What is The Difference between a colander and a strainer

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Both the colander and strainer are commonly referred to as strainers because they both serve almost the same purpose, holding solids while the liquids pass through them. But in reality, there is a difference between a colander and a strainer.

The colander also referred to as pasta strainer, is famous for draining water off pasta and rinsing fruits and vegetables. Strainers, on the other hand, sieve finer solids like tea. This article will help you understand more about what distinguishes a colander from a strainer. Keep reading.

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What is a colander

A colander is a type of kitchen strainer that can be used to strain boiled water, soup, or other dishes. It has several holes in it that help to release all the excess liquid and fiber from food. This appliance is often recommended for people who have digestive problems or difficulty with constipation. Additionally, it can be used to clean vegetables, fruits, and other foods before they are eaten.

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What a Colander Looks Like

A colander is a deep perforated bowl that allows liquids to pass through it and retain the solids into it. It is bigger in size than a strainer with wider holes. It is mostly used to strain past from the hot pasta water or even washing fruits and vegetables. This incredible kitchen item keeps water flowing out as the dirt is washed away from your produce.

Colanders are specially made from aluminium, light metal, plastic, ceramic, silicone, and stainless steel. They have large arms fitted on their sides for support and easy-grip as you use it under running water. These colanders can also hold your beef, chicken or mutton to clean off the blood.

What a Strainer Looks Like

A strainer is a device used to sieve solid bodies so they don’t mix with liquids. These sieves are used to sift fine ingredients from larger-sized ingredients. The strainer is spoon-shaped or basket-shaped with meshed semi-sphere with small holes to drain liquids out of it.

Strainers have different screening densities. The finer meshes sieve even the tiniest particles from being released while the coarse strainers retrieve larger foods, e.g. fried foods from the hot oil. Strainers may be made from nylon, metal or cloth. They also feature a long handle that you can easily hold when using it.

The strainers construction may be either lightweight or heavyweight, with strong frames to hold the solids. Most strainers also have a hooked feature that enables one to sieve with the strainer resting on a bowl.

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Difference Between a Colander and a Strainer

Now that we have looked at the general features of a colander and a strainer let us understand their differences. These are:

Differernce-1: Colanders are larger in size compared to the strainers. Strainers are usually smaller and used in catching lighter solids like lemon seeds when squeezing out a lemon.

Difference-2: The shape of these two kitchen items varies too. Whereas the colander features a bowl-shape with larger holes, the strainers have a spoon-like shape with smaller meshes.

Difference-3: The colanders holding capacity is rather heavier compared to the strainers. Colanders catch heavier foods like pasta, vegetables while the strainers catch lighter solids.

Difference-4: A colander has two arms located on its sides for easier holding, while a strainer has a long handle that you hold on to when using it.

Difference-5: While strainers feature hooks for stability when using on bowls, the colanders have a raised base to sit comfortably on the sink.

How to Purchase the Best Colander or Strainer

You might be wondering what to check out for in a colander or strainer when buying. Worry less, for I have compiled some important factors that you should check out for. It is necessary to purchase a colander or strainer that will align with your kitchen needs. Here is what you should check out for:-

1. Size

There can be no greater mistake than buying a huge colander or strainer while you have limited countertop space. A small colander or strainer, on the other hand, may not serve your needs properly. If you are a beginner in the colander or strainer world, you might fall victim to purchasing a smaller sized strainer. Check to ensure that the size you go for will match either the items’ intended purpose.

Another thing to think of is how these kitchen items will be stored. If your kitchen has a limited storage space, it will be wise to go for a smaller sized colander or strainer, just as long as it serves you well. If you have a large family, you wouldn’t want to go for a small colander or strainer just because you have less storage space.

2. Material

The material your colander or strainer is made from will determine how long either item will serve you. Some materials will rust or warp faster than others. Others will give you a longer usage life than others would. It’s Thus, it’s wise to go for a material that has had a good reputation for a long period.

Colanders and strainers are kitchen items subjected to regular usage, especially if you love cooking. Continuous use of these items will subject them to an accelerated rate of wear and tear. Go for a material that will withstand heavy use, like the stainless steel material that is long-lasting.

Some materials might also stain easily. Go for a colander or strainer with better aesthetics. You wouldn’t love a stain filled colander or strainer. Not only will it not be physically appeasing but also a bit unhealthy.

3. Flow rate

The flow rate is the speed that liquids will flow through your colander or strainer. The flow rate is calculated in gallons per minute(GPM). If you are a regular cook, it is necessary to ensure that the colander or strainers flow rate is superb, so you don’t waste too much time waiting for the water to drain.

You should also ensure that your sinks flow rate will match with the strainer or colander. This will ensure that no dirty water pools at the colanders base or contact the produce you are washing. If the sinks flow rate doesn’t match the colander or strainers flow rate, you will be required to get either a larger or a smaller one.


Having covered what distinguishes a colander from a strainer, I hope the next time you are at a friend’s house, and he/she asks you to pass him/her the colander, you will grab on to the colander, not the strainer. With that knowledge, you will also use either of the items for the purpose they are intended for and achieve great results.

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