5 Best Colanders and Strainers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

These are the best colanders for washing berries, draining pasta, rinsing beans and more.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these affiliate links.
July 28, 2023

Related To:

Our Top Colander and Strainer Picks

Tested by Regina Ragone for Food Network Kitchen

Most of us don’t realize how important it is to have a good colander. It’s probably one of the most-used items in your kitchen. You use it drain pasta, rinse berries, wash off canned beans and so much more. The thing is you probably don't think much about the quality of your colander until you realize the strainer you have doesn't drain as well as you wish it did. If you’re looking to buy a new colander or upgrade the one you have, we’ve done the testing to help you decide which is the best colander for your needs.

Photo by: Regina Ragone

Regina Ragone

What to Consider When Buying a Colander or Strainer

Size: Obviously, what you’re using the colander for most makes a difference. If you’re cooking a lot of pasta or potatoes, look for something close to the size of the pot you are using so that it’s sufficiently large; it should also have plenty of holes so the water will drain quickly to prevent overcooking.

Height: A good colander should be designed to sit an inch or two above the bottom of your sink. If you eat lots of produce, you’ll appreciate an over-the-sink colander, which offers a wide surface area to make sure you rinse everything clean while keeping it high above the sink’s surface.

Material: We like metal for heavy duty jobs and hot water, but plastic works fine for rinsing berries or beans, and costs less.

Photo by: Regina Ragone

Regina Ragone

Do You Need a Mesh Strainer?

We think every kitchen should have a strainer on hand for everything from sifting flour to lifting poached eggs from a pot. If you’re rinsing small grains like rice or quinoa, you’re better off with a mesh colander or strainer because the holes are much finer and the food won't slip through them.

How We Tested

We purchased 10 well-reviewed colanders and strainers from top retailers. Before testing, we took note of each colander's size, material and design. To test each colander's performance, we placed it in the sink and drained one pound of pasta (dried spaghetti) into it. We noted if there was any splash back of hot water from the colander and whether the colander was too hot to pick up after draining. We observed how long it took for water to drain from each colander and how wet the pasta was a minute or two afterwards. Next, we rinsed one pound of berries in each colander to see how much grit we were able to remove from the berries and then how long it took to get the berries dry. Finally, we noted how easy the colanders and strainers were to clean (especially ones with smaller holes) and whether each was dishwasher safe. We also took into account price when choosing our top picks.


This durable 5-quart colander claims that it’s 20% thicker than the competition, and offers a lifetime guarantee to back it up. We loved the very small holes cut into a close mesh-style pattern that allow the water to drain rapidly and even stop cooked rice or small pasta from falling through. The drainage ports added to the base prevent backflow, so water doesn’t get trapped in the base. This lightweight colander is rust-proof and safe for dishwashers. We especially liked the reasonable price of $23 on sale.

Buy It

When it comes to over the sink colanders, we have to agree with the rave reviews this model accumulated on Amazon. The telescopic handles were easy to pull out and push in, and the whole colander folds effortlessly for easy storage. The six-quart capacity can hold ample amounts of vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens and also works for pasta. If keeping your food high above the bottom of the sink is a preference, this is the colander for you. Aside from being dishwasher-safe, the colander was also easy to clean. The one downside that we noticed was a small pool of water still remaining in part of the colander when rinsing berries.

Buy It

We like this set of stainless-steel strainers because the three different sizes (3 1/8-inch, 5 1/2-inch and 7 7/8-inch sizes) enable you to do a variety of kitchen jobs. They have a U-shaped handle long enough to prevent the transfer of heat to your hands. The strainers are dishwasher-safe and have a lifetime limited warranty. Hand washing the strainers can require a little bit of scrubbing, but it's a small price to pay for their versatility.

Buy It

If price isn’t a priority in your decision-making, this top-of-the-line colander won’t disappoint. It’s attractive enough to keep on your counter, but the stainless-steel construction, sturdy pedestal base and riveted handles will make this a solid player in your kitchen. The holes in the pot get smaller toward the base to encourage better draining, which bore out in our testing. This colander is dishwasher-safe and carries a lifetime warranty against defects, as do many other All-Clad products.

Buy It

If all you want is a basic colander that does what you’d expect, look no further. This attractive colander is made from strong BPA-free plastic and features rubber feet to keep it in place while draining. We liked the fact that it didn’t get as hot as some stainless-steel models when draining pasta, and it can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher.

Buy It

More Products Tested by Food Network Kitchen

Next Up

5 Best Kitchen Soaps, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

Keep these soaps right by the kitchen sink!

5 Best Steak Knives, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

We cooked and sliced steak and sausage to find the best steak knife sets for your next dinner.

5 Best Pasta Makers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

We mixed, rolled and extruded to find the best maker for noodles, ravioli and more.

5 Best Milk Frothers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

We tested countertop and handheld models to find the best milk frothers.

5 Best Baking Mats, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

We rolled and baked sticky cookie dough to find the best one.

5 Best Meat Thermometers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

No more poking or cutting into the meat to find out if it is cooked through ever again.

5 Best Immersion Blenders, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

We whipped up batches of broccoli soup, mayonnaise and whipped cream to find the best hand blenders on the market.

5 Best Cheese Graters, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

We shredded — not to mention sliced, zested and ribboned — all manner of soft and hard cheeses, to find the greatest graters available!

5 Best Balloon Whisks, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

We whisked eggs, cream and pancake batter to find the best balloon whisks.

5 Best Citrus Juicers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

We put the squeeze on all manner of citrus to find the top juicers on the market!

What's New