I've heard on numerous occasions that plastic cutting boards dull knives faster than wood boards. I use a large wooden cutting board often, but recently I've been finding it heavy and it sometimes leaves behind a flavour on food despite good cleaning.

Is there any objective evidence that plastic cutting boards dull knives faster than good wood cutting boards? I'm hoping there have been experiments with sharpness measuring instruments such as the Edge-On-Up Industrial Edge Tester.

I've heard anecdotes and I've seen people provide plausible explanations why wood would be better for keeping knives sharp, but I haven't seen any hard data.

  • 1
    Are you using metal or ceramic knives?
    – Nyos
    Jun 25, 2020 at 18:12
  • 1
    @Nyos Metal knives
    – Behacad
    Jun 25, 2020 at 19:35
  • As a side note for this and your earlier bacteria question: do you oil your board? It will help prevent the left behind flavour and prevent the pores from soaking up liquid. Immediately hand drying, as opposed to air drying, the cutting board after its washed helps as well.
    – Soulis
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:15
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    @Soulis thanks for this. I do oil and wash etc., but with onions and garlic and strong foods over the years I think it is inevitable
    – Behacad
    Jun 26, 2020 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


There is such a report, but you're not going to like the result. According to KnifeGrinder's scientific test(PDF), plastic board materials other than low-density polypropylene are the least edge-wearing board materials you can get. Wood wears the edge more than plastic, as a rule.

  • 17
    why the "but you're not going to like the result"? Wouldn't he actually like the result since he wanted to replace his heavy wooden cutting board
    – Ivo
    Jun 25, 2020 at 9:38
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    While not directly related to the question, I've had people tell me that glass cutting boards are even worse, for obvious reasons, but show up more often than you might think. Jun 25, 2020 at 13:18
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    Thank you for this helpful answer. It’s a shame that the tester only used Acacia which is known to be a pretty crap wood for cutting boards due to the hardness, but nonetheless it’s a great experiment.
    – Behacad
    Jun 25, 2020 at 13:21
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    The article does mention that softer woods are not suitable. What surprised me most was that sharpness actually increases over time on all but three materials - one you'd guess obviously [glass], the other you probably wouldn't [low density polypropylene - which is probably what all my current flexi-boards are made of, hence my interest in this.]
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 25, 2020 at 14:03
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    I've also heard plastic boards are worse for bacteria, but again, I haven't seen any hard data. New question! cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/109303/…
    – Behacad
    Jun 25, 2020 at 22:49

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