Update: Due to extreme popularity, Part 2 of this article now available.
You want to buy some knives, however there are so many choices. Should you buy Ceramic knives or Stainless Steel ? There are so many different brands as well. Where do you even start? Most people have no idea which way to go, so they just suffer with the same old knives that they have always used.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. The knife is the single most important item in the kitchen. Once you properly know how to use a knife, cooking becomes a lot easier. But before you can use it, you have to buy one. I know…I know, I am master of the obvious.
Let’s start by discussing the main differences between the two. Quite simply it is the materials. Ceramic knives are created often by dry pressing zirconia powder and firing at very high temperatures (1000 degrees). The resultant blade is then sharpened by grinding it on a diamond wheel. The result is a very hard edge that rarely necessitates sharpening. As for a Stainless Steel blade, they are made from alloys. Typical metals found in the alloys are carbon, iron, and chromium. The stainless steel prevents the knife from rusting away.
CERAMIC KNIVES PROS:
- Ceramic knives for all intents and purposes are sharper than steel knives.
- Extremely strong composition which allows for the sharp edge.
- Excellent for slicing vegetables, such as tomatoes, and boneless meat.
- Ceramic knives are non-porous and impervious to corrosive items, such as acids, and salts.
- Won’t have to sharpen very often as the blade won’t dull easily.
- They are almost impossible to stain.
CERAMIC KNIVES CONS:
- Their strength is their weakness. As a matter of fact, they can be brittle. Take care when dishwashing or storing as they can chip very easy.
- Very difficult to sharpen yourself. Probably will have to do professionally.
- Because of the brittleness, not recommended to press garlic or cut through bones or meat. As a matter of fact, Kyocera website says “avoid: carving, prying, and boning.”
STAINLESS STEEL PROS:
- Knives are very versatile, no restrictions.
- Knives can be professional sharpened (unless you really know how to do this) to get a very sharp edge.
- Can press garlic and cut though bones.
- Stain resistant, not quite at the same level as ceramic, but I have never had a problem.
- Able to wash in the dishwasher without breaking.
STAINLESS STEEL CONS:
- May require frequent sharpening.
- Stainless Steel is porous and can harbor bacteria and odors.
- Blade unlikely to be as sharp as a ceramic knife.
CONCLUSION: There is no doubt that ceramic knives are significantly better than stainless steel knives in numerous situations. However, it comes with some limitations. When it comes to slicing items such as tomatoes and boneless meats, a ceramic knife is superior. But, the brittleness prevents the knives from being everyday knives. My advice is to buy a Stainless Steel knives set as your everyday knives. If you are budget conscious, stop there. If you still have a few extra dollars, or someone else wants to spoil you, add a two piece ceramic set to supplement the steel knives.
Below are pictures and links to a very nice stainless steel set from Chicago Cutlery and a two piece ceramic set from Kyocera, the first to sell ceramic knives in the US. Both are sold through Amazon. So if you are in need of some new knives, feel free to head over to Amazon and check things out. I would highly recommend each of these for purchase.
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