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Ceramic Knives For The Kitchen [What To Know]

  |   Updated

Ceramic knives are sharp and they stay sharp longer than traditional steel knives. Here I cover the ceramic knife advantage, plus downsides, and what to consider if you’re looking for one among the many ceramic knife sets on the market right now.

Kyocera Revolution Ceramic Knife Set, 4 PIECE (knives only), Black Handle w/Black Blades

Looking for an individual ceramic knife? >> Skip to Single Best Ceramic Knives.

To avoid confusion: This article discusses ceramic knives, meaning knives with ceramic blades, NOT the ceramic-coated type.

Why ceramic knives are good in the kitchen

  1. They are lightweight to handle
  2. Don’t rust
  3. They are easy to clean. A quick rinse and wipe with a kitchen towel.
  4. Unlike metal, they won’t oxidize. They are non-corrosive.
  5. They perform better for longer — the cutting edge stays sharper longer
  6. They endure acids and are nonporous
  7. They resist bacteria and germs
  8. They are made of eco-friendly material

What you need to know…

How ceramic knives are made

Here’s how ceramic knives are made…

  • High-grade zirconium dioxide (zirconium #4 is the highest grade) is used in the blades of ceramic knives.
  • Ceramic knife makers treat zircon sand to produce zirconium dioxide (zirconia).
  • The zirconia goes through a lengthy firing process. The end result are ceramic knife blades that are rust- and corrosion-proof and inert (meaning no impact on food flavor).

Compare this to the ceramic coating of nonstick cookware, which is derived from silica sand.

Video on how ceramic knives are made

This 8-min “How Do They Do It” video shows what it takes to make the Kyocera ceramic knife sets./you

Enough metal is added to the mix so that ceramic knives are not a security risk, i.e. they can be detected by airport scanners and the like.

About that ceramic blade color

You will notice the ceramic blades will be either white or black. Here’s why ceramic knives differ in color. Going on what the manufacturers say, a black blade has had extra treatment for strength. You can expect to pay more for black blades than white blades.

A black blade indicates the knife has gone through isostatic pressing to increase the density and strength of the ceramics. The additional cold or hot isostatic pressing in the process creates a tougher blade as it produces a tighter knit between the ceramic molecules.

Whereas a hot-isostatic press (HIP) involves extra firing at high pressures, a cold-isostatic pressing (CIP) is performed at room temperatures but with higher pressure than for HIP. You can learn more about hot- and cold-isostatic pressing here.

What to like about these

The two main advantages of a ceramic knife are

1) a cutting edge that stays sharp and

2) the ease of precision cutting.

These performance advantages are mentioned again and again in ceramic knives reviews.

best ceramic knives for fine slicing of vegetables

This means paper-thin tomato slices and perfectly diced onions for you in the kitchen. Be sure to watch the video above (at about 8:12) to see how a ceramic knife finely slices a fillet of fish into wafer-thin slices.

Apart from being better than steel knives for fine slicing jobs at home, ceramic knives stay sharper for longer. This is great, if you prefer not to have the inconvenience of having to sharpen knives too often.

As well, using a ceramic knife means you have a lightweight knife that will never rust and is easy to clean. And, it is made of eco-friendly material.

See also: The best kitchen knife set collection.

What not to like

What to look for

Japan considers itself the world’s largest and highest quality manufacturer of advanced ceramic knives. Kyocera knives, for example, are made in Sendai in southwest Japan.

Check out the warranty for Lifetime Sharpening unless you don’t mind doing it yourself.

Handles should be comfortable — feel good to hold. Elastomer (rubber-like) handles have a soft feel. Ergonomic designed handles offer better control.

Do they feel balanced?

Are they light to handle?

Perfect balance means you’ll suffer less fatigue from repetitive cutting tasks.

Blades: The black zirconium blade has been through isostatic pressing to increase the density and strength. They are more expensive but better quality.

Cost: Weigh up what you are prepared to pay.

Some sets include extras, such as a vegetable peeler.

Some sets have handles that are color coded. The idea with this is to avoid cross contamination when working with meats and vegetables.


Types of knives: a 6″ santoku chef’s knife, a 5″ utility ceramic knife, a 4″ fruit knife, a 3″ paring knife.

Protective covers or sheaths are good to protect the blades and avoid injury. I wrote about the best ways to store sharp knives where I mention how knife blocks and drawer knife holders are convenient and great savers of ceramic blades.

Ceramic knife care

On how to care for ceramic knives…

  • I recommend you hand wash only. Ceramic knives are super easy to clean, so this is not a hassle.
  • Always store in their protective covers and a knife block is also recommended.
  • As said above, avoid heavy duty cutting or prying, e.g., use steel knives with frozen food, bones, or hard cheese (Parmesan, cheddar etc.), not your best ceramic knives!
  • The best and safest way to store ceramic knives is with a bamboo knife block (see below).

For more tips…

See also: My article on packing ceramic knives when moving

Pros and cons in a nutshell

Ceramic knives are ultra sharp and perfect for precision slicing of tomatoes or similar produce or fine slicing of boneless meats. You can’t go wrong in adding at least one ceramic knife to your kitchen knife set for that reason.

Pros of Ceramic Knives
  • Super sharp
  • Retain sharpness longer than steel
  • Won’t corrode in harsh environments
  • Do not conduct electricity at room temperature
  • Resistant to strong acid and caustic substances
  • Lighter than steel

But there are some cons…

Cons of Ceramic Knives
  • Lack of versatility. Not for heavy-duty chopping and prying, e.g. with bones or frozen foods, as this can lead to chipping of the blades.
  • Fragile. Though they are harder and hold their edge longer, they are more brittle than steel knives. Take care not to drop the knives onto hard surfaces. The latest design processes, however, have reduced the risk of breakage.
  • Need special sharpening stone.

Final thoughts

A good set of knives will save you time and show your finesse. You won’t go wrong with at least one or two ceramic knives complementing your high-carbon stainless steel set.

The Kyocera brand is my favorite of these — Click here for great examples of ceramic knives that include Japanese-made black zirconium blades.


Information Sources

5 thoughts on “Ceramic Knives For The Kitchen [What To Know]”

  1. Thanks for the information- I wasn’t aware of ceramic knives staying sharper than steel knives! Will be looking at the knives you’ve recommended in this post. I like the look of the Kyocera set!

  2. The Kyocera knife sets are AMAZING. Yeah, they’re pricier than the others, but they are worth it. We’ve had ours for years and they are still like brand new. I don’t buy a lot of utensils because I like to keep my kitchen simple, so I was happy to invest in a decent set of ceramic knives.

    • Hi Joel, Glad to hear that your Kyocera knives have served you well. A higher initial outlay is often the best because you are not having to regularly buy replacements. It’s certainly a decent and stylish set of knives.

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© original article created: 2017-09-28