Best Napkin Holders

The Best Napkin Holders for Keeping Those Napkins Tidy!

With many of us still preferring the convenience of paper napkins, this means that a napkin holder is still an essential in our homes. Able to keep paper napkins accessible and tidy, the napkin holder is also easy to move around the home and even out into the garden for those summer grills.

In this article, we review ten of the best napkin holders available, as well as taking a look at the napkin holder itself, how it evolved, and we even offer a few suggestions for what else you can keep tidy in your home with the help of a napkin holder!

​Best Pick

Simplehuman Quick Grip Napkin Holder

Our Best Pick is the Simplehuman Quick Grip napkin holder with its weighted tension arm for taking just one napkin at a time.

​Budget Pick

Home Basics Paper Napkin Holder

Our Budget Pick is the Home Basics napkin holder with its chrome finish and weighted base for ease of use indoors or out.


1. ​Simplehuman Quick Grip Napkin Holder  

Highlighted Features

  • Horizontal napkin holder for 75 standard sized square napkins
  • Has a weighted and non-slip base
  • Weighted tension arm to hold napkins in place and allow you to take a single napkin
  • Has a five year limited warranty from the manufacturer

Able to hold up to 75 square standard sized paper napkins, the Simplehuman Quick Grip napkin holder has a weighted tension arm allowing you to remove just one napkin at a time. Made from stainless steel, the non-slip base of this horizontal napkin holder is also designed to cradle the napkins to keep them tidy. This comes with a five year limited warranty from the manufacturer.

This napkin holder is unsuitable for rectangular napkins and it will also struggle with larger dinner napkins. Some owners have found that the tension of the arm on this holder is not always enough to prevent more than one napkin being removed at a time.

​Pros

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    Horizontal napkin holder
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    Stainless steel
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    Non-slip base
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    Tension arm
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    Five year warranty

​Cons

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    Only suitable for holding standard size square napkins
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    The tension arm can be prone to releasing more than one napkin at a time

2. Home Basics Paper Napkin Holder 

Highlighted Features

  • An upright napkin holder made from heavy duty steel
  • Has a chrome finish and is wipe clean
  • Has a weighted base and ball feet to keep napkins out of table spills

The freestanding Home Basics napkin holder is constructed from heavy duty steel with a weighted and raised base to keep it steady even when outdoors. With a chrome finish, this napkin holder holds napkins upright and measures 5½" high by 2½" deep by 5" long. This is easy to wipe over or can be washed with mild soap and water.

This napkin holder may not be as heavy duty as expected, and depending on the size and quantity of napkins, they may occasionally fall out of the holder. The quality of the welding may not be as high standard as it could be, and you may find the odd sharp edge that needs filing for safety. Some buyers have also found that the ball feet can be uneven, and this may prevent it standing properly on a flat surface.

​Pros

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    Upright napkin holder
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    Steel construction
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    Chrome finish
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    Weighted base
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    Easy cleaning

​Cons

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    The quality of the welding can be inconsistent
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    The ball feet can be uneven and prevent it from standing properly
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    Depending on the size of napkins, they may fall out of the holder

3. OXO Good Grips SimplyPull Napkin Holder

Highlighted Features

  • A horizontal stainless steel and ABS plastic napkin holder measuring 6¾" long by 6¼" wide and 3" high
  • Able to take different sized napkins
  • The base is weighted and non-skid
  • Has a weighted arm that folds into the base to store when not in use
  • Comes with a lifetime limited warranty

The OXO Good Grips SimplyPull napkin holder has a rubber grip weighted arm to hold napkins in place against its weighted base. The arm also opens wide and stays open for easy refilling and it can be folded flat into the base for storage.

This holder has a wider base to accommodate a range of napkin sizes and the base is also non-skid. Made from stainless steel and ABS plastic, it measures 6¾" long by 6¼" wide and 3" high. It also comes with a lifetime limited warranty from the manufacturer.

Some buyers have not been happy with the quality of this holder and you may find it on the bulky side; especially as this is a horizontal rather than a vertical holder. Its finish can also mean it is prone to finger marks and other spot stains.

​Pros

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    Horizontal napkin holder
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    Weighted arm
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    Takes different napkins
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    Arm folds into base to store
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    Lifetime warranty

​Cons

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    ​Some buyers have commented that this is a bulky napkin holder
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    ​The quality of this product may not be as you would expect from this manufacturer
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    ​Can be prone to spot staining and fingerprint marks

4. MyGift Torched Wood Napkin Holder 

Highlighted Features

  • A horizontal napkin holder with a rustic wood finish
  • Can hold more than 50 standard square lunch napkins
  • The center bar is weighted to hold napkins in place
  • The base has rubber feet to prevent it from scratching surfaces

The MyGift torched wood napkin holder is a horizontal holder with a rustic wood finish. This has a center weighted bar to keep napkins in place and also has rubber feet on the base to prevent it from scratching. This can hold 50 plus standard square lunch napkins. This is not a solid wood holder, as some buyers have thought, and this also means it may not be as sturdy for outdoor use when windy.

​Pros

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    Horizontal napkin holder
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    Rustic wood finish
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    Weighted bar
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    Rubber feet

​Cons

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    This is not made from solid wood
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    Holds only standard square lunch napkins

5. Boston International Napkin Holder 

Highlighted Features

  • Multipurpose horizontal napkin holder
  • This holder is a traditional garden gate design that is made from steel with a brass finish
  • Suitable for holding 8⅕" by 4½" guest towels or buffet napkins

The Boston International napkin holder (BID12) is a horizontal holder which will take standard 8⅕" by 4½" guest towels or buffet napkins. This is made from steel and has a traditional garden gate design with an antique brass finish. This napkin holder does not have a weighted arm or pivot to prevent the napkins from blowing away if used outside and neither do the metal feet have any covers to prevent them from scratching the surface of the table or countertop.

​Pros

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    Horizontal napkin/guest towel holder
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    Steel construction
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    Brass finish
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    Garden gate design

​Cons

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    Does not have a pivot or weighted arm to hold napkins in place
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    The metal feet do not have any rubbers or covers on them to prevent damage to the countertop

6. Spectrum Diversified Euro Round Napkin Holder 

Highlighted Features

  • A vertical napkin holder suitable for standard sized napkins
  • This is a contemporary circular design
  • Made from steel with a satin nickel finish, it measures 3½" long by 5½" wide by 5½" high

The circular and vertical Spectrum Diversified Euro napkin holder will hold standard sized napkins upright. Made from steel, this contemporary holder has a satin nickel finish and measures 3½" long by 5½" wide by 5½" high. Its design means it better suits storage of medium to larger sized napkins and the metal work on this may not be as good quality as you would expect. You may also find that you will have keep it well stocked to prevent napkins from falling out as they are used.

​Pros

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    Vertical napkin holder
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    Circular design
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    Made from steel
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    Satin nickel finish

​Cons

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    This is more suitable for medium to larger napkins
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    Some buyers have been disappointed with the overall quality of this holder
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    You will need to keep it filled to prevent napkins from falling out as they are used

7. Home Basics NH44398 Cast Iron Paper Napkin Holder

Highlighted Features

  • A vertical napkin holder with a traditional Fleur de Lis design
  • Measures 5⅝" high, 2" wide and 5" long
  • Made from cast iron with a black enamel coating
  • Has rubber feet to prevent damage to the countertop

With a traditional Fleur de Lis design, the Home Basics cast iron napkin holder is a freestanding holder made from cast iron that is durable enamel coated. This black napkin holder is a vertical holder and measures approximately 5⅝" high by 2" wide and 5" long. It also has rubber feet to prevent any damage to your table or countertop. Some buyers have received this damaged and it will not hold as many napkins as other designs of napkin holder.

​Pros

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    Vertical napkin holder
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    Cast iron
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    Fleur de Lis design
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    Has rubber feet

​Cons

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    This cannot hold as many napkins as other styles of holders
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    There is a risk of receiving this holder with damage

8. MyGift Black Metal Tree & Bird Design Tabletop Napkin Holder 

Highlighted Features

  • A vertical napkin holder measuring 5" long by 5¼" inches high and 2" deep
  • Made from steel with a cut out design of a tree with birds in its branches
  • Has rubber feet to prevent damage to your countertop or table

The vertical standing MyGift Tree & Bird napkin holder is made from steel and has a cut out design of a tree with birds in the branches. Measuring 5" long by 5¼" inches high and 2" deep, the base of this holder has rubber pads to prevent any damage to the table.

This will fit larger dinner napkins; although they will overhang the edges slightly. This is a lighter weight napkin holder and because of its design, you may find that you will bend it accidently when adding or taking away napkins.

​Pros

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    Vertical napkin holder
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    Made from steel
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    Tree and bird design
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    Rubber feet

​Cons

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    Although metal, this is a light weight napkin holder
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    This is a more fragile holder that you will need to take extra care with
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    Will take larger dinner napkins although they will overhang the edges

9. Home Basics Scroll Collection Bronze Flat Napkin Holder 

Highlighted Features

  • A horizontal napkin holder measuring 7½" square by 2½" high
  • Made from heavy duty steel this has a bronze colored finish
  • Napkins are held in place with a weighted pivot arm
  • Has metal feet to keep napkins out of any table spills

The horizontal Home Basics scroll napkin holder is made from heavy duty steel and has a bronze colored finish. This has a weighted pivot arm to keep napkins in place and it also has rounded metal feet to stop the napkins from soaking up table spills. This is a 7½" square holder that stands 2½" high.

This does not contain any rubber protectors to stop it from scratching surfaces and some owners have found that this does not sit as flat on a surface as it should do which can make it wobble.

​Pros

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    Horizontal napkin holder
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    Made from steel
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    Bronze finish
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    Weighted pivot arm

​Cons

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    Does not have any rubber protectors on the feet
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    May not sit as flat as it should do as the feet can be uneven

​10. mDesign Modern Decorative Paper Napkin Holder 

Highlighted Features

  • A larger vertical napkin holder sized 6" long by 5½" high and 3" deep
  • Made from strong steel wire with a rust-resistant and durable finish
  • Contains ball feet to keep napkins clear of spills

The mDesign decorative napkin holder is a vertical holder measuring 6" long, 5½" high and 3" deep. Made from strong steel wire, this has a durable and rust-resistant finish. This has ball feet to keep napkins out of spills but unfortunately these do not have rubber protectors on them.

As a larger napkin holder, not all buyers have been as keen on its size, and as the holder empties, the napkins will begin to fold over as there is no arm or weight to keep them in place.

​Pros

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    Vertical napkin holder
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    Steel wire
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    Rust resistant finish
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    Ball feet

​Cons

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    As a larger napkin holder this may not be suitable for your requirements
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    Because there is no arm or weight, the napkins will begin to fold over as the pile reduces
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    Does not have any rubber feet on the base to prevent scratching

Things to Consider Before Buying A Napkin Holder

A napkin holder is any item used to hold napkins and a napkin holder is the easiest way to keep napkins tidy, to hand and away from any table spills.

Most napkin holders fit into two design categories. The first type of holder is one which uses the outward pressure from the napkins to hold them between two surfaces. This type of holder is usually symmetrical and of the type otherwise known as a vertical, or upright, napkin holder. A vertical holder is useful if you have limited space as they do not need as much countertop or tabletop space as a horizontal napkin holder.

The second style of holder is one that has walls all around it and holds napkins flat – a typical horizontal holder - and the base of this will usually be sized for standard napkins, typically lunch napkins.

Horizontal napkins holders often have a weighted base and have a weight or an arm to hold the napkins in place and make it easier to take one napkin at a time. This type of design is also good for outdoor dining as napkins are less likely to blow away on windy days.

The typical napkin dispensers seen in diners are also classed as napkin holders, but a napkin dispenser is usually always a metal case that allows to you to take just one napkin at a time from the front or top of the dispenser.

Cloth napkins have been around since Roman and Greek times and napkin holders and napkin rings made from wrought iron were commonly found in the nineteenth century. Napkin rings became popular in the early 1800s as a way for wealthy French families to show off their wealth by using silver, bone, porcelain and even pearl decorated napkin rings at the dining table.

The historical napkin holder was also a small device that was designed to hold a cloth napkin in a button hole or top of a necktie knot. Often made from silver these types of napkin holders were in use in at least Edwardian times.

When the Scott Paper Company invented and began to manufacture paper napkins from 1930 onwards, the popularity of the napkin holder began to increase along with the demand for the paper napkins.

By the 1950s and alongside the increased use of materials such as plastics, the napkin holder was a budget friendly and key accessory for homes. This demand for the maintenance-free paper napkins which were also cost-effective (due to the low costs of producing paper) had also contributed to the decline in use of traditional cloth napkins.

The introduction of paper napkins by leading designers also contributed to the rising popularity of paper napkins, and although many households chose to use paper napkins for everyday dining, they would still use cloth napkins for formal meals.

When choosing a napkin holder, you should not just consider its function, but also its form. There are many different styles of napkin holders and look for one which will suit the design of the space in which you want to place the holder.

Many napkin holders are made from metal, usually steel, for durability, but may also be made from cast iron for a more traditional style. Today’s napkin holders can also be molded from plastics or made from wood and their style can be traditional, contemporary or anything in between.

Napkin holders are also ideal for other roles in the home. They can be used as mail or document racks, as a holder for scrap paper, as racks for saucepan lids, or even in the kitchen cabinet for storing packets of seasonings in!

Sizing of Paper Napkins

When selecting a new napkin holder, you will always need to consider napkin size. If you just use one size in your home, then you can look for a napkin holder that just takes this size but if you do like to have different sizes to hand, then you will need a holder that is more flexible on napkin sizes.

There is some variation between the sizes of cloth and paper napkins. For economy, and because they are only single use, paper napkins are usually smaller than cloth napkins. Typically, there are three sizes of paper napkin available; beverage, luncheon and dinner.

A beverage or cocktail napkin is usually around 5" square when folded and a standard lunch paper napkin is a 13" napkin folded into a 6¾" square. Lunch napkins tend to be one of the most popular sizes and usually available in varying thicknesses of 1, 2 or 3 ply.

Dinner napkins are larger than lunch napkins, usually around 16" to 18" unfolded or around 8½" when folded square. Guest towels also fit into this category of paper napkin.

Napkin Etiquette

Although the basic job of any napkin – paper or cloth – is to blot your mouth and wipe your fingers, there are still a few ‘do’s and don’ts’ when using a napkin!

You should only unfold and place your napkin on your lap after your host has placed theirs. If you need to leave the table at any point during the meal, then your napkin should be placed on your chair after you have got up.

After you have finished your meal, then your napkin should be loosely folded and placed to the left side of your plate. If your plate has been cleared, you can instead pop it in the center of your place setting.

Conclusion

In this article we have taken a look at the advantages of the two main types of napkin holder – vertical and horizontal - as well as what you should consider when selecting a new napkin holder for your home. We also offered some guidance around sizing of paper napkins and some of the basic etiquette, or ‘do’s and don’ts’ of using napkins.

We trust that you have found this article entertaining and that our reviews have helped you to select the best napkin holder for all of your household’s entertaining needs, whether you need paper napkins for breakfasts on the go, lazy family brunches or informal dinners with friends!

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