All-Clad d3 Cookware
Credit: Courtesy of Crate and Barrel

This Is Why You Should Use Felt Pan Protectors with Your Cookware—Plus, Our Favorite Options to Buy Now

Prevent scratches, chips, and more with this inexpensive accessory.
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Investing in good cookware can not only make cooking more enjoyable, but doing so can also improve the overall quality of your meals. Better cookware means better performance and we strongly believe in the value of owning durable cast-iron cookware, a versatile set of stainless steel pots and pans, and a nonstick skillet for cooking eggs. If you want to help increase the longevity of your pans and protect them from everyday wear and tear (who wouldn't want to do this?), there's a genius accessory that will help: felt pan protectors. "These flexible starburst-shaped pads nestle in between your cookware, bakeware, and glass or porcelain items. They also protect the finish on all cookware, extending the life of your nonstick and cast iron pieces," says Meredith Abbott, Sur La Table's manager of culinary content. Ahead, we're describing exactly what to look for when purchasing pan protectors and when to use them.

What Are Pan Protectors?

Pan protectors are generally sold in sets of at least two or three and retail for less than $20 per set. According to Abbott, they're made of a cushioned polyester felt or silicone, which provides a soft surface to layer in between pots, pans, and other bakeware. "Pan protectors are ideal for preventing scratches on nonstick and cast iron cookware. The flexibility of the fabric allows pan protectors to mold and shape to your cookware without adding extra bulk to your storage," says Abbott.

Although they're used to separate clean pots and pans, it's a good idea to wash pan protectors from time to time in case they get a buildup of dirt and dust. An added bonus of using this accessory is that they not only prevent any physical damage to your cookware, but they also lessen the noise and clatter as you stack your cookware pieces. "Who doesn't love a more peaceful kitchen?" says Abbott.

Alternatives to Pan Protectors

Pan protectors are easy to find in cookware stores and online, but there are other household items that you can use as an alternative. "While pan protectors are affordable, you can get inventive with other items in your kitchen. Old potholders, fabric trivets, dishtowels, and even dinner napkins will offer some protection to your cookware," said Abbott.

Nate Collier, director of marketing for Le Creuset, recommends saving plastic pot lid spacers as an alternative to pan protectors, too. "Keeping the spacers on when not in use can help prevent chips and scratches on the top edge of a pot, and will allow air to circulate inside as well," he says.

Le Creuset Three-Pack Felt Pan Protectors
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Le Creuset Three-Pack Felt Pan Protectors

These pan protectors from the beloved French cookware brand are made from felt and should be placed in between pots and pans to keep them separated when they are stacked on top of one another. "This will help avoid any scratching or chipping and will extend the life of your cookware. The felt is strong yet flexible, so they work with pans of all shapes and sizes," says Collier.

Shop Now: Le Creuset Felt Pan Protectors, $17 for three, amazon.com.

The Original 12-inch Cookware Guards
Credit: Courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond

The Original 12-Inch Cookware Guards

Made from flexible polyester and featuring a nonstick texture, these pan protectors from Bed, Bath, and Beyond can be used between cookware and bakeware, as well as mixing bowls of various materials.

Shop Now: The Original 12-Inch Cookware Guards, $6.99 for two, bedbathandbeyond.com.

All-Clad Cookware Dividing Pan Protectors
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

All-Clad Cookware Dividing Pan Protectors

Available in small, medium, and large sizes, these bestselling pan protectors from Amazon are made of non-woven polyester and can fit between pans ranging in size from four- and six-quart pots and 14-inch pans.

Shop Now: All-Clad Cookware Dividing Pan Protectors, $14.50, amazon.com.