Plasticware is convenient and fitting for picnics and backyard barbecues, but in the dining room, it often clashes with the setting—while a nice solid flatware set can make both casual and formal meals feel more refined. An elegant silver set adds a sophisticated atmosphere to the dining room and makes for an attractive table accent. Often referred to as silverware, everyday flatware is not generally made of silver. Instead, most flatware intended for daily use is made of stainless steel.
Stainless steel flatware doesn’t have to be overly expensive to be of good quality. However, ‘stainless steel’ can mean a lot of things in this arena. Many options for the best flatware set are made of steel blended with nickel for hardness, and chromium for shine. These blends are notated with numbers representing the percentages of each metal. For instance, 18/10 stainless steel is 18 percent chromium, 10 percent nickel, and 72 percent stainless steel. Cost generally rises as the ratio of nickel to steel does, which also increases the flatware’s longevity.
Most flatware place settings include a salad fork, dinner fork, teaspoon, soup spoon, and butter knife, usually available in sets of four, six, and eight. Some options include serving utensils but are often available for purchase separately. Consider how many pieces would be right for your household and for accommodating guests. Weight and size are personal shopping considerations and depend on how you want them to feel in your hand. Style preferences should be kept in mind as well, and color may be a priority if you’re coordinating with dishes with metallic accents.
Our Top Picks
With those shopping considerations in mind, this guide presents recommendations for quality flatware sets across a style, weight, size, color, and budget preferences.
Artaste’s 20-piece set stainless steel flatware set exudes modern elegance, with a simple design that complements a range of decors. The pieces are stamped, meaning each utensil is made from a single piece of steel that is then shaped, honed, and polished into a solid piece of flatware, providing more sturdiness and a pleasant heft compared to flatware that is poured or welded. The forks and spoons are 18/10 stainless steel for durability and shine, and the knives, while featuring the same finish as the other pieces, are 420 steel—a slightly harder combination that holds a cutting edge for longer.
The mirror-polished surfaces of the flatware are smooth, with gently curved handles that fit easily in the hand. The Artaste set is also available in black steel, copper, and gold finishes, so users have a range of options to complement their dishes. This budget-friendly set is also dishwasher safe and easy to care for.
Made in Germany from 18/0 Cromargan stainless steel, this premium service for six from WMF features smooth, undulating lines and long narrow handles that balance beautifully in the hand. Straight ends and an absence of decoration other than the glossy mirror finish make this set a simple, tasteful example of modern style. Cromargan steel is trademarked by WMF and involves a heating process that renders the steel dishwasher safe, resistant to acid and water stains, making it more durable and easier to clean than other steels. The utensils are slightly longer than regular flatware and are slim yet sturdy in the hand, weighted appropriately for maneuverability and balance.
Hommaly’s portable 8-piece set includes forks, spoons, knives, chopsticks, straight straws, curved straws, a cleaning brush, and a washable cloth case. Between road trips, backpacking, or eating at your desk, this set is great for on the go. This flatware is both portable and of great quality. Portable sets are often made from inferior steel that bends, breaks, or stains—but the pieces in this set are a different story. Made from 18/10 stainless steel for stability and durability, eating away from home doesn’t mean having to settle with low standards. This Hommaly set is priced very reasonably to stock your car or family backpacks for travel and is conveniently easy to clean.
The Hampton Forge Bamboo Flatware Set offers a beautifully molded set of 18/0 flatware for four place settings, bringing a natural element to your table with more staying power than real bamboo. The handles are crafted and textured to look like real bamboo, and a small raindrop is engraved into the bottom segment of each handle. The handles curve into smooth spoon bowls, fork tines, and a knife blade that shine softly to complement the textured handles. These pieces are weighted well to sit comfortably in the hand. The set is dishwasher safe, although the manufacturer recommends hand drying to prevent water spots.