Choosing a set of dinnerware is a big decision, since it?s something you?ll use on a daily basis and for special occasions?everything from a morning bowl of cereal to a holiday dinner with family and friends.
When it comes to selecting the perfect plate for your dining needs, there are a few factors that you should consider. The two most common types of plates are ceramic and glass, Finding a dinnerware pattern you love is important, but factors such as weight and durability should also play a role in your selection. and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the choice between the two comes down to personal preference and intended use.
All porcelain is ceramic but not all ceramic is porcelain. More specifically, porcelain is a type of ceramic, one of the three types that also includes earthenware and stoneware.
More refined and fired at higher temperatures (between 2,200 and 2,600 ), porcelain is harder and more durable than ceramic. It?s made from the clay mineral kaolinite along with other materials like feldspar, bone ash, ball clay, glass, quartz, steatite, and alabaster. Porcelain, including the famed Japanese porcelain, is also finer and more elegant than ceramic, earthenware and stoneware, boasting a white surface and a beautiful translucence that allows light to pass through the material. These features make porcelain tableware ideal for special occasions.
Porcelain also comes in three different varieties: hard-paste porcelain, soft-paste porcelain, and bone china. Hard-paste porcelain contains kaolinite, feldspar and quartz and it?s fired at temperatures of up to 2,552 . Soft-paste porcelain features a blend of kaolin, quartz, feldspars, and nepheline syenite or different types of feldspathic rock, but since it?s fired at lower temperatures it?s not as durable or as hard as other types of porcelain. Finally, bone china is the toughest and most refined kind of porcelain. Made from a mix of bone ash, kaolin, and a feldspathic material, it?s vitrified and has a translucent surface. The laborious crafting method and the higher cost of the raw materials make bone china the most expensive type of porcelain.
What about earthenware and stoneware? While classic earthenware, also called terracotta, has a more porous surface and is more fragile, it also has a more affordable price. It?s made with a blend of kaolin, ball clay, quartz and feldspar and it?s fired at temperatures between 1,740 and 2,100 . Depending on the temperature, the material can have a reddish hue (low temperature) or dark brown and even black (high temperature). This type of ceramic absorbs water if it?s unglazed but most earthenware dishes and plates feature glazing. Even with glazing, ceramic absorbs slightly more water than porcelain, which has a high density that makes it resistant to moisture.
Like porcelain, stoneware is fired at higher temperatures, between 2,010 to 2,370. Tougher than earthenware, stoneware is similar in strength to porcelain but more opaque. Whether vitreous or semi-vitreous, stoneware is non-porous and thus doesn?t absorb liquids. Nowadays, you can buy stoneware with glazing and with different colors, making this a great option for those who prefer more vibrant designs.
The daily-use ceramic dinner plates are mostly porcelain plates or stoneware plates, and soft porcelain is mostly used for some craft products, such as Christmas plates, Halloween plates, or plates for some brands to reflect their characteristics.
Ceramic plates have been used for centuries and are still a popular choice today. One of the main advantages of ceramic plates is their good thermal stability. This means that they can withstand high temperatures without cracking or breaking, making them perfect for use in the oven or microwave. Additionally, ceramic plates are great for longevity and resistance to temperature changes. They?re also available in a wide variety of designs, colors, and patterns, which makes them perfect for those who want to add a touch of personality to their dinnerware.
However, ceramic plates also have some disadvantages. They are typically heavier than their glass counterparts, which can make them difficult to handle for some people. Additionally, ceramic plates are more porous than glass plates, which means that they are more likely to absorb flavors and odors from the food that is served on them. This can be a problem if you frequently serve strong-smelling foods like garlic or onions, as these odors may linger.
Glass plates, on the other hand, are non-reactive and transparent, making them perfect for showcasing food. They don?t absorb flavors or odors, which means that you can use them for a wider variety of foods without worrying about any lingering smells or tastes. Additionally, glass plates are typically lighter than ceramic plates, which can make them easier to handle. They?re also less likely to chip or break than ceramic plates, which can make them a better choice for families with young children.
However, glass plates also have some disadvantages. They are not as durable as ceramic plates and may not last as long. Additionally, they are not suitable for use in the oven or microwave, as they can crack or shatter when exposed to high temperatures. Finally, glass plates are not available in as many designs, colors, and patterns as ceramic plates, which can make it harder to find a set that matches your personal style.
Ultimately, the choice between ceramic and glass plates comes down to personal preference and intended use. If you?re looking for a plate that is durable and versatile, ceramic plates may be the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you want a plate that is lightweight and transparent, glass plates may be a better option. Regardless of which type of plate you choose, make sure to take good care of them by washing them carefully and avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures or sudden changes in temperature.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of which type of plate is best. Both ceramic and glass plates have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between the two ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and intended use. So take some time to consider your needs and preferences, and choose the plate that is best suited to your unique dining needs.