The 8 Best Drinking Glasses of 2021

From boozy vessels to everyday drinkware

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Our Top Picks
"These glasses are well-constructed and hold up in a busy environment."
"The splash of color makes it easy to know whose glass is whose."
"They may be budget-friendly, but they're also surprisingly versatile."
"These glasses are ideal for anything and everything."
"Splurge on these glasses for a vintage, albeit contemporary design."
Best for Bourbon and Whiskey:
Lanfula Whiskey Decanter and Glasses at Amazon
"It was featured prominently on the TV show Lucifer, so you know it has style."
"These glasses have a very clean, classic style, and they're durable, too."
"If you tend to break your glasses (or have clumsy members in your household), plastic can be a great solution."

Consider how essential a drinking glass is in your kitchen. You use it to replenish after your morning run and fill it with your favorite wine at the end of a workday. No matter your lifestyle or design taste, there are plenty of options for all drinkers, including tempered glass, which is shock-resistant to both hot and cold beverages, and lead-free glasses that can be stacked for easy storage. There are chic crystal options for high-end sipping and durable tumblers for everyday drinking. All of these material options come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from highballs to goblets, and we've got you covered on all fronts.

Here are the best drinking glasses for your home kitchen and bar.

Best Overall: Libbey Polaris 16-Piece Tumbler Glasses Set

libbey-glasses
What We Like
  • Dishwasher safe

  • Durable quality

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Lots of glasses in an order

  • The rounded bottom makes them less sturdy

This 16-piece set includes eight 16.25-ounce tumbler glasses and eight 12.25-ounce rocks glasses. Both sizes have a classic design, so they won't feel dated in a few years. In particular, we love the slightly rounded bottom. It gives the glass a lightweight look, though the weighted bottom provides stability. This lead-free set is American-made, affordable, dishwasher safe, and stunning in any setting.

Libbey remains one of the best drinking glass options on the market for any occasion. Jonathan Stanyard, who runs the bar at Seattle’s Feast, agrees.

"Libbey has a huge variety of not only styles, but also levels of quality," he says. "I find most of the glasses are well-constructed and hold up in a busy environment."

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Red Co. Vibrant Splash Highball Glasses

Vibrant Splash Water/Beverage Highball Glasses, 13.25 Ounce - Set of 6
What We Like
  • Great for larger households

  • Easy to clean

What We Don't Like
  • Thin glass; not for klutzy folks

Red Co’s vibrant glasses add a splash of color without being overwhelming. The 13.25-ounce glasses all feature a different color on the bottom, which is great for two reasons: It adds a little fun to your glass, while not being overwhelming in design, and it's easy to tell whose glass is whose. Since the color is infused into the bottom, it won't fade or wear out over time, either.

Speaking of the bottom, it has a good weight to it, giving it a nice feel in your hand. This also makes it less likely to tip over when you set it down. Ripples on the bottom of the glass help manage any condensation that happens with a cold beverage on a hot day.

Six glasses are included in the set, and all are dishwasher safe. If you’re looking for consistency, Red Co. also makes a set of matching lowball glasses.

Best Budget: Libbey Ascent 16-Piece Assorted Glassware Set

Libbey Ascent 16-Piece Assorted Glassware Set
What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Built to last

  • Dishwasher safe

What We Don't Like
  • Too large for child-sized hands

Libbey’s Ascent glassware set is a particularly appealing option if you’re stocking your glassware cabinet for the first time—perhaps after a move or for your very first apartment. There are sixteen glasses in a set, including eight rocks glasses and eight rounded highball glasses. The rocks glasses hold 13.3 ounces and the highball glasses hold 16 ounces. 

These low-effort, high-design glasses match any home design. Plus, they’re surprisingly versatile. Use them for everyday ice water or mix cocktails, mocktails, and refreshing punches. All are dishwasher safe for quick cleanup.

Dean Hurst, beverage director at Datz Restaurant Group in Tampa, Florida, purchases Libbey’s glasses at all the restaurants and bars he oversees.

“From the tough to the elegant, Libbey reliably covers options for a wide range of styles and budgets," he says. "They hold up well to constant washing and polishing in a tight bar space.” 

Good to Know

For mixologist Deena Sayers of Drinks by Deena, there are two important things to consider when glassware shopping. Always opt for a clear glass—nothing colored, tinted, or painted—and an ultra-thin rim for easy drinking. From there, the style of glass is based on personal preference and the drink you’re serving.

Best Heavy-Duty: Bormioli Rocco Mini 7.5-Ounce Drinking Glasses

What We Like
  • High-end appearance

  • Made with tough tempered glass

  • Beautiful and simple

What We Don't Like
  • Small in size

These glasses are ideal anything and everything. Even though they look light and delicate, they’re made with tough tempered glass, making them resistant to thermal shock, breakage, chips, and everyday wear. This means they also lend well to stacking and even fit neatly inside each other for easy storage. The minimal design will match everything in your glassware and kitchenware cabinets, including the most colorful of place settings.

These glasses come 12 to a set and each holds 7.5 ounces of everything from wine and water to coffee and desserts. When you’re done with them, pop them in the dishwasher. The tempered finish protects them from getting a cloudy finish.

Best High-End: Fferrone Dearborn Glasses

fferrone-dearbone-glasses
What We Like
  • Dishwasher-, oven-, and microwave- safe

  • Stunning in design

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Everyone needs a good set of glasses. You know, the kind you bring out for a celebration. Fferrone makes one of the best options to splurge on, combining vintage flair with contemporary detailing. The brand’s glasses are made in Chicago by former architect Felicia Ferrone, and while they’re American-made, the design pays homage to mid-century Italian design. Each is carefully blown by hand without the use of molds.

Your glass options with this brand include standard water glasses, stemless wine glasses, shot glasses, Collins glasses, and stemless Champagne flutes. While they are on the pricier side, they're made with near-indestructible borosilicate glass. If you do happen to tip one over, chances are you’ll be safe from smashes. They're even dishwasher-, oven-, and microwave-safe.

Best for Bourbon and Whiskey: Lanfula Whiskey Decanter and Glasses

What We Like
  • Lead-free

  • Includes matching decanter

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Hand wash only

“There's a particular style of whiskey glasses that I just love the feel of,” says Benjamin Pozar, who helms the bar at Fogo de Chao in Bedford, Texas. “The base is a square, which is twisted out. It has a fantastic weight and is great for sipping straight spirits.”

Made with high-quality, lead-free crystal, the six glasses and matching crystal decanter are a unique curving shape. It was also featured prominently on the TV show Lucifer, so you know it has style. They are on the heavier side, giving them a nice weighty feel in your hand. Fill up the decanter with your favorite spirit—maybe Scotch or rye—and give it a starring role on your bar cart.

Best for Cocktails: Riedel Nick and Nora Cocktail Glasses

What We Like
  • Elegant

  • Fantastic for cocktails

What We Don't Like
  • Delicate

  • Small capacity

Riedel’s chic Nick and Nora Cocktail Glasses are bartender-approved. Anthony Escalante, bar manager and resident mixologist at Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix, says, “The design is a very clean, classic style, but they're also purposely built, so you can get excellent usage from the set in any bar program without having to sacrifice quality for durability.” While they look expensive and fragile, they're affordable and dishwasher safe.

Riedel teamed up with spirits expert Zane Harris to make these elegant glasses that are able to deliver a drink to the perfect place on your palate, so you don't have to tip your head back. The size, shape, and volume of each glass was designed with cocktails in mind. This set comes with two 4-ounce glasses.

Good to Know


Vincent Klie, who runs the bar at Angelica Tea Room in Buffalo, New York, adores the Nick and Nora glass shape. She says, “Out of all the glasses out there, this one has a love story. It's beautiful, elegant, and slightly hipper than it's cousin, the coupe.”

So, who inspired this story? Crime-fighting couple Nick and Nora Charles from the 1934 flick "The Thin Man." The duo would famously sip martinis from Nick and Nora glasses between solving crimes.

Best Plastic: Tervis 16-Ounce Clear Tumbler Set

What We Like
  • Will not break

  • For hot and cold drinks

  • Microwave-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe

What We Don't Like
  • Not as stylish

  • Lids sold separately

Though the notion of plastic glasses may bring your mind to red Solo cups, upscale plastic tumblers can come in handy for your drinking needs. Think of them as the perfect vessel for patio, porch, or picnic drinks. If you tend to break glasses (or have clumsy members in your household), plastic can be a great solution.

Tervis is a fan favorite when it comes to plastic glasses. The shatter-proof tumbler holds 16 ounces and keeps drinks hot or cold for an extended period of time. The thoughtful double-walled construction keeps the outside sweat-free, too. Each tumbler is made with BPA- and melamine-free construction. 

The standard option is minimalist and clear or you can opt for a personalized one including your initials, favorite color, or a personalized message. Whatever you decide, these durable glasses can last a lifetime.

Final Verdict

The Libbey Polaris set (view at Amazon) is a solid choice if you want excellent glasses that last. If you’re looking for more creative alternatives, Riedel’s cocktail-specific glasses (view at Amazon) are quirky and chic, while Tervis’ tumbler options (view at Amazon) are great for klutzy fingers.

What to Look for in a Drinking Glass

Ease of cleaning

While washing glasses in a dishwasher is the easiest option, if you don’t use a lot of glassware, it’s also simple to swish, rinse, and dry your glasses, especially if you don’t fill the dishwasher every day. Consider whether it's important to you that your drinking glasses are dishwasher safe.

Kid-friendly design

If you have kids, it’s wise to consider whether the drinkware you choose will be easy for them to hold or sturdy enough to handle small bumps and accidents.

Versatility

Of course, you’re going to choose drinkware that you like, but if you want to limit the number of glasses you own, it’s a good idea to pick ones you can use every day with your normal plates and silverware, and perhaps even the nice dinnerware that you only bring out for special occasions.

FAQs

How do you clean cloudy drinking glasses?

If your glasses are coming out of the dishwasher cloudy, this is likely because of hard water. Hard water has a high mineral content, which leaves a build-up of calcium and minerals on your glasses. Luckily, the fix is easy. Make a quick solution with white vinegar and water (some folks use nail polish remover, as well) and use it to gently clean the glasses with a dishcloth. Alternatively, you could let the glasses soak in a bucket of vinegar and water solution for 30 minutes. Efferdent tablets—used for cleaning false teeth—also do the trick.

If a vinegar solution does not help remove the film, the fogginess may actually be etching, caused by excessive washing. Unfortunately there’s no remedy to this, so if you want to keep your glasses in pristine condition, always wash crystal and higher-end glasses by hand.

Are drinking glasses recyclable?

This may come as a surprise, but drinking glasses are not recyclable. The majority of drinking glasses have various additives to make them safe to drink out of, which changes the melting point of the glass and most municipal recycling facilities are not equipped to process them.

That doesn’t mean the glasses can't be upcycled. Consider donating your unwanted glasses to a local thrift shop. While they're old for you, they may feel new to someone else.

Is lead crystal glass safe to drink from?

Though lead crystal glasses and decanters will line the shelves of antique stores, most are not safe to consume from. For centuries, lead oxide crystal was the material of choice for stilled artisans. This made the glass more easily malleable, letting glassblowers craft more intricate designs. Scientists have recently revealed that drinking out of lead crystal can have serious longterm health impacts. While most crystal available now is lead-free, proceed with caution when purchasing vintage pieces. 

New glassware is often labeled lead-free, but if you’re not sure, there are a few ways to check. Lead crystal is far heavier than regular glasses and will create a rainbow light effect when you shine light through it.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Kate Dingwall is an experienced spirits writer and glassware collector. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for five years, including extensive coverage on glassware. She owns a concerning amount of glassware, from art deco Karl Palda decanters to 1800s-era crystal coupes, and she’s happy to wax poetic about all of them.

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