Straight to the Point

Our winners, the OXO Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs, may *technically* be kitchen tongs, but their length, rubber grip, and sturdy construction made them just as apt at flipping kabobs on the grill. We also liked the Broil King Baron Barbecue Tong as a budget-friendly pick and the OXO Good Grips Grilling Tongs (which sport a metal ring at the end) for folks who like hanging up their tongs.

Whether you’re a self-proclaimed pit boss or just like throwing a few hot dogs on the grill now and then, grill tongs are a must. And a good pair of grill tongs, like their kitchen siblings, should be sturdy, strong, and easy to open and close at a moment’s notice—you don’t want to burn dinner because you couldn’t get the dang tongs to unlatch. We set out to test nine of the most popular and highly-rated grill tongs through a trial by fire, charcoal, gas, and a whole lotta meat (though, obviously, you can use these for grilling vegetables, too). 

The Winners, at a Glance

Tongs

OXO


These tongs shone from the start, expertly flipping and maneuvering hot dogs and kabobs. The tapered, oval tong head shape gripped with certainty, the rubber-lined sides made the tongs easy to hold, and they were a cinch to open and close. 

Broil King Baron Barbecue Tong

Amazon


While these tongs featured more squared-off heads, they still gripped and flipped assuredly and were easy to open and close. 

oxo good grips grilling tongs

Amazon


Like their kitchen sibling, these grill-specific tongs had tapered heads and were strong and sturdy, flipping all manner of meats with ease. They also sport a large metal looped tab at the end (which you push in or pull out to open or close the tongs) so you can hang them up on your grill. 

The Tests

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly


  • Flip Hot Dogs Test: We used each pair of tongs to flip and maneuver two hot dogs on a portable gas grill. 
  • Flip Kabobs Test: Using each pair of tongs, we flipped lamb kabobs on a charcoal grill. We also used the tongs to remove the meat from the skewers once cooked. 
  • Flip Flank Steak Test (Winners-Only): We used our favorite tongs to flip a 2-pound flank steak on a charcoal grill, noting if the tongs struggled to lift and flip the long piece of steak. 
  • Ease of Use and Cleaning Tests: Throughout testing, we noted how easy the tongs were to use and clean. 

What We Learned 

Kitchen Tongs vs. Grill Tongs: What’s the Difference? 

The main difference between kitchen tongs and grill tongs is length: kitchen tongs tend to land in the 12-inch length range, while grill tongs are upwards of 18 inches long. Longer tongs keep your hand further from the grill grate, which is helpful if you’re into high-heat grilling. Some grill tongs also feature a metal loop at the end, which has two purposes: opening and closing the tongs and also serving as a hook to hang them on the side of your grill. Kitchen tongs can sometimes feature silicone-lined tips for a gentler grip, but you don’t see silicone on the ends of grill tongs as frequently (perhaps because you’re often dealing with higher heats). 

Oval, Tapered Heads with Scalloped Edges Gripped Better

We preferred tongs with oval, scalloped edges (like the ones on the left) over tongs with square-shaped heads, like the ones on the right.

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly


As in our kitchen tong review, we found oval, tapered heads with scalloped edges latched onto food better than boxier or unorthodox-shaped heads. This was especially evident with the OXO tongs, both of which securely gripped slippery hot dogs, heavy kabobs, and floppy flank steak. Conversely, tongs with squared-off heads, like the Grillhogs, didn’t quite as deftly pinch and hold onto whatever they were grasping. Also, don’t mess around with overall tong shape—scissor tongs, like the ones from Shark, couldn’t compete with the standard tong silhouette. Not only did they mangle a hot dog when we tried to flip it, but they were also tiring to use since you had to have your hand open and taut to keep them ajar—it was a bit of a workout with only poor results to show for it. 

In General, Longer Tongs Were Better 

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly


As we mentioned earlier, grill tongs are distinguished by their length. Our preferred sweet spot was around 16 inches—any longer and you’ll feel like a toucan without control of your beak. We did find it interesting that two tongs we tested were way under 16 inches—one of the tongs in the Mountain Grillers set, which was 12 inches, and the Pit Barrel Cooker Co Ultimate Tongs, which were a mere 10 inches (!!). While we actually quite liked the Pit Barrel tongs—they were sturdy, easy to open and close, and comfortable to grip—they weren’t really what we were looking for in an all-purpose pair of grill tongs. We think they’d be better suited as an accompanying pair for smaller flips, like grilled chicken wings, or for serving. 

Medium-Weight Tongs Were the Best of Both Worlds

We liked tongs that were nicely balanced and neither too heavy nor too light. This middle weight range was the most adept at flipping heavier items, like racks of ribs or flank steak.

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly


When you’re flipping a heavy piece of meat, the last thing you want is a heavy set of tongs further weighing down your hand and wrist. We found tongs in the 8-to-9-ounce range (like the OXO and Broil King tongs) hit the sweet spot when it came to sturdiness and agility; they were easy to maneuver but could also tackle flipping unwieldy, heavy things like flank steak or a rack of ribs. Any heavier, like the 14-ounce Weber tongs, and they were difficult to maneuver; any lighter, like the 5.7-ounce Mountain Griller large tongs, and we weren’t confident they could lift heavy meats without scissoring under the strain. 

Slim, Rubber-Lined Tongs Were the Easiest to Grip

Tongs came in a variety of shapes, sizes, and weights. We preferred tongs with rubber grips over those with wood or plastic, which were more slippery and bulky.

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly


For such a relatively simple cooking utensil, tongs come in a surprising variety of materials and shapes. Our advice? Stick to the basics: stainless steel tongs with some kind of rubber grip for added comfort and security. While fancy wooden-trimmed tongs, like the Grillhogs, looked nice, they weren’t as comfortable to hold (they were quite bulky). Plus, you can’t toss them in the dishwasher—trust us, it’s not very fun trying to hand scrub off burnt-on barbecue sauce. We also had issues with hard plastic-lined tongs, like the Weber, which were slippery and bulky. 

We Liked Tongs that Were Easy to Open and Close

Well, duh, you might think—but we were surprised to find that not all tongs were a simple pull-of-the-spring away from opening. Instead, some grill tongs tried to get, uh, creative with their opening and closing mechanisms. Take the Weber tongs, for instance: instead of pushing or pulling the locking spring up or down, you had to shove it to one side or the other, which proved difficult. Then, there were the Rosle tongs, which required a complicated dance of flipping the tongs up or down and pushing on one side to open and close them—a nice idea in theory, but in practice, we spent a lot of time frantically swinging the tongs around while our timer was going off and the kabobs threatened to overcook. Stick to the simple push/pull spring, and even better, get one with rubber on it—the metal ones bit into our palms.

The Criteria: What to Look for In a Pair of Grill Tongs

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly


Great grill tongs should be around 16 inches long, keeping your hand a safe distance from the grill grate. They should ideally have oval-shaped heads with scalloped edges and weigh in around eight to nine ounces—agile, but still sturdy. We preferred tongs that were easy to open and close (none of that “swing the tong up or down to open and close it” nonsense), and that featured rubber grips on the sides. 

Tongs

OXO


What we liked: Okay, these aren’t *technically* grill tongs, but they met all the criteria for them even if the word “grill” isn’t in the name: they’re long, sturdy, and opened and closed quickly, guaranteeing no burnt foods ever (unless you’re looking for char, obviously). We loved the rubber on the sides, which made them easy and comfortable to grasp, and the tapered heads, which gripped and flipped without a hitch. 

What we didn’t like: These tongs don’t feature a hook on the end (though there is a small hole in the spring latch), so you can’t hang them up alongside your grill brush.

Price at time of publish: $18.

Key Specs

  • Length: 15 7/8 inches
  • Weight: 8.7 ounces
  • Materials: Stainless steel, rubber
  • Care: Dishwasher-safe

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly


Broil King Baron Barbecue Tong

Amazon


What we liked: This $10 pair of tongs impressed us; they featured a triangular, plastic, push/pull spring which made for easy opening and closing, and though they had more squared-off heads, they still sported scalloped edges that gripped onto hot dogs and kabobs assuredly. They were also quite sturdy, even when tackling a floppy piece of flank steak. 

What we didn’t like: These tongs, like the OXO Locking Tongs, can’t be hung up. The squared-off head edges also weren’t quite as nimble and grippy as oval-shaped ones, but still performed well. 

Price at time of publish: $10.

Key Specs 

  • Length: 16 inches
  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Materials: Stainless steel, rubber
  • Care: Dishwasher-safe

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly


oxo good grips grilling tongs

Amazon


What we liked: If you’re deadset on hanging up your tongs, these are the tongs for you. Not only do they feature a large metal loop on the end, but they were also the perfect length, and the scalloped, oval heads securely gripped food. Oh, and they have a built-in bottle opener if you want to pop a cold brewski whilst tending the grill.  

What we didn’t like: We found the metal loop on the spring a wee bit more difficult to push in and pull out (and not quite as comfortable to push as the rubber-lined one on the other OXO tongs). 

Price at time of publish: $17.

Key Specs 

  • Length: 16 inches
  • Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Materials: Stainless steel, rubber
  • Care: Dishwasher-safe
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly.

The Competition 

  • Rosle Stainless Steel Lock and Release Click Tongs: While these tongs were good at gripping and flipping, they were a pain to open and close: you had to swing the tongs up or down to activate the spring. This resulted in some frantic moments when we need to flip the kabobs but the tongs wouldn’t open. Not to mention they’re $47, which is pretty pricey for a pair of tongs. 
  • Weber Grill Tongs: With bulky plastic running up the sides, these tongs were too big and unwieldy. They were also the heaviest tongs we tested, at 14 ounces. 
  • Mountain Grillers Grill Tongs for Cooking BBQ – 12 & 16″: While this set comes with two different-sized tongs, neither was particularly good. The larger tongs were flimsy, and the smaller tongs’ rubber grip was flopping out upon arrival. 
  • Pit Barrel Cooker Co Ultimate Tongs: We actually quite liked these tongs—they were precise, good at gripping, and had a nice weight. The downside: they’re a mere 10 inches long—this is shorter than most kitchen tongs! While they might make a good secondary pair of grilling tongs for flipping smaller things, we wouldn’t grab them as our only pair. 
  • GRILLHOGS 16-Inch Barbecue Tongs: While the tongs’ wood-rimmed handles looked nice, they were bulky and difficult to maneuver—not to mention they’re not dishwasher-safe. We also found the large, squared-off heads not particularly good at grasping roly poly items, like hot dogs. 
  • Shark BBQ Grill Tongs: Scissor-style tongs proved to be difficult on the hands (you have to keep your hand extended to keep them open). They also weren’t very nimble—we had a hot dog go down in pieces when we tried to flip it. 

FAQs

What is the difference between kitchen tongs and grill tongs?

While similar in a lot of ways, grill tongs tend to be longer than kitchen tongs (12 inches versus 16 inches). That said, our favorite grill tongs shared the same features as our favorite kitchen tongs: tapered, oval heads with scalloped edges and a sturdy but nimble body. 

Are silicone tongs safe for grilling?

While none of the grill tongs we tested had silicone-lined heads, we did test kitchen tongs with this feature and found they were perfectly safe to use with heat.