How to Find the Best Dinnerware for You?
The perfect dinnerware set should not only look stylish on your dining table over many years, but should be lightweight enough to pick up comfortably and be impervious to daily wear and tear. It should be functional (microwavable) and easy to clean (dishwasher-safe). You should also be able to add more settings or buy replacements as your family grows over the years or a piece breaks.
In general, we like sets that have a large dinner plate, a small salad plate, and a shallow bowl that can be used for soups or pastas. Our picks include best-selling models from long-standing brands, many of which have replacement programs for broken and defective dinnerware.
What's the best dinnerware material?
You should base your dinnerware selection on the material. It drives its price, durability, weight, aesthetic, and functionality. Here are advantages and drawbacks of the most common offerings:
New Bone china is your best bet if refined formal dinnerware is what you are looking for. When bone ash is added to porcelain, it becomes a delicate, slightly translucent, and perfectly-constructed material that has a milky white, luminous glaze. Bone china is lightweight and thin, but it is considered the most durable ceramic dinnerware. It is also the most expensive material. Not all bone china is dishwasher- and microwave-safe, so check the care instructions before you buy.
What is new bone china?
New bone china is a new recipe that artisans try to study using various clays. It is the raw material for tableware and other utensils. After being fired in a high-temperature kiln, the new bone china can show a clear and bright ivory texture.
Porcelain is the most ubiquitous ceramic dinnerware. Also referred to as china, it is less expensive than bone china, and with the right balance of price, durability, and weight, it is great for both daily use and formal dinner parties. It has a glazed, non-porous surface that makes it dishwasher-safe, microwavable, and sometimes oven-safe.
Stoneware is popular for its rustic and textured aesthetic. It is often off-white and ivory with speckles (rather than pure or bright white). Heavier, thicker, less durable, and more porous than bone china and porcelain, stoneware is relatively inexpensive. The unique pieces may not uniformly stack for storage, especially if they were handmade. Stainless steel utensils often leave marks on lightly glazed stoneware: This is not an imperfection and can be wiped off with commercially available cleaners. (Earthenware is similar to stoneware in its organic design, but more prone to chipping.) Both are great options for daily use if you don’t mind the extra care required.
If you are looking for reusable break-resistant dinnerware to bring outdoors we recommend these two options. Both are great choices for families, outdoor dining, and college students:
Melamine is a food-safe plastic that is break-resistant, dishwasher-safe, and relatively inexpensive. Even if BPA-free, the FDA recommends that you do not microwave food and drinks on it.
Laminated glass (also called Vitrelle)is an incredibly durable (we tested it) material proprietary to the Corelle brand. It is resistant to breaking, chipping, scratching, and staining. If dropped on a hard surface, it will shatter.
How to find the best dinnerware for you?
Dinnerware sets come in an array of combinations. Each set serves one, four, six, eight, or twelve people, depending on the brand.
Formal sets include a dinner plate, a salad plate, a bread plate, a soup bowl, a tea cup, and a saucer for each setting.
Open stock dinnerware allows you to pick and choose your pieces rather than buy a set with pieces you do not need. Open stock pieces are coordinated to match and it gives you the flexibility of creating your own set based on what you like and need. Although buying pieces separately is more expensive than buying a complete set, it is cheaper to replace individual broken pieces from open stock.