A concrete countertop along a kitchen counter.

10 Best Kitchen Countertop Materials

Originally contributed by • last updated 7/30/2021

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A kitchen is not a kitchen without a countertop. Seriously, without any kind of surface on your cabinets, you can’t do anything. That should go without saying, though.

The kind of countertop you go with can really make or break your kitchen design. The only problem is that there are so many different materials you can use on your counters. Each kind has its own aesthetic and functional pros and cons.

If you’re in the midst of a kitchen remodel and you’re wondering which countertop material you should use, then look no further! Here, we have a list of the most common countertops out there, so you can decide which is best for your kitchen.

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Marble Countertops

Marble is probably the most well known material for kitchen counters, and for good reason. Its sleek design gives off a really expensive look, making it a true fan favorite. It really is one of the best countertop materials out there. 

Though we most commonly see white marble with gray veins in it, there are plenty of other colors to choose from as well, including, black, gray, or beige. 

As beautiful as marble is, it can be quite expensive. It’s also a relatively soft stone, which means it scratches easily. Only use gentle cleansers on it, and never cut directly on the surface.

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Quartz Countertops

In recent years, quartz has become a popular alternative to marble. It still has that stone-like effect, even though it’s an engineered surface. Bits of quartz stone are combined with epoxy to make a super hard surface.

The sturdiness of a quartz countertop is what makes it one of the best surfaces to use. You can even cut directly on it (though it will dull your knife).

Though it’s no cheaper than marble in most cases, you can rest assured knowing you’re getting a high-quality material that can look nice in any kitchen.

03/10

Butcher Block Countertops

A very popular style for small or farmhouse kitchens, butcher block does double duty. Not only does it look amazing as a countertop material, but it’s also one large cutting board. Just like smaller wooden blocks you can buy at the store, you can cut directly on these boards.

Butcher block is made out of actual wood, and should be treated as such. That means they don’t hold up as well around fire (obviously), and they require a bit of maintenance (oiling, etc.). But, they can be sanded down if there are too many scratches or gouges in the surface.

Depending on the kind of wood you go for, this stuff can get pretty expensive. But it is the best material to use in a kitchen with limited space, or if you want an accent island that contrasts the rest of your kitchen.

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Tiled Countertops

Once popular, then dated, and now on the rise again, tiled countertops are a great option for a kitchen. Aesthetically, they provide a lot of texture, and they can look really cool depending on what tiles you go for.

They’re a lot easier to install than other types of countertops. You could even install it yourself if you have the patience. Like a floor or backsplash, they may require grout maintenance, and since you’re putting food on there, they also need to be sealed frequently. 

The uneven surface can be a bit more time consuming to clean. But if you’re into that tiled aesthetic, then the work will definitely be worth it.

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Granite Countertops

Like marble, granite is a natural stone that’s generally mined in slab form. It’s a beautiful stone, and another fan favorite both for its looks and durability. It’s harder than marble, though not as hard as quartz.

Granite countertops are the best for those really upscale kitchen designs. It has a look and feel to it that just screams, “I cost thousands of dollars!” — and it actually can cost thousands of dollars, too. 

Granite is relatively easy to clean, though it does stain easier than other materials. Regular cleaning should keep these countertops in tip-top shape.

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Laminate Countertops

Laminate is the best budget friendly countertop material around. It can cost a fraction of the price of more expensive stone counters, and can even give you a faux stone look.

Laminate is easy to install and maintain, but it is a bit on the softer side. You definitely don’t want to cut directly on it. It’s also not as long lasting as other materials.

These counters would work really well in rentals, or if you don’t want to spend too much money on countertops in general. You won’t get a better bang for your buck with any other material.

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Concrete Countertops

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Concrete countertops have begun to rise in popularity because of their rustic yet industrial look. They’re easy to install — you can even do it yourself. It is concrete, though, so it takes time to properly set.

At the same time, it’s concrete! There’s a reason this stuff is used in construction projects; it’s so durable and long lasting. You’re going to get years and years of use out of this countertop material. 

Though it can be surprisingly expensive to buy, you can save some money by doing the work yourself. Concrete is also so easy to customize, and is probably the best material for getting exactly what you want.

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Stainless Steel Countertops

A staple in industrial and restaurant kitchens, stainless steel is making its way into our homes in a big way. If you want to give yourself a futuristic, modern kitchen, this is the best material to use. 

Stainless steel is notoriously easy to clean. You won’t ever have to worry about staining, and you can use a large variety of cleaners on it. It can scratch, though, so you’ll still want to use cutting boards.

Some people may associate stainless steel with cold, uninviting aesthetics. But if you know how to design a kitchen, this material can work pretty much anywhere. 

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Soapstone Countertops

There’s something naturally rustic about soapstone. Though you could definitely use this material anywhere, it best suits that farmhouse look, rivaling concrete and butcher block as a top contender for the aesthetic. 

Like granite or marble, soapstone is mined in slab form. It’s fairly easy to clean, and doesn’t need sealing like its other quarried counterparts. But it can be scratched, so make sure you aren’t cutting directly on it.

10/10

Solid Surface Countertops

Like the name implies, solid surface is, well, a solid surface. Like laminate, this material is manufactured, rather than occurring naturally. But unlike laminate, it’s generally more durable and better quality.

Solid surface countertops can give you that stone effect without actual stone, meaning you’re going to spend a bit less money. They’re easy to clean, but like with most materials, don’t cut directly on them and you’ll be good to go.