The Tests

  • Cook bacon in a regular cast-iron skillet and clean

  • Scramble eggs in an enameled cast-iron skillet and clean

  • Cook hamburgers on an enameled cast-iron grill pan and clean

  • Burn teriyaki sauce in a stainless-steel skillet and clean

  • Cook lasagna in a glass baking dish and clean

  • Time all cleaning tests

  • Clean the scrubbers themselves between tests and time how long it takes

The Knapp Made Classic CM Scrubber, a 4 by 4-inch square of interlinked stainless-steel rings (the “CM” stands for “chain mail”) that sells for $14.99, makes easy work of cleaning stuck-on food out of cast-iron pans. Recently, Knapp Made released a new model, the Small Ring CM Scrubber ($19.98), that is larger overall (it’s about 5 by 5 inches) and has smaller, thinner rings. To see which scrubber was better, we put the two models to the test, cleaning up a range of messes not only on plain cast iron but also on dark enameled cast iron, stainless steel, and heat-resistant glass—all types of cookware that the manufacturer claims the scrubbers can handle.

The good news is that both scrubbers did a stellar job of removing gunk from all of the pans. The bad news is that they both scratched and damaged the enameled and stainless-steel pans—we don’t recommend that you use either scrubber on those types of pans. But if you stick with plain cast iron and Pyrex, these scrubbers work very well for big messes.

Which is better? We prefer the newer scrubber to the original by a hair. Because of its larger size, the Small Ring CM Scrubber was easier to handle and covered more territory more quickly than the original, taking between 10 seconds and 2 minutes less to clean the same kinds of messes. And its smaller, narrower rings made it more agile and better at maneuvering around corners and detailing hard-to-access areas (like the grooves of our grill pan). These scrubbers are metal, so go easy—if you use excessive force, you can strip the seasoning from cast-iron pans and even scratch their surface.

Our Tastings and Testings editors discuss the messes we made to test the scrubbers.

A new stainless-steel skillet skillet before and after scrubbing; note the scratched surface on the right.

Winning Traits

  • Removes all types of residue well

  • Larger size for more efficient cleaning

  • Smaller rings for greater agility