In response to the cultural shift toward home-cooked meals, and away from fast food and takeout, more people are spending time at the dinner table again. With this change in mindset comes a greater emphasis on home entertaining. Thanks to social media, friends and family will know when you host a party or have company over for dinner. As such, it’s important to have an arsenal of tableware that can be used for any occasion. Whether you’re planning a casual barbecue with friends or prepping your first formal sit-down dinner party, there are many things to consider when purchasing new dinnerware. Are you looking for something cheap but functional or do you have the budget for something a little more upscale? There are many different types of sets available on the market today. Best of all, manufacturers have made it easy to compare products side by side so that you can make an informed decision before buying anything.
Types of Dinnerware Available
There are dozens of different types of dinnerware available, ranging in price and material type. If you have a specific material in mind, you can use the subheadings below to jump directly to that section. Otherwise, keep reading and we’ll go through all the different types of dinnerware sets, as well as their benefits and drawbacks.
Stainless Steel Dinnerware - Stainless steel has long been one of the most popular materials for plates, bowls and cups. This type of dinnerware is lightweight, durable and great for outdoor use. However, it does have one significant downside: it’s not microwave safe. If you regularly heat up leftovers in the microwave, stainless steel may not be the best option for you.
Ceramic Dinnerware - Ceramic plates, bowls and cups are very common and can be found at a wide range of price points. They are microwave and dishwasher safe, and most ceramic dinnerware sets will be break proof. On the downside, ceramic is a porous material, which means it will absorb stains and odors more readily than other types of dinnerware.
Wooden Dinnerware - While wooden plates and bowls are not a traditional option for serving dinner, they do make great serving pieces. If you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, wooden bowls and plates can be used to serve classic barbecue foods like potato salad, coleslaw and cornbread. They are also perfect for serving appetizers and desserts.
Porcelain Dinnerware - Porcelain is a very common choice for tableware, both in terms of durability and cost. Porcelain is a great option if you’re looking for something affordable and durable. However, it does not microwave or dishwasher safe, and will break if dropped on a hard surface.
Bone China Dinnerware - Bone China is a very durable material used to make plates and bowls. This type of dinnerware is very stain and scratch resistant, but is also very delicate, so it should not be put in the microwave or dishwasher.
Stoneware is one of the best materials for making dinnerware. It’s extremely durable and can withstand a lot of use and abuse without cracking or breaking. Stoneware is also dishwasher safe and microwave safe, making it an extremely versatile option. The one downside is that it’s not as stain resistant as some other materials. That being said, stoneware is still a great choice for everyday use.
Ceramic dinnerware sets
Ceramic plates are very common, and for good reason. They are extremely durable and can withstand a lot of abuse. That being said, they do tend to be a bit more fragile than other materials like stoneware. It’s also important to note that ceramic plates are porous, which means they are more likely to stain and retain odors than other materials. Ceramic bowls are also very common, and they have many of the same upsides and downsides as ceramic plates. One thing to note: the type of ceramic used to make dinnerware is different from the ceramic used to make kitchenware. While they may look similar, they are not interchangeable.
Porcelain dinnerware sets
Porcelain plates are extremely durable and can withstand a lot of abuse, making them an ideal choice for everyday use. While they are generally more delicate than ceramic plates, porcelain is also much more stain resistant. That being said, porcelain is not microwave or dishwasher safe, so you will have to hand wash it. Porcelain bowls are also very popular, and they have many of the same upsides and downsides as ceramic bowls. One thing to note: the type of porcelain used to make dinnerware is different from the porcelain used to make bathroom fixtures. While they may look similar, they are not interchangable.
Stainless steel dinnerware sets
Stainless steel is a very common choice, and it comes in many different forms, including plates and bowls. Stainless steel is very durable, but it is also fairly lightweight, making it easy to transport. That being said, stainless steel is not as heavy duty as other materials, and will not hold up as well over time. Stainless steel bowls are also very common, and have many of the same upsides and downsides as other forms of steel. One thing to note: the type of stainless steel used to make dinnerware sets is different from the stainless steel used in appliances. While they may look similar, they are not interchangeable.
Which material should you choose?
When choosing between various types of dinnerware, it’s important to think about the way you use your tableware. If you regularly heat up leftovers, you’ll want to avoid ceramic and porcelain, as these materials are not microwave safe. If you have young children, you may want to avoid plates and bowls made from delicate materials like bone china. If you are regularly hosting parties, you may want to consider metal plates, as they are very easy to clean. When choosing between various materials, it’s important to consider how much use your dinnerware will get. If you’re using your plates regularly, you may want to opt for a sturdier material like stainless steel or stoneware. Keep in mind that you can’t use your dinnerware forever. Over time, plates and bowls will break, crack and chip. This is normal, and you should replace your dinnerware on a regular basis.