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Ceramic vs Clay Poker Chips: Which Is Better For Durability?

Poker chips on a poker table next to playing cards.
Poker chips come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes but material is an interesting topic that a lot of players don’t think about. The two materials most likely used in poker chips are ceramic or clay.  

Comparing ceramic vs clay poker chips allows us to take a uniquely deep look into how these materials impact their durability, weight, and functionality.  

By the end of this guide, you’ll understand more about poker chip materials than you ever thought necessary.  

Ceramic Poker Chip Durability

When it comes to durability, ceramic poker chips are a cut above normal clay chips. Ceramic chips are crafted from durable porcelain or ceramic composite materials, making them incredibly resistant to chipping, cracking, or breaking under pressure.

High-quality ceramic poker chips can be dropped from table height on tile floors numerous times without you having to worry about damaging them.  

The hard, smooth ceramic surfaces resist scratches remarkably well, maintaining their glossy finish despite no shortage of abrasions from frequent use.

Clay Poker Chip Durability

When choosing ceramic or clay poker chips, clay provides a more vintage look and feel. They lack the same durability and resilience of ceramic and are more prone to chipping and cracking but they’ll hold up for the average player.  

The softer clay surface also wears down surprisingly quickly, absorbing oils from handling and showing visible scratches in the imprint over time. Moisture further deteriorates clay chips, slowly breaking down the materials until they break down completely.  

That said, we offer a series of poker chip sets using different materials to provide you with options depending on your preferences.  

Clay vs Ceramic Poker Chips: Compared

While we’ve made it somewhat clear that ceramic chips are more durable, that doesn’t mean that clay doesn’t have its place.  

Our clay chip sets are carefully crafted to produce that old-school appearance while bringing a little bit of new-school durability into the game. When used carefully and not abused, these chip sets should nearly last a lifetime.  

If your main concern is durability and longevity, ceramic poker chips are the way to go though. These will last during frequent play and may be worth paying for in the long run.  

Do Casinos Use Clay Chips?

Vintage clay chips are not used in casinos today. They were common years ago but casino owners long ago realized that ceramic composite chips simply last longer and perform better under constant, heavy gameplay.

Modern casinos exclusively use durable ceramic chips engraved with security features that are nearly impossible to effectively counterfeit. And leading casino chip manufacturers invest tons of R&D into developing chips with state-of-the-art wear-resistance technology and materials.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, ceramic composite chips are hands-down superior to clay chips when it comes to durability and performance under frequent handling.  

Yes, you'll pay more upfront for that premium ceramic construction. But consider those few extra dollars an investment - quality ceramic chips will outlive lower-grade clay chips several times over.

That said, there is still excitement over the vintage and nostalgic feel of clay chips. When comparing ceramic vs clay poker chips, it truly comes down to personal preference but either will allow you to enjoy a game!  
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