In our first installment, we discussed how to recognize a quality kitchen knife based on factors like weight, size, handles, and balance. However, we didn’t compare the composition of a knife. Stainless steel has been king in department stores for a few decades, but are they the best choice?
Ceramic kitchen knives have caught the attention of enthusiasts and chefs in recent years, mostly because they are harder than steel. People tend to assume this alone means they are a better choice, but it really comes down to how you will be using the knife and what you are looking for in your kitchen.
Ceramic Kitchen Blades
- Cleaner and Safer. Ceramic is less porous so they collect fewer germs than a metal blade. This also means they clean much easier.
- Lighter and Easier to Handle. Ceramic is naturally lighter than steel. In a knife blade, this means it takes a user less effort to chop, cut, or slice. Ceramic blades are great for making thin slices in vegetables, fruit, boneless meats, and even bread.
- Non-reactive Material. Metal rusts. Ceramic blades are stain, rust, and even odor-resistant. They are lighter and less porous than steel.
- A Lasting Edge. While traditional steel blades need to be honed and re-sharpened regularly, ceramic knives hold their edge up to 10 times longer.
- Specialty Sharpening Needs. Because a ceramic blade is harder than traditional blades, you’ll likely need to use specialty services rather than being able to sharpen them yourself at home. Further, traditional knife-sharpening tools can’t be used on ceramic blades.
- Ceramic is Brittle. If not used properly, these knives are known to chip. They can’t be used on hard, frozen foods or anything containing pits, seeds, or bones. They can even break if dropped on the floor or from a height.
- Expensive. Typically, ceramic is more expensive than steel. You may find cheaper ceramic knives, but buy with caution. These are likely low-quality and will break or lose their edge much easier.
- Can’t Replace All Your Metal Knives. While ceramic blades are great for certain uses, you’ll still need metal knives for certain tasks, like cutting meat off a bone or removing the pit from an avocado.
Metal Kitchen Blades
- Inexpensive. Simply put, metal knives can be much less expensive than ceramic.
- Easier to sharpen. There are many products available to sharpen a metal knife–most of which can be used at home.
- More durable. Stainless or carbon steel knives don’t break or chip as easily as ceramic knives. Depending on their composition, they can be used to cut virtually anything.
- Broader Range of Uses. Ceramic blades are great for certain tasks, but metal blades can be used for more slicing, dicing, and cutting tasks.
- Chemically Reactive and Porous. Steel knives are more porous so they tend to stain, transfer odors from food, and will rust over time. You can treat or delay these issues through proper care, but they will need to be replaced eventually.
- Need Sharpening Often. Unlike ceramic blades, metal knives lose their edge quicker and need to be sharpened more often.
- Harder on the User. Metal knives tend to be heavier, which makes their use more difficult than ceramic.
Which Knife Should You Choose?
The bottom line is, do you want one complete knife set to do everything for you, or a collection of specialty knives? You may choose a combination of both steel and ceramic, since a ceramic blade won’t cover every kitchen knife need, but will also complete some tasks better than their steel counterparts.
American Edge Knives has a collection of high-quality kitchen knives and cutlery options. Browse our options to find a blade or set that works for you!