Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a kitchen full of stuff. I remodeled my kitchen last year with lots more storage space to hold all this stuff. You would think I have everything. Wrong!
For a long time, I have coveted a ceramic knife. What's so special about a ceramic knife? They are unbelievably sharp and hold that sharp edge much longer than metal knives. They certainly look uninspiring - well, they look like plastic! But, they are sharp - really, really sharp. So sharp that you can cut through a tomato like it's buttah.
I got a small paring knife as my first ceramic knife. Ceramic knives can hardly be considered inexpensive. Good knives are not cheap, even if they are made of steel. But ceramic knives are even more expensive than good steel knives, especially as you get into larger sizes. So, I started with a little paring knife, which still set me back $30. Larger knives run well over $100. That's a lot of clams for a knife, even in my world.
There are some drawbacks to ceramic knives. They can shatter if you drop them. You can break them if you twist them or smack them (like smashing garlic with the side of the knife). They can't be sharpened at home; you have to send them back to the manufacturer. And, did I say they are expensive? Which is why I am the only person in my house who is allowed to touch my ceramic knife.
Why would you buy one? If you are good at keeping your steel knives sharp and this includes steeling them before each use, I think spending the big bucks for ceramic knives is not a good use of your money. Most folks let their steel knives go dull, which is quite dangerous. A sharp knife cuts when you want it which means you need to use very little pressure to make your cuts. Dull knives force you to push so much harder, and then they don't go where you want, like into your finger! If you get yourself a couple of ceramic knives, it will be a long, long time before you need to get the knives sharpened. You don't need to steel it ever. The odds you will have a very sharp knife all the time are much better with a ceramic knife.
Do you really need them? You need one for the same reason I need one: ceramic knives are way cool and your friends will be impressed when you slice through anything with what looks like a plastic knife.