There’s nothing worse than a dull knife when it comes to food preparation. You’ve got to hack and slash. And it can slip off the food and straight into your hand. Sharpening your knives will not only make them last longer, but also make your food preparation easier and safer.
Today, many types of kitchen knife sharpeners are available on the market, ranging from electric sharpeners to whetstones. You don’t know which sharpener to choose? Keep reading. Our buying guide and list of popular products will help you narrow down your choices.
How to Choose a Knife Sharpener – Buying Guide
Even a high-quality knife dulls over time. So you should sharpen your knives at least a few times a year, and much more often if you use them daily. For many, sharpening knives can be intimidating at first. Don’t worry–there are many sharpening tools that are easy to use and will give your knife that sharp edge.
Choosing a Knife Sharpener Based on Type
There are four tools you use to sharpen your knives: whetstone, manual, sharpening steel, and electric.
Whetstones for the Best Performance
While these may scare amateur cooks, whetstones, also known as waterstones, are the best way for you to sharpen your knives. Professional chefs also turn to these. They’ll give you a razor sharp edge, without removing too much material from the knife. Also, they’ll keep the edge sharper for longer. It’ll take a bit of practice before you get the hang of them, though. Once you do, you will be surprised how easily and quickly you can sharpen your knife.
Whetstones come in various grit sizes, with numbers indicating size. Your typical stone ranges from 1000 to 3000 grit. They’re used for dull knives that need a good sharpening. If you’re chopping away every day, pull out this medium stone about once a month. If you have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the kitchen, sharpen your knife once every three.
Coarse stones, less than 1000 grit, are for repairing chipped and damaged knives. Finishing stones range from 4000 to 8000 grit. For regular polishing, 4000 to 5000 grit stones are more than enough. But if you’re slicing fruit and vegetables, or filleting fish, then the 8000 comes into play. It’ll make your knife delicate—too delicate to force its way through red meat, actually, so don’t overdo it.
Pull-Through Sharpeners for a Quick Touch Up
Pull-through sharpeners are made up of a handle and a V-shaped groove inside the sharpening slot. You insert the blade in the slot and slide through. This sharpener is handy and simple to use. Also, it’s light and compact, so it’ll easily fit into your kitchen drawers. However, there are some sharpeners that aren’t suitable for single edged blades, so make sure your sharpener is compatible with your knife.
Because only the very edge of the knife touches the grinding stone, it won’t stay sharp for long. Use these for a quick touch up between full sharpenings.
Sharpening Steels to Get That Perfect Edge Between Cuts
Despite their name, sharpening (or honing) steels don’t sharpen; they straighten the edge of the knife as it gets warped over time. Regularly realigning the blade’ll help maintain it, so not only do your slices slide like butter, but also you also don’t need to pull out your whetstone as much. These are usually made of metal, and you can also find some that have been coated in diamond or ceramic.
Electric Knife Sharpeners for Convenience and Speed
Electric knife sharpeners aren’t much different from manual pull-through sharpeners. Because they are electric, they can sharpen a knife much quicker than their manual counterparts. However, they may damage your knife, as they can remove too much material, or put the wrong angle on the edge.
Top 10 Best Knife Sharpeners to Buy Online
Below is a list of the 10 best knife sharpeners that’ll make prepping food easy and fun. Hope it’ll help you to find the perfect one!
10. Tatara Sharpening Stone 3000/8000 Grit
Perfect Stone for a Mirror-Like Finish
If you already own a 1000 grit stone and want a more delicate finish, you may want to consider this sharpener. This double sided-Japanese whetstone makes dull knives razor sharp. The 3000 grit is designed for sharpening dull knives, while the 8000 grit will polish everything off, turning your blade into a mirror.
You’ll love how thinly you can cut vegetables and how easily you can work with delicate fish. The stone, which is made from professional grade Aluminum Oxide, soaks up water very well and is easy to use.
9. LINKYO Electric Knife Sharpener
Wallet Friendly Electric Knife Sharpener
This electric sharpener can sharpen your dull knives two easy steps. It features automatic blade positioning guides, which’ll keep your knife at the proper angle—so, even if you’re an utter neophyte, it won’t come out all crooked. The suction cup on the bottom keeps the sharpener firmly on the countertop, which makes it safer.
If you are on a budget, then give this sharpener a spin. It gets the job done. However, it can take too much material off your knives. So don’t use it for anything expensive or high quality.
8. Kota Sharpening Steel
Diamond Sharpening Steel to Keep Blade Edges Aligned
This diamond-plated steel is light and easy to work with. The design is pretty simple, but just a few strokes on each side of the blade can get it back in shape. Use it to keep your blade in line between more thorough sharpenings.
The diamond is excellent for hard steel, like the kind found in Japanese knives. However, exercise caution when handing German knives, as they use softer steel. Over honing can scrape material off the blade. But, at least you get an unconditional lifetime warranty.
7. KitchenIQ 2 Stage Sharpener
Very Light, Compact Design for Easy Storage
This little knife sharpener comes with two slots: coarse for dull knives and fine for polishing knives. To get a razor-sharp edge, slide a knife through the slots, five times each. The V-grip bottom lets you perch the sharpener on the edge of a countertop. This feature is useful as it keeps the knives from scraping against the countertop.
The item is super light, weighting only 0.48 of an ounce. This compact sharpener can be easily stored in a drawer and is great if you have a tiny box of a kitchen.
6. Chef’s Choice Electric Knife Sharpener
Quick and Easy: Versatile Machine for Japanese-Style Knives
Take out your knife; measure the angle of the blade. This machine sharpens only 15 degree edges, which are common to Japanese-styled knives but not common to Western-styled ones. However, it’s easy to operate. Its flexible spring guides make sure your knife won’t wiggle when you’re trying to sharpen it.
This sharpener is versatile, with three different slots. With slot 1, you can sharpen dull or even damaged knives. The second slot refines blades that need some touching up. Flexible stropping disks in the third slot polish the blade until it’s razor sharp. It’s easy to set up, easy to use, and spits out quick results.
5. Winware Stainless Steel Sharpening Steel
Great Affordable Sharpening Steel to Keep Knives Nice and Sharp
This sharpening steel is not only affordable, but also keeps the edge of your knife in good shape. This 12-inch rod will work with any knife—or samurai sword, for that matter. It feels solid, with a nice heft to it. The hanging loop means you can swing it from hooks. The handle is plastic and big, though. If you’ve got dainty little hands, this steel might not be the most comfortable.
Use it to make sure your knives stay sharp. Since it’s long, you only need a few passes to true up the blade. And though it’s so cheap, it’s so sturdy, it could be a family relic.
4. Vremi 4-Stage Manual Knife Sharpener
A Handy Sharpener That Works for Both Western- and Asian-Style Knives
This manual knife sharpener comes with 2 settings and a total of 4 slots. The standard setting is for Western-style knives and the sharp is for Asian-style knives. Then you’ve got your coarse slots for dull blades and fine for those that need light fix-ups. The sharpener also works for other straight edged blades–such as paring, fillet, and steak knives–but not for serrated blades.
Because of its compact size, it’s portable and fits easily into kitchen drawers. Whenever you need it, whip it out and sharpen dull knives with only three or four pull-throughs.
3. Chef’s Choice 290 Angle Select Hybrid Sharpener
A Little Bit of Everything: Great Value for your Money
This hybrid knife sharpener is both electric and manual. You’ve got the first two stages—two slots each—which are electric. Stage one’s for 15-degree, or Asian knives; stage two’s for 20-degree, or Western knives. The third stage is manual and sports fine diamond abrasives for polishing both types of knives.
Since this thing is laced with the hardest mineral in the world, it works quickly—and also leaves you with an even finish. And that price tag is pretty decent for a hybrid sharpener that you can get for just under $100.
2. Sharp Pebble Premium Knife Sharpening Stone
Time to Get Serious: Great Tool for Beginners
You want to get serious about sharpening your knives but don’t know which stone to choose or where to start? Well, start with this double-sided whetstone. It comes with an instruction manual, a detailed eBook, and a knife sharpening angle guide, so you can learn all the proper techniques.
This stone can sharpen all types of knives. The 1000 grit is great for sharpening dull blades, while the 6000 grit leaves you with a polished finish. The base sports a slip-resistant bottom, so it’ll sit firmly on a kitchen counter. On top that, there’s a rubber cover for the stone, preventing it from slipping. So, no matter how much of an amateur you are, you (probably) won’t cut yourself.
1. Chef’s Choice Pronto Pro Sharpener
Simple, Accessible Sharper That Keeps Knives in Tiptop Shape
If you are looking a simple knife sharpener to get the job done, look no further. This sharpener has different slots for both your Western- and Asian-styled knives. It can even be used for sports and pocket knives.
This thing comes in handy when you don’t have time to set up an electric sharpener or work with a whetstone. It requires no set-up. Slide a dull knife through the slots, three, four times each, and the blade will come out really sharp. In terms of accessibility, effectiveness, and speed, this sharpener is head and shoulders above the rest.
Additional Factors to Consider When Choosing a Knife Sharpener
There’s chemistry between sharpeners and knives too. Sometimes, they fit; sometimes, they don’t. So before purchasing, you need to consider some additional factors, such as the type of knife (European or Japanese), the type of blade (single edged or double edged), material (stainless steel, carbon steel, or ceramic), the shape of the blade (straight, curved, and so on), and the angle of the blade.
Keep your knife sharp. It makes your food preparation easier, faster, and most importantly, safer. With regular maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of your knives as well.
Hope this article helped you find a sharpener that’s right for you. Don’t forget to check if it’s compatible with your knife.
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