Christmas Cutlery: Inexpensive, Ceramic Kyocera Nakiri

Whether you're at home for the holidays or making your own traditions, you'll probably be spending some time in the kitchen. We plan on cooking up some Christmas favorites, and there's nothing like the big festival meal to show off some new tools, especially ones that are sharp and to the point. We've been testing out three knives recently and will cover each of them in turn- in the previous piece, we looked at the G2 6-inch Chef's Knife.

But at half the price of most competitive metal blades, Kyocera's ceramic composite knives offer a great value proposition. We've liked them before, and we've been trying out one of their other blades, the 6″ Nakiri Vegetable Cleaver. Here's what they say:

"Ideal for chopping piles of herbs, vegetables or meats with a larger, deeper blade. All Kyocera blades will stay sharp up to 15 times longer than metal-based knives. Contamination free and chemically inert, the blades will never rust or brown food. Totally impervious to acids, juices, oils, salts or other elements." Also, we should note a couple of interesting features of Kyocera cutlery, namely the lifetime warranty and the lifetime complimentary sharpening service ($10 shipping). We didn't try sharpening this knife, but they can require a bit of extra care.

Those are the upsides, and there is one other important advantage- lightweight. However, you won't be able to use those nice magnetic knife holders, and we found the plastic handles a little too flexible and cheap-feeling, and slick when wet. Plus, a disadvantage to ceramics is that they can shatter; dropping them will likely result in a break, unlike with metal knives. They also are labeled as hand-wash only. The Kyocera blade itself is great, extremely sharp and held an edge well even after some serious chopping. We diced tomatoes and cucumbers to pieces, and also sliced up some boneless chicken.

Perfect for the chef on a budget or who wants to avoid metallic blades, they offer a different sort of cutting experience, felt balanced in the hand, and were extremely consistent. And Kyocera offers a wide line of knives as well, including scissors and even pocket knives. The 6-inch Nakiri is available online and in stores now for a very reasonable $70.

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