How to Choose the Best Knife Sharpener

Finding the best knife sharpener can take a little time and research, but if you do it correctly, not only will you get a sharpener that keeps your blades razor sharp, but you just might end up saving both money and time in the long run.

Presto 08800 vs 08810

In this article, we’ll dive head first into the world of knife sharpening, to better help you determine not only whether its best to go the stone or electric route, but also break down the best sharpeners that are available on the market today, and what exactly makes them so dang reliable.

Find the Right Sharpener Today

Below, please utilize our interactive table to help you find a sharpener that is most ideal for you.  We categorize the sharpeners below based on everything from price to customer ratings to type (whether the sharpener is electric or manual).

Chef's Choice 250 Diamond$$
Presto 08800Presto 08800 EverSharp$
Chef’sChoice 15 Trizor XVChef's Choice 15 Trizor XV$$$
Edge-Pro-ApexEdge Pro Apex$$$
Presto 08810Presto 08810$$
Chef’s Choice 130Chef’s Choice 130$$$

Best Knife Sharpeners and Dull Knives

It might seem obvious that a knife that’s used to cut will eventually become dull, but it’s not as simple as it seems. The quality of the metal matters in usage, but even the best knife will eventually show signs of wear.

Repeat use of the blade means that the edge eventually becomes misaligned, so that, over time, the sharp blade becomes jagged. Not only is knife usage is a factor, the surface upon which the cutting takes place also needs to be considered.

Therefore, the first thing to note is that, in order to prolong the sharpness of your blade, you should never cut on glass or marble surfaces.

Below, please take a moment to view some of the best-selling knife sharpeners currently for sale on Amazon:

1) Presto 08800
2) Chef’s Choice 4643
3) Chef's Choice 320
4) Presto 08810
5) Chef's Choice 250

How to Sharpen Your Knife

During the sharpening stage, metal is removed from the blade in order to form a new age. Then, the remaining metal on the blade is straightened. The final stage is polishing, or stropping, to give the blade a shiny finish.

Knife-sharpening options include the ceramic stick, the sharpening stone, and the electric sharpener. With a ceramic knife sharpener, the angle of the blade should be at approximately ten degrees. You then cut the knife against the stick, first with one side of the blade, then the other.

Knife sharpening stones, or whetstones, require a steady hand and close attention to the angle of the knife, which should be at 20 degrees. The stone must be lubricated: a water stone is lubricated with water and an oil stone with oil, but not with olive oil or salad oil, as this can become rancid.

Mineral oil is recommended.

The stones are also rectangular blocks that are an inch thick. Sharpening stones can also be used on other steel products including scissors and some tools, as well as razors.

Conditions, Angles, and the Sharpening Process

Knives should always be sharpened under bright light. When sharpening, use a marker and draw a line down the length of the edge of the knife.

Then, find the correct angle for the sharpening.  For pocket knives, as well as hunting knives, an angle of 25 to 30 degrees is best.

After finding the angle, sharpen one side of the blade with the rough grit.  Rotate the knife back and forth. As you do so, maintain an angle that holds the brightest reflection, stroking the knife across the stone from heel to tip ten times on each side. Repeat the procedure with the knife’s other side.

In order to sharpen your knife, you’ll need to form a burr as the metal is drawn over the edge of the knife’s tip. The burr will show if your motions are consistent, and if worn steel is being removed from the edge so that the new steel is exposed.

If you’re hesitant at the thought of doing the sharpening manually, there are many electric sharpeners from which to choose, too.

Using Electric Sharpeners on Your Knives

The Chef 220 is an electric knife sharpener

Electric knife sharpeners are easy to use, but keep in mind that they can sometimes be noisy as they go about their task.  Sharpeners don’t have to cost a lot of money, but if you prize your knives and want to keep them in pristine condition, expect to pay more for them.

These sharpeners are shaped like a rectangle, and often have three slots for the blade.  In the past, electric sharpeners were notorious for almost devouring the metal of the blade, but with improved engineering, that’s changed dramatically.

Today’s sharpeners use small, orbiting diamond plates in the rough and polishing grit stages. The user simply puts the knife’s blade between those plates, without having to worry about setting the correct angle for the sharpening process.

Another advantage, too, of some electric sharpeners is that all you need to do is turn them on.  There’s not a ton of prep work, or figuring out multiple angles, making sure there’s enough light or utilizing enough muscle.  When you go electric as opposed to stone, there’s a lot less work involved by the user to get that knife razor sharp.

It should be noted, too, that electric sharpeners also work better on kitchen knives than on other kinds of knives, such as survival or tactical blades. But if your scissors are dull, don’t use a knife sharpener on them!  You’ll need to purchase an actual scissor sharpener—or just head to Staples to get a brand new pair. That will probably be more effective, and certainly cost effective, in the long run.

Kitchen knives without bolsters can be used in an electric sharpener, but a chef’s knife can be absolutely ruined because its bolster won’t be able to pass through the sharpener’s plates.

If you’re still not sure, and you want to know what mistakes to avoid when sharpening your knife, head over to YouTube to watch how the sharpening process works.

Tip #1: Use a wooden, plastic, or composite cutting board. (Composite just means that different materials are combined, like paper, wood, and plastic.) Glass, Marble, Steel, Granite, or anything else hard can really damage a sharp edge. 

How Often Should You Sharpen a Knife?

The number of times that your knives will need to be sharpened depends on how often you use them. You want to maintain a constant level of sharpness for the blades of your knives, so it’s important to be aware if your blades are getting dull.

Some cooks recommend sharpening knives twice a year, making sure that the blades are working as they should in time for holiday dinners.

How Much Does an Electric Knife Sharpener Cost?

It’s a bit hard to say, as the prices can range pretty dramatically.  Like anything in life, you get what you pay for.  Therefore, you can pay anywhere between $20 for a decent sharpener, all the up to $150 for the quality, heavy duty ones.

The Top Knife Sharpeners Available Today

While it’s suggested that doing the sharpening by hand produces a better final result and a sharper blade, not everyone wants to go this route because it does take time to perfect the art of sharpening a blade.  And for others, they simply don’t want to make a mistake while sharpening their knife and accidentally cut themselves!

So without further ado, here’s a list of some of the top knife sharpeners on the market today.

Kitchen IQ Edge Grip Knife Sharpener, which will cost you $9.74, works well on chef’s knives as well as smaller knives.

Presto 08800 EverSharp Electric Knife Sharpener, selling for $39.99, is quite good for the money.

Presto 08810 Profession Electric Knife Sharpener, which sells for $42.53, does an excellent job of sharpening knives so that they look as uniform as when they were first purchased.

Wusthof Precision Edge 2 Stage Knife Sharpener, $19.95, leaves your knife with a consistently even blade when the sharpening is finished. A Wusthof brings the reputation of its manufacturer along with the product, too.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Sharp Duo Knife Sharpener, is priced at $29.95. This sharpener works wonders, as it brings dull blades back to a very acceptable degree of sharpness.

Chef’sChoice 15 Trizor XV EdgeSelect, priced at $149.95, is one of the most expensive on Amazon.  With that said, it’s expensive for a reason, as it sharpens American, European and Japanese blades—regardless of whether they are a straight edge or serrated edge.

Other sharpeners of note:

  1. Chef’s Choice 130 
  2. Chef’s Choice 220 Hybrid

Finally, watch this incredibly informative video below, where you’ll learn about “What Is Sharp” when it comes to knives.  And, more importantly, you will see a demonstration of a dull knife actually performs, and why it’s not only inefficient to use a knife that’s dull, but potentially dangerous.

And if you enjoyed this article, please join the Reliable Knife Facebook page!

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