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Porcelain vs Bone China vs Ceramic: Which is Better?

Porcelain vs Bone China vs Ceramic: Which is Better?

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beautiful blue flower-pattern porcelain plates on the wall

Source: Pexels

When buying dinnerware, except for the color and pattern, what else should we pay attention to? The following will respectively elaborate on different types of ceramic dinnerware, so that readers can have a clear understanding of ceramic dinnerware.

What is Ceramic Dinnerware?


Source: Pixabay

Ceramic dinnerware refers to all artificial industrial products with inorganic non-metallic minerals as raw materials, such as clay. It includes various products made of clay or mixtures containing clay, by mixing, forming and calcining. Due to the different production techniques, The type of ceramic dinner ranges from rough potter to refine porcelain.

The fabrication and application of ceramic dinnerware has a long history. Its diverse shapes, colorful, cool and smooth feel, easy to wash, are deeply loved by people all over the world.

The production methods of ceramic dinnerware are divided into on-glaze color, under-glaze color and in-glaze color. On-glaze ceramics are pasted on the glaze by stickers made of pigment or painted directly on the surface of the product with pigment, and then baked at low temperature. Because the baking temperature cannot melt the glaze, the flower coating cannot be incorporated into the glaze.Touching the on-glaze ceramics with your hand, and feeling that the flower coating has the uneven impression.

The baking temperature (higher temperature) of the in-glaze color ceramics can make the glaze melt, and the pigment can be incorporated into the glaze. After cooling, the pigment  is covered by the glaze layer. The surface of the product is smooth, and there is no obvious concave convex feeling by hand touching.

The under-glaze colored ceramics are decorated on the porcelain body. After glazing, they are fired at a high temperature. The flower coating is covered by the glaze layer. Therefore, the ceramics look bright, flat and smooth.

Because of the diversity of ceramic technology, many different types of ceramic dinnerware have been produced.

Three Different Types of Ceramic Dinnerware

porcelain tea cups

Source: Unplash


Porcelain is a kind of super high temperature ceramics. Therefore, it is strength, translucent, white. However, with the development of modern technology, you can hardly see any difference between pottery and porcelain. They are all made with similar technology.

The main difference is color. Classic ceramic dinner are hard, strong, durable and heat-resistant, and have no function on other chemicals. However, they are fragile under different Condition.


Stoneware is a kind of super durable ceramics. It is a solid, hard, non porous ceramic, made at high temperature until vitrified. It can be made into various clay colors.

However, it is more opaque than other types of ceramics, such as porcelain. You can use stone dinnerware to store, cook, bake and serve. In other words, it has complete functions and affordable prices and it can meet the dietary needs of most people.


Unlike general ceramics, earthenware is made at a lower temperature. Thus, its strength is not as good as other types of ceramics. It is fragile and a little porous. The earthenware  is usually burned once, then glazed, and sometimes burned again. Earthenware dinner are heavy, thick, so easy to chip, and it doesn’t need a lot of budget, which can reduce the burden on families in some extent.

Among the three types of ceramics, porcelain is more popular because of its exquisite and durable nature. It is also made more widely in the field of ceramic dinnerware making, and ranks first in the field of ceramics. Now, Let’s explore the difference between porcelain plates and general ceramic plates in more detail.

Porcelain Plates vs. General Ceramic Plates

rough white ceramic dinnerware

Source: Pexels

Porcelain is only one kind of ceramics. However, unlike general ceramics, the clay that is used to make porcelain is very fine. It also hardens at high temperatures. This is why porcelain plates are stronger, less porous and more durable than general ceramic plates. Porcelain plates also have higher density and higher mechanical (crack and chip) resistance.

People also buy Porcelain because it is more attractive and more suitable for some special occasions and activities. This kind of plates is made of kaolin clay, normal clay, quartz sand and feldspar. Nevertheless, it can also contain other materials, such as bone ash, granite, glass, talc, spherical clay, alabaster, etc.

The main feature of porcelain plates is translucency. They are usually translucent white, in other words, you can see light passing through them. Other general ceramic plates do not have this feature and they are more opaque. Porcelain plates can also be used as a layer on cast iron tools, because it can provide chemical free and non stick coatings for things, such as stews and ovens.

Dinnerware made of porcelain are more popular than general ones. In order to determine which dinnerware is more suitable for your cooking needs, let’s summarize five main differences between them. these can help you make better decisions.

The differences between the two are mainly reflected in:

1. Hardness

Porcelain plates are more durable and stronger than general ceramic plates because they are heated at higher temperatures. Compared with porcelain plates, the hardness of general ceramic plates can only be used at room temperature.

2. Raw Materials

Porcelain plates and general ceramic plates are made of clay heated at different temperatures. The difference is that porcelain plates are generally made of special clay, such as kaolin clay; general ceramic plates are made of ordinary clay and other materials.

3. Manufacturing Process

Porcelain plates are made at high temperature, which exceeds 2300 ° F, sometimes even 2600 ° F. Therefore, they are very hard. While the general ceramic plates are made at a lower temperature (1200 ° F or lower), they are a little porous, so they are usually burned once, then glazed, and then burned a second time. General ceramic plates are thick and heavy, and they break easily.

4. Color Style

General ceramic plates are more opaque and thicker than porcelain plates with simple appearance. Unlike porcelain plates, they are more exquisite, thinner, translucent and attractive.

5. Price

General ceramic plates are not as expensive as porcelain plates. If you are looking for a cheaper option, there is no doubt that general ceramic plates are cheaper. Therefore, people usually prefer general ceramic plates for daily and life settings. On the other hand, porcelain plates are the first choice for some formal meals and special occasions.

Different Types of Porcelain Plates

hands processing clay on spinning board

Source: Unsplash

Above, we have fully understood the different types and manufacturing methods of ceramics. Next, let’s continue to learn more about the making methods and three types of porcelain.

How to Make Porcelain?

Porcelain is made in several steps. The first is the crushing of raw materials. Usually, porcelain is made of feldspar, clay and silica. These raw materials are measured accurately and then crushed in different units. During this step of the production process, each large pieces will be removed. Then, the final product is mixed with water. Once these mixtures are wetted and cleaned, different molding techniques (including soft plastic molding and hard plastic molding) can be used to generate porcelain embryos. Like traditional ceramics, the next heating is carried out under the high temperature of the kiln (industrial oven).

Just like ceramics, there are different types of porcelain, including bone china, soft porcelain and hard porcelain.

1. Bone China

Bone china is one of the most durable porcelain. It has high whiteness and translucency. Bone china dinnerware is made of kaolin clay, feldspar and bone ash.

2. Soft-Paste

Soft-Paste also known as “artificial porcelain”, this kind of porcelain is more fragile because production does not require ultra-high temperature or some other special minerals. Therefore, it is easier to crack when it is filled with hot water. This is one of the most fragile porcelain dinnerware, but it is also the most affordable.

3. Hard-Paste

Unlike “artificial porcelain”, hard-paste porcelain is also called “real porcelain”. It is made of kaolin clay, feldspar and talc. It also hardens at very high temperatures.

Bone China Plates vs. General Porcelain Plates

A complete set of white luxurious crockery

Source: Pito

Bone china plates are more popular in people’s  daily life. Bone china is considered to be the most exquisite and luxurious dinnerware material. Whether it is at breakfast, lunch or dinner, it adds exquisite classical and modern design to any eating table.

So what is the difference between Bone china plates and general porcelain plates? The following will be a detailed explanation.

1. Hardness

Bone china is considered to be the strongest porcelain material. Plates made of bone china have a longer service life and are more resistant to occasional damage. The hardness of general porcelain plates are slightly inferior to bone china plates.

2. Raw Materials

Bone china plates are made of porcelain clay, porcelain stone and bone ash (made of some animals’ bones). General porcelain plates do not contain any ashes, and are usually made of general clay, frosted glass, feldspar and other materials. It is worth mentioning that Chinese porcelain is mostly made of pegmatite granite and kaolin.

3. Manufacturing Process

Bone china plates are the combination of porcelain clay, porcelain stone, bone ash or a combination of the three with porcelain clay, and is fired at a temperature slightly lower than that of general porcelain plates. Generally, the maximum firing temperature of bone china plates is 2228 degrees Fahrenheit (1220 degrees Celsius). General porcelain plates are fired at a higher temperature in a kiln. Usually, general porcelain plates are fired at a temperature of about 2650 degrees Fahrenheit (1454 degrees Celsius).

4. Color Style

Bone china plates are famous for its unique, creamy soft color when bone ashes are added to the mixture. Bone china plates are translucent, allowing more light to enter, while general porcelain plates will block most of the light. Therefor, Bone china plates are more grayish white than general porcelain plates.


Generally speaking, Bone China that meets the general standard is more expensive than general porcelain plates of the same standard. Hence, Bone china is mostly used for collection and exhibition in daily life. The price of general porcelain plates will be more in line with public expectations.

How to Choose the Most Suitable Dinnerware

bread in plates

Source:  Unsplash

Through the above, we have a certain understanding of ceramic dinnerware, which is definitely helpful for us to buy our own ceramic dinnerware in the market. When you cannot decide which material is more suitable for you, you can choose according to the following points:


Be sure to check the label before you buy any dinnerware. You will be able to see if it is safe for cooking or baking on a stove or just for use in an oven. Therefore, before buying any dinnerware, you need to clarify your purpose of using dinnerware


General ceramic dinnerware has been able to meet the most needs of people’s daily life, and the price is favorable. It is a better choice for people to bake and cook.


Porcelain dinnerware is more decorative than general ceramic dinnerware. The white and elegant of porcelain make it a perfect choice to provide tea or special food with high ornamental quality. If you want to find something novel, porcelain dinnerware is your first choice.


Choose pure white ceramic dinnerware. Because they are not painted, do not use pigments, and do not contain heavy metals which is harmful to human body.

Accessories & Decoration

Try not to choose ceramic dinnerware with metal decoration, such as gold framed bowls, gold framed plates, gold framed cups, etc. The reason is that manufacturers will not use real gold for consumers, and these gold are also heavy metal coatings.


Most importantly, Bone China dinnerware is a good choice if you have enough budget and have the habit of collecting. Bone china dinnerware is a kind of luxurious and precious material, which can be preserved for decades and handed down from generation to generation, and has amazing emotional value.But if you are out of money, then general ceramic dinnerware are your best choice. Note: avoid using bone china for baking and heating.


Attention: whether you use porcelain or other ceramic dinnerware, you should avoid sudden changes in temperature, because it will damage or completely destroy the dinnerware.

Key Takeaway

After reading this article, what is your choice? I hope this article can help you understand the differences between dinnerware made of various materials.

After reading this article, what is your choice? I hope this article can help you understand the differences between dinnerware made of various materials.


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