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How many times have we all prepared to dive into that harvest salad (or that ice cream) just to find that one thing is dirty: all the forks (Yes, you can eat the tub of Breyers with a fork, but do we recommend it?). Flatware is an essential part of any home kitchen but deciding which set is right for you can be daunting. There’s a wide variety of flatware and silverware on the market, so there’s a lot to sift through, but it also means that you don’t have to break the bank to get a durable, everyday set. An adequate rule of thumb is to invest in your flatware set and buy the best you can afford since it’s something you’ll use every day from your breakfast frittata to late-night ice cream.
In addition to the budget, you’ll want to consider how many place settings you need, how much storage space you have, how often you run your dishwasher (or how much handwashing you’re willing to do), as well as design and finish preferences. Most importantly, you need to find cutlery that feels right in your hand.
We'll help you navigate all of these options to find the right set for you. We sent a bunch of our top picks to the home of our tester, Amanda Lauren, so she could see how the fork tines pierced and if the knives could actually cut anything. She also put them to the most important flatware test: a few washes in the dishwasher. Afterward, she noted whether it damaged any of their finishes. If a set comes with serving pieces, she tested those too, so you don't have to be sidetracked while hosting.
Whether you’re looking for a durable, everyday set or a high-end set for special occasions, here are the best flatware and silverware sets to make every mealtime a pleasure.
Best Overall: Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set
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 can’t go wrong with Lenox Portola. It’s one of the brand’s 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 that’s 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.
Material: 18/10 stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: Twelve 5-piece settings plus serving spoon, pierced serving spoon, serving fork, sugar spoon, butter knife
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Zwilling Opus 45-Piece Flatware Set
What We Love: High-quality stainless steel, contemporary design, lifetime warranty
What We Don't Love: Only one finish
A great value for the money, the Zwilling Opus 45-Piece Flatware Set has a versatile yet, modern look. Manufactured by renowned knife maker, J.A. Henckels, there’s no need to worry about the quality of these utensils. Made from durable 18/10 stainless steel, the slightly curved handles give the pieces a unique look and made the utensils comfortable to hold during our tests.
From everyday family meals to dinner parties and quick bites, this set will easily meet all of your flatware needs. The mirrored silver pieces have a high luster finish that complements most dishes. So, you won’t regret adding this set to your wedding registry or buying it for a new home. It’s also dishwasher safe, though you might want to hand-dry the pieces before hosting guests.
There are eight place settings total, each of which includes a dinner fork, salad fork, a sharp dinner knife, a well-sized soup spoon, and a teaspoon. It even comes with a hostess set that has a butter knife, sugar spoon, serving spoon, slotted serving spoon, and serving fork.
"The serving pieces are a good size, yet not oversized. So, they get the job done and are easy to clean in the dishwasher. The slotted serving spoon is particularly well-designed." — Amanda Lauren, Product Tester
Material: 18/10 stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: Eight 5-piece settings plus serving spoon, slotted serving spoon, serving fork, sugar spoon, butter knife
Best Budget: LIANYU 40-Piece Silverware Flatware Cutlery Set
What We Love: Designed for 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 don’t plan on keeping forever such as for a first apartment, or simply want to spend the bare minimum, you’ll 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 don’t 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 doesn’t 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, it’s best to spend more money and choose something else.
Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: Eight 5-piece settings
Related: The Best Knife Sets
Best Gold: West Elm Sidney 5-Piece Flatware Set
What We Love: High quality, modern yet minimalist design, comfortable weight, can purchase individual sets
What We Don't Love: Expensive
This modern gold flatware set was created exclusively for West Elm by London-based designer Aaron Probyn, who’s known for his modern approach to minimalism. The gold finish has a high luster yet isn’t gaudy, so this flatware is useful for adding instant pizazz to any table. The utensils are designed with proportion in mind, so they are comfortable in the hand with a just-the-right-weight feel.
Made with 18/10 stainless steel, the quality of this set justifies the high price tag. The 5-piece place setting comes with a salad fork, dinner fork, dinner knife, soup spoon, and teaspoon. Unfortunately, there isn’t an additional hostess set or coordinating serving pieces available.
While this set is sturdy enough to use every day (although it will look fabulous for more formal occasions), it requires a little bit more maintenance than a standard silver finish does. While these pieces are dishwasher safe, West Elm recommends handwashing to preserve the finish. Our tester put them through a wash anyway, and, even though she has hard water, the set came out perfectly, with nary a water spot to be seen. The set also comes in elegant black and silver finishes as individual place settings as well as 20-piece and 60-piece sets.
Material: 18/10 stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but handwashing is recommended | What's Included: One 5-piece setting, four 5-piece settings, or twelve 5-piece settings
Related: The Best Dinnerware Sets
Most Durable: Knork 18/10 Stainless Steel 20-Piece Flatware Set, Matte Silver
What We Love: Hand forged, high-quality, ergonomic with deep scoops and balanced handles
What We Don't Love: Only serves four
The brand of this flatware set takes its name from a portmanteau of knife and fork. This is because Knork’s founder, Michael D. Miller, was struggling to eat a piece of pizza with a fork. So he designed the brand’s signature fork with beveled outer tines that are sharp enough to slice through food, yet are still safe enough for children to use.
Made of hand-forged 18/10 stainless steel, it has a modern aesthetic. The ergonomic design of this set is also unique. The forks and spoons both have deeper bowls for better scooping capabilities, and the forks' tines are beveled, making it easy to spear food like veggies and meat during our tests. The handle is also 8 millimeters thick, which makes these utensils more durable than most sets. Compared to most standard flatware, each piece feels substantial and somewhat heavier in the hand. These also spotted much less than normal post-dishwasher, a bonus for those with hard water.
Available in matte silver, gloss silver, and duo finish options, this flatware set includes 4 place settings with a dinner fork, salad fork, dinner knife, tablespoon, and teaspoon. There are also cocktail fork and drawer organizer add-ons.
Material: 18/10 stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: Four 5-piece settings
Related: The Best Cookware Sets
Best Portable: Devico Portable Stainless Steel 8-Piece Flatware Set
What We Love: Eco-friendly, multiple finishes, 60-day guarantee
What We Don't Love: No stainless-steel grade
Ditch the flimsy plastic utensils and enjoy eating on the go with this reusable, portable stainless-steel flatware set. Plus, you’ll be doing your part to help the planet by cutting down on plastic use. You’ll love using these utensils for work, picnics, hiking, and camping. It even comes in a sleek grey wool case.
The 8-piece set includes a knife, fork, spoon, and chopsticks, as well as a straight straw, bent straw, and even a straw cleaning brush. The utensils have a simple modern design and smooth edges. During testing, we found that the set is light enough to bring anywhere without adding extra weight to your bag but sturdy enough to actually enjoy eating with. While this set is made from stainless steel, the grade isn’t noted, so these utensils are likely of lower quality. Still, you won’t be using these for every meal and they weren't damaged when tested in a dishwasher, so they should last.
The manufacturer even offers a worry-free guarantee and will refund or replace utensils up to 60 days after purchase. While we love the black mirror finish, this set is also available in silver, purple, blue, rose gold, and rainbow finishes.
Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: One 4-piece setting plus straight straw, bent straw, straw cleaning brush, carrying case
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Best for Kids: Zwilling Bino Children's 4-Piece Flatware Place Setting
What We Love: Design suited to kids 3+, limited lifetime warranty
What We Don't Love: Pricey, only one finish
This set from the lauded knife manufacturer features a quality place setting that’s designed for children's small hands but can still handle the crispiest of fish sticks. Each set includes a fork, a (blunt) knife, a soup/cereal spoon, and a small spoon, all crafted with 18/10 stainless steel. The set is designed for durability, and we think kids will appreciate the cute animal designs on the handles as much as we do. It does only come in a mirrored silver finish, so it might not match the adult settings.
This is just one place setting, so it can get expensive if you need to purchase backup sets. And if you don’t run your dishwasher frequently, it might be tiresome to hand wash utensils after each use. Still, the set comes with a limited lifetime warranty, so it’s worth the investment to have top-notch real silverware that’s suited to little hands.
Material: 18/10 stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: One 4-piece setting
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If you're looking for one set that'll stay with you through every dinner party and have enough settings for guests, the Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set (view at Amazon) is a surefire winner. The LIANYU 40-Piece Silverware Flatware Cutlery Set (view at Amazon) is an affordable and durable option that should last you for years.
What to Look for When Buying Flatware and Silverware Sets
How the utensil feels in your hand is one of the most important considerations when it comes to purchasing flatware. Since the dinner fork is typically the most used piece in a set, use this as a guide to inform your selection. Pick up the handle and assess how balanced and comfortable it feels in your hand. If you can’t hold the flatware in person, the stainless-steel grade can offer a clue. Higher grades like 18/10 or 18/8 indicate a higher nickel content, which typically translates into a weightier feel in the hand.
Forged or Stamped
Most flatware on the market is stamped from a larger piece of steel. Forged flatware is made by hand, heavier, and typically more expensive. In the past, forged flatware was synonymous with durability, but improvements and advancements in stamped flatware technology show that there are plenty of long-lasting stamped options on the market.
The number of flatware pieces or set size depends on your personal needs and preferences. Think about how many place settings you’ll need for family members or roommates, how big your kitchen is, how often you run the dishwasher, if you want something for everyday use or more special occasion, and, most importantly, your budget.
Most flatware sets come with five pieces for place settings including a dinner knife, dinner fork, salad fork, tablespoon, and teaspoon. Some larger sets also include serving utensils (often labeled as a hostess set) and steak knives, which is a boon for those who like everything to match. If you want your set to include specialty flatware items like say, an oyster spoon or a dessert fork, you can invest a little bit more money. But it’s not necessary to break the bank for a top-quality, everyday set.
These sets come with each place setting bundled together in sets of four, eight, 12, and so on. So, a set with four settings (five pieces in each) will contain 20 pieces. These sets are often available in 45-piece (eight settings) and 65-piece (12 settings) sets, which come with additional serving utensils.
If you’re concerned about getting too few pieces or want to guarantee that you’ll be able to order replacement utensils, check to see if the flatware set is sold as individual settings or cutlery. This is referred to as “open stock” because retailers keep these in stock so you can purchase additional spoons (handy if you eat a lot of cereal and ice cream) or settings as needed later.
What's the best ratio for flatware?
When you’re shopping for stainless steel flatware, look for a grade on the packaging or product description online. It’ll read like a fraction that shows the ratio of chromium to nickel percentage. Typical ratios include 18/0, 18/8, and 18/10, which are the highest quality. Flatware with an 18/10 grade will feel weightier in the hand, and the higher percentage of nickel makes the flatware shinier (it’s often marketed as “mirror finish”), which offers better protection against corrosion. An 18/0 ratio is, therefore, more prone to rusting. If no grade is included, it’s safe to assume that the quality of the flatware might not be stainless steel at all or may be of a lower grade. But if you are on a budget, lower-grade stainless steel is still a solid choice.
How should I clean my flatware?
Most stainless-steel flatware is dishwasher safe, but with some finishes (like black, gold, or copper), the manufacturer may recommend hand washing utensils to preserve the finish. As with most cookware, avoid using steel wool or steel brushes since they can scratch or nick the surface which can lead to corrosion, possibly rusting. Try not to let your flatware soak in water or food for extended periods of time. If you’ve got stubborn stuck-on food, try soaking the flatware for a little bit and then scrub gently with the more abrasive side of a soft sponge. Take extra care with color-plated flatware (such as black or gold) and avoid using abrasive cleaners and sponges so you don’t strip the finish.
And despite the name “stainless steel,” your flatware may still pick up water stains due to hard water. To reduce spotting from mineral-rich water, dry your flatware as soon as you remove it from the dishwasher or sink. You should never use bleach on your flatware, which can also stain stainless steel.
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