The best countertop for a kitchen depends on the overall decor of the kitchen and how much traffic the kitchen gets. No matter the material, the countertop should be pleasing to the eye and fairly durable. What the homeowner can afford is of course a consideration!
A kitchen that is used a great deal will need a countertop that is both tough and easy to clean.
For this, a homeowner might consider engineered stone. This is often quartz ground to aggregate or powder, mixed with resin and pigment and formed into slabs. Though it can be pricey, engineered stone is easy to clean and resists scratches, stains, acid etching and heat. It also resists molds and mildew. This is because it's non-porous and seamless. Unlike natural stone, engineered stone doesn't need to be sealed. Engineered stone, like natural quartz itself, comes in a rainbow of colors and can be matched with any kitchen decor.
A homeowner might choose natural stone countertops in a kitchen that gets moderate use, though stone is one of the best materials for making pastry because of its coolness. One of the most common stones used for countertops is granite. Granite, formed in the bowels of volcanoes, is tough but beautiful and may last longer than the house. Its beauty comes from the flecks of colorful minerals found within the stone. Granite can also have veins of color, much like marble. Granite resists heat.
Because granite is porous, it needs to be sealed every couple of years or so. A homeowner can tell when the stone needs resealing because water no longer beads upon it but sinks in.
Marble is a metamorphic rock formed from limestone and is softer. Marble comes in a profusion of colors, and pale-colored marble seems to gather the light in the room into itself. It's softer than granite and also needs to be sealed. Some homeowners use marble as an insert in a granite countertop.