Last Updated Feb 2020 – I’m a big advocate of owning at least one traditional chef’s knife. For many of my friends, this starts out being a perfectly okay thing that they really enjoy. The problem arises when it’s time for them to sharpen their knife.
For some reason, the same people that get their tires rotated religiously have a hard time taking their expensive knife to the mall for a cheap sharpening service once a year. This totally kills the advantage of owning an expensive chef’s knife. The purpose of a nice knife is that it’s easy to sharpen and that it stays sharp for longer. If you never sharpen it, however, it’s like a race car without fuel: useless.
Ceramic knives don’t have that problem. They stay sharp something like ten times longer than a fairly hard steel knife, which is saying something. If your high hardness knife needs to be sharpened once a year, you can get by without sharpening a ceramic knife for an entire decade. In my experience, this is longer than most people will use their ceramic knives, meaning that they’re effectively maintenance free.
Kyocera is a Japanese manufacturer that makes a whole slew of products ranging from electronics to ceramic knives. They were one of the first companies to offer ceramic blades to chefs after high-end sushi chefs started to wonder about the way metal and sushi rice interacted. Today, their high-quality ceramic knives give ordinary consumers a chance to try out the latest technological innovations in the kitchen.
So should you buy a ceramic knife from Kyocera? If you do, what kind should you buy? Let’s take a look at some of their products and find out!
There are two types of people who buy ceramic knives: people who want a sharp specialty knife because they do a lot of cooking, and people who want a low maintenance knife they can use for the limited amount of cooking they do in the kitchen. This knife is a perfect starting point for both categories of people. If you’re new to ceramic knives, I highly recommend picking up one of these and using it for a month or two before you take the plunge and purchase a Kyocera ceramic knife set.
This is because ceramic knives are quite different from their steel counterparts. For one thing, they’re incredibly light. Compared to a steel knife they’re practically weightless. This means that you’ll notice quite a big difference when you use cutting techniques that rely on the weight of the blade. This means that if you’re an experienced cook, you might find that you really like (or you really dislike) one style of knife over the other.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, ceramic knives aren’t suited to every kitchen task. You can’t use ceramic knives around bones, hard seeds, or pits. They’re incompatible with some types of cutting boards, and they can’t go in the dishwasher. Spending a month with your ceramic knife will help you realistically determine how much of a limiting factor these issues are. If you find yourself cutting a lot of pre-boned fish in your hobby as a home sushi chef, you’ll get a lot of use out of a ceramic knife. If you spend a good portion of your kitchen time deboning chickens, however, you’ll find a heavy German chef’s knife more useful.
Third, ceramic knives are delicate. I alluded to this above when I mentioned that you can’t use them around hard objects, but that’s only scratching the surface when it comes to how fragile these knives are. If you drop an older ceramic knife it’s got a pretty good chance of being irreparably damaged. Modern ceramic knives are slightly more durable, but it’s still pretty easy to chip the blade or otherwise render your knife unusable. It’s a good idea to start small and slowly build up a collection of knives you can afford to replace.
Finally, the blade on these knives is sharp, but it might not be as sharp as you expect if you’re a knife expert. A ceramic knife is noticeably sharper than a steel blade for most purposes, but it’s not anywhere near as sharp as a thin knife that just got done with an exhaustive hand sharpening process. Fresh off of the whetstone (and stropping strap), single bevel steel santokus can be almost twice as sharp as consumer ceramic knives.
This sharpness will fade over a couple of days of use, but you can absolutely beat a ceramic knife at cutting with a well-maintained steel blade. Spending a few weeks with an actual ceramic knife will give you a good idea of what you can expect from a more expensive set.
This Kyocera utility knife is just the right size and price to let you experience these differences for yourself. At 4.5 inches, you can easily use it for slicing large fillets without too much of an issue. Despite this, it’s still small enough that you can use it to pare things or slice smaller vegetables on a cutting board.
As far as sharpness is concerned, this knife will probably impress you. It’s perfect for slicing tomatoes into transparent strips or slicing through butter like it’s butter. The extra hard edge will remain sharp for a very long time, and Kyocera offers a complimentary sharpening service for anyone who decides their knives are getting too dull.
Overall, if you haven’t tried ceramic knives in your kitchen, I can’t recommend this blade enough. It’s a perfect way to try out a ceramic knife without spending a lot of money, and the knife itself is the right size and style to showcase the benefits of a ceramic knife.
If you’re ready for an entire ceramic knife set, this 4-piece knife collection offers multiple options for slicing soft foods. It comes with incredibly sharp knives in 6″, 5.5″, 4.5″, and 3″ styles. The handles are ergonomic and carefully designed to put you in control of these incredible cutting tools.
Generally speaking, these knives will perform quite similarly to the utility knife I recommend above as a starter option. In other words, they’re quite sharp, fairly fragile, and will hold an edge for a very long time. You can trust these knives to turn any food prep involving softer foods into a fast, fun process.
One of the primary draws of ceramic knives for the more serious culinary crowd is the fact that they’re not made of metal. Some foods, including tomatoes and the vinegar used in sushi rice, will react and subtly change flavor when they’re exposed to the metal in a normal knife. This knife set comes with knives in all of the sizes you use for preparing these foods in your dishes.
While some ceramic knives are made out of a “blackened” ceramic compound that’s supposed to be stronger, these Kyocera blades are simply dyed. This doesn’t make them any worse than a white ceramic knife, of course. Instead, they’re just as good as the already-excellent Kyocera standard.
If you’ve found that ceramic knives are a good fit for you and your kitchen, this set of four blades gives you more flexibility in a sleek black style. It’s a great choice to quickly build up your arsenal of ceramic knives.
If you want the ultimate ceramic knife, this Kyocera Innovation Series blade might be the right choice for your kitchen. Unlike the Revolution series above, this knife is made from a special “black” ceramic that can hold an edge for up to twice as long as a regular ceramic knife.
It’s still equally sharp out of the box, but you’ll have to send it in for sharpening only half as often as a regular Kyocera knife. Bear in mind ceramic knives already hold their edges 10 times as well as a comparable steel blade. This means that this “black blade” ceramic knife retains a cutting edge 20 times as well as a Wusthof chef’s knife.
Of course, this extra hardness comes at a cost — literally. The Innovation series is a little bit more expensive than the regular Revolution ceramic knives. You can get both knife series in a similar variety of styles, meaning you can get a little 4-inch utility knife or a larger 6″ chef’s knife. If you’d like the ultimate collection of ceramic knives, you can even get a 4-piece set.
Other than the blades, these knives are quite similar to the other Kyocera ceramic knives reviewed here. They’ve got comfortable handles, very little weight, and sharp blades that make short work of any food you might find on the cutting board. Just like with any other ceramic knife, be sure to use caution when working with hard foods with bones, seeds, or pits.
Kyocera Ceramic Knives: Fine Modern Tools For Your Kitchen
I don’t think any serious chef will replace their chef’s knife entirely with a ceramic knife, but there’s no reason you can’t use both. Supplementing your heavier, more durable metal knives with a ceramic knife or four is a great way to reduce the amount of time you spend sharpening your knives and ensure you have a cutting tool that’s up for the task at all times.
If you’re a more casual cook and you don’t find yourself working around bones or pits very often, you can even get away with using a ceramic knife as your primary kitchen tool and avoid sharpening your knives almost entirely.