Ceramic Knives vs Steel: How Do They Compare?

So, you’re ready to buy yourself a nice set of knives, but you aren’t sure where to begin. There are two main types of kitchen knives: stainless steel and ceramic knives. Ceramic knives are a newer form, and many people are pretty unfamiliar with what they can do and their advantages over traditional steel knives. Both certainly have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s explore ceramic knives vs steel to help you determine which will work best in your kitchen.

The Manufacturing Process

Steel knives are made from stainless steel, an alloy that’s made of at least two metals like carbon and iron, to improve the knife’s resistance to rust. This alloy also makes stainless steel knives very durable and capable of cutting through frozen food and bones.

To produce the best ceramic knives, raw material is ground into a very fine powder, which is then turned into a slurry and pumped into a spray dryer where it’s dried and returned to a powder state. Next, it’s pressed with 300 tons of pressure into a knife mold and fired at over 1,000 degrees F. From there, ceramic knives go through polishing in carbide wax to grind and smooth the edges and buff the surface.

Ceramic Knives vs Steel: Problems with Stainless Steel Knives

Stainless steel knives come with a number of disadvantages, along with their lower cost. They will eventually rust after exposure to salt and acids in foods, whereas ceramic knives are absolutely rust free. Stainless steel blades are also porous, which means odors will transfer from one food to another. Steel blades will also lose their sharp edge very quickly and need resharpening fairly often.

Why Choose Ceramic Knives?

Ceramic knives offer a number of clear advantages:

  • Superior Sharpness. Ceramic kitchen knives and ceramic hunting knives are made from the second hardest material after diamonds. Once sharpened, they will maintain their razor-sharp edge without wearing down. Chances are you won’t even need to resharpen ceramic kitchen knives, although Stone River Ceramics will always resharpen your ceramic knives at no cost.
  • Non-Porous Surface. Ceramics are often considered the best chef’s knife because the surface is non-porous, which means your blade won’t transfer odors between foods. You simply need to run a bit of water over the blade and spiciness, for example, won’t transfer from one item to the next.
  • More Sanitary. Ceramic knives are dense with very few pores, which means less chance for food particles to become trapped in the blade. Ceramic knives require just a quick rinse in warm water, which gets the blade cleaner than scrubbing a stainless steel knife.
  • Lightweight. Ceramic knives are very light, which means less strain on you.
  • Rust-free. With no metal components, ceramic knives will never rust.

The Downsides…

Ceramic knives are the clear choice if you want the best chef’s knife for slicing through vegetables, fruits and boneless meat. Still, they are not perfect. While they are incredibly hard, they are not meant for hard foods and bones, and the blade is so sharp that hard items may create chips. Ceramic knives also tend to be more expensive than stainless steel, although they compare to high-end stainless steel knives. All ceramic knives are high-end and go through a lengthy manufacturing process, whereas many stainless steel blades are made with an inferior alloy that will rust in no time.

While they lack the versatility of steel blades, a ceramic knife set is an investment that will last you a lifetime. You will not experience rust, a dull blade or any of the other issues associated with stainless steel models and these blades will serve you well, whether they’re used in the kitchen or in the field.