BBQ tongs purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • The most important facts in a nutshell
  • Barbecue tongs are one of the most versatile barbecue utensils.
  • They are made of wood, silicone or stainless steel.
  • Stainless steel and silicone tongs are easy to clean in the dishwasher.
  • Longer versions prevent users from getting their hands too close to the grill.

The must-have for roasting

Who doesn’t know it? You’re getting ready to grill. Meat, bread, salad and marinades are packed. Grill and charcoal are ready. Now you have to decide between numerous utensils you might need for the barbecue. But you can leave spoons, forks and spatulas at home. Apart from the barbecue, only one thing is really necessary: the barbecue tongs. With them, you can put the food on the grill, turn it over and take it off the grill again.

Barbecue forks prick the food. With meat, this affects the taste because the juices flow out through the holes. Don’t even try it with grilled cheese. It will most likely disintegrate when pricked. Grill scissors are often wobbly, small and unsafe to use. Even a barbecue brush makes barbecue tongs superfluous. Instead, simply grab the meat with the tongs and dip it in the marinade.

Normal kitchen tongs cannot replace barbecue tongs. As a rule, they are too short. Grill tongs need a certain length so that your hand does not get too close to the hot grill. If you don’t want to buy both, you should use grill tongs. You can also use them in the kitchen if necessary.

person at bbq

Finding the right barbecue companion

Although barbecue tongs are not exactly complicated, there are still a few things to consider when buying them. For example, the material and length should protect you from burns. Ergonomics are also important – after all, the tongs should be comfortable to hold.

The material

Barbecue tongs are usually made of stainless steel, wood or silicone. The materials are often combined. For example, there are tongs made of stainless steel whose ends or handles are covered with wood or silicone.

Wood: environmentally friendly and inexpensive

Many barbecue enthusiasts use wooden barbecue tongs. They are often made of beech, bamboo and cherry wood. Wooden tongs are not only cheap, but also environmentally friendly to produce. They also do not conduct heat, which reduces the risk of burns. On the other hand, they are not very heat-resistant. So they should not come into contact with the hot barbecue for long. You can get inexpensive models for as little as two euros. However, it is not advisable to buy them. These grill tongs are usually not well coated. This makes cleaning more difficult. Raw meat in particular can get stuck in the grooves. High-quality wooden tongs must not be washed in the dishwasher, but they can easily be cleaned by hand.


  • Poor heat conductor
  • Favourable
  • Pleasant to handle
  • Environmentally friendly production
  • Easy


  • Not heat resistant
  • Sometimes difficult to clean
Stainless steel: robust and heat-resistant

Stainless steel barbecue tongs are durable and robust. In addition, they often have a locking mechanism, which makes them easy to stow away. They are also extremely heat-resistant and often impress with their design. They are easy to clean, either by hand or in the dishwasher. However, models made of stainless steel are usually somewhat more expensive. In addition, stainless steel is heat-conductive. So if you place the tongs too close to the grill, they could heat up a lot and cause a burn on your hand. Many manufacturers solve this problem by coating the handle with silicone or wood.


  • Durable
  • Robust
  • Easy to clean
  • Heat resistant
  • Chic design


  • Heat conductive
  • Hard
  • Expensive
Silicone: gentle on food and easy to clean

With silicone barbecue tongs, usually only the ends and handles are made of silicone. The rest of the tongs are usually made of stainless steel. Their biggest advantage is that the soft material does not damage the food. In addition, silicone is not a heat conductor. So the risk of burning is much lower than with stainless steel. In addition, silicone tongs are easy to clean in the dishwasher. They often even come in different colours. However, they are not particularly environmentally friendly in production. Moreover, silicone is not as heat-resistant as stainless steel. It can withstand high temperatures beyond 200 degrees Celsius. However, the silicone should not come into contact with the grate for too long.


  • No damage to the grilled food
  • Easy to clean
  • Not heat conductive
  • Available in different designs


  • Not particularly environmentally friendly
  • Less heat resistant than stainless steel

How long should barbecue tongs be?

One of the most important features of barbecue tongs is their length. This influences both handling and safety. After all, the user should be able to keep a certain distance from the hot grill. Tongs with a length of 30 to 50 centimetres are recommended. If you are using a large grill, even 60-centimetre-long tongs are suitable. However, tongs that are too long make it more difficult to lift the grill food because the long lever makes it seem heavier and the user loses control because of the distance to the ends of the tongs. What’s more, the longer the tongs, the heavier they become. The length of the tongs also has a strong influence on their weight. A long pair of pliers goes hand in hand with more material and correspondingly more weight. It can be between 100 and 300 grams. Wooden tongs are lighter than stainless steel tongs.

The true length is not the total length

When it comes to the length of barbecue tongs, the overall length is less important than the distance between the handle and the ends of the tongs. After all, it’s about making sure your hands don’t get too close to the grill. A pair of tongs 20 centimetres long without a handle is indistinguishable from a pair of tongs 50 centimetres long if the handle of the latter has a distance of 20 centimetres from the ends.

With or without spring

A spring has a considerable influence on the usability of barbecue tongs. Depending on the size of the barbecue chef’s hand and the size of the food to be grilled, tongs with or without a spring may be more suitable. Of course, personal preferences also play an important role in the selection process.

Barbecue tongs without spring
bbq tong without spring

Wooden barbecue tongs usually do not have a spring. Both are possible with stainless steel tongs. Barbecue tongs without a spring consist of a single piece. They are often slightly curved. Their disadvantage is that they cannot be opened as far as tongs with a spring. The pliability and durability of the tongs depend on the material and workmanship. If the material is of high quality, however, tongs without springs often last longer, as there is no risk of the spring being damaged.

Barbecue tongs with spring
bbq tong with spring

Barbecue tongs with springs are usually made of stainless steel and consist of several parts. Handles and ends may be made of silicone. Their normal state is to be open at a wide angle. For users with small hands, they can be uncomfortable to handle. As a rule, barbecue tongs with a spring have a snap-in function or a locking mechanism. This makes them easy to store.

The handle

Depending on the material of the barbecue tongs, their handle is made of wood, stainless steel or silicone. Sometimes the entire surface of the barbecue tongs is smooth and made of the same material. In this case, it is up to the user to decide where to grip the barbecue tongs. However, it is often the case with barbecue tongs that the handle is predefined either because of its ergonomics or because of the surrounding material. Wooden tongs, for example, often have an ergonomic handle that tells the user where to grip the tongs. The situation is similar with stainless steel pliers, whose handles are often additionally encased in silicone or wood.

Most importantly, your hands are not endangered by the heat during handling. On the one hand, this means that the handle should not be heat conductive. Secondly, it needs a certain distance from the ends of the tongs so that your hand does not get too close to the heat source. Last but not least, the handle should fit comfortably in the hand.

The ends of the tongs

The ends of a pair of tongs are particularly important because they come into contact with the food being grilled. They are therefore the part of the tongs that heats up the most. The ends must therefore be heat-resistant. This does not mean that tongs made of wood are unsuitable. As long as you don’t put the wood on the grate or in the embers, it can withstand the heat well. All three common materials are therefore suitable as tong ends.

Furthermore, it is important to know how the material of the ends affects the grilled food. Hard ends can damage particularly tender food. Silicone is the softest, then comes wood and finally stainless steel. Silicone or wood is therefore recommended for food that falls apart easily or must not be damaged, such as an expensive steak. On the other hand, most grilled vegetables can be handled with stainless steel tongs without hesitation.

Wooden tongs usually have grooves at the ends that allow a better grip. Silicone and stainless steel tongs, on the other hand, often have teeth on the ends. Sometimes these are flat and do not affect the grip further. With some pliers, however, they are directed inwards. This provides a better grip. However, they can pierce the food if you grip too tightly or if the food is too tender.

vegetable skewers with bbq tong

For storage

Two features make the storage of barbecue tongs much easier: the locking mechanism and the eyelet. The locking device usually concerns stainless steel tongs with a spring. It allows them to lock into place when closed. Thus, the stainless steel tongs with spring take up much less space. Versions with an eyelet can be hung up. This means you can either store your barbecue tongs in the kitchen to save space or hang them up briefly when barbecuing instead of having to put them on the barbecue, for example.


If you are prepared to spend a little more money, you will benefit from practical extras. Some of these have the potential to enhance the grilling experience, while others are more decorative:

  • Built-in light for grilling in the dark
  • Bottle opener for easy removal of crown caps
  • Thermometer to measure the temperature of the grilled food
  • Protective shield to shield from heat and grease splashes
  • Personalised engraving as a gift idea for enthusiastic barbecue masters

Price and manufacturer

Barbecue tongs are not expensive. Their price ranges from a few euros to more than 50 euros. However, the old adage is true: “If you buy cheap, you buy twice”. Inferior wooden tongs are therefore not advisable. They often have to be bought again. You will find high-quality barbecue tongs in the 15 to 25 euro price range. Stainless steel tongs are often a little more expensive. If you want extras, you should also expect a higher price. The best-known manufacturers include Weber, Rösle, Landmann and WMF.

Where can I buy barbecue tongs?

Most supermarkets, DIY shops and furniture shops should have at least a few models to choose from. However, when it comes to range and prices, the internet can’t be beaten. Since barbecue tongs are small and light, the shipping costs are not very expensive either. Especially if you want barbecue tongs with engraving, only one order is possible; after all, they have to be made first.