Ceramic Honing Rod vs Steel: What Does Your Knife Need?

For a satisfying chopping a cutting experience, a sharp and smooth knife is a must. But you can’t expect a knife to be like this all the time. You need to hone or sharpen it regularly. 

But there are many honing rods available. So, it’s a common debate about whether to use ceramic or steel honing rods. 

And to resolve the debate, I have provided a ceramic honing rod vs steel comparison. 

Ceramic honing rods are used for sharpening the knives, not honing them. Whereas, steel rods will hone the knife. Ceramic rods are very fragile, but steel rods are more durable. Steel ones are used in low-hard and high-carbon knives. And, ceramic rods are used for ultra-hard and delicate knives. 

That’s not all. I will do a detailed comparison between ceramic and steel honing rods here. Keep reading. 

Ceramic Honing Rod vs Steel: Quick Comparison

ceramic honing rod vs steel

The first condition of great chopping is a sharp knife. When the knife is blunt or crooked, your chopping game doesn’t remain powerful. So, you need a honing or sharpening rod to keep the knife sharp.  

But which one to choose? Let’s see a quick difference between ceramic and steel honing rods.

FactorsCeramic Honing RodSteel Honing Rod
PurposeSharpening knivesHoning knives
Used in ultra-hard and delicate knivesLow-hard and high-carbon knives 
Use frequencyNot very frequently usedUsed very frequently
DurabilityVery fragileMore durable

This comparison can still be a little vague if you are a beginner. That’s why I am going to explain them further. Keep reading. 

Ceramic Honing Rod Vs Steel: In-depth Comparison

I will explain the details of ceramic vs steel honing rods. It will make your decision-making process easy. Let’s get right into it. 


Before I come to ceramic or steel rods, let’s discuss another important thing. The important discussion is about sharpening vs honing. What do you think? Is honing the same as sharpening? No, actually it’s not the same. 

I always hone the knife when the knife edge is not aligned. Maybe the edge got dented or chipped from the cutting. Honing restores the alignment of the knife. Here’s a video on how to hone the knife. 

On the other hand, sharpening a knife involves rubbing off a layer of the knife. If you are new at chopping, first learn how to use a knife sharpener properly. Without proper learning, it is risky to attempt to sharpen a knife. 

After cutting with a knife for a long period, the edge of the knife gets blunt. Or, sometimes it can get rough too. In that case, we sharpen the knife to get the sharp edge back. 

Now, let’s come to the ceramic and steel honing rod. There is a surprising fact. Even if it’s named honing rod, the ceramic rod doesn’t hone the knife. It can’t treat the dented or warped knife edge. 

It just sharpens the edge of the knife by rubbing off a layer from it. 

In contrast, a steel honing rod actually hones a dented or imperfect knife. It doesn’t necessarily rub off the layer to sharpen the knife. But it treats the knife to get a perfect and aligned edge. 

Verdict: If you want to sharpen the edge of your knife, go for a ceramic honing rod. Don’t forget to strop the knife after sharpening it. But do you want to hone the knife to make it aligned? In that case,  a steel honing rod is the best choice. 

Used In: 

Ceramic honing rods are gentle on the knife. It does rub off the knife layer, but it itself isn’t rough enough. So, it is used to sharpen delicate knives. Knives which have a high level of hardness are actually brittle. 

Although ultra-hardened levels remain sharp for a long time, they tend to break easily. So, in that case, delicate honing rods such as ceramic ones are used.

Conversely, steel honing rods are used to hone durable knives. But those knives have a low-hardened level. There is high carbon in this type of knife. 

They don’t easily mend by delicate rods. For them, powerful honing rods like steel ones are needed. 

But you won’t get much help with sharpening with steel honing rods. Knives like VG10 steel are tricky to sharpen. In that case, you can use a good-quality whetstone to sharpen the knife. 

Verdict: If the knife you are using is ultra-hard and delicate, go for ceramic honing rods. But for Low-hard and high-carbon knives, a steel hong rod is needed. 

Use Frequency:

The Ceramic honing rod’s use frequency depends on how often should you sharpen your knives. You should sharpen your knife every few months. That is applicable  If you use it at home for mostly cutting vegetables and meats. 

But for cutting bones often, your knife needs to be sharpened every few weeks. So, you are going to use a ceramic honing rod every few months or weeks.

And the frequency of using a steel honing rod depends on another fact. That is, how often should you hone your knives? You should hone the knives after every 2-3 uses. So, you are going to use the steel rod a lot more than the ceramic one. 

Verdict: You are going to need a steel honing rod more often than a ceramic rod. 


The ceramic honing rods are very delicate and fragile. They will easily break if they fall on the ground. Or even get crashed with something. Whereas, steel honing rods are very durable. They won’t break easily. 

But, do ceramic sharpening rods wear out? No, ceramic sharpening rods don’t easily wear out. Nor steel honing rods do. If you keep them carefully, they can go up to 15-20 years. 

But make sure to check the price of a good-quality ceramic honing rod. Or, a good quality steel honing rod.

Verdict: Steel honing rods are more durable than ceramic rods. You can keep them casually anywhere. 

So, these were the differences between ceramic and steel honing rods. 

Final Verdict

honing steel

Let’s sum up the whole thing. For sharpening your knives, you need a ceramic rod. Although it’s hard to maintain. And you don’t need to sharpen the knife every day. You can buy other sharpening products such as whitestones. 

But for honing the knife, you need a steel honing rod. For the ultimate knife care, you can keep them both. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Honing Rods Sharpen Knives?

Yes, although ceramic rods are called honing rods, they actually sharpen the knife. On the other hand, Steel honing rods don’t sharpen the knife. They actually hone it. 

Do You Need To Strop After Sharpening?

Yes, you need to strop a knife after sharpening it. Because even after sharpening, there is a tiny inconsistency on the blade’s edge. To achieve the smoothest polish and a great sharp knife, do the stropping. You can use a leather or piece of wood for that. 

What Happens If You Don’t Hone Your Knife?

Not honing the knife regularly will cause the cut to be inconsistent. Knives get tiny warps or dents on the edge after every cut. So after 2-3 chopping sessions, you need to hone your knives. Or the cutting won’t be smooth and proper. 

Should I Sharpen My Knife Every Day?

No, you don’t need to sharpen the knife every day. If you only cut fruits, veggies, and meat, sharpening it every 2-3 months is enough. But if you cut bones regularly, you need to sharpen them every 1-2 weeks. 


That was my take on ceramic honing rod vs steel honing rod. Basically, buy a steel rod for honing your knife. And to sharpen the knife you need a ceramic rod. 

But as it’s really fragile, you can get white stones too. Hopefully, it will make your buying decision easier. 

Have a good day!

Robert Dennis

I am Robert Dennis - A professional grill and smoker technician, I have over 10 years of experience in the industry. I am skilled in the repair and maintenance of all types of grills and smokers and am knowledgeable in the use of a variety of tools and techniques. I share my knowledge and experience to help readers understand the inner workings of grills and smokers and how to maintain them properly. I am dedicated to providing the best information to help readers keep their grills and smokers in top working condition. - Serve Yourself -

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