Oil Misters

From Cook's Country | April/May 2017
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Overview:

Coating a muffin tin, a skillet, or a baking sheet with a spritz of our winning vegetable oil spray, PAM Original, is quick and easy. But PAM costs about $0.45 per ounce, whereas plain old canola oil is $0.07 per ounce. And cooking sprays like PAM depend on liquid propellants (such as propane) and additives to produce that fine, even mist. Refillable, manual-pump oil misters present an alternative for those who would like to avoid aerosol and additives, and you can fill them with whatever type of oil you like.

Like aerosol sprays, a good oil mister should dispense oil in a steady, fine stream that provides even coverage. We like our previous winner, the Mastrad Oil and Flavor Mister, but wondered if there were better options out there. We gathered seven models, priced from $9.90 to $25.99, including the Mastrad. Of the seven, all but one featured a manual pumping mechanism to build the pressure that forces the oil out. The outlier looked like a bottle of cologne: a tall, thin glass cylinder with a button that dispensed a single,… read more

Coating a muffin tin, a skillet, or a baking sheet with a spritz of our winning vegetable oil spray, PAM Original, is quick and easy. But PAM costs about $0.45 per ounce, whereas plain old canola oil is $0.07 per ounce. And cooking sprays like PAM depend on liquid propellants (such as propane) and additives to produce that fine, even mist. Refillable, manual-pump oil misters present an alternative for those who would like to avoid aerosol and additives, and you can fill them with whatever type of oil you like.

Like aerosol sprays, a good oil mister should dispense oil in a steady, fine stream that provides even coverage. We like our previous winner, the Mastrad Oil and Flavor Mister, but wondered if there were better options out there. We gathered seven models, priced from $9.90 to $25.99, including the Mastrad. Of the seven, all but one featured a manual pumping mechanism to build the pressure that forces the oil out. The outlier looked like a bottle of cologne: a tall, thin glass cylinder with a button that dispensed a single, directed spray, no pumping required.

We started by timing the duration and noting the quality of a single spray when each mister was full (or filled according to the manufacturer’s directions), half full, and one-third full. We then tested the misters by using them to grease our winning 12-inch skillet and 12-cup muffin tin. Next, to better understand each mister’s spray, we traced a skillet onto brown butcher paper and sprayed the misters vertically and horizontally onto the outline, mimicking the ways we might use them in the kitchen. For comparison, we sprayed PAM alongside the misters in each test. What did we find out?

We quickly determined that the quality of the spray was much more important than its duration. While some misters could sustain a long spray—up to 20 seconds—they sputtered and spat. So even though we held and moved each mister similarly, the butcher paper for some models looked like abstract oil paintings; the squiggles, blotches, and irregular patterns were fun to look at, but they didn’t represent the even coverage we were after. The best mister sustained a shorter, 6-second spray, but its spray was so effective that it easily covered a skillet and muffin tin in just 3 seconds and covered the butcher paper with a fine, even mist. Comfort mattered, too. The cologne-style model’s spray was a quick, direct burst, so it directed a lot of oil into one space with poor coverage (and required 13 pumps to grease the muffin tin). The pump-style models were better at evenly covering a wide space, so even though they required some prep up front, once you started spraying you didn’t have to pump again.

For a simple tool, the misters sure took some tinkering. Some dripped and dribbled or were hard to fill. Most pump-style models gave a specific number of pumps required for a single spray, but we found that they all sprayed better if we pumped until we felt significant resistance—up to 18 pumps for some models.

These ups and downs made us wonder why the nonaerosol misters couldn’t match PAM’s perfect, even spray. Our science editor explained that the higher pressure of an aerosol spray breaks the oil into finer droplets, making the oil less viscous. Additionally, PAM contains a propellant, which helps shoot out oil with more force than is possible in manual misters, and contains soy lecithin, which coats the fine droplets of oil, making them easier to disperse. Lecithin also plays a role in helping oil cling to pans more effectively. Without the propellant and soy lecithin, the oil is more difficult to spray and, once sprayed, the droplets clump together rather than remaining fine and separate.

While none of the misters matched the PAM for consistency or evenness, we found two models we really liked. Leading the way was our old winner, the Mastrad Oil and Flavor Mister ($17.29). It covered both the skillet and muffin tin quickly and thoroughly with a full, consistent spray of oil that most resembled that of an aerosol mister.

Methodology:

We tested seven oil misters with capacities of 3 to 6 ounces, priced from $9.90 to $25.99. We tested each by using it to grease a 12-inch skillet and a 12-cup muffin tin, and we used each to spray an outline of a skillet traced on butcher paper to evaluate its spray pattern. We rated the misters on the quality of their spray and how easy they were to use. All models were purchased online and appear in order of preference.

SPRAY: We rated each mister on its quality of spray, grading it on how evenly, finely, and consistently it dispensed oil.

EASE OF USE: We rated each mister on its handling and comfort when holding and dispensing, how convenient it was to fill, and whether it leaked oil or became slippery.

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  • Product Tested

    Results Key:

    Good ★ ★ ★ Fair ★ ★ Poor
  • Recommended - Winner

    Mastrad Oil and Flavor Mister

    With its fine, even spray, this mister’s performance came closest to that of PAM. Though its spray did not sustain a continuous stream for as long as others, its wide, thorough spray quickly covered a skillet and all of the nooks and crannies of a muffin tin. It was also easy to fill and comfortable to hold.

    • Spray ★★½
    • Ease of Use ★★★

    $17.29

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    Norpro Hard Plastic and Stainless Steel Sprayer Mister

    This model’s thicker spray wasn’t as fine or even as an aerosol can’s, but it sustained a reasonably good, continuous stream for 14 seconds, giving us plenty of time to coat all types of pans. It was comfortable and easy to fill.

    • Spray ★★
    • Ease of Use ★★★

    $10.70

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended with Reservations

    Cole & Mason Oil & Vinegar Mister

    Easy to fill and straightforward to use, this model sent forth a mix of medium and small droplets that left some blotches on a skillet. It lost points when its spray repeatedly dribbled down its front, dirtying our hands and making the mister slippery to hold.

    • Spray ★★
    • Ease of Use ★★½

    $16.95

  • Not Recommended

    ChefVantage Olive Oil Mister and Cooking Sprayer with Clog-Free Filter

    This model’s spray was good, but throughout use, oil droplets sputtered and landed on its red metal cover, and it got very slippery to hold. The red sheath also unintentionally came off (the sheath’s function is primarily cosmetic, but without it, unscrewing the top was difficult).

    • Spray ★★½
    • Ease of Use ★½

    $25.99

  • Not Recommended

    Misto The Gourmet Olive Oil Sprayer

    Though it could sustain a continuous stream for more than 20 seconds, this model sent a direct, heavy spurt of oil, leaving us with blobs of oil and bare spots. When held horizontally, this mister struggled to emit a consistent spray. A shallow well around the spray button collected oil, which dripped onto our hands during use.

    • Spray ★½
    • Ease of Use ★★

    $9.90

  • Not Recommended

    Cuisinart Grilling Oil Mister

    The only mister that didn’t require manual pumping, this model produced fast, direct, heavy sprays rather than a spreadable mist. Its extremely narrow mouth was almost impossible to fill directly from the bottle of oil, and its spray button had a sharp edge that cut into our fingers, especially during the multiple pumps necessary to grease a muffin tin.

    • Spray
    • Ease of Use ★★

    $11.77

  • Not Recommended

    Cuisipro Stainless Steel Spray Pump (Non-Aerosol)

    Neither of two copies of this mister ever worked consistently, and testers struggled to get them to spray at all. We could hear an air leak after pumping, and a design flaw made it so that the spray button was depressed during pumping, leaking air and oil into the pumping cylinder. Overall, it was a complete mess.

    • Spray
    • Ease of Use

    $14.95

  • All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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