Published July 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.
After testing 11 sets of measuring cups, it became apparent that there are substantial differences among brands.
After a shopping trip during which we picked up 11 sets of measuring cups, it became apparent that there are substantial differences among brands. Manufacturers disagree on design issues: Are stainless steel or plastic cups preferable? Short or long handles? Regardless of design differences, measuring cups should be accurate, comfortable, easy to use, and durable.
We first downgraded all sets in which the measurement could be read only on the bottoms of the cups. Testers unanimously disliked these sets, finding it nearly impossible to confirm the size of a cup once it was full of any ingredient.
As for design testers preferred stainless steel for heft, balance, and durability (plastic can get scratched, and markings fade in the dishwasher over time), though one seven-piece plastic set fared especially well for accuracy and durability. They also preferred long handles that extend straight out and are level with the brim of the cup; angled or raised handles obstruct our preferred “dip and sweep” measuring method when drawing a straight edge across the rim, while dropped handles sometimes collect a little extra flour or sugar.