Splatter screens are very handy and easy to store, but not always on a cook's essential list of kitchen tools, but they should be. That's because a splatter screen can save you clean-up time and it can also make you want to cook or fry those foods that you tend to avoid, simply because of the grease splatter they cause.
There's not a large variety of splatter screens on the market compared to other kitchen tools and while most are ridiculously cheap, some are better made and priced as such. Looking at one, there's nothing really special about a mesh screen with a handle, in fact, most are flimsy when it comes to construction and their design couldn't be simpler. Some models however do have a more sturdy design that will extend their lifespan.
But splatter screens are time-savers when it comes to containing the cooking mess. It does give you another kitchen tool to clean after cooking, but they wash up quickly.
When buying a splatter screen, you should size it to sit nicely on top of your favorite sautéing pan or skillet, that's about an inch or two larger than your pan. Too much larger than the pan would make this handy tool cumbersome, so having two sizes can be very handy. The mesh design is important too, the finer mesh is best. As for durability, a higher quality and sturdier model will cost you more but last longer and reduce the risk of rusting.
A skillet or fry pan is really the only place you'll use a splatter screen. Splatter screens are not strong enough to be used as a strainer, they merely keep the grease or food splatter contained to the skillet where you want it, away from the range control panel that's difficult or time-consuming to clean. While a cover works well on a skillet for some foods, a mesh splatter screen contains the mess but does not create condensation while cooking.
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