Cutting Boards: Wood vs. Plastic vs. Glass vs. Silicone

cutting boards

If you cook frequently, you’re probably familiar with cutting boards.

These nifty little boards are a vital tool for food preparation.

They are also extremely durable and easy to maintain.

Just like everything else, these boards can be classified into four main types: wood, plastic, glass, and silicone boards.

While you’ll certainly find other types on the market, these are the most popular options from the lot.

Now, which among these four will work best with your needs?

Read our detailed comparison to find out which one you should get!

Cutting Boards: Wood vs. Plastic vs. Glass vs. Silicone

When it comes to choosing the right cutting board material, almost all of us get baffled.

Here’s a key pointer to consider, though: The best material will require minimum maintenance and won’t dull your knives.

While many people conventionally choose wooden boards for their self-healing properties, plastic, glass, and even silicone boards seem to do a decent job, as well.

In the following sections, we will individually compare each of these materials, weighing out their pros and cons.

1. Wooden Chopping Board

Wooden chopping boards are one of the oldest kitchen accessories and are best known for their durability.

Unlike plastic or silicone boards, a wooden cutting board is tailored to withstand frequent use.

In fact, if maintained properly, it will probably last you a couple of years.

One of the defining features of these boards is that they are easy to maintain.

Cleaning wooden boards are fairly simple, and the pre-treated variants require even less cleaning.

Wooden chopping boards also come with plenty of customization options.

The handle length, juice grooves, and hanging holes can be customized according to your preference.

Although most wooden boards are reserved for slicing vegetables and herbs, you can also keep a separate, smaller board for chopping small meat and protein.

Since wooden boards are heavy, cutting meat on it is likely to be easier.

Pros:

  • Available in multiple designs
  • Extremely sturdy
  • Requires minimum maintenance
  • Comes with plenty of customization options
  • Eco-friendly

Cons:

  • Since wood is porous, it might harbor the growth of bacteria
  • Being heavy, wooden chopping boards are difficult to maneuver

2. Plastic Chopping Boards

When it comes to chopping boards, we know for a fact that plastic ones can easily give a solid competition.

If made from high-quality plastic, like HDPE (high-density polyethylene), plastic chopping boards work flawlessly.

The biggest benefit of plastic boards is that they are easier to clean compared to their wooden counterparts.

Lightweight and extremely portable, these boards can be conveniently washed in the dishwasher.

You can also clean them with a solution of bleach and water.

Although they aren’t as durable as wooden boards, plastic boards won’t dull the edges of your knives.

Unlike glass or marble boards, it will prevent scoring, leaving your knife unaffected.

Plastic boards are also compatible with many acids and alcohols.

It is stiff, rigid, and highly resistant to heat, too, so whether you’re a home cook or work at a restaurant, these boards will certainly meet your requirements.

Finally, as with the wooden chopping boards, plastic boards come with plenty of customization options.

You can either choose the small boards designed for home cooks, or the larger variants tailored for professional chefs.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Non-porous surface prevents bacteria build-up
  • More affordable compared to wooden boards
  • Resistant to heat, acids, and a variety of other liquids
  • Can be washed in the dishwasher
  • Doesn’t affect the sharpness of your knives

Cons:

  • Aren’t as durable as their wooden counterparts
  • Might lead to cross-contamination of food if not of high quality

3. Glass Chopping Boards

Glass chopping boards are primarily chosen for their fashionable appeal.

Unlike plastic and silicone boards, these are classy, sophisticated, and great to look at.

Given their beautiful appeal, these boards can also be interchangeably used as a serving board.

Most people, however, choose glass boards because they are extremely hygienic.

Being completely non-porous, these boards cannot trap in excess food or gunk.

In this way, they almost completely prevent bacteria or germ build-up.

Glass boards are also fairly durable.

Unlike silicone, wood, and plastic boards that may feature knife scratches, glass boards don’t have any similar issue.

Since these boards are also treated for thermal shock, they won’t scratch with water treatment.

Another remarkable quality of glass boards is that they are thin and lightweight.

Unlike bulky wooden boards, a glass board is much easier to manage.

Since they are completely transparent, cleaning them is equally simple, too.

The only major downside of these boards is that they are extremely brittle.

Therefore, they are not the ideal board for chopping every type of ingredient, like meat or other protein sources.

You can, however, use it for cutting vegetables, herbs, and nuts.

Pros:

  • Stylish and sophisticated
  • Doesn’t trap bacteria
  • Easy to clean
  • Thin and lightweight
    Resistant to scratches and liquid stains

Cons:

  • Small food items usually slip
  • Doesn’t offer the required pressure to knives
  • Affects the sharpness of knives

4. Silicone Chopping Boards

Silicone boards are fairly new to the market compared to wooden or plastic ones.

Their most notable feature is that you can bend them as and when needed.

This makes it easier for you to transfer the chopped items to a container.

Like plastic chopping boards, silicone boards are flexible and lightweight.

Because of this, you can store and carry them almost everywhere.

Most people prefer hanging these boards, thanks to their long handles.

Alternatively, you can also roll and store them in a basket.

Unlike glass or stone boards, silicone chopping boards aren’t brittle, which means that the sharpness of your knife will be unaffected, even when you use the board almost every day.

Unlike plastic or wooden boards, silicone chopping boards create a cushioned area that helps maintain the longevity of your knife.

Silicone chopping boards are also easy to sanitize.

Simply wash it with lukewarm water or put it in the dishwasher, and you’re good to go!

You can also keep it in your microwave for one minute to kill bacteria.

Although these boards are extremely lightweight, they won’t slip regardless of what you chop.

The board will adhere to the surface, establishing a non-slippery zone that’s not just safe but also quite convenient to work with.

Finally, silicone boards are also available in a wide range of colors, shapes, and designs.

Hence, when it comes to choosing these boards, you'll have plenty of options to explore.

Pros:

  • Powered by anti-slip property
  • Available in a wide range of shades and designs
  • Doesn’t dull the edges of your knives
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons:

  • Often vulnerable to scratches from knives
  • Not as durable as wooden or plastic chopping boards
  • Can be stained quite easily
cutting boards

FAQs

1. Can a serving board be used as a chopping board?

If the serving board is made of a single slab of a certain material (plastic, wood, or glass), it can always double-up as a chopping board.

That being said, you should only consider using the serving board as a cutting board during emergencies.

Otherwise, it is best to invest in a quality cutting board.

This is because most serving boards aren’t equipped to withstand frequent cutting and chopping.

2. What kind of cutting board is best for vegetables?

If you want a cutting board to use solely for prepping vegetables and fruits, wooden boards might be a good pick.

When you do decide to buy one, remember to always clean the board after chopping your vegetables and oil it at least once a week.

3. How often should you replace chopping boards?

Broken and damaged chopping boards pose multiple health risks, and it is quite likely for your board to be damaged if you use it almost daily.

Note that even after a thorough cleaning, bacteria might grow on the surface of your board.

This will eventually be transmitted to your food, causing mild to severe ailments.

Warped boards also tend to dull your knife's sharpness.

For those reasons, it is best to replace your cutting board once every 10 to 12 months.

4. How do you disinfect a wooden cutting board?

Wooden chopping boards should be thoroughly sanitized after every round of chopping.

You need to specifically focus on the crevices that are known to trap in the excess food gunk.

To clean your wooden board, take a bowl of lukewarm water and add two teaspoons of any store-bought disinfectant.

Next, dip a sponge in the solution and thoroughly clean the surface of your wooden board.

If you're not comfortable with store-bought detergent, add two tablespoons of vinegar and two tablespoons of lime juice in a bowl of lukewarm water to make your own cleaning solution.

You can also pour hydrogen peroxide (3%) on the board.

Next, spread the solution over the board's surface with a clean sponge.

Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes.

You will now find the peroxide fizzing once it starts killing the bacteria.

This solution is especially useful if your cutting board has grooves from frequent chopping.

5. What is the best cutting board material?

While wood is universally touted to be the best material for chopping boards, you might want to use separate boards for different purposes.

For instance, wooden boards are best suited for chopping vegetables and fruits, and plastic boards are ideal for chopping meat and other protein.

Then, you might want to use a glass board for chopping cheese.

Unlike the former two boards, a glass cutting board can also double-up as a serving board.

6. Can you use the same cutting board for meat and vegetables?

While you can use the same cutting board for chopping meat and vegetables, it is not recommended.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection states that you should have two separate boards for chopping vegetables and meat.

That is because uncooked meat tends to leave germs and bacteria on every surface it touches, including chopping boards, cooking pots, and your hands.

If you cannot afford to use two boards, first chop your vegetables, wash the board thoroughly, and only then proceed to cut the meat and other proteins.

7. How many chopping boards should you have?

Again, ideally, you should have two cutting boards: one for chopping vegetables and another for cutting meat and other proteins.

You can also have a third cutting board for chopping cheese, nuts, and similar items.

8. Do wooden chopping boards hold bacteria?

Since wood is a porous material, it can easily absorb liquids.

This eventually makes it a breeding ground for bacteria.

If, however, the wooden cutting board is of good quality, it will trap bacteria and kill it.

However, you should still avoid cutting meat on the wooden board, restricting it solely for chopping vegetables, fruits, and other herbs.

9. What type of cutting board should you use for meat?

We recommend using a plastic or a glass cutting board for chopping meat.

Not only are these lightweight and easy to move but also non-porous.

As such, they can effectively prevent bacteria and other germs from getting trapped in.

10. How do you make a wooden cutting board food-safe?

To make your wooden cutting board food-safe, wash it thoroughly after every use.

Next, pour a pinch of baking powder and scour it on the surface using a sturdy scrubber.

You should also oil the board at least once a week to ensure easy cutting and prevent bacteria build-up.

Bottom Line

Now that you have a clear idea about the different types of chopping boards, you can now make an informed decision as to which type to choose.

If you want a durable and low-maintenance chopping board, wooden boards are a great option.

Alternatively, if you want a lightweight board that is easy to maneuver, plastic and ceramic boards will do the job.

You might also want to consider a glass cutting board if you need a fancy cutting board that won't be used as frequently.

Either way, it is important to understand that every board has its limitations before making the final pick.

So, explore your options and choose the cutting board that best meets your requirements.