Ceramic vs Steel Knives

In this article, the aim is to compare ceramic vs steel knives to shed more important facts between the knives. The two materials are the most used materials to make kitchen knives.

Ceramic knives differ from steel knives depending on the sharpness, durability, price, sharpening methods and more.

Both knives have a great performance in the kitchen but the pros and cons of both knives will help you make a decision.

The most important part of the knife is the blade and this why you need a quality kitchen knife with the right blade material.

Steel blades are mostly categorized into chrome steel, stainless steel, alloy steel, carbon steel, etc. The ceramic knives consist of the Zirconium and Aluminum oxide.

I am sure you must have a stainless steel knife in your kitchen already and now you are looking to see if ceramic knives are worth the hype.

Let’s compare the Ceramic vs Steel Knives to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each type of knife.

Ceramic Knives

Ceramic knives are made of very hard ceramic which is a combination of Zirconium oxide. It is dry pressed to form a solid material and then sharpened to provide a sharp ceramic blade.

The knives have a Mohs scale of hardness at 8.5 that makes it one of the hardest material apart from diamonds.

Ceramic vs Steel Knives

Pros

  • Requires less sharpening as they maintain their sharpness for long periods
  • Rust resistant
  • Non-conductive, do not conduct electricity
  • Don’t react with acidic food products

Cons

  • Hard to sharpen yourself, requires a professional
  • Slightly pricy
  • Less versatile
  • Brittleness

Steel Knives

Steel knives can be made from carbon, iron, titanium and more materials which makes the hardness and durability vary.

They are very versatile as seen in the kitchen available as a utility, pairing, carving, serrated, etc for different purposes of cutting.

Ceramic vs Steel Knives

Pros

  • The knives are more versatile
  • Easy to sharpen yourself
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Don’t retain sharpness for long, and requires regular sharpening

Ceramic vs Steel Knives: Differences

A quality knife offers sharpness, great performance, versatility and durability, and these knives differ in these aspects.

Durability

Ceramic knives are more durable if properly handled. They can be used even without sharpening for a long period and are not prone to rust and corrosion.

The only thing that threatens ceramic knives durability is cuttings more solid or hard items. Also, dropping the knives on the floor can reduce their life span.

Steel knives also can last for years especially when cutting food kinds of stuff like veggies and fruits. The knives require regular sharpening but that doesn’t make them less durable.

Dropping the knives wont break the blade that guarantees you long-lasting knife.

Sharpening & Sharpness

Due to different materials of the blade, ceramic and steel knives require different sharpening techniques.

The ceramic blade is sharpened with a diamond dust coated wheel. Once the ceramic blade is sharpened, it can maintain the sharpness for a long period without sharpening again.

Sharpening ceramic knives requires a professional or take it to the manufacturer or dealer to sharpen.

The sharpness of steel knives is very sharp when brand new. After some months, the knives become dull hence you need to sharpen them again.

A honing rod/steel helps maintain the sharpness of the steel blade and a whetstone is used to sharpen the edges after some time.

Everyone can sharpen steel knives, unlike ceramic knives which require a pro.

Prices

The ceramic knives come at a higher price but this is because they are all high-end.

Steel knives are many types ranging from low-end knives, middle and high-end knives. This provides a variety of stainless steel knives with affordable prices from different top brands.

Versatility

If you are looking for versatility, ceramic knives ain’t one of them. Ceramic knives can perform some cutting tasks well especially the intended ones.

Steel knives are very versatile whereby most of the utility kitchen knives are made of steel. Steel knives come in all types for different slicing tasks and all-purpose cutting.

One set can consist of different knives for most of the cuttings purposes.

Rust

Ceramic knives are rust-resistant since they are not made of metal.

Steel knives are prone to rust if left under conditions which lead to rusting.

Odors

Ceramic knives are non-porous, which means the blade wont transfer the odors from one food to another. If you cut onions or spicy ingredients, a quick rinse removes the odors completely unlike steel knives.

Weight

Ceramic knives are lighter which makes them easier to handle. This doesn’t mean the knives are not balanced, they provide a sturdy feel when cutting with the knives.

One thing to understand about ceramic knives is that when dropped, it can get damaged.

Steel knives are heavier than ceramic knives but they get the job done. The weight provides a good balance in the handle and blade for the efficient cutting experience.

Maintenance

Proper maintenance can prolong even less durable products. To ensure ceramic knives last long, its good to avoid cutting hard items like frozen foodstuffs.

Also, the knives should be carefully handled and avoid dropping them on the floor.

Direct contact with metal plates can damage the chip.

Cleaning ceramic knives by hand washing is the best option as they are not dishwasher safe.

Steel knives are easy to maintain and unlike ceramic knives, even dropping them cant damage them easily.

Stainless steel is prone to rust thus proper storage with zero conditions for rusting to take place.

Cleaning can be done both by dishwasher and hand washing the knives. Regular sharpening to maintain the sharpness is necessary for continuous cutting prowess.

Conclusion

In my opinion, I would recommend having both types of knives for flexibility. Steel knives are common and mostly you own one, therefore adding the ceramic knife to the collection would be beneficial.

Some slicing tasks would require ceramic hardness without turning dull like steel knives.

If the price is an issue, the steel knives come at a cheaper price tag than the ceramic knives.

Further Reading

  1. Wusthof vs Shun – The Best Chef’s Knife To Buy
  2. Stainless Steel vs Hard Anodized Cookware
  3. T-Fal vs Calphalon [Head To Head Comparison]
  4. Best Blenders For Milkshakes [Top 10 Picks]