Already the choice with steely whetsticks is incredibly extensive. Then there are whetsticks made of ceramic. What is better of both, where are the pros and cons, and what other excellent alternative there is, read here.
Sharpening Steel Versions
In order not to compare apples to oranges, you first have to be aware of the type of sharpening steel you want to use.
Abziehstahl (directing sharpening steel)
There are, for very sharp knives, sharpening steels which receive only the sharpness - they do not remove material, but merely straighten the blade, if it is bent slightly after cutting to the side. Such sharpening steels can always be used, they do not remove any material and cause no wear. They do not sharpen blunt knives though.
"True sharpening steels" span True, sharpening sharpening steels have either ground so-called "draws" or are coated with diamond or sapphire. They are available in coarse or fine.
Looks very similar to a sharpening steel, but the material used here is ceramic. Again, there are different Körmungen of coarse to fine. For each grit you need, as in the steel model, a separate sharpening steel.
Comparison in material removal
Ceramics have even more erosion of material than steels that are equipped with trains. This means that the sanding of dulled knives is faster - but speed also means more material removal and thus also higher wear on the knife.
A really meaningful comparison, however, would have to be between two concrete models. Even steel cutting steels have a high material removal, especially if they are sapphire coated.
In many cases, the blade becomes rough and quite irregular in steel, which does not make the blade completely sharp. Here a good ceramic rod is often better than a bad, coarse steel rod. Generally, you can not say that.
Tips & TricksVery sharp knives or knives with very high hardness should not be sharpened with a sharpening steel (some knives are harder than the sharpening steel). Here is recommended - as with all other knives also - the very careful whetstone with 1,000 and 3,000 grit. He gently grinds, very sharp and makes the edge very smooth, but needs some time and always water. For this you can sharpen with a whetstone both sharp and fine.