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The best trivet

Many trivets can also be used as spoon or lid rests while preparing food.
Many trivets can also be used as spoon or lid rests while preparing food. (BestReviews)

Some dishes are best served straight from the oven to the table to keep them piping hot. However, placing a searing hot pan or serving dish directly on a wooden dining table isn’t really an option. Trivets provide a heat-resistant barrier that protects the surface from heat damage while allowing the cooking vessel to remain at serving temperature.

Trivets are helpful when serving hot foods family-style or at a buffet. Some metal trivets are just large enough to support a single plate or pot, while ones made from heat-resistant polymers or silicone can run the length of the table. Some trivets double as pot holders, spoon/lid rests, jar openers, or beverage coasters.

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We've compared trivets and have compiled a short list of promising contenders. Our top pick is the TRIVETRUNNER Decorative Trivet and Kitchen Table Runner, an innovative polymer-based mat that easily accommodates multiple dishes for buffet or family-style food service.

Considerations when choosing trivets

Material

No matter the material, the one thing all trivets need to have in common is heat resistance, providing a barrier between the hot surface of the cooking vessel and the surface of the table. Some trivets act as heat sinks, wicking away the excess heat and storing it internally. Others absorb the heat and dissipate it across their entire surface.

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Metal is a popular choice for individually sized trivets. Cast iron, stainless steel, and aluminum are known for their durability, and they absorb a significant amount of heat — up to 500°F in some cases. However, they can be heavy and bulky and can warp over time.

Trivets made from wood tend to be inexpensive. Decorative wooden trivets are also easy to store and have a fair amount of heat resistance. They can be challenging to maintain, however, because they’re very absorbent.

For excellent heat retention, glass and ceramic trivets are highly recommended. However, the excess heat doesn’t dissipate quickly, so they remain hot to the touch. They’re also susceptible to breakage if dropped or water shocked.

Silicone and other polymers have become increasingly popular as trivets because they’re flexible, easy to store, and can handle several hot serving dishes at a time. Heat resistance can be an issue, however, because silicone trivets can be very thin and overheat quickly. On the plus side, many mat-style silicone trivets can perform other functions in the kitchen.

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Design elements

Metal trivets suspend the serving vessel above the table to prevent heat damage, but they often incorporate stylized elements that suggest wrought iron or lattice work, making the trivet part of the tablescape.

Inexpensive wooden trivets also add visual interest with intricate designs created by combining smaller pieces of different shades or adding graphics to the solid trivet. Glass and ceramic trivets can resemble other decorative pieces of cookware, with floral designs or vibrant colors. Mat-style silicone trivets are available in various colors, patterns, and graphics.

Size and ease of use

One important consideration with trivets is size, which plays a role in ease of use. A trivet should be large enough to hold a serving vessel securely. Some models use a non-slip coating to achieve this, either on the top or bottom. Sometimes a larger serving dish requires two trivets for maximum security.

Some trivet models are designed to expand when necessary. Silicone trivet mats can be trimmed to a specific size if the need arises. Many trivets are also hand-washable, which helps prevent food residue from building up on the surface.

Price

The least expensive trivets resemble beverage coasters and are usually constructed from heat-resistant cork or plastic, costing around $2 to $7 each. Traditional metal, wood, or glass trivets generally cost between $7 and $20, providing decent heat protection and some visual appeal. Higher-end table runner silicone trivets and larger pot holders can cost between $20 and $40 on average.

FAQ

Q. Can I use a trivet for other things besides hot food?

A. Some flexible silicone-based trivets can be used as jar openers. A trivet can also hold a hot glue gun, soldering iron, or hair curler in place between uses. Placing a trivet on a wooden table can protect it from coffee cup rings and sweating cold drinks.

Q. Are there trivets that cover an entire table?

A. While many trivets are designed to support one hot pan or serving dish, there are models that can expand to accommodate several dishes at once. There are even roll-up silicone trivets that cover an entire table, much like a decorative table runner.

Trivets we recommend

Our take: For serving multi-course family and holiday meals, this flexible trivet works much like a central runner on a long dining table.

What we like: Heat-resistant up to 300°F. At 39.3 by 11.8 inches, it holds multiple serving dishes. Bottom layer provides sturdy grip on most surfaces. Easy to store.

What we dislike: Only available in one size (large). Some layer separation reported.

Best bang for your buck: ECOSALL Natural Wood Trivets

Our take: This set of two handmade wooden trivets makes a great housewarming gift, and its entry-level price makes it easy to order multiple sets.

What we like: Affordable price point. Constructed from organic beechwood. Does not retain heat like silicone. Pleasant natural scent. Very durable and easy to clean.

What we dislike: Slick protective finish can cause slipping. Wood stain may bleed.

Our take: While promoted as trivets, these durable 9-by-12-inch silicone pads are multitaskers, from placemats to jar openers, featuring one-piece construction — no layers.What we like: Can also function as pot holders, drying mats, or spoon holders. Ribbed design doesn't stick to hot pots. Heat-resistant to 480°F. Thicker and heavier construction than others.

What we dislike: Some colors can stain surfaces. Ridges collect food debris easily.

Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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