Believe it or not, using a sharp knife is one of the easiest ways to prevent an injury in the kitchen. Rather than having to sharpen your steel chef’s knife all the time, then why not invest in a ceramic knife? Sharper than steel, a ceramic knife will keep its sharp edge for much longer than a steel knife and rarely needs sharpening.Sounds perfect, or does it? A ceramic knife is not an all-purpose knife and although ceramic is harder than steel, this hardness comes at a price – it is much more brittle than steel which means it can only be used for certain kitchen tasks. In this article we look at ceramic knives in detail and see how to use them properly and what cutting tasks they are suitable for. If you have yet to invest in a ceramic knife, we also review some of the bestsellers to help you pick the right ceramic knife for your kitchen needs.
The Kyocera Advanced ceramic 7" professional chef’s knife is our best pick, made from proprietary zirconia for up to 10x the edge retention of a steel blade and its lifetime limited warranty.
The Kyocera Advanced Ceramic 5¼" slicing knife is our budget pick, made from zirconia Z206 and with a lifetime limited warranty, this can also be sharpened by the manufacturer.
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Ceramic Knives
1. Kyocera Advanced Ceramic 7" Professional Chef’s Knife
Made with a proprietary zirconia Z206 material produced in Japan, the Kyocera Advanced ceramic 7" professional chef’s knife will retain its edge for up to 10 times longer than a steel blade. Suitable for larger slicing tasks such as boneless meats, fruits and vegetables, this knife is resistant to acid and will not rust.
This lightweight knife can be cleaned in the dishwasher but should be placed separate on the top rack. This knife has a black blade with a matching black handle, and it comes with a lifetime limited warranty against defects in materials and or craftsmanship. The manufacturer also offers a sharpening service at nominal cost.Some recent buyers have been disappointed in the quality of this knife compared with older versions they have had from the same manufacturer and like any ceramic knife there is a higher risk of chipping or breaking of the blade. Some owners also consider the handle is not the best quality and this knife does not come with a blade guard or sheath.
2. Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 13 cm Slicing Knife
The Kyocera Advanced Ceramic 5¼" slicing knife is produced from proprietary Z206 zirconia and is ideal for slicing fruits, vegetables and boneless meats. This lightweight knife has a white blade and a black ergonomic handle and although this knife is dishwasher safe, it does say it should be hand washed only.Coming with a lifetime limited warranty, this knife can be sharpened by the manufacturer when required, or you can use a suitable electric sharpener. This knife does not come with a blade guard and some owners consider that the handle is a little on the small side for those with larger hands.
3. Shenzhen Knives Three Piece Ceramic Knife Set
Comprising a 6" chef's knife, 5" slicing knife and a 4" paring knife, the Shenzhen Knives three piece ceramic knife starter set is designed to cover key cutting tasks in the kitchen. These lightweight knives have compact black handles which are designed for durability and comfort and the silver colored zirconium oxide blades are rust, acid, oil and bacteria resistant. This knife set also comes with a satisfaction guarantee.
This company also manufacture an electric sharpener that you can buy to sharpen these knives with. A small number of owners have commented that these knives are not as sharp as other ceramic knives and there can be a risk of the handle coming apart from the blade. These may also dull faster than other ceramic knives.
4. Vos Ceramic 8" Chef’s Knife
The lightweight Vos ceramic 8" chef’s knife has a white blade with a bright green ergonomic and balanced handle. Able to retain its sharpness for up to ten times longer than a steel blade, this ceramic zirconia knife also comes boxed with a blade guard and an e-cookbook. This chef’s knife is dishwasher safe and comes with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee.The odd buyer has found this knife to be less than sharp on arrival and it may not be as robust as other ceramic knives.
5. Cuisinart C59CE-8SL Elements Ceramic Open Stock Slicing Knife
The Cuisinart Elements 8" slicing knife (C59CE-8SL) has a black ergonomically designed handle for comfort and strength. This knife has a white blade which is break-resistant during food preparation and the black ergonomic handle is strong and comfortable. Suitable for larger cutting tasks, this ceramic knife comes with a five year limited warranty from the manufacturer.The blade is slightly thicker than comparable ceramic chef’s knives blades and does not come with a blade guard. Like any ceramic knife this will need careful handling to minimize the risk of the blade chipping.
6. Vos Ceramic Knife Seven Piece Set
Coming in a presentation/storage box, the Vos ceramic knife seven piece set has white zirconia blades with matching ergonomic handles and protective sheaths/blade guards. The blades on these knives can retain their original sharpness for up to 15 times longer than steel blades.
The set includes a 6" chef’s knife, a 4" utility knife and a 3" paring knife along with a ceramic peeler. The manufacturer provides a 30 day money back guarantee and an e-cookbook along with each set purchased. A number of owners consider that the blades on these knives are not as sharp compared to other ceramic knives and other owners have found that the blades can be on the thicker side, making it more awkward to slice thinly. As these have white blades, they are more prone to staining from certain foods such as tomatoes.
7. Zyliss Black Ceramic Paring Knife Set
Made with zirconia ceramic, the Zyliss twin ceramic paring knife set is a 2¼" paring knife and a 3¼" paring knife. These have white blades with ergonomic black handles with soft touch rubber grips. These knives do not come with blade guards.These knives are dishwasher safe, although the manufacturer recommends that they be hand washed. These also come with a five year limited warranty from the manufacturer. The lifetime of these knives may not be as long as expected, and a small number of buyers have received these knives already damaged.
8. Heim Concept Ceramic Knife Set
The Heim Concept five piece ceramic knife set comprises a 3" paring knife, a 4" utility knife, a 5" slicer knife and a 6" chef’s knife. The set also includes blade guards for all knives and a ceramic peeler and is presented in a box. The white zirconia ceramic blades are up to 12 times harder than regular steel and the black ergonomic handles are plastic injected with a rubber coating which is soft touch and has a finger grip for safety.
This set also comes with a satisfaction guarantee and 90 day limited warranty from the manufacturer. Some owners have been unhappy with the handle design, as they consider that it does not protect their fingers from the blade, and as a budget ceramic set, these will not be as robust as more expensive ceramic sets.
9. Kyocera Advanced Series Four Piece Knife Set
The Kyocera Advanced Series four piece knife set is made with proprietary Z206 zirconia which is produced in Japan. This four piece set includes a 6" chef’s knife, 5½" Santoku knife, 4 ½" utility knife and a 3" paring knife. This set has black ceramic blades which will keep their edge for up to 10 times longer than steel blades and the black handles have an ergonomic design.This set does not come with blade guards and although dishwasher safe, they should be washed on the top rack of the dishwasher. These knives can also be sharpened by the manufacturer and they come with a lifetime limited warranty.
10. Shenzhen Ceramic Knife Set
Including a 5" slicing knife, 4" paring knife and a ceramic peeler, the Shenzhen ceramic knife set has ergonomic black handles with contrasting white zirconia blades. The manufacturer also offers a satisfaction guarantee. Suitable for small to moderate cutting tasks, these knives unfortunately do not come with any blade guards.
Things to Consider Before Buying Ceramic Knives
Accidents in the kitchen are less likely to happen when you are cutting with a sharp knife, and with around 350,000 kitchen knife injuries every year, this is definitely something to be aware of. A sharp knife that also has a good grip to give you full control while cutting is even better.
This is where the sharpness of ceramic knives offers a distinct advantage over steel knives as these need constant sharpening and honing to stay sharp.
A ceramic knife is ideal for tasks such as fine fruit and vegetable slicing, as well as for cutting high acidic foods which can damage steel blades. A ceramic blade can also finely slice breads, boneless meats and cheeses and is also great for sushi preparation.
Ceramic knives are made from zirconia or zirconium dioxide which is formed from an element called zirconium which is mined as a byproduct of other mining processes – such as for tin - in the US, Australia, South Africa and elsewhere.
As well as being used to produce zirconia, because zirconium alloys are so resistant to corrosion, they have a wide ranges of uses and can be found in steel alloys, pipes, bricks, lamp filaments, surgical and laboratory instruments. Zirconium has even been found in lunar rocks and meteorites!
To make a ceramic knife, the zirconia powder obtained from mining is mixed, usually with water, in a drum to create particles that are of a uniform size. The more uniform the size of particles at this stage; the harder the ceramic material can be pressed.
This liquid mix from the drum is then sprayed onto a flat surface and dried and the resulting fine powder left can is then poured into molds for the knife blades. The molds are then pressed to over 10,000 pounds per square inch (psi) which forces the powder to become a solid material.
The molded blades are then taken out of the molds and fired at around 2500°F in a kiln; a similar process to that of making tableware ceramics. This kiln firing causes the ceramic blade to shrink from its original size, which creates a super hard and very dense ceramic blade. The blade is then sharpened with a diamond coated grinding wheel and the knife handle attached, before being packaged and sent out for sale.
Although there are some differences as to how ceramic knives are made by different manufacturers, the core processes are similar. Most of the differences arise between different ceramic blades from either the use of more pressure during manufacture, or a more precise temperature during the kiln firing.
The manufacturing process is what gives zirconia a mineral hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, compared to the 4.5 for steel.
Ceramic knives with black blades usually cost more than white blades, however they are often harder as they have undergone an extra process called isostatic pressing which gives the ceramic more strength.
Comparing A Ceramic Knife to A Steel Knife
A ceramic blade is harder than a steel blade. This means it will cut through foods easily. Unlike a steel blade, a ceramic blade will keep its sharp edge for longer between sharpening.
Although very hard, ceramic blades are much more brittle than steel blades and even accidently dropping your knife in the sink while rinsing it can be enough to break the blade.
Because a ceramic blade is not very porous, odors cannot transfer from one food to the next, which means you can quickly rinse when you have finished slicing one food and move straight onto the next. The lack of pores on a ceramic blade also makes it more difficult for bacteria to stick and be transferred to other foods. Because a ceramic blade is also free from metal, unlike a steel blade, it cannot rust. It is also resistant to oils and acids, so the surface of the blade does not get damaged when slicing through acidic foods such as onions or lemons.
Ceramic knives are much lighter in weight than their steel counterparts, in fact a typical ceramic knife is around half the weight of the same sized steel blade. Because ceramic blades are lightweight, they do not need a butt or bolster on the handle to balance the weight of the blades. The handles of ceramic knives are usually made of plastic or composite materials to keep them light weight and balanced against the blade.
This light weight is something that not all users are a fan of - especially if you have been used to using heavier European steel knives – so switching to a ceramic knife can take some getting used to. It also means that if you need to do some heavier cutting, your hand and arm has to work harder to counteract the lower weight of the knife.
Ceramic knives also offer an advantage when you need to slice foods thinly and the sharpness of the blade and its weight means that it causes less physical damage to the structure of the food.
The inflexibility of the ceramic blade does however make it unsuited for tasks such as fish fileting which require a flexible blade.
Although a ceramic knife is well suited to a number of kitchen tasks, its brittleness does mean that you will still need to keep some steel knives on hand for heavier duty cutting jobs.
What Not to Cut with a Ceramic Knife
You should never use a ceramic knife to cut through frozen or semi-frozen foods or meats that are bone-in as if the blade comes into contact with a bone it can be enough to break the tip or chip the blade of the knife.
Ceramic knives best suit slicing fruits, vegetables and boneless meats, although they can be unsuitable for slicing harder skinned produce such as melons, pineapples, pumpkins and squashes.
To minimize the chance of your ceramic knife chipping, or even breaking, it should always be used in a straight slicing motion with the least amount of physical force and without any twisting or flexing of the blade. Neither can you make a chopping motion like you would with a steel knife, use the side of the blade to crush foods or even use the blade to scrape food from the cutting board into a pan.
You should also avoid using your ceramic knife to open any packaging. Many ceramic knives are now manufactured with a rounded rather than a pointed blade tip to prevent us from automatically using the tip of a ceramic knife as we would normally do with the tip of a steel knife, thereby reducing the risk of the tip being broken off.
When you have finished using a ceramic knife always gently place it down on the countertop – away from the edge - to reduce the risk of accidentally knocking it onto the floor.
Caring for Ceramic Knives
You should always use a ceramic knife on a silicone, softwood or plastic cutting board. Glass, ceramic or marble boards will damage the blade otherwise.
Ceramic knives can often just be rinsed under the hot faucet and then left to air dry in a safe place. If your ceramic knife is dishwasher safe it should always be placed on the top rack of the dishwasher or in a special knife cage (if you have one). Even if a ceramic knife is dishwasher safe, washing it in the dishwasher will increase the risk of damage to the blade.
Although ceramic knives rarely stain, white or other light colored blades can occasionally stain from foods such as tomatoes. A baking soda solution will usually remove any stubborn stains from a ceramic blade.
A ceramic knife should also be kept away from any open heat sources as the ceramic will conduct heat.
After use and cleaning you should always replace the blade guard or sheath if your ceramic knife has one and it should be stored in its box (if it has one) or in a block which is suitable for ceramic knives and away from younger family members.
Although today’s ceramic knives are usually metalized for security, they are not magnetic enough to attach to a magnetic knife rack or other storage solutions that can be used for storage of steel knives. Ceramic knives should never be stored loose in a drawer because of the risk of breaking the blade along with the risk of injury.
Although ceramic knives last a lot longer than steel blades before they need sharpening, they will eventually need sharpening. Some manufacturers offer a sharpening service at a nominal cost, or you can use a suitable electric knife sharpener. A manual sharpener or whetstone cannot be used to sharpen a ceramic blade.
Although ceramic knives rarely need sharpening, they are not suitable for all jobs in the kitchen and their brittleness means that they always need a little extra care. We also hope the tips we have offered on looking after ceramic knives to reduce the risk of damaging the blade have also been useful.We hope that you have enjoyed our article on ceramic knives, and that we have answered some of the questions that you may have had about using a ceramic knife for super sharp slicing. We also trust that our reviews of the best ceramic knives have helped you find the right one for your kitchen and your particular slicing needs.