Clever thoughts in a review of the best ceramic knives
When we speak about ceramic knives, we mean that they are made of 100% ceramic which though differs from the one used to produce a cup or plate. The most common material in this case is zirconium oxide of the highest grade or so called zirconia. Being extremely hard even when it is compared to stainless or carbon steel, it wins on this point. It does not rust and in no way it absorbs smells. In order to achieve such a perfect result the particular technology is applied in industries. The ceramic blades go through a firing process for hardening. They become inert without reactions with any foods including tastes and flavors. You should know that zirconium concerning hardness is close to diamond. So you can count on strong, tough, and razor sharp blade. With a ceramic knife you’ll cut paper thin slices of juicy vegies and fruits and dice onions in a perfect way without much effort.
What is better ceramic or steel knife?
When you decide on buying a new knife set or it is time to replace your old one, you start researching market and find a range of new materials and technologies to choose among. In order to make the choice you’d better to know the reliable brands, particular features of needed kitchen knives and of course you should pay your focused attention to the material they are made of. There are three principle ones: stainless (or carbon) steel and ceramics. Let’s consider the difference in accordance with the following points:
As we mentioned ceramic knives are made of zirconium oxide in the form of zirconium powder, which is pressed by heat until a solid mass is formed. When a blade is ready, its edges are sharpened by grinding with a grinding wheel coated with diamond dust. The point is that zirconium is a very hard mineral, harder than the hardened steel, that is why you will have no need to sharpen it often.
The steel knives are made of various alloys, the composition of which is determined by a manufacturer. The ingredients added to steel improve the properties of a blade. The most common metals added to the steel are carbon and titanium, as a result we have knives, which can be used for a lot of years. The more affordable models are made of steel with cobalt, manganese, and vanadium and they cannot boast of that durability.
As we have said, the ceramic blades do not need frequent sharpening though in due course their performance weakens, and grinding is required. And here is a rather strict recommendation to refuse doing it at home and turn to the professionals, which can help. Some manufacturers offer the free sharpening.
The knives made of stainless steel are usually sharp when they are purchased but after a couple of months they need to be grinded. This term depends on frequency and intensity of cutting. The dull blade turns to be dangerous for health that is why you should not cut with a dull knife in order to escape injuries. You can apply a honing rod almost every day. And when it is obvious that the edge needs to be restored, use a whetstone. The honing tools are rather effective in everyday regime. But be aware to sharpen the knives too frequently because it can damage the edge.
The ceramic knives serve for a long time, almost lifetime. You can need sharpening just in five years since you have bought them. The ceramic blade is not prone to rust. And that is also an advantage compared to the steel cutlery. Though, if ceramic knives are used with very hard foods, they can be broken. This moment depends on the quality of a raw material which in its turn depends on a manufacturer.
The knives made of steel alloy are reliable, if you use them in accordance with the producer’s instruction.
Ceramic knives are marketed in less choice compared to steel ones. There are no so many shapes, sizes, and functional variations. Though, there are a lot of colors. And as it is obvious the material is usually the same without combinations and it means that you hardly find a large gap in prices for this product. In general ceramic knives are rather expensive due to a complicated crafting process.
As to steel knives you can find a wide diversity of quality, composition, design, size and shape. In one set you can find a lot of options. Of course by this reason you are free to choose among various prices. And that means the steel knives are affordable. Then why do people buy ceramic ones?
Why should you prefer a ceramic knife?
The first reason for buying ceramic knives is their extraordinary sharpness. Then, of course the chance to forget about grinding for many years sounds rather attractive. If you want to provide fine perfect slicing of meats without bones or fresh and fruity vegetables, you should regard this option. The most heavy-duty tasks should be left for the steel cutlery. It is a reasonable decision to have both types in your kitchen. We would like to list all the advantages of this material, which carry conviction in addition to precision slicing. So, what else is good with ceramic knives complementary to easy and efficient performance of slicing and dicing tasks? They are:
- Very light. Your hand will not be tired when cutting the veggies for some salad.
- Really easy to clean. They can be rinsed and wiped with a kitchen towel – that will be enough.
- Resistant to dust. If steel is not of very high quality or if the maintenance requirements are not met, it can be prone to corrosion. The ceramic does not oxidize – it is non-corrosive at all.
- Providing better performance for a long time. The cutting edge of ceramic blades remains sharper longer.
- Resistant to enduring acids. It will not react with foods of any kind including acids.
- Safe in any respect. This material resists germs, bacteria being eco-friendly, BPA free and secure for human health and environment.
- Nonporous. The smooth surface provides with a range of benefits including simple cleaning, easy penetration through the foods with high density due to lack of friction.
- Non-reactive. You can easily switch between various foods when cutting with a ceramic knife because the blade moves from product to product tastelessly.
Things you should know about ceramic knife
We would like to tell you that the first company, which marketed and distributed a ceramic knife for home needs, was Kyocera of Kyoto Japan. Of course, now the situation changes greatly. The competition is intensive and there are numerous producers trying to create the best ceramic cutlery. We’d bring up such brands as Calphalon, Victorinox, and Shenzen – the reputable ones, which are known all over the world. Indeed there are much more of them competing in quality with the difference in price. For example the Cuisinart manufactures and distributes a lot of ceramic coated multicolor knife sets. But you should be careful here – they consists of stainless steel blades covered with ceramic. This innovation provides a cook with easy non-stick slicing being quite different technology, which is interesting enough but cannot be compared to the true ceramic tools with all its advantages and weak points.
Being very hard and sharp the ceramic knives are resistant to wear, but they are susceptible to breaking. The chips may occur on a blade. Another point to remember is their tendency of being fragile. You should not drop them on a stone floor at a height. Due to the above peculiarities a ceramic knife cannot replace a chef’s knife absolutely. It is perfect for other purposes. You will cut the cold butter, tomato without squashing it and other familiar things with this knife perfectly. You will not feel any difficulty in such complicated tasks. Buy it for precision work with vegetables and fruits without any doubt! But ceramic knife cannot be an all-purpose knife. And this condition you should take into consideration in order escape disappointment.
By the way ceramic knives can be used at home and by the professionals at restaurants for instance. When they say that this kind of cutlery is preferable for home cooks, it means that in a professional kitchen there is much more chances to drop a knife in a fuss and damage it. Though the performance is excellent and is quite required for chefs including because of its versatility and ability to pass from one food to another without cleaning up.
How to choose?
When you weigh up the pros and cons of ceramic knives and decide that you need them and there are a lot of reasons, which persuade you to make this choice, you still have to consider the other features of the knife in order to choose the one, which is better for you.
- Sharpness. Once again about this performance and it is irreproachable as to this type of blades. This very moment sets ceramic knives apart at the market – a kind of landmark. Being super sharp they retain sharpness for much longer compared to steel blades.
- Balance. This is a very important moment providing simple and safe cutting. You will feel the difference between the well balanced knife and that one, which has a lack of balance. This quality does not depend on the material but rather on the producer and his approach to a knife construction. Ensure that the knife, you want to buy, has evenly distributed weight.
- Handles. They can be made of almost any material, which is smooth but at that not slippery. It can be wood, metal, rubber or plastic. Sometimes the handles can be molded to achieve the best ergonomics, but this is a matter of preferences. Another requirement to the handles: they should be hygienic and easy to clean up. And of course durability does matter. Anyway, it is up to you to choose. The handle should feel comfortable when you are cutting. Pay attention to knuckle clearance – it is especially vital for a chef’s knife.
- Price. Well, this is a reasonable point as far as everybody wants to buy the best thing for the relevant money. As we said the difference in cost is not so obvious with ceramic knives but you can find a lower one due to a budget producer or if you are buying only two knives instead of set consisting of 7 items, for example. Compare the offers and make conclusion. But remember that you’d better spend as much as you can on your ceramic knives, which are the good investment.
- Size and Quantity. If you decide to purchase a set, you should decide on quantity. Remember your cutting methods and most frequent dishes you cook every day.
Types of knives
The following types of cutlery are common in ceramic:
- Chef’s knife. Though, we have said that chef’s knife should not be made of ceramic because this material can be fragile and won’t do with hard foods. While a chef’s knife probably is the most reliable one being an all-purpose item with heavy, tall, and broad blade which is usually curved for such cutting method as rocking. The length of the knife is between 6 and 12 inches. The larger blade, the more professional cook should be.
- Paring. It is rather small knife used for peeling of vegetables and fruits. Its length usually varies between 2 and 4.5 inches.
- Utility. This is a universal knife which is not as big as chef’s one and not so small compared to paring knife. Its length is usually between 4.5 and 8 inches. You can do almost anything with it – the tasks which do not require a lot of cooking skills.
- Bread knife. It has a serrated edge perfect for cutting bread passing through the crust without pressing the soft part under that crust. You can use it for juicy vegies and fruits also if you want.
Here we should say a couple of words about Japanese kitchen knives being chisel ground with bevelling only on one side. You should know its following types:
- Gyuto that can be compared to a professional chef’s knife.
- Santoku being a general purpose kitchen knife with a rounded tip looking a little bit different from the above with being flatter.
There are other Japanese knives, but they are not available in ceramic, only in steel like: Sashimo bocho for slicing raw fish, Nakiri bocho or Usuba bocho both for chopping vegetables, Deba bocho for cutting fish.
The ceramic knives should be maintained in a proper way, if you want them to last for a long time and they can be in use for centuries almost. Refuse cut too hard foods with them like frozen meat. You should hold them confidently and be careful not to drop them. And again you’d better clean them by hand. The rules are not difficult at all. What else? You should store the ceramic knives escaping direct contact with steel utensils so that you could not damage them. Though, it is so easy to clean up these knives because the blades are not porous and that is why they don’t absorb any food elements. You are highly recommended to cut with them only on wood, plastic, or silicone boards (do not use stone or glass ones). Never scrape the ceramic blade across the hard surface.
Black or white?
We have mentioned that there is no choice of material when we speak about ceramic knives. And that is true as far as only zirconium oxide is used for this type of cutlery. But there are two different processing technologies providing the slightly different result: white and black ceramic blades. They are called Hot and Cold Isostatic Pressing of Ceramics. Thus, the manufacturers get a chance to control the properties of the material increasing its efficiency.
HIP (a hot-isostatic press) occurs when high pressure (up to 200 MPa) and high temperature (up to 2 000°C) are applied to the raw material via an inert gas. The goal is to get the highest possible density without productivity loss.
CIP happens when even higher pressure to ceramic powders is applied but the temperature is not so high not more than 93°C. This process helps to achieve enough strength of the processed material.
As far as ceramic is a fragile material, the CIP is not appropriate due to rapid change of temperature. HIP is possible in this case and as a result we get a black blade made of a zirconium oxide went through this firing process. It is characterized with extra durability because the weave between the ceramic molecules becomes tighter due to the HIP.
The white ceramic blade is also made out of zirconium oxide but it is not pressed in accordance with this technology.
The best knives
VOOV Ceramic Knife Set
It consists of a paring knife, Santoku knife, srrated knife, chef’s knife, clack blade sheaths, black knife block. The ceramic blades are made of white zirconium. It is well priced taking into account the large numbers of items. In addition it includes sheaths.
The handles of these knives are simple and very comfortable to grip with minimalist design. The roomy modern knife block suggested with this set of four knives is intended for eight items at least. So you can buy any additional knife and store it here. The number of these extra items depends on their size. The 6-inch serrated knife is perfect for cutting bread and other waxy foods with tough exterior. This set is budget priced and that is another advantage.
Kyocera Ceramic Knives
Kyocera is the best Japanese producer of ceramic knife being one of the world’s largest and advanced manufacturers offering ceramic knives of high quality. The set consists of two items: utility knife and chef’s Santoku, which are produced in a Japanese-style and can be used as intended. Here you’ll get the new Z212 ceramic blade created thanks to the innovative ceramic material technology offered by Kyocera.
Due to this peculiarity the blade remains sharper during twice longer period than the other ceramic blades. The handles are made of elastomer looking like rubber. It is soft to touch and pleasant to hold allowing confident control under a cutting process. The knives are well balanced being very light and that helps to avoid fast fatigue from cutting.
Cook N Home
These knives, produced by Neway International Housewares, are bright with color coded handles. There are 6 items in it: Santoku chef’s knife, utility ceramic knife, ceramic fruit knife, ceramic paring knife, knife sheaths, and a peeler. The color offered no only for brightness but also for easy selection of the needed piece. You can perform a wide range of cutting task with this set especially when they require precision.
The handles are designed simply but the arch provides better performance in handling. You shoul turn your attention to this set if you want to try ceramic knives but not ready to pay a lot. Here the protective covers included. But be careful with hard foods, the blades are rather fragile.
Kikusumi Ceramic Knife Set
It is made in Japanese style and consists of Gyuto chef’s knife, Santoku knife, and a paring knife. The manufacturer managed to provide the perfect balance making his cutlery perfect for intensive everyday use without getting tired. And at that the set is marketed at a reasonable price. The black blades are extremely sharp being made of premium zirconium oxide. The items are lightweight and super strong. The handles of oval form are very ergonomic and represented in red and black – you can choose. Together with the knives you’ll get a complimentary app with free recipes and a lifestyle magazine. By the way the producer gives a platinum warranty guaranteeing coverage against defects.
You can regard even more ceramic knives and sets here. There are perfect design solutions, one of which will certainly match your kitchen. And the properties of ceramic knives will meet your requirements for sure. Once again, you should remember that they are eco-friendly and safe for your health being inert towards any foods.
Summarizing we should say that a ceramic knife is a versatile, lightweight and very sharp tool that is needed in both home and professional kitchen. This is exactly for those who prefer a low-maintenance kitchen tool, which is able to manage with a lot of everyday operations without being sharpened for a long time. The ceramic knives are really a hot item on a modern kitchen being sometimes a matter of style and prestige than practical reason. Though, there are a couple of restrictions, which should be taken into consideration.