Looking for knives that don’t need sharpening all that often? Ceramic knives are sharp and stay sharp longer than steel knives, apparently. But, are ceramic knives good to use in the kitchen? 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.
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To avoid confusion: This article discusses ceramic knives, meaning knives with ceramic blades, NOT the ceramic-coated type offered by Cuisinart.
Are ceramic knives good in the kitchen?
Here are eight reasons why ceramic knives are good to use in the kitchen:
- They are lighter than metal ones
- Never rust
- They are easy to clean. A quick rinse and wipe with a kitchen towel.
- Unlike metal, they won’t oxidize. They are non-corrosive.
- They perform better for longer — the cutting edge stays sharper longer
- They are better at enduring acids and are nonporous
- They resist bacteria and germs
- They are made of eco-friendly material
Table: best ceramic knives for…
||Best Japanese style
Made in Japan
||Best with knife block
Bamboo knife block
|Cook N Home
||Best for budget
||Best 2 pce for budget
||Best with knife holder for budget
How are ceramic knives made?
A quick overview on how ceramic knives are made…
- High-grade zirconium dioxide (zirconium #4 is the highest grade) is what makes up the blades of ceramic knives.
- Ceramic knife makers treat zircon sand to produce this 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.
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.
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.
And, so you’d expect to pay more for black blades than white blades.
Ceramic knife advantage
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.
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.
Ceramic knives vs steel
Steel knives are best for cutting and chopping boned meatless and solid or frozen foods. They have some give when bended.
Ceramic knives are best for fine slicing of delicate foods, vegetables, fruits, fish, etc.
Rather than being tempered like steel blades, the zirconia of ceramic knives is hardened by firing in a powerful furnace¹.
While they have strength and sharpness, ceramic blades have no flexibility; they are rigid, meaning they won’t bend or bounce. So you need to take this into account. They will break if you use them to pry apart frozen foods, for example, as I covered when I wrote about what not to do with them.
For boned meats, stick to a a good stainless steel knife, rather than use a ceramic blade.
You’ll find specifics, in my article on ceramic vs steel knives, but in a nutshell: Ceramic knives are good in your kitchen as a complement to your stainless steel kitchen knife collection. Together with steel knives, they’ll give you a versatile kitchen setup for slicing, dicing, and boning.
See also: The best kitchen knife set collection.
Ceramic knife reviews
Kyocera ceramic knives review
This 2 piece ceramic knife set of the Innovation Series comes gift boxed.
Kyocera Japanese Ceramic Kitchen Knife Set: This set is made in Japan by Kyocera (key-O-Sarah), who considers itself the world’s largest and highest quality manufacturer of advanced ceramic knives, which are made in Sendai in southwest Japan.
Kyocera Ceramic Knife Set at Amazon
What’s included: This set contains a ceramic Santoku and a ceramic 4.5 inch utility knife and comes gift boxed.
Consider also the Kyocera knife warranty. Kyocera is the only manufacturer of advanced ceramic knives to offer a Lifetime Warranty that includes Lifetime Sharpening.
Handles: The black handles feature an Elastomer (rubber-like) soft feel and are ergonomically designed for comfort and control.
Benefits: The knives feel perfectly balanced. This, plus their lightness, will mean you’ll suffer less fatigue from repetitive cutting tasks. The upper angled handle to blade interface of these knives is what helps.
These knives feature the new Z212 ceramic blade, a recent advancement by Kyocera using innovative ceramic material technology, which they say makes the blade stay sharper for 2× longer than the previous model.
Blades: The black zirconium blade crafted using Kyocera’s exclusive technology indicates it has been through isostatic pressing to increase the density and strength.
Japanese knife set with black ceramic blades.
- Japanese manufacturing
- Won’t have to sharpen for some time
- Kyocera’s free service for sharpening
- Looks stylish. Gift boxed.
- A bit more expensive than the others
Price: The set is more expensive then others but is manufactured by Kyocera, who are one of the best known ceramic knife manufacturers. This knife set is available at Amazon — See details.
Cook N Home Ceramic Knife Set Review – Color Coded
This ceramic knife set has white blades and includes a vegetable peeler. The handles are color coded to avoid cross contamination when working with meats and vegetables.
Cook N Home with color coded handles at Amazon
What’s included: a 6″ santoku chef’s knife, a 5″ utility ceramic knife, a 4″ Ceramic fruit knife, a 3″ Ceramic paring knife, with 4 knife sheaths and a vegetable peeler.
The manufacturer is Neway International Housewares.
Handles: The four handle colors of this set mean coding for easy selection of kitchen knives. The knife handles of this set are simple in design with an arch that helps performance in handling.
Benefits: This knife set is perfect for covering small to large cutting tasks that require precision. The color coded knives help with avoiding cross-contamination of foods.
Blades: White ceramic.
- Multicolors for coded use
- Protective covers included
- Low price – a good size variety
- Users have found the peeler quality not as good as others
- Can be more fragile than others with hard foods
The colors don’t quite match the standard color-coding for kitchen utensils (see graphic)…
You’ll need to assign your own color coding. For example, you could make the green and orange for fruits and vegetables, the purple for raw meats, and the red for cooked meats.
Price: If you are looking for a set of low-priced ceramic knives consider the Cook N Home Kitchen Knife Set. It is quite a popular buy at Amazon — See details.
Kyocera ceramic knife set with block
This Kyocera knife set with black ceramic blades comes with a bamboo block for safe storage.
What’s included? The package contains four black ceramic knives including a 7 inch chef’s knife, a 5.5 inch santoku knife, a 4.5 inch utility knife, and a 3 inch paring knife, and a four-slotted bamboo knife block.
Kyocera knives are made in Japan and are guaranteed high-quality construction. They are made from Kyocera’s proprietary zirconia material, which involves highly dense sub-micron particles with minimal voids. This means a Kyocera knife has a denser blade that maintains an edge longer than other ceramic blades.
Handles: The handles are black resin with an ergonomic design.
Benefits: This ceramic knife Kyocera set comes with all the benefits associated with Kyocera revolution series advanced knives:
- Deeper blades for greater knuckle clearance
- Ergonomic resin handles
- Ultra-sharp ceramic blades
- Will never brown foods or alter taste
Blades: The blades are black, meaning they have undergone extra strengthening.
- Black blades
- Stay razor sharp up to 10x that of normal kitchen knives.
- Blades do not stain
- Well balanced
- Lightweight (half the weight of similar steel knives)
- Complimentary sharpening service
- Bamboo knife block
- No sheaths with this set (it comes with a knife block which I think is better if you have the room).
- More expensive than others listed (white blades are an option at a cheaper price).
Price: It is more expensive then others. However, the price does include a bamboo knife block. Consider also that these are manufactured by Kyocera, the only manufacturer of advanced ceramic knives to offer a Lifetime Warranty that includes Lifetime Sharpening.
This 4 piece ceramic knife set with bamboo knife block would look great in any kitchen and is available at Amazon — See details.
Single ceramic knives
Looking for that single ceramic knife to add to your collection?
|The best chef knife under 100 dollars…|
Looking for the best chef knife under 100 dollars? Consider a Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 7-inch professional chef’s knife with black blade.
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).
How best to protect knife blades?
Knife sheaths help to protect the knife blades while storing them – I wrote about the best ways to store sharp knives. There are also the knife blocks and drawer knife holders are convenient and great savers of ceramic blades. Both of these are available in modern bamboo designs.
For more tips…
How to sharpen ceramic knives
How do you sharpen a ceramic knife? If you want to sharpen them yourself, you need to use a diamond coated knife sharpener.
Most manufacturers recommend sending ceramic knives to professionals for sharpening. Brands like Kyocera offer free lifetime sharpening (though you may need to pay for transport costs).
An electric ceramic knife sharpener has a 2-stage diamond sharpening wheel, designed for ceramic kitchen knives. Electric sharpeners are faster and simpler to use. They can also remove the small blade chips.
Some consider a manual one as the best kitchen knife sharpener, however. A manual sharpening rod or triangle that you use for steel knives is not recommended, as it may chip the blade and ruin the knife.
I list some good examples in my article on how to sharpen ceramic knives.
Pros and cons of ceramic knives
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.
- 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…
- 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.
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 – scroll back to the table to take a quick look at all the reviewed items and see how it compares.