Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

Best kitchen worktop 2021: Stylish laminate, acrylic and real wood worktops for your kitchen

Advertisement

No matter your budget, these strong and stylish kitchen worktops will make a statement in your kitchen

Worktops are the most important part of your kitchen. Not only do they need to look good, but they also have to withstand heat, oil, water, bumps and scrapes. The best kitchen worktops do this and so much more, bringing style and substance to one of the busiest areas of the home.

It usually pays to spend extra for a durable kitchen worktop that’s been made with the best materials, but even if your budget is stretched to its limit, you can still find a few gems that will last for years with the right care. Our recommended kitchen worktops have not only been selected based on price but also looks, durability and ease of cleaning. So whether your worktop budget is £50 or £5,000, you should be able to find something that’s right for you.

If you want to know more about the different types of worktop you can buy, as well as how to look after them and how much to spend, read on for our guide to choosing kitchen worktops. If you’re already clued up, scroll on to find our top picks underneath.

READ NEXT: Best hard floor cleaners

How to choose the best kitchen worktop for you

What are the different types of worktop material?

While we haven’t listed every single type of worktop material below, we’ve highlighted the most common you’ll find in modern kitchens, so you can make an informed decision on the best ones to consider for your kitchen.

Hardwood – Hardwood is a beautiful kitchen worktop material that’s less costly to buy than natural stone and some acrylic. You can find wood worktops in all kinds of striking colours and grain styles, and no two pieces are ever the same. The biggest downside is that natural wood stains and scratches easily. It also requires maintenance at least twice a year to keep it in a good condition.

Laminate – This is probably the most versatile worktop material, as it can be made to look like other materials but doesn’t cost as much. Laminate is also easy to maintain and clean and is antibacterial, as long as it’s not badly damaged. The main downside is that the price of laminate can vary. The less you spend, the less natural your worktop will look. Moreover, laminate never quite feels the same as a natural or composite worktop.

Composite/Quartz/Acrylic – Man-made composite materials are crafted from natural ground minerals that are mixed with resin or acrylic for a durable, non-porous finish. The best composite and acrylic worktops offer all the charm and unique appearance of natural material without the maintenance. Acrylic worktops, sometimes called by the brand name Fenix or Corian, may not always be as expensive as quartz blends, so are a better choice if you’re looking to spend less.

Granite – If money is no object and you want a low-maintenance work surface with a high-quality finish, granite worktops are the best choice. Granite looks incredibly slick, working well in both traditional and modern kitchens; is highly resistant to chipping and scratches and doesn’t require any special cleaning or maintenance treatment.

Are natural stone and wood worktops better than laminate?

It all depends on your needs and the amount of time you’re willing to spend taking care of your worktop. Most people prefer the look of natural worktops but these are often expensive and, in the case of natural wood, require additional regular treatments.

Granite offers the best of both because it’s easy to maintain and is also a natural material, but it comes at a cost. If you’re on a tight budget, then there are some very natural-looking laminates out there. It’s always best to order samples if you can, to compare the look and feel in real life.

Can I fit a kitchen worktop myself?

While many of the best kitchen worktops will say they’re easy to cut and fit, this doesn’t mean you should attempt to do it yourself, unless you’re a skilled fitter or builder. Hiring a professional fitter can be pricey, but attempting to do it yourself may end up costing you even more. Worktops need to be cut precisely – one wrong move and the entire piece of material will be ruined, costing you hundreds of pounds in wasted worktop.

How do I look after a worktop surface?

If you choose a natural wood worktop, you should clean it regularly with a damp (not wet) fibre cloth. You’ll also need to oil your worktop regularly so it keeps its antibacterial properties and doesn’t succumb to water damage.

During the first few weeks of fitting your wood worktop, this will need to be done more regularly until a good barrier has formed between the wood and oil. You can tell when this is right, because water droplets will sit on top of the wood, rather than soaking in.

All other surfaces can be cleaned with a damp cloth and mild soap, and shouldn’t require any other maintenance.

How much do kitchen worktops cost?

Typically kitchen worktops are sold per piece online and can be cut down to size as needed. Prices start at anywhere from £40 per slab for the cheapest laminate to hundreds of pounds for the most complex kitchen worktops. Of course, the more you spend, the more hard-wearing your worktop is likely to be, but cheaper options are suitable for most households. You may also need to factor in the cost of a professional kitchen worktop fitter.

READ NEXT: Best bathroom paint

The best kitchen worktops to buy

1. Algiata Square Edge Matt Grey Laminate: Best stone-effect kitchen worktop

Price: £98 | Buy now from B&Q | Matching upstand | Matching breakfast bar

This faux-stone kitchen worktop is ideal if you want a thin, stylish surface on a budget. Despite being made with chipboard and laminate, it looks impressively close to the real thing with little details to ensure each section is unique. It has a matte finish, which is ideal if you prefer a subtle look and adds to the “realness” of the worktop too. Better still, it’s scratch- and heat-resistant, easy to clean and comes with a long 25-year guarantee.

The only downside is that it only comes in one length, so you may end up with more wastage after cutting to size. It’s always easier to go for something bigger and cut it down, though, so consult with a kitchen fitter if you’re not sure how to proceed.

Key specsMaterial: Laminate; Thickness: 22m; Different sizes available: No; Matching upstand: Yes; Guarantee: 25 years

Buy now from B&Q


2. House of Worktops Bella Bianche Laminate Kitchen Worktops: Best affordable marble-effect worktop

Price: From £55 | Buy now from Amazon

Real marble worktops look stunning in a kitchen but are prone to impracticalities – the stone can stain and etch, leaving dull spots if acids (such as lemon juice) are allowed to linger. This is why manmade marble-effect worktops are so popular. If your budget doesn’t run to a quartz composite or ceramic lookalike, try this stylish Bella Bianche laminate.

It’s durable, with an easy to clean matt finish, moisture-resistant fibreboard core and a rounded edge. There’s a range of sizes, from 1m to 4m, and you can customise the length and width for an extra charge (£15-£45), so there won’t be any wastage. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also available in a 90cm depth – great if you’re using it to top a kitchen island – and it comes with free edging strips.

Not sure if it’s the right fit for your kitchen? There’s the option of a £10 sample, so you can try before you buy.

Key specs – Material: Laminate; Thickness: 38mm; Different sizes available: Yes; Matching upstand: No [but available direct from retailer’s website]; Guarantee: 5 years

3. Iroko Hardwood: Best real wood kitchen worktop

Price: From £180 (2,000 x 635mm) | Buy now from Worktop Express

This beautiful, A-grade hardwood surface is simply stunning and a great option for rustic country kitchens. The mixed, golden hues make this one of the most interesting hardwood kitchen worktops we’ve seen and with prices starting at £180, it isn’t eye-wateringly pricey for 100% real wood either. As with all hardwood counters, you’ll need to oil it semi-regularly with linseed or danish oil. Just don’t be fooled into buying an expensive branded worktop oil that you could pick up cheaper elsewhere.

If a bit of maintenance doesn’t scare you off, then this really is a top choice. Alongside having a beautifully smooth 150-grit finish, every bit of this worktop is completely unique and looks great in any size of kitchen, especially once oiled as it’ll darken to a rich bronze. Better still, it comes in a range of sizes, so you’ll get a better fit with less wastage when you buy.

Key specsMaterial: Solid Iroko wood; Thickness: 27mm or 40mm; Different sizes available: Yes; Matching upstand: No; Guarantee: 6 months

Buy now from Worktop Express


4. HI-MACS Square Edge Matt Chamomile Stone Effect: Best high-end acrylic worktop

Price: £348 (2,200 x 620mm) | Buy now from B&Q | Matching upstand

This is one of the pricer options on this list but HI-MACS acrylic surfaces are a cut above the rest. A high-gloss finish makes this worktop look incredibly slick and modern, and the slight grey detailing adds to the overall character of the surface, giving it a realistic polished-stone feel. It’s also incredibly thin at just 20mm deep, so you get all of the hardiness with none of the bulk, which is great if a slimline design is more your thing.

What’s more, thanks to the way this brand of worktop is mixed and treated, it’s non-porous, offers supreme stain resistance and is incredibly hard-wearing – perfect for busy, well-used kitchens. HI-MACS worktops are also certified by NSF International, meaning they’re hygienic enough to be used in public health settings.

Key specsMaterial: Composite acrylic; Thickness: 20mm; Different sizes available: No; Matching upstand: Yes; Guarantee: 10 years

Buy now from B&Q


5. Wickes Square Edge Noir Absolu Zenith: Best high-end laminate kitchen worktop

Price: £288 (3,000 x 610mm) | Buy now from Wickes | Matching upstand

If you want to make a statement in your kitchen but can’t quite stretch to the £500+ price tag attached to some natural stone worktops, this high-end laminate is a striking alternative. The dark colour, 13mm thickness and unusual texture mimics the qualities of natural stone for less. It's ideal for larger, modern kitchens.

Despite its thinness, it's incredibly durable. A waterproof core means it’ll work well with flush sinks and protects against steam and water damage. Moreover, because it’s laminate it doesn’t need any special treatment or cleaning. Simply wipe away dirt with a soft damp cloth and mild cleaning product. This surface is also much easier to install than natural worktops and doesn't need edging when cutting curves or corners.

Key specsMaterial: Laminate; Thickness: 13mm; Different sizes available: No; Matching upstand: Yes; Guarantee: 1 year

Buy now from Wickes


6. Grigio Bromo Solid Fenix NTM: Best hard-wearing kitchen worktop

Price: From £425 (3,000 x 645mm) | Buy now from Worktop Express

If you’re looking for a slick, super-matte, durable worktop, then you can stop your search here. This Fenix NTM slate grey offering might be pricey, but it’s a striking countertop that will complement any modern kitchen nicely.

It's one of the thinnest worktops you can buy and yet it still offers greater resistance to scrapes, water damages and heat than many other composite worktops. This is thanks to the thermosetting resin used to strengthen it, which also provides low light reflectivity, resulting in a proper matte finish. Available in multiple sizes, this worktop offers a better fit for fully custom kitchens, making it well worth the money in our opinion.

Key specsMaterial: Fenix (paper and acrylic resin); Thickness: 12mm; Different sizes available: Yes; Matching upstand: Yes; Guarantee: 10 years

Buy now from Worktop Express


7. Solid Bamboo: Best bamboo worktop

Price: From £175 (2,000 x 620mm) | Buy now from Worktop Express | Matching upstand

Naturally waterproof and durable, bamboo worktops not only give your kitchen an alternative look, but they’re also more environmentally sustainable than their hardwood counterparts due to bamboo’s rapid growth cycle. This solid bamboo worktop is a seriously good looking option, with the compressed and layered staves offering plenty of character.

The surface is a rich, golden colour and is sanded to 150 grit for a smooth finish. There’s a solid range of sizes available as well, so you won’t get caught short or end up with excessive waste. Similar to wooden worktops, you’ll need to treat this with oil semi-regularly – Worktop Express recommends regular oilings for the first six weeks, and then approximately every three months thereafter. The retailer has various sizes of Danish oil for sale, but you can get it cheaper elsewhere.

Key specs – Material: Solid bamboo; Thickness: 40mm; Different sizes available: Yes; Matching upstand: Yes; Guarantee: 6 months

Buy now from Worktop Express


Read more

Best Buys