The 10 Best Beverage Coasters
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in March of 2016. Protect your furniture and counters from moisture damage, unsightly water rings, and scratch marks with a set of these handy beverage coasters. Available in a huge variety of styles, colors, and materials, they are capable of withstanding hot and cold temperatures, making them ideal when serving tea, coffee, beer, and wine to your guests. Some will jazz up your table, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 27, 2021:
Categories like this one, where so much of an option’s merit is based on a person’s personal preference, are always a bit tricky to rank. It’s always tempting to start from scratch and pick the 10 options that I’d most like to see in my own living room, but in practice our job is to provide useful guidance to the largest portion of our audience possible, which, in cases like this, demands broadly varied selections. We thought the last editor for this page did a nice job of curating an eclectic collection of coasters that will appeal to a diverse variety of styles, and so we didn’t find cause to make many changes, although we did remove the Dulce Cocina Pool Blue, which, at the time of this writing, no longer appears to be available.
In its place, we added the Yiview Vintage Vinyl, which is designed to look like a bunch of miniature vinyl records. We thought this was a fun option that many audiophiles wouldn’t mind on their coffee tables, that also might appeal to deejays looking for an option that blends in nicely with their turntables.
Like the Novelty Design Retro, which is designed in the likeness of old-school, 3-1/2-inch floppy disks, we thought the Vintage Vinyl provided some welcome contrast to our classier choices – like the Thirstystone Desert Stone and GoCraft Hammered Copper – and it might look better than you’d expect with the right modern decor.
Now that you’ve picked out a new set of coasters, it’s worth considering investing in a new set of glassware to go with them. We’ve got lists of Moscow mule mugs, red wine glasses and whiskey glasses.
March 02, 2020:
Even though we think the pallet styling is fun, we've ultimately decided to remove the Design Studio Labyrinth Barcelona, as they can potentially scratch surfaces and don't keep water off your table, to boot. But we've left two other choices that are not the most perfectly absorbing, the Yogavni Agate and the Dulce Cocina Pool Blue. They have small holes that can perhaps let heavy condensation through, but they are stylish and a good decorative alternative to plain, boring options.
For those who want something on the simpler, less decorative end of the spectrum, we've kept the Enkore Deep Tray and the Comfortena Silicone, and added the Thirstystone Desert Stone. The first two may require cleaning from time to time, but they will work with just about any coffee table you can think of. The Thirtstyone coasters stand out a little more and boast a cork backing to stop scratches. And speaking of cork, we've opted for the Decopom Natural Cork over the Sweese Cork. The set has more pieces plus a holder for a slightly lower price, making it a good value for those who want the natural feel and versatility of this material.
Sticker Mule Custom If you've got an event coming up, or are really into your personalized home bar, you'll definitely want to consider the Sticker Mule Custom. You'll need to order in bulk, but the company offers a fast turnaround time and full-color printing for an eye-catching way to keep tables mess-free. stickermule.com
Drink Safe Drug Test It's unfortunate that such an item would be necessary, but the Drink Safe Drug Test could keep a night out on the town from turning into a tragedy. On every one, you'll find two testing areas that change color if a drink has been spiked, whether that's with ketamine or GHB. To make them easy to use, the makers have printed full instructions on the back of each. drinksafe.com
Ralph Lauren Wyatt The saddle leather and contrasting stitching used to craft the Ralph Lauren Wyatt were chosen for their equestrian feel, making this a charming choice for a country home or cabin. Each set has four coasters with a 4.5-inch diameter nestled in a simple holder. Simple doesn't equal cheap here, though, as this option is quite pricey. ralphlauren.com
The Drink Coaster: Simple, Yet Extremely Effective
After all, no dinner host wants to be stuck trying to clean up all those dreaded, nasty water rings from their table.
For many people, there's nothing more quintessential to relaxation or socialization than sitting at home around the dinner table (or at a bar) with friends and family enjoying a cold, frosty brew after a hard day's work. That said, being aware of the furniture onto which a beverage is placed is an equally important consideration. After all, no dinner host wants to be stuck trying to clean up all those dreaded, nasty water rings from their table. While there are certainly ways to repair this damage in the event these rings are formed from a glass or bottle, it's better to be safe than sorry by proactively leveraging a simple tool like a coaster to stay ahead of the mess and keep that surface in pristine condition.
Also known as a beermat, the beverage coaster provides a protective barrier between the drinking vessel it supports and a table's surface. One of its main functions is to absorb excess condensation from a bottle, glass, or beverage can, making it a practical accessory for use on coffee or dinner tables and even in bar settings. Aside from its functional use, the coaster is also used to promote an establishment's brand, advertise a specialty drink as part of a custom design, or it can even be used to convey a message to your guests, while simultaneously complementing your interior decor.
The wide variety of available materials, styles, colors, and shapes for drink coasters gives them unique identities, which are often dependent on how, where, and for what occasions they are used. Coasters are constructed from any range of materials, including cork, stainless steel, rubber, bonded leather, silicone, sandstone, bamboo ceramic, glass, and even marble. Ceramic, glass, and marble coasters are decorative in style and ideal for more formal occasions, such as weddings and bridal showers. They're also relatively easy to personalize with photos and inscriptions, making them ideal gifts or keepsakes. By contrast, sandstone and cork coasters are useful for ensuring superior absorbency when serving a lot of drinks at home, as they are more likely to get tossed around and treated with less care over time.
Finally, because the coaster offers such an eclectic range of styles and designs, it's important not to discount the collectible value of the object, particularly for those fascinated with the history of beer and other unique beverages served at parties and public drinking establishments.
Support And Protection At Their Finest
Two of the most important considerations to make when purchasing beverage coasters are their materials and the types of table surfaces on which they'll be placed. When dealing with a wood surface, make sure you understand the type of finish it has and the degree of water resistance it offers when constantly used. If you serve drinks on surfaces with wax or oil-based finishes, be aware that they are more susceptible to water damage than lacquered or varnished tabletops.
The addition of an extra lip around the edges of your coasters will also help to prevent messes and thwart any condensation from dripping onto your table surfaces.
If you're planning to serve a lot of beer and hot drinks (like coffee) in your home, cork, sandstone, and silicone are ideal materials for your guests to use. Cork not only provides excellent thermal insulation, but it's also quite effective at collecting and absorbing droplets of water from the outside of a "sweating" glass as it drips. Silicone coasters are durable, flexible, and resilient enough to withstand extreme temperatures without warping over time. The porous nature of sandstone allows for the quick absorption and evaporation of liquid, as well.
Regardless of the materials used, the coasters you choose should be slip-resistant, so your guests won't have to be concerned about the instability of a drinking vessel or the possibility for spillage. The addition of an extra lip around the edges of your coasters will also help to prevent messes and thwart any condensation from dripping onto your table surfaces. Some coasters offer removable, dishwasher-safe fabric inserts that soak up excess moisture without saturating the entire accessory, making this design ideal for regular use when throwing elaborate parties with a lot of guests.
A Brief History Of Drink Coasters
Up until the latter part of the 19th century, what was considered a "coaster" by most English pub standards consisted of nothing more than simple pieces of felt or other fabrics. These early solutions were not originally made for the purpose of soaking up condensation. Rather, they were placed on top of a drink and used to keep bugs and dirt away. While the fabric was certainly absorbent, it also had to be constantly reused. Before the invention of the high-efficiency washing machine, the reuse of this fabric created an issue for pub owners in terms of maintaining sanitary conditions within their establishments.
To this day, they are used to promote ideas, events, images, and a particular brand.
The first disposable drink coaster was developed around 1880 by the Friedrich Horn printing company based out of Buckau, Germany. Originally called a beermat, it took the form of a cardboard punch-out. The company also produced a variety of illustrations, jokes, and phrases printed on these coasters. In 1892, Robert Sputh of Dresden, Germany developed the first wood-pulp beer coaster. By the early 1900s, breweries began producing and imprinting their own custom logos and personalized messages onto coasters, making them a great marketing tool for direct communication with consumers.
By the 1920s, Watney's Brewery became one of the first to produce coasters designed to advertise their Pale Ale and Reids Stout. By the middle of the 20th century, beverage coasters of all types, colors, and shapes were being manufactured for domestic use.
Today, the accessory has evolved into more than a pad to support a beverage. Aside from the billboard, the drink coaster has become one of the most direct forms of advertising communication. To this day, they are used to promote ideas, events, images, and a particular brand. For many beer aficionados, the coaster has also become a collector's item, recognized through the practice of tegestology.