Ceramic Knives: 21 Things You Need to Know


One of the most recent inventions in the kitchen is the ceramic knife and they have their own unique traits. Whether you want to know what they are, how they compare to normal steel, sharpening, cleaning, pricing, or what they can cut, you’re in the right place!

What are Ceramic Knives?

Anyone who knows about rings will be familiar with the material most-used for ceramic knives: Zirconia. After a process known as sintering, ceramic knives are pressed into one of the sharpest and hardest knives available.

However, the downside is that they’re extremely brittle to the point that dropping one on a countertop can break or chip it. Because of that, I recommend being very careful never to handle one without drying your hands thoroughly.

One of the other great features of the ceramic knife is that it’s highly resistant to corrosion and won’t take on the scent of anything it cuts, so fish won’t linger on it and you can clean it without fear of rust. They’re best for boneless meats and slicing soft foods like fruits and vegetables.

What are Ceramic Knives Made of?

Ceramic knives are actually made of simple components: Water and some form of ceramic powder. The most common ceramic used is zirconia, which is zirconium dioxide. These two materials are mixed into a paste form and then cast into a dye for pressurized heating.

Are Ceramic Knives Magnetic?

Because they’re made of a non-metal, ceramic knives not only aren’t magnetic but they don’t conduct electricity. The negative, of course, is that they won’t stick to a magnetic knife holder but you might not want that anyway with a knife this sharp and brittle.

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Can a Ceramic Knife Be Sharpened?

The short answer is yes, but not by you. Due to the process of creation, ceramic knives need a special grinder to sharpen them. While it’s technically possible to do it yourself, it’s ill-advised and ceramic knives don’t come with a warranty.

According to Ceramic Blade Knives, “it’s not worth breaking and being out a knife and having to replace it on your own.”

Do Ceramic Knives Need to be Sharpened?

While ceramic knives are extremely durable and retain their sharpness for much longer than the traditional steel or other metals, they will need sharpening at some point. How long between services depends largely on how often you use them or what you do with them.

Do Ceramic Knives Show Up on Metal Detectors?

Though they’re considered a non-metal knife and usually made from powdered zirconia dust, ceramic knives contain enough metal to set off a metal detector. Not only is this a safety measure, but it’s highly unlikely that your knife won’t have enough metal to show up.

Are Ceramic Knives Dishwasher Safe?

Yes and no, because ceramic knives are technically safe to go through the dishwasher and the blades have so few pores that they might even get cleaner than the rest of your cutlery. However, I’d advise cleaning them by hand.

There have been great strides in tempering them into tougher blades, but the harsh motion of water in the dishwasher has been known to chip ceramic knives. It might not happen to you, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry.

Do Ceramic Knives Stay Sharp?

Because of the way they’re made, what they’re made of, and their immunity to corrosive effects, ceramic knives keep their shape a lot longer than most knives in existence. You won’t have to worry about your knife dulling after a week of slicing and dicing.

How Long Does a Ceramic Knife Stay Sharp?

As mentioned earlier, how long your ceramic knife will keep its sharpness is a variable that differs from person to person. However, compared to traditional knives ceramic do last as much as 10 times longer than steel according to Kyocera Advanced Ceramics.

What to Do With a Chipped Ceramic Knife?

Whether you drop it, try to cut the wrong thing, use your knife to try and pop the top off something, or it succumbs to wear and tear, there will probably come a time when the tip of the blade chips.

When that happens, you have 2 options: You can replace it, which can get expensive, or you can take it to be fixed. The process of the latter will depend on the tip and curve of your blade, but the repair will keep with the same shape and curve.

As Knife Aid puts it, “Your knife will basically look like a slightly shrunk version of the original.” How much it shrinks will also depend on how much of the blade is chipped, so you might end up needing to replace it if the chip is deep enough.

Are Chipped Ceramic Knives Dangerous?

I assume you mean more dangerous than a knife without a chip, because knives as a whole can be dangerous if not handled properly. However, a chip won’t make the knife explode in your hand or anything.

It should be said that a chip can get worse and break your blade, though, especially a ceramic knife. I’d recommend taking it to get repaired before trying to use it again unless you absolutely have to.

Are Ceramic Knives Good For Cutting Meat?

Absolutely, ceramic knives are one of the sharpest knives on the market. On the hardness scale, where diamonds are a 10, ceramic knives come in at an 8.5 so they’re fantastic for slicing meats as long as there’s no bone.

Any kind of bone-in ham or something runs the risk of chipping or breaking your ceramic blade if you push too hard against it, so be careful.

Is a Ceramic Knife Better Than Steel?

This depends entirely on the purpose that you need a knife for. Essentially, the Kitchn says it best: “If you’re doing a lot of precision work with fruits and vegetables, the answer may be yes…but if you’re looking for an all-purpose knife, ceramic probably isn’t the way to go.”

Better or worse doesn’t really apply here because the materials and what they do are so different. Ceramic knives are generally sharper for longer and stand up to effects better than steel, but they also can’t cut through hard foods or be used to pop a can open.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Ceramic Knife?

I’d recommend owning a ceramic knife for the sheer fact that it’s great for quick slices through soft foods. While I’d never say to replace your cutlery with ceramics or throw out your chef knife, a ceramic knife can be a fantastic addition to your kitchen.

They’re sharper and lighter than steel, resistant to acidic substances and chemicals, and won’t transfer smells around your cutting area. They also can’t conduct electricity and are extremely easy to clean, sometimes only requiring a cloth to wipe them off.

Considering how much a good kitchen knife or cutlery set can go for, the price of a ceramic knife is a steal for what it can do even at the lower end. The high-quality ceramic knives have better temper and don’t break as easily, though, so they’re worth considering.

Can You Cut Lettuce With a Ceramic Knife?

Without a doubt, ceramic knives are perfect for cutting lettuce and most other vegetables. The blade is lightweight, but the sharpness will cut through lettuce like it’s not even there. Still, you might want to pull the leaves off by hand first.

The center of a head of lettuce could prove too hard for some ceramic knives and, as discussed before, that’s not ideal.

Does a Ceramic Knife Turn Lettuce Brown?

No, and neither do a lot of knives out there. I’ve heard the myth that lettuce browns from knives, but lettuce will brown after time no matter what you do. Knives generally don’t seem to exacerbate the process.

In fact, ceramic knives get cleaner than other knives and resist chemicals and corrosion so they’re even less likely to bring anything toxic to your lettuce that would cause discoloration.

What is the Best Ceramic Knife Brand?

Everyone might have their personal choice, even just looking at tiers in quality, but My Ceramic Knives recommends “a top of the line ceramic knife…such as the Kyocera Kyotop Knives…and many more super high quality ones…such as the Miyako 7 inch Glossy White.”

If you want a cheaper, fun set of ceramic knives to try out their effectiveness, Cuisinart has a colored set of 6 or 12 knives that I’ve found to be extremely useful. I actually got mine at a discount store and it holds up fine for slicing through fruit like butter.

Vos and Coiwin are other great brands that have entered the competitive ring with cheaper products in cost while keeping most of the same quality. Again, you’ll get stronger and better quality blades with a brand like Kyocera but these are great starter sets.

How Much is the Average Price For a Ceramic Knife?

Prices vary between quality and manufacturer, where sometimes you’re paying for the name association, but generally I’d expect to pay between $100 and over $300. The aforementioned Kyocera line is one the high end, but you definitely get what you pay for.

You won’t find a ceramic knife for much cheaper than $100 simply because of the process that goes into making one and the effort of putting it together without chipping or cracking the blade. However, there are sets being made cheaper recently by brands like Cuisinart.

What Should You Not Cut With a Ceramic Knife?

Because of how fragile they are, you should pretty much avoid anything hard. Boneless meats are fine, but anything with a bone like ham should be avoided unless you remove the bone ahead of time. In that case, go for it.

Likewise, let anything out of the freezer thaw before trying to cut it. Not only could you break the blade, but you don’t want to try and find broken pieces of knife in your food.

What is the Best Way to Sharpen a Ceramic Knife?

Once again, the best way to sharpen your knife when it does finally come time is to just take it to a professional. Not only will they know what they’re doing, but they’ll have parts to do it right without the risk of breaking or chipping your blade.

However, if you’re intent on doing it yourself with a few options:

  • Diamond sharpening stone that’s battery-powered
  • Diamond whetstone
  • Sharpening set specifically for ceramic knives.

The best option for at-home sharpening is obviously the battery-powered sharpener, because it has the least risk of damaging your blade and does all the work for you. If you decide to use a whetstone make sure to angle your knife away from the stone and wear a glove or secure it.

Lastly, the sharpening set is similar to a whetstone combined with a cutting board. The idea is to use the same sharpening technique as a whetstone but choose between the surfaces that are coarse, fine, and extra-fine depending on the blade type.

Are Ceramic Knives Brittle?

It depends on the quality of your knife, because some ceramic knives go through an additional tempering stage during the creation process that makes them more resistant to physical damage.

There are more advancements coming out all the time, like a special coating that further-increases how much the knives can withstand. Dropping some of the lower-end knives can break them while more-expensive ones might go without a scratch.

Recap

The only question left at this point that you might have is whether you should own a ceramic knife or not, but that’s a question for your personal needs in the kitchen. Ceramic knives are perfect for slicing boneless meats, fruits, butter, vegetables, bread, and other soft foods.

They don’t rust or smell, they stay extremely sharp for longer periods of time and don’t need thorough cleaning as often. Still, a ceramic knife can’t replace the all-purpose chef’s knife so whether you need one or not depends mostly on what you plan to cut up.

Ahmed

I’m Ahmed, the guy behind Knifepulse.com. I’ve owned several types of knives and sharpeners over the last few years and have become obsessed with everything to do with knives. I’m always trying to improve my cleaning and sharpening process, and always on the hunt for the next best knife. But when I’m not spending time with my hobby, I’m here, writing about Knives and Sharpeners on KnifePulse to share with you what I learn along the way.

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