We recommend getting the Crate and Barrel Caesar Flatware, by Robert Welch Designs, if you want heavier utensils that are still well-balanced. The fork’s long, narrowly set tines give it an elegant look and make holding food on the back of the utensil easier for those who dine European style.
The spoons are shallower and have a pointier tip, which means they don’t hold as much liquid, but they put less metal in your mouth, a more delicate sensation that some people prefer. We’re not huge fans of the curvy handles, which are so dramatically arched at the neck that they look almost bent out of shape.
We think our picks will appeal to a wide range of people, but we also realize that choosing flatware is a very personal decision. If none of our other picks are to your liking, we’ve created a buying guide to help you confidently shop for a great set of utensils.
To understand the difference between various grades of stainless steel, I interviewed Scott Mixture, PhD, a professor at the Enamor School of Engineering at Alfred University, who has a background in metallurgy. I also went to stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate and Barrel, Macy’s, Pottery Barn, and Williams Sonoma to look at sets in person.
Prior to joining Wire cutter, I was an editor at the International Culinary Center in New York City, and I worked in various facets of the food and restaurant industry for over a decade. I can often be found hunting for vintage flatware and other treasures at thrift stores and estate sales in my free time.
Photo: Sarah KobosWith myriad patterns to choose from, shopping for a set of utensils can be an overwhelming undertaking. We avoided colored utensils and those with resin, wood, or riveted handles, opting instead for classic, timeless patterns with clean, simple lines.
Teaspoons from each of our flatware picks (from left to right): Cambridge Silversmiths Julie Satin, Liberty Tabletop Betsy Ross, Crate and Barrel Caesar, and Gourmet Settings Winder mere. Salad forks from each of our flatware picks (from left to right): Cambridge Silversmiths Julie Satin, Liberty Tabletop Betsy Ross, Crate and Barrel Caesar, and Gourmet Settings Winder mere.
Dinner knives from each of our flatware picks (from left to right): Cambridge Silversmiths Julie Satin, Liberty Tabletop Betsy Ross, Crate and Barrel Caesar, and Gourmet Settings Winder mere. Teaspoons from each of our flatware picks (from left to right): Cambridge Silversmiths Julie Satin, Liberty Tabletop Betsy Ross, Crate and Barrel Caesar, and Gourmet Settings Winder mere.
Finally, we tried to find flatware patterns that have been around for a while, which increases the likelihood they’ll remain in stock down the road. Eventually, we settled on 40 five-piece place settings (if you’re counting, that’s 200 separate utensils in all) and invited 13 Wire cutter staff members to evaluate them in our New York City test kitchen.
To assess quality and durability, we took a close look at each piece of flatware to check for any unfinished or rough areas. We also washed all the flatware several times and let it sit in a moist and humid dishwasher for two days to see if any of the utensils discolored or developed rust spots, which was a surprisingly revealing test.
Photo: Sarah Hobos Why it’s great: The Cambridge Silversmiths Julie Satin Flatware was a unanimous favorite in our tests. One of our staffers summed it up perfectly: “This set is a nice compromise between modern and classic.” Even the finish offers the best of both worlds, with the satin handles gradually giving way to a mirror polish on the utensil heads.
Our testers were surprised to find how much they liked that contrast: “The satin and mirror mix looks so cool,” said one. Photo: Sarah Loose love the medium weight of this flatware, which feels balanced and sturdy enough that it won’t bend under pressure.
One tester praised the utensils for their “excellent neck thickness,” meaning they were a nice medium width. The sloped angle of the handle on the soup spoon also makes it easier to eat from deep, narrow bowls.
The branding on the underside of the utensils is more noticeable on this set than on some of our other picks, but since it’s not laser engraved, it will fade over time. Photo: Sarah Hobos Flaws but not deal breakers: The branding on the back of the forks and spoons is larger and more noticeable on this Cambridge Silversmiths set compared with the others we recommend.
According to a customer service representative we spoke to at Bed Bath & Beyond, the Julie flatware has been sold in stores since March 2016. Cambridge Silversmiths is a trusted flatware brand that began in the ’90s, and it sells many patterns that have been around for years, so we don’t think this set will suddenly disappear (though we’ll keep an eye on it).
Photo: Sarah Hobos Why it’s great: Crate and Barrel’s Caesar Flatware is an elegant set that’s heavier than our main pick and available in both satin and mirror finishes. We like its smooth, round edges and its slight flare at the base of the handle, which one of our testers said “feels nice in the hand.” Another staffer said this set “has a good substantial feel and pleasing heft.” The fork tines are long, thin, and spaced narrowly apart, a design that many people find more elegant than wide-set tines.
The forged knife is a pleasure to hold, and the fine serrations on the blade cut cleanly through food. Like our main pick, the Caesar set has deep soup spoons that hold a generous amount of liquid.
Photo: Sarah Kiboshes collection was created by Robert Welch Designs exclusively for Crate and Barrel, and it has an excellent rating on the store’s website, with reviews dating back three years. A sales associate we spoke with at Crate and Barrel told us the Caesar flatware was one of the store’s most popular patterns.
The maker’s marking is laser engraved on the handles of the forks and spoons and printed on the back of the knife blades. Photo: Sarah Hobos Flaws but not deal breakers: If you like lightweight utensils, most of the pieces in the Caesar set may be too heavy for you.
Why it’s great: If you prefer balanced, lightweight hollow-handle knives, we recommend getting the Liberty Tabletop Betsy Ross flatware. This collection is appropriately named since it’s made by Sherrill Manufacturing, the last remaining domestic maker of flatware in the United States (which also makes utensils for Cuzco, Farmhouse Pottery, and Heath Ceramics).
One of our testers gushed over the Betsy Ross knife, saying it was “perfectly balanced and lovely to hold.” The thin necks and gently curved handles create an elegant silhouette. We also like the shape of the forged knife blade and bolster, which is reminiscent of the knives found in finer, more traditional sterling silver flatware sets.
The fork tines are long, thin, and spaced slightly farther apart than on our main pick, an aesthetic that some people may prefer. The soup spoon bowls aren’t exceptionally deep but still hold a good amount of liquid.
However, many hollow-handle knives have this seam because they’re made from three separate pieces of metal (the blade, and two half shells that are soldered together to make a hollow handle), which is the same construction technique used for expensive sterling silver flatware. This flatware is sold open stock, which means it’s also great for college students who need only a few utensils and not complete five-piece place settings.
The tines are also appropriately tapered, unlike the blunt tips on the forks of some other cheap flatware sets we tested. We also like that the Winder mere collection has such a large selection of additional serving pieces (which are sold separately depending on the utensil).
Photo: Sarah Hobos Flaws but not deal breakers: The biggest drawback to the Winder mere set is the dramatic, somewhat awkward curve of the handles, which led one of our testers to dub it “the pin-up collection.” The forks and teaspoon are thinner than those of our other picks and lightweight, which means they’ll bend with some force. One of our testers said the shape of the knife blade reminded them of a mezzanine, and found that its extreme curve made cutting awkward.
Properly cared for, 18/10 stainless steel flatware should last for decades (whereas 18/0 may corrode), but it will develop some patina over time. However, you can reduce the amount of surface scratching by not cramming the flatware into a dishwasher cutlery basket or tossing it carelessly into a utensil drawer.
Dishwashers equipped with a flat utensil rack are best for preventing flatware from banging around during the wash cycle, which helps reduce surface damage. Hand washing is really the best method for keeping your flatware looking pristine, but we realize that's not realistic for most people.
You can remove minor discoloration from flatware by using distilled white vinegar or a slurry of baking soda and water applied with a soft cloth or a nonabrasive sponge. Several of our testers liked the rounded handles of the Artiste Rain II flatware, but some found the curve of the knife to be awkward to hold.
We also used to recommend Fuji Cutlery pieces as a budget choice, but to be on the safe side, we decided not to include any steel labeled 18/8 for our 2018 update. We really liked the size, shape, and weight of the MEPA Lucca flatware, but the pewter finish was polarizing for our testers.
We liked the hollow-handle knife in the Towel Boston Antique flatware set, but we weren’t fans of the seam on the underside of the handles. Although the Liberty Tabletop Chandra flatware was beloved by some of our testers, the vast majority thought the shape of this collection was too old-fashioned.
Our testers found the bulbous handle tips on the Gibson Home Classic Manchester set dated and unappealing. We used to recommend the gold version of the Amoco Flatware, but we’ve excluded colored utensils from our 2018 update.
Whip out the forks, knives, spoons, and get ready for our list of the best flatware sets. Minimal design meets quality and assurance in Cambridge Silversmiths Cali Mirror 30-piece silverware set.
Complete with a sleek mirror finish, this medium set for six offers a timeless design that lives up to the Cambridge Silversmith trademark promise. There’s no copied or tired patterns here, just quality silverware protected by a 25-year warranty with all return shipping costs paid by Cambridge.
This assurance makes spending a little extra worth it for a family set that is resilient enough for everyday use, and fine enough for special occasion dining. It’s dishwasher safe, but hot water hand cleaning is preferable for optimal upkeep and shine.
Though they are not exceptionally sturdy or for families, they still hold up well over time and resist corrosion and rust. A sleek mirror finish and 18/10 steel allow it to blend in seamlessly with other sets of higher grade flatware.
Though it is dishwasher safe, avoid washing with harsh detergents, which may break down the fine finish of the flatware. Mirrored finishes are prone to dishwasher spotting, and this set, in particular, suffers from color fading over time.
For best use, hand wash after meals with mild detergents before special occasion settings to achieve an optimal shine. Heavier utensils tend to tip over jars or fall out of bowls when paired with lightweight service ware, which is something to be aware of.
The finish doesn’t quite live up to standards for everyday use as it is prone to rust with improper washing. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time caring for flatware, then avoid this set for everyday use.
This pairing of practicality and sturdiness make it a lasting investment that can be trusted for generations to come. The serving set includes a tablespoon, pierced tablespoon, cold meat fork, butter knife, and sugar teaspoon so that the whole table can enjoy a uniform service design.
All the pieces are fairly well-matched to industry standard sizing though we did find the forks to be on the longer side. Each piece is brandished with decorative swirls forming a floral motif on the handles to bring added style, albeit dated to the flatware.
The thick rounded handles provide balanced weighting preparing them for everyday use, but they lack modern design sensibility. We found the concave design to be a bit uncomfortable for cutting harder items like meat and salads but were over-all impressed with the weighting of the utensils.
Midas’s Cocoa Blossom set is composed of 18/10 stainless steel with 18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel added to the steel alloy to bolster resilience and strength. The rust-resistant construction makes it dishwasher safe for easy everyday use without annoying spotting or rusting.
For shiny and solid elegance, the Midas Cocoa Blossom 65-piece flatware set is hard to beat. The only downside is the large set size isn’t for everyone, especially those living in small spaces where storage is limited.
The New Star Food service Slimline Pattern 60-piece set proves that timeless design and quality don’t always have to come at a high cost. Ideal for casual dining outlets or simple home gatherings that don’t want to compromise on professional-grade materials, this flatware proves it’s possible to have the cake and eat it too.
However, the similar sizing of both the dinner and salad forks make distinguishing between the two more challenging. But for casual home dining with professional materials that hold their own over time, it’s a bargain buy.
A flashy option for those with a taste for the unconventional, Berg lander’s 20-piece Titanium Gold Plated Stainless Steel Flatware set is a trendy head turner. Be prepared for the oohs and AHS of dining guests yet to come with this innovative flatware that plays on luxurious color palettes.
Slim, minimal design with delicate necks and edges make this flatware resemble art more than utensil. With medium to lightweight makeup and smooth cutting performance, Englanders show they are masters in stainless steel design and manufacturing.
Another quirky design feature is the soup-spoon circular shape of both the dinner spoon and the teaspoon. Following trends can be risky business and may not lead to a lasting set of flatware used for generations to come.
However, at this price point and quality, indulging at the moment seems less risky than refreshing for updated contemporary design. For a sculpted linear design that’s as simple as it is practical, the Heckles flatware set offers industry headlining performance at an uncompromised value.
Known worldwide for knife performance, J.R. Heckles is a leader in all grades of professional cutlery. This set is no different and is furnished with impeccable medium-weighted flatware that holds true to the brand’s cutting precision.
The sleek mirrored pieces blend masculine touches in the form of straight lines and hint at performance capability. Excellent serration in the knives likewise aids in a cleaner-cutting dinner knife well-equipped to handle anything that lands on your plate.
Its attractive design is lightweight, and forks and spoons are a bit concave, but this doesn’t disrupt overall balance or stability. Utilizing the same 18/10 steel grade as industry leaders such as Midas, Cambridge, and Leno, Heckles flatware comes out of the dishwasher with the same smooth mirrored finish.
For superior craftsmanship and lifetime use, this set of Heckles flatware beats out name-brand competitors with higher performance and design adaptability. Perfect for wedding registry gifts, families who entertain and legacy sets, it’s smooth lines, and unparalleled performance make it a dependable choice for flatware.
Smooth grooved curves at an affordable rate distinguish Litany 40-Piece Silverware Set from basic competitors. The added serration on the table knife further set this flatware apart from other affordable cutlery and assures professional performance.
With service for eight people, the resilient and rust-resistant pieces of the Litany set work best for growing families or those that enjoy entertaining. Characterized by teardrop-shaped handles and balanced weighting, the flatware pieces offer ergonomic gripping well suited to the whole family.
There’s no steel grade information provided with this set, which means only time will tell the longevity of the flatware. Typically, when brands conceal this information, it is because the steel grade is not up to industry standards.
Further inconsistencies include uneven edges that disrupt the ease of use and issues with rusting after several months of use. Cambridge Silversmiths Blossom Sand 20-Piece flatware Silverware set may be small and weight, but it cuts no corners when it comes to quality construction and design.
Differentiated with stainless steel brushing and etched leaf detail, the four serving sets add naturalist character to any table they adorn. Each set uses 18/10 stainless steel grade to curb corrosion and protect the flatware for long-term use.
There’s no need to polish, simply avoid astringent dish soap as you would with any fine silverware for best use. For excellence, you can count on and attention to detail that elevates everyday flatware, we highly recommend this set.
Amazon uses an 18/0 steel grade similar to other mid-level flatware sets and protects against rust. The contoured handles are fit with pearl edging that mimics classic cutlery design.
Low-key design meets functionality and helps promote lasting performance derived from the examination of the best brands in the industry. Each knife is labeled with the Amazon basics logo along with the common bold proclamation, “Made in China.” This gives off a different feeling than the J.A.
At its affordable price point, it is in reach of those hoping to outfit their first apartments, college houses, or vacation homes with highly usable flatware. Leno is commonly recognized as an industry leader in fine home embellishment, from flatware to dishware.
There’s a notable difference in holding well-balanced cutlery to a basic functioning piece of metal, that some consider flatware. Leno combines 18/10 stainless steel with the convenience of tarnish-resistant coating to offer durability and ease of cleaning.
The well-known brand was founded over 100 years ago and has made a name for themselves developing timeless flatware and home decor. The Tortola line is characterized by the flared bases of the handles with a dainty beaded channel.
Inconsistent manufacturing tends to lead to more design quirks, and in this case, the stainless steel quality is lacking. With a clear-cut shape, mirror polish, and average performance, it’s well suited for first apartments, dorm rooms, and other casual spaces.
Though the knives are dishwasher safe, they were susceptible to showing spots and blemishes straight out of the machine. To retain their pristine, just out-of-the-box shine, be prepared to put in a little elbow grease and polish with a dishcloth.
Despite being one of the least expensive cutlery options, this well finished shiny exterior keeps its price hidden. The quality here is higher than the Amazon Basics, but the sizing of the flatware makes it stick out a bit.
We wouldn’t recommend it as a gift set or for a large family, but makes a solid choice for basic household functionality. Gibson Sensations 16 piece stainless steel flatware has been around long enough to become well known for its retro design and functionality.
Begging for a breakfast table with a checked tablecloth, the white plastic handle offsets the simple style of this cutlery. However, the dainty exterior extends to the quality, and this set is plainly not up for everyday usage and handling.
For starters, they are exceptionally hard to clean due to the thin stainless steel forks, and heavily serrated knife blades. The plastic handles may make for lightweight design, but it’s prone to breakage and bending.
This isn’t it and certainly won’t pass any ice cream test, though we don’t recommend this as a standard measure of strength. If you’re thinking of investing in some portable or temporary flatware, this set could do the trick for someone getting a first apartment or dorm.
They’ll last longer and incorporate better with other sets of silverware as time passes. The grade of steel, composition of utensils, and distributor all play a part in creating a set of flatware that lives long enough to see you through a variety of stages of life and needs.
…which seamlessly unites outstanding craftsmanship with medium-weighted flatware that holds its own in a variety of spaces.