Virtually unbreakable drinking glasses are made one of three ways; by tempering, annealing, or using a molecular infusion of glass and metal such as titanium. Each method produces extremely break-resistant glass drinking glasses. While no glass is truly “unbreakable” under high impact, glasses made using these methods withstand far more abuse than standard glass drinking glasses.
If you prefer real glasses over plastic drinkware, you’re in luck. There are many reputable glassware brands that craft extremely durable glassware and we’ve rounded up our top picks for you. All are proven performers in the restaurant and bar industry, so they can certainly withstand the knocks and bumps of any busy home. And being made of glass, they’re all dishwasher-safe and BPA-free, too.
1. Tempered Glassware: Closest Thing to Unbreakable Drinking Glasses
Tempering is a heat-treating process that creates very resilient glassware and the closest thing to unbreakable glasses that you’ll find. However, excessive force and repeat impact can still cause tempered glasses to break. The most notable benefit of tempered glassware is ultra-strong rims and bases that resist chipping — even when stacked — making it popular for bar and restaurant use.
The Duralex factory in France invented the tempering process for glassware and its Picardie Glassware line of glassware sets is the top seller among tempered lines. It’s used in restaurants, cafes, and bars worldwide and also sold in retail sets for home use.
Bormioli Rocco is another major tempered glassware brand making resilient, nearly unbreakable heat-treated glassware. Again, tempered glass is not guaranteed unbreakable under unusual or repeated impact. But like Picardie, Bormioli Rocco tempered glassware is a proven player in restaurants and bars worldwide and available in retail packs for home use.
2. Annealed & Rim-Tempered Break-Resistant Glassware
Libbey is another huge glassware manufacturer that makes a durable rim-tempered glassware line called DuraTuff, which has proven itself for years in busy bars and restaurants. Cardinal‘s Arcoroc line is another terrific tempered glassware line that’s made for restaurants and bars and is also available in smaller retail packs.
Annealing is another heat-treated process that produces durable, break-resistant glassware. Annealing glass involves a controlled cooling stage which reduces the molecular stress and fracture points common to plain glassware. The result is very durable glassware that, if broken, cleaves into a few large pieces rather than hundreds of razor-sharp shards.
Annealed glassware sets tend to be less expensive than tempered glassware so you can find it in several decorative styles and designs in Libby’s extensive foodservice line.
Tempered vs. Annealed Glasses
While both tempered and annealed glass are great choices for unbreakable drinking glasses, annealed glass breaks faster than tempered glass.
When tempered glass does break, it shatters into many small pieces. However, these aren’t sharp. This is why tempered glass is used for safety glass in windows, cars, and things like display cases. If you do happen to break your tempered glassware, it’s generally not dangerous, you just sweep it up.
3. Titanium-Infused Unbreakable Glassware
Several crystal lines are using a newer process that combines titanium and glass at the molecular level. The result is a very strong lead-free crystal glass that supports lightweight, thinner-wall designs that are far more durable than plain glass or crystal. Many fine stemware and crystal manufacturers are using this method to enter the “unbreakable” glassware market.
The infusion process creates rugged, break-resistant glassware sets that withstand everyday knocks, bumps, spills, and even drops. That means it usually survives being tipped over on tables, shuffled about in the sink, and clanked in the dishwasher — situations where regular stemware and thin-walled crystal stemless wine glasses often meet their demise.
The infusion process doesn’t deliver the nearly unbreakable glassware that tempering creates. However, the result is far more durable than regular crystal glassware and fine stemware. Plus, titanium crystal products are completely lead-free, marketed as dishwasher-safe, and offer the same gorgeous clarity as classic lead crystal.
Other Break-Resistant Glassware Options
Silicone-wrapped glassware and portable glass water bottles offer another option if you prefer glass over plastic. Lifefactory Drinkware leads the charge with a huge selection of silicone-covered drinking glasses, water bottles, baby products, and kitchen storage containers.
If silicone-wrapped glassware appeals to you, you’ll also want to check out products from Ello, which offers a full line of silicone-wrapped glass drinkware, baking dishes and pantry storage similar to Lifefactory products. It’s always nice to have a few options!
That’s a Wrap
Remember, “unbreakable glassware” isn’t truly unbreakable like many high-end plastic glasses. But, certain types of real glassware like tempered glass, annealed glassware, titanium-infused crystal — and the new silicone-covered styles — are far tougher and more impact-proof than standard glassware.
Not surprisingly, most unbreakable glassware options were originally designed for restaurant and bar use, and work beautifully in busy homes. If you like the durability of plastic, but don’t like the idea of using
If you want more info on proven glassware brands, head over to our review of the best drinking glasses. You’ll recognize a few names covered above, plus you’ll find more options for colorful, decorative, and specialty glassware.