Hi Joanna, a very good question indeed! To start with let me say that Caesarstone is a particular brand of manufactured or reconstituted stone benchtop. There are a few other brands on the market, (two many to list them all here) such as Essa Stone and Quantum Quartz being produced by different companies. The main point to note is that some kitchen installation companies will only use one brand, even if asked for Caesarstone. There is very little difference between these major brands.
Of the above brands, I suggest Caesarstone for my clients. This is mainly due to the different ranges available. Such as Classico, Supremo, Motivo and Concetto depending on the desired outcome.
I consider the above ranges as the 'entry' level of reconstituted stone benchtops. Hence they preform as such. They are still strong, water and mildew resistant and low maintenance so the real choice comes down to available colour, the application and budget. As per every benchtop, they will mark, chip, stain, scratch etc.
To step up to the next level, I suggest either Staron or Corian. Again different brands from different companies. This level is actually a blend of natural mineral and acrylic resin. This allows for 'Thermoforming' of the benchtops into flowing curves or sculptured structures. You can integrate splashbacks and sinks to create a benchtop with no creases where dirt and bacteria can hide. Another main benefit of this surface is that the joins are almost invisible and it is renewable and repairable. Even after years of use.
The best preforming 'dark stone' benchtop is Granite, hands down. This is what I suggest to all my clients that are interested in a dark benchtop. However it also comes with a high price-tag. Each piece is individual and if you are looking at this as an option, you should view and select the actual slab they are going to use to create your benchtop.
The above is a brief answer and please visit Kitchen benchtop and kitchen countertop blogs by clicking on the links. Also feel free to contact me if an In-home Q&A is preferred.