wodden and plastic cutting board

Wood Vs Plastic Cutting Board

Cutting boards are an essential item in the kitchen.

If you are looking for a new one, you may be a bit overwhelmed by the number of choices you have. 

There are two main kinds of cutting boards on the market: wood and plastic boards. While both have their perks, it can be hard to choose. 

If you want to learn a bit more about each board, you have come to the right place. This wood vs plastic cutting board guide will tell you everything you need to know. 

We will cover the different types of each board and will discuss some pros and cons. We will also give some advice on which type of cutting board will be best for you. 

Wood Boards

pros and cons of wood board

Wooden cutting boards have been around for a while.

However, they have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the vast array of choices such as color, material, and design. 

When discussing the different types of wooden boards, there are two basic categories: material and wood grain pattern. Material refers to what wood the board is made of, while the wood grain pattern refers to how the board is constructed. 

Types 

Material

  • Maple: Maple is one of the more popular materials for cutting boards. This material is very durable and does not wear down easily. Furthermore, the wood will not dull the knife even if you use it daily. Maple also has a dense grain with small pores, which prevents bacteria from seeping into the cutting board.
  • Cherry: Many people choose cherry cutting boards for their unique look. While the board looks stylish, this type of wood is not wear-resistant and will scratch easily. However, it won’t dull your knives, and the board doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.
  • Walnut: Walnut cutting boards look great in the kitchen with their dark hue. However, this material is very soft and dents easily. On the plus side, a walnut cutting board will not dull your knife.
  • Beech: If you are worried about bacteria, beech will be the way to go. Its small pores reduce bacteria and also effectively drain water. This material is both wear-resistant and will not harm your knives.
  • Bamboo: Bamboo cutting boards are the best choice for those who want to be environmentally friendly. This material is also very durable and is resistant to scratches and dents. However, it will eventually dull your knives since it is so tough.
  • Teak: Many people love teak since it is stain-resistant. This material will also prevent scratches and dents. On the downside, you will need to sharpen your knives more often with this material. 

Wood Grain Pattern

different wood grain
  • Face grain: Face grain cutting boards are full, long pieces of wood glued together. When you look at a face grain board, you can see all of the wood fibers. While these boards are the cheapest, they are not scratch-resistant. 
  • Edge grain: To make edge grain boards, manufacturers glue together wooden boards so that the sides are facing upwards. The final product looks like a series of long, thin pieces of wood. These boards are quite heavy and stable but may dull your blade over time. 
  • End grain: These boards are the most expensive. The short ends of wood pieces are glued together to face upwards, resembling a checkerboard. These boards are wear-resistant and are less likely to dull your knife. 

Pros

Durable

Wooden cutting boards are very durable. Even if you use them often, they can last for years. The good thing about wooden cutting boards is that you can still use them even if they have a few scratches and dents. You can even sand the board to make it last longer. 

Resists Bacteria

Resists Bacteria

When deciding between a wood vs plastic cutting board, thinking about how the boards resist bacteria is important. Even though wood has open pores and is highly absorbent, it can actually kill bacteria. The wood absorbs the bacteria, traps it in the small pores, and kills it. 

Less Likely To Dull Knives

Some wooden cutting boards are harder than others. However, there are options to choose such as walnut or maple that will be gentle on your knives. Even if you have a hardwood cutting board, the damage will not be excessive. 

Cons

Heavy

One downside of wooden cutting boards is that they can be quite heavy. Most people choose heavier wooden boards since light boards will warp. However, the weight is something you will need to get used to. When it comes to a wood vs plastic cutting board, plastic boards are much easier to maneuver. 

Requires More Maintenance

Another downside of wooden cutting boards is that they require more maintenance. You will need to condition it with oil to prevent it from warping and drying out. Washing the board may also be a hassle. You cannot put these in the dishwasher; you have to wash wooden boards by hand. It is also best to have mineral oil on hand after you wash the board.  

Plastic Boards

pros and cons of plastic boards

Plastic boards are the other main type of cutting board you will find on the market.

You will often find plastic boards in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and patterns. Since they are plastic, there is a bit more flexibility when it comes to the design. 

Types 

Mostly all plastic cutting boards are made from one material called polyethylene. Polyethylene is a type of plastic that is wear-resistant and easy to sanitize. 

There are two different types of polyethylene plastic cutting boards you can choose from, including high-density polyethylene and low-density polyethylene. 

  • High-density polyethylene: This type of cutting board is thick and more durable than low-density boards. Due to this, the board is scratch-resistant and is not prone to warping. However, you will need to sharpen your knives more often while using this board.
  • Low-density polyethylene: These boards are more affordable than their counterpart. They are also much lighter and easier to maneuver. However, low-density polyethylene is more likely to warp and will not be scratch-resistant. 

Color Coding 

plastic boards color coding

One of the main reasons people choose plastic cutting boards over wooden boards is that you can color-code them. 

Plastic cutting boards will often come in packs of three or four, each a different color. Each color will represent a different food item. For instance, you will have one board for meat, one for vegetables, and so on. When using this method, you only use one cutting board for one type of food.

Color coding your cutting boards can greatly reduce the chances of cross-contamination. This method will also protect those with food allergies. 

Pros

Affordable

When it comes to wood vs plastic cutting board, plastic boards are much more affordable. While the price will greatly depend on the brand, you can typically find one for under $20. On the other hand, wooden cutting boards are often more expensive and range from $30 to $100. 

Easy To Maintain

plastic boards are easy to maintaiin

Plastic cutting boards are extremely easy to maintain. Since they are so light, it is easy to handwash them. Even so, most boards can go in the dishwasher, making clean-up that much easier. While most boards will last a while without warping, that is something to watch for. 

Space Efficient 

Last but not least is space efficiency. Plastic cutting boards are extremely light and thin. While wooden boards are typically a few inches thick, cutting boards can range from only a half-inch to a full inch thick. You will be able to store them just about anywhere in your kitchen. 

Cons

Not Very Durable

When choosing between a wood vs plastic cutting board, something to think about will be durability. Unfortunately, plastic cutting boards are very susceptible to scratches and dents. Unlike with wood, you can’t sand the scratches away. 

Will Dull Your Knives Quicker

Even though plastic may seem softer than wood, these boards may actually be a bit harder on your knives. Plastic cutting boards tend to wear down your knives faster than softwood cutting boards. However, both hardwood and plastic boards are about the same in this department. 

Which One Is Better 

which one to choose

Now that we know more about each product, it is time to decide between a wood vs plastic cutting board. 

If you tend to cook a lot and are willing to spend a bit more money on a higher-quality product, then a wood cutting board will be the way to go. Keep in mind that you will also need to spend more time maintaining the board. You will need to oil it and handwash it. 

However, if you are not someone who cooks a lot, a plastic cutting board may be the way to go. These boards are great for those who want an affordable product that is easy to take care of. 

Plastic cutting boards may also be the better option if you live in a large household with allergies. In this case, it may be helpful to buy a color-coded set to prevent cross-contamination.

Conclusion

It can be hard to decide between a wood vs plastic cutting board.

In general, wood cutting boards are higher-quality than plastic boards. They are more durable, will not harm your knife as much, and are more wear-resistant. However, they take a bit more work to maintain. 

Plastic cutting boards, on the other hand, are much more affordable. They are lightweight and very easy to maintain. Something to keep in mind, though, is that this material is less wear-resistant. You will need to replace plastic boards more frequently than wooden blocks. 

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