So which is better, granite or engineered quartz countertops? The answer is, of course, both!
If you just want the bottom line, scroll to the bottom & skip the hashing.
Hardness: Both are hard enough to eliminate most scratching. 8 out of 10 on the hardness scale.
Stain-ability: Most granite needs to be sealed, but the sealers have gotten very good and they only need to be re-sealed once every decade for most types. To make countertops, quartz is mixed with resin, poured, and baked like a sheet cake. The resin acts as a sealer and makes Quartz countertops mostly non-stainable. (most warranties exclude staining). What about all of the talk I hear about granite staining? Since quartz is man-made, it has a marketing budget. What better way to market quartz than to insinuate that granite will stain? "Smear the opponent" is a time-honored marketing technique.
Appearance: Granite has the advantage of natural beauty, and one-of-a-kind pattern potential, whereas quartz often has a pattern that reveals it's man-made nature. Quartz offers some interesting & different looks, including some colors that don't appear in nature. We regularly use both products and even mix them in the same room.
Bacterial Resistance: Granite & Quartz are superior in bacterial resistance to most other surfaces, including stainless steel.
Price: Both quartz and granite have a range of prices. Mid-range quartz is similar in price to mid-grade granite, which is where most of the selection is. Granite can go much higher if you fall in love with an exotic. In most cases the price difference is not enough to influence your selection.
The Marble Institute of America has a great consumer guide for all aspects of stone countertops. You can find it: here.
The Bottom Line: Both are incredibly tough, and mostly similar in price and performance. Ignore the marketing hype and let your eyes and instincts make the call. If you prefer consistency of pattern, you will have lots of choices in both materials, if you prefer the beauty of a natural, varied, one-of-a-kind pattern, you will likely be drawn to granite. If you are after a marble or limestone look, engineered quartz is your best bet. For a more contemporary look, there are some stunning solid colors in engineered quartz that are not found in nature. Good hunting!