I’ve had it up to here (high as I can reach) with chipped dinnerware. I did some real research and share my findings with all of you. Here’s the ultimate guide to choosing the most durable dinnerware material.
Pin this, share this, and memorize this post. All the others I have found have been confusing or swayed to try and sell their own products. This guide isn’t biased. This is just from a stressed-out girl who wants pretty dishes that don’t chip easily with minimal use.
I hate people who try to help out at a dinner party by, ::GASP:: stacking dishes near your sink. Even worse are those who stack without removing flatware. Just criminal. My husband seems to enjoy stacking dishes that are washed on the counter. I have no idea why he even handwashes because I use the dishwasher. They do so much better in there than his hapless stacking. Am I the only wife who doesn’t want their husband to do the dishes? Load and unload the dishwasher…sure. Just back away from the soap!
Frustrated, I went on a hunt for dishes that can resist his brute force. Noticing he had some dishes for years that get marks on the bottoms, but don’t chip like our very expensive ones do. I got to work researching them. All the markings to indicate what they were made out of were worn away. The hunt was on to find out what they might be or something even better.
Submitted for your approval, my dinnerware materials guide.
The Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Most Durable Dinnerware Material
Attractive and affordable, earthenware is a common ceramic material used in pottery that has been fired to make it hard. Watertight when glazed, this decorative dinnerware is more porous than stoneware but less durable and strong. Artists like earthenware because it is easy to work with and less expensive.
With its natural appearance earthenware is an extremely popular choice for casual dining. Unlike stoneware, earthenware dishes can be made with thinner walls and have a similar appearance to bone china but are also prone to cracks and chips. It is what is typically used for hand-painted designs. With a thick, heavy and rustic look and feel.
Quite porous, which means it could stain or absorb liquid, so avoid leaving it submerged in water. Check with the manufacturer, but most glazed earthenware is dishwasher safe and can be used in the microwave.
Though, pretty, it’s not worth the trouble.
Stoneware is also a very affordable ceramic. It is more durable than earthenware. It is less porous and is made harder by vitreous (glass) material added to it for strength. It is more opaque than porcelain, and its dense body resists scratching better than earthenware.
Stoneware tends to be used for casual dining. It has an opaque finish and is ideal for use in a rustic setting. Most good-quality stoneware is very versatile to use and to maintain. It can go in the microwave, dishwasher, oven, and freezer (of course, check with the manufacturer for the specific qualities of your dinnerware). It should not be exposed to sudden or extreme temperature changes.
Ironstone is a type of stoneware.
Porcelain and China
An attractive choice and is considered a classic dinnerware. Porcelain is made by firing (or heating) materials like clay and can be tempered for extra durability. While porcelain is a great choice for restaurants and catering businesses, it is easier to break than other dinnerware materials. Sometimes referred to as china, porcelain is crafted from ceramic materials and fired at a very high temperature resulting in a product with superb strength, durability, and a translucent “shell-like” quality. Porcelain is a popular, high-end dinnerware option as it offers a superior white body that is resistant to thermal shock and has excellent insulator properties.
Porcelain and china are both terms that refer to dinnerware made of a fine-particle clay, typically comprised of feldspar, kaolin, and quartz, that is fired at a higher temperature. This makes the resulting dinnerware extremely durable and nonporous.
- Many people are confused as to the difference between “china” and “porcelain”. Actually, the two terms describe the same product. The term “china” comes from its country of origin, and the word “porcelain” is Latin, meaning seashell. It implies a product which is smooth, white, and lustrous. The term “porcelain” is preferred in Europe while “china” is favored in the United States.
This process also allows the body to be thinner and more delicately constructed. Creating a translucent appearance, as well as allowing for shaped details to be incorporated into the design of the body.
Most fine china is dishwasher, microwave, and oven-safe unless the manufacturer indicates otherwise. China that has a gold, silver or platinum border should not be microwaved, and lemon- or citrus-scented detergent might damage metal accents.
Not too sure.
Bone ash (which is, yes, actually made from animal bones) is combined with porcelain clay. It is fired at a slightly lower temperature than porcelain. This produces a material that is very lightweight, translucent and delicate in feel, with a milky appearance.
Despite its fragile appearance, this is actually the strongest and most durable ceramic dinnerware. Most bone china is dishwasher safe and, unless it has metallic banding, it can go in the microwave and oven as well.
Bone china, as with porcelain, can be used daily or reserved for a more formal dining occasion.
A perfect choice for salad bars and sit-down restaurants. While glass dinnerware looks great paired with any sort of meal it is much more fragile than any of the other dinnerware materials. Glass dinnerware also comes in tempered safety glass versions, like Duralex dinnerware, that are much more difficult to shatter.
Vitrified glass is glass, usually opaque in the case of dinnerware. It has been fired at an ultra-high temperature so that it is nonporous and extremely durable.
The best-known vitrified glass dinnerware is Corelle, which is a proprietary glass laminate that is virtually indestructible. It will not break or chip even when dropped onto a hard floor.
Vitrified glass is safe to use in the dishwasher and microwave, and is ideal for children or outdoor use because of its durability.
Examples of Different Types of Vitrified Glass:
Duralex has been manufacturing tempered glassware in France since 1929. Their Picardie Tumblers are known for lasting decades — they will bounce several times when dropped on the floor and survive without a crack. The tumblers can also withstand a sudden thermal shock. The temperate glass can go from -4° F to 212° F without breaking. This means they can be used to drink hot beverages. Duralex glasses are also lighter and more elegant than similar tempered glass products.
Duralex went into court-ordered liquidation bankruptcy in 2006 but has since partnered with Emile Henry, an old French manufacturer of cooking ware, to return to production.
Schott Zwiesel is a German company known for glassware innovation since 1872. They create break-resistant, chip-resistant and scratch-resistant stemware. The crystal glass has added titanium for strength and added zirconium for crystal clarity, making it dishwasher safe.
Vitrelle Glass used in Corelle® dinnerware
It’s durable, chip- and break-resistant, dishwasher-safe and impervious to scratches and stains. Also lightweight and thinner than typical ceramic plates—when stacked. Corelle takes up less space in cabinets than conventional ceramic plates and bowls.
What makes Corelle truly special is the innovative technology embedded in each piece of dinnerware and bakeware. This unique glass called Vitrelle® is made with a proprietary mix of raw materials (including recycled Vitrelle, for you eco-conscious consumers). The glass enables Corelle dinnerware to be as thin and translucent as fine china, yet dramatically stronger.
Developed decades ago and first intended for television screens in the 1940s. Vitrelle differs from regular glass because it’s not porous or fragile. A durable glass may seem like contradictory terminology—glass breaks pretty easily, right? But the concept makes more sense after you understand Corelle dinnerware’s unique composition of three heat-strengthened layers. Vitrelle is made by laminating a top and bottom layer of clear skin glass to a core center layer. This creates dinnerware that’s lightweight but strong, thin but nonporous.
These sound like a win. I’m only concerned with the term “glass laminate”. Makes me think of plastic. Assuming there is no plastic or toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process, this would be the winner.
Styrene Acrylonitrile (or better known as SAN) is a common plastic material.
Dinnerware pieces made with SAN are usually best for quick serve restaurants, buffets, and cafeterias. While SAN dinnerware is chemical resistant, heat resistant, and scratch resistant it has its downsides. SAN yellows more quickly than other types of plastic dinnerware.
A plastic that features great light transmitting abilities. It can be very transparent but can also be made in several solid colors. Polycarbonate has often been used for bottles, drinkware, and food containers. However, many shun it due to the use of BPA in the manufacturing process.
Melamine is also a plastic material
Melamine is nearly unbreakable and is a common choice in healthcare industries, hotels, and even restaurants. Because Melamine is lighter than porcelain (easier for the wait staff to carry) and can still be made into many different colors and designs. Unfortunately, Melamine can be stained by foods like tomatoes if they are left on too long.
This plastic material is lightweight but has a sturdy, inflexible feel and a glossy finish. It is virtually indestructible and is ideal for children or outdoor use.
It is usually dishwasher safe on the top rack. Not suitable for the microwave or oven, and should not be heated with food in it. Melamine is BPA free.
NO WAY! Even if it doesn’t have BPA, it could still be filled with chemicals that can leach into your food. There are way worse chemicals in plastic than just BPA.
Which Is The Best Choice for The Most Durable Dinnerware Material?
In the end, we all have to decide what is best for our family and needs. I’m going to keep researching Vitrified Glass, as that seems like the most durable dinnerware material that is also safe. From what I have found, Vitrified Glass is the perfect choice for my family.
Testing If Your Dishes Are Truely Microwave Safe
Seems like almost all dishes indicate they are microwave safe. However, that’s just not the case. The sure-fire way to test them is this trick. When most households didn’t have microwaves, they came with a manual which gave a method for testing whether a plate or cup was microwave safe. At that time, there really wasn’t a lot of microwave-safe stuff out yet. Place the item to be tested in the microwave with a cup of water. The water will heat up but the item being tested should remain cool. If it heats as well it is not microwave safe.