A Buyers Guide To Pot And Pan Racks

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A Buyers Guide To Pot And Pan Racks

Buying a pot rack means taking lots of measurements. Whether you have a large or small kitchen, measuring your available space and knowing the load the rack will need to hold is crucial.

Building or customizing a pot rack that suits your needs is largely a matter of personal preference. As any serious cook knows, a kitchen space can only be set up for one person--the one who does the most cooking. Therefore, any rack space that you devise must make sense to you and your cooking methods.

When it comes to racks and holders, you have a few interesting options. You can opt for a hanging rack (always popular and also a space-saver), a floor rack (practical in its own way), shelves or a combination of more than one rack. The first thing to consider is how much space you have to work with.

Space Issues

From galley kitchens to massive culinary sprawls, space is always an issue. One of the best ways to save some space is to purchase a hanging pot rack, but even these racks require some measurements on your part.

Measuring For A Hanging Pot Rack

Standard hanging pot racks are made for ceilings that range from eight to ten feet high.

A hanging rack should hang approximately:

42-inches from a ten foot ceiling

30-inches from a nine foot ceiling

18-inches from an eight foot ceiling

If your ceiling is shorter or taller than eight or ten feet respectively, you’ll have to compensate for this difference. How? If you have a shorter ceiling, purchase pot rack chains or hooks (available in any kitchen store that sells hanging racks). Then, lower the rack to approximately ten inches higher than your head level. If your ceiling is shorter than eight or nine inches, ask a pot rack retailer to clip a few links from the rack chains (or, you can do this yourself with a pair of metal clippers).

Standing Rack Measurements

While seemingly simpler, measuring the available space in your kitchen for a standing rack can be tricky. Not only do you have to measure length-wise (don’t purchase a rack that’s too hard to reach!), you have to measure both width and height. For example, a rack that juts out into your kitchen space won’t fit into a space that’s made for a rack that will sit flush against a wall. If you do not have any extra room for a rack that includes a protruding shelf, you’ll have to purchase a straight rack. If you do have extra room, make sure to write down these measurements prior to shopping for any rack.

Shelf Rack Measurements

If you plan to place your pots on a shelf, measure the width of your widest pot. This measurement will give you some idea of how large the shelves that you purchase should be. It’s a good idea to purchase shelves that do not interfere with any other kitchen space (if your shelves won’t allow you to open your microwave door, look for shelves that will provide you with this extra space). It’s also a good idea to place any shelf rack a few inches above a stove or other hot area to avoid unnecessary injury while reaching into the shelf.

Weight load

People often purchase hanging pot racks that can’t hold the weight of heavy pots. If your kitchen is decked out in Le Creuset cookware, you’ll want to purchase a rack that can hold these heavy iron pots. A good way to make sure that the rack you purchase won’t rip the studs right out of your ceiling (this can happen!) is to look at the rack's weight specifications. Certain companies (like Le Creuset) also manufacture hanging pot racks to accommodate the cookware sold by that company. Sometimes, it makes sense to purchase a hanging pot rack directly from a cookware manufacturer (even if these racks are on the expensive side).

Even if you are looking at a standing pot rack or a shelf, make sure that the rack you choose can support the weight of your pots and pans. Generally, pans that are made from steel or Teflon aren’t as heavy as those that are made from ceramic or iron. Determining the average weight of the pots and pans you have is a good starting point. If all of your cookware weighs five to seven pounds each, you will need to purchase a rack that can be reinforced or find one that’s sturdier than the average rack.

Where To Hang Or Place The Rack

When hanging a rack, remember that you should be able to reach the bottom of all pots and pans – not the top of the rack! When you reach up towards a rack, your hand should easily and comfortably grasp the end of any pot hanging from that rack. If you have to stand on a stool or struggle to reach the rack, you should lower it.

In the end, the best possible pot rack for you is the one that provides the most comfort and convenience. After all, you’re the one who will have to reach those pots and pans when it comes time to whip up something delicious.

A pot rack can clear up important kitchen space, but it's a good idea to know what kind of rack to buy prior to purchase.


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