Choosing the best material for your kitchen dining set always presents a challenge. You want to pick a material that will last for years and years without getting damaged, as this will make for a much better long-term investment. Additionally, you want to get dinnerware that meets your aesthetic needs. Perhaps you want your home to have a modern, rustic, glam, bohemian look, or even something entirely different. No matter what kind of image you are looking for, stoneware makes for one of the best dinnerware materials on the market.
Why is stoneware so great? First and foremost, it is specifically designed to last for the long term. Made from stoneware clay and fired at relatively high temperatures, stoneware resembles classic stone in both its hardness and appearance. This gives stoneware a timeless look that matches almost any visual style, as well as the strength and durability to withstand regular wear and tear.
So, how does stoneware stand up to other popular dinnerware materials? In today’s guide, we will answer this question by looking at the benefits and drawbacks of stoneware compared to traditional ceramics, porcelain, bone china, and earthenware. So, let’s get started!
Stoneware Vs Ceramic Dishes
Whether or not you’ve ever owned stoneware dishes, you probably have one question on your mind: what is the difference between stoneware and ceramic? Do not worry, because you are definitely not the first person to ask this question. The terms can be rather confusing, as both stoneware and ceramic are used to refer to a wide range of dish materials and production methods with a high degree of crossover.
However, there are specific definitions that allow us to differentiate stoneware and standard ceramic dishes. To begin, it’s important to note that stoneware is a type of ceramic material. Therefore, technically speaking, there is no difference between stoneware and ceramic dishes. They are one and the same. However, the word “ceramic” is generally used as an all-encompassing term for any type of material that is made from firing clay in a kiln. Typically, ceramics can be divided into three different categories based on the underlying type of clay and the temperature used in the kiln: earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain.
Consequently, the real differences between stoneware and other ceramic dishes lie in the production methods used to make them. Stoneware is generally more durable than other forms of ceramics, particularly earthenware. Many types of low-cost ceramic dinnerware are only heated to low temperatures and therefore do not have the same durability as stoneware. The
low temperatures can also affect the appearance of the final product. As the name implies, stoneware looks and feels a lot like stone, which is a direct result of the composition of stoneware clay combined with the temperature used when it is hardened (approximately 2192°F or 1200°C).
Stoneware Vs Porcelain Dishes
Stoneware and porcelain are like two branches of the same tree. They both fall under the “ceramics” umbrella, though the way in which they are produced leads to highly differentiated products. Stoneware retains some of the same “earthy” aesthetics as earthenware, though it also offers enhanced durability. Alternatively, porcelain is fired at higher temperatures in the kiln, resulting in a glossier look, as well as enhanced strength and chip resistance (compared to earthenware).
So, what is better: stoneware or porcelain? It is a difficult question to answer, as both materials have their own distinct benefits and drawbacks. Stoneware has a more rustic look and is highly scratch-resistant and chip-resistant. It is also less expensive than porcelain.
Alternatively, porcelain does retain some resistance to scratches and chipping, but its shiny exterior makes it easier to see blemishes. Moreover, porcelain does not retain the hardy, rugged look of stoneware, which can make it appear more fragile in general, despite its relative strength when compared to other forms of ceramic (particularly brittle earthenware products). However, porcelain’s beautiful exterior makes it more costly than stoneware, which could be a big drawback for budget-conscious shoppers.
In short, both stoneware and porcelain are great options for dinnerware. They are strong and resistant to damage, though scratches and chips are often more apparent on porcelain dishes due to their natural glossiness. Additionally, porcelain may be the preferred option for people who want classic, refined, “shiny” dinnerware, but it also comes at a higher cost than stoneware.
Stoneware Vs. Bone China Dishes
Bone china is a specific kind of porcelain that is formed using bone ash, feldspar, and kaolin. Due to the use of animal bones in its production, bone china has a more translucent appearance than traditional porcelain. However, while this appearance might make bone china look more fragile, it is actually one of the most durable dinnerware materials available.
Bone china is considered one of the most luxurious materials for dinnerware, which means that it also comes at a higher price. Stoneware is comparatively far less expensive. Though both materials are used for formal and casual occasions, bone china is generally considered the more “elegant” of the two types of dinnerware.
Apart from their appearances and costs, stoneware and bone china are similarly functional. Both materials are dishwasher and microwave safe. This means that you can use stoneware
and bone china for everyday use without having to worry about causing damage. That said, if your dishes have any kind of metal fringe or decoration, avoid putting them in the microwave. This applies to stoneware, bone china, and any other type of ceramic.
Stoneware Vs Earthenware Dishes
Finally, stoneware and earthenware dishes are great options if you want a more earthy, rustic aesthetic in your kitchen or dining area. As the name implies, earthenware has a particularly “earthy” appearance. However, due to its naturally porous state, earthenware requires a glaze to be used for dishes. Without a glazed exterior, moisture from food or beverages could leak into or even through the material.
Consequently, earthenware is not the most durable dinnerware material. It is far more brittle than stoneware, so if you choose earthenware dinnerware, you have to handle it with care. However, this is not to say that earthenware does not come with a few benefits of its own. It is generally far cheaper than stoneware and other kinds of ceramics. Additionally, it offers an extremely casual look that may be more appealing to certain people who are not looking for “high-end” dinnerware.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, earthenware is best for those on a tight budget who just want to enjoy casual dinnerware, while porcelain and bone china are better choices for shoppers looking for more elegant, expensive additions to their dining sets. However, stoneware rests somewhere in the middle of the two polar opposite groups, making it the perfect option for most consumers.
Stoneware is a highly durable and beautiful material that can add a touch of rustic appeal to any dinnerware set. When compared to most other types of ceramics and popular dinnerware materials, stoneware strikes a good balance between affordability, durability, and aesthetic appeal. In short, stoneware offers a great way to enhance your kitchen or dining set — without breaking the bank!
Are you interested in acquiring a beautiful stoneware dinnerware set? If so, be sure to check out our offerings at Stone Lain today!