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Ceramic knives may not have the longstanding reputation of stainless steel knives, but they’re gaining traction among professional and home chefs alike. While neither type is better than the other, ceramic offers its own advantages.
For starters, ceramic knives are made from zirconium oxide, or zirconia. This makes them significantly harder than their metal counterparts, so they retain their sharpness for longer and don’t need to be sharpened as often. And unlike steel knives, ceramic ones don’t stain, rust, and absorb odors. Plus, they’re super lightweight, making dicing or slicing certain foods—such as fruits and veggies, bread, cheeses, and even cooked meats—more precise and effortless.
It’s worth noting the downside to ceramic knives, which is their brittleness—meaning they’re not suited to tasks like boning, prying, or cutting frozen foods, and they’re prone to chipping or breaking when bent or dropped. That said, they’ll likely make a great addition to your existing knife set because of how much easier they can make food prep and other lighter cooking tasks. Plus, they’re a boon for those who don’t have the time or inclination to constantly sharpen their knives and want a more low-maintenance option.
Here, we list the top ceramic knives on the market to help you find the right one for your kitchen needs.
Best Overall: Kyocera Revolution 5.5-Inch Ceramic Santoku Knife
Retains edge for a long time
Free sharpening service
Blade is brittle
Doesn't come with a sheath
If you’re new to ceramic knives, this 5.5-inch santoku from the renowned Japanese ceramic knife producer Kyocera is a great one to start with. Made from the company’s proprietary zirconia ceramic material, this knife is versatile, equally great at slicing, mincing, and dicing fruits and vegetables, as well as cooked and boneless meats. It’s also extremely sharp and lightweight, which, combined with its ergonomically shaped handle, makes it easy to use without a lot of pressure.
Many users like that they can work quickly and make precise cuts with this knife. The blade also retains its edge for a long time (with some saying it has stayed sharp for up to a year, even with regular use) and is rust- and acid-resistant—making the knife a great low-maintenance option.
This santoku is available in a wide range of colors and with either a white or black blade. While the company says it is dishwasher-safe, most experts agree it's best to wash ceramic knives by hand. Its blade, while sharp, is brittle, and may chip or break if great force is applied or if it’s used in tasks that require cutting through hard material like bone.
Best Budget: WACOOL Ceramic Knife Set 3-Piece
Great customer service
Handle may come loose over time
If you’re looking for a quality set of everyday ceramic knives, but don’t want to pay a steep price for it, this WACOOL three-piece set is for you. Available with either black or colorful handles, the set comes with a 6-inch chef’s knife, a 5-inch utility knife, and a 4-inch paring knife, as well as plastic sheaths. Their lightness and sharpness make chopping fruit, vegetables, and boneless meats more efficient and effortless, and several users like how much this reduces their prep time—not to mention how fun it is to use the knives.
For lightweight ceramic knives of this price point, many are also pleased with the quality, sturdiness, and precision; they can cut as easily through carrots and butternut squash as they can through tomatoes and garlic. These knives also have excellent edge retention and are rust-resistant and easy to clean.
Best Paring Knife: Vos Ceramic Paring Knife
Feels good in hand
Comes with a sheath
Blade stains easily
Sharp edge near the handle
The size, weight, and sharpness of this 4-inch paring knife by Vos make it the perfect tool for slicing, paring, and peeling fruits and veggies—and even trimming the fat off of meat. Several users highlight how well it handled peeling apples and potatoes in particular. The handle’s shape, softness, and grip also allow it to fit nicely in the hand and make it a breeze to use.
This knife comes with a sheath that is easy for the knife to slide into yet stays secure. Plus, the company offers a lifetime guarantee. Just note that there is a sharp exposed edge near the knife’s handle and that the blade may stain when working with fruit, according to some users.
Best Utility Knife: Kyocera Revolution Ceramic 5-Inch Micro-Serrated Knife
Cuts through tomatoes easily
Lightweight and well-balanced
May be too light for some
For handling produce that is notoriously difficult to cut, like tomatoes, you’re not going to find a better knife than Kyocera’s lightweight 5-inch utility knife. From grape to heirloom, its sharp, micro-serrated teeth make it easy to cleanly and precisely slice through tomatoes and other produce with tough skins and soft insides without needing to apply a lot of pressure—and keeping the juices and seeds intact.
It even makes easy work of bread; one user says that using this knife not only produces nice, even slices, but also a lot fewer crumbs than a standard steel bread knife. It also has an ergonomic handle that ensures your knuckles won’t graze the cutting board, and it’s shaped so that your hand doesn’t get fatigued quickly when performing repetitive kitchen tasks.
Best Bread Knife: Cestari Kitchen Ceramic Serrated Knife
Well-balanced with a good grip
Easy to clean
Sheath is not durable
It’s no fun slicing into a beautiful loaf of bread only to leave behind several crumbs and crushed or uneven slices. That’s where this lightweight 8-inch ceramic bread knife by Cestari comes in. Not only does this knife’s ultra-sharp serrated edge cut through crust with ease, but you can also use it as a bread scoring knife when you’re baking. Plus, its handle is ergonomically contoured and has a non-skid, satin finish, making it comfortable to hold for long periods of time.
This is no mere bread slicer—its blade makes it ideal for effortlessly and thinly cutting through the notoriously tricky-to-slice skins of tomatoes and similar produce without crushing their insides. The versatile tool also makes a great cheese knife and sandwich cutter. One user even raves that it is sharp and precise enough to slice through the delicate flesh of fish. An added bonus: This knife comes with a custom safety sheath and a case with a magnetic closure.
Best Set: Kyocera Revolution 2-Piece Ceramic Knife Set
Lightweight but balanced
Doesn't come with covers
This two-piece ceramic knife set by Kyocera makes a great gift for the cooking enthusiast in your life or a great addition to your existing set. The dynamic duo includes not only the versatile 5.5-inch santoku we recommend above, but also an equally efficient 3-inch paring knife. Crafted from the Japanese company’s proprietary zirconia ceramic, both knives are razor-sharp and nonreactive, meaning they won’t react to the acid in fruit and won’t discolor or affect the flavor of food.
The santoku’s length makes it the perfect all-purpose tool, great for cutting both soft produce and boneless or cooked meats. The paring knife is useful for more precise or detail-oriented knife tasks. Both knives have a contoured resin handle that makes them comfortable to hold.
Best Chef's Knife: Kitchen Emperor 8-Inch Ceramic Chef Knife
Sturdy and well-balanced
Comes with a cover
Not as sharp as pricier knives
Not for cutting harder-skinned produce
This affordable 8-inch chef's knife by Kitchen Emperor is the perfect general multipurpose knife for the home cook, able to cut through many types of fruits, vegetables, and cooked meats with ease. Its sleek design doesn’t hurt, either. One user especially likes that this knife, unlike some steel knives, doesn’t cause a browning reaction or leave a metallic taste in cut salad greens.
Like many other ceramic knives, this chef’s knife is lightweight, but because it is a little thicker towards the handle, it feels sturdier to hold and gives it a nice balance. While it is not razor-sharp like some pricier knives, several users like that it is not excessively sharp and that it holds its edge well. Plus, this knife has an ergonomic, anti-slip handle and comes with a plastic sheath and a gift box.
The versatile Kyocera Revolution 5.5-Inch Ceramic Santoku Knife is our top overall pick: Its combination of sharpness, balance, and edge retention makes it unbeatable when it comes to ease of use and precision (view at Amazon). On a budget? You can’t beat the value of the WACOOL Ceramic 3-Piece Set. At a fraction of the price of pricier knives, you’ll get three razor-sharp knives that are great for everyday kitchen use (view at Amazon).
What to Look for When Buying Ceramic Knives
Type of Knife
Like steel knives, there are several types of ceramic knives to choose from depending on what tasks you plan to use them for. Common types include the chef’s knife, which has a blade with a slightly curved tip that glides on a cutting board; the santoku knife, which, unlike a chef’s knife, is used in an up-and-down motion; the paring knife, whose small blade is best for precise tasks; and the utility knife, which has a narrower blade than a chef’s knife. You may also find other types such as the bread knife, long knife, steak knife, and more.
Comfort and Ease of Use
The weight and balance of a ceramic knife, as well as how comfortable it is to hold and how sharp its blade is, all determine how easy it is to use. While ceramic knives are generally lighter than steel ones, finding the one with just the right weight and balance will depend on how easy it is for you to lift and control the blade—and your personal preference.
Slicing a tomato, also known as the "Tomato Test," is one of the best indicators of how well your ceramic knife’s blade cuts. Rest the blade on top of the tomato lightly, and instead of pressing down, pull the knife towards you. Ideally, it should easily pierce the tomato’s skin and not just barely dent it or crush the fruit.
How do you sharpen ceramic knives?
Some brands, like Kyocera, offer free professional sharpening services for knives (you just have to pay for shipping and handling). If you’re looking to sharpen a ceramic knife yourself, your best bet is a diamond stone, because the material is harder than ceramic, meaning less pressure is needed for the task.
Some people also have success with traditional waterstones. Note that ceramic knives are incredibly brittle and can’t handle excessive force on the side of the blade. Traditional knife sharpeners aren’t advised, as you risk snapping the blade.
How long do ceramic knives stay sharp?
Ceramic knives retain their sharpness up to 10 times longer than steel ones, meaning they don’t need to be honed or sharpened as often. Because ceramic knives are made from zirconia ceramic, a material much harder than steel, they’re able to retain their edge much longer—especially if you take proper care of them.
Can you wash ceramic knives in the dishwasher?
While many ceramic knives are advertised as being dishwasher-safe, the best practice is to gently hand-wash them with mild soap and water, then dry with a kitchen towel. Because ceramic blades are notoriously brittle, the high water pressure and the likely jostling a ceramic knife will undergo in the dishwasher is likely to chip or break it. If you must use the dishwasher, make sure to place it where it is unlikely to come into contact with other items.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Fran Sales is an associate commerce editor for The Spruce Eats, where she helps research, create, and edit stories on all things food and kitchen. She spent hours researching ceramic knives for this piece.