What’s the The Best Knife Sharpener on the Market Today?
There is a huge range of sharpeners available, but which is the best knife sharpener for you? Do you opt for an electric sharpener or manual, choose diamond wheels or ceramic, how many sharpening stages do you need? Knowing which knife sharpener to buy can be a mine field. Add that to the proliferation of sharpening and honing steels and it is no wonder people end up confused.
Here at Sharpen up, we aim to help. Using a combination of in house testing, reviews/opinions from colleagues in commercial kitchens across the UK, US and Australia, and wider user feedback from across the web, we hope to provide the best knife sharpening resource available online.
Add that to in depth articles surrounding all aspects of knife sharpening and better knife practices and you have a one-stop hub for all your knife sharpening needs.
Our top 10 list of best knife sharpeners
To make things easier for you, we have created our top 10 list of best knife sharpeners and placed it right here on the homepage. Put simply, if you decide to buy any on the list below you will not be disappointed.
Top 3 Knife Sharpeners Reviewed
Reviewed below are the top 3 electric knife sharpeners from the list above. We’ve broken it down into 3 types depending on your budget.
No. 1 Premium Sharpener – Chef’s Choice M2000 Commercial
The Chef’s Choice brand from Edgecraft has been a market leader in the knife sharpening arena since the mid 1980’s. With nearly 30 years of innovation and commitment to quality, these guys know exactly what it takes to create the best knife-sharpening tool available. The M2000 is quite possible that tool.
Designed for the large commercial kitchen, I have used the M2000 in more than one kitchen over the past few years. Packing 100% diamond abrasives, this high quality precision sharpener provides a finish that is second to none.
It’s also incredibly reliable. If you wish to keep your blades in premium, non-detempered shape, and want to avoid the cost of professional sharpening services, this is the product to use.
And I would not say that the unit is reserved for only commercial kitchens, if you are a home chef who has invested in heavily into your knife set up, and of course treat cooking seriously, you may still wish to consider buying one of these.
This along with the M2100 (a slightly newer updated model with an even higher price tag) could well be the knife sharpening choice for you.
As a 2 stage sharpener, the money you are spending is going straight to the 100% Diamond abrasive. There really is no better material for the job.
Stage 1 contains ultra-fine honing disks, with Stage 2 used to sharpen any kind of kitchen knive you could possibly ever use (including single bevel Asian style, serrated, filet and butcher).
I cannot stress how easy the unit is to operate, (it also comes with an excellent manual that you should read before attempting to sharpen any knife.)
As I have already stated, the M2000 will never detemper the knife blade. With a powerful moter, (remember it is designed for commercial kitchens) the unit has precision angle guides and as you can see from the pictures, a sturdy compact design.
Also, the rugged replaceable sharpening module easily detaches for cleaning in a sink or dishwasher.
The Bottom Line
What more can I say, this is the best knife sharpener money can buy, however there in lies the rub. It is also one of the most expensive.
Is it worth the money? If you are working in a commercial kitchen, then yes it is. You are actually getting a better unit than some of the other commercial knife sharpeners available that cost even more.
Is it right for the home kitchen? If you have the money and you want the best, then again you should buy the M2000. It will look after your all your sharpening needs for many years to come.
Overall a top quality product that comes highly recommended.
Best Mid Range Sharpener – Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV Edge Select
The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Electric Knife Sharpener has been awarded our top mid range sharpener for a number of reasons.
Firstly, you are getting the reliable EdgeCraft, Chef’s Choice brand at a very affordable price. These guys are are the world’s leading manufacturers of quality knife sharpeners.
Secondly you are getting the best selection of features of any knife sharpener in this price bracket. The Trizor comes with ultra-sharp EdgeSelect technology and the stability of a triple bevel edge. This means you are able to hone your knives to a high performance 15 degree angle.
Three Stage System
Named the Trizor because of its 3 stage process, this unit has efficient flexible stropping disks that sharpen the edge of your blades with minimal metal removal. This of course means your expensive knives will last longer.
The Trizor also comes with Diamond abrasives on the conical disks in Stage 1. This helps create extremely fine micro- grooves.
The sharpening during Stage 2 uses finer diamond abrasives on conical disks, shaping the second smaller bevel with ultra fine microgrooves.
Stage 3 uses the Chef’s Choice patented flexible abrasive stropping disk system. This is how these tools make your knives really sharp, creating a microscopically smooth sharp edge. The third stage also acts as a polisher, fine-tuning the grooves formed in stages 1 and 2.
The 3rd stage is also used to sharpen serrated knives, by straighting and sharpening each tooth.
The Bottom Line
In our view you will not find a better electric sharpener in this price range. The Chef’s Choice seal of quality, with a 3 stage diamond sharpening system.
The product is incredibly versatile and with this you will be able to sharpen European, Asian and American-style knives. The quality is even backed with a 3-year limited warranty from Chef Choice themselves.
Yes some of the other systems contain honing slots, however if you take your knife sharpening seriously, a standalone honing system is a must anyway.
With all the features and precision sharpening you get with Trizor, it is deservedly our best mid range electric knife sharpener.
Best Budget Range Sharpener – Chef’s Choice 220 Hybrid Diamond
The reason being? Well its extremely low price for one. With the majority of electric sharpeners costing around $150 and higher, the Hybrid coming in at less than a third of that price was a bit of a game changer.
There’s also the fact it is a Hybrid. ie, it combines aspects of both a manual and electric knife sharpener.
The first stage is electric, and like all good sharpeners allows you to sharpen your blades, quickly and effectively. It really is very simple to use.
The criss-cross advanced sharpening technology provides an extremely sharp burr-free edge.. What’s more, diamond abrasives are used within the mechanism, meaning no detempering will occur through friction heat.
The second stage is manually operated and is built to hone and polish the edge of your knife. As is explained in our all you need to know homepage article, honing devices should be used regularly to keep your kitchen knives in optimum condition.
The manual technique is straightforward enough. You simply draw your knife back and forth using very light pressure. The wheel inside the slot is shaped for this motion and ensures that the honing is done to the correct extent. The precision angle guides help eliminate guesswork on your part therefore ensuring a better end result.
Designed for both straight and serrated knives plus hunting and pocket-knives, you really will not find a better knife sharpener at this price.
The Bottom Line
Getting the Chef’s Choice brand for less than $50 is enough to place this as our best budget knife sharpener.
However, beyond that, the product really does deliver as a sharpener. While it doesn’t give the finish of the model 120/130 series or other mid range units from Chef’s Choice, the Hybrid is still a durable well-built machine, whose precision just isn’t matched by other sharpeners in the sub $100 price bracket.
The honing stage works well, and even being manual, with the guide system in place you will have no problems honing your knives between sharpening.
Overall a highly recommended buy.
Knife Sharpeners – All you need to know
It goes without saying that the cutting edges of your knives will fade over time and frequent use.
However a common misconception is to think that a sharpening steel (the long silver sharpening tool you will have seen Jamie Oliver and other celebrity chefs deftly strike their knives across on television) is actually doing just that, sharpening the knife.
While it would makes sense to think this, in truth the sharpening steel only refines the edges of a knife that has already been sharpened. The steel is used to hone the cutting edge of a sharpened knife, by removing deformations from the blade’s edge.
If your knives are already blunt, you should not be using a sharpening steel, you need a fully fledged knife sharpener. The process of sharpening actually removes particles of metal from the knife, whereas honing is the straightening of the bent or curved edge.
Ideally, both actions are used to keep your knife in great condition. Honing can in effect be done every time you use your knife, (professional chefs will certainly do this). If the knife seems to be dull, honing with a sharpening steel is the first step. If this action fails to produce the desired effect, you know it is time to pull out the knife sharpener.
How to test your knives for sharpness
The best way to test your knife for sharpness is to place a tomato beneath it. If you can cut through the tomato with ease, and have precision slices as a result, your knife is sharp.
If you have to apply pressure so that you are squashing your tomato slightly to make the cut, then you know that your knife-edge is not as it should be. A sharpening steel or further still, a knife sharpener is required.
The Knife Sharpener
The use of a knife sharpener means that the cutting edge is reshaped, and burrs are removed by grinding away tiny amounts of the blade.
Using the sharpening tool you will set the angle of the cut precisely (usually around 20 degrees), leaving the cutting edge as smooth as possible.
The best knife sharpeners will produce a better, more precise finish on the blade. The end result being a sharper knife.
As we have already stated, to maintain the sharpness for as long as possible you should use a honing steel every time you use the knife to smooth off the edge.
Types of Knife Sharpener
Sharpening stones / Whetstones
A sharpening stone is a solid abrasive stone block. By drawing the knife across the edge of the block, you gently file the knife into shape. This is the best way to sharpen a knife manually, however it can take a little practice to maintain the correct angle through out the sharpening process.
The stones are often lubricated before use, much like an old-fashioned wheel whetstone is moistened with water. They come in various grades that indicate how fine the finish will be on the sharpened knife. A finer grade stone will remove less material, meaning your knife will take longer to sharpen. They do leave a better finish however.
Diamond sharpening stones are cleaner as they do not require oiling.
If you are buying a sharpening stone, you must pay attention to the type of stone you are purchasing. Oiling a diamond stone will actually damage it. A diamond stone is cleaned with a wire brush to remove small particles and knife shavings.
Sharpening stones do require a degree of skill to use effectively. The blade must be held against the stone at the correct angle. Also, sharpening stones cannot be used on serrated knives, meaning their overall use on your kitchen knife collection is limited. You should bare this in mind when searching for the right knife sharpener for your needs.
As an alternative to sharpening stones, you might want to try a Ceramic sharpener.
Ceramic sharpeners come in various guises. Some are similar in design to sharpening steels, ie long, handled ceramic rods or sticks. Other ceramic sharpeners feature pre-angled notches through which the knife is drawn. The Ceramic material provides a smooth consistent surface for sharpening, and are a popular choice in many kitchens.
Other Manual Knife Sharpeners
Other types of manual knife sharpeners work by drawing the knife between two abrasive wheels.
Here the user has to ensure that the blade is held at uniform angle between the wheels. To help with this, some manual knife sharpeners will have a guide or roller to hold the knife in a smooth straight line.
Such devices will also have multiple slots for different types of blade. They may also have a honing device, or slot, that is used to fine-tune the blade between sharpening.
Materials such as hard stone, ceramic abrasive, aluminium oxide and even diamond abrasive, may be used for the cutting edges of a manual sharpening device.
Electric Knife Sharpeners
Electric knife sharpeners are the most popular choice of sharpener due to their ease of use and overall safety.
Electric sharpeners work in the same way as manual knife sharpeners, however the abrasive wheels in the device are powered. Also, an electric sharpener will automatically set the correct angle on the blade. They are generally safer to use than manual knife sharpeners.
You can set the abrasiveness level of the wheel on an Electric sharpener. A top of the range sharpener such as the Chef’s Choice M2000 Commercial Diamond Sharpener will put a very fine edge on your knife and will ensure your cutting tools are maintained to the highest quality.
Conveniently, the sharpening system on most electronic knife sharpeners will also include a honing device. This saves you from needing to purchase a separate sharpening/honing steel.
Which ever device you buy, ensure that you read the manual before use. Also, pay heed to the fact your electric sharpener will require a small amount of maintenance from time to time. Be careful to empty out the filings after use, and give the sharpener a manual clean every so often. Some models do have a self-cleaning mode however.
Sharpening / Honing Steels
A sharpening or honing steel should be used to maintain your knife’s sharp edge.
In a very short amount of use, the thin edge of your cutting knife will fold, thus losing sharpness. You use the sharpening steel to reshape the uneven parts of the blade, and comb the sharp edge back into position.
When your knife is too worn for the steel to “hone” the edge, or the edge is lost completely, then it is time to place it within the knife sharpener.
There are a huge amount of sharpening / honing steels available, and as we have covered above, many electric sharpeners include a honing stage, or have a honing device attached.
Top 10 tips to keep your knives sharp
- Make sure to never put your chefs knife in the dishwasher. The rattle against other utensils during the wash can damage your knifes.
- Do not cut anything directly in the pan. Not only do you ruin your knives, it is no good for your pans either.
- Try to avoid glass, ceramic or marble chopping boards. Stick to good old wood.
- As we have covered, use a knife sharpener only after a honing tool has failed to bring your knife edge back. Sharpening too often will shorten the life span of your knives.
- Hone, wash and dry your knife carefully after every use if you can.
- A wooden knife holder that supports the knives on the spine rather than the cutting edge is the best holder you can buy.
- A better quality knife will maintain a sharper blade for longer. This is what you are paying for.
- Be sure to read the manual of any knife sharpener you buy. Do not assume to know exactly how it works even if you have used other models many times before.
- Sharpening your knives unnecessarily will only wear them out faster.
- Buy the best quality knife sharpener you can afford. Spending more money at the start, will definitely save you money in the long run.
Buying the best Knife Sharpener
As we have covered, spending that little bit extra in the first place will save you money over the long game. A better quality knife sharpener will be kinder to your knives and they will last longer.
If you have already invested in expensive kitchen knives, it would be a mistake to then try to scrimp on the sharpener. Having said that, there are some very affordable, high grade knife sharpeners available.
Generally, the price of a knife sharpener is to do with the quality of the materials it is made from. These materials, as well as the overall design of the device, will impact the level of precision you can expect to achieve when sharpening your knives.
Choosing the Best Knife Sharpener for You
When deciding on the type of knife sharpener to buy, it is important to consider the following:
What type of knives will you be sharpening?
If kitchen knives what style? Asian or Western. Do you have custom knives? Or sport or hunting knives?
Where will you be sharpening your knives?
Are you sharpening in the kitchen at home? Are you a professional chef that requires knife-sharpening facilities in a commercial kitchen? Or will you be sharpening hunting knives while in the field.
How much time do you wish to commit to learning how to sharpen a knife?
Some types of sharpening system take time to learn, with stone sharpening being the most difficult.
How much time will you commit to actual knife sharpening?
Certain electric knife sharpeners can restore the edge in seconds. Manual sharpening can take a lot longer.
How much are you prepared to spend?
Like most tools, knife sharpeners vary widely in the prices you can expect to pay. Budget sharpeners can cost as little as $25. A top of the range electric sharpener can set you back upwards of $500. Deciding on your price bracket will definitely help focus your search to find the right knife sharpener for you.
Sharpen-up aims to be the number one online resource for knife sharpening. Therefore, no matter your answer to the above questions, we aim to offer advice, and review a model of knife sharpener that will fit the bill.
However, there is no getting away from the fact that most visitors to this site will be looking to sharpen kitchen knives. Furthermore, the demands of life and time always being an issue, (in that we never have enough of it), a fast and efficient way of sharpening knives will be the preferred approach.
If this describes you, then an electric knife sharpener will more than likely be the most appropriate type of sharpener. Head to our electric knife sharpening section and you will find reviews on sharpeners to suit any budget.
The simple truth is, electric sharpeners are fast and efficient. The numerous models available cover the full range of budgets, and have the flexibility to sharpen both western, Asian and sports/hunting style knives.
Manual sharpeners are also a viable option if you are looking for something less expensive. They provide great results at very affordable prices.
And then there is the sharpening stone systems. If you require maximum flexibility over the types of knives you sharpen, and with adequate time to learn the process, then a stone system may well be right for you.