Ceramic vs Steel Knives: Which Type Is Better?

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So, ceramic or steel knives?

Which choice is better and why?

In this comparison guide, we will highlight the important facts that differentiate the two types of blades.

Steel and ceramic are the commonly used materials in the design and construction of kitchen knives.

The main areas that these two types of knives differ from include sharpness, price, sharpening methods, and durability among other factors.

Both pride themselves in a great performance but their individual properties set them apart.

Ceramic vs steel knives – A head-to-head comparison

Steel knives are categorized into stainless, alloy, chrome, and carbon types.

On the other hand, ceramic knives consist of aluminum oxide and Zirconium.

When it comes to comparing these two types of blades, the emphasis should be on the individual properties of the blades as opposed to pricing.

This is so that you are able to settle on a blade that will meet all your cutting needs.

Ceramic knives

The best ceramic knives are made using a hard ceramic that comprises Zirconium oxide.

This is dry pressed thereby forming a solid material that is then sharpened to provide a sharp blade.

These ceramic knives often feature a Mohs hardness scale of 8.5 and hence are some of the hardest materials apart from diamonds.

This hardness translates to better cutting prowess and reliability for a wide range of cutting tasks.

Pros:

  • Best for rust resistant
  • Safe as they do not conduct electricity
  • Non-reactive to acidic food items
  • Require minimal sharpening due to excellent blade retention

Cons:

  • Requires a professional to sharpen
  • Considerably pricey

Steel knives

These steel knives are made from a wide range of materials that include carbon, titanium, iron, and other materials.

This is why their durability and hardness vary as they are dependent on the materials used.

They are versatile and are available as a utility, serrated, carving, and other types of blades for different cutting tasks.

Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Affordable
  • Durable and sturdy

Cons:

  • Blade retention is worse

Should you choose a ceramic knife or a steel knife for your kitchen?

Ideally, a superior quality knife should offer you versatility, great performance, and durability.

These are the aspects that these two differ in.

Here is what you need to know about the differences between these two types of blades.

The Durability of the Knives

Ceramic knives are more durable than steel ones.

This is mostly because of the hardness and solidness of the materials used in the blade design and construction of the knives.

It is important to note that these knives are expressly durable and retain their edges for a long time.

They are also cushioned against corrosion and rust.

When properly take care of, these blades are able to last for a long time without wearing out excessively or falling apart.

However, cutting through solid and excessively hard items affects the durability of these blades.

Additionally, dropping these blades on the floor can also considerably reduce their durability.

Steel knives are also durable but are a bit less durable.

The greatest advantage that these blades have over ceramic knives is that they do not break when dropped.

This, in turn, guarantees that with proper care and attention, these blades can last for quite a long time.

Sharpening

Ceramic knives are quite different when it comes to sharpening them.

This is because the two types of blades require different sharpening techniques.

They are sharpened using diamond-dust coated sharpening wheels due to the high-level hardness in these blades.

However, once the blade has been sharpened, that piece would be able to retain its sharpness for long without requiring re-sharpening.

It is important to note that sharpening ceramic knives requires a professional or a blade manufacturer.

On the other hand, a steel blade is quite easy to sharpen.

There is a wide range of sharpeners that you can use with these blades in your kitchen.

Some of these sharpeners include whetstones, sharpening rods, and a honing rod among other sharpeners.

The best thing about steel edges is that they are quite easy and straightforward to sharpen.

They do not require the input of a professional to sharpen as you can effortlessly sharpen them on your own.

However, their blade retention is not as long.

Material Versatility (Metal & Ceramic)

If you are in the market for versatile knives, then ceramic knives should not be your top preference.

This is because the versatility is quite limited compared to steel knives or other metal knives.

These knives perform well for a chef’s intended tasks but are not multipurpose as steel knives.

A steel knife, on the other hand, is quite versatile.

These blades are designed with a multipurpose and multifunctional concept.

As such, you can use a steel knife for several tasks in the kitchen just like with other made from metal knives.

For instance, you can use a chef knife for slicing, chopping, and mincing food items.

Additionally, most steel knives except some specialty Japanese blades are ideal for all-purpose kitchen tasks.

Another thing to note is that they come in knife sets that consist of a variety of blades that are ideal for several purposes.

Pricing

It goes without saying that ceramic knives are considerably expensive compared to steel ones.

This is because they are high-end options and their construction and consequent upkeep are also expensive.

A steel knife is priced flexibly with most models being affordable.

There are tons of low-end metal or steel knives that are quite affordable and are of good quality.

Ideally, you can find a good steel knife from several top brands with a reasonable budget.

Therefore, unless you have an open budget to spend on buying knives, you should not consider buying ceramic knives.

Weight

Ceramic knives are light, an aspect that makes them easy to handle and maneuver with when making precise and accurate cuts.

Additionally, their lightweight provides for easy handling and are well balanced for any chef.

These blades provide users with a sturdy and solid feel when they are slicing through different foods.

One crucial aspect to note is that they can potentially get damaged when dropped.

Steel models are considerably heavier than ceramic knives, but even so, they still get the job done.

It is necessary to note that the weight of these blades provides for a good handle-blade balance, thereby providing for efficient cutting.

They also feel sturdy in the hands and provide for a stable cooking experience.

Blade Maintenance

Both types are relatively easy to maintain but ceramic knives require better care and attention.

For those knives to last for long, you need to avoid cutting through hard items such as frozen foodstuffs.

It is also important to note that a steel knife also gets damaged by slicing through hard food items.

They are impervious to rust and corrosion but steel knives tend to corrode and rust when exposed to moisture and other damaging effects.

As such, you need to take better care and attention to these blades.

Should You Test a Kyocera Knife Set? Are Their Ceramic Knives Good?

Yes, definitely.

It’s a worthwhile choice if you opt for a ceramic knife collection.

And Kyocera also has a lot of other choices of useful cookware for you to choose from.

Conclusion

It is recommended to invest in both knives for flexibility.

This is because each of these blades has its advantages and disadvantages.

For instance, some slicing tasks in the kitchen require ceramic hardness and others require the gentleness of steel knives.

Still have a question? Feel free to let me know and I will try my best to answer.

Further reading:

5 Essentials in Caring for a Chef’s Knife

Cooking 101: Proper Knife Care

Last Updated on May 9, 2021 by Andy Wang

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.