How we tested
A jigger is a handy bar tool used to measure small volumes of liquids for cocktails. Conventional jiggers are roughly hourglass-shaped, with one end designed to measure a larger volume (most commonly 1.5 or 2 ounces) and the other to measure a slightly smaller one (usually 1 ounce). But in recent years, several innovative new jiggers and small-volume measuring tools have appeared on the market. We wanted to know which jigger was best for the home bartender, so we bought eight models of different styles, priced from about $5 to about $20, and put them through their paces.
First, we evaluated how easy it was to measure liquid volumes. All the jiggers were accurate at each of the volumes marked. The trouble was finding and interpreting the markings. One jigger didn't have volume lines at all; it just indicated on the exterior that one end held 2 ounces of liquid and the other held 1 ounce. While the size and balance of your drink won't be significantly affected if you have to estimate ½ ounce, most of our testers preferred models with measurement lines that let them know the correct volumes.
Another model had measurement lines but no numbers inscribed next to them. Still others had numbers that were hard to read because they'd been etched into or molded out of the material used to make the jigger. We preferred models that had plenty of bold, clearly labeled volume lines and numbers—but not so many that they became busy and distracting. The side of one small measuring glass was crowded with tablespoon, teaspoon, cup, and milliliter measurements.
We also preferred models with measurement lines on their interiors, which allowed us to see from above whether we'd filled to the right level; a few transparent models had measurement lines and numbers on their exteriors, forcing us to squat down to make sure we'd gotten the correct volume. While we don't mind doing this for accurate measuring when cooking or baking, it was awkward to do repeatedly while making cocktails.
Wider Mouths Are Easier to Fill
Next, we considered how easy the jiggers were to fill. Openings with a diameter of 1.6 inches or less made for small targets, requiring us to aim and pour very carefully. One innovative jigger was divided into separate compartments, each holding a different volume. While this seemed like a smart concept, it was tricky to fill these subsections, some as little as 0.8 inches in diameter, even when we'd fitted a bottle with a pourer so that we could dispense its liquid more precisely. In general, jiggers with mouths at least 2 inches wide were easiest to fill.
Double-Ended Jiggers Are Messy
Finally, we looked at how neatly we could empty the jiggers. Conventional double-ended jiggers were at a disadvantage here: If you have to use both ends of a jigger to measure different volumes for a drink, the end you use and empty first will drip liquid as soon as you flip the jigger. This may seem like a minor point, but most testers preferred measuring tools that had just one opening, because these kept their hands and counters drier and less sticky.
Our Winning Jigger: The OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup, Clear
Our winner isn't a jigger at all but rather a small measuring cup. The OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup, Clear, is essentially a tiny plastic beaker with a single large mouth that is easy and neat to pour into and out of. Testers loved its bold, highly legible red volume lines and numbers, which made it simple to pour correct volumes from above. If you want a more traditional-looking jigger, we think the OXO SteeL Double Jigger is your best bet. Because it's double-ended, it's a little messier to use than our winner, but with plenty of clearly labeled (if slightly faint) volume lines, it's otherwise simple to use, and testers particularly appreciated the rubbery band around its middle, which made it easy to grip even when wet.
We tested eight jiggers, priced from about $5 to about $20. We evaluated their accuracy with a lab-grade digital scale, used them to measure different volumes of different liquids, and tested their durability by washing them 15 times. We also had testers with varying levels of bartending experience use the jiggers to make cocktails. We then evaluated the markings, ease of filling, and neatness of all models. All jiggers were purchased online and appear in order of preference.
Markings: We awarded points to jiggers with clear, bold measurement lines and easy-to-read volume numbers.
Ease of Filling: We liked models with mouths measuring at least 2 inches wide, as these were the easiest to fill; we also liked those that didn't require us to crouch to gauge the fill level.
Neatness: We preferred single-ended jiggers to double-ended jiggers. Single-ended models kept our hands dry and clean while we measured and emptied volumes of liquid.