Ceramic vs Metal

How does a ceramic knife differ from a metal knife?

The only difference is the material the blade is made out of. If you know anything about knives, you’ll know the blade is the most important part of the knife, thus making ceramic and metal knives very different. What happens when you replace the most important part of a knife? You’ll get a bunch of pros and cons.

PROS – For its price, there better be some pros.

  • SHARPNESS – The materials that make up a ceramic blade is very hard. It’s the second hardest material, right after diamonds. After it has been sharpened, it can keep its razor sharp edge and will not wear out. If you ever do need to sharpen it, most of the manufacturers will sharpen it for free. Manufacturers of metals knives will never offer you that service since they need to be sharpened so often.
  • ODORS – Ceramic material is not very porous at all. This keeps the blade from transferring odors from one food item to another. You can cut something spicy, give it a quick rinse and then cut something else. The spiciness won’t transfer to the next food item.
  • SANITARY – Ceramic blades are very dense, with very little pores. Just like your face, the fewer pores there are, the less dirt and grime can get into the pores. A quick rinse in warm water will get your ceramic knife a lot cleaner than a thorough scrubbing on a metal knife.
  • WEIGHT – Ceramic material is very light weight. The lighter the weight, the less strain on your arms and shoulders. You can rip through all your cutting like a pro.
  • RUST – No metal means no rust.

CONS – It’s not perfect.

  • BRITTLENESS – Hardness doesn’t mean it isn’t breakable. Ceramic knives aren’t meant to cut hard food such as frozen foods, bones, or anything that isn’t easily sliced. The blade is sharpened so thin that anything hard can put a chip on the tip. The knife can be dropped tip down without shattering, but the thin tip and edge can chip away. Chips can be fixed with a sharpening but we still do not recommend it. If you dropped a metal knife tip down, the blade would bend and require a professional alignment as well.
  • PRICE TAG – I really don’t think they are too expensive compared to other high end steel knives. All ceramic knives are very high end. But the lack of low end models makes cost an issue.
  • VERSATILITY – It is not the most versatile knife in the kitchen. It doesn’t make a great all purpose knife, but it does excel at it’s intended purpose, slicing! Save those rough tasks for you butcher’s knife.

Is it worth the price?

To begin, I really don’t think they are that expensive. You can get a top of the line ceramic knife for around $350 (such as the Kyocera Kyotop Knives), and many more super high quality ones for less than $100 (such as the Miyako 7inch Glossy White). Shop around for a high quality metal knife and you’ll be looking to spend over $300 or more! Most people think ceramic knives are expensive because they can’t find a cheapie $10 one from Walmart. Each ceramic knife goes through a long manufacturing process which makes it high end.

Follow our 30 day test. We want to find out the answer too! Do you own one? Share your experience.

88 thoughts on “Ceramic vs Metal

  1. dan

    I use those magnetic knife holders because they are awesome. I like all my knives in one spot. I wouldn’t go ceramic for this reason. They are not magnetic.

    1. Sjon

      That’s exactly the reason why they are attractive: ceramic knives do not disturb the electromagnetic field of foods you cut with them. Although an esoteric argument, it’s all about energy in life.

        1. Jorge

          What this person might mean is that since ceramics are non-reactive, you can use them with most acidic foods or reactive foods without any change occuring. Tomatoes and lemons especially can change their flavor the more they react with metal. The same is true of static electricity that builds up in certain meats like fish. Hence, why you never use a metal spoon with caviar. All those things are found on planet Earth, by the way.

          1. wrong.

            Okay. Um not at all.

            There is no “static electricity” when you cut fish with a knife, and the amount a steel blade oxidizes in contact with the acid from food while you are cutting it is so ridiculously small — it has absolutely no effect. Finally, even if they did react, using metal knives wouldn’t change the flavor of the food, it would just rust the blade, which, you’ll notice, it does not.

      1. Quinton

        Even if you use words like “the electromagnetic field of foods” it is not science. It is not an esoteric argument – it is what people call “woolly-headed.”

      1. Chris

        No, the best knives are not necessarily stainless steel. Most stainless steel is softer than carbon steel, which is why some of the best knives do rust.
        Also, only some stainless steel is non-magnetic. “There are several different types of stainless steels. The two main types are austenitic and ferritic, each of which exhibits a different atomic arrangement. Due to this difference, ferritic stainless steels are generally magnetic while austenitic stainless steels usually are not.” (Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-dont-magnets-work-on/)

      2. Matthew Bonneau

        “Stainless steel is not magnetic?” Must be some mystery force holding all my stainless steel knives up on my magnetic strip.

        1. yohan

          Place a magnet on a surgen’s scalpel. No sticky. Maybe you were duped and bought inferior composition knives. Science does not lie unless it is funded by NASA.

          1. Joshua Fike

            There are several types of stainless that are magnetic. Most of the stainless steel classes ( are magnetic. Only the austenitic 200 and 300 series of stainless steel) class is non-magnetic. This is the most common class. How do magnets stick to stainless refrigerators? Also, it does not make it a cheap stainless steel of it is magnetic. It is the crystalline structure of the material that decides if is magnetic. Actually, the 300 series of stainless steel is relatively inexpensive when compared to the other series of stainless steel. A 12″ x 24″ polish type 304 0.075″ thickness sheet will run around $100. A similar size sheet of 410 will run around $350. This all depends on the source and the quantity ordered. But to order 1 from McMaster Carr, those are the costs.

          2. Paul DeGonia

            A surgeon’s scalpel is made of 300 series stainless steel. IT is non- magnetic, it has very little carbon, high in chromium and it doesn’t hold an edge for long. On the other hand 400 series stainless steel is high in carbon which makes it magnetic, lower in chromium and holds an edge better than 300 series stainless steel.

    2. Sandra Gassaway

      You could always add a magnet to the handle, that’s what I do. Works like a charm. Who knows that’s probably next.

    3. jutta mccoll

      I drilled a small hole near the handle end & put some straight nails on the side of my cupboard, very handy, always right where I need them

    1. Elaine Cloer

      I was encouraged by your comment. My husband is a deer hunter. We process all the meat he bags. I have been very impressed with my small ceramic knife when trying to cut meat from the bones, etc. The blade is so much sharper and superior. We are constantly having to sharpen our other knives and they never seem to have the precision of my little ceramic knife. I have only had the knife a short time and have been wondering how it will “hold up”. I would love to have a full set of ceramic knives, but I’m not sure if spending a significant amount of money is worth it. I didn’t spend much on my paring knife (believe I purchased it in Walmart), but I don’t know how well it will perform long term. I would be most appreciative to learn or hear from others.

  2. Ash Charlton

    Ceramic knives certainly feel that extra bit sharper than steel, and I find that I use them much of the time. The only downsides I’ve found is that, because of their fragility, I’ve never found a knife of more than 7″, and those aren’t generally available in classic French Chef shape (which is the shape I was taught to chop with, and which I believe to be the most efficient and versatile shape). Also the lightness isn’t always an advantage: when chopping cabbages and the like I often revert back to a good heavy steel knife. I would generally have both in my kitchen, as neither is perfect.

  3. Paul

    I have cooked in almost every environment,from short-order breakfast diners and homeless shelters to four star dining. Ceramic knives are pretty and chic but not overly practical. I also do not agree that they keep their edge as i have seen many become dull with use. There are a few foods that ceramic is much better to use, like lettuce and other foods that are reactive to oxidizing, etcetera. We used to use plastic or wooden knives when the need arose to do so and they worked very well. A good set or German or Japanese steel knives will always be my first choice. Steel is always dependable, especially if one knows how to use steel, leather and stone.

  4. Mary

    ok, here’s a disadvantage that no one is talking about. I was making Minestrone and chopping a lot of veggies for it. I didn’t realize that a eighth of the tip broke off, until my husband bit into it in the soup. The piece he found could have broken a tooth, or worse, been swallowed and caused damage to his intestine. We can see that he recovered most, but not all of the tip, so the kettle of soup had to be dumped. I loved my ceramic knives until this happened.

    1. MW

      Same thing happened to us when slicing boneless chicken breast. 5/8″ of the tip was found in the food later. Totally didn’t realize. Luckily, no one was hurt, but that was scary! I have also noticed since, on the same knife, that it is missing a a very small nick farther down the blade. They are hard, but not tough. Like glass, ceramic can be very strong, but with the right hit it shatters!

  5. peter

    On the evolutionary scale ceramics are king, having said that in the 21st century there is still little difference between vegetables, meat, and some heads, except a ceramic knife will not cut through bone.. other than that it’s good to go…..

  6. Larry

    Warning… Please be careful! We recently purchased a ceramic knife and vegetable peeler. We used it for a couple weeks. We at first were delighted with the performance until I recently sliced a ripe acorn squash. I did not notice that the blade lost some pieces along it length until my wife pointed it out. We found only a small portion of the shards in the squash. We threw out the squash. This could have been disastrous if ceramic was ingested. After now reading about how fragile they are we will be returning to good old steel knives. It appears to be a new product that missed some serious reality checks. If professionals are using these ceramic knives then how often are they also not noticing fragments lost in a commercially prepared meal. This one scares the hell out of me.

  7. Valerie Meyer

    My daughter and myself bought a set of the black ceramic knives at the PNE in Aug./14. Both of us have had a chip out of one of the knives. Looks like a half a circle both around the same time about three weeks ago . My daughter works and is not available on week days or we would have been over to see you sooner.

  8. Tracey Peter

    I also bought these knifes at the PNE at the end of August and out of the 5 piece set I only have 1 left that hasn’t broken. I paid over $200.00 dollars for this set thinking that these would be so good and also made in Canada. These are crap not happy what so ever..

  9. Brandon White

    I think there is allot of good information here. However there are a couple things I would disagree with. There are several companies that make metal knives that offer sharpening services. One company, CUTCO, Actually has forever unlimited free sharpening’s. Also many of these Ceramic knives are only intended to be used for slicing fruits and vegetables. trying to do tasks like crushing garlic will cause them to break. I find most of these knives to be highly over priced, and if the knives are so strong and durable I don’t see why the company wouldn’t replace them if they got broken accidently? Then again the warranty on my CUTCO knives covers that, Maybe I’m just partial lol

    1. Magnets

      They’re hard, meaning they’re brittle and susceptible to breaking upon being forced to change its shape (bending).
      The act of crushing garlic creates those stresses and will therefore crack the knife. Thicker knife fixes this, but makes it less useful for cutting.
      Basically the right tool should be used for the right job. We’re humans, we have that luxury.

  10. DannyM

    I have a ceramic folding pocket knife and I love it. I also carry a steel knife because as mentioned you can not use ceramic for everything. I have a work sharp belt sharpener and diamond belts to sharpen the ceramic knives and it works very well. I have used it to remove little chips in a ceramic knife before. I would say yes add at least 1 ceramic knife to your collection. You can’t go wrong!

  11. Naef Basile

    So what is the verdict regarding the possibility of eating a ceramic chip without knowing it? I just ordered a ceramic chopping knife and a “ceramic-safe” silicone chopping board for my Wife, who is forever chopping vegetables. Are we or one of our kids going to end up with perforated intestines?!

  12. Morgan

    While I’m pretty sure the pro-range steel knives will outperform the cheap steel knives, I have no idea how good ceramic knives are. Are there reasons why I might want to choose ceramic over steel or vice versa?

  13. Karlos

    I recently brought a set of ceramic knives from Rocknife Ltd (3 inch to 6 inch blades) as a present for my wife as we love to cook with a whole variety of vegetables to go along side our meals. When I set out to look for kitchen knives, I started a little research on the net and that’s where I discovered the idea of ceramic knives.
    Normally, I would have gone straight for a traditional set of steel knives. However, looking through the list of benefits of ceramic knives, such as that they they stay sharper for much longer than steel knives because of the way they’re made (I don’t know the full ins and outs of how they’re made) and that they’re designed for slicing rather than chopping boney meats, I decided to try them out.
    My conclusion is that ceramic knives are extremely good for slicing up vegetables, fruit and sponge cakes, basically general usage except, of course, meats with bones (they can chop beef, lamb, chicken breasts for stir fries etc… pretty easily). However, I would advise against using them for crushing garlics and spices, which we did and now we’re one knife down. We have had them for a long time and I am positive that they are just as sharp as when we first brought them and we use them now on a regular daily basis and have never looked back. Price wise, Rocknife’s ceramic knives were pretty good going as they were offering them as a set. All in all, I’m one happy customer with our knives. One last point as well, it does make a difference what board you use the ceramic knives on in my opinion, metal and hard wooden chopping boards just don’t do it for me, we use bamboo chopping boards and that does not blunt the knives at all.

  14. Gregg Eshelman

    I bought my mother a couple of different, inexpensive, ceramic knife sets on eBay for Christmas. One was only $13.96 with blade lengths of 3, 4, 5 and 6 inches, with a heavy plastic storage sheath for each, and a peeler. The blades are hollow ground with a beveled cutting edge. And wow do they cut! The 6″ slips through a loaf of french bread almost as if it’s not there, leaving no crumbs. They easily slice through a summer sausage, including the plastic wrap. I’ve sharpened steel kitchen knives with a Lansky and carefully honed and steeled them and they never cut that good. The knives come with instructions to use only with plastic or wood cutting surfaces, never on stone, metal or other hard surfaces.
    So check eBay and Amazon, you don’t have to throw your wallet at ceramic knives to “get your feet wet”.

  15. E M

    Ok iam not a chef but a want to be but a knife some what of a knife man German steel Sweed steel all good but Ceramic knives in there right uses are the best very sharp keep there edge for long time just don’t pry or bend them

    1. John Venable, MD

      YES- in a way, but Nature had done the firing and the cooling. The break edges on Flint are a sharp as they come. JEV

  16. Vern

    Ceramic knives chip and fail very easy they are so delicate that if you are at all using them without a very soft cutting surface you run the risk of it chipping…. I don’t agree with the misinformation on this website about a metal knife costing $300 yes you could spend that but I was a chef for 12 years in a very high volume food service… I learned to sharpen knives before that though from a retired German butcher…I had a reputation for it when I worked and I guarantee you if you maintain the blade with a steel and only when necessary use a stone to either repair a chip or re-establish the edge wall you will find them to be perfectly adequate especially for a home use scenario.. I only cook at home now and I rarely even use my professional set use a cheap chicago cutlery that my mother cuts without a board on metal pans and unless she chips the blade I steel it and I can shave hairs off my arm with it…The entire set was like $30… and for obvious reasons don’t let the family use my Wusthof professional set which for 5 knives was under $300 dollars… I liked that brand over Henckels only because the Henckels were harder and tended to break in half if dropped or even tapped as I saw it happen.. I worked in several places where they would not let anyone use ceramic cutlery because they had issues with them breaking and so most chefs will not risk using them … There is also a comment on whether stainless is magnetic… There are 2 kinds of stainless steel and these very different from each other in the corrosive resistance and the application for which applied…. Kitchen knives at least all the ones I have ever handled are indeed magnetic however surgical equipment is not as is anything used in medicine and for a specific reason that if you used magnetic stainless in medicine it has metals in it that could cause reactions do to the nature of it… It is not a problem with like dead things but living apparently it does cause issues… Another thing about ceramic is that if you accidently like sit a pot on it or pan it can crunch it into pieces….! I would not pay $200 for a fragile thing like that and the only thing it apparently has going is being very sharp and good for cutting lettuce…if you are worried about rust pull it apart then…The ceramic knife does get dull and once it does you have to either send it back or use a die grinder with a special masonry disc and its a hassle…. The ceramic pans that are supposed to last forever also fail faster than teflon… I think they are are trying to sell you a square wheel here and for really a ridiculous price! Steel is the way to go and germans make it the best followed by the japanese….avoid chinese as they make them very inferior and break at the handles often times… USA used to make chicago cutlery but that was um 34 years ago so I doubt that brand even exists and if it does its likely china now.. Forshner was also a good brand made in germany and half the price of the bigger named ones….

  17. Mitchell Lyons

    … and what happens when someone is murdered by a ceramic knife? Have any of you tomato cutters ever thought of that? They are deadly and should be banned by the strictest legislation.

  18. Chuck

    Ok. So… You are banning an in animate object for something someone might do? Wow dude, lets ban cars cuz someone might kill someone with one. Oh how about plastic bags cuz someone might smother someone with them! How about banning your brain, it has murderous thoughts. Or better yet, commie, move your stupid ass to a nation that prevents usefull things from entering their country. Damn!

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  20. GeoNOregon

    I just love opinionated people who are uninformed, (please don’t overlook the intended sarcasm in this statement).
    ‘ceramc knife gets dull you have to send it back to the manufacturer or use a die grinder…’ Well… that, or you could just use a diamond grit sharpening stone. And thinking about it, (as someone who has several die grinders and has spent literally hundreds of hours using them to create high performance cylinder heads and modifying other engine parts for high performance motors, as well as using them for a wide variety of wood woodworking &/or metal working tasks), about the last thing I would use to sharpen ANYTHING would be a die grinder. They are too squirrelly to get a good knife edge, (I’ve sharpened a few things, including knives, and hand made a number of cutting implements in my day, as well).

    A belt sander is the tool of choice of knife makers for shaping a blade. When it comes to the actual sharpening of a blade, be it steel, or ceramic, the most efficient, and for my time, most effective is a diamond ‘stone’. They are actually manufacturered from plastic, with a metal grid impregnated into the plastic, and coated? with diamond grit. (I added the question mark because I don’t know precisely how companies like DMT makes their sharpening diamond ‘stones’, and am not too proud to admit I don’t know everything.)
    I do know how diamond sharpening ‘stones’ perform, and there is nothing comparable. A tenth of the work as a natural stone, with better results. Try some, you will be amazed, if you have ever spent much time using a stone on steel to get a sharp edge.
    Oh, about the comment regarding SS, (stainless steel), being softer than steel. That is about like saying one rock is harder than another… it depends on which of about 15 different SS’s you are talking about, (and counting, since new application specific SS’s are being developed all the time), and which of, i’m guessing, at least two hundred, types of steel you are talking about. Then of course, when you are talking about hardness of either SS or steel, you are talking about the potential hardness, since hardness is actually created through heat treating processes, which vary as much as the number of people doing it, since it is as much art, as science.
    With that said, generally, SS is harder than steel during the manufacturing process, as it takes specialized cutting tools to machine SS. The machining world considers it harder. I do too, because I’ve tried drilling holes in both SS and ‘regular’ steel, and SS almost REQUIRES a drill press, or very strong and resilient arms.

  21. Brian Juricek

    I would be far more interested in more quantifiable differences in the knives and brands, such as remaining porosity in the blade, any additional doping agents (such as yttria,) or differences in geometry (such as thickness.) I think these translate better to a speculative customer. No material is invincible, and thus all edges degrade. Ceramic knives are the same, and our interest is in which ones are the most resilient.

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  24. andypaulis

    I would agree with ceramic for personal use. Not where the product of the knife’s performance might be consumed by others. Too high a risk of brittle break-off. Ceramic blades are not suitable for chopping. Ceramic chopping blades are not made for that reason. Still, there are ceramic blades up to 8″ that are shaped to make for a good chopping instrument at the back end of the blade. They will have minute break-up along the blade edge of force contact.
    It isn’t just which is sharper, blah, blah, blah. Ceramic is maybe 3/4 of a % harder than high-carbon steel. To me, ceramic distracts from the culture of making and using knives. I use a 3000/6000 grain whetstone for sharpening. When it’s time to sharpen, the slurring is whetted by my drool. You could hit me over the head with a black-jack and I’d just keep on sharpening. I know my blade can cut as well as need be. Efficiency. I know it can do more than can any ceramic blade, forcing into a bone knuckle, etc., without having to change blades from ceramic to steel. What’s the problem with sharpening? I can stop at any time and sharpen. During work all I need is a stone rod or steel to sharpen in between, at the most. In between jobs, slurry stone.

  25. Lotsodots

    I love my sharp ceramic 7″ knife for slicing, but not for chopping. The tip has now chipped and I need to send it somewhere to get it repaired or replaced. It’s supposed to have a ten year warranty, but I can’t find the paperwork on it. It says Riccard advance ceramic on the blade but I can’t find that online anywhere.

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  31. Gloria

    I like stainless steal Cuisinart knives. I just bought a set of Cuisinart ceramic knives frim HSN. After reading how they can chip off into food, I am not even going to open the box, I am sending them back. What’s the point of eating healthy if you use a knife that could kill you?

  32. Pete

    Wonderful & informative Ginsu!! This will save me some Ginsu money. I’ll Ginsu stick to steel knives. I can Ginsu sharpen them when Ginsu necessary. I’m going to go work on inventing a Ginsu rounder wheel & some Ginsu ceramic tortilla Ginsu chips. Peace

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  37. Bruce

    Regarding price: I think prices must be coming down. I bought a pair of paring knives from aldi about 6mths ago and I am very happy with them. I think cost was about A$15 (US$12).

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  39. Sheylenna

    I found a nice ceramic knife from Farberware at Wal-Mart for less than $4 so far it cuts better than any other knife I have ever owned… Except for my CutCo petit chef and I do miss that one… but this cuts just as good.

  40. Gallia

    Most important PRO for ceramic knifes is that you can cut vegetables and fruits without loosing of vitamins and micro elements. The metal knifes are working as a catalyst and accelerate the breakdown of vitamin C and iron compounds. For me this is the only reason to buy ceramic knifes.

  41. adil

    Both types of knives perform really good if used for the right purpose. The only difference is the material the blade is made out of. And if you know anything about knives, you’ll know the blade is the most important part of the knife, thus making ceramic and metal knives very different. To make things simple for you, we’ve compared and listed all main pros and cons for ceramic knives with regards to metal/steel knives. Enjoy!

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