The materials you choose for your benchtop not only determine how it looks and feels (although that's a big part of it). They'll also dictate how big a chunk of your budget the bench will account for, and how much and what kind of maintenance it'll require.
See how different benches compare, and learn about the pros and cons of each different type of material.
Granite's not cheap and it does have its shortcomings (including a fair bit of maintenance), but it's highly prized for its looks, longevity and extravagance as a kitchen bench material.
Laminate is incredibly popular - and not just because it's so affordable. Laminate is long-lasting, easy to maintain, and can be made in all sorts of shapes, patterns and colours to suit just about any kitchen.
Engineered stone (or composite stone, or quartz) benchtops are a type of man-made composite material. These types of benchtops are an affordable and greener alternative to granite and marble, for those who still prefer a natural stone look.
Polished concrete's a very flexible material in terms of design, and is becoming much more popular in both contemporary and traditional kitchens.
Marble looks amazing, is durable, and is highly prized in high-end kitchens. Having said that, it also requires a considerable amount of care, and is far more expensive than most other options.
Timber has a uniquely 'warm' feel to it, is light, and can be shaped to suit any taste. Timber bench tops are prone to scratching, but they can also be sanded back and resealed fairly easily.
Acrylic benchtops are increasingly popular choice thanks to the creative freedom they offer, and thanks to the fact that they require very little in the way of maintenance.