You can flip a burger with a fork, fish a boiled egg out of hot water with a spoon, or use a potholder to finesse broiled items from out of a blisteringly hot oven. But all these tasks and a whole lot more are a whole lot easier with kitchen tongs. Kitchen tongs are so indispensable that you could—and should—buy numerous pairs and stash them in drawers around the kitchen so you always have a set close at hand. If you’re not convinced, here are three things to consider when buying kitchen tongs.

Top Pick

This pair is heat resistant up to 500 degrees F. ALLWIN-HOUSEWARE W

One size doesn’t necessarily fit all when it comes to kitchen tongs. For work on a stovetop, shorter 8- and 9-inch long inch tongs keep your hands away from the heat but still afford plenty of control. For grilling, smoking, and deep-frying, opt for longer 12-inch long tongs or even longer.

Great Value

This pair locks shut for easy storage. OXO

All-metal tongs work great most of the time, but tongs tipped with a silicon or nylon sleeve will protect nonstick pots and pans. However, be aware: Silicon tips can be a bit slippery on some food items, and nylon tips aren’t as heat resistant as other materials.

Also Consider

This kit has two different sized models for different cooking situations. Hotec

Tongs are generally built as spring-loaded tools that automatically pop open when you don’t compress the two sides, or like scissors that move back and forth manually, without a spring. Each has an advantage, but the one-handed ease of operating spring-loaded tongs can be a big bonus. Also, look for tabs or metal rings that lock the tongs in the closed position, so they take up much less room on the stovetop or in a drawer.