Purchasing flatware is trickier than you may think. It’s a big purchase. You aren’t buying something that’ll get replaced every year or so. Buy some flatware, and you’re in it for the long haul. Studies have shown most people buy new flatware every decade or so. If you don’t choose the right flatware, you’ll be stuck with something you loathe for a while, or at the very least, you’ll be making another big purchase in the not-so-distant future. We’ll help.
There are three major considerations when buying flatware. The first is the design, you’ll need something that appeals to you. Secondly, you’ll consider the metal, e.g. stainless steel, silverware, etc. Finally, you’ll want to think about the production method of the flatware. For example, is it forged, or stamped?
In this guide, we’ll teach you how to buy the best flatware in 2023. You’ll learn about the different metal types. You’ll discover what weird numbers like 18/10 and 18/10 mean. We’ll even let you know the best grades to buy if you’re buying flatware with the plan of it lasting decades. There’s a lot to cover, and we can’t wait to share it with you!
How to Choose the Best Flatware 2024
As we said, there are three main things that you’ll think about when buying flatware – the design, the metal, and the manufacturing process. You’ll also need to think about how much flatware you need to buy (and it may be more than you initially think).
The goal of this section is to walk you through the purchasing process. We’ll tell you all the considerations when buying new flatware. We know that choosing the right flatware for your home can be a very personal process, but we hope that our knowledge will put you on the path toward making the right choices.
Flatware varies drastically in price. You can pick up a set for $10 right now (please don’t, it would be hideous), or you could pick up a set for thousands of dollars (probably overkill for most people). The huge variation in price means that you should have some sort of budget in mind when buying your flatware.
We recommend spending a minimum of $100-$150 on your flatware. We know that this can sound like a lot for some people but remember that you’ll be using this flatware for several years, so it’s worth getting something decent. If you can spend even more than this, then fantastic! You’ll end up with better quality flatware that looks stunning. Although, $100-$150 is fine for most people. You may need to double this price if you’re buying 10-12 sets of flatware at a time.
How Much Flatware Do You Really Need?
We hate to get all cliché here – but how long is a piece of string? There’s no one right answer to this question! While some people may get away with just 4-5 sets of flatware (knife, fork, spoon), others may need much more.
We recommend that you buy as many as you can afford, and there are two reasons for this:
In our opinion, you should aim to have 6-12 complete sets, plus any extras (e.g. cake slicers, pronged spoons, etc.) you think you may need. This should be enough to cover you for a few years, and if you ever feel like entertaining, it ensures that people won’t have mismatched flatware.
The design isn’t something that we can help you with. The design of your flatware is a personal choice, but we do have a couple of tips for you here:
Yes. We are steering you toward flatware that has a more basic design here because we believe that you’ll get far better value for your money. It is something that you are less likely to be disappointed with in the future due to changing design tastes. Of course, you’re free to avoid this advice. Opt for any design that you want. It is a personal choice. We won’t complain, and we’re sure that any choice you make will be a wonderful one!
The Choice of Metal
Yes. We know that flatware is available in materials other than metal. Right now, you can buy flatware made from wood, resin, or plastic. We wouldn’t recommend either of these materials if you are buying flatware for the long haul. They don’t stand up to the rigors of regular use all that well. Instead, you want some metal flatware. Specifically, you want something that falls into one of these two groups:
Most people will gravitate toward stainless steel flatware. It is cheaper and looks tremendous. It is also a lot easier to keep clean than silver flatware, which requires regular polishing to look pristine. Stainless steel flatware is available in a variety of different grades. We’ll discuss those shortly because when you go for stainless steel flatware, the grade is incredibly important!
If you want the fanciest of fancy flatware, then silver is the way to go. Sterling silver flatware is solid silver (with a dash of copper) and is the most expensive type of flatware you can buy. Plated silver flatware is a lot cheaper and involves a piece of metal (the metal varies) coated with silver. It looks as good as solid silver flatware but isn’t as brilliant for the long-term (sterling silver will hold its value due to the high silver content).
You should be fine with stainless steel flatware. While we can see the merits of having silver flatware, it isn’t really something most people need for daily use. It is fancy flatware that you pull out for guests. It looks good, but we feel there are often better ways to spend your money.
Flatware is made in two different ways. Well, technically, dozens of different ways, but the methods are broken down into two broad categories:
Stamped flatware is the cheapest flatware you can buy. Stamped flatware is produced from a ribbon of metal that has had a rather large metal stamp come crashing down onto it, stamping out the shape of flatware. This flatware is very lightweight, and it isn’t all that durable as most stamped flatware has been made from a very thin ribbon of metal. Still, if you are on a budget, it may be the way to go.
Forged flatware is made from a metal rod. The metal rod is heated up and then beaten with a hammer to forge the shape of the flatware. Some forged flatware is handmade, but most on the market will have been produced by a machine. Forged flatware is heavier, and it feels so much better in the hand. It is a lot more durable than stamped flatware, particularly with knives. The downside is the extra cost. Still, you’re buying something that you’ll be using for a long time here. It may be worth the extra money.
In our opinion, go for forged flatware, if you can afford it. It’s worth the money. That’s not to say there aren’t decent pieces of stamped flatware out there, but most stamped flatware has been made to a budget. This can make the good stuff tricky to track down.
How Can You Tell Good Quality Stainless Steel Flatware?
Chances are, you’ll want stainless steel flatware. However, you shouldn’t just pick up any old stainless-steel flatware. You need to pay attention to the quality of the metal. Contrary to popular belief, stainless steel does rust. It isn’t rust-proof. It also isn’t naturally durable. So, you’ll need to buy quality stainless steel flatware if you want to keep the rust at bay, as well as ensure that your stainless-steel flatware doesn’t suffer from pitting of the metal, bending, etc.
Thankfully, stainless steel flatware manufacturers make it incredibly easy to tell the quality of a piece of stainless steel, and this is all thanks to two numbers that will be stamped on the metal (normally 18/0. 18/10, or 18/8). These numbers tell us two things:
With 18/10 stainless steel, there’ll also be a hint of molybdenum (2%).
Here’s how the stainless steel grades rank:
If possible (i.e., if your budget allows), pick up 18/10 stainless steel flatware. It will last decades. If you can’t afford that, then 18/8 can make a cheaper alternative. Only go for 18/0 flatware if you have a very limited budget.
What Is the Best Grade of Stainless Steel for Flatware?
The best grade of stainless steel for flatware is 18/10. It is the most durable (resistant to pitting, scratches, and dents), and is anti-corrosive. It is the most expensive grade of stainless steel, but buy well, and you’ll have something that lasts you for decades.
What Is the Difference Between 18/0 and 18/10 Flatware?
18/10 is the best stainless steel money can buy. It has 16% chromium, 2% molybdenum, and 10% nickel. It is anti-corrosive, durable, and polishes up very well.
18/0, on the other hand, is just 18% chromium. There is no nickel, and there is no molybdenum. It is easy to manufacture, and the cheapest stainless steel flatware on the market will be 18/0. It is nowhere near as durable as 18/10 flatware, and you may get a few years out of it, at the most. Due to the low durability and the higher chance of rusting, we suggest you only opt for 18/0 flatware if your budget doesn’t allow for anything more expensive.
The only area where 18/0 flatware does win out for some people is the color. Because of the low nickel content, it doesn’t ‘shine’ as much as higher grades of stainless steel. So, if you want a matte look to your flatware (and don’t mind the lower durability), then 18/0 may be the route to go down.
What Is the Best Grade of Silverware to Buy?
18/10 stainless steel is the best grade of silverware to buy. It is expensive, but it is something that will last you a long time. 18/10 stainless steel is durable enough to put up with daily use, but sturdy and shiny enough to work for entertaining too.
If you want actual silverware (i.e. flatware made from silver), then sterling silver is the route to go down. It is expensive, but it is almost pure silver and looks superb.
What is the Highest-Grade Silverware?
18/10 stainless steel is the highest-grade stainless steel silverware you can buy.
Sterling silver is the highest-grade silver silverware you can buy.
As you can see – choosing the best flatware in 2023 can be tough, but not impossible. For now, just focus on buying the best quality stainless steel flatware that you can afford, whether it be 18/0, 18/8, or 18/10 (preferably the latter), after that, choose your design and you are pretty much there. Just make sure that you spend a bit of time choosing your flatware because, if you choose well, you’ll find something that’ll last you for years.
Is 18/0 or 18/10 Better Flatware?
18/10 flatware is considerably better than 18/0 flatware. The higher nickel content ensures increased durability and more anti-corrosion properties. 18/0 is cheaper, but won’t last anywhere near as long.
Is 18/8 or 18/10 Better?
18/10 flatware is better than 18/8 flatware. However, there will be a huge difference in price between the two. Opt for 18/10 flatware if you want the best of the best, but most people will be fine with 18/8 flatware.
Is 18/10 Stainless Steel a Good Quality?
18/10 stainless steel is the highest-grade stainless steel. If you want the best stainless steel flatware out there, always buy 18/10.