Three best dinnerware sets
Dinnerware is a kitchen staple, but sets can range from informal stoneware to intricately detailed china. With plates and bowls of all shapes and sizes, it can feel like there's an unlimited number of options on the market.
To find the dinnerware set for you, you'll need to decide on the style you like, as well as consider the meals you regularly eat and the entertaining you do. You'll also have to think about your flatware, serving dishes, and tablecloths if you're going for a unified table. Finally, dinnerware needs to be durable. Of course, fine china takes a light touch, but everyday dishes should be dishwasher- and microwave-safe.
For everything you need to know before you buy, we've created this concise guide, which includes our top three picks for the best dinnerware sets on the market.
Considerations when choosing dinnerware sets
Number of pieces
While there are basic pieces that all dinnerware sets include--dinner plates, salad plates, soup bowls, mugs--there are a few extras you might want to consider. Some sets also include cups and saucers or pasta plates, noodle bowls, and cereal bowls.
You'll also have to decide on the material for your dinnerware set.
Earthenware: Earthenware dinnerware sets are made of kiln-fired ceramic and often feature hand-painted designs. However, the porous surface of earthenware is more susceptible to stains, and it chips easily.
Stoneware: Stronger than earthenware, this kiln-fired ceramic has glass mixed in with its other ingredients. Stoneware is less formal in appearance, making it perfect for everyday use. These durable dishes can handle microwaving and dishwashers, although you'll have to be careful of extreme temperature changes.
Porcelain and china: Porcelain and china are fine materials made at high temperatures. The high temperatures add strength, which allows the resulting dishes to be thinner than dishes made from other materials. These dinnerware sets often have intricately painted designs or metal accents, including gold or silver leaf. While the porcelain or china itself can withstand a dishwasher, some of the accent features may not, which means many of these sets have to be hand-washed.
Melamine: Families with young kids will appreciate melamine dinnerware sets because this hard plastic can take a beating (or dropping) without breaking. These sets are lightweight and colorful. However, the heat of the microwave or bottom rack of the dishwasher can ruin the surface or even melt a plate. If you choose melamine, look for BPA-free dishes.
Vitrelle glass: Vitrelle glass is made by laminating two layers of glass together. It's strong and dishwasher- and microwave-safe. These dinnerware sets are another good option for families, as these dishes usually survive a drop or two.
Round, oval, square, and rectangular are all common plate shapes. You'll even see some triangular plates. Be sure that if you choose a shape out of the ordinary that it complements the other items on your table, from the flatware to the serving dishes to the dining room decor.
Floral designs are always a classic favorite. Plain white dishes with embossed patterns are popular, too. Like shape, you want to choose a design that you not only like but that also complements your dining room and kitchen.
You may have found the perfect dinner plate, but the accompanying bowl is far too deep for your daily morning cereal. Take a good look at each set piece to make sure the size fits in with your eating habits and taste.
Dinnerware sets come in a wide range of prices, so you should be able to find something within your budget. Porcelain, melamine, and earthenware dinnerware sets start at around $25 and go up to well over $200. Sets that cost between $50 and $100 usually offer the best balance of quality and price. China usually comes at a higher price, but you can find inexpensive china sets for around $40 to $50. At the high end of the price range are bone china dinnerware sets that top out at $600 or more.
Q. How many place settings are in a typical dinnerware set?
A. Basic sets may only have four place settings, while other sets may have twelve or more. Keep an eye on the number of place settings you get when comparing prices. You might actually get a better deal per place setting by buying a slightly more expensive set. You'll also need to make sure you get enough place settings for everyone in your household.
Q. Do metal accents require special care?
A. Dinnerware sets with metal accents should usually be hand-washed. Sets with metal accents cannot be used in the microwave because doing so can ruin both the microwave and the plate.
Dinnerware sets we recommend
Best of the best: Corelle Livingware 38-Piece Dinnerware Set
Our take: A high-quality dinnerware set that comes in basic white or with bright borders in various colors.
What we like: This set can withstand the microwave, preheating in the oven, and the refrigerator. The set can also be purchased with different numbers of place settings.
What we dislike: The largest set is on the expensive side.
Best bang for your buck: Gibson Elite Bella Soho 16-Piece Square Reactive Glaze Dinnerware Set
Our take: The rich colors of this dinnerware set will bring warmth to your family gatherings.
What we like: This set provides excellent durability for the price. Plus, we love the colors.
What we dislike: Not everyone appreciates square plates.
Our take: A beautiful dinnerware set that you'll want to pass down to your children.
What we like: We love the classic pattern on this bone china set. This one is definitely for formal occasions.
What we dislike: It's costly and needs to be hand-washed.
Stacey L. Nash is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.