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The Pros and Cons of Ceramic Knives

Updated on March 16, 2016

Ceramic Knife Uses

Ceramic knives are excellent for cutting bread, fruit, vegetables, and boneless meat.
Ceramic knives are excellent for cutting bread, fruit, vegetables, and boneless meat. | Source

Why Consider a Ceramic Kitchen Knife?

Ceramic knives are a fantastic cutting option for those who do a lot of chopping and dicing in the kitchen, and don’t want to fuss with the sharpening requirements of metal blades. There are many ceramic brands available to chefs, and a high quality ceramic knife will cost less than a similar knife made from fully forged stainless steel. As ceramic knives are not useful for cutting bones or frozen items (due to the brittleness of the blade), they are not a replacement for metal kitchen knives in most homes. They serve as a great complement to high carbon steel knives, however, as they are fantastic for dicing fruits and vegetables and require little maintenance.

How Ceramic Knife Blades are Made

How Are Ceramic Knives Made?

The ceramic used in these blades is not the same as the material used in your “ceramic” coffee mug. This material is called “advanced ceramic” and is harder than high carbon steel, carbide, and titanium. In fact, only diamonds are harder. The reason ceramic knives are difficult to sharpen at home is because diamonds are required to sharpen the blades!

The ceramic is made from zirconium oxide, and yttrium oxide is added during the cooling process to create a stable zirconia – this material is known as Transformation Toughened Zirconia, or TTZ. The blades are sharpened on a grinding wheel coated with diamond dust.

Major Brands

Brand Name
Location (Headquarters)
Details
Kyocera
Multinational (Japan)
Company formed in Kyoto, Japan in 1959.
Victorinox
Multinational (Switzerland)
Makers of the original Swiss Army Knife
Asahi
Kyoto, Japan
Started producing knives in 1984.

The Benefits of Ceramic Kitchen Knives

  • These knives are very lightweight, which makes them easy to handle.
  • The blades are also extremely thin, which allows for very thin slices of fruits and vegetables.
  • These knives stay sharp for a very long period of time. The sharpness of the edge will last ten times longer than a similar, steel blade.
  • Ceramic knives will not transfer ions from the blade surface: steel knives leave ions (which can result in faster oxidation of some sliced fruits).
  • The blades are non-porous, preventing bacterial growth.
  • The knives will not stain.

Negatives of Ceramic Blades

Ceramic is a brittle material, and may break if the knife is twisted or flexed. Likewise, the blade may break if the knife is dropped. The knife may get chipped in the dishwasher or when stored in a drawer, and these knives are more difficult to sharpen than a steel knife (even though the edge lasts much, much longer than metal knives).

Ceramic blades are also not “all-purpose” kitchen knives. They are not useful for cutting through meat with bones, so choose a stainless steel knife for cutting up whole chickens. Do not use this type of knife for cutting through frozen food, as the blade may chip or break. These knives are excellent for cutting vegetables, fruits, and boneless meat.

Best Knife for Cutting Fruits and Vegetables.

Ceramic knives are the best knife to cut fruits, vegetables, fish, and boneless meats.
Ceramic knives are the best knife to cut fruits, vegetables, fish, and boneless meats. | Source

Ceramic Knife Care and Maintenance

When using a ceramic knife, always cut straight up and down, as these knives cannot be twisted or flexed. Never use this type of knife to pry or to crush food items, as the knife is liable to break.

These knives should be stored in their original protective case or in a specially designed knife block, to prevent nicks in the blade. For the same reason, these knives should always be washed by hand, and never placed in the dishwasher. The high water pressure in the dishwasher jets will cause the knives to clash against other dishes and utensils. The knife blade will either chip, break, or may even cause damage to the other dishes it comes in contact with.

Ceramic Knife Blocks

Due to the brittleness of the blade, ceramic knives should be stored in a knife block or other protective case. Some knives come with a protective sleeve, and this should always be placed on the knife when it is not in use. One option is to store the knives in a plastic, wooden, or bamboo block.

There are several options available, including versatile designs that sit on the counter, hang on the wall, or fit inside a kitchen drawer. Knife blocks are the easiest way to store the knives, allowing easy access and preventing damaging nicks or breaks.

Kitchen Knife Poll

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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      What a good assessment! After reading about all their benefits, I really wish I had ceramic knives, though considering how roughly I treat all of my utensils, they're not for me. I'd chip the blades in a matter of seconds. Ah well!

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      I have one ceramic knife, and it is enough for me - we use it to dice tomatoes and other veggies. I generally use our steel knives for most things, Simone - they're more versatile (though they have to be sharpened on a frequent basis)!

    • dfelker profile image

      dfelker 5 years ago

      Very informative, I like watching Ming use his knives on his tv show but didn't know about the specific care of them. Great job!

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      They're great knives, dfelker - but they do take a little protective care! They're the best sushi knives, because they can cut the cucumbers and fish so very thin!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks for this great resource! I have never used ceramic knives and wouldn't even know where to start with shopping for them, let alone why you would want to purchase them. This is a great overview.

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      They're great knives, Rose! They are very durable as long as you maintain them properly - you can clean them simply by running them under water, since they are non-porous and bacteria can't penetrate the blade.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      I have to say I didn't know much at all about ceramic knives. We don't eat a lot of meat, so having a couple of small ceramic knives around for slicing veggies would be great. I hate sharpening our steel knives. I usually send them out to be done, but it's still such a hassle. You've enlightened me and now I will look into researching the different brands. Thanks!

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      If you store them properly, lindacee, the edge will remain sharp 10x longer than steel knives - the big "negative" about ceramic knives used to be that you couldn't sharpen the edge at home if you needed to, but they make sharpening tools for the knives now. They're PERFECT for slicing veggies!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I didn't know there was so much to a kitchen knife. I need to replace some of mine and will have to think about the options posted here.

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      Ceramic knives are a good option for a low-maintenance knife, teaches12345 - but the blade can be brittle so you need a knife block or protective sheath for the blade when you store it.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 4 years ago from UK

      I've never heard of ceramic knives before, but will be looking out for them now as I cut up a lot of vegetables and fruit. Thanks for highlighting them!

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 4 years ago from Western New York

      They're fantastic knives, Melovy! You can get the thinnest slices of cucumber, and they cut through tomatoes like butter.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I have thought about buying a ceramic knife but now I doubt it would last long in my kitchen. I am rough on utensils maybe because I am left handed. Thanks for the great review.

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 4 years ago from Western New York

      I tend to be a bit rough on things, too, Hyphenbird. They're pretty durable but need to be stored safely and washed by hand. I am known to be a klutz and would be very sad if I dropped one (they can break), but fortunately that hasn't happened yet. About half my family is left handed, but I got the "right handed" gene!

    • Laura Schneider profile image

      Laura Schneider 4 years ago from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

      I don't cook much from scratch, but suddenly I want a ceramic knife after reading your article.

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 4 years ago from Western New York

      I saw some really cute ones in a cooking store today, Laura Schneider - I was so tempted to pick up a new one!

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      I know these are all the rage, but I haven't tried them yet.

    • Laura Schneider profile image

      Laura Schneider 4 years ago from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

      Maybe I'll get a ceramic paring knife and dip my feet into the water--it seems like a person always needs an extra paring knife anyway. Then again, they sound very high-maintenance compared with the good-quality steel blades I already use.

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 4 years ago from Western New York

      I love mine, Writer Fox! They are different from steel knives, though - particularly in the storage! You don't want to chip the blade of a ceramic knife!

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 4 years ago from Western New York

      We wash all of our knives by hand (never put them in the dishwasher), so the maintenance hasn't been an issue for us. We just make sure to store the ceramic knife in its protective sheath, and it has been sharp for over 2 years now! I'd definitely give a paring knife a try, Laura!

    • Laura Schneider profile image

      Laura Schneider 4 years ago from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

      Wow! I'll do that--get a paring knife (I always seem to wish I had another anyway). Thanks for the advice, leahlefler (and everyone else). I admit I've always been curious but ignorant about ceramic knives, so now that I'm not so ignorant I feel it will be money well-spent. Cheers!

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 4 years ago from Western New York

      Let me know how you like the knife, Laura Scheider! It is a nice addition to the kitchen!

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