Are you looking for the highest quality silverware or flatware free from harmful chemicals? Would it be a bonus point if they were also made with safe working conditions and made with eco-friendly materials? Mamavation has ranked eating utensils and cutlery we could find and made recommendations based on public information and email communications with brands. You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like best non-toxic dinnerware, best non-toxic cookware, & best non-toxic air fryers, now join us for the best (& possibly worst) non-toxic silverware & flatware brands.
Disclosure: This post was medically reviewed by Sondra Strand, RN, BSN, PHN. This post also contains affiliate links.
Table of Contents
Silverware is a Daily Use Item — Be Mindful of Materials
It’s important to be mindful when we purchase items for everyday use like silverware. Daily exposures are the most problematic ones because they build up over time. What starts small, over a lifetime quickly adds up. Therefore, It’s important to make sure that your silverware is made from non-toxic materials like stainless steel and is produced in a country with trusted manufacturing. There are other safe alternatives we will go over as well.
To clear something up that may be confusing to some — “Silverware” used to be made of silver, but in modern times, the term is interchangeable with “flatware.” So you will find that silverware typically is not made of silver today. When we talk about silverware, we are actually talking about all flatware: salad forks, dinner forks, dinner knives, small spoons, spoons for soup, serving spoons, etc. that are mostly made from stainless steel.
Types of Silverware
There are many types of materials available for silverware, however, most of them are not very popular. You’ll find the most popular type of silverware is actually made from stainless steel. Some materials are inert and non-toxic while others are problematic to the health of the Planet. Let’s go over each option one by one.
Stainless Steel Silverware
Stainless steel silverware is the most popular because of its excellent corrosion resistance, high strength, attractive appearance, and general safety. There are over 100 different grades of stainless steel, but we only really find a few in most silverware.
Stainless steel is an iron and chromium alloy. While stainless steel must contain at least 10.5% chromium, the exact components and ratios will vary. They then add some of the following: nickel, carbon, manganese, molybdenum, sulfur, copper, or silicon.
Grades of Stainless Steel
- 18/0 Stainless Steel ( aka Ferritic Steel) — This type of stainless steel is made without the use of nickel and contains 10.5 to 27% chromium. A small percentage of the population is sensitive or allergic to nickel and this option would be best for them. However, note that this type of stainless steel is not strong enough for a lifetime and is not as anti-corrosive. You will need to replace this set within a decade or less. We made sure to pull out all products that were made of 18/0 stainless steel for sensitive individuals in the “best” section.
- 18/10 Stainless Steel — This is the most common type of stainless steel you will find in flatware. This type of stainless steel typically contains about 8.2% nickel, not necessarily 10% like advertised. This is the highest quality of stainless steel because it will last for decades and is rust and corrosion-resistant.
- 18/8 Stainless Steel — Sometimes, but very rarely, you will find 18/8 stainless steel silverware. Also referred to as 304 grade, which contains 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel. This is a lower grade of stainless steel.
- 13/0 Stainless Steel — 13/0 stainless steel contains 13% chromium and 0% nickel and is most likely to be found in a knife. This blade has sharp cutting surfaces while still maintaining rust and corrosion-resistant properties.
- “Stainless Steel” of Unknown Origin — We also ran into stainless steel of unknown origin. Unless your stainless steel is being manufactured with European standards or inside the United States, you may want to avoid these brands. If they are manufactured in China, we have no idea what’s inside.
Silver-plated flatware is just like it sounds –silverware that is plated, not pure silver. Some precautions need to be taken when you have this type of silverware. Avoid placing stainless steel utensils in the same cycle as silver plate flatware when using the dishwasher. A chemical reaction may occur if they’re in the dishwasher simultaneously, leaving both sets with discoloration or even rust spots.
Silver-plated flatware could be dangerous when it’s older and has been used quite a bit. Over time the plating wears off and then it exposes the metal under the plating. The metal below may not be safe. To make sure your silver-plated silverware is not full of lead, pick up a lead test here and swab it to find out!
Sterling Silver Silverware
Sterling silver was first created in Northern Germany in the 12th Century. It is a special type of silver — an alloy of silver containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% of other metals, usually copper. Pure silver is very soft, so copper is added to create hardness and sturdiness.
Because tarnishing is a problem with sterling silver, other elements can be added like zinc, platinum, silicon, boron, or germanium to make it harder and improve its strength. Sterling silver is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and does not contain lead.
100% Pure Silver Silverware
100% pure silver silverware has always been the darling of sophistication, but it’s very uncommon. In addition to being very non-toxic, pure silver silverware can tell you if someone has put arsenic in your meal — a chemical reaction between the sulfur-based compounds and pure silver will alert you to the danger. You’ll notice the silver will immediately tarnish. Silver reacts with sulphides to form black silver sulphide. Other sulfur-containing foods such as eggs & mayonnaise will also tarnish pure silver.
Pure silver is also very anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and does not contain lead, so it was the safest alternative for flatware for many centuries compared to alternatives.
You’ll find plastic silverware options, but they are never recommended. Plastics are held together with chemical additives and those additives are rarely disclosed to consumers. Additives inside plastics can be very problematic to your hormonal health.
This material is widely known for being cheap and light, used mainly for packaging and construction. However, it has also been used to make flatware and kitchen tools.
The problem with plastic begins when it is exposed to heat. When this happens, it produces a kinds of toxins called oligomers. Ingesting certain amounts of these substances can cause health issues.
However, the reason why you should stop using plastic goes beyond a health issue. Plastic in flatware is not a durable & reusable material, which means it’s also a waste of money. It will break on you or expose you to additives eventually.
Country of Origin For Flatware & Silverware
The most mysterious part of this investigation is not about what the products are made of, but WHERE they are made. The question of the country of origin has become the main contributing factor in helping Mamavation rank products and brands for silverware. This is one of the main differences that can set a brand apart in stainless steel flatware.
We noticed as we were investigating the industry that there was one question that was left unsaid for lots of products — they simply don’t want you to know where their flatware is manufactured. It’s either not on their website and sometimes it wasn’t even available if you called or emailed customer service. Lots of brands are hiding where they have their flatware manufactured OR they downplay the fact that their silverware is manufactured in China. China is a country that is notorious for workers’ rights abuses, the use of toxic materials when producing goods, and a refusal to cooperate with investigations. The best brands are manufactured in the United States or the European Union where they have the strictest standards. We also found several brands manufactured in Indonesia, Vietnam, and India.
Is it always bad when products are manufactured in China? No. But China has a history of problems in several industries. Therefore, it’s prudent to look for an option from a country that has stricter regulator oversight like the United States or the European Union if you have that option.
When brands manufacture silverware and flatware in China, we have concerns over workers’ conditions or the possibility of unsafe materials used. Other countries like Indonesia, India & Vietnam have fewer reputational issues but still may have some oversight problems. Country of origin has a central role in our ranking system for Flatware.
More From Mamavation in the Kitchen
Mamavation has also ranked products for you in the following categories that are relevant to you in the kitchen.
Here are our investigations on kitchen appliances & cookware:
- Stainless Steel Cookware
- Dinnerware (dishes), including dinner plates, bowls, salad plates, cups, etc.
- Air Fryers
- Toasters & Toaster Ovens
- Waffle Makers
- Kitchen Utensils
Mamavation’s Investigation of Silverware & Flatware
Not Our Favorite Silverware & Flatware
Most of this stainless steel silverware is likely produced in China and thus we really have no idea how it was manufactured or what those costs were to the Planet or to workers’ health. We also put here brands and companies that are not telling you where they manufacture their products.
- Behring Made Knives
- Crate & Barrel Silverware
- Fitz & Floyd Everyday Bistro Band 45-Piece Flatware Set
- Fitz & Floyd Nevaeh Coupe 45-Piece Flatware Set
- Food Network Silverware
- Gibson Elite Soho Lounge Verdi Stainless Steel Flatware Set
- Gourmet Settings Oxford Collection Set
- Gourmet Settings Lyric Set
- Gourmet Settings Montana Collection
- Hampton Forge Ella Satin Set
- Hampton Forge Argent Orfevres Orleans Set
- Henckels Silvano Flatware Set
- Kate Spade New York Malmo Satin Flatware Set
- Kate Spade New York Todd Hill Flatware Set
- KNORK Original Collection Cutlery Utensils Set Matte Silver
- KNORK Chrome Curve Flatware Set Gloss Silver
- Lamson Kitchen Tools & Knives (not flatware)
- Lenox Colington Creek Flatware Set
- Living By Robinson Flatware
- Martha Stewart Charles 20 Piece Flatware Set
- Material Kitchen Knives
- Middleton Made Knives
- Mikasa Harmony Flatware Set
- Mikasa Satin Loft Flatware Set
- Oneida Golden Aquarius Set
- Oneida H147020A Monolith 20 Piece Everyday Flatware
- Oneida Carolina Flatware Silverware Set
- Oneida Michelangelo Flatware Silverware Set
- Oneida Mooncrest Flatware Silverware Set
- Our Table Carson Flatware Set (69691181)
- Pottery Barn Classic Stainless Steel Flatware
- Reed & Barton Hammered Antique Flatware
- Villeroy and Boch iPlay Flatware Set (with plastic handle)
- Warther Cutlery Knives
- WMF Elea Collection
- WFM Sara Collection
- Zwilling J.A. Henckels Vintage Set
Better Silverware & Flatware
Better silverware is made from 18/10 or 18/8 stainless steel to prevent corrosion. These brands or products are not manufactured in China. Most of these products are manufactured in Vietnam, Indonesia, or India.
- Boulder Flatware Set
- Cambridge Gilda Mirror 20-Piece Set
- Cambridge Radin Champagne Satin 20-Piece Flatware set
- Cambridge Rhiannon Rumble 20-Piece Flatware Set
- DANIALLI Fidenza Hammered Silverware Set
- DANIALLI Modern Fidenza Flatware Silverware Set
- DANIALLI Imperial Flatware Silverware Set
- DANIALLI Modern Sleek Flatware Silverware Set
- Fortessa Ashton Flatware
- Fortessa Bistro Flatware
- Gingko Select Burton Set
- Gingko Helmick Premier Celtic Flatware Set
- Gingko Helmick Fleur De Lis Flatware Set
- Gorham Melon Bud Frosted Stainless Flatware
- Hudson Essentials Hammered Flatware
- Lenox Textured Neutrals Flatware Set
- Lenox Butterfly Meadow Flatware Set
- Lenox Gladstone Flatware Set
- Lenox Ashbridge Flatware Set
- Oneida Louisiana Flatware Silverware Set
- Oneida Dover 20 Piece Flatware Silverware Set
- Oneida Satin Moda Flatware Silverware Set
- Oneida Copeland Flatware Silverware Set
- Oneida Kassia Flatware Silverware Set
- Robert Welch Aston Flatware Set
- Scoop Flatware Place Set
- Villeroy & Boch’s New Wave Flatware
- Villeroy & Boch Coupole 40 Piece Flatware Set
- Villeroy & Boch Merlemont Flatware Set
- Villeroy & Boch Boston Flatware Set
- Villeroy & Boch French Garden Flatware Set
Best Silverware & Flatware
The “best” silverware is made from either high-quality 18/10 stainless steel to prevent corrosion OR from 18/0 stainless steel to protect people who are sensitive to nickel. Just note that 18/0 silverware will not last as long as 18/10. Mamavation is not recommending any silverware that comes from China in the best category.
18/0 Nickel Free Silverware & Flatware (For People with Sensitivities to Nickel. Lower Quality Stainless Steel.)
We are including here any products we could find that produced 18/0 stainless steel. This special type of stainless steel is only for people with sensitivities to nickel. If you do not have sensitivities to nickel, we do not recommend you purchase 18/0 stainless steel flatware because this is a lower grade of stainless steel and will need to be replaced.
- Cambridge Rhiannon Rumble 20-Piece Flatware Set
- Everyday Bistro Band by Fitz & Floyd 45 Piece Set
- Fiesta Celebration 20-Piece Flatware Set
- Gibson Home Wilmington Plus Flatware Set
- Gingko International Varberg Stainless Steel Flatware Set
- Gourmet Settings Carry-On Sets
- Hampton Forge Conifer Set
- IKEA 365+ Flatware Set
- KNORK Chrome Curve Flatware Set Gloss Silver
- Oneida Reyna Set (H156020A)
- Our Table Abbot Flatware Set (69691175)
- Simply Essential Polished Flatware Set
- Vibhsa Hammered Flatware Set
- Vibhsa Modern Flatware Set
18/10 Silverware & Flatware (High Quality, Lasts Forever, Made in the United States or European Union. Not for people with sensitivities to nickel.)
We are including here 18/10 stainless steel products that are made in either the United States or the European Union. The only silverware brand that is manufactured in the United States is Liberty Tabletop. The place of origin on other products below will be clearly marked in each product at the end.
- Christofle Essential 24-piece Stainless Steel Flatware (France)
- Cutco Stainless Steel Flatware (USA)
- Jean Dubost 20 Piece Stainless Steel Flatware Set (France)
- Liberty Tabletop Flatware Annapolis 20 Piece Silverware Set (USA)
- Liberty Tabletop Flatware Annapolis 63 Piece Silverware Set (USA)
- Liberty Tabletop Flatware Pearl 45 Piece Silverware Set (USA)
- Liberty Tabletop Flatware Woodstock 45 Piece Silverware Set (USA)
- Liberty Tabletop Flatware Classic Rim 65 Piece Silverware Set (USA)
- Liberty Tabletop Flatware Martha Washington 20 Piece Silverware Set (USA)
- Liberty Tabletop Flatware Satin Annapolis 20 Piece Silverware Set (USA)
- Liberty Tabletop Flatware Providence 65 Piece Silverware Set (USA)
- Mepra Vintage Roma Flatware (Italy)
- Mepra Roma Flatware (Italy)
- Sambonet Flatware (Italy)
- WUSTOFF Knives (Germany)
Additional Mamavation Investigations To Help Your Family
Mamavation has been working hard to discover where to find PFAS “forever chemicals” inside food & other products we purchase and bring inside our homes. This is why we have decided to commission our own consumer studies on indications of PFAS in different consumer categories and share that information with you.
- Pasta & Tomato Sauces
- Nut Butters (Peanut butter, etc.)
- Cooking Oils (olive oil, almond oil, canola oil, etc)
- Activewear (Yoga Pants)
- Sports Bras
- Green Beauty Makeup
- Dental Floss
- Toilet Paper
- Period Underwear
- Parchment Paper
- Bamboo Flooring
- Baby Strollers
- Sanitary Pads & Incontinence Pads
We also have other non-toxic investigations on products for your children or the rest of your family. Here are some that we thought you may like.
- Best Yoga mats
- Best Infrared Saunas
- Best Organic Mattresses
- Best Air purifiers
- Best Cookware
- Best Plant-Based Milks
- Best Water Filters for PFAS Filtration
- Best Collagen
- Best Electrolyte Replacement Drinks, Sports Drinks, & Coconut Water
- Best Infrared Saunas
- Best Bubble Bath
Click here for a complete list of product investigations.