Best Bar Coasters
The very appropriately named Thirstystone coaster set is made of extremely absorbent sandstone with a cork bottom. It is no match for condensation on cold glasses in the humid south, soaking up spills within seconds and leaving the surface below completely dry and free from water rings. The thick stone makes it a little more durable than some of the thinner stone sets in our test suite. The cork on the bottom keeps the stone from scratching the surface below and provides a small amount of stick to ensure your coaster won't go sliding if bumped. The stone is multi-toned, and the pattern swirls around like natural sandstone, making lighter stains remain undetectable. Thirstystone offers a number of beautiful designs, most of which have earthy and natural tones. This set is nice enough to use at an elegant cocktail party and sturdy enough to use outside.
While a porous stone bar coaster is a great way to combat condensation and moisture, it is worth noting that darker liquids, like red wine, will certainly leave a lasting stain. And, while the thick stone offers durability, they will surely chip or crack if dropped on a hard surface. If you have particularly rowdy kiddos running around the house, then you may want something a little more pliable. Overall this top-scoring set will carry you from morning coffees on the front porch to elegant indoor cocktail parties, and then some!
The ENKORE set comes with 6 silicone bar coasters and a holder. These are not just any silicone coasters, though. Through our hands-on testing, we found that when glasses condensate on nonporous coasters, the glass and the coaster stick together for a moment only to separate once lifted, letting the coaster fall to the floor. Because the ENKORE set has small valleys, however, no suction is created, and therefore the glass is easily lifted off without sticking. This set comes in fun rainbow colors or sleek black. They are a little larger than your average coaster and can withstand heat, so they are great for your biggest, coziest coffee mug or a cute little cocktail glass. Since silicone is rather impermeable, these coasters are very difficult to stain, and their flexibility makes them a great choice for kids or the outdoors.
We don't have many negative things to say about the ENKORE Rainbow Coasters. The set is quite versatile because they are durable enough for travel, they can be used by anyone, including small children, and they are great for most sized cups and mugs. That being said, they have a rather casual look to them, so they may not be appropriate for more formal events. This is a great set for somebody looking for a fun and casual all-in-one coaster.
The Sweese Ceramic Coasters are a set of 6 white and blue marbled porcelain hexagons with a thin cork layer on the bottom. These are not only very pretty and fresh looking, but they soak up any liquid spilled on them within seconds, helping to protect the surface below very efficiently. The thin cork on the bottom also offers a barrier between the coaster and the table to ensure that it doesn't get scratched. After soaking up spills and condensation many times, the coasters did not show any sign of water stains. This set is great for both hot and cold beverages and completes the look of any kitchen or dining area with ease.
When we initially opened up the package, our first complaint was that the "black" marbling is very clearly blue. We had suspicions about this prior to purchasing, as we learned of the misrepresentation through our customer experience research. The coasters are still absolutely stunning, but if you are looking specifically for white tile with black marbling, then you may find yourself disappointed. And while the crisp white is beautiful, it stains very easily. Condensation does not leave a ring, but coffee, wine, and even slightly colored drinks will leave their mark. The coasters are also quite thin, making them rather fragile, but as long as they are cared for, you shouldn't have any issues. With its unique hexagonal shape and fresh white color, the Sweese set would be a great addition to an intimate cocktail party.
The Teivio Stone Mandala Coasters are a vibrant set of 8 that come with a cute, swirly metal holder. The porous stone soaks up any condensation that drips off a glass within seconds, and the cork bottom allows for the stone to sit on any surface without scratching it up. All 8 coasters are different patterns, which give this set a very funky mismatched vibe, and the metal holder allows for these pretty coasters to remain on display, even when they are not in use. Since the designs are quite busy, lighter stains blend in well, so they may last you a little longer than, say, a plain white coaster. If mandalas are not your style, then Teivio has many other designs that may be a little more up your alley.
A small coffee stain or light liquid stain is soaked up into the stone and only shows ever so slightly, but darker stains like red wine are unfortunately a little more noticeable. We appreciate the mismatched look but understand that not everyone does. While Teivio has a few different design options, they are all rather colorful, so if you are in search of a more neutral look, then you may want to check out one of the other options in our review. This set would be a great gift for a funky friend.
The GMSS Braided Coasters are a set of 6 braided and sewn cotton bar coasters. These adorably cozy discs are absorbent and work well for both hot and cold beverages. The soft cotton protects the surface below from scratches and water rings. They are a little oversized, so this set is perfect for large bottomed mugs or even small bowls. Since these coasters are soft, they can be easily transported, dropped on the floor, or thrown across a room by a toddler with no risk of damage. Not one stitch popped during our time testing these, and since they are identical on both sides, you can pull the old flip-it-over trick if you stain one… kind of like you did when you stained the couch pillow as a kid.
Since the GMSS Coasters are made of tightly woven cotton yarn, they feel wet when spilled on, and they take a little while to dry. Not only do the braids take longer to dry, but they also do not provide a perfectly flat surface as stone or wood does. This is only an issue for stemmed or small bottomed glasses. Unfortunately, the light colors tend to stain very easily, but since they are cotton, you can stop the stain in its tracks if you dab it fast enough. We even used a Tide pen on one, and the stain came right out. These are a great choice for a family with kids or someone looking to compliment their favorite coffee mug.
The GOH DODD Walnut Drink Coasters come in a set of 6 with a holder. They have a lip that runs around the rim to help keep liquid off the surface below. They are simple, lightweight, and nicely crafted. The wood works well for both hot and cold beverages; however, the surface area is quite small. These bar coasters are not particularly porous, which means that liquids do not penetrate them, keeping them much more resistant to stains. This set is also a little more durable than some of the others in our review. This durability makes them a good choice for a household with children. To top it all off, they come with a nicely crafted holder, so you can leave them out to help remind your guests to use them.
Unfortunately, this set falls short in the versatility realm. It is at least a half-inch smaller in diameter than all the others in our review. While small and elegant makes for great aesthetics, the lack of surface area plus the lip around the edge renders this set useless for larger based glasses and mugs. We also found that when condensation pools at the base of your glass, it sometimes sticks to the coaster — something that happens with most nonporous coasters. More often than not, the coaster sticks to the glass long enough for you to pick it up but often comes crashing down before you notice it. While this did happen with this set, is was significantly less of an issue than with some of our other nonporous options. Overall, this is a great set for families with children who don't want to sacrifice style.
The Lahome Marble Coasters are a set of 6 turquoise and tan marble printed stone coasters. The unique design is just busy enough to hide your light-colored stains but won't take the attention away from a stunning glass or a cute mug. The thin cork base protects the substrate below from scratches while the porous stone slurps up condensation and spills very quickly. Once the moisture is soaked up, no water stain remains on the coaster or the table. These 4" bar coasters are large enough for most mugs and glasses to sit happily atop them.
While the design is fun, we do have a few bones to pick with this coaster. When we removed this set from the packaging, the first thing we noticed was that the gold was not metallic as pictured. This is not a deal-breaker, but it is worth noting if you are specifically looking for something with gold in it. The image is also printed onto the top of the stone and seems to be a little blown out. It appears ever so slightly pixelated. We didn't expect a work of art, and the pixelation is nominal but still worth noting. Overall the marbled Lahome set is a great option for someone looking to spice things up with a splash of color.
The Barvivo Drink Coasters are a set of 8 lipped silicone bar coasters. They are very traditional looking, like the kind you'd actually see out at a bar. The small ridge around the rim helps keep moisture from pooling up and dripping off the sides unto the table. The silicone is gentle enough to place on any surface, and its grip helps mitigate slippage in the event that the table is bumped. The silicone is also heat resistant, so feel free to plop your hot coffee mug on it. While this traditional bar set doesn't come in any eye-catching patterns, it does offer a few nicely muted tones. Silicone is not porous, so it is nearly impossible to stain; however, it is important to note that we did not get a chance to test out the white option and cannot speak to its stain-resistance. When placed on top of a mug, the Barvivo also works very well for steeping tea or keeping bugs out of your drink when left unattended. The silicone makes this product kid-friendly as these coasters would be very hard to break.
Nonporous coasters need to have a substantial ridge or deep valleys to store spilled liquid and condensation from the outside of your glass. Unfortunately, the Barvivo rimmed ridge is relatively small and can therefore overflow easily in the presence of excess moisture. The ridge also lessens the surface area for your drink to sit on, so this coaster set is not for large based mugs or glasses. It is, however, a great option for an outdoor party or a household with children.
The LIFVER Ceramic Coasters are a set of 6 round porous stone coasters with a natural, light, sandstone appearance. They come complete with a cork bottom for protection and a simple black metal holder for storage and/or display. The natural colors allow for this set to complement any table, and the holder is great for display. The stone is very absorbent and slurps up condensation or spilled liquid quickly and with ease. Water rings are not a problem with this set, and light-colored liquid blends easily into the flowy design. They are thick and hold their own, but you wouldn't want to drop them on a stone patio or concrete porch as they will likely chip or crack.
The design of the LIFVER is nice and neutral, but the image appears to be of a lower quality than some of its competitors. The image is slightly pixelated, giving this set a cheaper appearance if you look close enough. The light colors are fresh and clean, but they won't stay that way for long if you're drinking red wine, darker juices, or coffee, as the combination of porousness and light colors make this set very easy to stain. The cork bottom helps protect the substrate below from being scratched up by the coaster itself, however, it does not provide much grip and may slide around if the table is bumped. Do you prefer white wine over red? Green tea over coffee? Then this fresh, bright set is a great option for you.
The Decopom Natural Cork Coasters are exactly what they sound like. They are a set of bar coasters made solely out of cork. What these coasters lack in quality, they make up for in quantity. They are average-sized and fit most cups, glasses, and mugs with a base smaller than 4". They look exactly how you expect them to, and come complete with a holder, so you can leave this set out as a reminder for your guests — all 16 of them — to grab one.
Unfortunately, these coasters are lacking pretty heavily in the protection department. Condensation and spilled liquid simply sit atop the surface. This is not a big deal if you are somewhere relatively dry, but if you're somewhere that already has a lot of moisture in the air, then you may find that the build-up of liquid on this particular bar coaster is just too much for it to handle. They are also not very durable. We found them to be as easy to snap in half as a crunchy cookie, and therefore may not be the best option for rowdy children. That said, these Decopom coasters would be great to have around an office for hot coffee mugs on busy employee desks.
The Zumatico Funny Wine Coasters are a set of 4 wooden, comical coasters. Each one has a different cheeky comic on it. This set works for both hot and cold beverages, and the 4" x 4" square is plenty big for most glasses and mugs. They won't break if you drop them, however, the wood is rather soft, so they may dent. The holder is also made of wood and displays the image on the top coaster quite nicely.
These cheeky coasters are sure to give you a giggle, but they are not going to win any awards for their performance, at least not from us. They do not soak up moisture, nor do they have any sort of lip to keep liquid from pouring off the sides. The printed comics are a little blurry, and the coasters are mainly white, which is easily stained by red wine and coffee. Overall these coasters make a fun cheeky gift but do not function well enough for steady everyday use.
The WAYIFON Heat Resistant Coasters are a set of 6 plastic marbled coasters that come complete with a matching holder. This set is on the less expensive side, and they are large enough to support most mugs and glasses. The printed marbling is random on each individual coaster, giving the set a more natural feel.
Unfortunately, the word 'cheap' is not only an appropriate description of this set's price. These bar coasters are essentially made of rounds of cardboard wrapped in cheap plastic leather. The lack of porousness or a ridge around the edge means that moisture can slide right off onto the surface you are trying to protect. There is no cork or nonslip material on the bottom, and the coaster often sticks to the glass when moisture begins to pool. Overall we only recommend this set if you are not worried about the surface you are placing your drinks on and just want something inexpensive that may not last.
Why You Should Trust Us
This review is headed up by Hayley Thomas from Denver, Colorado. She loves her beverages, from cocktails to coffee to kombucha, and is a stickler about her nice butcher block countertop. Her critical eye and attention to detail make her the perfect person to review bar coasters.
Items like bar coasters, which are used daily, have the potential to cause a lot of frustration. And while a lot can be sussed out just by reading a product description online, there are aspects that can only be determined with actual use. Which is what we're here for! We begin our testing process via internet research, diving deep into customer experiences to find out what users' biggest grievances are and what makes them smile. Once we found out what consumers are looking for in a bar coaster, we went ahead and put together a diverse test suite. We were sure to include multiple different substrates, such as wood, stone, cotton, cork, ceramic, and silicone. We chose a variety of designs, from plain black to funky mandalas, to ensure that we have tested something for everyone. Once we received all the sets, we began to incorporate them into our daily routines. We set our cocktails on them in the evening and our coffees on them in the morning. We spilled water, wine, and tea and made sure to use ice in our cups to create a good amount of condensation. We compared the absorption rate side by side and inspected the coasters post drench to ensure there were no water stains. During all these tests, we paid special attention to the coasters' protection, aesthetics, versatility, and longevity.
Analysis and Test Results
In order to ensure that each comparison is both relevant and accurate, we chose four different metrics to emphasize during our testing phase. Read on to learn about our findings for each metric.
The main purpose of a bar coaster is to provide protection to the surface below. Ruining a beautiful table with water rings or a coffee stain is just a plain bummer — and often irreversible. While testing out each of our bar coaster sets, we checked the absorption rate, size, and grippiness. We found that the most protective coasters are the most absorbent ones, which tend to be made of some kind of stone or ceramic with a cork bottom.
We have some clear winners in this category. The Thirstystone set is made of a thick slab of sandstone with a securely glued pad of cork on the bottom. The Sweese Marble Coasters are also made of a fast-absorbing stone. We did find that there were other methods of protection besides porousness and absorbency. The deep valleys in the silicone ENKORE Coasters provide ample room for condensation or spilled coffee to sit; however, you will need to dump out any liquid post-use, as silicone is not absorbent.
While an item's aesthetic value may vary slightly with the eye of the beholder, we took into account more than just the pretty colors and classy patterns. Does the product look well made? Is the set nice enough to leave on display? Do the coasters come with a holder? Can it complement cute mugs and elegant glasses? These are just a few questions we asked ourselves while testing out each set of bar coasters.
We have one clear winner in this department. The well-made Thirstystone coaster set is a beautifully natural-looking sandstone design. It has a slight sparkle to it, but nothing overwhelming, and although it does not come with a holder, the stand-alone stack is beautiful. Each one is unique, and the design penetrates the entire coaster rather than being printed on the top, like many others. Some other honorable mentions in this metric are the Sweese Marble, Teivio Mandala, GMSS Braided, and GOH DODD Walnut coasters.
Specialized products are great, but do we really need a different set of coasters for our cocktails, coffee, water, and smoothies? We chose versatility as our third most important metric for those looking to purchase one, maybe two sets to complement their homes. When testing for this metric, we paid attention to things like size, ability to withstand heat, and child-friendliness.
Our top contender in this metric is, yet again, the Thirstystone. This set is durable, works well inside and outside, is large enough for most glasses or mugs, and is somehow both natural and sparkly. Our runner ups are the silicone ENKORE, and the ceramic Sweese Marble and Teivio Mandala sets. The hexagonal shape of the Sweese coasters mean that you can honeycomb them together for larger items — need a trivet for a pot of soup or pan of nachos right from the oven? No problem. Now that's versatility.
Stain resistance and durability are what make up a bar coaster's longevity. If your beautiful bar coasters are now littered with coffee and red wine stains, you will be more likely to want to replace them. The same thing goes for chips and cracks. Most of the lighter colored absorbent stones stain easily, while the darker or busier designs hide stains rather well. If the pattern is a little more hectic, the stains seem to remain mostly hidden — though plain white, no surprise, tends to look a little rough after the first few spills. The silicone and rubber coasters win in this metric by a landslide as they are difficult to break and near impossible to stain.
Our two longevity winners are the ENKORE and Barvivo coasters. Twist it, bop it, flick it, spin it, or toss it across the room and these things won't break. They are malleable and always bounce back to their original shape. The wooden GOH DODD coasters are a little more durable than the stone options but less so than the silicone ones, so they come in at a close second.
Whether you're a habitual morning coffee drinker determined to keep your table unstained or you're looking for the perfect set of bar coasters for your next cocktail party, something in our test suite is sure to meet your needs. Our experts have spent many hours with condensation-covered glasses and hot coffee mugs to ensure that the information we have provided is gathered via a true hands-on experience. Your coasters can be both fun and functional, and we hope that the hard work we put into testing them out provides you with enough accurate information to make a truly informed decision.
— Hayley Thomas