Let’s Talk Ceramic Knives!
Hello again and thank you so much for visiting myelectricknifesharpener. Today I’d like to put to bed a question I’ve seen on numerous forums time and again: Do you sharpen ceramic knives or discard them when blunt?
For those of you who have ever seen or used a ceramic knife, you know immediately that it is nothing like a traditional steel knife. Majority of ceramic knives are composed of a material called Zirconia. One of the common attributes of Zirconia is its hardness and strength. It’s these properties that allow ceramic knives to retain their cutting edge for far longer than the traditional metal knives. For those of you who like to get technical, Zirconia is about 8.2 on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness (Steel is 5-6 and Diamond is 10).
I will not spend much time discussing the technical details, but I am sure by now you have an idea of why sharpening ceramic knives can be so tricky and difficult. Here’s a hint: the process of sharpening a traditional metal knife involves (typically) passing it multiple times against a harder, stronger, tougher abrasive (such as Diamond). More on this below!
The Challenge With Sharpening Ceramic Knives…
Continuing from the hint I left you with above, i’d like to explain in this section why sharpening ceramic knives can be such a challenge. Knife sharpening is basically the process of passing a softer material (steel usually) against a harder, stronger abrasive material. As a result, the harder material i.e. the abrasive, removes or abrades the softer material i.e. the steel. This is what gives you a more defined, sharper edge. That’s all nice and good, but let’s consider a hypothetical scenario for a moment here……
What if in the above instance you had a ceramic knife in place of the traditional steel knife. Would you be able to sharpen a ceramic knife in the same way? Are there any exceptions?
Hmmm….here’s where it gets interesting! The answer to this question is yes, but there are exceptions. You can only sharpen a ceramic knife if the abrasive used is actually harder and stronger than the ceramic itself (remember Mohs hardness scale?). You need to be very cautious when searching for sharpeners that can work on ceramic knives.
Word of caution: Many of you will google search or amazon search “ceramic knife sharpeners” and the results you see could be very misleading. You would likely see results of knife sharpeners that have ceramic material being used as an abrasive. You would then try to sharpen ceramic with ceramic, and the result will not be pleasing!
So Do You Sharpen Ceramic Knives With A Specific Sharpener Or Send Them To A Sharpening Service?
We are now getting to the crux of the problem. You have a couple of options to consider here, and they will depend on how much your ceramic knives are worth.
If you own a cheap set of ceramic knives that cost you $20 or less, you’d be better off not doing anything with them at all and discarding them when they become blunt or have nicks. It’s not worth purchasing a sharpener or sending the knives to a professional sharpening service.
If you own an expensive set of ceramic knives, then you will want to either consider sending them to a professional or investing in a sharpener that is capable of not only sharpening your knives, but also removing nicks and chips. Ceramic knives are brittle and because of this, nicks, chips, and imperfections are quite common and sometimes hard to avoid. Be very cautious/wary of what you see online when searching for knife sharpeners that can do ceramic knives. I would suggest you avoid knife sharpeners that use carbide or ceramic abrasives entirely. I would only ever consider a diamond abrasive to sharpen ceramic knives. If you’ve decided to go the sharpener route, and are wondering how do you sharpen ceramic knives, I strongly suggest you check out the video below from Doug Holser. Watch it right now and only then continue!
What did you think of the video? Pretty informative right! The sharpener that Doug talks about is one that I have reviewed previously. Click here to check out my review!
Okay, but what if you didn’t want all the hassle with sharpening? Well, in that case you could always get a professional to do it. If you do opt to follow this route, I would strongly suggest you do your homework and research all the available sharpening services in your area. Be sure to ask specifically about sharpening ceramic knives, and obviously be sure to find the best price! Important: If you own Kyocera ceramic knives, you are in luck because Kyocera offer lifetime sharpening for all their cutlery (excluding shipping and handling).
Final Words & Recommendations
So there it is! Do you sharpen ceramic knives or discard them when blunt? It really depends on how expensive your knives are and if they’re even worth sharpening. Before I end this post I would like to provide you with two recommendations of ceramic knives.
Recommendation 1: Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution – 3 Piece Knife Set
One of the more expensive ceramic knife sets you can find, but the money is well worth it! This set of 3 (chef, micro-serrated, and paring knife) is blazing sharp, and seems to retain the same cutting edge for years! If you ever did have imperfections on it, simply send it back to Kyocera as part of their lifetime sharpening program (see above).
Recommendation 2: Cuisinart Advantage Set of 6 Knives (Including Covers)
This is a cheaper alternative to the Kyocera knives, and they come with different style blades, all including knife covers. This is an example of a set I would not sharpen. It’s simply not worth the investment of a sharpener or paying a professional service. Simply replace them with a new set!
Thanks so much for reading this post and as always, I’d love to read your comments, so please let me know what you think below…..Do you sharpen ceramic knives or throw them out? I’d also love to know what ceramic knives have worked for you…….your recommendations will be useful to everyone, so please share your knowledge! Also, in case you didn’t know, I write reviews of both electric and non electric knife sharpeners. You can check them out by clicking the links.