The Best Flatware Sets for Everyday Use and Special Occasions

Set the table for holidays and every day with these silverware selections, including the Opus set from Zwilling J.A. Henckels.

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Flatware Set
Photo: Amazon

Flatware is one of the most frequently used items in your home and should last for years, even decades, which is why it's so important to pick a set that you love and that fits your lifestyle. Forks, knives, and spoons make an appearance at nearly every meal, therefore, durability and ease of care are among the most important factors to consider. But looks matter, too. Your dining utensils should complement your dinnerware, linens, and general decor. And unless you have the space and budget for multiple sets, your flatware needs to be able to go from spooning up your morning cereal to adorning your holiday table.

To help narrow down the vast landscape of options, we rounded up the most durable and attractive flatware for every budget and style. There was one clear winner, the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Opus 45-piece Flatware Set, because of its rust-resistant construction and elegant design. Read on to learn more about our picks for the best flatware on the market, whether you're buying your first set or ready to replace your existing one.

Our Favorites

Best Overall: Zwilling J.A. Henckels Opus 45-Piece Flatware Set

Flatware Set

Also available at Target, Amazon, and Walmart.

Why It's Great

  • Modern yet timeless
  • Durable and corrosion-resistant
  • Comfortable to hold

Grain of Salt

  • Has eight place settings versus 12

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Opus 45-Piece Flatware Set is our top pick because of its high-quality construction, elegant design, and ergonomic handles that make each piece a pleasure to hold. Whether your style is traditional or modern, this flatware will complement your decor and never look dated thanks to its sleek, simple design and bright mirror finish.

Made from 18/10 stainless steel, the Opus flatware set is rust-resistant, so it will look beautiful even after years of daily use. The utensils are slightly larger in size, which makes for a great match with today's larger plates. Many users praise the knives' slightly serrated edge that allows them to effortlessly cut through tough foods, like steak.

You might expect to pay a ridiculously high price for a flatware set with this level of quality, but the Opus set is surprisingly affordable compared to its competitors. The set even comes with a 5-piece set of serving pieces, including a large serving fork and pierced spoon, perfect for those who love to host. Our only complaint is that it is not sold as a larger set with 12 place settings, but this might not be an issue for smaller families.

The Details: Made with 18/10 stainless steel; includes eight 5-piece settings plus a 5-piece hostess set; dishwasher safe

Best Budget: Pfaltzgraff Everyday Simplicity 53-Piece Stainless Steel Flatware Set

Flatware Set

Also available at The Home Depot and Macy's.

Why It's Great

  • Affordable set by a trusted brand
  • Service for 8 plus a 5-piece hostess set
  • Timeless design

Grain of Salt

  • More prone to corrosion than others

Pfaltzgraff Everyday Simplicity Flatware Set is a good option for anyone looking for a budget-friendly flatware set that is durable, easy to care for, and looks fancy enough for special occasions. This set contains a generous number of utensils for the price, and we especially appreciate the matching steak knives. First-time flatware purchasers will find that this set gives them enough pieces for everyday use as well as for entertaining up to eight guests.

The flatware's simple yet graceful design makes this set versatile enough to complement any decor, and it retains its good looks even after years of use. Part of the reason that this set is so affordable is that it contains a lower percentage of nickel than 18/8 or 18/10 stainless. This means that the pieces are more prone to corrosion. To keep this set looking good over time, be sure to wash the pieces promptly after use and dry them right away. This set is dishwasher-safe, but you should avoid detergents with citrus.

The Details: Made with 18/0 Stainless Steel; includes eight 6-piece settings plus a 5-piece hostess set; dishwasher safe

Best for Large Families: Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set

Flatware Set

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Wayfair.

Why It's Great

  • Suitable for 12 people
  • Timeless beaded design
  • Easy to care for and durable

Grain of Salt

  • Possible issues with corrosion

The Lenox Portola 65-piece flatware set is a perennial favorite because it includes service for 12 and matching serving pieces, and it offers a subtle embellished design that easily goes from everyday to special occasions without looking out of place. With proper care, this set should last a lifetime. And all this comes at an affordable price, making this set an outstanding value for the money.

Lenox is a trusted name in tableware and may be best known for making exquisite fine china that is used at the White House and other storied locations. The Portola set stands out for its modern, fuss-free design that is elevated by the beaded accents at the base of each utensil. The design is versatile enough to complement nearly any decor and appropriate for any occasion, from a weekday breakfast to a Thanksgiving dinner.

Made with heavy gauge 18/10 stainless steel, Lenox Portola is safe to put in the dishwasher and will resist both rust and corrosion. Some users complain that the knives are not as durable as the other pieces and can rust if not dried right away. But overall, this 65-piece set provides everything you need in a flatware set for large families and those who love to entertain.

The Details: Made with 18/10 stainless steel; 5-piece setting for 12 plus 5 serving pieces; dishwasher safe

Most Ergonomic: Knork Matte 20-Piece Flatware Set

Flatware Set

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Wayfair.

Why It's Great

  • Contours to the hand
  • Beveled edges
  • Available in multiple finishes

Grain of Salt

  • Not as durable as heavier gauge stainless steel

Knork flatware is anything but dull. The company's founders specifically designed the forks and spoons with beveled edges on both the right and the left sides to cut through food more easily. But that is not the only innovation that Knork's utensils provide. The company's flatware is ergonomically designed with contoured handles and platforms for fingers to rest on.

Not only is this flatware ergonomically designed, it feels heavy in the hand, which is especially beneficial for uses with certain medical conditions. The modern, streamlined design will complement most types of decor and works equally well for everyday use and entertaining. The flatware is both dishwasher-safe and scratch-resistant, so this set, while pricey, is a solid investment. A matching set of serving pieces is sold separately.

The Details: Made with 18/0 stainless steel; four 5-piece settings; dishwasher safe

Best Heavy: Crate and Barrel Caesna 20-Piece Flatware

Flatware Set
Crate and Barrel

Why It's Great

  • Designed by award-winning English designer
  • Durable construction
  • Available in multiple finishes

Grain of Salt

  • Might be too heavy for small children

One of Crate & Barrel's most popular flatware styles, Caesna, is acclaimed for its heavy-duty forged construction, which gives these utensils their distinctive weighty feel. Flatware with this kind of weight feels luxurious, yet Caesna is available at a price that remains affordable.

Not only is the Caesna flatware set notable for its heft, but it's also a fan favorite for its sleek, minimalist design that's also elegant and timeless, as one would expect from Robert Welch. The knives boast a serrated edge for efficient cutting, and the spoons feature a deep bowl that can scoop a generous amount of soup or cereal.

While the 20-piece set only has place settings for four guests, Crate & Barrel offers individual 3- and 5-piece place settings in the Caesna pattern, which allows you to buy exactly the number of place settings you need, as well as stock up on a few extra pieces in case a spoon or two goes missing. You can also purchase individual Caesna serving pieces and steak knives so your table can have a cohesive look.

The Details: Made with 18/10 stainless steel; four 5-piece settings; dishwasher safe

Best Traditional: Mikasa Regent Bead 65-Piece Stainless Steel Flatware Set

Flatware Set

Also available at Wayfair and Macy's.

Why It's Great

  • Intricate design
  • Feels weighty in the hand
  • Also available with gold accents

Grain of Salt

  • Teaspoons are on the small side

If you prefer stainless steel flatware with traditional design elements that mimic sterling silver, the Mikasa Regent Bead set is a perfect choice. With its scalloped handles and beaded detail, this flatware design is elegant enough for the most special of occasions but is still dishwasher-safe and easy to clean. The flatware is made from 18/10 stainless steel, so it feels weighty and substantial in your hand, plus it will resist corrosion and rust even after years of regular use.

The Mikasa Regent Bead flatware set is ideal for those who lean towards a more formal style, especially when entertaining guests. Not only is the flatware set on the ornate side, complementing traditional tableware and decor, but it also contains place settings for 12 people as well as matching serving pieces. It comes in another finish with gold accents for a mixed-metal look, although that version is more expensive.

One of the benefits of selecting a classic design such as the Mikasa Regent Bead is knowing that this line is not likely to be discontinued, so you will always be able to find replacement pieces. Some people have owned this set for years, even decades, and never tire of it.

The Details: Made with 18/10 stainless steel; 5-piece settings for 12 plus 5 serving pieces; dishwasher safe

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Best Contemporary: Fortessa Jaxson 20-Piece Flatware Set

Flatware Set

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond, Wayfair, and Food52.

Why It's Great

  • Striking contemporary design
  • Brushed finish on the handles
  • Comfortable weight in hands

Grain of Salt

  • Expensive

If you're a fan of contemporary design, an ordinary flatware set will not do. Enter the chic 20-piece Fortessa Jaxon set with its long, narrow straight handles and sharp, modern two-tone finish, featuring a brushed finish on the handles and a mirror finish on the head. Fortessa's flatware is such high quality that five-star hotels and restaurants use it at their tables.

Made from heavy-gauge 18/10 stainless steel, this flatware set is a worthy investment and will last for years. While the design is contemporary, this is not a set that will look dated in a few short years. Rather, the Fortessa Jaxson set will elevate your everyday dining experience for the long haul. What really sets these utensils apart are the circular soup and teaspoon spoons—a real departure from typical, oval-shaped spoons.

Unfortunately, the set only comes with enough place settings for four, meaning that most households will need to buy two sets. But if you're willing to splurge for flatware that will last, this set won't let you down.

The Details: Made with 18/10 stainless steel; four 5-piece settings; dishwasher safe

Best Gold Set: CB2 Rush 20-Piece Brushed Gold Flatware Set

Flatware Set

Why It's Great

  • Minimalist contemporary design
  • Gold finish lasts for years with proper care
  • Comes in other finishes

Grain of Salt

  • Hand-washing to retain the gold finish

There is no denying that gold flatware, once a trend, is here to stay. But it can be difficult to find a flatware set with a gold finish that resists flaking and wear. CB2's Rush flatware set has been around for years and receives high praise for both its luxe look and how well the pieces retain their luster over time.

Color aside, the Rush flatware has a pleasing shape and feel in your hand. The matte handles contrast with the shiny, mirror finish on the utensil heads, mimicking high-end design. What's more, CB2's Rush set comes in multiple finishes, so you can mix and match the gold with a silver or black set for a unique flatware collection.

Because the gold finish requires additional care, including hand-washing, you might find this set to be impractical for daily use. It may work better as a set for special occasions and holidays if space and budget permit.

The Details: Made with 18/0 stainless steel with gold finish; four 5-piece settings; hand wash only

Best Black Set: Cambridge Silversmiths Poet Black Satin 20-Piece Flatware Set

Flatware Set

Also available at Macy's.

Why It's Great

  • Statement design
  • Ergonomic
  • Dishwasher safe

Grain of Salt

  • May not be versatile enough for daily use
  • Expensive

Moody tablescapes are having a moment and nothing brings the drama quite like a black flatware set. Many flatware sets with black finishes require special care and can still flake and chip despite extra gentle treatment, but luckily, the Cambridge Silversmiths Poet Black Satin Flatware Set receives high marks both for its striking good looks and durability.

Cambridge Silversmiths is a family-run company with a focus on flatware and it shows. Their products are known for quality construction and keeping up with the latest trends. The clean, minimalist design of the Poet flatware strikes a balance between classic and modern. The knives boast a serrated edge for easy cutting and the soup spoons hold just the right amount of liquid.

But what really distinguishes this set is the beauty of the satin black finish and the fact that it is dishwasher-safe. So long as you avoid citrus-based detergents and abrasive cleaning surfaces, the dramatic black finish should retain its good looks for years to come.

The Details: Made with 18/0 stainless steel with black finish; four 5-piece settings; dishwasher safe

Best Bistro-Style: Gingko Lyon 20-Piece Stainless Steel Flatware

Flatware Set

Why It's Great

  • Charming, French-inspired style
  • Quality full-tang construction
  • Multiple color options

Grain of Salt

  • Only serves four

Some people like the look of flatware with handles made from another material, such as wood, resin, or plastic. Flatware with colorful plastic or resin handles and metal rivets are often known as "bistro-style" because it evokes the look of a classic Parisian bistro. French-inspired looks for the tabletop never go out of style, and bistro-style flatware is no exception. While this look leans casual, it certainly has panache.

Unlike some bistro-style flatware sets that are made with cheap plastic handles that can separate from the base over time, the Gingko Lyon flatware set offers good looks, charm, and quality construction. The difference here is the full-tang construction, which means that metal runs through the utensil and the metal rivets that lay flush with the handle for maximum comfort. The utensils are well-balanced and perfectly sized, and the thermoplastic handles are dishwasher-safe, meaning no special care is required.

While the Gingko Lyon 20-piece flatware set is pricey, its high-quality construction and timeless charm make this set a worthwhile investment.

The Details: Made with 18/10 stainless steel; four 5-piece settings; dishwasher safe

Related: Our 10 Favorite Kitchen Drawer Organizers

Best High-End: Robert Welch 42-Piece Westbury Flatware Set

Flatware Set
Williams Sonoma

Why It's Great

  • Timeless design
  • Available in a mirror or satin finish
  • 25-year warranty

Grain of Salt

  • Pricey

If you like to set a formal, elegant table, and have the budget to invest in high-end flatware, the Westbury flatware set by Robert Welch is an outstanding choice. The design is simple yet sophisticated with a slightly pointed detail on the bottom of the handles. And with its high-quality construction and finish, the flatware would not be out of place at even the most formal of meals.

One feature to note is that the knives are forged from a single ingot of stainless steel, which means that they feel stable in the hand and retain a sharp edge for cutting. The forks and spoons also are pleasing to hold with their gently tapered handles.

The Westbury set is not only elegant and luxurious in feel, but it's also exceedingly durable and easy to care for. The pieces are dishwasher-safe and retain their good looks even with constant use. The satin finish is especially forgiving and resistant to scratches while the mirror finish tends to show smudges and fingerprints. However, you can easily remove smudges by buffing the pieces with a soft cloth.

The Details: Made with 18/10 forged stainless steel; eight 5-piece settings plus a serving spoon and fork; dishwasher safe

Our Takeaway

We chose the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Opus Flatware Set because it strikes the perfect balance between durability, sophisticated design, versatility, and price. This is the best set for those looking for elegant flatware that withstands daily use and works well for special occasions.

How to Pick the Right Flatware Set



Sterling silver flatware is the most expensive and formal kind of flatware. While many households today do not own silver flatware, in some parts of the country and cultures, it remains popular for special occasions and holidays. Sterling silver utensils feel luxurious and bring unparalleled elegance to formal dining. But the price alone can be prohibitive: A single flatware setting can start at $50 and go up from there depending on the design and manufacturer. A full table setting of sterling silver flatware for 8, let alone 12, can cost thousands of dollars if you are starting from scratch.

Many people today think that silver is impractical because it requires some amount of upkeep and silver will tarnish if not used, meaning that someone has to polish it. However, silver is more versatile than people realize. Krayl Funch, home and event stylist, notes that sterling silver can go in the dishwasher "with a non-citrus-based detergent." The key is not to include any other metals in the load with the sterling because that can cause damage.

"If you use silver on a regular basis, it doesn't tarnish. As everyday flatware, silver actually works really well," Funch says. In short, if you are lucky enough to own, or inherit real silver, don't be afraid to use it.


Silver-plate flatware looks like real silver at first glance, but it's made by laying a thin coating of silver over a less expensive metal, such as nickel. Because of the silver coating, silver-plate flatware requires the same amount of care as real silver, including polishing, but it's not as valuable because the pieces are not solid silver. Over time, the silver coating can chip and wear off revealing the metal underneath.

Unfortunately, silver-plate flatware is, in some ways, the worst of all worlds. It requires special care, like silver, but it is less durable and not as valuable. Some people like the vintage look of this style, however, and one can often find full sets at estate sales and antique stores for a reasonable price.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is the most popular material for flatware today. Invented in the early 1900s, stainless steel is an alloy of more than one metal. For our purposes, the important metals to know are chromium and nickel. The greater the percentage of nickel, the more resistant the flatware is to corrosion but also the more expansive it is.

Stainless steel flatware dominates the market because it's durable, easy to care for, and more affordable than silver. "If you buy a nice stainless set to use every day, it should last you almost a lifetime," Funch says. Most stainless steel flatware is dishwasher-safe and, unlike silver, it never needs polishing. Yet, depending on the grade of the steel and the design, stainless steel flatware can look almost as elegant as real silver, making it a suitable choice for special occasions.


One of the most important things to know about stainless steel flatware is that stainless steel comes in different grades, including 18/10, 18/8, and 18/0. The first number is the percentage of chromium in the flatware and the second is the percentage of nickel. Flatware made with 18/10 stainless steel is the highest quality because the greater percentage of nickel gives it more shine and more protection from corrosion. As you might expect, 18/10 stainless steel flatware sets are the heaviest and the most expensive. So if the price is a concern, you may want to look for a quality 18/8 or 18/0 set, which does exist.

In addition, some stainless steel flatware designs incorporate different materials into the handles, such as wood, resin, and plastic. This is reminiscent of an earlier era when handles for knives were made from natural materials like bone or shell. The look of flatware sets with non-metal handles is appealing, but they do have some drawbacks: Not only do these sets sometimes require special care like hand-washing, but a separate handle can also loosen over time, and grime can settle in the cracks between the metal and the handle.

One popular style of flatware that uses plastic handles, sometimes in bright colors, is known as bistro-style. These flatware sets are more casual but complement many types of decor. Typically bistro-style flatware is dishwasher-safe, but be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions.


Stainless steel flatware doesn't have to be shiny or even silver, however. The appearance of the flatware depends on the finish, which can vary from high-shine to matte and include special finishes like gold, black, or iridescent. Trendy gold and black finishes are typically applied over a stainless steel core and may require more careful treatment. Funch recommends staying away from flatware "that has some sort of finish or coating on it that is not manufactured in a quality way" because they can wear or peel off.


Stainless steel flatware sets come in a wide variety of styles and designs, from contemporary to traditional to playful to rustic. When choosing a set, think about how it will work with your tableware, linens, and dining room furniture. Christy Rost, lifestyle guru and author of the book Celebrating Home: A Handbook for Gracious Living, points out that "the choice of flatware is a design element and accessory to the table, not just a functional piece."

Rost notes that traditional flatware typically "has embellishments in it that mimic sterling or silver-plate." She suggests that those who love traditional or classic decor consider flatware with a gold or even rose gold finish: "A mixture of stainless and gold is traditional but at the same time has a real fresh look and feel to it," she explains. Funch agrees, saying, "The mix and match trend has gotten more popular as a way to entertain."

Contemporary designs tend to be "more geometric," according to Rost. These designs "have squares rather than rounded edges and fit well with the patterns of more modern tableware [like] square plates and bowls," Rost says.

When choosing a design, whether it's traditional or contemporary, "go timeless rather than trendy," Funch cautions. "So even if you are looking at a more modern piece, I would stay away from something that you might not like in five years. Make sure you invest in something that you can feel comfortable using for a long time." That being said, Funch also points out that "your flatware is not like a tattoo: you're not married to it for the rest of your life." Multiple sets are always an option as long as you have the space to store them.

Number of Pieces

There are two important numbers to consider when choosing a flatware set. First, the number of pieces in each place setting, and second, how many place settings the set contains. The number of pieces in each setting multiplied by the number of settings is the size of the set. For example, a 60-piece set would contain 12 place settings, each of which includes five pieces.

First, consider the number of pieces in each place setting. Traditional sets used to include as many as seven pieces: a dinner knife, a dinner fork, a soup spoon, a salad or dessert fork, a salad or dessert knife, a dessert spoon, and a teaspoon. Today, most modern sets tend to include five standard pieces, which is plenty for most households: a dinner knife, a dinner fork, a soup spoon, a salad or dessert fork, and a teaspoon. However, some budget or starter sets may only include a dinner fork, dinner knife, and one spoon. Consider the kinds of foods you eat and whether your meals include more than one course to help you decide how many pieces you will likely use daily.

Second, determine how many place settings you need. Experts say that you should have at least twice as many place settings as the number of people in your household, so a household of four should have at least eight place settings, but possibly more. Funch recommends having 12 place settings on hand, even for small households. You use flatware not only at dinner but for other meals and snacks. Think about holidays and how many people you typically host on those occasions. "Don't forget about any pieces that you might lose or get caught up in the garbage disposal," Funch points out. If the set you like only comes with four or six place settings and you need eight or 12, simply buy two sets. The good news is that flatware is easy to store, so even a large number of place settings can fit in one drawer.

One thing to consider is whether the set you like is also sold as individual pieces, or what is known as "open stock." This can be helpful if you find you need extras of one of the pieces, like the spoons, or a few pieces go missing. Rather than buying an entire place setting, you can simply purchase the individual pieces that you need.

Lastly, you may want serving pieces that match your flatware, such as solid or slotted serving spoons, a serving fork, salad servers, and a cake and pie server. Known as a hostess set, these pieces are sometimes included in flatware sets, and other times may be purchased separately.

Care and Cleaning

The biggest concerns when caring for your flatware are corrosion and staining. Most stainless steel flatware is dishwasher-safe, although it is important to avoid citrus-based dishwasher detergent because it can cause a reaction with the metal.

To avoid corrosion, don't leave your flatware soaking in water for long periods of time. Acidic foods and liquids also can gradually corrode your flatware, but this does not mean that you have to avoid eating tomato sauce or lemon meringue pie. As long as you do not leave dirty flatware that has food debris on it sitting for long periods of time before washing, you should not have any issues with corrosion from acidic foods.

To avoid streaks and water stains, make sure the utensils are dry before putting them away. Shiny, mirrored flatware shows smudges and watermarks more clearly than matte finishes, which is something to consider if you prefer low-maintenance flatware.

When hand-washing flatware, choose soft sponges, not abrasive steel wool or steel brushes which can nick the surface and cause corrosion or even rust. If you have a flatware set with a special finish, like matte black or gold, check for special care instructions; the manufacturer may recommend hand-washing. At the very least, for flatware with a specialty finish, avoid abrasive cleaners or sponges that could strip the finish over time.

Common Questions

What is the difference between flatware and silverware?

Although many of us use the term "silverware" to refer to our everyday cutlery, technically it is the proper term for utensils made from sterling silver. Renee Gershman, a hospitality consultant, explains that flatware means "the spoons, forks, knives and other tableware that lay flat against the table." While flatware is more of an industry description, it is the correct term for all utensils and cutlery regardless of the material used.

How do you clean discolored stainless steel flatware?

Rebecca Carlson, a recipe developer and food stylist, learned to use white vinegar to clean water spots off of flatware in culinary school: "Just dip a soft cloth in plain white vinegar and rub it on the stained area. Vinegar removes fingerprints and other smudges as well. It's a mild disinfectant and dries without streaking and the smell." Gershman also recommends Bar Keeper's Friend for removing food residue and stains from stainless steel flatware.

How do you know if silverware is real silver?

Sterling silverware is inherently valuable because silver itself has value. Indeed, while the price fluctuates, silver typically sells for more than $20 an ounce. Therefore, it is worthwhile to know whether that set of cutlery you just inherited—or are simply eying at an antique show—is silver or merely silver-plate flatware.

One way to tell the difference between silver and silver-plate flatware, especially if the set is old, is to examine it for wear and tear. If there's a difference in color or appearance between the exterior and the interior, as revealed by any chips or nicks, then you are probably looking at silver-plate, not silver.

Second, real silver is usually stamped by the maker. Some telltale marks include "STER," short for "sterling," or "92.5," which is the percentage of pure silver. (Yes, even silverware is not made from 100 percent sterling silver—it would be too soft to use! Sterling silver flatware is an alloy of silver, copper, and another, sturdier metal). By contrast, if you see a mark that says 18/10, 18/8, or 18/0, you're looking at stainless steel.

Finally, if you are still unsure and the answer is important, such as if you are contemplating selling the set in question, consult an expert who can perform a chemical test.

Why Take Our Word For It?

Emily Paster is a food writer, a recipe developer, and a culinary instructor. For this article, Emily used her own expertise, market research, and hands-on experience with flatware sets to select the best ones for our list. She also consulted with four additional experts to provide further insights on what to look for when purchasing the right flatware for your needs.

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