Which flatware set is best?

Whether you’re looking to upgrade an old flatware set or purchasing one for the first time, you can find sets in materials and designs to fit any budget and aesthetic. They can also come with enough place settings for a small family or huge dinner party.

The best flatware set is the Lenox 65-Piece Portola Flatware Set. It has enough place settings for 12 people and is made from stainless steel with a simple, elegant design.

What to know before you buy a flatware set

What’s in the flatware set

Most flatware sets include the following five items: a dinner fork, salad fork, soup spoon, teaspoon and dinner knife. Some sets also include a salad knife and dessert spoon. Salad forks and knives are sometimes called “dessert” forks and knives instead. More limited sets may only include a dinner fork, spoon and knife.

Some sets include additional sets of flatware outside the above basics. The most common inclusion is a hostess set. Some also — or alternatively — include a steak knife set. This is rare, as most steak knife sets are sold separately. 

Weight

Flatware sets have varying weights. Some have considerable heft, while others are light as a feather. There’s no qualitative difference between the two, so purchase according to your preference.

Finish

Finish refers to how much reflectivity a flatware set has. Some are mirror-like in their reflectivity, while others have none whatsoever. Most exist somewhere in between.

What to look for in a quality flatware set

Place settings

“Place settings” is just a fancy way of saying how many of each piece of flatware is included. Most sets cover eight place settings — enough for four to six people per day. Some cover 12 or more place settings. Others cover as few as two place settings.

Material

Flatware sets are usually made of stainless steel mixed with chromium and nickel. Pewter, brass and silver or silverplate sets are also available.

  • Stainless steel mixed sets are most common due to their low cost and high durability. There are three tiers of mixing: 18/10, 18/8 and 18/0. The numbers state the percentage of chromium and nickel used, respectively. A higher nickel count means more corrosion resistance.
  • Pewter/brass sets are rare due to their high cost and maintenance requirements. They develop unique patinas over time that can increase their value.
  • Silver/silverplate sets are also common — though expensive — and are used for formal dining. Silverplate sets are more affordable as they only use a thin coat of silver over cheap metals such as nickel.

Construction

Most flatware sets are created by one of two methods: forging and stamping. Forged sets are made from a single piece of metal that’s heated and hammered into shape. Stamped sets are cut from a sheet of metal and bent into shape. Forged sets are usually of higher quality and cost more.

How much you can expect to spend on a flatware set

Most flatware sets are available for $50-$100, depending on the material it uses and the number of place settings it covers. Some limited sets are as affordable as $25 while the largest, most intricate sets can cost up to $500.

Flatware set FAQ

What is the proper way to set a place setting?

A. The exact placement varies slightly based on what you’re serving. However, there are some basic rules you should follow. Forks always go on the left. Dinner forks are placed closest to the plate with salad forks further to the left. Knives and diner spoons go on the right. Knives must be placed closest to the plate with the blade facing inward. Dinner spoons are placed to the right of the knife (but don’t place one unless you’re serving soup). Teaspoons are placed to the right of the teacup saucer if serving tea or another applicable beverage. Otherwise, they are not placed.

What is a hostess set?

A. A hostess set is a five-piece set of flatware meant for serving foods at the table. It’s included in most sets, though the cheapest sets may exclude it. The exact contents vary on the set but the usual five are: a serving fork and spoon, a slotted spoon, a sugar spoon and a butter or spreading knife. 

What’s the best flatware set to buy?

Top flatware set

Lenox 65-Piece Portola Flatware Set

Lenox 65-Piece Portola Flatware Set

What you need to know: This attractive set is equally perfect for daily use and special occasions.

What you’ll love: It’s made of 18/10 stainless steel and is dishwasher-safe and tarnish-resistant. It comes with dinner and dessert forks and spoons, plus dinner knives, for 12 place settings. It also includes a hostess set. It comes in silver, gold and black. 

What you should consider: Several consumers reported problems with the knives eventually rusting — the other pieces were unaffected. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Macy’s and Wayfair

Top flatware set for the money

Pfaltzgraff 53-Piece Flatware Set

Pfaltzgraff 53-Piece Flatware Set

What you need to know: This is an excellent starter set for anyone on a budget.

What you’ll love: It includes dinner and salad forks, dinner spoons and teaspoons, and dinner knives. It also includes a set of steak knives and a hostess set. It covers eight place settings. It comes in two designs. It has a lifetime limited warranty.

What you should consider: It’s listed as dishwasher-safe but several consumers reported instances of rusting or other damage when machine-washed. It’s made of 18/0 stainless steel.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Mikasa 65-Piece Regent Bead Gold Flatware Set

Mikasa 65-Piece Regent Bead Gold Flatware Set

What you need to know: This set’s design will impress all your dinner guests.

What you’ll love: It includes dinner and salad forks, dinner spoons and teaspoons, and dinner knives. It also includes a hostess set. It covers 12 place settings. It’s made of 18/10 stainless steel with 24-karat-gold accents. It’s large and weighty. It’s dishwasher-safe. 

What you should consider: Some consumers reported instances of rusting or scratching. The crevices may not be fully cleaned through the dishwasher. It’s expensive.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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