Are silicone handles durable?
Does anyone have pans with silicone handles? Is the silicone durable? Is it every sticky or uncomfortable? I prefer handles that I can pick up safely without mats and are thinking about a set that have silicone handles. Does anyone know if they are more or less durable than phenolic handles? I've had some of those for over forty years. They aren't pretty, but they are still usable. However, I've had silicone spatulas that don't last, so I'm worried.
Thanks so much for the replies. The sleeve is a great idea! I had never seen them and will buy them immediately for the pans I already have. Wish they had lid handle covers also. I guess it's back to looking at phenolic. Wonder if I can find any with clear lids? I really like those.
No, they're not particularly durable. They degrade in the presence of oils and other silicone, and crack. They tend to get gummy/slimy, too.
However, if you're not averse to commercial-style pan handles, you might consider something like this: http://www.culinarydistrict.com/11710-ab.html At $3/each you can replace them without getting hurt.
But beware the loosefitting ones like this, which are slippery and "turny": http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...
I don't think you will get the same kind of cool handle with silicone. Phenolic is a rigid plastic and can support the weight of the pan, but silicone is not rigid, so it would have to be a handle insert in a metal handle. Unless the silicone totally encapsulates the metal there will be hot spots. On the other hand, phenolic does tend to show wear and tear from the heat of the stove or particularly if you put it in the oven. Silicone should be more thermally resistant, but I'm not certian how well it will hold up long term. I've had some plastic things get sticky over time, but not 100 % sure they were silicone.