Best picks for break-resistant plates

Best picks for break-resistant plates »Play Video
Durable, dishwasher-safe dinnerware is a smart investment.

You'll save money (and the Earth) over time by not using wasteful disposables.

We stained, washed, scratched, and dropped 29 sets to serve up these four for your consideration. Watch the video of the GHRI testing and see which plates break!

The unexpected square shape and low profile of Zak Callaway ($5 per dinner plate) caught our eye. The plates' durability won us over. They stood up to falls on wood and slate and multiple runs in the dishwasher. Only a sharp steak knife caused any noticeable scratching. Like all melamine, they're not microwave-safe. They come in four colors.

A design innovation in the 1960s, Heller's stacking Max 1 Dinnerware ($10 per dinner plate) has upturned sides that handily contain food if you're mingling while eating. The melamine washed beautifully and resisted breaking and chipping, though cutting on it left scratches. The come in white only.

First introduced 40 years ago, the proprietary glass of Corelle's Livingware ($40 for a 16-piece set) is still the gold standard for versatility in casual dishes. Dishwasher- and microwave-safe, it's also scratch- and chip-resistant. Plates survived falls onto a wood floor, but one sample shattered on slate. Individual plates, bowls, and mugs also available. The come in 28 patterns.

For sheer "wow" factor, Le Cadeaux Melamine Collections ($14 to $17 per dinner plate) is worth a look. In fact, at first glance, it's difficult to tell that it's not real china. The 22 stunning patterns - from traditional Provençal to graphic prints - won't fade in the dishwasher or become stained from food, but knives may scratch them. The pieces may also chip or break if dinged or dropped.