Common E-bike Battery Problems and How to Fix Them. Pendleton e bike battery

Common E-bike Battery Problems and How to Fix Them

There’s nothing worse than having to spend hundreds or thousands on an eBike only to have problems with its battery. Don’t get me wrong; e-bike batteries are built to last. but they’re still prone to failure if they aren’t adequately taken care of during their lifetime.

What happens if your battery fails?

Well, in this article, I’ve covered some most common eBike battery problems and how to fix them. So, if you’d like to know more. keep scrolling!

Ebike Battery Problems

When it comes to eBike troubleshooting, there are a couple of things that might be causing your battery problems, including:

  • eBike battery pack swelling
  • eBike battery not charging
  • eBike battery not running for very long
  • eBike battery pack not holding a charge
  • eBike not turning on
  • eBike not speeding up

Don’t worry, though. I’ll walk you through each one here!

eBike Battery Pack Swelling

If your eBike battery pack is swelling up, well, you likely have a pretty serious problem with one. or more. of the lithium-ion cells.

Some electric bike models use flat pack cells. and these are known to swell if they suffer some damage. On the other hand, the 18650 lithium-ion cells are far more resistant to swelling and, in turn, more reliable.

If you notice that your eBike’s battery pack has a bulge in it, be sure you turn off the power and carefully remove the battery from your eBike. It’s a good idea to recycle the battery; most cities have a place where you can do this.

Now, some eBike battery packs are positioned inside the bike’s frame. That makes it somewhat harder to notice if you have a swollen battery pack.

The only way to check if the battery is swollen is to drop the lower plate and take out the battery pack. Note that you’ll have to disconnect some cables before you do this.

eBike Battery Not Charging

If your battery isn’t charging, start by checking the following:

  • Is the power turned on at the outlet?
  • Is the charger working and outputting over 36 Volts?
  • Is the battery hot?
  • Is the battery charger port full of dirt?
  • Has the battery been left discharged for several months?
  • Has the fuse blown in either the eBike battery pack or the charger?

eBike Battery Not Running For Very Long

Lithium-ion batteries generally have a life of 700 charge cycles. They usually tend to lose full charge capacity over this mark.

That is entirely normal. and will, unfortunately, only get worse as time goes on.

Still, if you’re charging your bike every few days, you should be able to get many years out of your electric bike before you begin to notice the capacity of your battery is starting to degrade.

If you notice your eBike battery isn’t running as long as it used to, check the following:

  • Is the battery pack being charged to 100%?
  • Do you have a dragging of a disc brake?
  • Is the terrain uphill?
  • Are you assisting your battery by peddling?
  • Are your eBike’s wheel bearings freely spinning?
  • Do you have a short circuit in the battery, wiring, or motor?

Any of the scenarios mentioned above could lead to your battery discharging rather quickly.

eBike Battery Pack Not Holding A Charge

Lithium-ion batteries are good at holding a charge. However, like any other type of battery, they will slowly discharge over time.

If your eBike hasn’t been charged for a more extended period, it would be a good idea to give it a top-up. and see how it goes.

If you notice that you’re charging your battery, but it still discharges quickly without being used, you might have a short circuit somewhere or a faulty battery at your hands.

Here’s a quick test that can detect the problem:

Remove the battery pack from your eBike and charge it up on a bench. Once it’s fully charged, test the battery by leaving it off the bike.

If it holds a charge, the issue will be your electric bike. most likely a short circuit in the bike’s wiring or the motor. However, if it doesn’t hold the charge, your lithium-ion cell is faulty.

How Do I Know If My Bike’s Battery Is Charged?

Your battery charger will probably feature a LED light indicator that changes states depending on the bike’s battery level. It’ll go from red to green when the battery is fully charged in most cases.

However, in some chargers, the LED light will turn off completely when the battery is charged.

Either way, the point remains the same. you’ll have a way to track the progress while charging the battery.

Remember not to leave the battery pack on the charger longer than 24 hours, though.

Lithium-ion batteries don’t prefer being left on the charger. In the short term, this won’t hurt. but after a while, the battery’s capacity will go down.

You’ll also have an indicator of the battery’s current level on the battery pack itself or the speed controller. Some will use a 0-100% range, while others have a series of LED lights, depending on the model.

eBike Not Turning On

Let’s start with the obvious solution:

If your e-bike isn’t turning on, be sure to check if the main switch is in the “On” position.

Next, check the fuse for the battery pack. This fuse is usually located on the side and could blow up because of short circuits, vibrations, over-current, or old age.

If the fuse is in good condition and the battery pack is fully charged, check if the speed controller is in good condition, as well. The speed controller is the component that sends signals to turn on the battery pack.

These speed controllers could malfunction if damaged. either by dropping your bike or allowing water to get into them.

Hold the bike’s “On” button for about 10 seconds to force the speed controller to turn on. Some speed controllers are turned on by pressing the “M” button. Again, it depends on the e-bike model you have.

Be sure to check that your battery pack has at least two bars of power. An extremely low battery power level can lead to your electric bike not turning on, by the way.

Another thing to check here is that the electrical cables are correctly connected. Sometimes, the dirt roads can dislodge the cable connections; this is often the case with mountain electric bikes.

Water can find its way into these connections, too. Pull them apart and ensure the connection is tight.

eBike Not Speeding Up

There are numerous reasons why your electric bike isn’t speeding up.

often than not, the feedback magnets. positioned on the pedal crank or the rear wheel hub. for the proximity switch get dirty. Clean them with a rag, and you should be good to go.

This common eBike battery issue is often wrongly diagnosed.

Most quality electric bikes feature a switch on the back and front brakes to stop the drive motor. In some cases, these switches can get stuck. leading to their failure. Activate both brake levers a couple of times to try and free up the switch.

To check the limit switch, though, you might have to remove the whole rear or front brake lever. That’s another reason why you should avoid leaving your eBike out in the rain.

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Also, while it might sound obvious, be sure to check if you’re in the proper mode. for example, pedal-assist, throttle-only, or pedal-only. I’ve sometimes found myself in the wrong mode, and I couldn’t figure out why my eBike isn’t speeding up.

There is typically a minimum speed that will activate the drive motor. That is just a safety feature. and it’s usually around 1.8 mph.

What Speed Are eBikes Limited To?

eBikes are limited to 25 km/h. or 15.5 mph. to conform to the majority of road rules around the globe. Once the motor reaches this speed limit, it will stop providing power further.

Of course, you can still pedal faster than 25 km/h, but you won’t get any assistance from the main motor.

Once the speed controller recognizes that you’re under 25 km/h, the battery management system will again supply power to the main motor. That is a standard component on most electric bikes. and, again, its role is to ensure that you conform to road rules.

Is 250Watts Enough For An eBike?

In most standard cases of use, 250W is more than enough power for you to ride your eBike on asphalt or dirt roads casually. A 250W drive motor is usually limited to 15 mph and can handle up to 240 pounds in rider weight.

If that doesn’t sound impressive, remember that you can always assist the main drive motor by pedaling.

You can always upgrade your bike with a Bafang conversion kit, though!


We can agree that e-bikes have come a long way since their first appearance. Granted, battery problems can occasionally happen, but most can be solved easily and quickly.

Hopefully, the tips I’ve outlined above will help you keep your eBike running fast. and for a long time. And remember:

The most significant danger to batteries of eBikes is excessive heat and low voltage. Make sure you keep your eBike battery topped up. and it will last for a very long time.

How to convert a bike to electric power | Electric bike conversion kits explained

The best electric bike conversion kits will enable you to add a motor to your existing bike simply and relatively cheaply – at least compared to the price of buying a whole new electric bike.

There are an increasing number of ebike conversion kits out there, and they’re getting more sophisticated and easier to install on your bike, making for a practical alternative to a new purpose-built electric bike. An electric bike conversion kit will include the motor to drive you along and the battery to power it. It also needs to include the apparatus to control the power output level. This usually takes the form of a bar-mounted display.

In addition, a kit will include sensors to detect how fast you’re travelling and your level of pedal input to ensure the power supplied matches your needs. We’ve tested a few electric bike conversion kits here at BikeRadar, but there are lots more we’re yet to try. A full test of the best electric bike conversion kits is in the works – stay tuned. If you want a more detailed explanation of the different types of kit available and things to consider when purchasing an electric bike conversion kit, then head to our explainer further down the page.

Best electric bike conversion kits 2022: our picks

Swytch electric bike conversion kit

Swytch says its electric bike conversion kit can convert any bike into an electric bike. Stan Portus / Our Media

  • Pros: Very compact; easy to install; variety of range options
  • Cons: 100mm threaded front axle only; not compatible with thru-axles

London-based Swytch makes a conversion kit that, it says, is the lightest in the world at 3kg total weight. It can convert any bike into an ebike.

The kit includes a 40Nm brushless hub-based motor that comes pre-laced into a replacement front wheel. The lithium-ion battery pack connects to your handlebars and also acts as the system controller and LCD display.

There’s a crank-mounted cadence sensor, and that’s all you need to fit to your bike to get going.

There’s a Brompton-specific kit available too, with an adaptor for the Brompton’s front luggage mount.

Depending on the range you want, there are three sizes of battery pack available, which provide a claimed range of 35km, 50km or 100km.

Swytch has recently unveiled an even more compact kit with a.sized battery that weighs just 700g and, Swytch says, gives 15km of range.

Latest deals

Cytronex electric bike conversion kit

Cytronex makes electric bike conversion kits for Bromptons, as well as standard bikes. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

  • Pros: Clever sensor tech; decent range
  • Cons: Not much onboard info on battery level and range
common, e-bike, battery, problems, them, pendleton

Weighing between 3.2kg and 3.6kg, the Cytronex ebike conversion kit is another front-wheel conversion to house a hub motor, but in this case, the battery is designed to fit in a standard bottle cage.

We tested the kit on a Cannondale Quick hybrid and reckon that conversion takes around 30 minutes. The charge level is displayed via LEDs on the battery, which also houses the system controller. We got up to an impressive 48 miles on a charge.

We’ve also tested the kit on a Brompton P Line lightweight folder, where the total weight undercut the C Line-based Brompton Electric. Fit it to a C Line and it’s also cheaper than the Brompton Electric.

common, e-bike, battery, problems, them, pendleton

Electric bike conversion kits: different types explained

Electric bike conversion kits come in styles to suit all types of bike. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

There are a number of ways to electrify your existing bike for assistance up those hills: you can fit a powered wheel, either front or rear; you can attach a drive unit to the bottom bracket; you can fit a motor above the rear wheel and drive it via friction; or, most sneakily, you can conceal a motor in the seatpost.

Whether you ride a hybrid, mountain bike, road bike or even a folder, tourer or gravel bike, it should be possible to convert your bike.

Many can even be fitted by a competent home mechanic if you’re feeling handy and have an afternoon spare.

So, what are your options? Let’s take a look at the different ways to convert your non-assisted bike into an electric bike.

Powered ebike wheels

The Swytch is a good example of a readily available universal electric bike conversion kit that uses a motor at the front hub. Swytch

Fitting a powered ebike wheel is probably the most practical option for many people.

A powered ebike wheel is built around a special hub that contains a motor. This is usually powered by a separate battery.

This sounds simple, but the main downside is that it adds rotating mass to your bike, which feels harder to accelerate than non-rotating mass.

There’s a steady stream of front- and rear-wheel conversion kits on Amazon and eBay, all looking suspiciously similar, priced from around £150 and with names you’ve probably never heard of.

Be wary of systems controlled by a throttle (also called ‘twist-and-go’) though. Legally, they’re classified as electric motorcycles rather than ebikes, and need to be taxed and insured. Take a look at our guide to ebike laws for more information.

Rear-mounted friction drive ebike conversion kit

Readers of a certain age may remember earlier incarnations of these in the 1980s/90s: a box that sits on your rear wheel and powers it via friction with a rubber flywheel driven by a motor.

The idea hasn’t gone away, and lives on in devices such as the Rubbee, which promises bolt-on electric assistance for nearly any bike.

Rubbee’s base model has a claimed weight of just 2.8kg, with a 16km range that can be extended up to 48km with the top-spec, 4kg version.

It works with any wheel diameter between 16in and 29in, has an integrated carrying handle and clips on and off your seatpost. start from €579.

Concealed ebike conversion kit

The Vivax Assist hid a motor in the seat tube of the frame and applied power directly to the axle of the crank. Vivax

Now we come to the low-key way to do it – hiding a motor inside your bike so no one knows it’s there.

The Vivax Assist was the best-known device for doing this, although the company has now ceased trading. It’s the system that was used by Belgian cyclocross pro Femke Van den Driessche in 2016 to power her way to victory in her home championships. She was found out at a subsequent race, got a six-year ban and quit racing.

Vivax Assist may be no more, but we reckon this idea still has legs – at least for the budding cyclocross cheat.

Mid-drive ebike conversion kit

eBay and Amazon are awash with mid-drive motor electric bike conversion kits like this one from TongSheng. TongSheng

Many commercially available ebikes are powered with motors mounted around the bottom bracket, near the pedals.

These have the advantage of placing the weight low down on the bike, making it more stable.

This isn’t just a ready-made option though – you can also buy aftermarket conversion kits with mid-drive units.

Bafang is a brand that is increasingly focusing on complete ebikes, but it also offers a mid-drive conversion kit on Amazon, as well as wheel hub motors.

Priced from £360, Bafang says the conversion is easy to install using only a few tools to remove the bottom bracket and fit the drive on the front of the down tube.

As above, be careful of throttle-controlled kits that won’t pass the UK ebike regulations and will legally be considered a moped.

You’ll find other mid-motor systems on Amazon too, such as that from TongSheng, which is claimed to fit 95 per cent of standard bike frames and be 30 per cent lighter than a Bafang unit.

It uses a torque sensor, so should fall within the ebike regulations, and is priced from around £350 – although that doesn’t include a battery.

German brand Pendix has a mid-drive system priced from €999 to €2,190 that weighs from 5.4kg for a 28km range. It replaces a BSA bottom bracket and can be fitted to folding bikes as well as a wide range of regular machines.

Folding ebike conversion kit

The Brompton electric conversion from Electric Concepts is one of many kits available to electrify an existing Brompton. Electric Concepts

What can you do if you’ve got a folding bike and want to join the electric revolution?

Well there’s good news if you’ve got a Brompton – a number of ebike conversion kits are available. They generally work with a powered hub in the front wheel and a battery carried in a bag mounted on the front.

As discussed above, Swytch and Cytronex can both be used to convert a Brompton. Swytch’s Brompton kit is priced at £999, although discounts of up to 50 per cent are sometimes available on the site.

As with its other systems, there’s a front wheel hub motor, a clip-on power pack and a bottom bracket torque sensor. Quoted range is up to 50km.

Swytch will also build wheels for folders with other wheel sizes and different fork blade widths, such as Dahon’s models.

Are electric bike conversion kits legal?

If your electric bike uses a throttle, it is technically classed as a moped, and must be taxed and insured as such. Simon Bromley / Our Media

Most electric bike conversion kits are legal to fit to a bike, although the precise rules differ depending on where you live.

In most of the world, the motor needs to be limited to a maximum of 250 watts of continuous power output, unless the electric bike is only used on private land.

You also need to be pedalling for the motor to work – a throttle can only operate at low speeds and assistance needs to cut out once the speed exceeds 25kph. There may be a minimum age to ride an electric bike: in the UK it’s 14.

The rules are different in the US, where higher power outputs and higher speeds are usually legal, while Australia has some variants as well, so it’s worth checking that your electric bike conversion kit is legal where you live before purchasing.

Is converting an electric bike worth it?

An electric bike conversion kit is not cheap, so you want to be sure it’s going to work for you.

You need to have a candidate bike in decent condition to justify taking the kit route.

If you’re going to have to buy a bike to fit the kit to, or going to need to make a lot of repairs to your bike to make it roadworthy, the total cost is probably going to mean it’s not a lot cheaper than buying a complete electric bike.

You need to be confident you can fit the kit yourself as well. If you’re going to have to pay a shop to fit the motor or sort things out if the conversion goes wrong, your savings over purchasing a new electric bike may dwindle quickly.

It’s also worth noting that an electric bike conversion kit may affect your bike’s handling, particularly if there’s a heavy motor and battery mounted somewhere where the bike was not designed to carry it.

Drivetrain components may not be adequately beefed up for the extra power they need to transmit and may wear or break. Factors such as torque steer may be a problem, and cabling and sensors can be unsightly.

In contrast, if you buy a complete electric bike from a reputable brand, it will have been engineered around the motor and battery, and you’ll know what the finished product looks like.

Can you convert any bike into an electric bike?

There are designs of electric bike conversion kit that will work with pretty much any type of bike. Kits are available that are engineered specifically for certain bikes, such as the folding bike conversion kits we’ve talked about above.

A design such as the Rubbee should be mountable on most bikes. However, tyre wear may be an issue with a road bike with narrower tyres, and wet-weather grip between the motor’s drive wheel and the tyre may also be a problem.

But some kits, such as those that work with a specific bottom bracket configuration, may not fit on some bikes. An unusual wheel size may also limit available options, so it’s worth checking the compatibility of your planned solution before buying.

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How to Shop for Dinnerware

We’ve updated this buying guide to include a section on fine china, as well as more information about lead and other metals found in certain dinnerware.

Choosing a set of dinnerware is a big decision, since it’s something you’ll use on a daily basis and for special occasions—everything from a morning bowl of cereal to a holiday dinner with family and friends.

To help you navigate the sea of options, we’ve spent over 200 hours researching patterns, interviewing ceramic experts, touring a pottery studio, and evaluating hundreds of pieces of ceramic ware.

Finding a dinnerware pattern you love is important, but factors such as weight and durability should also play a role in your selection.

This buying guide includes a basic overview of materials, design, and durability so you can shop with confidence.

Beyond that, we suggest starting your search by looking at dinnerware in person if you can—it’s difficult to determine how pieces look from washed-out pictures online. Many stores have sample sets available to handle, and that will tell you a lot about the weight, look, and feel of the individual pieces.

If you need help getting started, we have recommendations for bone china, porcelain, stoneware, and glass in our guide to the best dinnerware.

The Best Dinnerware Sets

We tested 50 dinnerware sets in a wide range of designs and prices. We found 11 favorites to suit any lifestyle and budget.

Why you should trust me

In researching this guide, I interviewed William Carty, PhD, a professor of ceramic engineering and materials science at the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University. I also spoke at length with Jono Pandolfi, potter and owner of Jono Pandolfi Designs in New Jersey, who has created dinnerware for a long list of notable restaurants around the world. He was kind enough to give me a tour of his pottery studio in Union City, New Jersey, so that I could see how dinnerware is made firsthand. The American Ceramic Society provided me with resources about ceramic production and terminology. For a rundown on dinnerware trends and how they’ve evolved over time, I spoke to Bob Page, founder of Replacements, Ltd., and Margaret Carney, PhD, ceramic art historian and the founding director and curator of the International Museum of Dinnerware Design in Ann Arbor, Michigan. To better understand glass dinnerware, I reached out to Jane Cook, PhD, former chief scientist at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. (I also toured the Corelle factory in Corning, New York, to see how Vitrelle dinnerware is made). To learn more about ceramic production in the US, I visited The Met Museum in New York City to see its permanent collection of American ceramics in The American Wing and attended the exhibit Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina in January 2023.

Dinnerware molds (foreground) and an assortment of dinnerware (background) at the Jono Pandolfi Designs studio. Photo: Lesley Stockton

Dinnerware molds (foreground) and an assortment of dinnerware (background) at the Jono Pandolfi Designs studio. Photo: Lesley Stockton

I also talked to experts about what they look for in a basic dinnerware collection, including Eddie Ross, the co-founder and chief content creator of Maximalist Studios and the former design, decorating, and food editor for Better Homes Gardens, Food Network, Martha Stewart Living, and House Beautiful; and chef Candy Argondizza, the vice president of culinary and pastry arts at the International Culinary Center at the time of our interview. (The ICC has since been acquired by the Institute of Culinary Education.)

Finally, I spoke with Regina Santella, PhD, professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University, about lead and other potentially harmful metals found in certain dinnerware.

As a senior staff writer on Wirecutter’s kitchen team, I’ve reviewed all kinds of tableware items, including wine and Champagne glasses, drinking glasses, and flatware, as well as other kitchen gadgets and equipment. I’ve spent over 200 hours researching hundreds of dinnerware sets for our guide to the best dinnerware. Prior to joining Wirecutter in 2016, I was an editor at the International Culinary Center in New York City, and I worked in various facets of the food and restaurant industry for over a decade.

How much to buy (and to spend)

Before you start shopping, decide how many place settings to get and how much you want to spend. We recommend four to six place settings for a two-person household, and eight to 12 settings for a household of four or five. If you entertain only occasionally, you can go with a smaller main set for everyday use and pick up a handful of cheap plates for when your guest list swells.

Dinnerware can cost anywhere from a few dollars per piece to hundreds of dollars for a five-piece set of fine china, depending on the quality. Sometimes pieces are cheaper bundled in a complete place setting or open-stock sets, so be sure to weigh your options. You can find a decent, good-quality place setting for 30 to 60, which is the price range where you begin to see better materials and craftsmanship. Keep in mind that some retailers reduce the price of the individual place setting when you buy multiple settings.

You can find dinnerware sold piece by piece (open stock), as individual place settings, or in preassembled box sets. Some dinnerware collections are available all three ways.

Generally we prefer open-stock sets because they offer you the flexibility to pick and choose the pieces, such as a few extra plates for big holiday dinners. And you can replace a single chipped or broken plate without buying another complete place setting. Buying open stock also lets you add pieces like bread and butter plates (if they’re available in the collection) outside the main place setting. All of our recommended sets in our guide to the best dinnerware are sold as open stock.

If you have low vision, choosing contrasting-color dinnerware can make eating easier—open-stock collections also allow you to mix and match colored dinnerware to suit your specific needs. You can read more about adaptive dinnerware in our guide to the best dinnerware.

Place settings typically include three, four, or five pieces. Many place settings are also available open stock, and some collections include additional serving pieces sold separately. Some retailers reduce the price of dinnerware when you purchase a full place setting, so doing that is often less expensive than buying pieces open stock. Every manufacturer assembles collections differently, so be sure to double-check what’s in each place setting before you buy, and choose one that’s appropriate for your lifestyle. In other words, don’t get a set of dinnerware with soup bowls if you’re more likely to use cereal bowls.

Dinnerware box sets are very affordable—many cost under 100 for a 16-piece set—but we suggest avoiding them unless the dinnerware is also sold as open stock. Without open-stock pieces, replacing items will be hard: If a plate breaks, you have to purchase another entire box set to get a new one—and at the end of the day, you still end up with an incomplete setting. Usually you can’t buy serving pieces outside the main set, either. Also, most box sets are cheaply made, with quality issues such as uneven rims, pinholes, or drippy glazes.

You always get what you pay for when it comes to dinnerware, so we encourage you to spend more if you can. But you don’t need to purchase all of your dinnerware at once. If it’s expensive, you might prefer to buy just a few pieces at a time until you’ve acquired a full set. You can also be strategic with your purchases and wait for after-holiday sales.

Know your materials

To ensure you know what you’re buying, get familiar with the materials used in dinnerware.


Manufacturers can make ceramics using a variety of materials, but not all materials are equally durable. We recommend getting porcelain, bone china, stoneware, or Vitrelle glass for everyday use because such pieces are affordable, easy to care for, and sturdy.

We recommend starting with one set of dinnerware that’s casual enough for morning cereal but still elegant enough for a dinner party.

China, the material, takes its name from China, the birthplace of porcelain making. It’s an umbrella term defined in the Dictionary of Ceramics as “any glazed or unglazed vitreous ceramic dinnerware used for nontechnical purposes.” (Vitreous means the product is glassy and brittle with little ability to absorb water, as in most dinnerware, toilets, and sinks.) The term fine china has a somewhat ambiguous meaning but generally includes any porcelain or bone china made from higher-quality clays. Fine china is particularly expensive because the quality is perfectly consistent from piece to piece. It’s an elegant choice for formal occasions, but it often needs hand washing, so it’s not ideal for daily use. See our section on fine china below.

A note for the newly engaged: Our research showed that couples often regret registering for a set of expensive fine china because they don’t use it often enough, it takes up too much space, and the style can become dated. We recommend starting with one set of dinnerware that’s casual enough for morning cereal but still elegant enough for a dinner party.

Porcelain, a type of china, is the most common type of dinnerware. It primarily consists of a combination of clay, feldspar, and quartz, fired in kilns at very high temperatures. Porcelain varies a lot in weight and color—basic whiteware can range from bright white to blue-gray. Bluish porcelain can look odd next to pure-white linens or serving pieces, so when you go shopping for white porcelain dinnerware, we recommend bringing a white napkin into stores to see how the colors compare. Porcelain is also sold in a wide range of colored glazes.

Bone china is made with the same ceramic materials as porcelain but with the addition of calcified bone (up to 50 percent). Calcified bone, or bone ash, is derived from animal bone and gives bone china a creamier color and more translucency than porcelain. Bone china is typically more expensive than porcelain and a bit more difficult to manufacture. Even though bone china is generally thinner and lighter and appears more delicate than porcelain, it’s surprisingly durable (see the section on durability below).

In the US, ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) allows use of the term “bone china” for china with a bone-ash content as low as 25 percent. However, according to William Carty, PhD, a professor at Alfred University, the quality of bone china isn’t necessarily dependent on the amount of bone ash it contains. He told us that “the quality is based on the quality of the surface and the glaze, translucency, and the aesthetics of the body.”

When you hold bone china (such as the Villeroy Boch Royal dinner plate, shown here) up to the light, it’s typically more translucent than porcelain. Photo: Sarah Kobos

The porcelain dinner plate from the Williams Sonoma Brasserie collection is thicker and not translucent. Photo: Sarah Kobos

When you hold bone china (such as the Villeroy Boch Royal dinner plate, shown here) up to the light, it’s typically more translucent than porcelain. Photo: Sarah Kobos

Stoneware encompasses any vitreous or semivitreous pottery made from the same ingredients as porcelain but in different ratios. According to Carty, “With stoneware, typically, your interest is not in a pure white body, but an off-white body. Sometimes it has speckles in it. Those have to do with the clay in the raw materials that are used.” Potter Jono Pandolfi told us that although most stoneware is thicker than porcelain, it doesn’t need to be. Thicker stoneware, like that of Jono Pandolfi, Heath Ceramics, or East Fork Pottery, gives the dinnerware a rustic aesthetic that some people prefer.

A pugmill at Jono Pandolfi Designs removes air from the stoneware clay before it goes through rolling, shaping, and firing. Photo: Lesley Stockton

A pugmill at Jono Pandolfi Designs removes air from the stoneware clay before it goes through rolling, shaping, and firing. Photo: Lesley Stockton

Earthenware is a type of glazed or unglazed nonvitreous pottery that dates back thousands of years. Makers fire earthenware at a lower temperature than bone china, porcelain, or stoneware, so it isn’t as durable, and it’s not suitable for daily use. Also, according to the FDA, unsafe levels of lead may be present in the glazes or decorations on the surface of some earthenware pottery, so it’s best to avoid using it for eating. You can read more about lead and other potentially harmful metals in dinnerware in the section below.


Ceramic glazes are impervious silicate coatings that fuse to the base clay in the final firing stage and make the finished ceramic impenetrable to liquids. Porcelain and bone china are always fully glazed (except for an area on the underside known as “the foot”), but stoneware may be only partially glazed depending on the design. Choose whichever style you like best, as long as the areas that come in contact with food are fully glazed.

Glazes are either glossy or matte, but Carty recommends avoiding matte-glazed dinnerware because it’s more susceptible to damage. He also told us, “The potential to trap or imbed food particles, grow bacteria, etc., are all higher with a matte glaze due to surface texture and roughness.” And the rougher texture of matte glazes makes them prone to metal marking from flatware.

Most of the glaze chemicals that manufacturers use for ceramics today are either insoluble or have low solubility in water, and pose little to no risk of leaching from the dinnerware to you.

Other materials

Other common materials for dinnerware include glass, plastic, and metal. However, we don’t recommend using everyday dinnerware made from the latter two materials because the pieces are too impractical for daily use.

Vitrelle, a type of glass laminate, is a lightweight, proprietary material made for the Corelle brand. Three thermally bonded layers of glass make the material impressively durable (check out this video to see how it’s made). Since it’s so resilient, Vitrelle is a great option for kids, college students, or anyone who isn’t fussy about their dinnerware and wants something affordable and durable.

Milk glass is a type of opaque glass that’s pressed or blown into shape. Anchor Hocking’s green milk glass known as Jadeite was a popular choice for dinnerware in the 1940s. Although it’s less common today, you can still find some fun reproductions. According to Jane Cook, PhD, chief scientist at the Corning Museum of Glass, milk glass isn’t as durable as Vitrelle glass because it lacks mechanical strengthening.

Melaware is a generic term for any hard plastic resin tableware made from melamine-formaldehyde resin. It’s a great option for kids or for outdoor entertaining since it’s so durable (see our favorite dinnerware for outdoor dining). The FDA recommends against heating melaware in the microwave.

Enamelware is a type of lightweight dinnerware coated with a vitreous enamel. It’s ideal for camping or for dining al fresco, but some people may find it too impractical for daily use since it can be noisy in combination with metal flatware, it can’t go in the microwave, and the enamel is prone to chipping.

Pick the right set for your lifestyle

Before you settle on a set of dinnerware, we recommend looking at it in person to determine if the weight, size, shape, and pattern of each piece is right for you (we have a checklist of things to look for in-store at the end of this guide). Ceramics historian Margaret Carney, PhD, stressed the importance of taking your time when selecting dinnerware and not rushing into a purchase you’ll regret later. Avoid buying superfluous pieces you won’t use, and stick to what’s appropriate for your eating habits and lifestyle. Ultimately, you should “pick something that you personally like—it doesn’t really matter what anybody else thinks about it,” said Replacements, Ltd. founder Bob Page.

Find a comfortable weight

Dinnerware varies considerably in weight, so we recommend handling sample sets of different materials and thicknesses to get a sense of what you like best. It’s also a good idea to pick up a stack of plates or bowls to see how heavy they’ll be when you’re retrieving them from a cupboard. Also consider the weight of the dinnerware while you’re washing dishes, particularly if you don’t have a dishwasher and will be washing it by hand—heavy plates can make the chore more tedious. Keep in mind that heavier dinnerware isn’t necessarily higher-quality or more durable: Bone china, for example, is lightweight and slightly translucent when you hold it up to the light, but it’s just as durable as thicker porcelain or stoneware.

Consider the size and shape of each piece

As you handle sets in the store, also pay attention to the size and shape of each item to see that they’re appropriate for your eating habits. We also recommend measuring the dimensions of your cupboard space, dishwasher, and microwave to confirm that the dinnerware will fit. Bring a tape measure or ruler to the store so that you can compare the dimensions.

Before committing to a set of dinnerware, compare it with the size of your existing flatware to be sure the proportions agree with you (it might help to bring your flatware into the store with you). If your plates dwarf your forks and knives or vice versa, they can make for an odd-looking place setting.

Beyond general size considerations, here are the factors to consider for each piece:

Plates: Wider rims reduce the overall capacity of a plate’s eating surface, which is nice if you’re looking to decrease food-portion sizes. If you want a lot of negative space on your plate or more room for larger servings of food, we recommend getting plates with narrower rims. Some rimless, coupe-style plates slope slightly from the outer edge inward, which causes sauces to pool in the center of the plate. If that bothers you, get plates with flat surfaces.

See our guide to the best dinnerware if you’re looking for adaptive dinner plates that are designed to help anyone with hand dexterity or coordination issues eat independently.

Bowls: Some dinnerware collections offer several styles and sizes of bowls. Decide if you want shallow soup bowls (sometimes called pasta bowls, low bowls, or soup plates) or deep cereal bowls (sometimes called rice bowls). Cereal bowls are more casual than soup bowls, but their larger capacity makes them more all-purpose; they’re great for small salads, pasta, grains, soups, and stews. Deep bowls with steep sides are awkward, requiring you to hold your spoon at such a steep angle that it feels as if you’re dive-bombing into your soup. Bowls that are too shallow can cause milk to slosh over the rim when you’re eating cereal. Soup bowls can be too shallow for a bowl of Cheerios and are better suited to stews, pasta, salads, and risotto.

We prefer round-bottomed bowls to flat-bottomed bowls because their sloped sides are easier to eat from. But some people prefer the look of flat-bottomed bowls and like how they stack.

Mugs or teacups and saucers: Most place settings allow you to choose mugs or teacups and saucers. Teacups and saucers are great for entertaining because they’re more formal, and they help keep your tablecloth free of coffee or tea rings. But teacups are polarizing, as they can make one person feel like a bull in a china shop and another like straight-up royalty, so choose whichever style you like better. Whatever you decide, try the handles on the mugs or teacups to be sure they’re comfortable to hold. Likewise, confirm that the circumference of the mug isn’t so narrow that it hits the bridge of your nose. Some people like smaller mugs because tea or coffee tends to remain hotter by the time they reach the last sip. Others may prefer larger mugs so they don’t have to refill them as often. If you’re short on storage space, or if your mug collection already has your cupboards bursting at the hinges, all of our recommended picks in our guide to the best dinnerware are sold as open stock, so you can skip mugs entirely if you want. If you like to take your mug with you in the car, be sure to measure the cup holders first to determine whether it will fit (but we recommend using one of our recommended travel mugs instead).

Mug handles vary a lot in size, so be sure to test several styles to find what’s most comfortable for you to hold. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Mug handles vary a lot in size, so be sure to test several styles to find what’s most comfortable for you to hold. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Choose a pattern that will last

Unless you’re getting two sets of dinnerware—one casual and one formal—try to find a single style that works for all occasions. It should be durable enough for everyday use but nice enough for entertaining. Sets with decorative designs can be exciting, but they’re also more likely to become dated with time. For this reason, we generally recommend choosing dinnerware with a classic look free of busy patterns or designs. However, if you prefer patterned styles, but you need help getting started, we have lots of suggestions in our section on fine china, as well as in our guide to the best dinnerware.

Good dinnerware should provide a blank canvas for any meal. As chef Candy Argondizza noted, “Dinnerware should allow the food to make a statement so that the diner’s eye is drawn to it with no distractions.” If you like colored dinnerware but are hesitant to choose it as your main set, you can always get serving pieces and platters with more ornate designs to help liven up your basic set, especially if it’s whiteware. In other words, don’t be afraid to mix and match. Maximalist Studios’s Eddie Ross recommends looking for fun, eclectic pieces on eBay or at estate sales, thrift shops, and flea markets, or even raiding your relatives’ attics and sideboards. To brighten up a basic set, Ross also encourages using colorful glassware, placemats, or tablecloths, or tying ribbon to the dinner napkins. “A beautiful colored flower centerpiece can really change the whole table setting,” said Ross. However, if you’re having trouble deciding what to buy, Margaret Carney said, “when in doubt, always choose white.” Whiteware is usually a safe bet since it’s free of patterns or colors that may become dated with time.

Choosing a dinnerware set that has been around for a while increases the chances that it will remain in production for years to come, should you need to replace pieces or grow your collection. All of the dinnerware collections we recommend in our guide to the best dinnerware have been in stock for roughly 10 years or more—some have been made for over 80 years. If you’re unsure exactly how long a collection has been available, ask a sales associate at the store or call the manufacturer directly; most retailers can tell you what has remained popular and in stock over the years. If the dinnerware is sold online, you can sometimes approximate how old it is based on how many years back the go.

If your dinnerware is no longer in production, Replacements, Ltd. specializes in selling discontinued dinnerware. Its website also has a handy camera tool that allows you to take a picture of a dinnerware pattern and search for it in the database. If Replacements, Ltd. doesn’t have the dinnerware in stock, the company can often source it for you and ship it once it becomes available.

What about fine china?

Fine china has become less popular in recent years among the newly engaged. For many people, it doesn’t see use often enough to justify its high price or the ample cupboard space it takes up—inheriting china can also be a drag. Margaret Carney said, “I think younger people are way less interested in carting it around or having it in their garage or paying for storage units. And the Baby Boomers, they’re wanting to let go of it.” Bob Page said, “In general, younger people tend to want things that are less formal and that can go in the dishwasher.” While that may be true, we’ve also seen reports of growing interest in acquiring china among younger generations, who may be nostalgic for the dinnerware their relatives had or simply want to relish dinnertime more post-pandemic.

If your budget doesn’t allow for a new set of china and you’re up for the hunt, all of the experts we spoke to recommend scouring thrift stores, garage sales, or even sites like eBay or Etsy for significantly discounted dinnerware. You can also buy antique dishes piecemeal or as complete sets on Replacements, Ltd. If you can’t find a particular pattern on the site, Replacements, Ltd. says you can make a request, and it will add that pattern to its database—once there’s enough interest, the company will begin searching for the pattern.

One alternative to purchasing an entire set of fine china is to buy only serving or side pieces. If your main set of dinnerware has a neutral, classic design, you can easily incorporate more ornate and colorful pieces, and they will still feel cohesive. Not only is this a more economical approach, but also, if the styles you choose become dated or your tastes change, you won’t be stuck with a huge collection of china that you’ve outgrown.

Before searching for a pattern you like, we suggest determining your budget. For less expensive china, which averages between 30 and 100 per dinner plate, we recommend looking at the following reputable brands: Lenox, Wedgwood, Royal Albert, Mikasa, Villeroy Boch, Spode, L’Objet, Michael Aram, and Pickard (the only remaining fine china manufacturer based in the US).

You can expect to pay over 100 per dinner plate if you purchase from Haviland, Bernardaud, Herend, Royal Crown Derby, Royal Copenhagen, Ginori 1735, Philippe Deshoulieres, Mottahedeh, Anna Weatherley, Aerin, La Double J, Dibbern, Aquazzura, or Raynaud. There are also some outliers, such as Rosenthal, which carry a wide selection of dinnerware ranging in price from about 30 to several thousand dollars per dinner plate.

Many clothing retailers, including Versace, Hermès, and Dolce Gabbana, also have dinnerware collections. However, keep in mind that this dinnerware is usually seasonal (like clothing is) and typically won’t remain in stock for long, so it will be difficult to replace pieces or grow your set down the road.

Is the Pendleton Somerby the Best Electric Bike for Women?

The Pendleton Somerby electric bike is one of the “best” selling commuter woman’s ebikes thus far based on what the market is dictating in the UK.

It looks like a normal bike since it keeps the common esthetics.

At first glance, it could give you the answer as to why electric bikes for commuting are the best as it looks pretty good for going on shopping or city rides.

I guess what makes it more attractive is the slick style, clean colours and the possibility of adding a front basket to carry the groceries.

I’m sure you would be impress by now but it is important to dig a bit more to find out its strengths and limitations over this review.

Some of the Pendleton Somerby e-Bike Technicalities

The Pendleton Somerby electric bike appeals to women in need of a simple machine that looks great.

common, e-bike, battery, problems, them, pendleton

The Somerby-E looks is similar to the standard Somerby bike with a step-through frame. However, the difference is clear with the inclusion of a battery pack placed in the rear pannier.

It has a battery that ranges up to 50 miles (80 km) and perfect for cycling to work.

In addition to the above, you can buy this commuter electric bike in a black, white navy, black rose gold or midnight Blue frame colors.

In terms of the frame size, you can select between a 16-inch or 19-inch frame to suit your height.

The motor has three (3) assistance levels and helps remove the strain of pedaling up steep hills.

To tackle the hills, this ebike has a eight (8) speed Shimano Acera gears system, where riding becomes more comfortable even on flat surfaces.

Another interesting thing is the included mudgards. Now you can wear your best clothes without worrying about ruin them up.

You get it with a luggage rack and a sprung saddle to take on some of the worst potholes on the road.

Somerby ebike Standout Features

The Pendleton Somerby is a decent city-commuter electric bike around town and winding country lanes.

The bicycle frame has aluminum construction, weighs around 48 pounds (21 kg) and more substantial than most other electric models on the market.

The seats designed for upright riding and the colour has a modern twist to it with brown faux leather handlebars.

The bikes equipped with a Li-Ion Phylion battery that slides in beneath the rear storage rack (317Wh/8.8Ah capacity to reach up to 50 miles (80 km)).

Further, it comes with a built-in Smart control system and protects the battery from overheating. The battery takes up to 5 hours to re-charge and comes with a two-year warranty.

The Pendleton Somerby E has a rear hub Bafang motor system built into the rear wheel.

The speed sensor automatically engages the engine once you start to pedal. Once you reach 15.5mph (24km/h), the motor should stop automatically.

Compared to most other commuter electric bikes, this one also has a head-unit comprising a three-function LED display.

You get a low, medium, and high level of power-assist.

On the display/control, you have a push button to help you switch between the functions with an on/off switch.

You will see the display on the left side of the handlebar with a compact size to help reduce damage when used.

The apparent good thing is if you do run out of battery, you can still use the gears and paddle it as a regular bike, thanks to the freewheel system.

This ebike is outfitted with Tektro Aluminum V-brakes and Kenda 700x38c tires.

The maximum recommended rider weight is 264 pounds (119 kg) and mainly made for woman cyclists.

You receive the pedals included, and the stiff suspension is sure to last a long time.

Furthermore, the bottom brackets sealed to accommodate a KMC 8-speed chain with chainguard.

Should You Buy the Electric Bike?

Personally, if you look at the bike as a whole, it will look like a good option to invest in. Let see why buy it or not.

Acceptable Reasons to Buy the Pendleton Somerby Electric Bike:

  • The e-bike has a two-year (2) electrical and one-year (1) component warranty.
  • The frame and crank arm is aluminum alloy, which is durable to last a long time.
  • With the low step design, you can quickly get on and off the bike. Even the frame comes with a two-year (2) warranty.
  • The bike controller offers you three (3) settings to personalize the ride.
  • You can enjoy a comfortable ride with the ergonomic grips and flat type handlebar in an upright position.
  • The headsets threaded can reach up to 50 miles (80 km) with the motor while sitting on a sprung deep padded saddle.
  • The Kenda 700x38c tires are good for cycling on flat surfaces, and the pedal-assist allows you to climb steep heels.
  • You can charge the battery directly on the frame or remove it with the supplied key.
  • The controller is minimalist and therefore straightforward to use.
  • The gears are responsive and offer you a smooth ride
  • Lastly, you can turn off the assistance mode and ride it as a standard bike.

Reasons not to Buy:

  • It is a bit long and bulky making it less agile when weaving through traffic.
  • The tires are a bit narrow so they can get jammed between road cracks if not careful.
  • Front light and basket not included.
  • No front suspension. It is just a basic design.
  • Very basic braking systems with the use of pads. Nevertheless, this ebike does not need more sophisticated brakes such as the ones fitted in the Scrambler Ducati e bike (hydraulic configuration).
  • The battery may not be the best in the market. A lot of current users have complaint about charging problems and responsiveness.
  • Seems that customer services could be not the best.

Keep in mind this is a budget electric bike that will offer the minimum requirements for daily commuting. This means that some of its parts could be low quality and may require replacement sooner than expected.

Is the Pendleton Somerby the Best Electric Bike for Women?

Just the fact that you can pedal it as a standard bike or use pedal-assist makes it an acceptable commuter ebike in 2020.

I like the fact that the motor and gear system were manufactured by well known companies. Of course, it doesn’t mean they won’t fail ever.

In addition to this, the frame makes it easier to jumping and out the bike without much effort.

Its features and designs sounds great but after further information regarding the poor quality of its main components, (e.g, battery), this is a deal breaker.

What else can be expected from a budget commuter electric bike? I know there are other available options under the same price and the quality is not compromised.

If the design is what catch your attention, check the Faraday Cortland Review. However if you want a more solid electric bike, read the Pegasus Premio Evo 10 e Bike Review.

All in all, I think the Pendleton Somerby Electric Bike has a lot of potential but I would be steering away from it until all the basic elements are improved.

These are some additional items you can include for this ebike

Pendleton Somerby-E Electric Hybrid Bike – Mint – 17″, 19″ Frames

All the style of the Pendleton Somerby with added, electrically powered, pedal assistance. The 317Wh battery delivers an average range of 25-30 miles (max 50 miles) through a rear reliable Bafang hub motor with speed sensor. This extra power is enough to guarantee effortless rides, taking the strain out of hills and making moving off from a standstill much easier. With a low step-through frame, getting onto the bike is much less awkward too.

The 8-speed Shimano gears will ensure you glide along smoothly and built in mudguards and chainguard will protect your clothes should you hit any puddles. Powerful Tektro alloy V-brakes will bring you to a steady halt at the end of every stylish ride. Rest assured, this model also comes with a 2-year warranty on all electrical components.

This bike has been designed with your ultimate comfort in mind; with the upright seated position, relaxed handlebars, stylish ergonomic grips and a Velo sprung – deep padded saddle.

Battery: The Somerby features a rear luggage rack mounted battery. With a capacity of 317Wh / 8.8Ah and an average range of 25-30 miles (max 50 miles) per charge the Somerby is very capable of going the distance on any leisure ride.

As standard on all Pendleton E-bikes, the Somerby E comes with an integrated Smart control system that protects the battery from overheating, short circuiting or overcharging. The battery re-charges in only 5 hours and comes with a full 2-year / 500 charge warranty.

Range: All electric bikes indicate a maximum mileage range that they can cover on a single battery charge. This is the furthest range in ideal conditions; however, this range can be impacted by a number of factors:

The combined weight of the rider and any luggage. The assistance mode selected. The cycling route (e.g. type of terrain and inclines). Temperature and climate (e.g. cold weather will decrease the performance of the battery). Tyre pressure. Wind speed and direction.

NB. In the UK you must be over 14 years old to ride an electric bike but you won’t need a licence, nor do you need to register it or pay vehicle tax.

Motor: The Pendleton Somerby E is fitted with a rear hub Bafang 36V 250W electric motor system, seamlessly integrated into the rear wheel. The system is equipped with a Speed sensor, which automatically engages the motor once you begin pedalling to provide power assistance to your ride. As required by law, the motor will automatically stop assisting you once you achieve a speed of 15.5mph.

Head-Unit: The electric motor of the Pendleton Somerby E is controlled via a 3-function LED display –offering Low, Medium or High levels of power-assist. The display / control unit includes an integrated push button to switch between the 3 assistance levels, alongside the power On/Off button. The display is located on the left side of the handlebar and its compact size reduces the risk of damage when in use. This display also allows you to use the bike in ‘walk’ mode.

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