cubes remain robust for longer.
The non-slip base is also a great feature that keeps your ice bucket stable when in use. For comfortable operation, this bucket features a soft, comfortable, non-slip grip handle that ensures easy transportation.
Overall, the OXO Steel Ice Bucket is a great bucket for keeping your drinks cooled. The double wall construction keeps the interior ice-cold. It has a high capacity of up to quarts. It’s easy to move around, thanks to its non-slip grip handle.
The tongs add to your serving convenience. The manufacturer recommends hand washing the unit, but the tongs are dishwasher safe.
To store ice
Picture this. You have thrown a massive party. But it’s hot in the room, and people need cool drinks. That’s where the ice bucket comes in.
Unlike the ice maker or the refrigerator, the ice bucket is something you can carry around the room or grounds with ease. So it’s ideal for storing ice at parties and outdoorsy events.
You can also use it if you run a commercial enterprise which regularly requires ice – like a bar or restaurant. Another example is if you need ice to pack foodstuffs like fish or meat.
The great thing about ice buckets is their ability to keep ice cool and dry. The best ones are insulated on both sides, which has the dual purpose of keeping the ice dry for longer as well as prevent condensation.
To maximize the utility period of the ice, always keep the lid firmly shut to keep the cool air in the ice bucket and the warm air out.
Here are a few tips on how to keep ice cool for longer using your ice bucket: i) Ensure you don’t include any melted water with the crushed ice. ii) Cool the ice bucket by putting bags of crushed ice around it overnight. The next morning it will be more effective at keeping ice cool as a result. iii) To lower the freezing point of the water, add ice cream salt to it before you freeze it. You see, sodium chloride (salt) has a lower freezing point than water. So adding salt to water makes the water even cooler, going beyond the freezing point.
But since salt melts ice, put the salty water in bottles – don’t let it interact with the ice. The super cold salt water in the bottles will keep your ice cool and dry for longer. iv) Ensure the wine bottles are already cold before you put them in the ice bucket. So stick them in a freezer for a while. Otherwise, they will accelerate the melting rate of the ice, rather than preserve the coolness. v) An obvious point, but do keep the ice bucket out of the sun. Find a tree with a good shade and place it underneath. Or if camping, keep it in your tent. vi) Avoid opening the ice bucket unnecessarily. The cold air will get displaced by the warm air rushing in. Needless to say, that warm air will accelerate your ice’s melting rate. vii) Keep the ice bucket packed with ice to the top. If the bucket is full, there is less space for air to cool down in.’ viii) When the ice melts, don’t drain the water unless you are replacing the ice. The slushy ice water will do just fine at keeping your beer bottles cool. And if you drain the water, you get more air space for warm air to come in and melt the remaining ice.
To keep your drinks chilled
Picture this. You go out on a picnic meaning to open your 198bottle of champagne. The only thing that can ruin this idyllic picture is if the wine isn’t cool. Enter the ice bucket.
All you have to do is follow the tips I have just shared with you, and you can enjoy your cold bottle of wine with no qualms.
To preserve perishable foods
If you are going on a camping trip or a picnic for the day, an ice bucket would be a good place to store your food. Eggs, fish, milk, meat – these are all perishable foods, and at temperatures above 400F, they begin to succumb to microorganisms which can make you ill.
Just keep the ice bucket in the shade, keep it lidded, and avoid opening it unnecessarily. Follow all the instructions I earlier listed and you will be okay.
Ever Heard Of Ice Bucket Challenge? What was it All About?
Everybody on the planet has heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge. But not everyone knows its real mission.
So I decided to include this part to give you the lowdown.,,
The Ice Bucket Challenge began in August 201when three young men living with ALS, Pete Frates, Pat Quinn, and Corey Griffin, decided to raise awareness of the disease.
High profile personalities like Barrack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Lebron James, and Justin Bieber have participated in the challenge.
ALS is the acronym for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a motor neuron disease. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS causes the neurons which control voluntary muscles to die.
Characteristics of the disease include increasing weakness as the muscles get smaller, muscle twitching, and stiff muscles. People with ALS struggle to speak, swallow, and eventually even breathing becomes difficult.
The cause of the disease is unknown in 90% to 95% of its patients. The remaining 5% to 10% get it genetically.
Who calls them what?: Ice-O-Matic calls it “full-cube” ice. Manitowoc’s entry in this category is “regular” or “dice” cubes. Scotsman calls its version of this ice “dice cubes.” Koolaire machines produce “kubes.”
The scoop on the ice maker: You’re likely to find these larger, rhomboid-shaped ice cubes chilling your favorite cocktail or liquor on the rocks in your neighborhood bar. That’s because this format’s large dimensions let it melt slowly and preserve the full flavor of the drink. Its slow-melting properties also explain why full-cube ice is popular in Hispanic eateries: that type of cuisine developed in hot climates where slow-melting ice is essential.
The solid build of full-cube ice makes it an attractive presentation piece, so its a good choice when you need to show off a craft beverage or a pour of premium liquor. The drawback to full-cube ice is that it doesn’t have the cooling power of smaller cubes since its surface area is relatively small compared to its volume. Full cube ice doesn’t displace liquid as well as well as smaller cubes, either, so a drink poured over full-cube ice is likely to cost the operator more to serve than one with smaller cubes.
If you know a cube ice maker is the right ice machine for you, skip ahead to learn about picking the right size. If you’re ready to shop for one of these machines, see KaTom’s selection of full-cube commercial ice makers. Or, read on to continue comparing ice machines.
Sizing Your Commercial Ice Maker
The next step in choosing the right commercial ice machine is to figure out how much ice you’ll need in each 24-hour period. Each establishment is unique, and the amount of ice it requires will vary based on many factors, but the following table can help you estimate how much ice you’ll need based on the type of business you run.
Ice Machine Formats
Once you’ve determined how much you’ll need your new ice machine to produce, it’s time to decide which ice machine format will serve you best. Commercial ice maker machines come in three main formats: head-and-bin combos, ice dispensers, and undercounter ice machines. Your decision will be based on how you’ll use your ice day-in and day-out.
I’ll use my machine to
An ice machine head and bin combination is the right choice if you’re looking for a machine that will provide enough ice for an entire dining room’s worth of drinks. The majority of these machines will produce ice in the range of 300 to 500 pounds a day, while some can produce nearly 2,000 pounds. The bin component of the combo will store a couple hundred pounds of ice at the ready to be scooped into cups or totes.
A general rule of thumb is to pair an ice machine head with a bin that will hold half to two-thirds of the machine’s daily production volume. That’s an ideal range because it will help keep you well stocked with ice to handle sudden spikes in traffic. Nothing has the potential to cause panic like a server opening an empty ice bin during a busy Saturday night shift. Most head-and-bin combinations sold adhere to that rule.
An exception to the above rule may apply if your establishment tends to see a good deal of its traffic in short bursts. In those cases, it may be beneficial to choose a combination with a larger bin, one with a capacity large enough to hold an entire day’s worth of the machine’s production. A large bin may also prove beneficial in venues that host meals only once or twice a week. A church kitchen that’s only open on Wednesday and Sunday is one such example.
Ice Machine Accessories
Finding a machine that will give you enough ice is just one step in the process of building an efficient ice production system. It’s also important that you equip your restaurant crew with the accessories it needs to get the most from the equipment. Here’s a list of the essential ice maker machine accessories that you’ll likely want to keep handy.
Ice scoops are by far the most common ice maker accessories – and they’re often the most important. If you have an ice machine with a bin, you’ll need an ice scoop on hand to stay compliant with health codes, since it’s against the rules to scoop ice directly from an ice bin with the cup you’ll be serving it in. It pays to take every precaution possible when it comes to protecting your patrons’ health, so choose an ice scoop with guards that will prevent the user’s hand from touching the ice.
An ice scoop caddy provides a sanitary way to store your ice scoop within the bin. Health codes prohibit scoops form being stored on top of or in the ice. A caddy mounts to the inside of the bin and helps prevent germs from the user’s hands from contaminating ice.
Food codes and general best practices prohibit bottles being stored directly in ice that will end up in drinks, but wine bottle caddies provide a workaround. These accessories mount to the inside wall of an ice bin to separate bottles from the ice while still keeping them cool. This setup also keeps bottles dry and easy to grab from the bin.
You may need a container other than your machine’s ice bin to hold fresh ice, especially if you want to serve it at a location where there’s no dedicated machine like an outdoor bar. That’s where a bar ice bin will come in handy. These stainless steel bins hold several pounds of ice handy so staff can make drinks and get them to guests quickly without having to run to the ice machine. This equipment is sometimes built with cold plate technology that keeps soda chilled as it’s pumped to a soda gun mounted nearby. Some ice bins are equipped with bottle holders that let you keep liquor, wine, and mixers chilled in the ice in a way that the health inspector will approve of.
Staff in certain establishments need to transport quantities of ice from one location to another, such as from a main bin to an auxiliary bin or from the kitchen to a bar. It is in these cases where an ice tote will prove indispensable. You’ll find small ice totes to transport as little as 20 pounds of ice and large ice buckets to handle a few dozen pounds of ice. Many of these buckets are equipped with hangers that attach them to the sides of ice bins so they’re easy to fill. Ergonomic grips and handles help reduce the chances of staff members becoming injured while handling these containers, and totes are designed to keep germs from employees’ hands from contaminating ice.
If you need to transport extra large volumes of ice, look into buying an ice caddy. These mobile, wheeled bins are available in capacities ranging from 50 to 200 pounds of ice. They come in handy for transporting ice to off-site events, outdoor bars, and large satellite bins.
Ice machines and bins are designed to empty spent water through a floor drain, but not all facilities and installation locations can provide that utility. If that describes your situation, you’ll need to install a drain pump on your ice machine that moves waste water from the ice machine bin into a suitable nearby drain.
A good number of ice machines mount on legs, which are almost always adjustable. Adjustable legs allow the equipment to be installed so that water can flow through the machine in the way the manufacturer intended. In the case of nugget and flake machines, a unit that’s not installed level will experience uneven wear on its auger bearings and run the risk of failing prematurely.
Selling ice by the bag is a nice way to bring in a little extra profit, especially if you can find a customer base that regularly needs ice, like festival-goers or picnickers. An ice bagger is an investment that can pay off. These systems mount to the side of ice bins and provide a way for staff to quickly fill and tie bags of ice.
If the amount of ice you need varies from day to day, you may not always need a full bin of ice on hand at all times. This is where an ice level control kit may come in handy. This device allows you to set the maximum amount of ice you need to keep on hand. The machine will shut off once the bin reaches that level. To prepare for a busier daypart, you can increase that level.
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An apple or fruit corer is designed to cut through fruit, removing the core and pips in one piece. Some of these corers look like a knife, bit instead of a blade there is a cylindrical cutting blade to go through the centre of the fruit. Other corers are designed to core and slice the fruit in one go. These will be flatter in design with grip handles for applying downward pressure on the vertical blades to core and slice in once seamless action.
Tools for use with butter include butter curlers for creating decorative curls of butter, and butter paddles and churners for making your own butter at home.
Can openers vary from hand-held manual models to fully automatic electric models. The opener is attached to the can and sharp rotating wheels neatly open the can. Most modern can openers take the whole of the top off the can leaving a relatively safe edge, although care should always be taken when opening and removing lids.
Carving forks are used to assist in carving hot and cold meats. They are designed with long, sharp prongs for securely holding the meat in place whilst carving and should have a strong and sturdy handle. Carving forks are normally made from stainless steel for strength and durability.
A funnel is used for pouring liquids and grains into a small openings, such as a bottle or a jar. The funnel can be made from plastic or metal and are available in a variety of sizes. Funnels are available in sets of assorted sizes and can feature handles or a lip for hanging onto a utensil rack or hook.
A grapefruit knife is a specially shaped and serrated knife for cutting out segments of the fruit. The tip of the knife turns in slightly to allow the serrated edge to cut, this helps to get around all the segment easily. These knives can also be used for oranges and other citrus fruits with segments.
Ice Cream Scoop
An ice cream scoop is a tool with a handle and a rounded scoop on the top, some models also have a lever that slides a small blunted blade under the ice cream to remove it from the scoop. These scoops have to be pretty tough as they have to cut into frozen food. Can also be used for serving other iced desserts like sorbet or even mashed potatoes.
Trying to open a jar with a stuck lid is one of life’s more annoying problems. When brute force alone won’t do the trick there a number of jar openers that can help you out. These range from simple rubber sheets that offer a secure grip to both the jar and lid (some brute force will still be needed!), to openers that clamp the lid securely as you turn its long handle for levering the lid open.
A ladle is a long-handled scoop shaped spoon for pouring and serving stews, casseroles and soups. The ladle is easy to use as there is no twisting needed to be able to get a full spoonful of food before lifting out. These spoons are generally made from stainless steel or nylon, or even a combination.
A masher is primarily used for mashing potatoes, but can also be used for swede, carrot and other vegetables. These long handled utensils will have a flat base with holes in it to squeeze and squash the boiled, softened food. Mashers are available in nylon and metal.
A meat tenderiser can be various shapes and sizes and is used for tenderising meat before cooking. Similar in shape to a mallet (and used in the same way) it has spikes or raised bumps which bash and tenderise the meat. The other type of tenderiser is similar to a large stamp with the metal spikes on the bottom, this is pushed down into the meat which helps to break down the fibres without flattening.
A palette knife is a flat rounded knife without a sharp or serrated edge. This type of knife is used for smoothing and levelling icing onto cakes and desserts. The knife will have a firm grip handle and an angled blade designed for precision.
A pastry brush looks and works in a very similar way to an ordinary paintbrush. It is used for glazing pastry and pies prior to cooking and can also be used for basting meats and other foods whilst roasting or grilling. The bristles can be made from a variety of materials but they need to withstand hot fat and oils without melting. Therefore silicone, natural or nylon are a good choice along with a good firm grip handle.
Peelers can be used on a variety of foods like vegetables and some fruits to remove the outer layer of skin. The double edge blade allows right or left hand operation for multi directional strokes. The peelings will pass through the peeler dropping through to the surface. Some peelers may feature different types of blades to allow the peeler to create some shredding style peelings called Julienne.
A pizza cutter is a handheld tool with a large circular blade for cutting pizza into slices. An alternative to the wheeled version is the rocker cutter. This has a wide curved blade (similar to a mezzaluna) which is rocked back and forth to cutting the pizza. Be mindful of the surface you cut the pizza on as this could be scratched from the blade of the pizza cutter.
A splatter guard is a large round mesh guard made from metal or plastic that’s placed over the top of woks and frying pans to stop hot oil from spitting out when frying food. Steam and heat is still allowed to escape through the mesh, but the guard will protect your hands and arms from any hot oil splashes as well as making less mess around the hob.
Kitchen spoons come in a large variety of sizes, styles and materials. Traditionally made from wood they can now be made from metal, nylon, silicone or a combination of the aforementioned. Generally used for stirring and mixing, pouring and serving, there are also slotted varieties used for lifting and draining food such as potatoes.
Turners are thin, wide tools (slotted or plain) to slide easily under food. Ideal for flipping burgers or gently lifting fish or steaks from a pan. The handle will have a good grip and enable the tool to be used at high temperatures. Made from nylon or stainless steel or even a combination.
A whisk is a tool used for whisking and whipping ingredients together or adding air to a mixture or liquid. There are various designs available including balloon (great for whipping cream and egg whites), flat (suitable for gravies and sauces) and flat coil (vinaigrettes etc). A rotary whisk lies midway between a hand whisk and an electric whisk – you provide the power to it by turning a handle which gears down to two interlocking whisks. An electric whisk will do all the hard work for you, but as it’s a lot faster than using a manual whisk, be careful not to over whip cream and egg whites.
A zester is a quick and easy way of removing the outer zest from any citrus fruit. This short handled tool will be made of a strong material like stainless steel and should have a firm, comfortable grip. Pressure onto the citrus fruit will need to be applied so the zest can be scraped from the fruit by the head with the small serrated teeth.
A holder will be used for resting a utensil on during cooking keeping your work surface mess-free and avoiding contamination.
Stainless steel is a commonly used material for kitchen utensils and tools. It provides strength and longevity as well as giving an attractive finish. Care should be taken when using on non-stick surfaces.
Wooden tools and utensils are still a favourite in the kitchen and won’t scratch your pots and pans. Wood is tough, won’t break easily and has a high heat tolerance.
Silicone is becoming more and more popular in the modern kitchen, not only because it can be bought in a variety of fun colours, but because the heat tolerance of silicone is outstanding over nylon. Silicone is also hard wearing and won’t stain like wood can. Because silicone is soft and flexible, it is fine to use on non-stick surfaces.
Grill brushes are an effective tool for removing grease and char to provide a safe, clean cooking surface. The firm bristles are designed to get into every nook and cranny of your grill’s grate to remove any char or baked on grease and some grill brushes feature a small scraper on the head of the brush to help remove stubborn debris. A clean cooking surface is the best way to avoid cross contamination. allow you to easily coat food with liquid marinades while providing a safe distance from the flame. Typically, basting brushes are either made of stainless steel, skewers are fun accessories to have when making kabobs or roasting marshmallows. We suggest strictly using the wood skewers for marshmallow roasting because stainless steel is a conductivity for heat. *Tip: When using the wooden skewers on the grill, soak them in warm water for a minimum of 20 minutes before threading to keep the skewers from burning. If skewers are something that you use often, you can save time by soaking a large batch for an hour, drain, then freeze them in a plastic bag. When you are ready to use them, just take them straight from the freezer and thread them with your desired ingredients.
Grill Tool Sets
Grill tool sets are ideal for those who are just starting out and want to sample different tools before investing in the right ones. Available in various sizes and materials, grill tool sets are also great to give as gifts or to use on-the-go when grilling at your friends or family’s home.
A plastic spatula for nonstick cookware
This silicone-coated spatula is a must if you use nonstick cookware as it won’t scratch. It’s angled, tapered edge easily slips under brittle cookies and fried eggs without mangling them.
The GIR Mini 11-Inch Flip Spatula performs nearly as well as a fish spatula, but it won’t scratch the delicate surface of nonstick cookware. While it can’t beat metal for sharpness or dexterity, its tapered blade allowed us to scoot underneath warm cookies without breaking them. Don’t be deceived by this spatula’s smaller-than-average size; its sharply angled blade, paper-thin edge, and offset handle allowed our testers to flip fried eggs and pancakes with confidence. Since it’s made from a solid piece of silicone (available in many colors), there are no grooves that trap food, simplifying cleaning.
GIR Silicone Spatula
A silicone spatula for preparing batters, doughs, or cooking over high heat
Made from a single piece of silicone and available in several colors, the GIR Spatula has a small head that’s slim enough to fit into a small jar or measuring cup, with parallel sides that can scrape down the straight sides of a sauce pan. Though the tip is thick enough to give the spatula heft for pressing down doughs, the tool is flexible enough to glide smoothly and cleanly around the edges of a mixing bowl. Our testers liked the angled tip for getting around the bottom of sloped-sided cookware. The grippy, rounded handle feels better in the hand than many of the competitors’ flat, thin sticks.
The Winco TN71Blade Hamburger Turner is the perfect spatula for lifting hefty burgers off of a grill. The metal blade is sturdy and solid; there are no slots for meat to push through, which was the case when we tried flattening meat patties using fish spatulas. Since it’s heavier than the competition, it excelled at smashing burgers Shake Shack-style on a griddle with minimal effort. This heavy-duty metal turner was the only model we tested that had beveled edges on all three sides of the blade, which allowed the spatula to slide easily under pancakes and freshly-baked cookies better than the competition.
Who should get this
Every cook will need a spatula—more likely, several spatulas—in their toolkit. Aside from knives, they’re probably the most often reached-for tools in the kitchen. Whether you’re a professional cook or a reluctant home cook, having a few kinds of spatulas on hand for specific tasks—like turning things on a pan or griddle, folding batters, lifting pastries, and releasing fond from the bottom of a pan—is indispensable.
Every cook will need a spatula—more likely, several spatulas—in their toolkit.
A good spatula can actually make your food look and taste better because it won’t mangle delicate surfaces and will bring some of the delicious brown bits up as you cook. Different functions and pans should be paired with utensils of different materials and shapes. For some, like Epicurious’s Regina Schrambling, “You can never, ever have enough.”
Choosing which spatula to get
We talked to our experts about which spatulas they always have on hand. Judy Haubert, associate food editor at Saveur, told us, “For flipping and turning foods while pan-searing or sautéing, I use at least four different kinds of spatulas, depending on what I’m cooking.” While it’s nice to have a plethora of kitchen tools to choose from, we recommend only buying the spatulas that match your cooking needs. After our own research and interviewing the pros, we were able to narrow it down to four key types (with two honorable mentions).
How we picked
Our tests confirmed that metal fish spatulas are the best all-purpose spatulas for tackling a multitude of cooking tasks.
Spatulas are workhorses in the kitchen. They need to be able to lift and support heavy items while maneuvering around delicate foods in tight spaces. Tracey Seaman, test kitchen director for Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine, said cooks should think about “what kind of pan you’re using and what you’re going to use as your tool.” While the thin, sharp edges of a fish spatula are perfect on cast iron or stainless steel, they can do damage to the coating on a nonstick pan. However, some of the plastic spatulas that work well on nonstick aren’t thin enough to slip easily under cookies. And neither of these can scrape down the walls of a saucepan with thickening pastry cream.
For this guide, we tested four plastic spatulas for nonstick cookware (from top to bottom): the GIR Ultimate 13-Inch Flip Spatula, the KitchenAid Nylon Short Turner, the GIR Mini 11-Inch Flip Spatula, and the OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Turner.
Aside from metal fish spatulas, we also looked at plastic spatulas for use on nonstick cookware. When cooking with nonstick pans, it’s important to only use plastic, wood, or silicone utensils to avoid scratching the coating on the pan. Like metal spatulas, the best plastic spatulas have a thin edge that can slip under foods. They also maintain flexibility for maneuvering and strength for lifting. Where many plastic spatulas fail is in thickness, as many are just too thick to slide under delicate foods without breaking them. We looked for plastic spatulas that had tapered edges and thin blades.
How we tested
We designed our tests to cover some common use cases to evaluate the dexterity, strength, flexibility, and overall ease of use for each spatula.
For the metal fish spatulas, we flipped flour-dusted tilapia fillets in an All-Clad skillet to test how the spatulas performed a delicate task. We used the plastic spatulas to sauté fillets in nonstick skillets. And we used both the metal and plastic spatulas to flip pancakes to see how they could support the weight of heavier items. We also used the spatulas to flip over-easy eggs and remove freshly-baked Tate’s chocolate chip cookies from a cookie sheet.
We flipped flour-dusted tilapia fillets in an All-Clad skillet to test how the metal fish spatulas performed a delicate task.
We placed a large stack of pancakes on the spatulas to test their strength.
We baked thin, delicate chocolate chip cookies and removed them using the spatulas to test their thinness and flexibility.
We tested wooden spatulas by using them to break up ground beef in a skillet.
We loved the Wüsthof Fish Spatula, which performed identically to the Mercer Hell’s Handle Fish Turner. However, it costs double the price for the same performance as our pick.
Our testers loved the handsome wood handle on the Williams-Sonoma Walnut Fish Spatula, but they found the sharp bend in the blade difficult to maneuver.
The Winco FST-6.5-Inch Blade Fish Spatula has a sharp angle at the edge of the blade that made flipping fish fillets more difficult than our top pick.
The American-made LamsonSharp Slotted Turner has a full-tang high-carbon stainless-steel blade and lovely balance in the hand. But we found that mid-blade flexibility and a too-gentle curve at the tip caused heavier foods to slide off. However, it is one of the few brands that offers a left-handed model.
The MIU France Slotted Turner had a blade that was too flexible and lightweight to carry heavier foods. It felt flimsy and there’s almost no curve at the tip, so food just slips right off.
The blade on the OXO Good Grips Fish Turner is far too large for performing delicate tasks like flipping fish fillets and removing cookies off of a crowded tray.
The GIR Mini 11-Inch Flip Spatula is the best tool for cooking on nonstick cookware.
Wider head for large batches
Rubbermaid Commercial High-Heat Scraper, 13.5-Inch (1963)
If our top pick is unavailable, the Rubbermaid 9½-Inch High-Heat Scraper is a great alternative. It’s a stalwart that can be found in many commercial kitchens. The wider head on the Rubbermaid makes it ideal for preparing large batches of cake batter and frosting or for folding ingredients together. Some of our testers found the head to be a bit too stiff and that the flat handle wasn’t as comfortable to hold as our top pick. However, after long-term testing this spatula for over a year, we found that the blade softens over time and becomes more flexible with use. The Rubbermaid is also more difficult to clean than the GIR because it has more crevices for food to hide in.
The Rubbermaid is available in a small 9½-inch size and a larger 13½-inch size. While our testers found the 9½-inch spatula to be more manageable for home cooks, the larger version was the top pick from Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required). The Rubbermaid spatulas only come with a one-year limited warranty.
A dirt-cheap wooden spatula
This cheap wooden spatula is the perfect marriage between a wooden spoon and spatula. Its flat edge easily scrapes up fond while deglazing, and its rounded corner gets into the hard-to-reach areas of sloped-sided cookware.
While our testers don’t love bamboo utensils due to their short lifespan, it’s hard to beat the inexpensive Helen Chen 13-Inch Bamboo Stir Fry Spatula. It doesn’t cover quite as much surface area on the bottom of a pan as our top pick, but it still makes quick work of scraping up fond while deglazing. Its sharp, angled edge and rounded corners can even reach the rounded perimeter of sloped cookware. The wide handle made this paddle easy to grip and break up ground beef in a skillet, though our testers still preferred the rounded, tapered handle on the Artisanal Kitchen Supply turner. Like our top pick, the Helen Chen spatula doesn’t come with a warranty.
An offset spatula for spreading batter and frosting cakes
The sharper angle to the offset blade made frosting cakes easy on the wrists and provided enough clearance so our knuckles didn’t mar the surface of the cakes. Due to its shiny finish and thin blade, the Ateco 138slid effortlessly under warm, delicate cookies better than the competition. Our testers found that the flatter angle of the OXO Good Grips Offset Icing Spatula and the Wilton 13-Inch Angled Icing Spatula didn’t allow as much clearance as the Ateco 138The wood handle is lightweight and easy to hold, so our wrists didn’t tire even after frosting several cake layers.
There are some drawbacks to the Ateco 138and 1385: they’re not dishwasher-safe and don’t come with a warranty. However, Wirecutter writer and test kitchen manager Lesley Stockton has been using her wood-handled Ateco spatulas for at least years and reports that they’re still going strong.
Care and maintenance
While we didn’t do lengthy tests for stains or smells on silicone spatulas, Pim Techamuanvivit of Kin Khao suggests using separate spats for strong-flavored foods. She told us, “I have certain types of spatulas I use only for my jams. Those are not allowed to have any contact with those that I use when I make curry or stir-fry. I keep them separate because it doesn’t matter how many times you wash a silicone spatula that touched a curry paste—it’s going to smell like curry paste, and it’s just going to transfer.”
If you’re worried about scraping off the seasoning on your cast iron pans when using a fish spatula or metal turner, don’t be. The Lodge Cast Iron website says, “any utensils, including metal, are okay on cast iron and seasoned steel cookware.” However, the site does recommend using wood, silicone, or nylon utensils with any porcelain enameled products.
Over the years, we’ve nicked the tips of our spatulas by scraping down the bowl of a food processor fitted with a sharp stainless steel blade. To avoid damaging the head of your silicone spatula, try to remove the blade attachment before scraping, if possible. Not only will you avoid ingesting small bits of silicone—you’ll also extend the life of your spatula.
When storing offset spatulas, avoid cramming them in a crowded kitchen drawer; they can get bent out of shape. Once bent, they’re nearly impossible to flatten out again, which can be annoying when trying to create a smooth surface on a frosted cake.
Regardless of material, avoid placing spatulas on a screaming hot pan or too close to your heat source.
Judy Haubert, Associate Food Editor at Saveur and former private chef, Interview
Tracey Seaman, Test Kitchen Director at Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine, Interview
Chef Brian Huston, The Publican and Boltwood, Interview
Chef Howie Velie, Associate dean of Culinary Arts at The Culinary Institute of America, Interview
Pim Techamuanvivit, jam maker and restaurateur behind San Francisco’s Kin Khao, Interview
Chef Pattara Kuramarohit, Chef Instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, CA, Interview
Emma Christensen, Happy Kitchen: Caring For Wooden Utensils, The Kitchn, May 5, 2008
Emma Christensen, Master Quick and Healthy Wok Cooking: Grace Young’s Best Stir-Fry Tips, The Kitchn, May 31, 2012
Emma Christensen, Favorite Kitchen Tool: Offset Spatula, The Kitchn, October 8, 2009
Our Bluetooth speaker pick
This all-in-one speaker offers a wide sound stage, with clear, crisp highs and midrange audio and hearty, booming bass, no matter where you set it up in a room or from which angle you listen to it.
Using a smallish Bluetooth speaker allows you to have a dance party in any room and cede control of the decks to your friends with Bluetooth-enabled devices. Our favorite home Bluetooth speaker is the Peachtree Audio Deepblue2.
It’s the one speaker we tested that everyone on our blind-listening panel agreed sounded great—and once the blindfolds came off, that everyone agreed looked good. A Bluetooth speaker won’t be as powerful or rich as a stereo system, but in our tests the Deepbluedelivered full, big sound for the wide variety of music styles we tried. For the price, nothing else can touch it—this model sounds at least 80 percent as good as our upgrade pick, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless, a speaker that sells for hundreds of dollars more.
If you’re interested in filling a much bigger space—or the whole house—you should get our favorite whole-home audio system instead. Or if you’d rather have something that you can move from room to room, and you’re willing to give up a bit of sound quality, get the Riva Turbo X, which is the upgrade pick in our portable speaker guide. —Ganda Suthivarakom
Rule the ambience for guests in every room of the house (no matter how big your palace is) with a whole-home wireless music system. We’ve spent hundreds of hours over several months using six whole-home wireless music systems in every possible room and Sonos is still the best around because it’s super easy to use and set up, and has excellent sound quality for the price.
The best part about a wireless home music system compared with a series of Bluetooth speakers is that it connects directly to the Internet instead of relying on your phone or computer. Just select the music you want to play and the machine will do the rest, freeing up your phone to do other stuff—with no notification sounds or ringtones to interrupt playback. And you can play different music in different rooms, or group them together, all while maintaining independent volume control on each unit. —GS
A good selection of candles can make or break a party’s atmosphere. In a new round of testing this fall, we looked at dozens of candles online and spent several hours on research to determine our top picks.
You can find four main styles of candles: tapers, which are tall and skinny, and stand in candlesticks; pillar candles, which are squat (usually at least to inches in diameter) and come in a variety of heights; votives, which measure about inches tall and inch wide, and go in votive holders; and tea lights, small candles in metal cups that traditionally serve to warm teapots but also make great accent lighting.
For all the candles we tested, we looked for four main things: no dripping (which can ruin candleholders or tablecloths), very little smoke or none at all, no scent to interfere with food on the table, and the length of burn time. (set of three)
With an impressively long burn time of about seven hours, Richland’s Tealight Candles Extended Burn (available in a pack of 100) are our pick. These tea lights gave off the least amount of smoke compared with IKEA Glimma unscented tea lights (sold in a pack of 100) and Waxations Superior Quality Unscented Tea Light Candles (available in a pack of 125). In our test, the IKEA candles burned for only five hours, and their wax turned an unattractive yellow color. The Waxations tea lights had the shortest burn time of four hours and gave off a lot of smoke when extinguished. —Jamie Wiebe, Michael Sullivan
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
In an age when most people experience photos only as pixels on their phones, nothing draws attention at a party like the tactile, retro charm of an instant camera. Our pick for an instant camera is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic. Its film is widely available, and the pocket-sized prints make for excellent keepsakes with more-accurate colors and finer detail than its competitors can produce, all in a compact and durable retro design. —GS
The Duralex Picardie survived an 8-foot fall off a roof onto a linoleum floor. It stacks neatly, too, and it costs only a few dollars per glass. (set of six)
After 2hours of research including drop tests onto tile and concrete, plus years of long-term testing, we couldn’t resist picking the Picardie tumbler from French manufacturer Duralex as our favorite drinking glass. While they look elegant enough for the dinner table, they’re versatile enough to sit stacked up on the bar for use as wine or cocktail glasses. You’ll spot these glasses at Paris bistros and Middle Eastern tea shops, making everything from espresso shots to bordeaux look good. During our temperature stress tests, the Picardie tumbler’s tempered glass withstood freezing temps and boiling water, so it’ll work for both hot apple cider and ice water. When we flung the tumblers off an 8-foot roof onto a linoleum floor, they didn’t break, and because they stack well they’re easy to store once your dinner is over.
The 10⅞-ounce size is ideal for smaller portions of juice or warm punch and comes in boxes of six. For water or for tall coolers like iced tea and lemonade, the 16⅞-ounce tumbler (box of six) is big enough to hold your drink and lots of ice, too.
Our champagne glass pick
The Viv doesn’t have the characteristics that make higher-end flutes better than others, namely tulip-shaped bowls, effervescence points, and leaded crystal. For fine dining or an intimate occasion, our favorite high-quality Champagne flute is the Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige, and you can read about it in our full-length guide.
The Libbey Signature Kentfield Estate All-Purpose Glass is ideal for casual drinking and entertaining. Photo: Michael Hession
The best wine glass for hosting parties is the durable Libbey Signature Kentfield Estate All-Purpose Wine Glass. This inexpensive, tulip-shaped glass ranked among the top stemware chosen by our experts in our blind taste test. It stood out for showcasing the aromas of both red and white wines well. It’s nicely balanced with a thin lip that doesn’t distract from enjoyment of the overall drinking experience. The Libbey glass has a classic look that makes it appropriate for daily use, or for more formal occasions such as dinners and cocktail parties. It’s also dishwasher-safe, and since it’s so affordably priced, you won’t be heartbroken if one breaks.
If you’re seeking something more elegant to create a polished and formal feel for your dinner table, check out our full-length wine glass guide. —MS for a set of 3
When it comes to having a pitcher of water on the table, we found that simple and cheap is the way to go. The Weck Juice Jar is economical, sturdy, and comfortable to hold. It has a small footprint, and the classic shape blends in well on most dining tables. It comes with a loose-fitting glass lid that’s a little impractical for day-to-day use, but thankfully you can purchase a plastic snap-on lid if you require airtight storage in the refrigerator. Even with the extra lid, though, we can’t recommend storing this jar on its side in case your fridge has limited shelf clearance. —Lesley Stockton
If you want a cobbler shaker
This all-in-one shaker and strainer will be easier to use for novice mixologists. It has less of a tendency to leak than other cobbler-style shakers, and it feels more solidly built.
If you want an all-in-one option, we also like the Usagi Cobbler Shaker. Cobbler-style shakers, which separate into three pieces (a canister, a lid with a strainer, and a cap to cover the holes), are sometimes easier for beginners but generally prone to leaking. The Usagi is the only cobbler shaker we’ve found that doesn’t: In our tests, all three parts remained snug during shaking, yet the parts weren’t so tight as to make breaking the seal difficult. We also appreciate that the Usagi shaker has a little ergonomic indentation in the cap where you can put your index finger while shaking. For those who care, this shaker also looks nice and classic. —Christine Cyr Clisset
For larger parties, grab big bags of ice from the supermarket or gas station and then separate the ice into two groups: ice that cools your beverages (and won’t be consumed) and clean ice meant for drinks. The clean ice needs its own container—nobody should have to stick a hand in the cooler to grab ice meant for chilling dirty off-the-shelf cans of beer.
After 20 hours of watching ice melt, we can say that our favorite ice bucket is the Oggi Stainless Steel Ice Bucket. Double-walled for insulation, this shiny, stainless model has a removable lid, a 3-quart capacity, and an included pair of tongs. In our tests, it didn’t sweat at all on the outside, keeping stacks of napkins and tablecloths dry.—EO
Stocking a bar is a matter of personal taste: It’s your party, so buy what you prefer. As long as you’re offering something to drink, your guests will be happy to linger. But if you need to stock up from scratch and want suggestions for basic, crowd-pleasing bottles of liquor that are good for most cocktails but won’t blow your budget, we narrowed the field down to seven selections. How much booze should you buy? The best advice is to buy plenty. Martha Stewart also has a helpful party calculator to determine how much to buy.
After speaking to eight celebrated bartenders, researching what the entertaining experts had to say, and cross-referencing their responses, we recommend the following.
Vodka: Absolut. Dale DeGroff, formerly of the Rainbow Room, told us, “If you want something a little more viscous, with a little more flavor, we’re talking pastry flavor, you get the malty, grainy: Absolut.”
Gin: Tanqueray. Chad Solomon of beverage consultancy Cuffs & Buttons called Tanqueray a “Rolls-Royce–quality” gin.
Dry vermouth: Dolin. Solomon and John deBary of Momofuku both picked Dolin for dry vermouth, a key ingredient in martinis.
Bourbon: Wild Turkey. “Right there in the heart, at 10proof, is Wild Turkey,” DeGroff said. “This man is the master.”
Whisky: The Famous Grouse. Solomon gave points to The Famous Grouse whisky for being “more of a mixer than a sipper … it’s not overly sweetened and has a little bit of smoke to it.”
Rum: Bacardi Superior. For white rum, DeGroff told us, “obviously Bacardi.”
Different cocktails (or straight sipping) may be better suited to different bottles. You know your friends, so pick and choose the alcohol you think they’ll enjoy most. —Nick Guy
Our sparkling wine pick
It’s bready and complex, and it smells like burnt sugar. People recommend Gruet to us all the time, even when we’re not asking.
Real Champagne is expensive and not commonly bought by the case. Luckily, you have much to choose from beyond the French stuff these days, and if you’re having a celebration and you don’t want to go broke, we recommend Gruet Brut. This non-vintage sparkler from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is made in the French style by a family from Champagne.
To find a great bottle that’s available for purchase by the case, we first consulted “best of” lists from various sources, including Food & Wine, Good Housekeeping, Huffington Post, The Nest, Serious Eats, and Wine Enthusiast. Then we sought out the experts.
Chad Solomon, a Milk & Honey bar alumnus and partner of beverage consultancy Cuffs & Buttons, told us, “It’s quite lovely to sip on.” Michael McCaulley, wine director and partner of Philadelphia’s Tria bar-cafe, said, “It’s toastier, it’s bready, it’s complex, it’s awesome with luscious cheese.” It’s also widely available across the US, including at online shops such as Astor Wines & Spirits.
Again and again, our sources listed Gruet Brut as one of their favorites, even without our mentioning it. Just to make sure, we pitted it against the Wine Enthusiast–approved Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut, which pops up on top sparkler lists, as well as against the similarly well-received Segura Viudas Aria Brut Cava, yet in taste tests the Gruet was the clear favorite.—NG
Our utensils pick
Sturdy, disposable cutlery is hard to find, but Kirkland’s plastic stuff fills the bill and won’t break on you.
In our tine-to-tine face-off of three plastic utensil sets, the clear winner was Kirkland Signature Crystal Clear Cutlery. These utensils won’t break on you mid-meal unless you’re dining with the Hulk, and they come in a huge quantity for cheap, so one box (which can be even cheaper in-store at Costco) should last you through quite a few dinner parties, bake-offs, and picnics. The 360-piece set comes in real-world proportions of 180 forks, 120 spoons, and 60 knives.
Our slow cooker pick
With a slow cooker you can put a roast with mouthwatering, braised flavor on the table without spending all day tending to it. Plus, preparing your main dish in an independent appliance can help free up valuable oven and stove space.
We considered many slow-cooker models across the budget range and couldn’t find the perfect one—most of them run too hot. After 5hours of research and testing, we decided that our pick is the slightly fancier but still affordable Hamilton Beach 6-quart Programmable Set & Forget, which is large enough to hold a 4-pound brisket. The built-in meat probe seems gimmicky, but slow-cooker expert Phyllis Pellman Good told us that it’s a useful feature. Keep in mind, though, that the short probe may not be long enough to reach into the front cut of every brisket.
If your brisket has gone eight hours and hasn’t reached optimal melt-in-your-mouth texture, keep cooking it on low for a few more hours. The writer behind Smitten Kitchen, a big fan of slow-cooker brisket, lets hers go for 10.
Is a roast too formal or hearty for your soirée? Slow cookers set on low are also the perfect serving vehicle for hors d’oeuvres like glazed meatballs, crowd-pleasing dips, mulled wine, and even decadent desserts. —Camille Chatterjee
Ready-made puff pastry offers an easy and sophisticated option for entertaining. It’s a great staple to keep on hand for making fancy-looking desserts, special entrées like beef Wellington, and even breakfast pastries. Using puff pastry is also one of the best ways to make tasty, impressive-looking appetizers with the bare minimum of effort.
Most people don’t want to make puff pastry from scratch, as it’s a labor-intensive process. The store-bought variety can be a real time-saver, especially when you’re prepping for a gathering, and we found Trader Joe’s Puff Pastry Dough to be the best you can buy.
As the name suggests, puff pastry puffs up as it bakes. The resulting pastry should have an airy, flaky texture. The flavor should be buttery and have a melt-in-your-mouth quality. Good ready-made puff pastry should be relatively easy to work with. Ready-made puff pastry dough usually comes in a sheet; it should roll out smoothly, without cracking where it was folded in the package. The dough should feel slightly moist but not wet, and no sections of the dough sheet should be dry or suffering the effects of freezer burn.
Generally you can find premade puff pastry dough in the freezer section of a grocery store, near the pie crust and phyllo dough. After testing Trader Joe’s dough against the high-end Dufour Classic Puff Pastry and the commonly available Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets, we found the Trader Joe’s brand to offer the best taste and the best value.
TJ’s puff pastry comes thinly rolled in parchment, which makes it easy to unroll and work with immediately. Although we like that the Dufour Classic dough is made with butter (which we could particularly taste in our apple tart), we also tasted the butter in the Trader Joe’s brand (which is created with a combination of butter and non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening made from palm oil). And at about a fourth of the price of the Dufour dough, Trader Joe’s puff pastry is a steal. It’s available only during the holidays, so if you like it, stock up; it should keep in a steady freezer for about six months. Otherwise, Dufour’s puff pastry is our offseason pick. —CCC
A toaster oven is a must for parties: It frees up oven space and heats up canapés without heating up your whole kitchen (which is good if you have a lot of people congregated in your kitchen). For our best toaster oven guide, we spent over 5hours on research and went through stacks and stacks of toasted white bread, mini pizza bagels, and cookies. Our main pick is the Panasonic FlashXpress, which is smaller than most competitors and cheaper, too. For a party, however, we’d recommend a larger toaster that can function as an auxiliary oven, the Cuisinart TOB-260NChef’s Convection Toaster Oven. —Raphael Brion
For large parties, Husky’s bags will hold a lot of the garbage and recycling that piles up at the end of the night, and they’re extra-thick to ward off punctures.
Our pick for the best kitchen trash bag is the Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bag, which works fine for a smaller dinner party. But as anyone who has had to clean up after an excellent party knows, a tremendous amount of garbage and recycling can pile up—especially if you’re using disposable flatware. For these situations, you’ll want a contractor bag.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Ice Tongs wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Ice Tongs
- №1 — Ice Tongs, Newness Stainless Steel Ice Tongs, 5.9 Inches (15 cm)
- №2 — Zanmini Reusable Stainless Steel Ice Cubes for Drink ,Set of 8 with Tongs Whisky Stones Chilling Rocks
- №3 — Cresimo Pro Stainless Steel Cocktail Bar Tool Set & Bonus Fold Out Cocktail Recipe Guide / Bartender Martini Shaker w/ Strainer Corkscrew, Bottle Opener, Jigger, Ice Tongs & Storage Rack