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    Best Countertops for Busy Kitchens

    The pros and cons of seven top countertop materials

    family in kitchen
    The most durable kitchen countertops in CR's tests do a solid job of resisting stains, heat damage, cuts, abrasion, and impact.

    A busy kitchen calls for durable countertops. But what countertop materials truly last?

    More on Countertops and Kitchens

    Consumer Reports tested more than a dozen widely used types of countertops to see how well they resisted stains, heat damage, cuts, abrasion, and impact, and found seven that passed muster. We found that performance varied from one material to the next, but there was little difference among competing brands of each type, so be sure to shop around for the best deal on your countertop material of choice.

    For the pros and cons of each type, see the numbered entries below. CR members can access our full kitchen countertop reviews. And our countertop buying guide can help you determine what factors matter most to you before you go countertop shopping. (We also have countertop recommendations for your bathroom vanity.)

    Different types of kitchen countertop materials.

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    Countertop Intelligence

    1. Quartz
    Pros: Quartz mimics the look of stone but requires less maintenance. Hot pots, serrated knives, abrasive pads, and most stains were no match for quartz, which is a combination of mineral, color, and resin. It comes in vibrant colors in addition to patterns that look like granite and marble.

    Cons: Edges and corners can chip, and you’ll need a pro to repair them. Rounded edges help.

    2. Granite
    Pros: Each slab of this natural material is unique; rare colors and veining cost more. Heat, cuts, and scratches didn’t harm granite in our tests. Polished and matte finishes resisted most stains when properly sealed, so pick the look you prefer.

    Cons: Periodic resealing is needed to fend off stains. Like quartz, edges and corners can chip and must be professionally repaired.

    3. Soapstone, Limestone, and Marble
    Pros: Soapstone isn’t as common as granite, and it’s superb at resisting heat damage. Small scratches can be repaired by sanding finely and applying mineral oil. Limestone (pictured) and marble are classic materials. Limestone also has a natural-stone look without heavy veining or graining, and it resists heat.

    Cons: Soapstone nicks, cuts, and scratches easily, and some stains are too tough to be washed away. Limestone and marble also have those drawbacks, and heat damaged our marble.

    4. Laminate
    Pros: Laminate countertops are inexpensive, easy to install, and so much better-looking than you probably remember, thanks to new printing technology and decorative edges. Stains and heat didn’t damage the laminates we tested.

    Cons: Cutting directly on it easily and permanently damages laminate, so use a cutting board.

    5. Solid Surfacing
    Pros: Available in a variety of colors and patterns, solid surfacing can be used for your counters, sink, and backsplash, creating a seamless look because joints are almost invisible. And like quartz, its color won’t vary much from the store sample. Solid surfacing is resistant to most stains, and small nicks and scratches can be repaired.

    Cons: It scratches and cuts easily, so a cutting board is a must.

    6. Recycled Glass
    Pros: Large shards give recycled glass a fun, contemporary look; finely ground glass makes it less busy. Most glass counters we tested were first rate at resisting cuts, scratches, and heat, but they proved less resistant to stains.

    Cons: It’s the only material for which we found a difference among brands. Cosentino’s Eco counters were the only ones that developed a thin crack during our heat tests.

    7. Butcher Block
    Pros: Butcher block adds warmth and is easy to install and repair, but the finish makes a difference. Varnish improved stain resistance, but penetrating oils diminished it.

    Cons: Nicks and scratches can easily happen, though they can be sanded out.