Everyone loves a sunny barbecue with friends and family, but bad tools can make a fun occasion more stressful, as well as lead to poorly cooked food or singed skin and hair on the back of your hands.
We tested eight BBQ tongs ranging in price from £6 to £32, and found two excellent tongs that we think would enhance any barbecue or make a fantastic gift.
See below for our pick of the best BBQ tongs.
Prices checked 26/05.21.
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BBQ tongs we’d recommend
Everdure Premium BBQ Tweezers (Large), Editor’s Choice
Length: 39.7cm, Span: 9.5cm, Weight: 434g
Verdict: These tongs can do everything. Whether you’re turning sausages, picking up bits of asparagus that have fallen through the grill, flipping a massive spatchcocked chicken, or adjusting coals, these tongs can handle it with aplomb. They’re also long enough to keep your hand away from all but the fiercest heat.
On top of this, they look and feel fantastic in the hand and it’s clear that they’re a well made pair of tongs.
One slight negative is that because of their tweezer design and sturdy build, they take a little more effort to squeeze than many of the BBQ tongs we tested. This could mean that your hand starts to get tired if you’re using them for long periods.
They’re also expensive for BBQ tongs, but we think they’d make a fantastic gift for any budding BBQer or BBQ enthusiast.
Pros: Good grip and dexterity on any type and size of BBQ food, comfortable in the hand, high quality build, they look great.
Cons: Harder to pinch together than some which can make your hand tired, expensive.
Weber Premium Tongs, Editor’s Choice
Length: 43.2cm, Span: 16.2cm, Weight: 352g
Verdict: We love these tongs too, they’re real BBQ all rounders. Despite the bulky appearance they’re just as good at the dexterous jobs, for example picking up cherry tomatoes, adjusting asparagus or turning sausages, as they are when flipping steaks or a spatchcocked chicken.
These tongs are comfortable in the hand, take hardly any effort to operate, and they have a lovely wide span when fully open.
The corrugated design of the tips makes them brilliant at gripping almost any type of food, but it does make them slightly more difficult to clean by hand. They’re the bulkiest tongs we tested, so might be difficult to store when not in use.
Pros: Perfect BBQ companion for any type of food big or small, comfortable in the hand, wide span makes it easy to pick up any item or adjust coals.
Cons: Hard to clean by hand when food is dried on, quite bulky so could be difficult to store.
How the rest fared
The tongs below are ranked alphabetically and didn’t quite do enough for our recommendation.
Big Green Egg Custom Stainless Steel Tongs
Cheapest price: £31 available at thebbqshop.
Length: 41.5cm, Span: 9.5cm, Weight: 442g
Verdict: Our testers found these tongs very cold to the touch, even on a warm sunny day. The stainless steel design may look appealing, but it does have its drawbacks when it comes to comfort and feel.
These tongs don’t have a very wide span, less than 10cm, so they’re not wide enough to pick up a large prawn from every angle.
You won’t have any issues turning a sausage or flipping a burger, and they’re long enough to keep your hand away from the heat. However for the price, we think they should have the whole package.
Pros: Good enough for turning sausages and flipping burgers, long so they keep your hand away from the heat.
Cons: Narrow span which makes adjusting some food difficult, cold to the touch, expensive.
Cuisipro Silicone Locking Tongs
Cheapest price: £12.49 available at Lakeland.
Length: 23cm, Span: 10cm, Weight: 134g
Verdict: These tongs are great for small BBQ items like asparagus, cherry tomatoes and prawns. But they’re far too short to be suitable for anything much larger.
The grip these tongs give is fine, however you just can’t get close enough to the meat or veg on the BBQ without getting your hand singed. And adjusting coals with these would certainly be too risky.
These could be a decent second pair of tongs for small salad and fish items, but even for that they’re a little overpriced.
Pros: Good control on small bbq items like asparagus prawns or cherry tomatoes, small and compact for storage.
Cons: Too small for a hot BBQ.
Extodry Sturdy BBQ Tongs
Cheapest price: £7.96 available at Amazon.
Length: 30cm, Span: 16cm, Weight: 134g
Verdict: Considering the cost, these could be a decent second pair of tongs for some of the more dextrous BBQ tasks like moving asparagus or cherry tomatoes around. They have a lovely wide span and a comfortable wooden handle. They’d store away relatively tidily in a kitchen drawer.
But they’re still a bit on the short side for some of the more common BBQ tasks such as adjusting coals or turning sausages on a really hot BBQ. You might get a few singed hand hairs, and you’ll certainly feel the heat of the BBQ more than with our top picks.
Pros: Comfortable wooden grip, easy to store, attractive price, good for small bbq items.
Cons: Too short so your hand gets hot, not very suitable for adjusting coals or flipping large items like a spatchcocked chicken.
John Lewis & Partners Stainless Steel BBQ Tongs
Cheapest price: £8 available at John Lewis.
Length: 40.5cm, Span: 29cm, Weight: 201g
Verdict: This is a really great set of tongs. They have a nice long handle, a comfortable grip and the widest span of any of the tongs we tested. They stretch almost as wide as a full length ruler, and wide enough even to pick up the shortest tongs in our test (Cuisipro) along their full length.
When it comes to BBQing, these tongs can do pretty much anything. Including adjusting coals, flipping large items like steaks, chicken and burgers, and they’re dexterous enough to handle delicate food like halloumi and asparagus too.
The tongs only just missed out on an Editor’s Choice because of their tendency to want to spring open very wide, all of the time. This wide span makes them very versatile, but it does need constant control and adjustment with the hands from the BBQer, which can become tiresome.
For £8 though, they’re an absolute steal and a great second pair of tongs to accompany one of our more expensive Editor’s Choice tongs, above.
Pros: Long handle, comfortable grip, wide span which makes them very versatile, good for adjusting coals or any type of BBQ food.
Cons: Tendency to want to spring open requires constant adjustment.
Napoleon Precision Tweezer Tongs
Cheapest price: £20.89 available at thebbqshop.
Length: 41.5cm, Span: 6cm, Weight: 235g
Verdict: These precision tongs might turn heads at your next BBQ, but they’re unlikely to be capable of turning large bits of meat, like a big t-bone steak or a spatchcocked chicken.
But then these tongs are specifically designed for smaller bits of BBQ food, for example cherry tomatoes, prawns or asparagus, and they’re undoubtedly great for these items.
Our issue with them is that even when it comes to common BBQ food such as burgers and sausages, they disappointed us. These tongs inadvertently lanced a sausage, flipping burgers was very tricky, and the tongs even bent and deformed at their hinge when we tried to turn a spatchcocked chicken.
They’re attractive to look at, comfortable to hold and great at very small food items, but they’re certainly not the whole package.
Pros: Brilliant for small BBQ items, comfortable to hold, long enough to keep your hand from the heat.
Cons: Very poor for flipping large bits of meat, pierced a sausage in our tests, not very versatile.
ProCook Stainless Steel Tongs
Cheapest price: £6 available at ProCook.
Length: 34cm, Span: 15.6cm, Weight: 146g
Verdict: These tongs are practically identical in design to the John Lewis tongs, above, but they’re 6.5cm shorter. We’d recommend paying the £2 extra for the length you get with the John Lewis version.
The tongs have a nice comfortable grip and a wide span. They’re very good for picking up tomatoes, asparagus and prawns and decent for common tasks like flipping sausages and burgers.
But as the tongs are a fair bit shorter, your hand can overheat if the BBQ is really hot, so we wouldn’t recommend them over the longer, John Lewis version.
Pros: Great control when handling small food items, comfortable grip.
Cons: A little on the short side so your hand can overheat.
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Four things to know before buying BBQ tongs
Here’s a few things it’s important to know before you buy a new set of BBQ tongs;
- Length matters. If you don’t want to burn your hands, regardless of the size of your BBQ (we used two sizes in our tests), you’ll need a long tong. Anything shorter than 35cm can start to feel uncomfortable when the BBQ is really hot.
- Traditional style tongs, with ends that look a bit like fluffy clouds, can be purchased very cheaply, and they do the job pretty well. We’d recommend the John Lewis set above as a great budget option. But paying a bit more can get you tongs that look a bit fancier (for a great gift), and in the case of our Editor’s Choice, tongs that really can do everything.
- Tweezer tongs can be a bit hit and miss. We tested two tweezer style tongs and our testers loved one (Everdure), but found the Napoleon tweezer tongs disappointing.
- Consider buying two sets of tongs for your BBQ. A cheaper long handled set to adjust coals, and perhaps one of our more expensive Editor’s Choice tongs to deal with the food.
How we tested BBQ tongs
The perfect set of BBQ tongs should be able to handle any type of BBQ food, big or small, as well as be suitable for adjusting coals that need repositioning.
The tongs should be comfortable to hold, keep your hands away from excessive heat, and be durable too.
One of our researchers plus two of his willing assistants tested and rated each of the BBQ tongs over two separate BBQs.
A spatchcocked chicken, steaks, sausages, veggie burgers, asparagus, a large piece of fish, prawns, halloumi and cherry tomatoes were all prodded and flipped to identify the best BBQ tongs.
The tongs were tested on two different BBQs, one big (70cm circumference) and one small (50cm).
As well as how they dealt with food, we rated how easy each set of tongs is to clean. And to check they’re durable, we dropped them all ten times on a patio.
While some showed cosmetic scratches, all still worked perfectly after being dropped.