Tongs are kind of the unsung heroes of grilling. While not necessarily the most indispensable tool in your arsenal (I’ll stand by the humble spatula as that item), they make a lot of things a lot easier.
While you can awkwardly transfer your meat to a plate with a combination of forks, spatulas, and a lot of gumption, as anyone who’s ever had to do so can tell you, it’s not only an inefficient hassle, it’s an almost luck based endeavor. Nobody wants to roll the dice on losing 16 hours of work due to an avoidable fumble.
To that end, I’ve put together a handy guide to make it easy to find some good tongs, to put your mind at ease when taking your delicious projects off the fire, followed by some examples of my favorite options.
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7 Top BBQ Grilling Tongs Reviews in 2021
1. Shark BBQ Heavy Duty Grill Tongs
These are excellent tongs, with everything I look for in this kitchen tool.
Tongs should be easy to use and grippy, first and foremost, which these tongs have in spades. The grips are comfortable and don’t slip, while being easy to pry apart.
The scissor handle design is my personal favorite, as it adds a lot of control to these tongs, adding a lot more versatility of use over the one piece tongs. It also give you extra effective reach, since you don’t need to choke up on these like you do with springy tongs; these tongs are about the same length as the average, but have about double the actual usable length.
Construction is top notch, with stainless steel overall and PVC handles, giving you a lot of durability and protection from heat conductivity.
Rounding things out is a nice serrated edges for testing certain things without needing to whip out your spatula or knives.
All in all, finding a better tong is hard. There are a few I like about as much, but this one is certainly the simplest around with the best quality, at a good price.
Wide head for easy grip.
Serrated, razor sharp edge for similar use as a serrated spatula.
Easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
Well constructed and durable.
A bit pricey compared to lower end tongs.
2. BBQ Croc 3 in 1 18 inch BBQ Tool
This is a nice little 3 in 1 set of grilling tongs. The length is one of its best features (a full 18 inches), with a really comfortable scissor design. The finger loops are ergonomic and heat resistant as well.
As tongs, I don’t like these QUITE as much as the Shark BBQ ones above, but in addition to tongs, the design of these lends them to being pretty solid when used as a spatula and grill scraper as well.
The thick, wedge shaped head is great for all of those purposes, and each feeds into each other. The overall design is just very good, and it comes in at a great price in addition to all that. It even has a hook that doubles as a bottle opener! Though not a very good one, in my opinion.
If you want something that can serve multiple grill tool purposes, this is an excellent option that should work perfectly for you. The issue is I’m not sure how well the aluminum body will hold up to long term abuse; aluminum is fairly strong, but with how light this is, it may be prone to bending if you try to lift something too heavy with it.
Wide head for easy grabbing.
Doubles as a mini-spatula, grill scraper, and bottle opener.
Comfortable, ergonomic, and heat resistant handles.
Great 18” length.
Aluminum construction is iffy at this length.
3. Outset 22 inch Locking Rosewood BBQ Tongs
This set of “extra long” traditional tongs is quite good for what it is. Coming in at 22 inches, these tongs sidestep the issue some of these tongs have of being effectively too short for real use. All traditional tongs have a much smaller effective range than their actual size, this being no exception; the main difference is these are actually much longer to make up for it.
Out of the 22 inch length, you get about 16 to 18 inches of actual grabbing length. The scalloped head makes it easy to snag onto pretty much anything and turn it easily, while the wide opening make sit simple to latch onto larger pieces of meat, including whole roasts or racks of ribs, without any issue. Its so convenient to use that you can use it to hold down the meat on one hand while the other hand holds a meat claw shredder or pairing knife to cut the meat.
For the fairly low price, these are an excellent buy just on those merits, but the rosewood handle makes these a really enticing option. The wood not only adds a bit of heat and slip resistance, with its great texture, it adds a good amount of appearance to the tongs that make them nice to hang up around your kitchen if you’re the type that likes to integrate their utensil as decorative features.
Great scalloped head for easy grabbing of oddly shaped items.
Nice looking rosewood handles provide aesthetic value, texture, and heat resistance.
Excellent usable length.
Locks for easy storage.
A bit awkward for grabbing flatter or more delicate foods.
4. Grillhogs 16 inch Barbeque Grilling Tongs
If you’re looking for a cheap but good option, this is the perfect set of tongs.
Much like the Outset tongs above, this is a wood clad steel set of tongs. Instead of rosewood, you have a very sturdy oak, and extremely thick construction on the length of the tongs.
As a result they’re shorter, giving you less usable length, but more than sufficient to take plenty of abuse. While the Outset tongs might falter at the distance you’re grabbing heavier things, these thick tongs are perfect for the heaviest duty grilling work.
These tongs are sturdy, cost efficient, and don’t look half bad either; while they’re not as great looking as the outset tongs, oak isn’t a bad wood in terms of looks, and would work great in any more rustic kitchen appointment.
Extremely thick and sturdy construction.
Oak wood handles look pretty nice and provide extra grip and heat resistance.
Scalloped tongs of this kind struggle with more delicate tasks.
5. Mountain Grillers 12 and 16 inch Barbeque Grilling Tongs
This is a set of decent grill tongs that get better when you take them together. The set from Mountain Grillers is very cheap, a bit less than most of the single tongs we’ve looked at.
While neither are my favorite, getting both make sit worth considering, as it means you geta lot of bang for your buck in terms of having multiple tongs for different purposes for those complex cooking sessions.
The individual construction is…good. Not great, but well enough. These are a good thick stainless steel with a token strip of a heat resistant material to protect your fingers. Not as thick as the Grillhogs tongs, for sure, but thicker than average.
The head is scalloped, as most traditional tongs, but these have a bit of a longer head than usual, which is nice. You get a little less concentrated grip strength for smaller, more slippery bits of food (like a well coated chicken breast or thigh), but it makes it easier to grab onto larger foods like cooking steak on griddles and even more delicate ones than you might usually balk at using a scalloped tong for.
Overall I’d say it’s a bit of a wash as to which type of scalloped head is BETTER, because both have their own merits.
Great elongated scalloped head is better for some grilling purposes.
Two piece set is a great value.
Locking handles for easy storage.
Good sturdy stainless steel construction.
They’re a bit short, especially the 12” one.
6. Sihao Heavy Duty BBQ Grilling Tongs
I did not initially like these tongs very much. They look a bit bare and uncomfortable, and have a very weird narrow design. It’s very minimalist and doesn’t compare well when laid side by side the Shark BBQ or BBQ Croc scissor handle tongs at the top of this list.
However, as I looked at them more, and played around with them a bit, I came to appreciate these for what they are: great supplementary tongs.
I wouldn’t recommend these as your primary set. They’re fairly small and delicate overall, made of aluminum and with a very slender profile. But they’re good for delicate tasks; moving coals, grabbing narrow individual foods you don’t want to squish together (like chicken strips, or roasting baby potatoes) and other similar tasks you always need to do, but sometimes end up mangling with larger tongs.
Their length puts you at the perfect distance form the action; about 16 inches. This give you great control over what you’re doing, as well as protection from the hot coals.
These may not look like much, but they’re well worth giving a shot if you already have (or are going to buy) a different pair of reliable tongs.
Great for delicate tasks.
Good length for extra heat protection that doesn’t reduce your fine control.
Not really suitable for heavy duty work.
Handles are a bit uncomfortable.
7. Dragonn Premium 12 and 9 inch Grilling Tongs
These are sort of your bog standard tongs. They are perfectly average in just about every conceivable way. For the price they’re asking, this is perfectly acceptable for a set of two well made, if very basic tongs.
This set of scalloped head tongs are made of a sturdy stainless steel, with a thin strip of heat resistant material near the top that passes for a handle. The hanging loop at the top is good for storage, and the locking mechanism on the handles makes these easy to store any way you please; either hanging or in a drawer, without any issue.
The head itself kind of splits the difference between the overly large scalloped head of the Mountain Grillers tongs above and the more standard size of the Outset and Grillhogs grilling tongs, being a bit more elongated but still fairly compact and rounded, especially on the smaller pair.
This is unfortunately a bit of the worst of both worlds, with the weird in between head retaining neither of the best properties of the other two designs, and making it just kind of okay at everything.
There’s not a whole ton else to say here; these are extremely basic tongs, but they’re the best of the basic tongs I could find, for certain. The only issue is that the 9 inch tongs are pretty much useless for grilling, and very awkward to use near heat (and the 12 inch ones are only a little better, but passable), but they’re great for other purposes.
Read more: BBQ tools sets listed here.
Great sturdy stainless steel construction.
Decent heat resistance on the handles.
Okay for any task.
Easy to store however you like.
Both pairs of tongs are a bit too short to be truly desirable.
You can’t go wrong picking any of these. While I have an admitted bias toward the scissor type tongs, I can’t deny that a lot of people like the more standard design and are just as used to using them. To that end, while the Shark BBQ ones are my favorite, it’s difficult to say they’re truly and objectively between than most of the competitors, with the BBQ Croc, Outset, Grillhogs, and Mountain Grillers options each bringing their own unique flair.
The outliers are the Sihao and Dragonn grill tongs, for different reasons. The Sihao ones I stand by as being great secondary tongs, but not a good buy if you don’t already own a set. Meanwhile the Dragonn tongs are just kind of okay overall, with nothing that really stands out. Fittingly enough, these last two sets shine if bought as a pair, and add up in price to about the same as any of the other options.
What Makes a Good Grilling Tong?
Tongs fall into two broad categories, based on the type of handle: scissor tongs, and “spring” tongs, which I’ll just call “traditional” tongs, because they’re probably the one you think of the most when you hear the word tong.
As a general rule, I prefer scissor tongs. A lot of the time I’m cooking smaller things; grilled chicken, hamburgers, at most a half rack of ribs on average. As a result, ease of use and increased control is what I value. Scissor tongs typically have a smaller, flatter head to them that grips onto small things easily, and makes flipping things that would otherwise be fiddly (like chicken strips) easy as pie. Scissor tongs are also more generally useful around the kitchen, being extremely handy for fishing things out of oil, like hush puppies and the like.
Scissor tongs have one last advantage: more usable length. If a pair of scissor tongs say they’re 18 inches long, they’re 18 inches long, just about.
The same cannot be said about traditional tongs. Traditional tongs have as their primary disadvantage that only about 70% of their actual length is usable length, since you need to choke up on them more to use them. If a set of traditional tongs says they’re 18 inches, you get somewhere between 12 and 14 inches of usable length.
Their scalloped head and thicker construction, however, makes traditional tongs perfect for those larger things I mentioned. Full rib racks, huge briskets, sides of venison; all flip under the mighty power of a sufficiently thick and long pair of tongs. Your fine control of smaller items suffers, however.
For both, construction is a prime factor for consideration. Under most circumstances you should be looking for stainless steel. Aluminum is also acceptable, but not preferred.
A stronger material means a longer lasting item, and stainless steel is easier to keep clean and unbroken. Plus it’s a worse conductor of heat than aluminum.
Handles should be a heat resistant material of some sort. There are a plethora of viable options out there, from wood to certain plastics, and all are about as good performance-wise as another.
Just make sure that whatever materials used doesn’t jack up the price. I wouldn’t pay too much more than $20 for a pair of tongs, no matter how good they are. Past a certain level of basic quality, tongs are tongs.
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