In a quandary as to whether to buy ceramic knives vs steel types? Are ceramic knives any good? Here is what to know, including the differences and features to consider.
In terms of steel knives vs ceramic ones, are ceramic knives better? Ceramic knives are considered better than steel in properties of sharpness and feel in that they stay sharper for longer and are close to weightless as compared to steel knives. While superior in these ways, their hardening makes them susceptible to damage in strained use. In this respect, steel knives outperform ceramic in heavy chopping, hacking, prying, and cleaving duties, and fair better from hard knocks.
Ceramic knives vs steel knives in Performance
Ceramic knives are useful for finely slicing boneless meats, fish, fruits and vegetables, and delicate processing of foods. They are great for precision work on food items used for table or food decoration or preparing slivers of seafood for sushi or similar. And if you want a knife that’s light and stays sharp for longer, a ceramic knife is a good option for the home kitchen.
You’ll need to get used to them, though, as they are lightweight. Work with them without placing pressure on the blade as you might do with the steel knives. In fact, it’s best to avoid putting them under strain to retain the edge and blade.
When steel knives are Better
Rather than a ceramic knife, choose a steel knife for heavy-duty chopping, slicing meats containing bones, and for incidentals such as parting or cutting hard produce, for example, frozen foods.
Steel is best if you’re needing to use a long knife, like a carving knife. A ceramic knife will do the job, but the longer the blade the greater is the tendency for cracks or chips from inadvertent bending or twisting.
Are ceramic knives any good?
Ceramic knives are good in that they are made from zirconia, which is considerably harder and will retain a cutting edge longer than forged metal knives. Consider that the blades are rigid, they have no give, whereas steel knives are somewhat flexible. Don’t try to bend or twist ceramic knives – they can break or chip, especially if dropped or thrown around. For this reason, it’s important to store them correctly – see my article on how to store sharp knives.
Another aspect of ceramic knives is that when they do eventually need sharpening, they require a diamond stone as compared to the standard sharpening tool. Ceramic knife sharpeners are easily obtained and not that dear. I cover the different types in my article on how to sharpen ceramic knives.
Ceramic knives feel super lightweight. Most cooks prefer working with light knives. And, a ceramic blade is lighter than a metal one. The thing to note is the distribution of weight. You’ll want the weightiness leaning toward the nose of the blade rather than the handle. A handle-light knife design like this offers the ideal knife balance to work with in preparing food in the kitchen.
One advantage of ceramic knives is they resist bacterial growth, making them a hygienic choice. Another is that ceramic is considered an eco-friendly material.
Do chefs use ceramic knives?
Ceramic knives are ideal for the home cook wanting a light sharp knife for delicate slicing. So yes, home chefs use ceramic knives. Professional chefs mostly opt for steel knives suited to heavy-duty use in places where one might process entire crates of food for several hours a day.
Are ceramic knives safer than metal?
Both ceramic and metal knives can be dangerous and should be used and stored safely to prevent injury or damage. I cover this in my article on how to store sharp knives (including ceramic blades).
So, the differences between steel and ceramic blade knives are about performance, function, convenience, and durability.
Overall, a ceramic knife, if treated with care, will complement your kitchen knife collection, and add a useful option for delicate food preparation. In choosing one, I recommend starting with a not-so-long ceramic knife for those fine slicing jobs, possibly a utility size. If you prefer something bigger, such as a chef’s knife, look for the Japanese Santoku style chef knife, like this 5 1/2 inch one by Kyocera that’s available at Amazon, which has a rounded nose and is slightly shorter than the conventional chef’s knife.
It’s about cooking with confidence.
At our place, we opt for healthy meals as much as possible and this involves fresh vegetables, and just like having the right cookware for the job, having the right kitchen knife helps make it simpler.