Bamboo vs Wood Cutting Boards Title Picture

Bamboo Cutting Boards vs Wood Cutting Boards

By Bobby B.  |  February 2022  | Cutting Boards

Cutting boards are a necessity in any chef’s kitchen. They provide a clean surface to cut and chop food and help you keep your food prep organized and sanitary. Cutting boards can be made from various materials and constructed in different ways. Two of the most popular cutting board materials are wood and bamboo. Wood has been an excellent cutting surface for centuries while bamboo has become popular over the last five to ten years. In this post, we’ll compare the benefits and drawbacks of using a wood cutting board versus a bamboo cutting board.

Many different types of wood can be used to make a cutting board. Hardwoods, such as maple, walnut, and cherry wood are the most common. However, not all woods are created equal. Each one has its own unique set of characteristics that will affect the overall quality of the cutting board. Bamboo, though often referred to as wood, is actually hard grass. However, it does possess similar properties, such as smaller pores like its wood counterparts. To determine which of these materials makes the best cutting board, let’s look at how they compare across five key categories; performance, construction, cost, maintenance, and sustainability.


The most important factor when purchasing a cutting board is how well it performs and holds up to repeated use. Wood cutting boards are durable. Most are made of hardwoods and can easily withstand everyday use. Woods with higher hardness ratings will leave less visible knife marks on the surface of the board. Bamboo is also durable and has a hardness rating comparable to hard maple (one of the hardest woods used to make cutting boards). Therefore, bamboo boards are also durable and do a good job of hiding knife marks.

The biggest difference between wood and bamboo cutting boards is how gentle they are on knives. The most popular wood cutting boards (maple, walnut, and cherry) will always be more gentle on knives than a bamboo board. Bamboo contains a mineral called silica (which is also found in glass cutting boards) that will dull knife blades rather quickly. If using a bamboo cutting board, be prepared to care for and sharpen your knives regularly.

Cutting Board Uses Carving Chopping and Cutting

In terms of purpose, both wood and bamboo cutting boards can be used for cutting raw meat, vegetables, and fruit. Keep in mind you should always use one cutting board for cutting meat and a separate board for bread, vegetables, and fresh fruit to prevent cross contamination. Many chefs prefer a thick, high quality wood board for butchering and carving meat to protect the edge of larger knives; while a thinner, bamboo or wooden cutting board is often used for prepping produce.

The final thing to consider when looking at performance is sanitation. Both wood and bamboo cutting boards are good at limiting bacteria growth when properly maintained. Cutting boards made out of hardwoods can eliminate bacteria naturally. Bacteria can indeed settle into knife marks or scratches; however, the wood fibers tend to isolate the bacteria, which prevents it from growing and ultimately kills it. The silica in bamboo is what helps make it less susceptible to absorbing bacteria. It makes it more water-resistant and helps keep the bacteria from sinking into the board. Bamboo cutting boards are also more stain-resistant than wood cutting boards due to this fact. Regardless of how well wood and bamboo naturally withstand bacteria, both still require proper washing after use and require regular maintenance.


Bamboo cutting boards are made in a similar way to wood cutting boards. The most commonly used wood cutting boards are end or edge grain boards, constructed by gluing strips of wood together in a specific way. Bamboo is also cut into strips, carbonized, and then glued together to form the cutting board surface. Both types of boards are then sanded down and finished with a food-safe oil or wax. Like any tool used in the kitchen, you want to make sure the glues and adhesives used to create the board are food safe and non-toxic so that nothing leaches into your food. It is a well-known fact that many bamboo products are constructed using glue that contains formaldehyde. When purchasing a bamboo cutting board, be sure to check how the board was made and only purchase one that uses formaldehyde-free glues.

In terms of thickness, wood cutting boards average between 1-2 inches thick. Bamboo boards, on the other hand, are closer to an inch thick except in instances where the bamboo strips are stacked or adhered to a wooden base. If you’re looking for a lightweight board that’s easy to maneuver around the kitchen, bamboo may be a good option. Wooden cutting boards are heavier and more sturdy.

Harvested Bamboo
Bamboo split and flattened


A good cutting board always requires regular maintenance, especially if you expect it to last for years. Unlike plastic cutting boards, bamboo and wood boards are not dishwasher safe. The extreme heat and rapid cooling will warp and crack the boards. Both type of boards should be hand-washed after use. Hot water and dish soap are all it takes to clean both properly. You should never use harsh chemicals as they could damage the boards or leave behind residue that could transfer to your food. You should also never let a bamboo or wood cutting board soak in water. Dry both immediately and stand them vertically on their sides. This prevents water from getting trapped between the board and your counter and will allow it to air dry completely before putting it away.

Both wood and bamboo cutting boards need routine conditioning with mineral oil or wax. There’s no set schedule on how often to condition different types of cutting boards. The rule of thumb is when water begins to soak into the board as opposed to bead up on the surface, it’s time to apply another coat of oil. Typically, bamboo cutting boards won’t need to be conditioned as often as wooden boards because their silica content helps them naturally repel liquid. Though bamboo cutting boards may have less day-to-day maintenance than wooden boards; over time, bamboo will begin to break down and will ultimately have a shorter shelf life compared to a wooden cutting board.

Handwashing a wooden cutting board
Hand drying a cutting board
Oiling a cutting board


Bamboo cutting boards are cheaper than wood cutting boards. This is because bamboo is less expensive to produce. Final prices depend heavily on how the board was constructed and what type of materials were used. While inexpensive, a bamboo board will rarely outlive a wood cutting board. When properly maintained, a good bamboo cutting board will last approximately five to ten years. A well-maintained wood cutting board will last decades, if not a lifetime. Therefore, you will pay more up-front for a wood cutting board but will get a better return on your investment in the long run.


A great quality of hardwood and bamboo is that each is a renewable resource. One of the reasons bamboo has become so popular over the past decade is because it is eco-friendly and highly sustainable. On average, it only takes three to five years for bamboo to grow, mature, and be ready to harvest. Once established bamboo will self-regenerate from its roots and doesn’t need to be replanted. Hardwood trees, on the other hand, take an average of 40-60 years to reach what is considered financial maturity. They also need to be replanted after harvest. These unique growth characteristics contribute to the cost difference between wood and bamboo cutting boards as mentioned above. At the end of the day, no matter which type of material you choose for a cutting board, hardwood or bamboo, both would be a more eco-conscious choice than choosing a plastic cutting board.


Bamboo Cutting Boards

  • Less Expensive
  • Lightweight
  • Sustainable & renewable
  • Lower maintenance
  • Naturally water resistant
  • Resistant to knife marks
  • Hard on knives
  • Breaks down over time
  • Not dishwasher safe


Wood Cutting Boards

  • Durable
  • Lasts a lifetime 
  • Gentle on knives
  • Inhibits bacteria growth
  • Various wood types to choose
  • Renewable resource
  • More expensive
  • Heavier
  • Requires more maintanence
  • Not dishwasher safe


Both wood and bamboo cutting boards have many benefits and drawbacks as outlined above. Bamboo is a newer contender in the cutting board market and has made a big splash due to its eco-friendly properties and lightweight design. However, in our opinion, a wood cutting board still provides better results in terms of performance, sanitation, and durability compared to its bamboo counterpart. At the end of the day, it really comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option that is suitable for all types of food prep, you can’t go wrong with either a wood or bamboo cutting board.