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Cooking at home is a great way to eat fresh food. However, one downside is the mess. One of the most annoying thing is the oil and food splatter. To reduce this, you can use a thing called a splatter guard. They limit the amount of oil that goes in the air and reduces the amount of stickiness in your kitchen. The issue is that a lot of splatter screen acts more like a lid then as a splatter guard. This causes food to steam instead of fry, ruining the dish.
Issues with Poorly Designed Splatter Screen and Guard
In my search for the perfect splatter guard, what I notice is that most of them are horrible… The main issues is either that the perforation are too small causing food to steam. Another problem that I notice is that a lot of them are difficult to clean or cause smoke to occur.
Smoke you say? Yes, smoke occurs when there is a build up of oil stains. When you heat it up, it fills the whole kitchen in a cloudy mess. The biggest culprit of oil build up are those thin mesh design. While they are the most effective, they are also the worse to clean.
A good splatter guard has a balance between perforation size and ease of cleaning.
Materials and Design
Splatter screen usually comes in either silicone or metal. While silicone might seem like a good idea, they do not have a melting point. If you are not careful, they can suddenly fuse with your pot. That is not to say that they are bad, they are one of the easiest to clean. They also dont warp like metal.
Metal splatter guard are easier to clean, but since its made so thin, they tend to warp. What usually occurs is that you get large gaps letting grease to escape.
I recommend that you buy one that is similar to the size of your pot. Getting a one size fits all does not really work that well. They will fit oddly and other things will get in the way. You will never get a good seal.
Mesh vs Perforation
There are two types of design for splatter guard, the mesh variety and those with small perforation. In terms of performance, the mesh design wins overall. They trap the most oil and lets food breath. The models with the perforation traps too much air and will release too much moisture. However, this effectiveness comes at a cost. When it traps all the oil, it causes it to cake onto the splatter guard. If you cannot clean all the oil off, it will smoke. Cleaning it is difficult as well. I have a very difficult time just getting a sponge in all the holes.
The perforated type are easier to clean since they have a wider surface. You can really scrub it down. The problem is that the holes are too small. The best models are those with large holes letting just enough air out without steaming the food.
Cleaning Splatter Guard
While it may seem impossible to clean the mesh type of splatter guard, there is a easy trick. Soak it in vinegar, the longer you soak it in vinegar, the easier it is to spray off. If you can, get some pressurize water and spray it down.
If you have the perforated one, a good scrub with a nylon brush will do the trick. However, if it is really stubborn, you can either soak it in vinegar or use oven spray. For the oven spray method, be sure to do it outside, as those fumes are pretty caustic. Wear a glove as well.
Best Splatter Screen and Guard List
Since there are a few different variation, I put the best one of each categories. While I personally think the metal ones are the best, you should choose one that best suits you. There are also those with a combination of the two.
OXO 1064468 Good Grips Stainless Steel Splatter Screen (Best Overall)
OXO makes one of the splatter screen on the market. The holes are relatively large allowing for the food to breath and prevent steaming. The large flat surface of the metal makes it easy to clean as well. However, the downside is that they dont have smaller size and it can warp under high heat. But in my experience, this is the best performing model for me.
Oggi Splatter Guard (Best Mesh Splatter Screen)
If you want something that breaths a little better, then Oggi is a great option. It has a combination of metal rim and mesh screen for air to flow. This model comes at different sizes so choose one that best suit your pan. The handles also folds away so that it doesnt get in the way.
Kuhn Rikon Foldable Splatter Guard (Best Silicone Splatter Screen)
Khun Rikon is a swiss based kitchen appliance manufacturer. They make some of the best kitchen utensils on the market. The same applies for the silicone model. While I personally think they all kinda perform horribly…this is the best of the bunch. You can fold it open or close to control the amount of steam. However, when its fully close, it cause the food to steam more than breath.
Most people would think that a splatter guard is simple. Its not, there a lot of failures that I have experienced. You need to choose one that can breath and is easy to clean. If not, they will trap steam and cause smoke to fill your room. What you need is something that can balance the two. Get something with good perforation with a easy to clean surface. Another thing is material, I personally think metal are best, but silicone is great option if you want a good seal. Choose one that best suits your need.
Want more Kitchen Gadgets, check out our article on the Best Soup and Kitchen Ladle.