Ceramic vs Steel Knives: Which Type Is Better?

So, ceramic and 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 blades 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

These blades 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 models 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:

  • Rust resistant
  • Safe as they do not conduct electricity
  • Non-reactive to acidic food items
  • Require minimal sharpening due to excellent edge retention

Cons:

  • Requires a professional to sharpen
  • Considerably pricey

Steel knives

These 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:

  • Edge retention is worse

Ceramic vs steel blades: The differences

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

Durability

Ceramic knives are more durable than steel ones.

This is mostly because of the hardness and solidness of the materials used in the design and construction of ceramic blades.

It is important to note that ceramic cutters 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 ones 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, it is able to retain its sharpness for long without requiring re-sharpening.

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

On the other hand, steel blades are quite easy to sharpen.

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

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 edge retention is not as long.

Versatility

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

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

Ceramic cutters perform well for intended cutting tasks but are not multipurpose as steel blades.

Steel cutters, on the other hand, are quite versatile.

These blades are designed with a multipurpose and multifunctional concept.

As such, you can use a steel knife for several cutting tasks in the kitchen.

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

Additionally, most steel blades except specialty blades are ideal for all-purpose cutting.

What is more to note is that they come in knife sets that consist of a variety of blades that are ideal for several cutting 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 maintenance are also expensive.

Steel cutters are priced flexibly with most models being affordable.

There are tons of low-end 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 blades.

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.

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

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

Steel models are considerably heavier than ceramic blades, 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 cutting experience.

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 steel knives also get damaged by cutting through hard food items.

They are impervious to rust and corrosion but steel blades 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.

Conclusion

It is recommendable to invest in both knives for flexibility.

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

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

Further reading:

5 Essentials in Caring for a Chef’s Knife

Cooking 101: Proper Knife Care

Last Updated on February 15, 2021 by Andy Wang

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.