Formica is inexpensive, requires little maintenance and can last a long time if it's properly taken care of. It comes in many different colors and patterns and can be installed over existing laminate, which can reduce expenses when the time comes to replace countertops.
To clean Formica counters, avoid abrasive cleaners -- including ammonia or bleach -- and use mild soap, a soft cloth and warm water. Be sure to wipe up spills immediately to prevent staining. Formica is easy to maintain if spills are cleaned up right away, but if a stain sets in, it'll be practically impossible to remove. Formica also has a tendency to show streaks, but a household glass cleaner can return the surface back to its original appearance.