How we tested
When you’re reaching over a red-hot grill to turn burgers or steak, you need serious protection for your arms and hands. We tested five brands of grill gloves and mitts, priced from $25.95 to $39.90 per pair, in leather, cotton, and combinations of high-tech synthetics. To see if we could just use our regular oven mitt, we added our favorite, by KatchAll, the 15-inch Kool-Tek Oven Mitt, at $44.95 apiece. Wearing the gloves, we poured red-hot coals from a chimney starter and arranged them with tongs, grilled thin planks of zucchini, and lifted hot grates to add coals to the fire. To see just how far the gloves would go to shield us, we held gloved hands over a burner with radiant heat registering 600 degrees—the maximum temperature of most gas grills at grate level. One glove failed at 14 seconds; the rest held out for at least 30 seconds before becoming uncomfortably hot. The best lasted for more than 1½ minutes—we never even felt the leather singeing. While lifting hot grates and adding coals, all of the gloves offered adequate protection.
But heat protection isn’t the whole equation. Most gloves were oversize, thick, and stiff, barely letting us grab grates or tongs, never mind doing any cooking. For better dexterity, we preferred gloves with individual fingers rather than mitts. The best gloves also had long sleeves to protect the forearm and a wide cuff to let air circulate and keep hands less sweaty. Our winner is protective but thin enough for dexterity, with elbow-length sleeves and wide cuffs that kept us safe and comfortable over the coals.