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Expert Shopper Kitchen

Best dinnerware set

Which dinnerware set is best?

An essential part of every kitchen, dinnerware is what allows you to enjoy your meals to the fullest. The best dinnerware set not only provides functionality to the dinner table, or wherever you may dine, but also aesthetics and personalization.

This Mikasa 40-Piece Set is an elegant and comprehensive set that champions quality material and longevity. However, the right dinnerware set caters to personal needs, varying in look, durability and price.

What to know before you buy a dinnerware set

Dinnerware set pieces

The basic dinnerware set consists of four pieces: dinner plate, salad plate, soup bowl and mug. The dinner plate is the largest item, designed for your main course. The salad plate is a matching smaller piece that may be used for salads or other appetizers. While most salad plates are flat, some may be slightly depressed. 

Soup bowls tend to be small, similar to salad plates but have steeper sides. Lastly, a mug serves as a generic beverage vessel, though tends to be geared toward coffee or tea. In some cases, the mug may be omitted from the collection, resulting in a three-piece set.

Number of settings

Settings refer to the number of people each collection serves. You typically have the option of buying a single setting for a lone person, a four-person setting for the average household or an eight- or 12-person setting for more elaborate affairs.

Unfortunately, most collections don’t feature odd numbers, so in order for everyone eating to match, you’ll have to purchase more than you may need.

Size and shape

Consider size and shape, because not all dinnerware sets are crafted equally. Larger options push aesthetics as much as functionally, as they look to highlight your meal, while smaller sets are best for those with more compact kitchens, cabinets and cupboards. 

Dinnerware sets may vary in shape. Keep in mind that circular items tend to be less efficient when it comes to storage than square or rectangular pieces. Note not just the length or diameter, but the depth as well, which will influence stacking in a cabinet.

What to look for in a quality dinnerware set


Material influences longevity, weight, ease of cleaning and overall quality. The most common materials used for dinnerware are stoneware, porcelain and bone china.

  • Stoneware is popular for its aesthetic and durability; it tends to be thick and sturdy and allows for various colors and textures to be imprinted.
  • Porcelain is a finer ceramic that is typically white in color. It’s also rather expensive.
  • Bone china is used in the most elegant and expensive dinnerware. It may be plain or ornately decorated and comes with a lengthy life span.

Color and design

Dinnerware sets can match your style and personal style with various colors, patterns and other designs available. Basic solid colors are most common and are useful for a variety of occasions. Those with ornate or complex designs and patterns tend to be reversed for more formal affairs.

Extra components

More elaborate sets include extra pieces and additional useful dining components, such as an added plate, bowl or saucer for your mug. Large sets may also offer serveware.


Depending on the material, some dinnerware may be safe for use in the dishwasher, microwave, oven or freezer. Some may be suitable up to a certain temperature, so check the limitations and work within them.

How much you can expect to spend on a dinnerware set

You can typically expect to pay between $15-$30 per setting, with a slight price break when you buy a larger set. Material and design will influence price, with high-end options costing up to $40 per serving.

Dinnerware set FAQ

What’s the difference between dinnerware, serveware and flatware?

A. Dinnerware involves the plates and bowls that an individual eats from directly. Serveware, meanwhile, is more communal. These are the bowls and plates where the meal in its entirety is placed; each individual serves their own portion from the serveware. Lastly, flatware comprises the utensils you eat with; your knife, spoon and fork.

How do I store and care for my dinnerware?

A. Quality dinnerware is an investment, and it’s important to employ best care practices. While most materials are dishwasher friendly, they are still subject to the quality of your dishwasher; chemicals can wear down the material over time while any moving items within the unit can damage the surface. As such, it’s recommended to wash high-end dinnerware by hand. Similarly, high-quality material should also be dried by hand and stored delicately. Be mindful when stacking so as not to chip any material.

Dinnerware that is used regularly can be stored in a convenient cupboard, while fine China used for special occasions may require a special storage cabinet where it is less exposed.

What’s the best dinnerware set to buy?

Top dinnerware set

Mikasa Delray Bone China

What you need to know: This elegant dinnerware set provides long-lasting quality and aesthetics for a variety of occasions.

What you’ll love: Bone China is durable and sophisticated; a white aesthetic suits semi-casual and formal affairs alike. It serves eight and is safe in an oven, microwave and dishwasher.

What you should consider: It's a bit expensive. The lack of color may also be off-putting to some people. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top dinnerware set for the money

Amazon Basics 18-Piece Set

What you need to know: This simple, yet versatile dinnerware set for six people comes at an affordable price.

What you’ll love: It's made of light and enduring porcelain. Its minimalist modern design is suitable for casual meals. It's also safe for your dishwasher, freezer and microwave. 

What you should consider: It does not include matching mugs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Fiesta 4-Piece Setting

What you need to know: This single-serving ceramic dinnerware set has a rustic look and reliable construction.

What you’ll love: This farmhouse-style, four-piece dinnerware set is made of glazed ceramic. It's also available in a variety of muted colors to match your personality and decor. It resists chips and is safe for your oven, microwave and dishwasher.

What you should consider: It's a bit expensive for a single setting.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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