Ceramic knives are very different from your average kitchen knife. They are much sharper; second only to diamonds in that regard. They are not affected at all by acids, oils, or salts in the foods they slice, which on a normal steel knife would have to be cleaned off or risk stains. Further, they’re lighter then other kinds of knives, reducing fatigue when using them, and while they do eventually need sharpening, they take many years to dull at all, making sharpening one a very rare occurrence. In fact, they’re known to stay sharp ten times longer than steel knives, saving a lot of time that might otherwise be spent sharpening a steel knife.
However, while ceramic knives may sound like the best kitchen knife set, shinier and all around better relative to steel knives, they do in fact have some disadvantages, aside from their higher price. For one, they are explicitly for slicing, not chopping. This is because while they are harder than their steel counterparts, they are not as strong or sturdy. They are inflexible, and trying to use them tasks they are not meant for, like opening lids or cutting frozen food, can make them crack or even shatter. They might also shatter if dropped. Further, they are not dishwater safe, and thus must be washed and dried by hand. Basically, ceramic knives are much sharper and last longer, but are more fragile. It is also very highly recommended to keep them in a knife block rather than a drawer- contact with other knives could damage the blade.
As a result of all this, ceramic knives cannot completely replace steel knives. Rather, they should be used along with steel knives for the tasks that they perform exceptionally well. For instance, they’re great for slicing meat, as long as it is boneless, vegetables, and fruits. They also have the added benefit that they do not leave metal ions in the meals they cut, unlike regular knives, nor will they turn it brown. This means they will not alter the composition or taste of the food in any way, and are resistant to germs, further promoting health.
Kyocera is one of the leading producers of ceramic knives, and are known especially for their quality, craftsmanship, and sharpness. It also bears mentioning that ceramic knives cannot be sharpened like regular knives- in fact, using a normal sharpening method on them would likely ruin the knife and its warranty. Instead, one should use a diamond hone, or in the case of Kyocera one can contact the manufacturer and send your knife to them. They will quickly get it back to you, sharp as the day you bought it, all for ten dollars.
Ceramic knives can be bought in either white or black. This is not entirely a cosmetic change; Kyocera ceramic knives are made from zirconia, whites from zirconium oxide and blacks from zirconium carbide. While both are very sharp and have the qualities stated above and are used well on a meat chop, black ceramic knives are crafted through a process called hot isostatic pressing, specifically to remove any of the issues ceramic knives have. This process makes them much more durable than the white version, removing many of their previously mentioned weaknesses.
In the end, ceramic knives do have many advantages over regular steel knives. They are much sharper, last longer, easier to use, and are more hygienic. They do not stain as easily nor have hardly any of the same issues that make steel knives a pain to work with.
On the other hand, they are more specific in their use and trying to apply it to applications better suited for steel knives will potentially damage and chip them. They are more fragile intrinsically, necessitating that one be more careful with them, and they are more expensive. Because of their specialties and inabilities, whether one gets a ceramic knife should really depend on their needs. Do they need a good chopping knife that doesn’t need to be cleaned as much? Then perhaps that extra bit of expense will be worth it.