If you are looking for some new dinnerware, you may come across the terms "stoneware" and "ceramic". These two materials are commonly used for plates, bowls, and other dinnerware, but they are not the same thing. In this article, we will explore the difference between stoneware and ceramic dinnerware, including their composition, durability, and design.
Before we dive into the specifics of stoneware and ceramic dinnerware, it's important to understand what these terms mean. Stoneware and ceramic are both types of pottery, which is made by firing clay at high temperatures to create a hard, durable material. Pottery has been used for thousands of years to make practical objects like dishes, pots, and vases.
Stoneware and ceramic are both popular choices for dinnerware because they are durable and can withstand high temperatures, making them suitable for use in the oven and microwave. However, there are some key differences between these two materials that can affect their performance and appearance.
What is Stoneware?
Stoneware is a type of clay that is fired at a high temperature, usually between 2150°F and 2330°F (1177°C and 1280°C). This high firing temperature makes stoneware very durable and chip-resistant, and it also gives it a slightly porous surface. Stoneware is often glazed to make it more waterproof and to give it a smooth, shiny finish.
Stoneware can come in a variety of colours and designs, from natural earth tones to bright, bold patterns. It is often used for rustic or casual dinnerware, but it can also be dressed up for special occasions.
What is Ceramic?
Ceramic is a broad term that refers to any material made from clay that has been fired at a high temperature. Ceramic can be made from a variety of clays, including earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. Earthenware is fired at the lowest temperature, and porcelain is fired at the highest temperature.
Ceramic dinnerware is often made from earthenware or porcelain, although stoneware ceramic is also available. Ceramic dinnerware can come in a wide range of colours and designs, from plain white to intricate patterns and textures.
The main difference between stoneware and ceramic is their composition. Stoneware is made from a specific type of clay that contains a high percentage of silica, which gives it its durability and resistance to chipping. Stoneware clay is also denser and less porous than other types of clay, which makes it more resistant to water absorption.
Ceramic, on the other hand, can be made from a variety of clays, each with its own unique composition. Earthenware, for example, is made from a clay that is rich in iron, which gives it its reddish-brown colour. Porcelain, on the other hand, is made from a very fine, white clay that is fired at a very high temperature to create a hard, translucent material.
One of the main reasons that stoneware is popular for dinnerware is its durability. Stoneware is much more chip-resistant than other types of pottery, thanks to its dense composition and high firing temperature. Stoneware can also withstand higher temperatures than ceramic, which makes it suitable for use in the oven and microwave.
Ceramic dinnerware can be more fragile than stoneware and may be more prone to chipping or cracking if dropped or subjected to sudden changes in temperature. However, this can vary depending on the specific type of ceramic and the quality of the manufacturing process.
Stoneware and ceramic dinnerware can come in a variety of colours and designs, but there are some differences in their appearance. Stoneware is often favoured for its natural, earthy look and rustic feel. It can come in a range of neutral colours like beige, brown, and grey, or more vibrant shades like green, blue, or red. Stoneware is also often decorated with patterns or textures that add to its unique character.
Ceramic, on the other hand, can be made in a wider range of colours and styles. It can be plain and simple, or it can be decorated with intricate designs, patterns, or even hand-painted details. Ceramic is often used for more formal or elegant dinnerware, although it can also be used for casual or everyday use.
Which is better for everyday use?
When it comes to choosing between stoneware dinnerware and ceramic dinnerware for everyday use, there are a few things to consider. Stoneware is generally more durable and chip-resistant, which makes it a good choice if you have kids or if you're looking for dinnerware that can withstand frequent use, consider our Brisa stoneware dinnerware or our Madiera stoneware dinnerware; both made by in Portugal to the very highest standards. However, stoneware can be heavy and may not be as practical if you need to stack or store a lot of plates and bowls.
Ceramic dinnerware is generally lighter and more versatile, which makes it a good choice if you need to save space or if you want dinnerware that can be used for both formal and casual occasions. However, ceramic may not be as durable as stoneware and may be more prone to chipping or cracking over time.
How to care for stoneware and ceramic dinnerware?
Both stoneware and ceramic dinnerware require some special care to keep them looking their best. Here are a few tips:
- Hand wash your dinnerware in warm, soapy water. Avoid using abrasive scrubbers or harsh detergents that can damage the glaze or surface.
- Dry your dinnerware thoroughly before storing it. Avoid stacking plates or bowls while they are still damp, as this can cause them to stick together or become damaged.
- Avoid exposing your dinnerware to extreme temperatures or sudden changes in temperature. For example, don't put a cold plate in a hot oven or vice versa, as this can cause the dish to crack or shatter.
- Store your dinnerware in a cool, dry place that is away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
In conclusion, stoneware and ceramic dinnerware are both popular choices for their durability, versatility, and aesthetic appeal. Stoneware is generally more durable and chip-resistant, while ceramic offers a wider range of colours and styles. When choosing between the two, consider your specific needs and preferences, as well as the care required for each type of dinnerware.
FAQsCan stoneware go in the dishwasher?
- Yes, stoneware is generally safe for use in the dishwasher, although hand washing is recommended to extend its lifespan.
- Yes, stoneware is microwave safe and can withstand high temperatures.
- Ceramic dinnerware can be more fragile than stoneware, but this can vary depending on the specific type of ceramic and the quality of the manufacturing process.
- Yes, ceramic dinnerware is versatile enough to be used for both formal and casual occasions, and it can be a good choice for everyday use.
- Porcelain is a specific type of ceramic that is made from a mixture of kaolin, feldspar, and quartz. It is fired at a higher temperature than other types of ceramic, which makes it more durable and less porous. Porcelain is often used for formal or fine dining and is known for its translucent quality and delicate appearance.
Overall, there are some key differences between stoneware and ceramic dinnerware in terms of their durability, design, and care requirements. While both can be great choices for your dining needs, it's important to consider your specific needs and preferences before making a decision. Whether you choose stoneware or ceramic, with proper care and maintenance, your dinnerware can last for years to come.