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Just because flatware is a given for every household doesn't mean the process of selecting it should be overlooked. Silverware and cutlery come in various materials, weights, shapes, finishes, and designs. While the style is ultimately a personal choice, the material and finish will affect your flatware's durability and cleaning requirements—after all, you don't want to end up with flatware that's not dishwasher-safe.
Decorist designer Tina Martin of Tina Martin Interiors explains that there's a wide variety of styles to choose from. "You have the basic flatware that you'll find in most homes, which includes a fork, knife, and spoon," she says. However, some higher-end sets and formal collections can include additional pieces, such as a "salad fork, dinner fork, dessert fork, oyster fork, table knife, steak knife, and dessert knife."
Whether you're looking for everyday forks and spoons, a starter set for your first apartment, a high-end collection for special occasions, a housewarming gift, or something to add to your wedding registry, you've come to the right place. With pointers from Martin in mind, we rounded up the choicest eating utensils for every home, occasion, taste, and budget.
Ahead, the best flatware sets out there today.
Best Overall: Dansk Hendrick 20-Piece Flatware Set
Though it's nearly impossible to pick just one flatware collection, there's no denying that the Dansk Hendrick stands out from the rest. This striking 20-piece set includes four dinner forks, four salad forks, four butter knives, four soup spoons, and four teaspoons.
Made of 18/10 stainless steel, each piece flaunts smooth curves, tapered points, a light yet sturdy handle, and a brilliantly glossy sheen. While the Hendrick Flatware set is understated and versatile, it's also undeniably sleek and design-savvy. You'll appreciate that it's dishwasher-safe too.
Best Budget: Mainstays Camfield 20 Piece Stainless Steel Flatware Set
On a budget? No problem. Check out this 20-piece flatware set from Walmart's Mainstays line, which includes dinner forks, salad forks, butter knives, dinner spoons, and teaspoons. Made of dishwasher-safe stainless steel, the Camfield collection features subtle decorative detailing and a versatile design. The slightly larger handles are a contrast to the super narrow styles that are popular right now, but are easier to hold and have timeless appeal.
Best Splurge: Fable Home Flatware Set
Open to splurging on high-quality, design-forward flatware? Take a look at this stunning set from Fable Home. Crafted in Portugal from 18/10 stainless steel with a PVD (physical vapor deposition) finish, you can bet these dishwasher-safe utensils will remain rust-free without discoloration for many years to come. The 20-piece set comes with dinner forks, salad forks, large spoons, small spoons, and knives, and is available in four finishes, including silver, gold, and black.
Best Modern: Fortessa Tableware Solutions Arezzo Flatware
For those who gravitate toward modern place settings, we recommend Fortessa Tableware's flatware. The 20-piece set offers service for four people, including two sizes of modish circular spoons. Crafted from heavy-gauge 18/10 stainless steel, the squared handles will feel sturdy and balanced in your hand. And if you need anything extra (or less), you can also purchase as a five-piece set, including one of each piece.
Best Colorful: Mepra Fantasia Color Flatware Set
Want to add some color to your at-home dining experience? Your best bet is Mepra's Fantasia collection. This Italian-made flatware comes in an impressive 19 color options, including a few mixed sets with multiple hues. Made of 18/20 stainless steel with pigmented resin handles, you can bet it's dishwasher-safe and durable. You can buy in sets of five, 20, 30, 40, and even 60.
Best Farmhouse: Farmhouse Pottery Coventry Flatware
For rustic design enthusiasts, we suggest the Coventry Flatware set from Farmhouse Pottery. The collection is crafted from 18/10 dishwasher-safe stainless steel and features a slightly antiqued finish along with subtle detailing around the edges. This silverware is sold in sets of five or 20, and includes dinner forks, salad forks, dinner knives, soup spoons, and dessert spoons. It's definitely expensive, but has a gorgeous look that'll never go out of style.
Best Gold: Mercury Row Ammons 20-Piece Flatware Set
If you're drawn to gold flatware, setting the table will be a joy with the Ammons Flatware Set in your arsenal. Available on Wayfair, it's made of 18/0 stainless steel and features a dazzling yellow-gold finish. You'll get 20 pieces, each with a narrow handle and balanced grip. The set is also available in copper and silver, but how can you say no to the gold set's gorgeous shine?
Best Black: Year & Day Four-Person Flatware Settings
If your tableware tastes lean more modern, opt for flatware with a black finish, like this set from Year & Day. It comes with 20 pieces in total, including two fork sizes, two spoon sizes, and butter knives. The 18/10 stainless steel is hand-finished with a matte black hue, which complements the minimalist head shape and rounded handles. Rest assured you'll get a high quality product—each piece is hand-finished and made in a family-owned factory in Portugal.
Best Copper: Cambridge Silversmiths Beacon Copper Flatware 20-Piece Set
Impress your guests with the Beacon Collection by Cambridge Silversmiths. This dishwasher-safe copper flatware is made of stainless steel and boasts a mirror-like shine. The 20-piece set includes service for four people, including a dinner fork, a salad fork, a butter knife, a dinner spoon, and a teaspoon, each with straight handles and soft, subtle curves. It's a perfect way to add some extra flair to your dinner table without going overboard.
Best Vintage: Pottery Barn Vintage Hotel Silver Flatware, Set of 5
If you're partial to vintage décor and accessories, take a look at this gorgeous set from Pottery Barn. Each piece of this five-piece set was found throughout France and the surrounding countries, which is why you'll notice the designs complement one another but aren't exactly the same. While you already know these silver-plated utensils have stood the test of time, you might also be pleased to learn they're dishwasher-safe.
Best Skinny: Hampton Forge Skandia Zephyr 20-Piece Flatware Set
Go with something more trendy with the Hampton Forge Zephyr collection. This 20-piece flatware set includes dinner forks, butter knives, salad forks, soup spoons, and teaspoons. Each ultra-chic utensil is slightly longer than average, featuring skinny handles with sleek, tapered ends. Not only is the shape modern, but the set comes in a stylish gold finish that'll stand out on any dining table.
Best 3-Piece Set: Kinn Home Everyday Flatware Set
If you just want to stick with the basics, a three-piece set like this option from Kinn Home is a great idea. Made of 18/10 titanium-coated stainless steel, this set comes with just one fork, one spoon, and one knife. Lightweight and elegant, it has a brushed matte finish and comes in four colors: stainless, gold, nickel, and copper. It's definitely on the more expensive side, but will last for years and is guaranteed to be used every single day.
Best Service for 10: Belleek Occasions 72-Piece Cutlery Set
Recommended by Martin, this 72-piece flatware set includes service for 10 people. In addition to the standard utensils, you'll get dessert spoons and dessert knives, plus two serving spoons. Belleek's Occasions collection is made of 18/10 stainless steel, polished to perfection and dishwasher-safe. Plus, it comes with a wooden case so everything can be stored easily if you only want to use it for special occasions.
Best Service for 12: Oneida Soar 65-Piece Flatware Set
Martin is also a fan of the Oneida Soar collection, and we can see why. It's made of tarnish-resistant, dishwasher-safe stainless steel and flaunts a shiny mirror-like finish. This 65-piece set includes service for up to 12 people, plus five serving utensils, making it a perfect option for holidays and dinner parties. It's a great value buy too, with a budget-friendly price considering everything you get.
The best flatware overall is the Dansk Hendrick collection (view at Food52), a 20-piece dishwasher-safe stainless steel set with smooth curves and beautifully tapered points. For folks on a budget, we suggest the wallet-friendly Mainstays Camfield Flatware Set (view at Walmart), which is made of dishwasher-safe stainless steel and includes service for four people.
What to Look for in Flatware
When browsing flatware sets, you'll want to pay attention to the material. Most sets are made of stainless steel, which is generally durable and most often dishwasher-safe. Ideally, it should be labeled 18/10, which signifies that the stainless steel features 18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel to prevent rust and corrosion.
Another option is silver-plated flatware. This typically means the pieces are made of steel, brass, or copper and feature a thin silver coating. Silver-plated utensils can mimic the appearance of solid sterling silver while providing the same durability as stainless steel.
"There are a few different styles of flatware out there," Martin says. You've got modern designs with circular heads and skinny handles, tarnished options that exude a farmhouse appeal, vintage (or vintage-inspired) silverware with intricate patterns, and everything in between. Beyond the shape, plated decals, and engraving, flatware comes in various colors and finishes. Outside of silver, there's black, copper, and gold, along with matte finishes and mirror-like sheens.
When shopping around for flatware, you'll also want to note the amount. Most sets come with 20 pieces, including four dinner forks, four salad/dessert forks, four soup/dinner spoons, four teaspoons, and four butter/dinner knives.
However, some include service for only one person, meaning you'd only get one of each piece and will need to order multiple sets, which can drive up the price. Then there are larger sets, which can include service for six, eight, 10, 12, or more people. Consider your needs and go from there.
How should you care for flatware?
Flatware can be washed either in the dishwasher or by hand, just like your other dishes, serving utensils, and cutlery. If you're washing by hand, we recommend drying them with a hand towel or placing them with the handles down on a drying rack.
For everyday sets, Martin says, "I recommend something that is dishwasher-safe because you'll be washing it daily." Be sure to place the pieces with the handles down in the dishwasher to get a better clean and avoid dulling the heads.
How many sets of flatware should you buy?
"If you have the space in your kitchen, I highly recommend having two sets of flatware," says Martin. The most important set is your daily flatware, which usually consists of a fork, knife, and spoon. "Then for a more formal setting," says Martin, "I would opt for something like your grandma's silver that you only bring out for dinner parties or special occasions."
How can you tell whether or not flatware is real silverware?
To figure out whether your flatware is real sterling silver, as opposed to silver-plated or stainless steel, start by buffing it with a non-abrasive soft white cloth. Genuine silver will leave a slight black mark on the white fabric. This is due to a chemical reaction silver has with oxygen (oxidation), which creates a patina, unlike stainless steel, which doesn't leave a mark.
Why Trust MyDomaine?
MyDomaine contributor Theresa Holland is a commerce writer specializing in home design, lifestyle, and recreation. For this story, she interviewed an interior designer for product recommendations and insight into what features to look for in flatware. Before making her final selections, she considered dozens of sets from myriad brands, carefully combing through user reviews and product specs. Theresa has been writing for MyDomaine since 2020.