There are a few types of cutting boards to consider, and we mainly differentiate the types by the material the cutting board is made of. I strongly suggest that you should buy one of those I’ve listed below, or in other words, don’t buy a cutting board made of glass, stone, ceramic or marble! Those are either not friendly to your kitchen knives or unsafe for your stomach (glass will chip).
There’s a never ending debate on whether wood or plastic cutting board is the best, but they each have their advantages and disadvantages.
Wood cutting boards are more attractive than plastic, and they are kind to knives. I like wood cutting boards because they don’t scratch as easily as plastic. The quality of wood cutting boards vary depending on the type of wood and construction of the board.
High quality wood cutting boards or chopping blocks can be sanded or refinished after many years of use, to become as good as new again. End grain wood cutting boards are self healing and will last practically forever, if you take care to oil them regularly.
Plastic cutting boards are light and easy to handle. Plastic is also dishwasher safe because unlike wood and bamboo cutting boards, plastic can be soaked in water. They can also be scrubbed with harder chemicals while not leaving any chemical residue on the board, therefore it is contended that they are more sanitary. They are not heat resistant though.
Plastic not only scratches easily, but they tend to develop grooves from knife cuts after some time. The grooves can harbor bacteria and make the cutting board difficult to wash, so it is wiser to replace the cutting board with a new one. Fortunately though, plastic cutting boards are way cheaper than wood ones.
Bamboo cutting boards share the same advantages and disadvantages of wood cutting boards; they are attractive, knife-friendly, durable and environment friendly, but not dishwasher safe. Like wood cutting boards, these also need regular oiling.
They are also more eco-friendly than wood cutting boards, because bamboo is a self-renewable resource and grows in six years compared to at least double that time for most trees and about 50 years for maple. There are end grain bamboo cutting boards too. (Don’t know what is end grain? I explained it in my post: How to Choose the Best Cutting Board.)
Composite cutting boards are made of glued fibers with a smooth laminate surface. They are the most resistant to scratches among all, dishwasher safe but easy to wash anyway, and somewhat heat resistant.
Composite cutting boards are often made to look attractive, thin and lightweight for easy handling. They’re pretty durable too, but the one thing that makes them less popular is that they give off a pungent smell when wet.