Are granite countertops the best choice right now among kitchen countertops? It depends: Granite is durable and can help raise the resale value of your home, but quartz countertops are a close second. Quartz countertops (also called engineered stone) have many of the advantages of natural stone, but are easier to maintain.
Other choices include solid-surface countertops -- basically, these are made of plastic, but they're much nicer than laminate. Solid-surface countertops come in a huge range of styles and colors, from faux stone to funky and modern. Plus, solid surfaces are easier to repair than other types. Laminate, including Formica is the budget choice, and an experienced do-it-yourselfer might be able to save on installation costs.
Choosing the best kitchen countertop really depends on whether you're willing to compromise on costs and maintenance, and whether you're considering your new countertops as a long-term investment. This ConsumerSearch buyer's guide outlines the pros and cons of each major type.