How we tested
Splatter screens promise to help contain grease during stovetop cooking. Our current winning model, from Amco Houseworks, blocks larger, potentially painful (and messy) flying drops of oil but still lets through a fine mist. Could we find a better option?
To find out, we assembled seven models, priced from $7 to $21.55. We used them while searing chicken thighs and browning bacon, ranking each on how easy it was to use, how well it contained splatter, how it affected the food, and how it cleaned up. We tried the screens on small, medium, and large skillets and saucepans, as well as Dutch ovens, to check compatibility.
Models made from silicone and perforated metal blocked our view of the food, so bacon went quickly from brown to black. The silicone models were too dense, too; they blocked oil but trapped steam, so when we lifted them, condensation dripped back into the oil and the two exploded with a dangerous vigor. And because the steam couldn’t escape, the food also browned more slowly.
The trapped steam problem exposed the catch-22 of splatter screens: Steam and oil rise off the pan together, so no splatter screen can contain all the oil but still release the steam. Therefore, nothing kept our stovetop completely clean, but fine mesh worked best; it allowed steam to escape and let us see the food.
With the three fine-mesh screens, it came down to how evenly they sat on the pans. Two sat crookedly and allowed extra grease to escape; the best model was our old favorite. It released steam, tidied up easily, and while it won’t keep your stovetop and counters completely clean, it will minimize splatter and block larger drops of flying oil.