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If you’ve ever tried to get a measuring spoon into a spice jar — only for it to get stuck right at the too small opening — then you know how important well-designed measuring spoons are to any kitchen.

With an eye toward finding a great set that combined form and function, we tested 13 options in a range of styles and materials. Two measuring spoon sets stood out for their easy use, great design and thoughtful componentry:

Best measuring spoons overall

This Gorilla Grip set comes with seven spoons that nest together with magnets, making it easier to select the appropriate measures than with other sets. They’re dual-sided, with a narrow, oblong end that fits easily into small containers.

Best rectangular measuring spoons

The Sur La Table 6-piece spice measuring spoons are great if you prefer a rectangular spoon for spice jars. Their heavyweight construction feels high-end, though their ring connector makes the set bulkier to store and harder to select a given measure.

Best measuring spoons overall: Gorilla Grip Magnetic Stackable Measuring Spoon Set ($7.99, originally $24.99; amazon.com)

Gorilla Grip Magnetic Stackable Measuring Spoon Set, Stainless Steel, Dual Sided
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Gorilla Grip Magnetic Stackable Measuring Spoon Set, Stainless Steel, Dual Sided

Getting caught fumbling through a jumble of measuring spoons is my greatest nightmare in the kitchen. The Gorilla Grip Magnetic Stackable Measuring Spoon Set is the most elegant solution to this problem, and the primary reason we like them so much more than competitors. These dual-ended spoons have an oblong shape that’s easier to fit into small spice jar openings than most others we tried, and when you’re done, they’re easy to clean.

These spoons firmly nest together, connected by a strong but nimble magnet that makes it easy to separate out the exact measure needed without making a jumbled mess. If you’re looking for a half teaspoon, then it’s easy to pull apart the stack, select the single measure you need and then put the rest back together. No more fumbling around with multiple spoons connected by an O-ring. Unlike other spoons we tried that attach via magnet, the Gorilla Grip set’s magnet was stronger, holding the spoons together more firmly. By comparison, the Oxo magnetic measuring spoons frequently fell apart, leaving a mess behind in our kitchen drawer.

The dual-ended Gorilla Grips give you the choice of using either rounded or oblong heads. While you may prefer the rounds for reaching into larger bags, the oblong ends are useful for slipping into spice jars with smaller openings. McCormick Organics spice jars had the smallest opening we tried, and the only spoon from this collection that didn’t fit was the tablespoon.

Beyond the great functionality, this stainless steel set is easy to clean, and the spoons don’t attract a lot of residual dust or clinging spices, so it’s easy to wash them off with a quick rinse. Unlike sets with permanent connectors, you don’t have to deal with washing six spoons at once. It’s easy to simply toss the single measure in the sink or dishwasher when you’re done using it.

Best rectangular measuring spoons: Sur La Table 6-Piece Spice Measuring Spoons ($16.50; surlatable.com)

Sur La Table 6-piece spice measuring spoons
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Sur La Table 6-Piece Spice Measuring Spoons

If you’re mostly measuring out of spice jars or other smaller containers and prefer rectangular spoons, then we like the Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons. Their stainless steel construction is thicker than the Gorilla Grips, giving them a pleasant weight in the hand that feels sturdy, and they look and feel more high-end. Nonetheless, they were still slim enough that even the tablespoon fit into our larger spice jar. The Sur La Table measuring spoons also lay flat on the kitchen counter, don’t cling to ingredients and are easy to rinse off. Plus, their connector opens to remove individual spoons.

The functionality of these measuring spoons is their greatest asset. Most sets we tested didn’t have a tablespoon design that was slim enough to fit into a spice jar. We were pleasantly surprised when the Sur La Table tablespoon seamlessly slipped into the slightly larger Simply Organic spice jar we tested with. Although I don’t expect every measuring spoon to fit into every jar, the fact that these did stood out. The fit is mainly due to their oblong, rectangular shape, which makes them narrow enough to slip into a range of openings. It also seems that, in this case, the straight edges also give these spoons a slight advantage over, say, ovular measuring spoons.

They also have a handful of other pleasing design features that made them great to use. The back of the spoons is flat, so they easily sit flat on a kitchen counter rather than rolling around. Their stainless steel material doesn’t cling to spices, so there was little residual dust after measuring out cinnamon with them. And like the Gorilla Grips, they were easy to rinse off in the sink.

Alex Arpaia/CNN

How we tested

We mainly considered measuring spoons in two categories: plastic and stainless steel, with a preference for steel overall. Although designs vary widely, these two materials are the primary options among top contenders. The functionality of stainless designs tends to be better (oval-shaped spoons instead of round), and spices cling to them less than plastic. Stainless steel is also much more heat tolerant if you need to do things like mix sticky substances into hot liquids.

Next, we focused on assessing design. Our top consideration was spoon shape. We prefer spoons with oblong (either oval or rectangular) bodies, as they’re easier to fit into the narrow openings of most spice jars. Then, we assessed how the spoons were connected — whether by a ring, magnet or otherwise — and if they were easy to separate or if they fell off the connector at random. We also noted whether or not each set had imperial or metric measurements or both. This wasn’t a deal breaker, but having both can be helpful to most home bakers.

We then tested each spoon using a variety of ingredients and differently sized spice jars. Using cinnamon, sugar and poppy seeds, with jars from Simply Organic (larger) and McCormick (smaller), we tested the largest spoon from each set and noted whether it fit. If the tablespoons were too large, then we would try the next size down until we determined the biggest spoon that would fit in each jar. Finally, we checked if residual cinnamon — which is very powdery — stuck to the spoons, and noted how thickly they were coated.

For the most part, the spoons were accurate in their measures. However, as an avid home cook, I would argue that measuring spoons don’t really need to be incredibly accurate. It’s more important that the set be calibrated precisely — i.e., you want your spoons to measure dependably relative to one another.

If you’re really concerned about accuracy, however, then you should probably be using a scale. While some measurements can only be done with a measuring spoon, most modern recipes include metric weight measurements, and a good kitchen scale will be far more accurate than the human error of a measuring spoon.

Other measuring spoons we tested

Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon Set ($11.96, originally 16.50; amazon.com)

This five-piece set was among the nicer measuring spoons we tried. The shiny finish was impressive, and they felt like a luxury kitchen item. The connector opens to release individual spoons too. We didn’t love that the larger spoons had a hard time fitting into narrow jar openings.

Farberware Color Measuring Spoons ($6.80, originally $7.59; amazon.com)

These possibly were worse at staying on their connector than the PrepWorks set was. The plastic material didn’t feel particularly nice, and they are only marked with imperial measures. The teaspoon-sized spoon didn’t fit into our larger spice jar either.

KitchenAid Classic Measuring Spoons ($6.79, originally $7.99; amazon.com)

Our main issue with this KitchenAid set was that the spoons seemed warped from being held together in the packaging. The bowl of each spoon was fine, but the handles had all bent from being tied up together. This kind of quality issue was disappointing, and felt like something we weren’t willing to overlook. Nonetheless, the wide grip was easy to handle, and this set was marked with both imperial and metric measurements.

Our Table Stainless Steel Measuring Spice Spoons ($10; bedbathandbeyond.com)

The Our Table set was very similar to the Sur La Table measuring spoons, but the connecting ring didn’t open up for easy removal, and the metal felt less hefty. If you want a cheaper alternative, though, then these would be a reasonable option for around $5 less at time of writing.

Oxo Good Grips 4-Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons With Magnetic Snaps ($10.99; amazon.com)

We were excited to try these measuring spoons from one of the best kitchen accessory brands out there, but they were a disappointment. The magnet was weak, leading the spoons to tend to fall apart from one another. The ends were rounded, meaning that measures above half a teaspoon didn’t easily fit into a spice jar, and they only display imperial measures.

Prepworks by Progressive Ultimate 19-Piece Measuring Cups and Spoon Set ($7.89, originally $10.51; amazon.com)

Nothing is more annoying than opening a drawer and finding measuring spoons strewn everywhere. These had a connector, but it was wholly ineffective. Whether sitting still in a drawer or while in use, the spoons were always finding a way to fall off the connector. Furthermore, the material didn’t feel particularly nice, they didn’t lay flat on the counter and they attracted a lot of residue.

Progressive PL8 Stainless Steel Magnetic Measuring Spoons ($19.95; surlatable.com

Even though the Progressive PL8s were nearly the same size as the Gorilla Grip spoons, these felt surprisingly long, and a bit onerous to use. They were also heavy, and the set only comes with four spoons, compared with six to seven for most others.

Rubbermaid Commercial 6-Piece Measuring Spoon Set ($3.24; amazon.com)

The Rubbermaid set was the best plastic spoon we tried, and for $3.24, they are a serious deal. They lack metric measurements, but the connector is easy to use, and they have our coveted squared-off ends. This set is nothing particularly special, but it stood out for feeling more functional than the other plastic options we tried. These seem like spoons truly meant to be used rather than bought and immediately forgotten.

U-Taste 9-Piece 18/8 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons Set ($13.94, originally 19.99; amazon.com)

This set comes on an interlocking U-ring that is easy to open and remove individual spoons, if a bit of a hassle compared to magnetic options. Nine spoons feels like overkill, however, for most home cooks. They only come with rounded ends, and they do not lay flat on a counter.

Vollrath 46588 Stainless Steel 6-Piece Oval Measuring Spoon Set ($21.18; amazon.com)

We didn’t even need to test these in a jar, because their oblong shape ran perpendicular to the handle, making it impossible to insert any size measuring spoons into a spice jar or other small container. They’re also nearly twice as expensive as most other measuring spoons we tried.

Read more from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing: