Battle also recommends Libya’s Polaris glasses for their “super-unique shape,” which includes a rounded, weighted base that feels hefty while still being sleek. The Bodega is also a favorite style of Julie Mulligan, the owner and designer of cocktail lounge and restaurant Lot 15, because it’s “versatile and low maintenance but still chic.” She says that it’s “great for all kinds of home drinking and serving” and can even be used for displaying flowers.
Both Lao and Amanda Spin, the general manager of Williamsburg’s Four Horsemen restaurant and Night moves bar, swear by these shorter, stackable glasses by Japanese company Toyo-Sasaki. “I always want precious, delicate, thin Japanese glassware at the restaurant, but it’s got to be strong enough to fall onto a rubber mat and not break,” says Spin.
According to Mulligan, Libya is “an industry standard for style and we arability in the design world.” The petite Esquire side water glass is one of her all-time favorites, and she says that they’re great for the home but also in a restaurant setting. Intended for the service industry, these glasses come in a case of 72, which is more than an average household will ever need.
Paul Malone, a co-founder of Boston Burger Company, says the style is better for stacking. Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.
No matter what your own glassware philosophy might be, it’s safe to say that durability and versatility are important things to consider when looking for new wine glasses. The Venue line’s Pioneer and Chardonnay glasses also work well for Chen in Blanc, Pilot Origin/Gris/Blanc, and more.
Combining graceful structural lines with strong curvature, the German-made stemware is lead-free, break-resistant, and dishwasher safe. The angular silhouette of these striking 22-ounce glasses is more aesthetically pleasing than technically designed––the functionality of the bowls lies in their middle-of-the-road width and shape, making them versatile enough to accommodate any red wine style.
Ask any professional, and they’ll tell you that Alto is somewhat of an icon in the world of wine, with the Deck’Art line among its most widely beloved. This Austrian-brand was even one of the first to introduce hand-crafted and mouth-blown functional glasses to the market, according to Shira Hidden, homelier at The Norman Hotel in Tel Aviv.
The beauty of these 23-ounce style-specific glasses, she says, is the combination of elegant, clean lines, thoughtful design inspired by the Earth’s tilt angles, and its versatility to function in both a fine dining setting and in a cabinet at home. The width of the bowl works to aerate and amplify what’s in the glass, while the narrowed opening lends itself well to the aromas collected inside.
For celebratory toasts, flutes are always handy to have around––nosing aside, from a serving standpoint, these are the most spatially sound option for a party tray. Severing Frierson, Chef de Cave at Perrier-Joüet in Reims, France, is a huge fan of Waterford’s 8.5-ounce classic flute for such occasions.
Stemless is ideal when entertaining large crowds as they’re not only less likely to get knocked over and break, but also can be cleaned and stored more easily than stemware. Naturally, this involves extensive market research, which translates to a robust glassware collection built over the years.
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. But today, drinking cups constructed out of traditional glass are no longer the only option.
Plastic glasses, which are lightweight and less prone to shattering, have started gaining popularity. Clear glasses are great for seeing what you’re drinking, but that doesn’t mean they have to lack color completely.
The weighted bottoms help keep the glasses stable and make them feel substantial in the hand. Ripples on the bottom of the glass help manage the sweating that occurs with a cold beverage hot day.
For anyone who wants a design classic for their drinking glass, this Pi cardie tumbler from Durable is the clear winner. Durable is a French company that pioneered tempered glass, so you know that this tumbler not only has beautiful vintage-inspired styling, but is also incredibly sturdy.
(Which means you might want to order two sets if you know you’ll need eight drinking glasses at any point.) While you might expect plastic for this price point, these are made of high quality glass and come with a raised polka dot pattern.
The glasses are also stackable to save on cabinet space and dishwasher safe to make post-dinner cleanup even easier. For those who are willing to spend a bit more on their glassware, this set of four drinking glasses from Libya, is an easy choice.
The heavy, weighted bottoms make for sturdy glasses that won't knock over easily while also providing a more refined aesthetic. The glasses are also on the larger side, holding a full 18 ounces of your favorite beverage.
You can feel good about your purchase knowing that all of Libya's glassware is made in the USA. Whether you like to dine on a patio or porch, or just have a tendency to break your glasses easily, plastic can be a good solution.
The fan favorite, Serves hosts your drinks in a 16 ounce tumbler while also keeping liquids cool (or hot) and the outside sweat-free. You can order a plain set or get more creative with some of their personalized or more holiday oriented motifs.
It’s durable, lightweight, and available in a variety of sizes, and in our tests it repeatedly survived counter-height drops onto a marble floor. The classic bistro styling of the Wormhole glass pairs nicely with almost any dinnerware, making it suitable for all occasions.
Several of our testers liked the size of this glass, saying it would be appropriate for a variety of beverages, including water, juice, iced coffee, beer, and wine. The Rock Bar glass has a thicker lip than our upgrade pick, the Durable Pi cardie, but still stacks neatly without sticking.
Like our main pick, the 365+ tumbler is made of tempered glass and was able to survive repeated 3-foot drops onto a marble floor. Its simple, casual design pairs nicely with many styles of dinnerware, and its tapered shape makes it easy to hold and stack.
Made in France of tempered glass, the Pi cardie was durable enough to sustain 3-foot drops onto a marble floor. The Pi cardie glass is slightly heavier than our top pick, and occasionally sticks together when stacked, but it’s usually available in a wider range of sizes, from 3 to 17 ounces, and comes in a few alternate color options with limited sizes in marine or a set of six 8-ounce glasses in a mix of colors from the MoMA Design Store.
We recommend the US Acrylic Classic 16-ounce Water Tumbler for outdoor use, or if you have young kids in your family. Our testers were impressed by how much this tumbler looks like regular glass and in our tests it didn’t fade or crack in the dishwasher after more than 20 wash and dry cycles.
Collapse all To help us better understand the difference between glass types, we reached out to experts such as Jane Cook, PhD, chief scientist at the Corning Museum of Glass (CMG) in Corning, New York, and William C. Course, PhD, a professor in the Glass Engineering department at Alfred University in Alfred, New York. We also spoke to Zachary Rudolph, an artisan glassblower who has taught classes at the Bay Area Glass Institute in Santa Cruz, California.
Additionally, we asked our science editor, Leigh Kitsch Border, PhD, to research the common materials used to make plastic drinking glasses. We also looked at several drinking glass reviews from sources such as New York Magazine, The Kitchen, The Spruce, and The Guardian.
Finally, we searched for drinking glasses at Crate and Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Macy’s, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Webstaurantstore.com, and Amazon.com. This guide builds on work by Wire cutter senior editor Eve O’Neill.
Want something lightweight that won’t shatter Want a casual drinking glass for kids or outdoor use On rare occasions, minor damage (like nicks and scratches) can cause tempered glass to break unexpectedly (read).
Photo: Michael Hereinafter speaking to our experts and years of our own long-term testing, we made a list of the most important features to look for in an all-purpose drinking glass: Tempered glass is ideal for tableware because it’s very durable and less prone to breaking from thermal shock.
This wasn’t the case with the soda-lime glasses we tested, which broke every time they hit a marble floor from a 3-foot height. We also included plastic tumblers in our roundup, which unsurprisingly were the most durable glasses we tested.
Though some plastic glasses we tested suffered minor scuffs and scratches after repeated drops onto a marble floor, none broke. That said, we looked for glasses that were available in multiple sizes to accommodate a range of preferences.
Many of our testers said they prefer using a smaller 4- to 6-ounce size for drinking juice, cocktails, or wine, and larger 12- to 16-ounce glasses for water or iced tea. You also want a nice thick bottom so when you set it down it’s not going to slide off the table.” Many of us have probably seen a lightweight glass hydroplane across a wet table, so this makes sense.
Though stability is important, the glass shouldn’t be too weighted, otherwise it will be heavy and cumbersome to hold. Thick glassware can feel clunky, and too much like a storage container rather than a drinking glass.
That said, we still included non-stacking glasses in our roundup for people who have ample cupboard space or prefer the look of straight-sided glassware. Glasses that cost $10 or more are typically more decorative and have limited availability, plus they aren’t particularly affordable when you’re looking to buy a set of four or more.
We also washed and dried the plastic glasses over 20 times in the dishwasher to see if they would crack, fade, or become cloudy. All the tempered glasses we tested survived multiple 3-foot drops onto a marble floor.
(Pictured above: Our top pick, the Wormhole Rocco Rock Bar glass) Video: Michael Session All the tempered glasses we tested survived multiple 3-foot drops onto a marble floor.
(Pictured above: Our top pick, the Wormhole Rocco Rock Bar glass) Video: Michael Session All the tempered glasses we tested survived multiple 3-foot drops onto a marble floor.
To prevent our testers from being influenced by brand preferences, we covered the maker’s stamp on the underside of each glass. Because it’s made of tempered glass, it can be used for both hot and cold beverages, and can bounce off a hard floor unscathed.
The defined ridge around the perimeter of the glass allows one to gently perch on top of another without getting jammed in too tightly. This wasn’t the case with the Durable Pi cardie and IKEA Yardage glasses we tested, which occasionally stuck together when stacked.
The Rock Bar tumbler is a great all-purpose glass that’s suitable for serving many beverages. Photo: Michael HessionAside from its durability and functionality, we think the classic design of the Rock Bar glass makes it appropriate for all occasions.
Several of our testers liked the versatility of the glass, saying it would be suitable for a variety of beverages, including water, juice, iced coffee, beer, and wine. The wide mouth of the Rock Bar glass is pleasant to drink from and it doesn’t hit the bridge of your nose.
Also, it’s important to remember that tempered glass can, on rare occasions, spontaneously shatter after sustaining minor surface damage (see more on). Some of our testers felt the bistro styling of this glass looked like dated restaurant glassware.
The Wormhole Rock Bar glass (above) has a slightly thicker lip than our upgrade pick, the Durable Pi cardie. The Wormhole Rock Bar glass (above) has a slightly thicker lip than our upgrade pick, the Durable Pi cardie.
Our testers agreed that the slightly thicker lip and pronounced ridge around the middle of the Rock Bar glass lacks some elegance compared with our upgrade pick, the Durable Pi cardie glass. Also, one of our testers said the ridge made the Rock Bar glass less comfortable to hold than the Pi cardie.
It also survived our thermal stress tests and didn’t chip when knocked against a marble countertop. Like our main pick, it’s made of tempered glass so it can be used to serve both hot and cold beverages.
The IKEA 365+ glass has a plain look that’s appropriate for everyday use, yet it’s still elegant enough for more formal occasions. It looks similar to the Durable Unit glass, which costs about five times as much and proved to be less durable in our tests.
That said, the 365+ glass isn’t as wide as some of other picks and comes in fewer sizes, so it’s not ideal for coffee, wine, and cocktails. The simple design of the IKEA 365+ glass pairs nicely with many styles of dinnerware.
It’s more expensive than our other picks, but its contoured shape is pleasant to hold and the thin, slightly flared lip is a pleasure to drink from. In fact, the Pi cardie glasses are so durable that Levi Mainland, a writer for the blog A Cup of Joe, even recommends them for toddlers.
The glasses also nest neatly together, but they occasionally get stuck and require a gentle wiggle to release them. The Pi cardie glasses occasionally stick together after they’ve been stacked, but a little wiggle is all it takes to release them.
The contoured shape of the Durable Pi cardie glass is pleasant to hold and the thin, slightly flared lip is a pleasure to drink from. The Pi cardie glasses occasionally stick together after they’ve been stacked, but a little wiggle is all it takes to release them.
The contoured shape of the Durable Pi cardie glass is pleasant to hold and the thin, slightly flared lip is a pleasure to drink from. There’s no doubt the Durable Pi cardie’s elegant design is part of the reason it has remained a staple on family tables and at French bistros for decades.
The company has changed hands several times over the years, but its glasses continue to be made in France. Spoke Schaeffer, co-owner of Concord Hill, a restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, told us in an email, “We like the durable yet casual look and feel.
Depending on your taste, you may find these glasses classic and timeless or tired and dated. When held up to the light you can see an occasional bubble, sandy particles, or striations in the glass.
There’s no doubt the Durable Pi cardie’s elegant design is part of the reason it has remained a staple on family tables and at French bistros for decades. The MoMA Design Store also sells the 8-ounce glass in a set of six colorful options.
We’ve received some comments from our readers saying their Durable glasses have spontaneously shattered. As discussed in a , all tempered glassware has a small risk of randomly breaking, usually due to minor past damage or flaws.
The Gods glass is tall and narrow, which makes it best for water, juice, and cocktails, and the slightly tapered sides allow it to stack. Its weighted base also helps keep the glass stable and lessens the risk of it being knocked over by an errant elbow.
The weighted base of the Gods glass helps keep it stable and lessens the risk of it being knocked over. The weighted base of the Gods glass helps keep it stable and lessens the risk of it being knocked over.
The sides of the US Acrylic tumbler are thin but durable, and have no seams or ridges around the perimeter of the glass. Though these aren’t the cheapest plastic option available, we think paying a bit more for the US Acrylic tumbler gets you a more refined drinking vessel.
That said, a plastic cup is the most convenient option for picnics, outdoor parties, and poolside lounging. One of the great features of the US Acrylic tumbler is that it gives the illusion of real glass, so it’s a significant step up from the ubiquitous colored Solo cup.
The US Acrylic cups were the only plastic ones we tested that weren’t branded with the maker’s unsightly logo on the bottom. In certain light, we noticed that they have a slight purple hue, but we’re willing to forgive this minor flaw because they look so much like real glass.
The US Acrylic tumbler (left) is similar in size and shape to our soda-lime pick, the IKEA Gods glass (right). The tapered shape of the US Acrylic tumblers allows them to stack, but because they’re so tall, they take up more space in a cupboard.
The US Acrylic tumbler (left) is similar in size and shape to our soda-lime pick, the IKEA Gods glass (right). One of the great features of the US Acrylic tumbler is that it gives the illusion of real glass, so it’s a significant step up from the ubiquitous colored Solo cup.
In our drop tests, the US Acrylic tumblers bounced in defiance after a 3-foot plummet onto a marble floor. Though all the plastic tumblers we tested fared well, the US Acrylic ones scratched the least, even after multiple drops.
And after more than 20 wash and dry cycles in the dishwasher, the plastic didn’t fade or crack. The American-made US Acrylic tumblers come in a set of six glasses and are available in multiple sizes: 9, 12, 16, and 24 ounces.
And when it does, it crumbles into many tiny cube-shaped pieces, which can be alarming (though, as mentioned in another section of this guide, it’s intentionally designed to shatter in this manner as a safety precaution). As the inside cools, it pulls at the stiff, compressed outer layer, which puts the center of the glass in tension.
However, according to our experts, spontaneous fracture in tempered glassware is pretty rare, and in general it’s much more durable than non-heat-treated soda-lime glass. Though tempered glassware can withstand extreme hot/cold temperature changes, we still wouldn’t recommend testing its limits by subjecting it to unnecessary abuse (such as taking a glass from a cold fridge and filling it with boiling water).
After removing glasses from a hot dishwasher, the experts we spoke to recommend letting them cool before stacking them in a cupboard. We like how well the Five Two Stackable Glassware stacks without sticking, but some of our testers with smaller hands felt that the glasses were a bit too wide and uncomfortable to hold.
It didn’t fare as well as our other tempered glass picks when dropped onto a marble floor. Even those that were fond of its design referred to it as “odd.” In our tests, it was the only glass that broke when we hit it against the edge of a marble counter.
The elegant thinned-walled Stole Mainland Tall Tumbler was the only nonleaded crystal glass we tested. Because this glass has such a narrow opening, our testers complained that the edge of the rim hit the bridge of their noses while drinking.
The Wormhole Bodega is a nice, basic glass but it stuck together when stacked and doesn’t have the thick bottom we were seeking. However, it has a lot of branding on the underside of the cup and an annoying seam around the perimeter of the lip that we found distracting.
Eve O'Neill is a senior staff writer reporting on travel and outdoors at Wire cutter. She can remember the titles on her childhood bookshelf that set her in this direction: Into Thin Air, On The Road, The Call of the Wild.