Counter Protectors

Published March 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

Do you really need an extra piece of equipment to protect your countertop, or will a heavy cloth suffice?

Overview:

Do you really need an extra piece of equipment to protect your countertop, or will a heavy cloth suffice? Using a hot Dutch oven, large rimmed baking sheet, and 12-inch skillet, we tested eight counter protectors (some were raised trivets, others had a flat design) in materials that ranged from old-fashioned braided cloth to wood, cast iron, and silicone. Our finding: Models made with silicone perform best. They resisted skidding and kept the pan from sliding, cleaned up easily, prevented a buildup of condensation on the counter (a problem with braided cloth), and even doubled as potholders. Magnetic counter protectors were our least favorite, as they stuck to cookware too well—a tester nearly burned her hand trying to remove one that had attached itself to the edge of the pan instead of the bottom. Our favorite protector had a large silicone pad that withstood the heat of a 500-degree pot.

Do you really need an extra piece of equipment to protect your countertop, or will a heavy cloth suffice? Using a hot Dutch oven, large rimmed baking sheet, and 12-inch skillet, we tested eight counter protectors (some were raised trivets, others had a flat design) in materials that ranged from old-fashioned braided cloth to wood, cast iron, and silicone. Our finding: Models made with silicone perform best. They resisted skidding and kept the pan from sliding, cleaned up easily, prevented a buildup of condensation on the counter (a problem with braided cloth), and even doubled as potholders. Magnetic counter protectors were our least favorite, as they stuck to cookware too well—a tester nearly burned her hand trying to remove one that had attached itself to the edge of the pan instead of the bottom. Our favorite protector had a large silicone pad that withstood the heat of a 500-degree pot.

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  • Product Tested

  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Highly Recommended - Winner

    Big HotSpot Silicone Counter Cover

    The generously sized silicone pad held a hot skillet, Dutch oven, and large baking sheet firmly in place, and withstood the heat of a 500-degree pot.

    $15

  • Recommended

    OXO Good Grips Silicone Trivet

    This lightweight pad held a skillet and Dutch oven sturdily, but is a little small for under a baking sheet. A faint plastic smell arose at higher temperatures.

    $6.99

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  • Recommended with Reservations

    WMF Cromargan Stainless Steel Trivet

    Though its expandable feature was nice for holding a large baking sheet, skillets and pots slid across the smooth metal surface of this trivet.

    $34.99

  • Recommended with Reservations

    Le Creuset 9-Inch Warming Trivet

    The tea candle in the middle of this heavy, enameled-coated cast-iron trivet keeps food warm, but skillets, Dutch ovens, and baking sheets slid and wobbled on its concave surface.

    $49.95

  • Recommended with Reservations

    Lodge Trivet - Meat Rack

    Baking sheets wobbled and nearly touched the counter surface when laid on this heavy trivet. It quickly became too hot to touch after a hot pot and baking sheet rested on it.

    $9.99

  • Not Recommended

    Gooseberry Patch Braided Trivet

    Throw grandma’s trivet away—enough condensation to damage a wood surface collected under this cotton/rayon/polyester braided trivet after we put a hot pot on it. The fibers were stained and musty after one cleaning.

    $12.95

  • Not Recommended

    Kuhn Rikon Magnetic Trivet

    This trivet stays firmly attached to the pot, which is problematic if you need to take it off to put the hot pot back on the stove. Moreover, pots slid and trays wobbled on this triangle-shaped trivet.

    $29.95

  • Not Recommended

    Staub Large Wooden Magnetic Trivet

    Not only did the magnet make it difficult to remove the trivet, the varnish on the wood began to melt after a 212-degree pot was placed on top. It also failed to keep skillets, pots, and baking sheets from sliding around.

    $39.95

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