Ceramic Kitchen Knife Guide and Review
Sharpness and Durability of Kyocera,, Chef, Pairing Knives – by Yuen Kit Mun
Ceramic knives are harder than steel. Differences between various premium steel knife brands are insignificant in comparison with a ceramic knife.
A ceramic knife will be sharper than the average steel knife, but a steel knife can sometimes be sharper.
For the average cook who rarely sharpens his knives, a ceramic knife will be sharper as it will keep its initial sharpness longer. Most steel kitchen knives are blunt from years of use. Few people know how to, or are willing to, sharpen steel knives to be sharper than a ceramic knife.
Despite the widespread impression that ceramic knives do not need to be sharpened, Kyocera does provide a resharpening service. They do not claim that their knives will stay sharp forever, only that they will hold their edge at least 10 times longer than high carbon steel.
Cliff Stamp reports successfully sharpening his Kyocera (in the same review mentioned in the previous section) using fine Silicon Carbide sandpaper that can be found in hardware stores.
Usage and Durability
Ceramic knives are weaker than steel. They should not be used to cut bone or crush garlic.
The Kyocera website says that “side and twisting forces should be avoided: carving, prying, boning” and that ceramic knives are best used for “slicing fruits, vegetables and boneless meats”.
Ceramic knives are brittle and chip more easily than steel. They should be treated carefully, not thrown into the sink or drawer together with crockery or steel utensils that could chip them. Such treatment will also damage steel knives, but to a lesser extent.
Ceramic knives are significantly lighter than steel knives of the same size. Additional weight can be an advantage for large knives such as choppers but for smaller knives, less weight makes the knife easier and less fatiguing to use.
Corrosion resistance and neutral taste (no metallic steel taste added to food) is one of the advantages of ceramic knives. Some fruits and vegetables are acidic, and will quickly rust stainless steel knives if they are left unwashed. The same goes for blood and meat juices when cutting meat.
Like glass, ceramic knives can stain, but with difficulty. They will be easier to maintain compared to stainless steel. Bleach can be used to remove stains.
Manufacturers and Brands
Kyocera was the first to market ceramic knives. They are still the best known brand.
Other manufacturers include Johncera, Boker (folding knives), M&J and URI Eagle.
Ceramic versus Steel
Ceramic knives do not replace steel knives entirely. They are specialized tools, for light cutting. One or two could be a good addition to a kitchen but steel knives will still be required.
Ceramic knives are an attractive choice for people who
- dislike sharpening their knives
- don’t abuse their knives
Those who are concerned about durability issues can experiment with a small ceramic paring knife, a type of knife that sees light use. If no problems are encountered, a larger ceramic knife such as a chef’s knife or a santoku can be purchased later.