Understand the difference between stoneware and ceramic

Understand the difference between stoneware and ceramic

Whenever it comes to choosing beautiful and durable dinnerware pieces for the home, the two most commonly preferred materials are ceramic and stoneware. Though both of them look somewhat similar to the product buyers, it is necessary for them to understand the difference between stoneware and ceramic. Be it ceramic plates online or stoneware platters, both these materials are quite prevalently being used in their manufacturing.

For ages, clay has been used by potters to prepare and it is used as a base material for the preparation of both these materials. The major difference between ceramic and stoneware is that ceramic at fired at low temperatures whereas stoneware is treated at very high temperatures. This application of high heat makes stoneware more durable and sturdier than ceramic.

Here it is important to note that ceramic is the base of various items like porcelain, stoneware, and earthenware. So, stoneware is also a kind of ceramic.

For better clarity, look at the following table:

What does Stoneware mean?

Stoneware refers to a kind of non-porous ceramic that has been ablaze at relatively extreme temperatures (typically between 2150 – 2330° F). Thus, it remains more hard-wearing than earthenware due to its exposure to high temperatures and the addition of glassy material. Stoneware dinnerware is found to be usually thicker and opaque as compared to porcelain. In addition, it inherits its name from its stone-like look and properties.

Similar to other types of ceramic, stoneware can also be glazed to attain a glossy or matte finish. Prior to glazing, stoneware usually has different color schemes and differences just like natural stone. Usually, stoneware features a rough and worldly look.

The best thing about stoneware is that it can be easily used in microwaves, dishwashers, and freezers. However, don’t forget to check the manufacturer’s recommendations in this regard.

What is Ceramic?

Ceramic is a broad term that usually refers to items made from clay and gets exposed to high temperatures for hardening purposes. There are primary three types of ceramic – porcelain, earthenware, and stoneware. Let’s get to know more about porcelain and earthenware.


Porcelain is a term used to denote an extensive range of ceramic items that have been fired at high temperatures. It leads to glass-based qualities like low porosity and translucence. The most commonly used porcelain items are dental crowns, chemical ware, dinnerware, and others. Generally white or off-white, porcelain is available in both glazed and unglazed variants, with potage, ablaze at an extreme temperature, referring to the most prevalent unglazed variability. Porcelain is made by heating the clay at temperatures ranging from 1200 to 1400C.


Earthenware is conventionally prepared from ‘red earthenware’ clay.  However, earthenware clays can also be of buff, white, or grey color.  Earthenware items are typically fired at temperatures below 1100C. Though earthenware items exhibit a rough look, they tend to be not as durable as stoneware pieces. Since they absorb water, they are susceptible to chipping.

Below is a property-wise comparison of stoneware and ceramic.

 Firing Temperature

Stoneware includes the application of high temperatures whereas ceramic items are fired at relatively low temperatures.


Stoneware items tend to have a stone-like appearance whereas ceramic pieces boast a translucent appearance.


Due to various reasons, stoneware is considered more durable than ceramic.

The Bottom Line

Ceramic is considered to be a broad category under which several items are included like porcelain, earthenware, and stoneware. In terms of looks, affordability, and durability, stoneware tops the chart. The sturdier look of the stoneware makes it an ideal choice for dinnerware items like serving bowls, platters, dessert platters, etc.