The Types of Drinking Glasses You Need in Your Kitchen
Having an unruly drinkware cupboard is quite nearly a universal. Stacks on stacks of odd mugs, incomplete sets of water glasses and a general lack of anything that “sparks joy” is the norm.
When looking to edit and fill your cupboards with the best drinking glasses for everyday use, you can easily be overwhelmed. What are the best water glasses out there? What are the types of drinking glasses you should be targeting? We’re breaking it down and filling you in on the different types of drinking glasses and their uses, which glasses and features are essential and which you can do without.
Everyone should have go-to water glasses in their arsenal. When making your selection, there are a few factors to consider: Size, material, shape and, of course, looks are all on the list.
We think a tumbler glass is quite possibly the best water glass you can select. By definition, it is a flat-bottomed drinking glass without a foot or stem. This shape feels great in the hand and, when weighted on the bottom, deftly avoids tipping over (or, as you could say, “tumbling”). It is also easy to drink out of a tumbler; its design forgoes a drip-inducing raised lip and features a more generous circumference than the too-narrow body of a Collins or highball glass.
When it comes to size, the options are infinite within this tumbler category, but we think 14-to 16-ounce options make the best water glasses. This is a pretty standard size since it holds a fair amount of liquid without getting too weighty. Anything over 16 ounces can be tough to manage.
There are a number of suitable material options, too. Tempered glass makes for a relatively shatterproof glass and ensures durability.
However, if you’re more comfortable with plastic, don’t shy away from it — you’ve just got to know what you’re looking for. Read labels and make sure you’re purchasing a BPA-free plastic vessel. The only kind of plastic that contains BPA, or bisphenol-A, is polycarbonate. Tritan plastic, polypropylene plastic, acrylic and SAN are all great alternatives. A quick summary of these clunky terms:
- Tritan plastic is characterized by its clarity and performance. It is the sturdiest (read: most dishwasher-friendly) and closest to glass in appearance.
- Polypropylene plastic is slightly opaque and rubbery in texture. This is perhaps a less stylish option, but very recognizable and great for those who are fearful of accidentally reaching for a BPA plastic.
- Acrylic and SAN are closest in resemblance to BPA-laden drinkware. These plastics look very similar to actual glass but are less durable. They are among the best water glass options out there, just handle with care!
Still feeling overwhelmed? A cheat to avoiding BPA plastics is to steer clear of any glass labeled “unbreakable” that doesn’t also highlight that it is BPA-free. Acrylic and SAN are typically labeled “hand-wash” and “dishwasher-safe,” respectively. Tritan and polypropylene plastics are pretty unbreakable but will make sure to clearly label their BPA-free status as a selling point.
In addition to your water glass standbys, you should be sure to keep some sleek, differently- shaped and -sized glasses available for juice and other flavorful drinks. The best drinking glasses for everyday use within this category fall into the 8- to 12-ounce range.
While you don’t want to get too out there and completely forget utility, these drinking glasses will, in theory, be getting a bit less use than your water glass workhorses, so you should have fun with them.
Delicate, hand-blown glasses are on trend right now and drinking juice is a great time to reach for something of that sort. A narrow and tall Collins or highball glass works wonders for a drink you want to sip slowly. And drinking can be made to feel special with something colorful or embossed in your hand.
One word of caution: We would advise against anything with a fluted or bulbous lip since that design feature inevitably leads to some dripping.
So, you’ve covered your glasses than handle cool beverages. Make sure to have top-notch cups for sipping tea and coffee on hand, too.
For coffee mugs, look for something with a comfortable handle, solid weight and impressive ability to withstand heat. The average coffee mug is 12 ounces, but that size may require you to go for a refill more often. We’d recommend a cup that holds 14 to 16 ounces.
Teacups are often more squat than their coffee mug counterparts and possess wider, often tapered mouths to facilitate pouring boiling water into their bowls, which then needs to quickly cool down so you can enjoy your tea. The wide mouth is not meant to deter spilling, which is the reason why you’ll often find a teacup accompanied by a saucer. If you encounter a set that comes with this option, snag it!
Because of these distinctions between mugs and teacups, we recommend stocking your cupboards with sets of each, no matter your beverage preference. Chances are you’ll encounter a house guest who does have an allegiance.