Everyone loves a sunny outdoor feast with friends and family, but a pair of bad BBQ tongs 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.
In April 2021, we tested eight tongs ranging in price from £5 to £34 and found two excellent pairs that we think would enhance any BBQ or make a fantastic gift.
See below for our pick of the best.
Prices and availability last checked 25 April 2022.
Length: 39.7cm Span: 9.5cm Weight: 434g
Pros: Good grip and dexterity on any type and size of BBQ food, comfortable in the hand, high-quality build, look great.
Cons: Harder to pinch together than some and can make your hand tired, expensive.
Verdict: These tongs can do everything
Whether you're turning sausages, picking up bits of asparagus that have fallen through the grill, flipping a spatchcocked chicken or adjusting coals, these Everdure Premium BBQ tweezers can handle it. They're also long enough to keep your hand away from all but the fiercest heat.
They also look and feel fantastic in your hand, and it's clear 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 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, but we think they'd make a fantastic gift for any BBQ enthusiast.
Length: 43.2cm Span: 16.2cm Weight: 352g
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
Verdict: We love these tongs as they're a real all-rounder
Despite the bulky appearance, these Weber Premium Tongs are just as good at the dexterous jobs, such as picking up cherry tomatoes, adjusting asparagus spears or turning sausages, as they are when flipping steaks or a spatchcocked chicken.
They're comfortable in your hand, take hardly any effort to use and have a 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 as a result. They're the bulkiest tongs we tested, so might be difficult to store when not in use.
The tongs below didn't quite do well enough for us to recommend and are listed in alphabetical order.
Length: 41.5cm Span: 9.5cm Weight: 442g
Pros: Good enough for turning sausages and flipping burgers, as they're long they keep your hand away from the heat
Cons: Narrow span makes adjusting some food difficult, cold to the touch, expensive
Verdict: We found better for less
Our testers found these Big Green Egg 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 be good at eerything.
Length: 23cm Span: 10cm Weight: 134g
Pros: Good control on small food items, such as asparagus spears, prawns or cherry tomatoes, small and compact for storage.
Cons: Too short to use safely on a hot BBQ
Verdict: OK for smaller items
These tongs are great for small food items such as asparagus, cherry tomatoes and prawns. But they're far too short to be suitable for anything much bigger.
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 veg and fish items, but for that we think they're a little overpriced.
Length: 30cm Span: 16cm Weight: 134g
Pros: Comfortable wooden grip, easy to store, attractive price, good for smaller food items
Cons: Too short so your hand gets hot, not very suitable for adjusting coals or flipping large items such as a spatchcocked chicken
Verdict: The short length means you might end up singed
Considering the cost, these could be a decent second pair of tongs for some of the more dextrous BBQ tasks that shorter tongs are best for, such as moving asparagus or cherry tomatoes around. They have a lovely wide span and a comfortable wooden handle. They'd store away relatively easily in a kitchen drawer.
But they're still a bit on the short side for some of the more common 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.
Length: 40.5cm Span: 29cm Weight: 201g
Pros: Long handle, comfortable grip, wide span makes them versatile, good for adjusting coals or any type of BBQ food
Cons: Tendency to try to spring open wide requires constant adjustment
Verdict: Great tongs
This pair from John Lewis & Partners have a 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.
These tongs can do pretty much anything, including adjusting coals, flipping larger items such as steaks, chicken and burgers, and they're dexterous enough to handle delicate food such as halloumi and asparagus, too.
The tongs only just missed out on our Editor's Choice recommendation 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, which can become tiresome.
Length: 41.5cm Span: 6cm Weight: 235g
Pros: Brilliant for small food items, comfortable to hold, long enough to keep your hand away from the heat
Cons: Very poor for flipping large bits of meat, pierced a sausage in our tests, not very versatile
Verdict: Good for what they're designed for – small food items
These precision tongs might turn heads at your next BBQ, but they're unlikely to be capable of turning large bits of meat, such as a T-bone steak or a spatchcocked chicken.
But then these tongs are specifically designed for smaller bits food, such as cherry tomatoes, prawns or asparagus spears, and does this job well.
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 with small food items, but they're certainly not the whole package.
Length: 34cm Span: 15.6cm Weight: 146g
Pros: Great control when handling small food items, comfortable grip
Cons: A little on the short side
Verdict: Better off paying a little more for the similar John Lewis & Partners pair
These ProCook BBQ tongs are practically identical in design to the John Lewis & Partners tongs, but they're 6.5cm shorter, so we'd recommend paying the £3 extra for the length you get with this version.
The tongs have a comfortable grip and a wide span. They're very good for picking up smaller food items such as tomatoes, asparagus and prawns, and decent for common tasks such as flipping burgers and sausages.
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 & Partners version.
The perfect set of tongs should be able to handle any type of BBQ food, big or small, as well as be suitable for adjusting coals.
The tongs should be comfortable to hold, keep your hands away from excessive heat and be durable.
Our researchers tested and rated each of the tongs over two different-sized 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 pairs.
The tongs were tested on two different-sized 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 10 times on a patio to see how they held up. While some showed cosmetic scratches, all still worked perfectly after being dropped.