Best Overall: Lenox Portola 65
What We Love: Rust-resistant 18/10 stainless steel, ergonomic, lifetime warranty
What We Don’t Love: Pricey, only one finish option
If you like your flatware both stylish and practical, you cant go wrong with Lenox Portola. Its one of the brands most popular designs. With a silver, mirrored finish, it has an aesthetic that easily coordinates with everything from plain white place settings to more formal china patterns.
This 65-piece set is also a great value. Each setting includes a dinner fork, a salad fork, a dinner knife, a tablespoon, and a teaspoon. Additionally, it comes with a serving spoon, a pierced serving spoon, a sugar spoon, a butter knife, and a serving fork. The style of this set lends itself perfectly to the serving pieces, adding a nice embellishment to your table.
It also wins points for quality. Each utensil is crafted with durable and rust-resistant 18/10 stainless steel. The 18/10 grade meant it felt substantial in our tester’s hand without being uncomfortably heavy. Ergonomically designed, each piece has a slim neck thats somewhat longer than the other options on the market. Best of all, the entire set is easy to clean and dishwasher safe. We put our set through a few washes and the finish wasn’t damaged at all, though if you do have hard water like our tester, spots can be left behind.
New Star Food Service Slimline 36
MaterialNo. of Place Settings
If you’re looking for a basic three-piece flatware set that includes a knife, fork, and spoon with a nice weight and balance, we recommend the New Star Food Service Slimline 36-Piece set. With 12 place settings in this set, you’ll have plenty of utensils for when you invite your friends over for dinner. Our testers liked the weight of the fork, knife, and spoon in this set, which is on par with the heavier sets we tested, and the weight feels comfortable and balanced in our hands. The knife did a great job cutting through a variety of meats and vegetables with ease.
The biggest downside to this set is the short handles, which are best suited for smaller hand sizes or kids. In testing, we felt our hands were a bit close to our food due to the handle length. Because the handles are shorter, the spoon bowls are smaller and more like a teaspoon than a soup or dinner spoon. The handles are thick, rounded, and smooth however, we found rough patches on the spoon bowl edges and on the insides of the fork tines. The knife blades also scratched easily. Still, if you’re looking for a set with a lot of place settings at a reasonable price, the New Star set is worth a look.
Analysis And Test Results
When you think of flatware, a few characteristics stand out how comfortable the pieces feel in your hand, how well the knife cuts, and how well the pieces stand up to daily use and washing. We began our flatware testing by first washing the place settings in the dishwasher to see if they were prone to discoloration, staining, or excessive spotting. Putting the pieces through the dishwasher also brought out some unexpected imperfections in our sets, such as bent handles and scratching. We then examined the finish of the edges, looking for rough spots on the handles, knife blades, fork tines, and heads of the spoons.
Hand size and shape are a factor in determining how comfortable the handle of a fork or spoon feels during use. Therefore, our testers enlisted the help of friends and family to help with testing. We considered both adult and child use and the factors that may make one set more desirable over another for parents. We considered how large the head of the spoons are and how comfortably, or not, they fit into our mouths. We also assessed how comfortable the individual pieces are in our hands and how comfortable they are to eat with.
Lastly, we noted how many place settings were included in each set and how many pieces were in a set, comparing the sets in terms of value. Many of the products we tested are priced similarly, which means differences in comfort and quality stand out when considering the set’s value.
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How Many Flatware Sets Do You Need
Generally speaking, you want to have double the amount of flatware settings as there are people in your household for everyday use. For example, a two-person household should have a five-piece setting for four. That way youve always got a set to use while another set is in the dishwasher.
If you plan to entertain regularly, consider buying a larger set that includes serving utensils, as well as enough settings for guests. Buying a set that offers additional settings individually is convenient if you need to grow or replace parts of your set down the road.
How To Care For Stainless Steel Flatware
The best way to care for flatware is to hand-wash and dry it. “If a flatware set isn’t dishwasher-safe, it’s because of the high temperature of the water mixed with the dishwasher detergent,” Mack said. “The dishwasher has an electric heating element at the bottom that heats up to almost boiling. That, along with dishwasher detergent, which is a high-temperature caustic detergent , gets rid of food and debris without having to scrub. The high temperature and detergent will get rid of the natural patina of the flatware and will discolor it.”
Handwashing isn’t realistic for many people, though. You can do a few things to make sure your flatware stays in the best shape possible even if you’re using the dishwasher. Oneida, a flatware brand, offers a few tips on loading your flatware in a dishwasher:
- Load forks and spoons with the handles down and tines and bowls up.
- Place knives in a separate basket with the sharp side down to avoid potential scratching
- Remove flatware after the last rinse cycle and hand dry, since hot air can cause corrosion over time.
- If your flatware has any discolorations from hard water, use and follow the instructions on a high-quality stainless polish.
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Narrow Down Your Options Before Shopping
With so many options out there, it helps to start by deciding how many pieces you need and what your budget is. You should expect to pay upwards of $300 to fully outfit your home with a high-quality set, but you can go as low as $30 if you’re selective about the number and type of utensils you need.
No matter your budget, Whitmore recommends looking for products that contain the core five utensils. “When shopping for flatware, you want to be sure each set comes with a dinner knife, dinner fork, salad fork, dinner spoon, and teaspoon this will cover everything you’ll need,” said Whitmore. “I prefer to plan for large gatherings, so I like to buy sets of at least eight but often 10 or 12. It’s never a bad idea to have extra because items like spoons are used more often .”
Next, decide if you want to buy individual pieces , pieces by the place setting, or a box set that typically comes with service for four, six, eight, or 12 people. Here is some more information about each type:
Open stock: Buying individual pieces, also known as open stock, is great if you’re missing only a couple of utensils, if you’re a college student, or if you live alone and only need a few pieces. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for temporary or easily replaceable flatware, like if you need to stock a rental property you own or if you have extra mouths to feed for a special occasion. However, many open stock items aren’t the most durable, so they may not last as long with daily use.
Buying Kids Flatware: What Should I Be Aware Of
If you have small guests at your table, then you need specialty flatware that is adapted to tiny hands and mouths. Flatware for kids is shaped so that they can learn to eat while playing. The handles are wider and the fork prongs rounded in case the fork doesnt land where it should. Knives too have a blunt blade to cut soft food and there is no risk of injury. The cute motifs increase the enjoyment of eating and look good on the set table.
Top tip: Kids flatware as a gift idea
Flatware for kids is ideal as a gift idea for special occasions. Gift high-quality kids cutlery for example when a child is born, for a baptism or on a childs birthday.
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Different Types Of Silverware
Get to know the different types of silverware available in the market today to make an informed choice for making perfect dinner presentations.
Early man used knives made of sharpened stones and bone as an all-in-one tool for hunting, as a weapon, and also for eating. These sharp primitive knives decorated with feathers, jewels, and carved designs were present at the dining table until the Middle Ages when forks became in vogue. Then Frances Louis XIV in 1669 banned these overly sharp knives on the table and replaced them with blunter ones. Stainless steel knives came around during the 20th century.
Spoon comes from the Anglo-Saxon word spon which means a splinter or chip of wood because primitive spoons were carved from wood, bone, stone, shell, and other materials. They existed in ancient Egypt, India, and both the Greek and Roman cultures used spoons with pointed stems for eating soups. The design of the spoon evolved throughout the Renaissance and Baroque periods and gained its modern look from the 18th century.
Salad forks are one of the most common types of forks that you will find in silverware sets. You can purchase sets of salad forks specifically as well. If you know anything about proper table etiquette, then you are aware that certain types of forks, spoons, and knives are meant to serve particular purposes. In this case, salad forks are meant for eating salad.
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Budget Pick: Gourmet Settings Windermere Flatware Collection
Why its great: The affordable Gourmet Settings Windermere Flatware Collection is perfect for when you need to pick up a few extra place settings or serving utensils for parties or large holiday dinners. This flatware is sold open stock, which means its also great for college students who need only a few utensils and not complete five-piece place settings. Its a great inexpensive option for outfitting a cabin or rental too.
The Windermere collection is noticeably more refined than some of the other sets we looked at in this price range. The knives are a comfortable in-between weightnot too heavy or too lightand the fork tines are a nice medium length. The tines are also appropriately tapered, unlike the blunt tips on the forks of some of the other cheap flatware sets we tested. And the tines are smoothly polished even on the inner edge, unlike in the Gibson Home Classic Manchester Flatware Set, whose forks have inner tines that are so rough you could file your nails on them. The spoons are slightly more circular than those of our other picks, but they still have enough depth for holding broth-based soups. The knives have ground edges and are sharp enough to cut chicken.
We also like that the Windermere collection has such a large selection of additional serving pieces . The makers branding on the back of the forks and spoons is small and inconspicuous.
Why You Should Trust Me
In researching this guide, I spoke at length with Matthew A. Roberts, co-founder and president of Sherrill Manufacturing, the last remaining domestic maker of flatware in the United States. He was kind enough to give me a tour of the Sherrill Manufacturing facility in Sherrill, New York, so that I could see how flatware is made firsthand. I also spoke to Eric Lawrence, a flatware etcher at Sherrill Manufacturing.
To understand the difference between various grades of stainless steel, I interviewed Scott Misture, PhD, a professor at the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University, who has a background in metallurgy.
Over the course of several months, I scoured the Internet, scrolling through hundreds and hundreds of flatware patterns. I also went to stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate and Barrel, Macys, Pottery Barn, and Williams Sonoma to look at sets in person. I spoke with retail associates at each store to find out which brands were the most popular among customers.
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Amazon Basics Bistro 20
MaterialNo. of Place Settings
The Amazon Basics Bistro 20-Piece flatware set has five pieces to each place setting, including both a dinner spoon and a teaspoon, which our testers found to be the highlight of the set. Both spoon’s bowls have a nice depth and shape to them, especially for eating things with liquids, such as soups and cereals. There’s nothing worse than not being able to get a good spoonful of soup, and that isn’t a problem with this set. The knife’s serrated edge, however, is rather disappointing, and it tore our food more than it cut through it. The fork tines are fairly pointed and easily pick up food.
A five-piece place setting weighs 7.4 ounces, making it one of the lighter weight sets that we tested. This is evident in the handles which came out of the dishwasher bent, making these a poor choice for those who may want a spoon to scoop ice cream from the pint. We also noticed that the stainless steel finish discolored after washing and developed darkened rings over our test period. This is a basic set and should be considered as such.
Buying Guide For Best Soup Spoons
Soup is a culinary dish integral to the cuisine of many different countries around the world. The idea of having a special spoon used only for soup originated in the 18th century at a time when soup bowls were long, oval, or egg-shaped and carved from wood or animal horn.
A small, deep spoon was required to get to the bottom of the bowl to savor every last drop of the soup.
If you are looking for a quality set of soup spoons, you have some decisions to make. The large variety of sizes, shapes, and prices is somewhat surprising considering this is but one little spoon. However, there is a soup spoon for every taste and budget, and we will help you get to the bottom of your shopping so you can get to the bottom of some delicious bisques, soups, and stews.
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Best Budget: Lianyu 40
What We Love: Designedfor everyday, classic design, affordable
What We Don’t Love: Lightweight, no stainless-steel grade listed
Our tester was almost astonished at what you get for the price of the LIANU 40-piece Silverware Flatware Cutlery Set. If you are buying flatware you dont plan on keeping forever such as for a first apartment, or simply want to spend the bare minimum, youll be more than pleased with this choice. It’s also a great option if you need extra place settings for a large holiday gathering or dinner party, and dont want to use disposable cutlery. In addition to this 40-piece set, 20-piece, 30-piece, and 60-piece sets are also available. Each of the eight place settings includes a dinner fork, salad fork, a sharp dinner knife, dinner spoon, and teaspoon.
The only caveat to keep in mind is that the manufacturer doesnt note the stainless steel grade of this product. This could suggest the stainless steel has a lower ratio of chromium-to-nickel percentage, meaning it may not be as durable or rust-resistant as some of the other options. During testing, the finish on one of the forks began to come off before it was even washed. So, if quality is your top priority, its best to spend more money and choose something else.
Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What’s Included: Eight 5-piece settings
What We Love: High quality, modern yet minimalist design, comfortable weight, can purchase individual sets
What We Don’t Love: Expensive
How To Set A Table
If you’re setting the table for a formal dinner with the family using your new flatware, knowing where to place everything will elevate the dining experience. We’ve outlined a full step-by-step guide to setting the table here, but these are the basics:
The general rule while dining is to start with flatware on the outside and work your way in with each course. The flatware for the first course sits farthest away from the plate while the flatware for the main course is closest to the plate. To set the table, first place the flatware for the main course on either side of the dinner plate the dinner fork sits to the left while the dinner knife sits to the right with the blade facing towards the plate.
Next, place the salad fork to the left of the dinner fork and the salad knife to the right of the dinner knife. Then, place the teaspoon to the right of the salad knife followed by a soup spoon. If you’re having a dessert course, place the dessert spoon horizontally above the dinner plate with the handle pointing to the right.