Three best flatware sets
If you don't want to make a mess at the dinner table, you need forks, spoons, and knives to enjoy your meals. Flatware is usually sold in sets, so you can get all the place settings you need for your table in one convenient package.
While choosing the right flatware may seem pretty straightforward, there are quite a few factors to consider to find the right set for your needs, such as what pieces the set includes, what material the pieces are made of, the number of place settings you need, as well as what design works best with your style.
In our convenient shopping guide, you'll find plenty of tips to help you choose the ideal flatware set for your table. If you're still not sure, check out our specific product recommendations for fuss-free shopping.
Considerations when choosing flatware sets
Some flatware sets only include basic pieces like dinner forks, dinner knives, and soup spoons, which might be enough for everyday meals. If you want a set that can also work for holiday banquets, dinner parties, and other more formal meals, you need a set that also includes salad or dessert forks, salad or dessert knives, dessert spoons, and teaspoons.
There are also sets that combine the basics and some extras, such as a dinner fork, dinner knife, soup spoon, salad fork, and a teaspoon for each place setting. You can also find options that provide serving utensils.
Flatware sets are usually made of stainless steel, silverplate, or sterling silver.
Stainless steel is the most common and ideal for everyday use. These sets are available in three different compositions: 18/0, 18/8, and 18/10. The first number indicates how much chromium the flatware contains, which determines how well it resists rust. The second number represents how much nickel the flatware contains. Sets with a higher percentage of nickel have a brighter sheen and are better able to resist corrosion. Stainless flatware is usually dishwasher safe.
Silverplate is an affordable alternative to silver because it has a similar appearance but costs less. Silverplate isn't as durable as sterling silver, however, because it only has a thin silver finish over a base metal like copper, zinc, or nickel.
Sterling silver flatware sets are the most expensive option and are generally used for formal meals. Silver flatware sets typically require hand-washing and polishing.
Flatware set features
Place settings: Flatware sets can include just a single place setting or as many as 16. Deciding how many place settings you need in a set is a matter of personal preference, but it usually depends on how you plan to use the set. For everyday use, a set that contains a setting for each person in your household plus one or two extra settings is usually sufficient. If you plan to use your flatware for parties and special occasions, you'll probably want at least 12 place settings.
Design: Most flatware has some sort of decoration. Sets with a modern design feature clean lines and minimal ornamentation. Other, more classic sets may have more rounded edges and simple to elaborate decorative details. You can also find highly decorative flatware sets with engraved patterns and even more striking ornamentation. It's a good idea to try to match the style of your flatware set to that of your plates and dishes.
Finish: Flatware sets are available in several different finishes.
Bright or mirrored sets have an extremely polished finish. This is the most common option.
Satin sets have a soft matte finish for a subtler look on your table.
Two-toned sets use a combination of bright and satin finishes to create a striking contrast.
Gold accent sets incorporate 24K gold plate details to give the flatware a more decorative or formal look.
Weight: The feel of the utensils in your hand is an important detail to consider. Some people prefer heavy forks and knives, while others enjoy lightweight flatware. If you choose heavier flatware, opt for a set in which each implement is made from a single piece of metal. For lighter flatware, choose a set with pieces that have hollow handles.
Flatware set prices: Flatware sets vary in price based on the material and the number of place settings included, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $500 and more. You can find a quality set of stainless with up to 12 place settings for $50 to $100. You'll find designer flatware sets in the $100 to $500 range. Single place settings of sterling silver flatware can cost that much and more.
Q. Do flatware sets include serving utensils?
A. Some sets have a hostess set in addition to the place settings. The hostess set can include items like a butter knife, meat fork, tablespoon, and sugar spoon, though the pieces can vary from set to set.
Q. How do I remove rust stains from stainless steel flatware?
A. A non-abrasive stainless steel or metal polish is usually the best option for rust spots on stainless flatware.
Flatware sets we recommend
Best of the best: Lenox Portola Flatware Set
Our take: Outstanding flatware set with all the pieces you need. Stands out as the best available option.
What we like: The 65 pieces (12 place settings plus hostess set) are made of 18/10 stainless steel for top-notch durability and rust resistance.
What we dislike: Some owners report discoloration in the serving utensils.
Best bang for your buck: Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble Flatware Set
Our take: Ideal beginner set of 20 pieces (four place settings) at a very budget-friendly price.
What we like: Made of affordable stainless steel. Simple, classic design.
What we dislike: Doesn't include serving utensils. Knives may be too sharp.
Our take: Excellent set that includes large, substantial pieces for an affordable price.
What we like: Includes serrated knives that are ideal for steak. Features 65 pieces (12 place settings plus serving utensils).
What we dislike: European-size pieces may not fit in some flatware trays.
Jennifer Blair 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.
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