A good third of the frying pan handle gets too hot to touch (close to cast iron handle hot), another 3rd gets warm, and the end stays cool. You have to use the handle with the back of your hand at the very end of the handle or else you'll likely burn yourself. I haven't tried the short handles (both on the lids and the really short handles on the sauce and sauté pans), but I imagine they're not useable without oven mitts. Debating whether or not to keep these, as the "stainless steel handles stay cool while cooking" is definitely not as described. Will probably cook some noodles to see if the whole handle gets untouchable after 10 minutes of being on heat.