Your Ultimate Guide To Buying The Best Cutlery Set

How many people do you usually entertain? Do you have a big family? Is it for restaurant use or personal use? Are you buying for everyday dining or a special occasion? Perhaps you’re looking for a traveling set?

These are only some of the questions you need to answer before getting the best cutlery set for you.

A standard cutlery set consists of a fork, spoon, a teaspoon, and a knife. Depending on the type of table setting you prefer to achieve, you may add more items such as a soup spoon, a salad fork, and butter knife.

An extensive cutlery set includes more types of spoon and fork implements and often used at a more formal dinner setting.

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

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What’s The Difference Between Cutlery And Silverware?

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You probably associate cutlery with its root word, “cut”, and it’s valid. But a cutlery set doesn’t solely consist of cutting instruments. So, in the United States, cutlery is more commonly known as “silverware”. Some people even call it “flatware”.

However, not all cutlery sets are made of silver, which causes confusion to many, so Americans who refused to call it “cutlery” have begun calling it flatware instead.The city of Sheffield thanks history as it holds bragging rights to manufacturing the highest quality cutlery in all of England.

William Turner pioneered the cutlery industry in Sheffield, England, and the city enjoyed a monopoly of the English cutlery trade in the 17th century. In the United Kingdom and its neighbors, the term “cutlery” is still actively used.


What To Look For

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Other than the weight and balance of cutlery in your hands, high-quality cutlery must have a mirrored surface. Here are other things you need to consider when shopping for a cutlery set:

Material & Composition

  • Stainless Steel

You will see these numbers: 18/10 and 18/8 when shopping for cutlery. These show the chemical composition of the steel.

18/10 means the cutlery is made of 18% chromium (hardness) and 10% nickel (shine and corrosion resistance), while 18/8 means it’s 18% chromium and 8% nickel.

  • Sterling Silver - U.S.-made sterling silver will have a mark that says “Sterling” or “.925”.U.S.-made sterling silver will have a mark that says “Sterling” or “.925”.
  • Silver Plated - has a thin silver plating and no intrinsic silver value, more expensive than stainless steel

Design

A cutlery’s design plays a prominent role in its pricing and maintenance. The more traditional designs are often intrinsic and are obviously pricier. Classic designs will have simpler shapes and almost no distinguishing feature.

Some will have stamped patterns which may include the manufacturer’s name. Signature designs will have an engraving of the designer’s name.


What Do Cutlery Sets Include?

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Standard cutlery sets will include the basics - a knife, spoon, and fork. For formal dinners, elite, or diplomatic table settings, an extensive cutlery set is fitting.

Here’s an in-depth video showing a formal table setting and how to use such cutlery set correctly- see video. Extensive or grander cutlery sets may have the following implements:

Knives

Cutlery sets may include different knives that serve different purposes. Each type is designed to perform a particular task, depending on the food it’ll be used for. At a formal dinner setting, the knife is placed to the right of the plate, with the sharp side facing the plate.

  • Dinner knife - the longest knife on the table, typically 9.5”-10” long
  • Butter knife - the smallest knife on the table, has a rounded point
  • Fruit knife - has a pointed tip and serrated blade for cutting and peeling fruits
  • Luncheon knife - slightly smaller than the dinner knife
  • Steak knife - substitutes the dinner knife if steak is on the menu, usually serrated
  • Fish knife - an 8-inch knife with a dull edge included in the setting if fish is on the menu
  • Dessert knife - used for the last course of the meal, 8” long

Spoons

You don’t usually use a spoon in your everyday meals unless you’re serving soup. But at a formal dinner setting, you’ll see different types of spoons placed to the right of the knives. Each spoon on that table serves a specific purpose.

  • Teaspoon - used to stir coffee or tea
  • Soup spoon - a spoon with rounded bowl for eating soup
  • Oval soup spoon - soup spoon with oval-shaped bowl for eating soups with grains, meat, pasta or vegetables
  • Bouillon spoon - a smaller soup spoon for jellied soups
  • Coffee spoon - the smaller spoon on the table, used for stirring coffee or tea
  • Demitasse spoon - the spoon used to add sugar to coffee
  • Fruit spoon - a spoon with pointed tip and elongated bowl, usually used for eating melons
  • Tablespoon - equivalent to three teaspoons, used for eating the main course
  • Place spoon - slightly bigger than a teaspoon but smaller than a tablespoon, an all-purpose spoon
  • Dessert spoon - a spoon with shallow bowl, used for eating sweets and puddings
  • Sundae spoon - a spoon with a long handle perfect for a sundae glass, used for ice cream, yogurt, and floats

Forks

Irrespective of your handedness, forks should always be placed to your dinner plate’s left. You’ll see forks that have two tines (prongs). These are for cutting meat. Three and four-tined forks are used for everything else.

You’ll be surprised to see an array of specialized forks in the more extensive cutlery sets.

  • Salad fork - three-pronged to easily get leafy greens, outer tines are slightly longer
  • Pasta fork - a fork with significantly longer tines for holding noodles
  • Seafood fork / Cocktail fork - a narrow three-pronged fork used to spear seafood
  • Dinner fork - a 7-inch fork reserved for the main course
  • Dessert fork - used for eating pastries following the main course

Highly Recommended Cutlery Sets

Years of attending dinner parties familiarized us with the most interesting and finest cutlery sets known to man. Though some come with an impossible price tag, they’re not always the best. Here are five of our most recommended:

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

1. Utopia Kitchen Sterling Quality 20-piece Flatware Set

This 20-piece flatware collection from Utopia Kitchen best exemplifies the classic cutlery - clean, simple, timeless, and functional. Made of stainless steel with a hi-luster finish. The sculptured handle and engraving provide a textured feel for users.

Set includes (4) dinner forks, (4) salad forks, (4) teaspoons, (4) dinner spoons, and (4) knives. The pieces are all dishwasher-safe made.


Pros

  • Sleek design with engraving
  • Heavy handle
  • Smooth rounded edges on the handles and spoons
  • Perfect weight and balance
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Affordable set

Cons

  • 18/0 stainless steel lacks some shine
  • Bigger pair of spoon and fork may be too big even for adults.

2. Farberware Chipotle Sand 20-piece Flatware Set

This Farberware Chipotle Sand cutlery set from Cambridge Silversmiths is a 20-piece set that includes four (4) of each: salad fork, dinner fork, dinner knife, soup spoon, and teaspoon.

All pieces are made of 18/0 stainless steel and have a brushed finish on the handles.

The pieces weigh an average of 2.9 pounds each and measures as long as 11.2 inches. This cutlery set’s manufacturer has been supplying flatware to Better Homes and Gardens, Food Network, and celebrities.


Pros

  • Durable, perfect for everyday use
  • Dinner fork and soup spoon fit tiny hands well
  • Attractive contrast of the semi-matt handles and the polished tines and bowls
  • Comes with a 25-year limited warranty

Cons

  • 18/0 stainless steel does not give mirror-quality reflection and may leave water marks
  • Relatively lightweight

3. Wallace Queens 65-piece Stainless Steel Flatware Set

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the intrinsic design on this cutlery set. This beautiful collection adds a touch of elegance to yout table setting which makes it perfect for a more formal dining event.

The 65-piece set includes twelve (12) of each: dinner fork, salad fork, dinner spoon, teaspoon, and dinner knife. It also includes two tablespoons, a cold meat fork, a sugar spoon, and a butter knife.

There’s no question about its constructions’ durability and strength as it’s made of 18/10 stainless steel. All pieces are dishwasher-safe.


Pros

  • Strong tines and handles made of 18/0 stainless steel
  • Stands up well to extended period of being underwater
  • No sharp edges on either spoons and forks
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons

  • 18/0 stainless steel will eventually rust and lose its shine if not properly kept
  • Very long dinner fork

4. Bruntmore 40-piece Stainless Steel Crux Silverware Set

The Bruntmore 40-piece Silverware Set comes with a mirror-quality polish and will not hold any water mark or rust.

The simple design, its shape, and smooth edges are timeless and are suited for both everyday use and special occasions. Each piece is carefully wrapped in a polyethylene bag, preventing moisture during packaging and transport.

This cutlery set is made of 18/10 stainless steel that is inflexible. The design offers a good grip for both children and adults. This 40-piece silverware contains eight (8) of each: salad fork, smaller fork, tablespoon, teaspoon, and knife.


Pros

  • Weighs 5 lbs and provides good grip and balance
  • Flawless edges
  • Made of strong 18/10 stainless steel
  • Rounded edges at bottom tips are easy on the hands
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons

  • Teaspoon size is the size of a normal tablespooon.

5. Ginkgo International Lafayette 65-piece Stainless Steel Flatware Set

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The Lafayette 65-piece Flatware Set collection from Ginkgo International boasts of a colonial, hand-hammered design. The hammered finish on the handles create a stunning mirror tile-reflection. All handles taper from a slender neck to nice smooth round tab end.

The spoon bowls are squoval (square and oval) in shape. The prongs are a bit longer than normal, and are perfect for salads.

This cutlery set is also available in sets of 20 and 42. The 65-piece set includes five (5) of each: butter knife, solid spoon, slotted spoon, meat fork, and a ladel.


Pros

  • Aesthetically advantaged, combination of traditional and contemporary design
  • All pieces are thick, heavy, and give good balance in the hands
  • Nice curves
  • Made of 18/0 stainless stell but with unique finish
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons

  • 18/0 stainless steel may produce corrosion over time
  • Smaller than expected

The Winner

Considering price, design, construction, and composition, the Bruntmore 40-piece Stainless Steel Crux Silverware Set emerged as the winner in our books.

Not only are the pieces fitting for adults, but our kids didn’t have a problem holding the spoons and forks. The grip is its best feature, while its 18/10 stainless steel strength and rust-resistant feature comes second.

Although a bit pricey, we can say every dollar was worth it. If you’re looking to get a larger set for a buffer or regular entertaining purposes, we highly recommend the Bruntmore Crux Silverware Set. It met all of the requirements and after two years of use and proper care, we’re still using it!

Have you purchased a rather expensive cutlery set as a gift and it came out disappointing? What is your deal breaker when buying cutlery?

Let’s share funny stories or useful tips in the comments below! Did you find the article useful enough for you to share it? Please do, we’d appreciate it!

Paula Hughes
 

I’m Paula, and I’m absolutely in love with food blogs. I’m a foodie at heart but being the mother of two small boys, it’s not always easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so I rely on the support of other blogging moms like me to help along the way.

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