There’s something special about carefully setting out your best silverware on your dining table when you’re expecting guests for supper — a fact that’s especially true during the holiday season. With Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, we’ve begun to think about all those little finishing touches that will make our feasts and festivities that much merrier. But who’s to say we have to wait? If you ask us, life’s too short to only use our best utensils for company. If you feel like we do and want to put your best flatware forward on a more regular basis, we’ve got you covered. Below, find 12 stellar silverware sets you can use whenever the fancy strikes!
What is the best silverware?
The best cutlery for daily use is typically made of stainless steel. Though silverware can be crafted from metals such as aluminum, these tend to rust and are not as durable as the old steel standbys. Higher-end options may also be made from more precious metals, such as gold and sterling silver, but prices for 925 silver utensils (those that are made from at least 92.5 percent real silver) can start from $150 for a single spoon.
Those shopping for stainless steel cutlery will likely come across the following descriptions: stainless steel 18/0, stainless steel 18/8, and stainless steel 18/10. The first number depicts the percentage of chrome found in the product, while the second number represents the percentage of nickel. For a heavy-duty, rust-free, stainless steel product with plenty of corrosion resistance, opt for the highest level of nickel — 18/10.
When it comes to cutlery, most collections are comprised of your basic dinner forks, spoons, and knives. Fully comprehensive sets might also include separate forks, spoons, and knives for different meal courses, as well as serving utensils, such as ladles or butter knives.
How to Place Silverware
While you can, of course, place your eating utensils any which way you like, be it on the plate, wrapped in a napkin, or upright in a glass, fans of proper protocol can follow these five easy steps below from the etiquette gurus over at The Emily Post Institute to create a table placement that will rival a royal butler’s.
1. Forks go to the left of the plate, with knives and spoons on the right.
2. Knives are placed with the blade facing the plate.
3. Eating utensils should be placed in order of use, working from the outside in
4. Only set out the utensils that will be used (i.e., there’s no need for a dessert fork if you’re serving chocolate mousse).
5. Dessert spoon and dessert forks should be placed on the table horizontally at the top of the plate, with the spoon on top and the fork underneath. The spoon head should be angled toward the left, while fork prongs should face the right.
To recap, if you’re serving soup, salad, a main course, and cake — in that order — the table setting, from left to right, would go: salad fork, dinner fork, plate, dessert spoon (placed horizontally above the plate), dessert fork (placed underneath the dessert spoon), dinner knife, salad knife, and soup spoon.
To completely floor your guests, you can also set a small bread plate above the forks with a butter knife resting diagonally across its width. Glassware should go above the knives on the righthand side.
How to Polish Silverware at Home
To ensure your cutlery stays in tip-top shape, dry items well after washing. You should also give them a quick polish when taking them out of the dishwasher and before putting them away. To get them extra sparkly, you can soak them in a basin of water and white vinegar mixture (one part vinegar to eight parts hot water) every few months. Leave them in the solvent for a full 10 minutes before giving them a quick rinse under the tap. To finish them off, wipe them well with a clean lint-free dish towel.
Before you get to cleaning, however, you’ll need to find your perfect set. We’ve selected 12 of the most stylish, durable cutlery collections on the market to suit every style, requirement, and budget. Keep scrolling for Woman’s World’s picks for the best silverware sets.
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7. Best Silverware with Wooden Handles — Lanskyware 24 Piece Flatware Set for 6
Best Silverware with Wooden Handles — Lanskyware 24-Piece Set
Where to buy: $37.99, Amazon
For a modern take on those old-school démodé 70's cutlery sets with the chunky wooden handles, have a look at Lanskyware's 24-piece flatware set. These elegant, slimline items are made with 18/10 stainless steel and food-grade, non-toxic wood, making them safe and strong utensils that will last you a long, long time — providing you wash them by hand and dry immediately after washing, that is! If the gold is a little too extravagant for your tastes, you can also opt for a 20-piece silver version ($27.99, Amazon).
1. Best Silverware Sale — Villeroy & Boch Medina 64-Piece Flatware Set
Best Heavy Duty Silverware — Villeroy & Boch Medina 64-Piece
Where to buy: $1,027, Macy’s
For a timelessly elegant silverware set that's sure to last you a lifetime, you can’t go wrong with Villeroy & Boch's Medina set. With 64 pieces of cutlery, you'll have enough pieces to cater a party of 12. It also includes a handy serving spoon, a slotted serving spoon, a meat fork, and a gravy ladle to really get things cooking. Items are fully dishwasher-safe.
2. Best Vintage-Style Silverware — Oneida Michelangelo 45-Piece Flatware Set
Best Vintage Inspired Silverware Set — Oneida Michelangelo 45-Piece
Where to buy: $420, Macy’s
Oneida's Michelangelo 45-piece flatware set could fit right into a royal setting with its superior metal craftsmanship and antique look. Comprised of eight separate serving sets plus five convenient serving utensils, this collection comes with a lifetime manufacturer's guarantee, making it a seriously stellar investment.
3. Most Economical Silverware Set — Cambridge Silversmiths Logan Rainbow Mirror 20-Piece Flatware Set
Best Cheap Silverware — Cambridge Silversmiths Logan Rainbow Mirror 20-Piece
Where to buy: $37.99, Walmart
For a 20-piece stainless steel flatware set on the cheap, check out Cambridge's Silversmiths Logan set, which serves four people. The funky rainbow mirror design is sure to delight your guests, and its aurora effect means the cutlery will never need to be polished. These dinner and salad forks, knives, spoons, and teaspoons are all dishwasher safe, and buyers report that they're sturdy, heavy, and “even more beautiful in person" — all for less than $2 per piece!
4. Best Gold Flatware Set — Hampton Forge Skandia Zephyr 20-Piece Flatware Set
Best Gold Silverware Set — Skandia Zephyr 20-Piece
Where to buy: $109.99, Bed, Bath & Beyond
Add a touch of pizzazz to your life with Skandia's Zephyr flatware set for four. Designed with a timeless and modern satin gold titanium finish over 18/10 stainless steel, these pieces are as durable as they are eye-catching, prompting one buyer to write, “I am so surprised at the amazing quality of this set. It looks so good, feels nice and sturdy, and all my guests are complimenting how gorgeous this set is. Highly recommend!”
5. Best Black Flatware Set — Ginkgo Simple 44-Piece Flatware Set
Best Black Silverware Set — Ginkgo Simple 44-Piece
Where to buy: $300.00, Nordstrom
Minimalists everywhere will have an "a-ha!" moment as soon as they lay eyes on this Ginkgo simple flatware set. With cutlery for eight people and four extra serving utensils (solid serving spoon, pierced serving spoon, meat fork, and sauce ladle) this sophisticated set has a black finish to appeal to lovers of understated design. It's also made from a mix of sturdy 18/10 stainless steel and titanium oxide, so you can safely pop it in the dishwasher after use.
6. Most Stylish Silverware Set — Italian Collection 'Luxor' 20-Piece Flatware Set
Most Stylish Silverware Set — Italian Collection Luxor 20-Piece
Where to buy: $66.99, Walmart
Mediterranean design has long been one of the most coveted interior styles around the world, and this Italian Collection Luxor flatware set is prime example of why. Made from heavy-duty 18/10 stainless steel with detailed square gold and silver blocks with a square-edged handles, this four-piece set comes in a gift box that's perfect for stowing it away — or presenting to a loved one.
8. Best Silverware Set for 4 — Gourmet Settings Silver Tear 20-Piece Flatware Set
Best Silverware Set for 4 — Gourmet Settings 20-Piece
Where to buy: $57.99 (Originally $68.31) Amazon
Architecture fans will love the unique, twisty handles and fluid drop edges of this affordable-yet-strong stainless steel 20-piece cutlery set from Gourmet Settings. Featuring a super-shiny, lustrous finish that's tarnish-resistant and dishwasher safe, this handy collection will feed parties of up to four. Its low price means that you can afford to buy two, however, should you need additional settings. There's a 50-year manufacturer's warranty to boot.
9. Best Silverware Set for 8 — Oneida Golden Mandolina 45-Piece Flatware Set
Best Silverware Set for 8 — Oneida Golden Mandolina 45-Piece
Where to buy: $415.00, Macy’s
Classic, elegant, sophisticated, timeless, regal… We could go on and on about this Oneida Golden Mandolina 45-piece flatware set. With cutlery for up to eight, it's got unique engraving and gold detailing that will make for a fine tablescape, indeed. Its five-utensil hostess kit is also stocked with a serving spoon, pierced serving spoon, serving fork, butter knife, and sugar spoon.
10. Best Silverware Set for 12 — Towle Silversmiths 90-Piece Hotel Flatware Service
Best Silverware Set for 12 — Towle Silversmiths 90-Piece
Where to buy: $172.90 (Originally: $390.00), Horchow
With a whopping 90 pieces of cutlery (that's 12 five-piece place settings!), this Towle Silversmiths Hotel flatware set ensures that salad and dinner forks, knives, tablespoons, and teaspoons will be in abundance at your home. Two serving spoons (one pierced), a serving fork, a pie server, a sugar spoon, and a butter knife sweeten the deal.
11. Best Designer Silverware Set — Kate Spade New York Fair Harbor 45-Piece Flatware Set
Best Designer Silverware — Kate Spade New York Fair Harbor 45-Piece
Where to buy: $200, Bloomingdale’s
As is typical of Kate Spade products, this Fair Harbor flatware set is plenty durable thanks to its 18/10 stainless steel construction. We mostly love it, however, for its chic and minimalistic design, which features clean lines that aren't too “in your face.”
One happy buyer raved, “I absolutely love the way [this set] looks: It's heavy, [and has a] high-quality feel and ease of care. Does great in the dishwasher and [you] can't beat the price.”
12. Best Splurge Silverware Set — Christofle Mood 24-Piece Flatware Set
Best Luxury Silverware Set — Christofle Mood 24-Piece Flatware Set
Where to buy: $1,490, Bloomingdale’s
If you’re looking to invest in silverware that will never go out of style or lose its value, you might want to consider shelling out for this Christofle Mood 24-piece collection. Complete with a stainless steel, egg-shaped container that provides effortless storage, this set offers up place settings for up to six people. It also comes equipped with care instructions from Christofle to ensure your set always stays as good as new.