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There are several factors to consider. First is your budget - some materials are more costly than others, so it’s useful to quickly eliminate any options that are out of your price range.

Next is the layout of your kitchen; some materials work better in certain shapes of kitchen, so researching this early on could save a lot of headaches when you come to fitting your worktops.

Every material has its own pros and cons and there’s no single best type of kitchen worktop, so take the time to read through the benefits and drawbacks of each to work out which most suits your needs.

Of course, there will also be an element of personal preference involved; what style of worktop you prefer and how each material will look in your kitchen. This is particularly key if you’re not renovating your whole kitchen, as you’ll need to consider which materials and colours will match with your existing decor and units.

Best kitchen worktops for your budget

For many people, cost is a major consideration when selecting kitchen worktops, and between several equally suitable materials, it might be the deciding factor!

Generally speaking, laminate is the most affordable option, with wood, stone and metal in the mid-range and glass and composite at the high end of the price spectrum.

Best Kitchen Worktops
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Of course, low price shouldn’t be your only consideration; if you choose a worktop that isn’t right for your needs, you could end up spending more money over time through repairing or prematurely replacing damaged counters.

Best kitchen worktops for your kitchen layout

The shape or size of your kitchen may have an impact on the worktop material you choose. If you have a kitchen with lots of long, straight counters then any material will be fairly straightforward to fit, but there are a few special considerations to make for more complex layouts.

Small kitchens

If you have a small kitchen, glass is the perfect material for opening up the room. Its reflective quality lightens and brightens small or dark kitchens, giving it the illusion of more space.

It can also be cut to fit the exact dimensions you need; a huge bonus when space is limited.

Lots of corners

If your kitchen has lots of corners, curved edges or a kitchen island, your cutting needs will be more complex. Composites such as quartz and Corian are ideal for this, as they’re seamless and will give a more finished look.

Laminate

Laminate is the most affordable worktop material and offers great value for money in terms of appearance and functionality.

Pros

  • Easy to cut and install, even if you’re fitting them yourself
  • Waterproof and easy to clean
  • Can look more expensive than it is, and suits many styles of kitchen
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Whilst hard wearing it’s not possible to repair if scratched
  • Deep scratches can lead to trapped dirt and can become unhygienic

How to style

Laminate is the most adaptable choice for kitchen worktops as it can easily mimic other materials. So whatever style you’ve got in mind, laminate can be a good low budget alternative.

Best Kitchen Worktops 2
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Hardwood

Solid wood worktops are great for traditional and farmhouse-style kitchens, possessing a sense of character that only gets better over time.

Pros

  • As they’re solid, any damage can be sanded away
  • If properly maintained, they’re naturally antibacterial
  • They age well and can stay in good condition for a long time

Cons

  • Can’t sustain extreme heat from pans or oven trays
  • Require regular maintenance and oiling to keep them looking their best
  • Can easily scratch, so avoid chopping anything directly on the surface

How to style

Hardwood has a warm, homey feel to it that lends perfectly to farmhouse or cottage-style kitchens. Match with cream cabinets for a traditional look.

However, wood is incredibly adaptable to different styles, and can also be paired with glass for a more contemporary feel.

Best Kitchen Worktops Laminate
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Granite

Granite is often considered to be one of the best materials for kitchen worktops due to its combination of luxurious appearance and functional nature.

Pros

  • Granite is very hard and therefore difficult to scratch
  • Resilient to extreme heat
  • Easy to clean and low-maintenance
  • Hardwearing and therefore long-lasting, potentially saving you money over time

Cons

  • Extremely difficult to repair if they do get damaged
  • Very heavy, requiring a good level of support from cabinets
  • Fairly expensive

How to style

The beauty of natural stone can be adapted to traditional or contemporary kitchens. A gloss finish gives a stylish, modern feel, while the more understated matt feels sophisticated and classic.

Best Kitchen Worktops Granite
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Composite

Composite materials, such as quartz or Corian, are man-made but have the same durable qualities as natural stone, while also having a more consistent, finished surface.

Pros

  • With a range of colours and textures available, they’re highly customisable for any kitchen
  • Extremely hard-wearing and resilient
  • Don’t require sealing due to being non-porous, which also makes them stain resistant
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • They can be sensitive to heat
  • Expensive upfront price, plus extra costs for a specialist installation

How to style

Composite worktops are a beautiful feature that deserve attention, so a contrasting colour scheme works perfectly here. Consider white quartz with navy blue cabinets or a glossy black countertop with white units.

Best Kitchen Worktops Composite
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Glass

Glass is popular for its stylish reflective sheen, which makes it the best material for small kitchen worktops due to its lightening qualities.

Pros

  • Very durable, heat resistant and waterproof
  • Easy to cut to the exact size and shape needed for your kitchen
  • Easy to clean and hygienic
  • A modern, stylish look, and available in practically unlimited colours

Cons

  • Can crack if extreme pressure or impact is put on the corners
  • Can be damaged if exposed to acidic materials for a prolonged period of time, such as lemon or harsh cleaning products
  • Require regular, thorough cleaning and polishing to remove smears and keep them looking their best
  • One of the most expensive materials on the market

How to style

Glass is best placed in contemporary kitchens, for a sleek, trendy look. Consider using it on a kitchen island to create a focal point, or lighting it from below for extra wow factor.

Best Kitchen Worktops Glass
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Stainless steel

Stainless steel is the go-to choice for commercial kitchens, and also makes a perfect feature in an industrial-style kitchen.

Pros

  • Highly durable and resistant to heat, water and acid
  • Non-porous, so they’re hygienic and won’t stain
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight and easy to install

Cons

  • Prone to scratching, which can make it look scruffy
  • May acquire dents if not treated with care
  • Can look cold or clinical if not styled well

How to style

Stainless steel can look cold in the wrong setting but is perfect for industrial kitchen designs. It can be used in other kitchen styles, but you should use more sparingly and team with other materials and textures to soften its effect.

Best Kitchen Worktops Stainless Steel
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Concrete

Concrete is also a popular choice for industrial kitchens, and can also be mimicked in quartz to get the best of both materials.

Pros

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Impervious to heat
  • Easy to clean
  • Appearance develops and improves over time

Cons

  • Annual sealing is necessary to avoid staining
  • Hard to repair if damaged
  • Expensive
  • Extra cabinet reinforcement may be needed to support its weight

How to style

While slightly daunting, an all-over concrete look is the ultimate in industrial chic. Stick to shades of grey and white to complete the look, or soften slightly with wood textures and house plants.

Best Kitchen Worktops Concrete
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There is no ‘one size fits all’ best kitchen worktop, so it’s worth taking the time to figure out which offers the best benefits for your kitchen. It’s an investment that will stay in your home for a long time and could even increase the value of your property, so it needs to be right!

Once you’ve chosen your worktop, consult a professional fitter to get it installed. While more costly than installing yourself, an expert can ensure your worktops are cut and installed perfectly.