Stainless Steel Countertops Pros and Cons



  • Heat resistant
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Blends well with any décor
  • Goes well with stainless steel sinks and appliances
  • Reflects natural and artificial light in order to brighten kitchen
  • Expensive
  • Easy to scratch and dent
  • Fingerprints and water spots make it look dirty
  • Noisy
  • Will dull knives if you cut directly on it

As you can see, there are both pros and cons to installing stainless steel countertops in your kitchen. In this post we will explore some of those pros and cons in more detail. All restaurant kitchens use stainless steel countertops because they are a good surface for cooks to work on. If you are interested in cooking, then stainless steel counters might be appropriate for your kitchen. They also look quite professional so you can give the impression that you are a serious cook if you want to. In terms of décor, stainless steel can go with any style of cabinets. It works well with wood as well as more modern materials. You can blend the countertops into customer stainless steel sinks or appliances as well. They are also a good way to make the kitchen seem brighter and larger because the stainless steel surface will reflect both natural and artificial light well.

One example of a positive of having stainless steel countertops is that stainless steel is considered heat resistant. It gets this label because you can put hot pots and pans on the surface without leaving marks behind not damaging the surface. Another positive is that stainless steel is an anti-bacterial surface because it is not porous. Since there are no crevices and hiding places for water or bacteria, the surface stays relatively clean. You do not need to use sealants to keep out bacteria or dirt. In fact all you need to keep your stainless steel counters clean is soapy water. Using harsh kitchen cleaners will mar the surface and leave behind stains.

The main disadvantage of stainless steel counter tops is the fact they are so expensive. You might pay anywhere from $75 to $150 per square foot for these countertops. There are definitely less expensive options, but the cost is on par with a good granite countertop. Another negative to stainless steel in the kitchen is the fact that it dents and scratches quite easily. Dropping something heavy on the counter is a sure way to leave a dent which cannot be repaired easily. Any time you drag something across the counter surface or accidently set a knife down incorrectly, you run the risk of leaving a scratch behind. Some people say that these scratches and dents add character, but I think that I only true after many of them are added over the entire surface. Until then, they are just blemishes.

Another negative is that it is very hard to eliminate water marks and fingerprints from stainless steel surfaces and their existence make the stainless steel counter look dirty even if it is not. In addition, working on a stainless steel surface can be quite noisy because every time you sit something down you make a loud clanking sound. Finally, some people like the fact that you can cut directly on the stainless steel surface, but if you do so your knives will become dull and useless. It is recommended that you use a cutting board.

Types of Stainless Steel Countertops

Whether you like the idea of stainless steel counter tops or not, there are several different types to choose from. Some of the stainless steel styles create more problems than others while some are easier to live with than others. For example, a mirror polished stainless steel counter will look terrible with even one fingerprint on it and it is almost impossible to keep it looking clean. By contrast, the brushed stainless steel will hide finger prints more and small scratches or dents often blend in better.

Other styles of stainless steel counter tops include quilted stainless steel or machine hammered pieces of stainless steel. The quilted counter tops have many small squares molded into the stainless steel. The surface is not smooth, but it is quite decorative. In fact, you actually see quilted stainless steel backsplashes far more often. The machine hammered stainless steel has small dimples hammered into the counter so that the surface you use has many small bumps. Again, the surface is not smooth, but is decorative. One negative that comes with these more decorative stainless steel counter top styles is the fact that they are harder to clean because there are many nooks and crevices for food and dirt to hide.