As seen in:
Lenox Portola
65-Piece Flatware Set
J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL
65-Piece Alcea Flatware Set
Oneida Mooncrest
45-Piece Flatware Set, Service for 8
International Silver American Bead Stainless Steel Flatware
53-Piece Set
Farberware
Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware Set, 18/0 Stainless Steel
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Good

18/10 steel is durable and resistant to rust. Includes a hostess set and 12 place settings.

Serrated knives can cut through steak. Includes a hostess set and 12 place settings.

Low-grade stainless steel (18/0) may be more prone to rusting and pitting.

Low-priced stainless steel. Includes eight steak knives.

Inexpensive stainless steel. Simple, elegant design.

Bad

Some reports of discoloration in the larger hostess set pieces.

This European-sized flatware set may require an extra-large storage tray.

Low-grade stainless steel (18/0) may be more prone to rusting and pitting.

Low-grade material (18/0 stainless steel) is prone to rusting and pitting. Steak knives have plastic handles.

Some owner complaints about knives being too sharp/rough. No hostess set.

Bottom Line

A comprehensive flatware set of the highest quality. The best on the market.

High-quality, "larger than average" flatware for a reasonable price.

Containing eight place settings, this 18/0 set is an upgrade over cheap flatware from a department store.

Although this set hails from a time-tested manufacturer, some consumers will have issues with its overall quality.

This entry-level set is a bargain for those who only require four sets of flatware. The value per dollar is the best available.

How we decide
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Products received from manufacturers
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Models Considered
37
Hours Spent
2
Experts Interviewed
172
Consumers Consulted

Best Flatware Sets

Selecting flatware has always been a balancing act between form and function. Flatware designed for everyday use should be aesthetically pleasing, but it should also feel secure in the user's hands. Stainless steel is definitely the preferred base for quality flatware, but not all stainless steel products are alike. Consumers should look for tell-tale signs of quality, such as 18/8 or 18/10 composition and one-piece forged knife construction. A five-piece "hostess" set is another useful feature you'll find in some – but not all – top flatware sets. Here is our analysis of the five best stainless steel flatware available today.

Products we considered

Lenox Portola
65-Piece Flatware Set
J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL
65-Piece Alcea Flatware Set
Oneida Mooncrest
45-Piece Flatware Set, Service for 8
International Silver American Bead Stainless Steel Flatware
53-Piece Set
Farberware
Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware Set, 18/0 Stainless Steel

Considerations

Construction/Design

Construction and design are important considerations when it comes to buying flatware. In this section of our review, we take a close look at the patterns, weight, and durability of each top contender. While 18/10 or 18/8 may be considered the industry standard for quality stainless steel flatware, we cannot dismiss some 18/0 flatware sets. The percentage of chromium (first number) and nickel (second number) affects overall strength and corrosion resistance, but it is not the only consideration. Shoppers, in general, are also interested in the relative capacities of tea and soup spoons, as well as the sense of balance and control each piece gives in the hand.

Features

Different manufacturers have different definitions of what constitutes a complete set of flatware. While most agree on the basic set of five utensils (tea spoon, soup or table spoon, salad fork, dinner fork, knife), they don't always agree on the number of utensils that should be included in a collection. Some sets include a "hostess set" of serving utensils (meat forks, butter knives, gravy ladle); others do not. In this section, we discuss what to expect in each contender's original packaging.

Ease of Maintenance

Stainless steel flatware resists corrosion (because of its nickel content) and looks shiny (because of its chromium content). However, that doesn't mean it is completely maintenance-free. In this section, we discuss the proper care and storage of stainless steel flatware, noting any significant customer criticisms/accolades along the way. Most everyday stainless steel flatware is dishwasher safe, but cleaning solutions, water droplets, and even the acidic content of certain foods can have a corrosive effect. Proper storage is another consideration, as is the cost of replacing individual pieces as they "age out."

Price

Generally speaking, it's more economical to purchase a flatware set than it is to purchase individual pieces. Prices vary, however; a 65-piece set from one company could cost the same as a 45-piece set from another. Cost is an important consideration, but consumers also need to shop according to their personal needs and preferences. After all, these utensils will be part of the household for many years to come. In this section of our ratings, we provide information to help potential buyers find the best balance between comfort, durability, and economy.

Considerations

Construction/Design

Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set

The Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set contains 12 sets of standard dinner flatware, each of which includes a tea spoon, soup spoon, dinner knife, salad fork, and dinner fork. Although we have received some reports to the contrary, there is also a five-piece "hostess set" included in the original package. We appreciate Lenox's use of 18/10 stainless steel, which is both rust-resistant and durable. The minimalist design features a curved row of decorative dots framed by two bands that continue on the back of each piece. The dinner knives are not comprised of two "pressed-together" sections; rather, they are stamped from one piece of stainless steel.

J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL 65-Piece Alcea Flatware Set

Among our top flatware set contenders, only the Lenox Portola and J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL 65-Piece Alcea Flatware Set offer 12 complete place settings and a hostess set. The Alcea flatware is on the heavy side, but it's very comfortable in the hand. Each piece is minimally ornamented with a simple scallop pressed into the handle, The dinner knives are made from one piece of stainless steel, and their serrated edges are sharp enough to cut through steak.

Oneida Mooncrest 45-Piece Flatware Set, Service for 8

The Oneida Mooncrest 45-Piece Flatware Set is definitely heavier than some other top contenders, and many satisfied customers like the way it feels in the hand. However, the use of 18/0 (nickel-free) stainless steel does raise some questions about durability and quality control. Because Oneida contracts with several manufacturing plants in different countries, there can be a significant difference in quality between sets. While the chromium content provides shininess and some corrosion resistance, the lack of nickel does make the Oneida Mooncrest 45-Piece Flatware Set vulnerable to pitting and rusting. This is especially noticeable in the larger forks and spoons. The design is very minimalist, which some consumers prefer when using this set to replace pieces from other flatware manufacturers.

International Silver American Bead Stainless Steel Flatware, 53-Piece Set

The International Silver American Bead Stainless Steel Flatware 53-Piece set distinguishes itself from our other contenders in several ways. First of all, it is the only flatware set on our shortlist to use a hollow handle design and two-piece dinner knife construction. This makes the individual pieces noticeably lightweight. Some consumers may find this to be a plus, but others will be disappointed with the thinness of the blades and tines. The tea and soup spoons are sufficiently deep, but the handle is not as sturdy in the hand as some owners would like. The manufacturer's use of 18/0 (nickel-free) stainless steel in the thin, two-piece dinner knives contributes to a notable rusting and pitting issue, but other pieces in the set don't seem to be as affected by the lower-grade stainless steel construction.

Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware Set, 18/0 Stainless Steel

There is some debate over whether or not nickel-free 18/0 flatware belongs in the same grade classification as 18/8 and 18/10 flatware sets. This is a consideration when purchasing an entry-level package like the Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware Set. The mirror finish of each piece is created by the chromium content, but because there is no nickel content, the flatware sometimes has issues with tarnish and rust. We have no problem with the weight of each piece, but we do wish the manufacturer would take additional steps to grind down the flatware's very sharp edges. Some customers tell us the dinner fork and dinner knife look longer than average, but most agree that it still feels balanced in the hand. The decorative banding at the bottom of each piece is simple yet elegant.

The decorative banding at the bottom of each Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble piece is simple yet elegant.
Considerations

Features

Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set

One feature we love about the Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set is the overall weight of each piece. The larger pieces (dinner fork, soup spoon, and dinner knife) feel substantial in the hand, while the smaller tea spoon and salad fork feel equally balanced. Having 12 complete sets of flatware means that a family of four should always have a sufficient number of replacement pieces on hand, as well as enough place settings for larger holiday meals or unexpected dinner guests. The additional "hostess set" includes a sugar spoon, butter serving knife, meat fork, tablespoon, and pierced tablespoon. The pierced tablespoon provides an elegant way to serve dishes containing natural juices, sauces, or gravies.

J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL 65-Piece Alcea Flatware Set

The J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL 65-Piece Alcea Flatware Set contains 12 complete place settings, which should keep most consumers properly supplied with cutlery for years. The five-piece hostess set contains the standard serving pieces, from a meat fork to a butter serving knife. J.A. Henckels' Alcea flatware set is European size, which means the utensils can be up to a 3/4-inch longer than standard American flatware. This information is not readily available in many product descriptions, but it is important for buyers to understand because of storage issues. The pieces may be too long to fit typical silverware storage trays, so purchasing a tray specifically designed for the J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL 65-Piece Alcea Flatware Set may be necessary. Some potential buyers may also be interested in the manufacturer's optional steak knife set, which is available as a separate purchase.

Oneida Mooncrest 45-Piece Flatware Set, Service for 8

It is important to note that the Oneida Mooncrest 45-Piece Flatware Set contains eight place settings instead of twelve. Customers who are shopping for everyday place settings for themselves may be satisfied with an eight-set collection, but those who plan on entertaining guests will probably want to invest in a larger set or purchase additional pieces separately. The Oneida Mooncrest flatware package includes a five-piece hostess set; matching steak knives can be ordered separately. We do have some quality control concerns that stem from Oneida's use of multiple manufacturing plants, but the pieces contained within the set are generally well-matched to each other. Some sources say the Oneida Mooncrest flatware has a matte finish – a desirable feature in certain circles – but we find that the chrome gives it a very shiny finish.

International Silver American Bead Stainless Steel Flatware, 53-Piece Set, 

One feature that sets the International Silver American Bead Stainless Steel Flatware Set apart from other top contenders is the inclusion of eight steak knives. (Other flatware manufacturers offer matching steak knife sets, but they're almost always a separate purchase.) We aren't completely satisfied with the quality of these steak knives, however. The lightweight plastic handles don't match the flatware's design, and they feel flimsy in the hand. Some consumers may be pleased with the idea of not having to purchase additional steak knives for everyday use, but others may want to consider making that investment. We appreciate the fact that this company has been producing quality flatware since 1898, but we believe some consumers would be better served by doing some comparison shopping before settling on this set. Fortunately, a hostess set is included with this purchase.

Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware Set, 18/0 Stainless Steel

The Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware collection contains only four complete sets of standard dinner utensils. No hostess set is included. These facts may sound limiting at first, but many people only need four complete sets of flatware to get through an average day. Unlike the 18/10 flatware sets from Lenox Portola and J.A. HENCKELS, consumers are much more likely to find the Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware Set sitting on department store shelves next to everyday china and bargain-priced cookware. Satisfied customers agree that the overall quality of the Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble Flatware Set is much higher than its entry-level price implies. This product also works well as an affordable "emergency" flatware set when owners suddenly find themselves outnumbered by dinner guests during special events.

The Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning machine makes use of rotating "DirtLifter PowerBrushes" that, when used with Bissell's cleaning formula, can eradicate even the toughest of pet stains.
Susan T.
Expert Consultant
Susan T.
Chef, Food Entrepeneur

Susan Sano Tuveson has been cooking for people for five decades. Educated in music, law, and languages, she left her legal practice to establish Cacao Chocolates in Kittery, Maine. A three-time Best of Seacoast New England winner, the shop was popular for its high-quality artisanal truffles flavored with unusual local ingredients.

Considerations

Ease of Maintenance

Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set

The Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set, made of high-grade 18/10 stainless steel, is completely dishwasher safe, although some spotting is possible immediately after the cleaning cycle is complete. We recommend using a soft cloth to polish each piece before storage. This dinnerware is exceptionally shiny and resists pitting and tarnishing, but we have some concerns about the larger pieces contained in the hostess set. Some discoloration has been reported by otherwise satisfied customers.

J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL 65-Piece Alcea Flatware Set

While 18/10 grade stainless steel is considered to be the best material available for this category of flatware, it does have some issues when it comes to maintenance and storage. Stainless steel is rust resistant, but it's not completely rust proof – especially after extended use. Some Alcea flatware owners tell us that their utensils have developed rust spots in the areas where water accumulates during storage. Rough handling and dishwasher use can also cause minor scratching, but this is to be expected with everyday flatware. We recommend the use of a clean cloth to completely dry and remove water spots after machine or hand washing.

Oneida Mooncrest 45-Piece Flatware Set, Service for 8

18/0 stainless steel does present some maintenance challenges, and the Oneida Mooncrest 45-Piece Flatware Set is not immune to those issues. Problems like tarnishing and pitting can usually be minimized through careful washing and drying; potential buyers should be aware that rust tends to be more of a problem when 18/0 stainless flatware comes into contact with other cutlery that also contains rust. It is a good idea to use a clean, dry cloth to remove all water droplets from the flatware and to store it separately from other dinnerware. The Oneida Mooncrest 45-Piece Flatware Set appears to be the standard size (not the longer European size that can create storage problems). We wish the points of the dinner forks and the edges of the serrated knives were a bit sharper, but our research turned up only a handful of complaints about this from customers.

International Silver American Bead Stainless Steel Flatware, 53-Piece Set

The International Silver American Bead Stainless Steel Flatware Set uses an extremely lightweight design with hollow handles. Notably, the dinner knives are made of two pieces of steel (rather than one). These design choices, combined with 18/0 stainless steel, can be a recipe for serious maintenance issues if proper cleaning and storing practices are not followed. Two-piece hollow dinner knives are prone to separation after several months of use, especially if they are routinely overheated in the dishwasher. The blades of the knives and the tines of the forks are susceptible to bending and warping through rough handling, so users should treat each piece of American Bead flatware with the same level of care that they would a more expensive brand. Cleaning the plastic handles on the steak knives is not easy, so owners may want to keep them stored away until they are actually needed for a meal.

Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware Set, 18/0 Stainless Steel

18/0 stainless steel is dishwasher safe, but it does require some post-washing diligence to reduce the chance of tarnishing or rusting. The Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware Set contains a manageable number of pieces, but we have concerns about the size of the dinner knives and forks. They may be a bit long for some compartmentalized silverware holders, and storing them loosely may contribute to premature rusting or tarnishing. We suggest careful drying of the pieces before storing them away. The flatware's sharp edges may also be problematic during handling and storage. Some treatment with low abrasive chemical cleaners designed for stainless steel cutlery may be required from time to time to maintain this flatware's mirror finish.

The Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set is made of high-grade 18/10 stainless steel and is dishwasher safe.
Considerations

Price

Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set

The Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set's retail price of $66 represents a significant investment in what many perceive to be "everyday" kitchen utensils, but it is an investment worth considering. This set contains 12 full place settings. (Flatware sets found in department stores frequently have only six or eight place settings!) The manufacturer's use of 18/10 stainless steel means consumers get years of performance without sacrificing shine or durability. Lenox is a respected name in the kitchen utensil business, and they offer a generous warranty on all of their products – especially everyday flatware.

J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL 65-Piece Alcea Flatware Set

At a retail price of $99, the J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL 65-Piece Alcea Flatware Set is a worthy alternative to the Lenox Portola set (which also contains 65 pieces). Both sets use 18/10 stainless steel and feature a minimalist design. However, the Alcea flatware is European size, which could be either a selling point or a deal-breaker for potential customers. We happen to like the heaviness of the Alcea flatware, as well as its smooth edges and extended length. The price difference between the Lenox Portola and the J.A. Henckels sets is noticeable, so if economy is a consideration, we suggest looking at the J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL 65-Piece Alcea Flatware Set very closely.

Oneida Mooncrest 45-Piece Flatware Set, Service for 8

The Oneida Mooncrest 45-Piece Flatware Set's retail price point of $49 places it in the mid-range among our shortlist contenders, but it is important to remember that it is only an eight-set collection. When compared to the entry-level flatware often sold in discount stores, the stainless steel Oneida Mooncrest is definitely an upgrade. Budget-minded shoppers should consider investing just a little more money in the Oneida Mooncrest flatware set in order to enjoy the benefits of stainless steel over so-called "bargain" sets made from magnetic steel or aluminum.

International Silver American Bead Stainless Steel Flatware, 53-Piece Set

The International Silver American Bead Stainless Steel Flatware Set costs $34, which makes it a tempting alternative to standard flatware sets sold in department stores at that same general price. We clearly recommend stainless steel flatware, even if it is 18/0 grade, over the stamped metal sets many people buy out of economic necessity. The International Silver American Bead Stainless Steel Flatware 53-Piece set may not have the heft or durability of other contenders on our shortlist, but it does include a decent set of steak knives and a complete hostess set.

Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware Set, 18/0 Stainless Steel

At a low retail price of $29, the Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware Set is definitely a bargain for those whose cutlery needs are modest. Many young couples and single adults seek out affordable flatware sets like Farberware's Poppy Mirror/Pebble collection because it offers the benefits of stainless steel at a price more in line with flatware of high carbon steel or aluminum. A hostess set is not included, but it could be ordered separately. At this price, consumers could purchase two or more sets of Farberware at one time and have enough cutlery on hand for special occasions. With the money saved, a hostess set and/or additional steak knife set could also be purchased.

Lenox is a respected name in the kitchen utensil business, and the company offers a generous warranty on all of their products – including the Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set.

Best of the Best

Many young adults purchase the least expensive sets of everyday flatware they can find. Often, they regret their money-saving decision a few months down the road. The key, in an ideal world, is to invest in a high-quality set of 18/10 stainless steel dinnerware and maintain it for years.

While all of our top flatware set contenders deliver on the promise of durability and shine, there is one set that towers above the others in all areas of consideration. The Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set offers 12 complete place settings and a very useful hostess set. We wholeheartedly endorse it as the Best of the Best!

Customers will be pleased with the dimensions of each piece in this silverware set. No more shallow soup spoons or short salad forks! All of the utensils are completely dishwasher safe, and the original luster can be brought back with minimal effort. The simplistic design forged on the bottom of each piece gives Lenox's collection a quiet elegance – not an over-the-top ornateness that some other flatware companies offer as a distraction for customers. We believe in the integrity of Lenox as a flatware manufacturer, and we believe in the overall quality of the Portola 65-Piece Set!

One flatware collection towers above the others in all areas of consideration: the Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set.

Best Bang for Your Buck

A good set of stainless steel flatware is essential for virtually every kitchen, but that doesn't mean you need to make a major investment right away. While other top flatware set contenders include as many as 12 complete place settings, the initial needs of many consumers are a bit simpler.

The Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware Set includes four place settings. These settings are made from a better grade of steel than the typical bargain-priced flatware sold in discount department stores. As a great starter set (or replacement set) of stainless steel flatware with an impressive mirror finish, the Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble 20-Piece Flatware Set is definitely the Best Bang for Your Buck!

While some critics may argue that 18/0 stainless steel flatware is, by definition, inferior to 18/8 or 18/10 stainless steel, the Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble flatware pieces hold up quite well under the same conditions as higher-end flatware. Those consumers who might expect cheap silverware to be exceptionally lightweight or prone to damage would be pleasantly surprised by how durable the Farberware set really is. Some satisfied owners have even said that they consider their Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble flatware to be their "good" silverware – the kind that's only brought out for special occasions. That is high praise indeed for an affordable set of everyday flatware!

Some satisfied owners consider their Farberware Poppy Mirror/Pebble set to be their "good" silverware – the kind that's only brought out for special occasions.
The team that worked on this review
  • Michael
    Michael
    Creative Lead
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Jess
    Jess
    Researcher
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Ben
    Ben
    Operations