Ceramic Knives. Any advice.
- annfaulkner Dec 30, 2011 06:43 PM
Hubby bought me a $200 gift certificate to a local Kitchen shop. I want to SPLURGE!!!! Any opinions on ceramic knives??? THe owner says they NEVER need sharpening......She has own o set for 5 years....Any ideas...Thanks, Ann
I really like mine for prepping fruit and veggies but you can't use them for a lot of things- anything with bones, anything that's just really hard, can't smash garlic with it, have to be handwashed gently and kept where they won't get dinged or bumped by anything, etc.
I do love my big one for going right through a still warm from the garden ripe tomato in the summer time......
With heavy home usage, you will see wear to the edge in maybe 6-12 months. Depends, of course, on your cutting boards and your cutting technique, etc. Whether or not they're still "sharp" after a year or two depends on how you personally define 'sharp.' Definitely not as sharp as a good steel knife that has been sharpened well recently.
Mine are as sharp today as the day I got them two years ago- but half of that is probably that they aren't used for everything!
If you've never used them before you could always buy a single ceramic knife in a size/shape you like to use and use regularly and see what you think before really splurging.
I don't like them. Here's why:
- They are difficult to sharpen. It is simply and absolutely NOT TRUE that they never need sharpening. The owner of your local shop is feeding you a load of bull. They will eventually need sharpening (though their edge retention is longer than most steel knives). When they do need resharpening, your only real options are to send it back to the factory, grind away forever and a day on a diamond stone, or buy a new knife.
- They are brittle. This means you can chip out the edge more easily than you can with a steel knife (though some steel knives are also prone to chipping) AND that the blade as a whole can snap in half if you apply much lateral force on it.
- To prevent the whole blade from snapping, ceramic knife makers keep their knives rather thick behind the edge. This means that your knives will give you more resistance while cutting - effectively, the knife will feel duller. There are steel knives available with much better grinds and which cut far more effortlessly than any ceramic knife I've seen.
- They are NOT sharper than steel knives. Actually, a high quality steel knife usually comes sharper and can be kept sharper than a ceramic. This is in part due to the difficulty of sharpening a ceramic and in part due to the simple fact that makers don't usually put a very fine factory edge on ceramic knives.
So basically, the only upsides a ceramic offers is that it is completely non-reactive, and that it has longer edge retention than a steel knife (though again, they still need sharpening). IMO these don't even come close to making up for their downsides. Buy only one (and don't spend a lot of money on it) if you want to try one out. But if you want a knife that is sharper and cuts more easily, get a high quality steel knife (the Japanese are making some excellent offerings, and some of them are fairly affordable) and focus on keeping it as sharp as you can.
I think you are better off with steel-based knives. If you are going to get ceramic knives, then try to limit to a very small numbers. Kyocera is probably best brand for ceramic.
Let's maybe start with some questions ... what are your current knives? what do you prep a lot of? when's the last time your knives got sharpened? Do you send them out or do them yourself?
I agree with most of the others, especially cowboy and chemical. The prices are dropping these days. So if you really want one, I'd only go with Kyocera and just get one knife, not a whole big set. I don't own any ceramic knives and haven't ever used one. If the price keeps dropping I'll probably buy one for the fun of it - since I already have a diamond sharpening system.
If you consistently only use it on stuff like onions, tomatoes and other soft fruit, veggies then the edge will last a long time (on a soft cutting surface like plastic). It'll be very light, sharp, and probably fun to use.
But I'd rather have a very good quality steel japanese knife. Or ... 2 ...