Ceramic knives and metal knives differ in several basic ways, including the ability to hold an edge and thus the need to sharpen.
Additionally, the weight of the blade and handle are quite different when moving from metal knives to ceramic.
In this guide we will explore the most important features to consider when buying the best ceramic knives for your kitchen in our ceramic knife reviews and comparisons.
Top 5: Best Ceramic Knife Sets
Brand & Model
Type(s) & Size(s)
7" Chef's / 5.5" Santoku / 3" Paring
3" Paring / 4" Fruit / 5" Utility / 6" Chef & Covers
6" Chef / 5" Micro Serrated / 3" Paring
5" Santoku / 3.5" Paring
3" Paring / 4" Utility / 5" Slicer / 6" Chef / Peeler & 4 Sheaths
Why Use Ceramic Knives?
Ceramic knives are made from compressed materials, generally zirconium oxide. This material is then polished and sharpened with a diamond shaping tool.
It should be noted that zirconium oxide knives are harder than steel. Because of that hardness, these knives can be brittle.
While metal blades will need to be sharpened over time and can be sharpened at home, ceramic knives generally need to be shipped to the manufacturer, though they will hold an edge for longer than a metal blade.
How Well Do Ceramic Knives Work?
If handled with care, ceramic kitchen knives are excellent tools for chopping vegetables or paring produce.
Take care with these tools when handling any food product with bones; sudden contact with hard materials can lead to a chip in your knife blade.
If you're accustomed to a metal blade with a wooden handle, it's important to be ginger with your ceramic knife.
For those of us who are less than diligent about getting our metal knives sharpened, we've learned to use the heft of the wooden handle and to apply some pressure.
Pressure on a ceramic knife handle can easily lead to slipping or rolling of whatever you're slicing and may cause a nasty cut you didn't intend. Go carefully and use a light touch.
Sharpness & Sharpening
The material they're made of is actually harder than steel. Once they're sharp, they stay that way unless they're damaged.
Ceramic knives must be sharpened with a diamond grinder and can be honed to a razor's edge.
Sharpening is not a project for beginners.
Unless you are very accustomed to such sharpening tools, be aware that you're going to be handling a spinning diamond blade and a very sharp knife at the safe time with no free hand to spare if you get cut or get diamond dust in an uncomfortable place.
Many companies that sell ceramic knives offer free sharpening if you'll only mail the knife back to them. This is a much safer option than grinding it yourself and should only be needed if the knife gets chipped or damaged in some way.
Ability To Hold An Edge
When you sharpen a steel knife, you're thinning out the narrowest bit of the blade, and this may cause the steel to curl or roll over.
As you sharpen the other side of the blade edge, this curl is removed, leaving fresh, sharp metal.
Ceramic knife blades don't curl and are both hard and non-porous.
Unless the knife blade is damaged due to use on an improper surface or chipped while dropped or banged against another utensil, your blade edge should be dependable for much longer than a metal blade.
Are ceramic knives good to go in the dishwasher? This is generally not recommended.
- A ceramic knife is sharp enough to cause a dangerous cut for anyone emptying the dishwasher.
- The jets of a dishwasher can lead to knives getting banged around against other utensils, and your knife may chip.
- While there is no risk of oxidation such as metal knives may experience in the dishwasher, these knives are so quick and easy to clean up by hand. They're very dense and unlikely to hold onto odors from foods like onions or pungent cheeses.
As previously stated, ceramic knives are not a good candidate for the battering a dishwasher can deliver.
Simply wash them in warm, soapy water, then dry and store them somewhere safe where they can't get chipped or cut someone reaching innocently into a drawer.
Ceramic knife blades are lighter than steel, and the handles of the knives are also correspondingly lighter.
Because the handles are often formed of heavy duty plastic, you'll find that they're often shaped to offer a much friendlier grip than heavy wooden knives.
Again, work with care until you get a feel for the length of the blade, the grip of the handle and the sharpness of that blade.
Boost Your Decor
Ceramic knives come in a variety of colors and many have matching handles.
They are quite striking and could really sparkle on your countertop, particularly if you have a clear glass knife storage unit or have a knife tray visible.
If you have any magnetic kitchen toys such as bottle openers and don't like things clinging to your refrigerator, you can be sure that your ceramic knives are not hiding your magnetic tools, while a metal cleaver or heavy duty butcher's knife might be!
However, if your knife storage block displays your knife blades with the help of a strong magnet, you won't be able to store your ceramic knives on this tool.
If you've got knives that you've worked with for years, consider adding a simple ceramic paring knife to your tool chest.
With these tools you can easily slice carrots, ginger and other produce into very thin slices for garnishes or in a salad.
For cooks with wrist or arm trouble, consider switching over to ceramic knives to reduce weight and pressure on your joints.
Ceramic knives were once considered the high end knives of chefs. As more of them are produced and the price comes down, the color options grow more numerous. These are no longer only for the professionals in the kitchen.
Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments with your favorite ceramic knife and cutting experiences.