Table top

Which countertop to choose for the kitchen – an overview and comparison of 9 options

The countertop (top) is the most stressed and often the most expensive part of the kitchen. Choosing a great work surface isn’t too difficult. All you need is some information. In this guide, we explored the pros and cons of the most popular types of countertops, inquired about prices and manufacturers, picked up the most descriptive photos, and gave helpful advice on choosing.

Compare performance characteristics

Take a look at the comparison table for the performance of the 6 main types of worktops. The results may surprise you: it turned out that the most expensive option is far from the best, and the cheapest is one of the most practical..

If you are looking at the table on a smartphone, turn it to a horizontal position – this way the entire table will fit into the screen area.

Agglomerate Acrylic stone Natural stone Plastic countertop Wooden stainless steel
Scratch resistant Great poorly Great satisfactorily satisfactorily poorly
Resistant to dirt Great satisfactorily satisfactorily * Marble – bad Great satisfactorily Satisfactorily * May remain fingerprints, water stains
Resistant to cracking and chipping Great Great satisfactorily Great satisfactorily Great
Resistant to contact with hot dishes satisfactorily poorly Great poorly satisfactorily Great
Resistant to food acids Great Great satisfactorily * Marble – bad satisfactorily poorly Great
Moisture tightness Great Great satisfactorily Satisfactorily * But in the seams and joints – bad poorly Great
Impact resistance Great satisfactorily satisfactorily satisfactorily satisfactorily Great
Color stability Great Great poorly Great satisfactorily Great

Overview of 9 kitchen countertops options

Now let’s take a closer look at all types of countertops. If you are in a hurry, click on the top option you are interested in:

  • LMDF or laminated chipboard;
  • Artificial stone (acrylate);
  • Agglomerated stone (agglomerated quartz or artificial granite);
  • Natural stone (marble and granite);
  • Solid wood;
  • Stainless steel.

Plastic countertop – an economy option, but by no means second-rate

A plastic tabletop is a nice “workhorse” that, despite the lowest cost, is in many ways superior to expensive wooden and even marble tops..

The plastic countertop can be made on the basis of chipboard or MDF. Outwardly, they are no different, the only difference is that MDF is safer, since in its manufacture, non-toxic formaldehyde resins are used as a binder, but paraffin and lignin. In addition, MDF is denser and stronger than chipboard. For this reason, MDF tops are more expensive than laminated chipboard tops..

Prices: 1000-4000 rubles per running meter.

Possible design: the surface can be glossy and matte, smooth and textured, for example, imitating wood fibers. Most often, plastic countertops imitate wood and stone slabs, but there are also solid colored tops..

  • Plastic tabletop laminated chipboard Wood-like worktop in the interior of a modern kitchen
  • Plastic tabletop laminated chipboard Wood-like worktop in the interior of a modern kitchen

Here is a small selection of photos of plastic countertops under a stone.

Laminated chipboard countertop under a stone

Stone countertop

Dark laminated chipboard countertop under a stone

Orange laminated chipboard worktop

Colored laminated chipboard tabletop

Size range: Standard board length – 4100 mm. The standard width (depth) of the slab is 60 cm, but it can be different, for example, 40, 70, 80, 90 and 120 cm.The thickness of the slabs can be 38 mm or 28 mm, less often 40 mm.

  • A thick plastic worktop is preferable, as it is ideal for the installation of hobs, and in general it looks sturdier.

Manufacturers:

  • Russian factories: EuroChem-1, Odyssey, Skif, Soyuz.
  • European manufacturers: Egger, Westag&Getalit (Germany), Liri Industriale (Italy), Kronospan (Austria).
  • Also, some of them produce their countertops kitchen factories, for example, “Stylish Kitchens”.

Plastic countertop under a stone

Sellers in salons often call laminated chipboard countertops by different names: laminated countertops, HPL plates or high pressure plastic. All of these names mean the same material.

Advantages and disadvantages
The lowest price. May swell from moisture accumulated in the seams or at the edge. The puddles on the countertop itself are safe, but the edges and joints must be kept away from water.
Impact resistance. The weak point of the laminated chipboard / LMDF countertop is the edge. If it peels off over time, this in turn will lead to swelling of the plate and the release of formaldehyde..
Scratch resistant. Worktop can be washed with light abrasives, hard sponge and brushes. The presence of visible seams in corner countertops slightly complicates cleaning (dirt gets clogged in the cracks), somewhat spoils the look of the kitchen (monolithic tables look neater) and makes the chipboard / MDF thickness vulnerable to moisture.
Ease of cleaning. Chipboard without edge is toxic and emits formaldehyde.
Largest selection of colors and textures. The surface of laminated chipboard / LMDF is afraid of hot dishes and can withstand only short-term contacts with it.
Relatively resistant to coloring pigments, weak acids, alkali, alcohol and chlorine.

Corner plastic table top

The presence of joints is one of the main disadvantages of a plastic tabletop with an angular configuration

Our advice:

  1. The laminated chipboard worktop must comply with the E1 formaldehyde emission class. As a rule, Chinese-made countertops do not have certificates confirming their safety..
  2. The thicker the plastic layer, the more wear-resistant the tabletop is. Tabletops made in Russia and Poland, most often, have plastic with a thickness of 0.4-0.5 mm. German, Austrian and Italian manufacturers make the plastic layer thicker – 0.8 mm. Such a surface can withstand a hot frying pan just removed from the stove (temperatures up to 230 ° C).
  3. The least chance of swelling is with a postforming countertop. This is the name of the technology for processing the upper plastic, when it takes the form of a plate and wraps the edge, making it seamless, which means less vulnerable. It is advisable that the protective cover is folded onto the back of the tabletop (sometimes it only reaches the lower edge of the edge).

Postforming worktop with drip tray

Postforming worktop with drip tray

In other cases, the edges of the top are decorated with edging made of melamine, polypropylene or acrylic. These options are also good, but they have gaps..

Thick plastic countertop with contrasting edging

  1. It is good if the countertop has a drip tray. If you spill water, the drip tray will keep it inside and prevent it from seeping into the chipboard / MDF. The drip tray in the form of a thin plastic strip is located on the back of the protruding edge of the tabletop (see photo above).

See also: 7 tips for choosing a plastic countertop.

Artificial stone (acrylate) worktop – seamless, but prone to scratches

Artificial stone is of two types: acrylic (acrylate) and composite (agglomerate). Outwardly, they are almost the same, but acrylic stone, unlike agglomerate, contains only 60-75% of the mineral component, everything else is acrylic resin and pigments.

  • Acrylic stone countertops are cheaper and worse in quality – they easily scratch and melt under hot dishes. But do not discount them, because acrylates also have significant advantages (we have indicated them in the table below).

Artificial stone countertop construction

It is also important to understand that the “artificial acrylic stone countertop” does not mean a monolithic slab, but a structure made of a frame made of chipboard / plywood / MDF and “sheathing” made of acrylate

By the way, there are many varieties of artificial stone, since each manufacturer makes it using its own proprietary technology and patents its own stone under a unique name. The most famous acrylates are: Corian (DuPont, USA), Montelli (also DuPont, but more democratic), Hi-Macs (LG, Korea) and Staron (Samsung, Korea).

  • Corian acrylic stone worktop, sink and window sill “Monolithic” countertop with sink and window sill made of Corian acrylic stone
  • Corian acrylic stone worktop, sink and window sill “Monolithic” countertop with sink and window sill made of Corian acrylic stone
  • Corian acrylic stone worktop, sink and window sill “Monolithic” countertop with sink and window sill made of Corian acrylic stone

Price: from 8 to 19 thousand rubles per running meter + price for installation from 5 thousand rubles.

Design options: The artificial stone countertop can be glossy, semi-glossy and matte. Depending on the manufacturer, you can choose from 20-100 shades with a granite-like texture.

  • Antarrid stone countertopAntarrid stone countertop
  • Antarrid stone countertopAntarrid stone countertop
  • Antarrid stone countertopAntarrid stone countertop
  • Antarrid stone countertopAntarrid stone countertop
  • White acrylic stone countertopThe main advantage of artificial stone countertops is seamlessness and the ability to choose any shape
  • White acrylic stone countertopThe main advantage of artificial stone countertops is seamlessness and the ability to choose any shape
  • White acrylic stone countertopThe main advantage of artificial stone countertops is seamlessness and the ability to choose any shape
  • White acrylic stone countertopThe main advantage of artificial stone countertops is seamlessness and the ability to choose any shape
  • White acrylic stone countertopThe main advantage of artificial stone countertops is seamlessness and the ability to choose any shape

Dimensions: The length of one sheet of acrylic stone is 2400-2600 mm, but the length of the “monolithic” table top can be any, because the seams between the two slabs are absolutely invisible. The width of the product can be 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80 cm. The thickness of the acrylic table top is standard – 38 mm, but the thickness of the “stone” layer itself varies from 3 to 19 mm.

Advantages and disadvantages
The price of acrylic countertops is lower than agglomerate or natural stone countertops. More prone to scratches than other countertops. It cannot be washed with a brush and abrasives.
No visible seams, which makes cleaning easier and looks better. Do not put hot dishes.
A sink made of the same material can be integrated into the worktop. The result is a neat and consistent design.. More expensive than wood and plastic countertops.
The worktop can be repaired and renewed many times to perfect condition: scratches are polished, and cracks and chips are filled with special compounds.
Impact resistance. You can not be afraid to drop a cast-iron pan on the countertop..
Chemical inertness (resistance to acids, alkalis, alcohol, vinegar, etc.).
The surface of the countertop made of artificial stone has no pores, which means it does not absorb any dirt, water, or odors, and is not subject to mold formation.
Acrylic top is more pleasant and warmer to the touch than agglomerate or natural stone countertops.

Our advice:

  • The thickness of the acrylic stone does not affect the performance of the kitchen countertop, but the permissible number of grinding cycles (from scratches) depends on it, which means the durability of the top.
  • The most affordable countertop with a chipboard frame clad with 3 mm thick artificial stone.
  • The largest number of shades are presented in Corian and Montelli.
  • When purchasing a countertop with an integrated sink, discard the imitation of a wing adjacent to it (see photo below). In the grooves of such a dish dryer, water and dirt will accumulate every now and then..

Artificial stone sink

  • Installation of acrylic stone countertops is about 10% of its cost. However, some companies offer this service for free as part of a promotion or additional bonus..
  • Generally less scratches on the acrylic countertop after a second polish.

Agglomerate (composite) worktop – perhaps the best kitchen worktop

Agglomerate is, as we said, the best version of artificial stone and … perhaps the best material for a kitchen countertop in general. Even natural stone loses in many respects to its agglomerated counterpart. Agglomerate is of two types:

  • Quartz agglomerate. It contains more than 93% quartz chips, polyester resin and modifying additives. Thanks to this composition, a quartz agglomerate countertop is stronger than a natural quartz slab..
  • Quartz agglomerate countertopCaesarstone Quartz Agglomerate Countertop
  • Quartz agglomerate countertopCaesarstone Quartz Agglomerate Countertop
  • Quartz agglomerate countertopCaesarstone Quartz Agglomerate Countertop
  • Quartz agglomerate countertopCaesarstone Quartz Agglomerate Countertop
  • Artificial granite. In artificial granite, the mineral component is slightly less – 80-85% (granite chips), respectively, the proportion of polyester binder is higher. For this reason, a composite granite countertop is slightly more scratch-prone and less heat resistant than a quartz agglomerate top..
Advantages and disadvantages
Unlike natural stone, the composite countertop does not require any maintenance due to the absence of pores. You can spill the beet juice and then wipe up the puddle after a couple of hours, in complete confidence that there will be no stains.. The price is higher than the acrylic stone countertop.
Scratch resistant. If you wish, you can cut food directly on the worktop without a board. The composite table top cannot be repaired or polished. However, she almost never needs him..
The shape of the artificial stone countertop can be any. The artificial origin of agglomerates may be considered a disadvantage for some. However, there is a plus in this – the design of the countertop will be completely predictable..
You can come to the store, choose the sample you like and be sure that the finished tabletop will turn out exactly as you intended.. Agglomerate worktop is very heavy and expensive to install and transport.
High temperature resistance. Most “stone” countertops can withstand temperatures ranging from 230 to 280 degrees. For comparison: a frying pan that has just been removed from the stove has a temperature of 230-250 degrees. However, it is not recommended to put hot dishes on a composite worktop..
Chemical inertness. The desktop can be washed with almost any cleaning agent.
Environmental friendliness and absolute safety of the material.

Price: The cost of 1 running meter of a kitchen countertop made of quartz agglomerate with a thickness of 30 mm (depending on the manufacturer) varies from 15 to 80 thousand rubles. The most popular are tops made of “stone” costing 15-25 thousand rubles. per running meter.

Possible design: Quartz agglomerate can be similar to marble, granite, sandstone.

  • Dark quartz agglomerate top Cambria Hollinsbroo Quartz Stone Countertop and Apron (Crystal Stone)
  • Dark quartz agglomerate top Cambria Hollinsbroo Quartz Stone Countertop and Apron (Crystal Stone)
  • Dark quartz agglomerate top Cambria Hollinsbroo Quartz Stone Countertop and Apron (Crystal Stone)
  • Dark quartz agglomerate top Cambria Hollinsbroo Quartz Stone Countertop and Apron (Crystal Stone)
  • Dark quartz agglomerate top Cambria Hollinsbroo Quartz Stone Countertop and Apron (Crystal Stone)

Manufacturers: In Russia, you can buy agglomerated stone countertops from many manufacturers, for example, Caesarstone, Quarzelan (Ligron), Cosentino (Silestone), Quarella, Radianz (Samsung), Cambria, Han Stone, Plaza Stone, Santamargherita, Technistone, etc..

Our advice:

  • It is desirable that the brand of composite stone is known and has an official representative office in Russia. Brand fame is, one might say, a quality guarantee, when you can be sure that the manufacturer monitored the raw materials and compliance with the “stone” manufacturing technology. Little-known firms often use dust instead of stone chips, and instead of safe resins – analogs of dubious quality.
  • To make sure that this is not an acrylic stone, but a composite, you just need to touch it with your hand. The real agglomerate should be cold to the touch and the acrylate warmer..

Wooden countertop is the most beautiful

The traditional wooden kitchen worktop, although not the most practical, is durable, pleasant to use and just beautiful..

White kitchen with wood worktop

Modern kitchen interior with wooden countertop

The wooden countertop fits organically not only in classic, but also in modern interiors

Wooden countertops can be of two types:

  1. On the basis of chipboard or MDF with a veneer top layer (common option);
  2. Typesetting from connected timber bars.

Both types of countertops have their pros and cons. A veneered top looks no different from a completely wooden top, while it costs half the price, tolerates temperature extremes and high humidity in the room more stable. But it has a weak point – an edge that can come off / get damaged. In addition, such a tabletop can be restored a limited number of times, because the veneer thickness is no more than 3 mm. The good thing about the inlaid tabletop is that it can be sanded and restored countless times, and its front edge can be milled in any way. However, a wooden top tolerates temperature changes worse and can bend due to the unfavorable climate in the kitchen..

Advantages and disadvantages
Natural warmth and beauty of wood. A wooden countertop can swell, buckle or crack due to moisture, temperature extremes.
The wooden countertop is versatile. Especially good for interiors in classic style, country, Provence, etc.. Requires careful handling.
The price is lower than for a top made of artificial and natural stone. Requires maintenance – treatment with oil or wax 2 times a year.
The ability to update and repair (remove scratches, dents, chips, stains, etc.). Can rot.
Natural wood exudes phytoncides useful for humans. Does not tolerate contact with hot dishes.
You can change the shade of the wood. Scratched from the knife.
Durability.
Ease of installation.
Due to the antistatic properties of wood, dust does not accumulate on the worktop.

Prices: from 4 thousand rubles per running meter for a chipboard countertop with solid veneer. A type-setting table top costs from 8 thousand rubles per running meter.

Size range: Tabletop thickness, depending on the type of wood, can be 32-42 mm, width – 600-630 mm, maximum length – 4100 mm.

  • Table top with oak veneerIkea worktop with oak veneer (Mellekulla model)
  • Table top with oak veneerIkea worktop with oak veneer (Mellekulla model)
  • Table top with oak veneerIkea worktop with oak veneer (Mellekulla model)

Our advice:

  1. Oak and larch are best suited for kitchen countertops, other hardwoods – birch, beech, alder, walnut – are well suited. The most inexpensive and it is also the softest and not wear-resistant tabletop – made of pine.
  2. Inexpensive solid wood countertops are presented in Ikea, Leroy Merlin and Obi.
  3. More photos and information on how to choose and properly use a wooden kitchen countertop can be found in this article.

Natural stone countertop – luxurious, timeless, but not perfect

Agglomerates are better than natural stone in almost everything, but in one thing they are definitely inferior – in natural beauty and uniqueness of the pattern and shades.

Prices: From 25 to 100 thousand rubles per running meter. The cost of the finished countertop largely depends on the complexity of stone processing, its deposit, the value of the rock itself, shade and pattern.

Sizes: Slabs are 20 or 30 mm thick, 1.5-3 m long.Most often, the length of stone kitchen countertops rarely exceeds 2.4 m.

Granite

Granite is one of those stones that works well for a work surface. It is fine-grained and dense, and therefore very practical and durable. Granite is supplied in slabs. In addition, the palette of granite shades is very extensive. True, the more beautiful the color of the stone, the more expensive the countertop will cost, which, even in the most ordinary shade, is so very expensive..

  • Granite countertop The lightest granite that can be found in nature was used for the manufacture of this countertop. This type of granite is called “Kashmir White”
  • Granite countertopThe lightest granite that can be found in nature was used for the manufacture of this countertop. This type of granite is called “Kashmir White”
  • Granite countertop The lightest granite that can be found in nature was used for the manufacture of this countertop. This type of granite is called “Kashmir White”
  • Granite countertop The lightest granite that can be found in nature was used for the manufacture of this countertop. This type of granite is called “Kashmir White”

Marble

The marble countertop (especially the white Carrara marble) is perhaps the most beautiful of all.

Marble countertop in the interior of the kitchen

Marble countertop in the interior of the kitchen

But, unfortunately, the most capricious – because of its porosity and looseness, it quickly absorbs moisture, dirt and grease, does not tolerate acids and shocks. So, for example, if spilled coffee is not wiped up immediately, there is a risk that stains from it will remain forever..

Also, a marble top requires special care – once every 1-2 months, special protective compounds must be rubbed into it..

Our advice:

  • Buy a countertop only from trusted manufacturers who guarantee the neutrality of the radioactive background of the stone (especially granite) and confirm this with the appropriate certificates.
  • When choosing a countertop made of natural stone, keep in mind that the samples presented in the store’s salon will slightly differ from the finished product in shade and pattern of veins and specks. If possible, the slab (slab) for the manufacture of the countertop must be chosen personally.
  • If you really want a marble countertop, but doubt its practicality, then we advise you to pay attention to the quartz agglomerate. It can be very similar to Carrara marble, but it is much more durable than it.

Quartz agglomerate countertop

Quartz agglomerate countertop can successfully replace capricious marble

Steel top is the most durable and unusual

The stainless steel worktop is the most durable on our list. If you cook very often or the interior of your kitchen is made in a modern style (for example, it can be high-tech, Scandinavian style, loft, etc.), then we advise you to take a closer look at this option.

Steel countertop in a Scandinavian kitchen

Steel countertop in a Scandinavian style kitchen

  • At the heart of the stainless steel countertop is a chipboard or MDF plate. The metal coating itself has a thickness of 0.7 mm to 1 mm.
  • The metal tabletop can be wall-mounted and central, radial (see photo below) and angular (without seams), with or without sides.

Radial stainless steel worktop

Radial stainless steel worktop

Price: from 6 to 12 thousand rubles per running meter.

Design: The metal countertop can be smooth, waffle or matte. It can also have a built-in sink with ribbed drying and steel sides.

Steel table top with sides

Steel table top with sides

Dimensions: The length of one seamless steel worktop can be from 2 to 3.7 m (depending on the manufacturer).

Producers: Reginox, MM Industry (Russia), Blanco (Germany).

Advantages and disadvantages
Heat resistance. You can only place hot baking trays and hot pans on a stainless steel worktop. Hard water stains and fingerprints may remain.
Possibility of seamless integration with the sink (solid or welded). The price is higher than for a laminated chipboard countertop.
No stains will bite into steel. The “laboratory” look of the countertop, on the one hand, is universal, but on the other hand, it requires some taste in interior design.
Impact resistance. A tendency to scratch, which fortunately can be easily removed by sanding.
The metal surface does not absorb any grease, dirt, odors or coloring pigments of products.
The steel worktop can be cleaned by any means – from chlorine to solvent.
Durability.
Environmental friendliness and absolute safety of the material.
Stylish look. The steel surface gives a beautiful soft glow.

Our advice:

  • AISI304 steel is more suitable for kitchen worktops, which is not afraid of acids, does not corrode and rust. It is this steel that is used in medical institutions. There is also another steel – AISI430. It costs about 20% less and is widely used in professional kitchens..
  • However, due to prolonged contact with water, high humidity, as well as cleaning with alkaline agents, rust specks can form on it. Outwardly, these two types of steel are the same, a magnet will help to distinguish one from the other – the 430th should be magnetic.
  • It is advisable that the sheet of steel be planted on a base not on silicone, but on high-quality two-component glue. Silicone from heat exposure (for example, from hot dishes) loses its adhesive properties.
  • The steel surface is able to “age” beautifully, over time becoming covered with scratches and acquiring a “live” look, which is appreciated by designers and professional chefs.
  • To reduce fingerprints and other dirt on the countertop, you can treat it with special polishes for stainless steel..

How to choose the design and size of your kitchen countertop

  1. The standard width of the table top is 60 cm.But if possible, it is worth choosing a top with an increased width – 62-64 cm.This way it will be more convenient for you to cook without knocking your knees on the lower cabinets and their handles.
  2. A dark countertop is super effective, but, unfortunately, impractical – even the tiniest drops of water, dust and stains will be very noticeable on it. If you still want to buy a dark countertop, choose one that has light blotches or veins..

Dark plastic countertop

Oddly enough, a dark countertop has to be cleaned twice as often as a light one.

  1. Special attention should be paid to the choice of decorative processing of the ends. They can be straight, rounded, milled (see photo below), with colored or contrasting wood / stone / melamine edges. As a rule, the more complex the design of the ends, the higher the cost of the countertop..

Quartz agglomerate countertop

Quartz agglomerate worktop with milling

  1. It is advisable that the tabletop has wall bumpers, which will not only prevent moisture and dirt from getting behind the curbstones, but also decorate the work surface..
  2. The countertop should fit into the interior of the kitchen in style and color. For example, in classic kitchen a wooden top (or under a tree), as well as a stone one (under a stone) will look good. V country style interior or provence a worktop made of wood or ceramics will fit perfectly. In a modern interior, a worktop made of steel, artificial stone or wood will be appropriate. In choosing the shade, texture and material of the top, you can orient yourself on the apron, facades, the tabletop of the dining table, the window sill or the finish of the kitchen floor.

Table top made of plastic to match the headset

Kitchen worktop to match the table

Kitchen worktop to match the table

  • Yellow acrylic stone countertop Yellow acrylic stone countertop to match the apron and window sill
  • Yellow acrylic stone countertopYellow acrylic stone countertop to match the apron and window sill