Kitchen counter tops are made from a variety of materials ranging from plastic to quartz, and can vary wildly in their appearance and properties. Which one you chose will have a lot to do with what your specific needs are.

If you don't use the kitchen very often, it makes sense to choose a counter top that looks better without much concern for functionality, or vice versa. Here are five common types of countertop materials compared.


Laminate countertops have come a long way in a short time. With a variety of nature inspired patterns and textures, and the most budget friendly price point, you're certain to find or even design the perfect counter top for your dream kitchen.


While not ideal for cutting or chopping unless properly sealed, a wood countertop has a warm natural feel. It's right at home with vintage appliances and, for you bakers out there, looks great with a little flour sprinkled over it.


Marble is both decorative and functional. It can withstand the slightly overzealous chopper, and wears it's wear well, though it runs into some issues with acidic food and stains, or any combination of the two, so watch out.


One of the most utilitarian options out there, steel countertops match everything, clean easily, and tend not to grow much bacteria, making them a quick and easy go-to for the modern household.


Very green, and very fashionable, countertops made from recycled materials, are on the uptrend due to their relatively low cost, durability and environmental friendliness. Be sure to note the materials your counter is made from, as some may be more porous, absorbent, or heat resistant than others.

With all the variety out there, it can be hard to choose, but going in there knowing what your options are is a good first step.