crate and barrel flour sifter
Credit: Courtesy of Crate and Barrel

These Strainers and Sieves Are Essential Tools for All Kinds of Kitchen Tasks

Elevate blended soups to silky nirvana and upgrade your bakes to fluffy new heights by using one of these top-of-the-line strainers and sieves.
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A good strainer can take your soups, sauces, and purées to the next level by giving them a silky-smooth texture. What's more, a quality sieve can help you create fluffy, tender baked goods starting at step one. Our in-depth explainer dives into the differences between these two lookalikes, but here's the recap: A strainer is mostly used in preparations that need to separate solids from liquids (for instance, removing the seeds from a batch of puréed raspberries), while a sieve, which is also known as a sifter, is used for tasks like aerating dry ingredients and removing clumps from items like confectioners' sugar, flour, and cocoa powder.

Now that we are all experts on the key differences between these two essential kitchen tools, here are a few of our favorites in each category. What made these picks stand out from the crowd? For one, durability: Strainers and sieves that had a firmer mesh basket can withstand round after round in the dishwasher, which is important when you're spending your hard-earned money on new tools. Secondly, ergonomics was a priority. Our picks needed to be comfortable and lightweight enough for us to want to use them. Last, stability was a must; there's nothing worse than trying to strain a pot of hot pasta and have the basket tip over. Our favorite strainers all come with a long, sturdy handle and a hook at the edge of the basket for gripping onto sinks, stockpots, and bowls.

Top Picks

Martha Stewart Collection 3-Piece Sieve Set
Credit: Courtesy of Macy's

Best Set: Martha Stewart Collection 3-Piece Sieve Set

A set of varying sizes will mean that you will always have a clean and dry strainer or sifter at the ready for tasks both big and small. This lightweight stainless-steel trio from Martha's collection at Macy's comes with curved hooks on the side for resting over bowls and pots and can be stored either nested or hanging.

Shop Now: Martha Stewart Collection Three-Piece Sieve Set, $22.99,

crate and barrel Flour Sifter
Credit: Courtesy of Crate and Barrel

Best Classic-Style Sifter: Crate & Barrel Flour Sifter

Old-school never really stopped being cool, and this hand-crank sifter is no exception. Aerate dry ingredients with ease (or better yet, put eager young cooks to the task for you!). The roomy five-cup capacity of our pick from Crate & Barrel means you won't have to work in batches; you can add the whole amount of dry ingredients for your batch of Double Chocolate Brownie Bites.

Shop Now: Create & Barrel Flour Sifter, $11.95,

iSi Combination Funnel with Sieve Insert
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Combination Strainer: iSi Combination Funnel with Sieve Insert

One of the biggest headaches of trying to strain liquids into a bottle or canning jar is that the mesh basket is almost always too wide for the opening, which results in messy countertop spills. But that's no longer a problem with this set from the whipped cream gurus over at iSi. They've married a fine-mesh strainer with a stainless-steel funnel, and they made it all dishwasher-safe, too.

Shop Now: iSi Combination Funnel with Sieve Insert, $38.02,

Falytemow Flour Sifter
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best for Serious Sifters: Falytemow Flour Sifter

A drum sieve can be used as a sifter or a strainer in function and is made up of two rounds that are connected by a fine mesh disc at the bottom. Popular in professional kitchens because the wide surface area results in a faster straining or sifting process, a drum sieve with a super-fine mesh like this one can be used for removing the bran out of whole-wheat flours, and for applying a thin and even dusting of confectioners' sugar over a special batch of lemon bars.

Shop Now: Falytemow Flour Sifter, $16.99,

LiveFresh Large Stainless Steel Fine-Mesh Strainer
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Best Multi-Tasker: LiveFresh Large Stainless Steel Fine-Mesh Strainer

The roomy nine-inch diameter of this strainer means it is versatile enough for the expected tasks of sifting flours and removing pulp from various purées, but it can also be used for washing off a pint of cherry tomatoes or rinsing the starch off of rice and canned beans. The stiff mesh basket is reinforced with metal framing on the bottom for long-lasting support, and it's dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.

Shop Now: LiveFresh Large Stainless Steel Fine-Mesh Strainer, $15.97,

Harold Import Co. Chinois Fine-Mesh Sieve
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Restaurant-Grade Sieve: Harold Import Co. Chinois Fine-Mesh Sieve

For times when nothing but the smoothest soup will do, a sieve known as a chinois is the best tool for the job. Chinois typically come with a steep price tag since they are used mainly in professional restaurant kitchens, but this version from Harold Imports is a little friendlier on the wallet. With its tightly woven mesh, extra-long handle, and a hook on the edge to rest safely on your pots and containers, this is a great option if you make a lot of purées, be it soups or fruits. We recommend getting the nifty hardwood pestle as well, which will help process thicker purées more quickly through the mesh.

Shop Now: Harold Import Co. Chinois Fine-Mesh Sieve, $49.99,