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best ceramic knives

The Best Ceramic Knives in 2021

Author: Joanna Davis

Home & Kitchen Expert

With a ceramic knife, various kitchen tasks can be done quickly and more cleanly. For our best list, our team has checked various tests on the Internet. From this, it was also possible to bring in ratings for knife blocks, set parts, heat resistance and much more.

Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 4.5-inch Utility Knife

Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 4.5-inch Utility Knife
1,348 Reviews
Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 4.5-inch Utility Knife
  • A great first-time introduction to using a Kyocera ceramic…
  • A 4.5” utility knife for everyday kitchen prep that…
  • Ceramic blades are made from Kyocera’s proprietary zirconia…
  • Ultra-sharp, pure advanced ceramic blades will maintain…
  • Lightweight and easy to clean, the blades will not brown…

Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 5-1/2-inch Santoku Knife

 Our Pick
Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 5-1/2-inch Santoku Knife
1,289 Reviews
Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 5-1/2-inch Santoku Knife
  • The 5. 5″ Santoku is an all-purpose knife for everyday…
  • A great first-time introduction to using a Kyocera ceramic…
  • Ceramic blades are made from Kyocera proprietary zirconia…
  • Ultra-sharp, pure advanced ceramic blades will maintain…
  • Lightweight and easy to clean, the blades will not brown…

Kyocera Revolution 2 piece ceramic knife set, 5.5 INCH, 3 INCH

Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 7-inch Professional Chef's Knife

Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 7-inch Professional Chef's Knife
1,285 Reviews
Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 7-inch Professional Chef’s Knife
  • Ceramic blade is made from Kyocera’s proprietary zirconia…
  • Ultra-sharp, pure advanced ceramic blades will maintain…
  • Lightweight and easy to clean, the blades will not brown…
  • This professional size blade is ideal for larger slicing…
  • Hand wash only; sharpen using Kyocera electric sharpener or…

Farberware Ceramic Knife Set

Farberware Ceramic Knife Set
2,175 Reviews
Farberware Ceramic Knife Set
  • HIGH QUALITY BLADE: Ceramic blades are stronger and last…
  • SOFT GRIP HANDLES: Ergonomically designed nonslip soft grip…
  • RUST RESISTANT: These knives’ ceramic blade are resistant to…
  • Not to be used on frozen foods, hard fruit, vegetables or…
  • EASY TO CLEAN: This set is dishwasher safe (top rack only),…

Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 6-inch, Chef's Santoku Knife

Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 6-inch, Chef's Santoku Knife
366 Reviews
Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 6-inch, Chef’s Santoku Knife
  • Ultra-sharp, pure advanced ceramic blades will maintain…
  • Lightweight and easy to clean, the blades will not brown…
  • The chef’s santoku is an all-purpose knife for everyday…

5 PCS Ceramic Knife Set Kitchen Knife Cutlery Set with Acrylic Block Chef Knife

 Our Pick
5 PCS Ceramic Knife Set Kitchen Knife Cutlery Set with Acrylic Block Chef Knife
580 Reviews
5 PCS Ceramic Knife Set Kitchen Knife Cutlery Set with Acrylic Block Chef Knife
  • 6-Piece Knives Set for Multi Usage: 1pc 6” Chef Knife, 1pc…
  • No reaction with any food and can preserve the original…
  • No transferring odors from one food item to another. Not any…
  • Super Hard and High Sharp for Long-Lasting Sharpness and…
  • Come with an Acrylic Holder for Easy Storage, Durable…

History of Ceramic Knives

The history of the ceramic knife is the logical development of the history of the knife itself. The first knife-like cutting tools can be found as early as the Paleolithic Age, up to 2.5 million years ago. Made of stone, bone or wood, they made it possible above all to hunt down and cut up animal prey.

Since the nutrition with meat was an important basis for the evolutionary development of man, the invention of the knife is to be regarded as the same.

The increasing skills in metal processing led to a constant further development of the knife, via copper, bronze, iron, to the knife steel that is still mainly used today.

In the history of the development of the knife, the countries of Asia play a special role, which still has an effect today. Here there is a tradition of more than two thousand years in the manufacture of knives of the highest quality.

The first attempts to use ceramics as a cutting material were made in 1938 by the German materials scientist Werner Oskar Ewald Osenberg at the Technical University of Dresden. However, his investigation of the properties of oxide ceramics was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II and the conversion of research to armaments concerns, and was not continued until the 1950s.

Since the 1980s, ceramics have been used in the manufacture of knives, starting primarily by Japanese companies. Zirconium oxide is the material that has so far proved most suitable and dominates the market for high-quality ceramic knives as zirconia ceramic.

Before they found their way into professional and hobby kitchens, ceramic knives were already being used in research and industry. Here, some of their special material properties come into play, which are of lesser importance for their use in the kitchen. These include chemical and physical properties such as the low conductivity, inertness and magnetic properties of ceramics.

Material Properties of Ceramic Knives

Its cutting and utility properties distinguish the previously common knife steel as particularly suitable for the manufacture of kitchen knives. However, the material also has significant weaknesses in which it is clearly inferior to modern cutting ceramics and knives made from them. These properties are mainly chemical and physical.

In contrast to simple ceramics, oxide ceramics, from which modern ceramic knives are made, are significantly harder and more wear-resistant than steel.

Ceramic knives are significantly sharper than comparable knives made of steel.

At the same time, they are lighter and the sharpness produced by grinding lasts around ten times as long as that of metal knives under the same load. The basis for these material properties is, on the one hand, the enormous pressure of around 20,000 t/sqm and temperatures of over 1,000 degrees that are used in production.

At the same time, ceramics are acid-resistant and therefore do not react with the food to be cut. Ceramic knives are rustproof, thus suitable for cleaning in a dishwasher, odorless and tasteless.

Even if the surface of a stainless steel knife appears perfectly smooth, microscopically it is so to a much lesser extent than a ceramic blade. This causes the described hygienic properties of a ceramic knife, to which food residues adhere much less. Odors, tastes and, last but not least, allergens are consequently transmitted much more poorly by a ceramic knife, which greatly increases its suitability in both private and professional kitchens.

However, ceramic as a cutting material does not only have advantages. In addition to purely aesthetic aspects, because of which some users cannot or do not want to get used to using ceramic knives out of habit, these also result from the physical properties of ceramics. Ceramics are not only harder and lighter than metal, they are also more brittle and less flexible.

Even though high-quality ceramic knives are nearly as resilient as comparable models made of steel, there are limits to how much they can withstand. Ceramic knives are less pliable and not completely shatterproof. An awkward drop or improper use can damage or, in the worst case, destroy a ceramic blade.

Another difference between classic steel knives and ceramic knives, already mentioned, is their weight. Ceramic knives are significantly lighter than those made of knife steel. This has the positive aspect that the work with ceramic knives is easier and especially with more extensive tasks can be worked without fatigue.

On the other hand, the weight of the knife can be a great help for some tasks. The pressure exerted by the weight of large knives in particular has to be applied additionally to lightweight ceramic knives.

Care of Ceramic Knives

The care of a ceramic knife includes, first and foremost, proper handling.

Due to the material properties described, they are expressly not suitable for individual tasks. These include levering, chopping and boning. Attempting to cut frozen food or bones with a ceramic knife can damage it permanently. The enormous sharpness of a ceramic knife should also be taken into account by being careful when handling it.

When using ceramic knives, wooden or plastic cutting surfaces are best suited as cutting surfaces. Glass or stone bases, which are sometimes valued for their hygienic properties when handling steel knives, are unsuitable in combination with ceramic knives, as they can also damage the knife blade.

Cleaning a ceramic knife is comparatively uncomplicated. On the one hand, the transfer of food components, even between different products cut one after the other, can be significantly reduced simply by wiping the blade. On the other hand, ceramic knives are easy to clean, even in the dishwasher, which is not recommended for most steel knives.

Ceramic knives also place demands on storage that exceed those placed on steel knives. If simple metal knives can be stored relatively carelessly, even stacked and together with other kitchen utensils, for example in a kitchen drawer, this could well damage a ceramic knife. The blade of a ceramic knife should therefore at least be protected by a sheath. Ideally, ceramic knives are stored in a suitable knife block in which the blades, stored individually, are protected from damage.

The blades of ceramic knives are white in most models. The color is freely chosen by the manufacturer as an aesthetic feature, and a variety of other colorings would be possible, although white and black have predominated. White blades are basically susceptible to discoloration. Normal soiling can usually be easily removed. Heavy discoloration can be removed with a mild scouring agent, for example commercial ceramic hob cleaner or a mild bleaching agent.

 

Sharpness Test

A decisive criterion for the quality of a knife is its sharpness and its edge retention, i.e. the length of time in use during which this sharpness remains without resharpening. Again, the hardness of the blade of a knife is decisive for sharpness and edge retention. Only a particularly hard blade can be ground optimally. The thinner it is ground, the sharper the blade; the harder it is, the longer it will retain this sharpness.

The hardness of a knife blade is determined according to a technical test method for materials. In this process, a diamond cone is pressed onto the material with a specified pressure and the penetration depth is measured. This results in a measured value, given in HRC, hardness according to Rockwell. The higher this value, the harder the material, in this case the knife blade.

A steel blade has a hardness between 52 HRC and 65 HRC. Inexpensive models often only offer a hardness of 52 to 53 HRC and are thus dull after a very short time and require regular regrinding.

Rockwell hardness determination is a measurement method for metals and cannot simply be applied to ceramic knives. Nevertheless, comparative values can be given. For example, the hardness of a ceramic knife is up to 67 HRC.

In the case of particularly inexpensive ceramic knives, the blade is often not made entirely of ceramic. They have a core made of so-called VG 10 steel.

Sharpening a Ceramic Knife

Ceramic knives are much sharper than classic steel knives. Due to their high hardness, they also have a much better edge retention, which means that resharpening is less often necessary than with steel knives. Nevertheless, ceramic knives are not free of wear.

Regrinding a ceramic knife is not as easy as it is with steel knives. Here, a simple sharpening steel is usually used, which is already included in many knife sets and allows even the inexperienced user to achieve satisfactory results.

It is often recommended to leave the resharpening of a ceramic knife to a designated expert. Some manufacturers even offer the option of sending in knives in this context. These are then professionally reworked by the manufacturer and sent back to the customer. This is, of course, the optimal method, albeit the most costly.

With a little practice and suitable tools, however, ceramic knives can also be sharpened yourself. To do this, you can either use a simple diamond grindstone with a 1000 grit or a professional grinder. Both are associated with an investment, which in turn suggest grinding by a professional or the manufacturer.

If you have nevertheless decided to grind by yourself, care is the top priority. Mistakes during resharpening can permanently damage the blade of a ceramic knife.

When sharpening with a diamond whetstone, the ceramic blade is pushed over the damp stone from both sides at a flat angle, rotating it towards the tip of the knife. The angle at which the blade is guided is crucial for an optimal result. It is strongly recommended that you study the technique in detail before attempting to sharpen the blade yourself.

There are numerous instructions on the Internet and even some video tutorials that aim to teach how to sharpen a ceramic knife. In addition, the instructions that come with a diamond sharpening stone should be followed.

A manual or electric knife sharpener makes resharpening much easier. Above all, it ensures that the optimum sharpening angle is maintained without any problems and thus additionally prevents damage to the ceramic knife.

Design of Ceramic Knives

Although visual aspects are not decisive for the performance and precision of a kitchen knife, they often have a significant influence on a purchase decision, especially in the private sector.

Ceramic knives have a hard time here with some users. The optical properties of the ceramic blade and the common use of simple plastic for the knife handles go hand in hand with the low maintenance and good hygienic properties, but do not always make ceramic knives particularly attractive and visually high-quality.

Nevertheless, the various manufacturers offer a range of designs that differ in shape and coloring, allowing for a satisfactory look for every user. However, appearance is also a result of weight distribution and ergonomics.

A knife must not only be sharp, it must also fit well in the hand, especially for longer work. So if possible, you should convince in advance that a knife meets expectations not only visually but also haptically.

Brand vs No Name

In addition to the range of the aforementioned brand manufacturers, there is also an extensive range of ceramic knives from lesser-known or explicit no-name manufacturers, especially on the Internet.

Even if a low-priced offer without a connection to a well-known manufacturer does not necessarily have to be regarded as inferior, caution is advised when buying. Since manufacturers are not obligated to provide information on material and quality, and advertising information on product properties offers little objective comparison, it is often the proverbial trust that counts when buying knives.

Since the differences in the quality of ceramic knives can be very marked, but often only become apparent under stress, for example when damage to the blade occurs due to a fall or cutting attempts on material that is too hard, a reliable manufacturer should not be underestimated. Especially when it comes to warranty or guarantee claims, such as resharpening a worn knife, choosing a well-known manufacturer quickly pays off.

Ceramic Knife Accessories

Ceramic knives are very easy to care for compared to knives made of steel. If you follow a few basic rules that prevent damage, you can enjoy the lasting sharpness of the ceramic blade for a long time. Some useful accessories ensure that this sharpness and thus the quality of a ceramic knife remains unchanged for a long time or can be restored if necessary.

Knife blocks

The storage of one or more ceramic knives is a central aspect when it comes to the necessary care in handling the material.

In terms of their resilience, ceramic knives are better than their reputation sometimes suggests. High-quality models in particular are decidedly more resilient and break-proof than the cheap models that were especially widespread in the early days. Nevertheless, ceramic knives are not indestructible. Therefore, especially when storing them, care should be taken to reliably exclude any risk to the blade.

For safety’s sake, ceramic knives should therefore always be stored individually.

To ensure that this is done in a space-saving manner, the use of a knife block is recommended as the optimal method.

Especially when using different types of knives from one manufacturer’s series, a knife block is also a visually appealing eye-catcher in a tastefully decorated kitchen and thus pays for itself twice as an acquisition. Some manufacturers already offer complete knife sets that come with such a knife block.

If classic steel knives lie unproblematically on top of each other in a drawer, the knocking together of two ceramic blades or careless contact with other hard objects can certainly damage the extremely thin blade of a ceramic knife.

Knife blocks come in an endless variety of shapes and colors, which should leave nothing to be desired for any user. Also, the choice of materials or material combinations is as large as not least the price range of offered models. Basically, you can distinguish such models that are specially designed for knives usually offered in a package and those that are universally applicable.

In the case of knife blocks for special knives, the recesses into which the knife blades are inserted for safe storage are precisely adapted in size and shape to the respective knife models. Universal knife blocks have recesses that are suitable for different blade shapes and sizes. This usually results in a variance that allows individual knives to sit more or less stably in the knife block.

An alternative are knife blocks with a filling of flexible material, for example a bundle of plastic threads, which optimally adapt to the inserted knives. the knives inserted. Unlike other variants, these knife blocks are not limited to a maximum number of knives. How many knives they can hold ultimately depends on the size and space requirements of the inserted knives.

Knife sharpener

As already described, ceramic knives are significantly more durable than comparable models made of classic knife steel, but with regular use the sharpness of even a ceramic blade sooner or later decreases noticeably. If you do not opt for a recommended resharpening by a specialist company or the manufacturer, the purchase of necessary accessories for resharpening is inevitable.

Grinding stones

Diamond grinding stones are the cheapest and at the same time the most unsafe way for the layman to give a worn ceramic knife new sharpness. Due to their hardness, which exceeds that of oxide ceramics, diamond particles embedded in the stone are suitable for removing unevenness of a knife blade caused by wear by grinding.

Two factors are decisive for the quality of a diamond grinding stone: its flatness and its resistance to hollow grinding. Only an absolutely flat surface that retains its flatness even after repeated use is permanently suitable for reliably sharpening a knife blade.

Comparable, for example, to classic emery paper, diamond grinding stones are divided into different grit sizes that should be used for wet grinding. The grit size is defined by the size and number of diamond particles applied to the surface of the grinding stone. Optimal for sharpening a ceramic knife is a 1000 grit.

Diamond grinding stones are offered in different qualities. The structure of the whetstone determines its price:

Solid blocks of steel or aluminum, milled flat, are coated with diamond particles. This variant, which is the most complex to manufacture and therefore the most expensive, offers optimum properties in terms of flatness and durability.

Thin steel plates are coated with diamond particles and glued to a flat aluminum base.

A copper or plastic foil is coated with diamonds and glued to a suitable base.

Grinding machines

Grinding machines offer a safe, easy-to-use alternative to simple grinding stones. They are usually constructed so that the body of the machine is held with one hand while the other is used to pull the knife blade through a designated slot, sharpening it in the process.

Because of this design, care must be taken to determine whether a grinder is suitable for right-handed or left-handed use. This depends on the one hand on the attachment of necessary operating elements, and on the other hand on a possible prescribed direction in which a blade must be pulled through for sharpening.

Grinding machines are offered in the described form as purely mechanical and as electrical variants. In the electric version, the built-in grinding rollers are driven, thus ensuring a more effective grinding process. With both variants, the grinding result is coarser than with manual wet grinding with a diamond grinding stone, and the material removal rate is also higher.

On the other hand, a grinding machine can be used much faster and errors that can occur during manual grinding, for example due to an incorrectly selected grinding angle, can be largely ruled out with proper operation.

Another variant, which is more profitable in terms of price alone for professional use, are miniature belt grinders with a suitable attachment for ceramic knives, which places the knife blade at the optimum angle to the rotating grinding belt.

Blade guard

For those who want to do without a knife block, protective sheaths for ceramic blades offer a suitable alternative. Many manufacturers already supply their knives with matching sheaths, but there is also an extensive range of universal protective sheaths for blades of different lengths and widths. In contrast to the knife block, a protective sheath is also suitable for the safe transport of a ceramic knife. Simple models are offered, mostly made of transparent, stable foil, as well as those made of solid plastic.

Cutting boards

Cutting pads are available in countless variants. For ceramic knives, apart from the limitation of suitable materials, there are no recommendations here that would deviate from those for use with other types of knives. The material should always be softer than the material of the blade, i.e. ceramic.

This eliminates bases made of stone, glass or metal. Cutting pads for working with ceramic knives are ideally made of wood or plastic. In the professional sector, plastic has clearly prevailed, as this is inexpensive, easy to clean and maintain, and durable.

Plastic is also widely used in the private sector, not least because, unlike wood, it is usually suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher.

Ceramic Knife Alternatives

The ceramic knife can be seen as a modern alternative to the classic knife steel. It scores with numerous advantages, but is also inferior in some aspects or at least shows weaknesses. In parallel, several other variants have already developed, each of which also has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Even though they are not nearly as widespread as steel or ceramic knives, they are worth a look. Whether one of these alternatives will be able to establish itself in the long term or even prevail will be decided by the market, and it is to be expected that science and research will still be indebted to further innovations.

Titanium knife

Knives made of titanium alloy share many features of the much better known ceramic knives. They are also extremely light, up to 40% lighter than comparable models made of steel. At the same time, their edge retention is lower than that of a ceramic knife, but significantly higher than that of steel knives.

Unlike ceramic knives, titanium knives do not require any special sharpening, but can be resharpened like standard steel knives. Titanium knives also have a surface that is extremely resistant, easy to clean and therefore hygienic.

Damascus steel knife

Not all steel is the same. The quality of a steel depends, among other things, on its composition. The content of carbon, manganese, silicon and nickel is decisive here. In the popular Damascus steel, also known as Damascus steel, different types of steel are combined through repeated folding and forging.

This creates the familiar and popular pattern of a Damascus steel blade. In addition to its visual appeal, the technique is intended to combine the positive properties of different steels. Thus, blades made of Damascus steel are particularly tough, hard and yet flexible.

Mono steel carbon knife

Modern steel knives are stainless. To ensure this property, the steel is alloyed with about 13% chromium. The absence of rust is thus bought by a change in the material structure. Knives made of mono-steel carbon do without the chromium alloy and use steel with the lowest possible carbon content. 

This steel is very hard, blades made of it reach a hardness of up to HRC 60 and can be ground extremely thin and thus sharp. On the other hand, knives made of carbon mono-steel require much more care. They must be cleaned immediately after each use and carefully dried, are not suitable for the dishwasher and should be oiled regularly.

Coated blades

Instead of the basic choice of a blade material, some manufacturers opt for coating simple blades of knife steel. This allows to approach the positive properties of alternative materials, without their limitations, usually at significantly lower prices. In particularly inexpensive variants, the coating has more of a decorative value, allowing a knife blade to be colored in all the colors of the rainbow.

Here, as a rule, only the flanks of the blade are coated, the actual ground edge remains uncoated. Some manufacturers provide their blades with an explicit anti-stick coating, which on the one hand is supposed to be hygienically advantageous, and on the other hand, for example when cutting raw fish, is supposed to reduce sticking to the blade and thus make the work easier.

In addition, the coating protects the blade from corrosion and thus simplifies cleaning. Other coatings, for example those made of carbon, are applied explicitly to the cutting edge, giving it a special hardness and thus sharpness and optimizing the cutting performance of a knife.

Conclusion: Ceramic Knives

The decision in favor of a knife depends on numerous factors. For hobby chefs in particular, it is not always a matter of rational, measurable factors such as durability, sharpness, edge retention and care requirements alone. Often, it is visual factors that, in addition to price, have a significant influence on a purchase decision.

For this reason, knives made of Damascus steel, often in shapes that are based on Asian origins, are particularly popular. For quite a few hobby chefs, a noble knife makes a chef and the willingness to invest even larger sums in such a knife is definitely present.

Against this background, ceramic knives have a hard time. The solid value of a steel knife with a continuous blade and a handle made of precious wood is difficult to compare with the sober, modern look of a ceramic knife with a plastic handle. Nevertheless, there are a number of arguments in favor of modern ceramic knives.

Especially chefs who want to be measured by their results and appreciate reliable, fast and efficient work are well served by ceramic knives. If handled with care, ceramic knives also offer optimal conditions in the long term.

Regardless of the type of knife one chooses, a purchase, especially one involving a major investment, should not be made too lightly. The interest in new materials, such as ceramic knives, also always generates a large supply, not always optimally processed models, which can also keep all the promises of advertising.

“If you buy cheap, you buy twice” does not always have to be true, but you should not expect that ceramic knives at the lowest prices can do what the material is capable of doing in principle, with decent workmanship.

Last product update on 2021-09-24 | Source: Amazon Affiliate