When it comes to choosing a dinnerware set, the choice is usually a matter of personal taste—pun intended. It’s a necessity for any table, but it also sets the mood for a meal: Formal china can make a momentous occasion feel even more special, while basic stoneware is a good match for a low-fuss weeknight dinner.
Beyond style, buyers need to think about a couple more things when selecting dinnerware: quantity and ease of use. Most dinnerware is sold by the place setting, which typically includes... a dinner plate, a salad plate, a cup, and a bowl in each set. Anyone who entertains a lot or wants to keep some dishes in reserve to guard against damage should consider buying at least a couple of extra place settings. It’s also important to consider how the dinnerware will function when it’s off the table. Can it be cleaned in the dishwasher or heated in the microwave? Can the plates be stacked well in cabinets, or do they need more room to prevent scratching?
With those criteria in mind, here are our top picks for dinnerware to fit any lifestyle and budget.
01 of 07
Fiestaware has enduring popularity, and it’s easy to see why. The pieces are vibrant, durable and extremely easy to care for. Though a bit pricier than some other brands, owners say you simply get what you pay for here. Each four-piece setting includes a 10 1/2-inch dinner plate, 7-inch salad plate, 19-ounce bowl and 10-ounce mug. It’s also available in more than a dozen saturated colors, including tangerine, turquoise, and poppy red.
It’s hard to beat ease of use with Fiestaware, made of... dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, freezer-safe and oven-safe glazed ceramic. Reviewers say they’ve had Fiestaware for years and find it impressively resistant to chips and cracks. Because the company keeps the pattern consistent and offers dozens of coordinating pieces, it’s easy to add to your collection for years after your original purchase. Though most owners love these dishes, a few say the mugs are far too small, and some buyers say colors can be inconsistent.
02 of 07
Buyers willing to invest in something more formal without resorting to bone china may be tempted by the Lenox French Perle dinnerware, which is embellished with scalloped edges, embroidery-inspired raised beads, and hand-stained rims. Available in white, pistachio, violet, and ice blue, each four-piece setting includes a nearly 11-inch dinner plate, 9-inch accent salad plate, 6 1/2-inch bowl and 12-ounce mug. Sets come with round plates, but square plates are available separately.
Despite its... traditional look, Lenox French Perle dinnerware is made of dishwasher- and microwave-safe stoneware. It’s also backed by a lifetime breakage replacement program, which lets buyers replace broken dishes for half their retail price. Owners love the look of this set, saying it’s beautiful but not too delicate or stuffy for everyday use. Though a few reviewers complain of scratches from flatware, most say these dishes are sturdy, weighty, and hold up quite well against chips and cracks.
03 of 07
For everyday use and abuse, it’s hard to beat the classic look of white dinnerware, and reviewers say it’s hard to beat the price of the AmazonBasics Dinnerware Set. Available only in white, the 16-piece set includes four place settings each with a 10 1/2-inch dinner plate, 7 1/2-inch dessert plate, 5 1/2-inch bowl and a 10-ounce mug.
AmazonBasics dinnerware is made of microwave-safe porcelain. It can safely go in the oven, freezer, and dishwasher as well. Owners love the classic round shape and... say the pieces are weightier than they expected for the low price. Most are happy with durability, saying they resist chipping and scratching admirably. However, some reviewers say they received plates that were slightly warped, making them hard to stack perfectly. Others say the white finish actually has a gray tinge that they dislike.
04 of 07
Reviewers say the Gibson Soho Lounge Square Reactive Glaze dinnerware is inexpensive and practical for everyday dining, but it also has a casual elegance that elicits compliments from dinner guests. The 16-piece set is available in at least eight colors, including blue, red, and taupe. It comes with four place settings: Each has a 12 3/4-inch dinner plate, 9-inch dessert plate, 6 1/4-inch bowl and a 12-ounce mug.
Made of dishwasher- and microwave-safe stoneware, Gibson Soho Lounge dinnerware has... a two-tone finish and a reactive glaze that give each piece a unique look—a refreshing change from the uniformity more typical in mass-produced sets, reviewers say. They also like that the pieces have a nice weight and heft that makes them feel more expensive. As with all stoneware, chipping and cracking can be an issue, however. And because each piece is slightly different, the plates and bowls don’t stack quite as tightly or cleanly as some reviewers wish.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Though most families reserve their fine china for holidays and special occasions, reviewers say Mikasa Parchment Fine China is versatile and durable enough for more frequent use. The delicate design features scrollwork on a gray background surrounded by platinum bands. The 42-piece set has eight place settings, each with three plates, a cup, and a saucer; a serving bowl and platter are also included. Coordinating accessories including salt and pepper shakers, a butter dish and a gravy boat are... also available.
Unlike some fine china, the Mikasa Parchment set is made of porcelain that’s dishwasher-safe, though it isn’t microwave-safe. Mikasa recommends using the gentle cycle and skipping the drying cycle, which can soften the platinum bands. Still, owners say the pieces don’t feel overly fragile and should hold up to years of gentle use. Reviewers also appreciate the set’s understated design, which they say is appealing to a wide range of tastes and makes the dishes suitable for nearly any occasion – not just those infrequent formal dinners.
06 of 07
There’s no need to be ultra-careful with the Corelle Square Dinnerware Set, owners rave. Made from a patented break- and scratch-resistant glass called Vitrelle, this 16-piece stands up to a lot of abuse. It includes four place settings, each with a 10 1/4-inch dinner plate, 8 3/4-inch lunch plate, a 22-ounce soup/cereal bowl, and a 12-ounce mug.
Vitrelle resists cracks and chips, but it’s also dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe and oven-save up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Reviewers who want to save... space in cabinets like how tightly the plates stack. They also like how lightweight each piece is, making these dishes more manageable for kids or even arthritic hands. The square design earns raves for being a little more modern than typical plates, and a number of patterns are available for buyers who want something beyond basic white. A few reviewers say the patterns sometimes look cheaply printed, however. So if you’re concerned about looks, opt for classic white.
07 of 07
Buyers who want inexpensive, durable dinnerware that can go anywhere from the picnic table to the campsite should opt for the Coleman 12-Piece Enamel Dinnerware Set, which reviewers say is sturdy enough for almost any use. This crack-resistant dishes are informal but reusable and a step up from disposable dinnerware. The 12-piece set comes with four place settings that include a 12-ounce mug, 10-inch plate and 6-inch bowl.
The Coleman set is top-rack dishwasher-safe but not microwave-safe. Most... owners say the pieces are perfect for outdoor dining because they’re lightweight, a good size and rinse easily, but they aren’t flimsy like paper plates or Styrofoam cups. Reviewers also say they travel well and stack easily, though a few caution that the enamel can chip a bit.
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