- 1 How to Sharpen a Knife And the Tools You Need
- 2 Types of Knife Sharpeners
- 3 Manual Knife Sharpeners
- 4 5 Valuable Tips for Choosing the Best Knife Sharpener
- 5 Knife Honing: How to Hone a Knife with Steel Rod
- 6 Knife Sharpening: How to Sharpen a Knife
- 7 How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife
- 8 How to Keep Your Knives Sharp
- 9 OUR PICK: The Best Knife Sharpeners for 2018
- 10 Best Electric Knife Sharpener
- 11 Best Knife Sharpening Stone
- 12 Best Sharpening Steel
How to Sharpen a Knife And the Tools You Need
Professional chefs and experienced home cooks know the importance of having high quality tools in their kitchen, the most important of which are the knives. However, they will tell you that having a good knife is just an initial step. Often overlooked, is the equal importance of sharpening and maintaining your knives properly. Thus getting the best knife sharpener for your needs is also important. Remember, the best time to sharpen your knife is when it is still somewhat sharp. If you wait until it is blunt, it will take much greater time and effort.
A sharp knife is crucial in order to preserve the texture of fresh ingredients. Cutting with a dull knife will damage your ingredients on a cellular level and alter its texture and appearance. The quality of the cut is becoming an increasingly vital issue in professional cooking. A sharp knife is also essential for your safety. A dull knife is more prone to slipping on food and may result in bodily injuries. Sharp knives are also essential for kitchen efficiency. In addition, it takes more time and effort to cut using a dull knife than a sharp knife. Using a sharp knife is also undoubtedly much more enjoyable.
Knife Sharpening vs Knife Honing
It is essential to understand the difference between sharpening and honing. Honing is done to realign the blade and does not remove steel to create a new edge. It can be done frequently even after each use. Honing is the first process done when the edge first appears dull.
If honing does not give the expected results of improved sharpness, then sharpening is needed.
A high quality blade should be sharpened at least once every four months, given the same use. The frequency of sharpening your knife depends on three major factors: the frequency of usage, hardness of the blade and the metal type. In case of an inexpensive knife, you may have to do the sharpening every fortnight, especially if you use it heavily. On the other hand, a high quality blade may only need sharpening once a quarter under the same use. However, it is important to note that, sharpening a knife actually takes a small amount of steel off the blade.
You should hone your knife regularly in order to keep the blade in good shape. A well-honed knife will last longer between sharpening. It is also recommendable that you avoid over-sharpening your knife. Each time you sharpen your knife, it losses a small amount of steel from the blade. Over sharpening your knife eventually makes it lose its original blade shape. In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about knife sharpeners. We will then provide you a detailed review of the best knife sharpeners.
Types of Knife Sharpeners
In order to choose the best knife sharpener, you need to know the different types of sharpening equipment and how to choose the right one. Knife sharpeners are classified into two broad categories: Electric and manual sharpeners. Both sharpeners use some materials to discard the metal, which can be diamond, stone or ceramic.
Each sharpening material has different grits that can range from highly coarse to extremely fine. Fine grits only polish the metal. They take a later entry in the removal process, just like sanding wooden furniture pieces. Highly coarse grits help to discard the metal faster. They are ideal for blades that have extremely dull or blades that require resetting to another different angle.
Manual Knife Sharpeners
Manual knife sharpeners have been prevalent for many years. Stones are the oldest sharpeners available today while ceramic sharpeners are most current offers. Manual knife sharpeners come with different grits as stated above. The coarse grits are followed by finer grits for polishing and refining. Manual knife sharpening equipment can be divided into three categories:
- Sharpening stones
- Sharpening Steels
- Manual pull through sharpener systems.
A sharpening stone is a one-inch thick solid rectangular shaped slab or block or diamond, whetstone, ceramic or other s sharpening material. Sharpening stones are used for grinding and honing the edges of steel tools. They come in a wide range of sizes and shapes; some are designed as flat to sharpen flat edges while others come with shapes ideal for complex sharpening. Sharpening stones are mostly used in most modern homes as they can sharpen scissors, razors, thinning and other knives and other big blades. Sharpening stones are ideal for sharpening dull edges as they work by discarding a lot of material. To use a sharpening stone flawless, you need some skill and sufficient practice.
Grit Sizes of Sharpening Stones
Sharpening stones come in different grits. As golden rule states, finer grits mean a finer edge on the tool. Finer grits cut more gradually because they usually discard less material. Grits are associated with a number denoting the density of particles. The higher the number, the finer the grit is. By taking into account this number, you can be able to select the right grit for your knife.
The Japanese roughly divide stones into three different categories
- Shiageto: Basically means finishing stone, and is from about 1500 grit and up.
- Nakato: It means middle stone and depends on who you speak to. Nakato stones are from about 800 to 1500 grit.
- Arato: It means coarse stone, and it can be anywhere from about 200 to 800 grit
Types of Sharpening Stones
Most sharpening stones are made in Arkansas, Japan and India. Modern sharpening stones are usually water or oil stones. This means that they need oil or water for lubrication. However, if you use oil, you cannot switch to water later, if the stone accepts both water and oil. Here are some of the common types of sharpening stones:
Oil stones are the most affordable type of sharpening stones, but have a slower cutting rate. Oil stones are usually quite messy, but you have no substitute, if you want an extremely finish. Oils stones can be found in hardware stores and back sheds. Arkansas oil stones are the most popular stones. They come in different grades, which include the soft Arkansas stones, which have a smooth polished edged, hard Arkansas stones and the Washita oil stones, which are coarse and very soft which is why they are avoided. The Indian stone of aluminum oxide is also very popular because of its extremely fine finish with quicker cut.
Water stones are highly preferred than oil stones because of their ability to produce a quick cut and are easy clean. However, the material used to make water stones, aluminum oxide, is very soft and abrasive and this makes it to wear away more rapidly. Water stones are made up of synthetic or natural materials, but the natural options are expensive and very rare to find.
Natural stones are the earliest form of sharpening stones. They were once used in abundance in Japan and Europe. Sharpening on natural stones is a real joy. There is an ethereal satisfaction by using something ancient to create a sharp edge on a modern knife. In addition, natural stones come in random grit sizes that give a long-lasting edge. Natural stones are the most recommendable option for sharpening traditional single bevel Japanese knives. For an affordable deal, consider using natural stones with water.
Ceramic stones are a modern replacement for natural sharpening stones. Ceramic stones are supplied as long sticks or rods with handles, giving them a look of sharpening steels. Just like sharpening stones, ceramic stones are made from minerals, and thus they have less porous texture. This is why you have to soak them for a few minutes to saturate the pores. Ceramic stones offer a more consistent as well as smooth sharpening surface. Due to the varying quality levels of ceramic, you need to be careful while buying your ceramic steel. Some ceramic stones are extremely soft, while others are very hard. Since steels used to craft knife blades differ, you need to go for a ceramic stone that will work well with your knife. Ceramic stones are recommended for single-edged knives.
Synthetic Water stones
Synthetic stones are becoming more and more popular in recent years. Synthetic sharpening stones are usually made of white fused aluminum grit suspended in resin. Some synthetic stones may require you to soak them in water before using them, while others may just require you to splash them with water and they are good to go. Synthetic stones come in different varieties depending on whether you like a soft or a firm feel. Synthetic stones are recommended for western/German knife styles, but some also work well with traditional Japanese single bevel knives.
Diamond Sharpening Stones
Diamond stone sharpeners are increasingly becoming popular due to their ability to cut. However, diamond sharpeners are not recommended because they can cause a lot of damage. Additionally, they are incredibly sharp and at Arato level make your blade to have deep scratches that may require polishing aggressively. Diamond stone sharpeners can be used with or without lubricants.
How to Choose the Right Sharpening Stones
It is recommendable you choose to sharpen stones between #400 to $1000 grits. Such stone sharpeners will be enough to fix any minor chips and put a decent enough polish on edge for most European knives. Of course, if you have a single bevel knife, like Yanagiba you will want a #3000 grit and even higher depending on how enthusiastic you are.
More importantly, you should go for a sharpening stone with a decent sized deck. Choose a stone that is at least 70mm by 200mm, anything smaller than this will make it hard for you to keep the knife balance on the stone.
Not sure which sharpening stone to Buy? Please see our list of the top rated sharpening stones for 2018
Also known honing steels, sharpening steels are long, narrow steels or ceramic rods that alleviate the much contact with the blade to avoid removing much material. Therefore, they are not suitable for sharpening dull cutting edges. Sharpening steels distort and realign the blades to gain the original shape. Therefore, it is important to use a steel sharpening tool prior to and after using your knife.
Steel sharpeners are analogous to stone sharpeners, in the sense that the actual sharpening part is affixed to a handle that needs to be comfortable for use. Despite their easy design, you need some skill and practice to master that art of using these rods. Additionally, you have to choose the appropriate angle carefully, or else, the blade is likely to get damaged. You may get a deformed blade at the end.
Even though the main work of a steel sharpener is honing, it can be used to do minor sharpening. Here are the four most cuts for these sharpeners:
- Normal cut steels: They are the most popular, but are harsher when compared to ceramic cuts
- Ceramic Cuts: They are ideal for minor sharpening for finer edge or grinding (15000 grit rating sufficient for a sharp edge in up to eight strokes without the removing blade metal)
- Diamond steel cuts: They are recommended for experienced users and capable of grinding.
- Combination Cuts: They feature a blend of smooth surface for honing and a rough surface for sharpening.
The type of cut you choose will depend on your preference and budget for the sharpening option. It is recommendable that you use a steel sharpener that corresponds with the knife as manufacturers offer such sharpeners for honing their knives.
Manual Pull Through Sharpening Systems
Manual pull through sharpeners requires you to draw the blade through the sharpening section (grinding wheels). These sharpening systems come in different grits. While the fine and coarse are the most common, you can choose a model with up to four stages. However, the flexible of these systems are limited because they have a fixed angle. Further, manufacturers do not indicate the angle in most cases. Manual pull-through sharpening systems are ideal if you do not have time to master the sharpening skill with a sharpening stone or guess the right sharpening angle.
Electric Knife Sharpeners
Electric knife sharpeners are a more comfortable option than the manual sharpeners. This is because they can apply the right sharpening angle on their own as well as they are also safer to use. Electric knife sharpeners use a 2 or 3 step process to create, sharpen and hone the edge of a blade. The initial step involves using a coarse grit, which sharpens extremely damaged or dull blades. The last step in the process is a fine grit that hones the blade to the desired finish. When you switch on your electric sharpener, the sharpening stone spin to sharpen your knife. Most electric sharpeners come with guides that allow you select a perfect sharpening angle. This makes them popular since they simplify the entire process of sharpening knives.
Features of the Best Knife Sharpeners
- Multiple Sharpening Stages: A good sharpening system should have at least two stages: finer material for polishing and touch-ups and course material for redesigning the damaged or dull edges. You cannot use the coarse material for touch-ups, as doing so discards too much steel.
- Hard and Abrasive Surface: Diamond is the hardest sharpening material and thus the faster performer. Tungsten carbide and polished ceramic are placed second in the race. Abrasiveness is a measurement of the number of grits. The great the grit rating, the finer is abrasive. Therefore, a material with a 120-grit is very coarse, while a sharpening material with an 800 grit is very fine.
- Flexible and Precise Angle Guide: Only a few sharpening systems allow you to position the blade at the right angle. However, the rest models require all its users to practice a bit. A good knife sharpener should have flexible angle guides that can easily accommodate different angle blades.
- Superb Performance and Sharpness: The most reliable test of sharpness is to use a knife to slice tomatoes. A well-sharpened knife should be able to penetrate into the skin of a tomato without any effort. The most crucial aspect of any sharpener is its ability to give an incredibly sharp cutting edge without any scratches.
- Proper Safety: A good sharpener should allow you to sharpen the blade without scraping your fingers. In electric knife sharpeners, you should rely on slots to escort the knife into the targeted belt, and not in your fingers.
- Good Warranty: A good warranty is needed for an electric sharpener that should also offer satisfactory and prompt customer service.
5 Valuable Tips for Choosing the Best Knife Sharpener
Now that you know the various types of knife sharpeners as well as the key aspects of a good sharpener, it does not mean that you are prepared to choose your knife sharpener. Well, you need to take into account some additional factors to choose the right type of sharpener for your needs.
Tip 1: Consider the Different Types of Knives
While most sharpeners can be used to sharpen knives with straight edges, some are only capable of handling knives with serrated edges. Since serrate knives break down more gradually, you may not have to buy a special sharpener if you do not use it frequently. More importantly, if you are planning to buy an electric or manual sharpener, it is important to note that some models might end up over-grinding the knife. This can lead to a reduced lifespan of the blade, warping or chipping. To prevent this, it is advisable that you choose a sharpener that is metal friendly and doesn’t emit much heat, especially if your knife is expensive.
Tip 2: Take Into Account Your Knife’s Blade Bevel
The bevel, also known as the grind, is the shape of the blade’s edge. This shape differs widely depending on what you will be using your knife for. The shape of your blade’s edge depends on the desired sharpness and strength of the blade. It is imperative to understand the different bevel types if you want to choose the best knife sharpener. Here are some of the most common bevel types:
- Flat bevel: It has a taper at the spine of the blade. A flat bevel is quite sharp but is hard to create due to the quantity of metal to be discarded. This explains why a flat bevel is limited in its commercial use.
- Convex Bevel: A convex bevel has an outward twisting taper that helps to retain more metal at the rear edge of the blade. This helps to make the blade strong while still maintaining a good level of sharpness.
- V/Sabre Bevel: It closely resembles a flat bevel, but it has a taper that starts from the middle area of the blade and not from the spine as it is the case of a flat bevel. V/sabre bevel is present in most kitchen knives, and it gives the blade a long-lasting cutting edge.
- Compound/ double bevel: A compound bevel is usually present on Western style knives. It is known as a compound/double bevel because of the extra back bevel added over the edge bevel. This is done to enhance the cutting ability of the blade and maintain its thinness. Even though it is not as sharp as other bevels, the compound bevel is preferred due to its strength and resilience.
- Hollow bevel: A hollow bevel features an inward taper that is just in contrast of the convex bevel. A hollow bevel gives an incredibly sharp edge, but it is quite fragile.
- Chisel Bevel: A chisel-shaped bevel has one side completely flat and the other side as ground down. A chisel bevel offers a very sharp edge because of this it is usually present in some western knives. Depending on the side the bevel exists, right and left-handed options are also available.
Tip 3: Consider the Type of Knife
Knives can be divided into two broad categories: Japanese and western knife styles. Traditional Japanese knives come with a single bevel, showing that the edge is only sharpened on one side. Because of this bevel, the bevel angle of Japanese knives is smaller but sharper. Some Japanese knives have a bevel of five to six degree. Thus, for Japanese knives, you need to go for a sharpener that only sharpens on one side at a time.
Additionally, Japanese knives are crafted using harder steels. They are usually flat along the edge, which is another important factor to consider when sharpening. Because of this design, a region of the blade that comes into contact with the food is bigger than that of the western knives. This shows that using a different method of blade pulling through the sharpener.
Western/ European knives, on the other hand, are known for their efficient function and shape. Unlike Japanese knives, these knives feature asymmetrical bevel, meaning that both sides of the blade are sharpened. The overall sharpening angle is determined by the total angle of both edges. Most European knives have an angle between 18 to 28 degrees.
Another factor to take into account is that European knives are made up of softer steels, meaning that more quantity of it is used for strength. Though they are highly durable, softer steels have a high chance of getting damaged in the form of dents and dings on edge because of heavy use. However, with the right sharpening methods, it is possible to restore these knives to their actual sharpness.
In addition, most western style posses a curve along the blade which allows you to put more pressure on a particular blade area. While this is vital when cutting dense ingredients, it also means that you need to pull the blade along this curve through a sharpener for sharpening it nicely. In short, it is very important to know whether the knife is double or single beveled before selecting your sharpener.
Tip 4: Know the angle of the Blade
Most Japanese knives have a lower angle for more sharpness and harder steel. Western knives, on the other hand, have a higher angle and softer steel. If you have both types of knives, it is important you buy a knife sharpener that allows you to set different sharpening angles.
Tip 5: The Number of Stages Matters
This not only applies to electric knife sharpeners but all types of sharpeners. In the initial stage, damages and any imperfections are grounded to a form of a consistent surface to have a clean edge. This feature is not present in all sharpeners, but it is important to keep in mind while choosing a sharpener for your very dull blades.
In the next coarse grit stone is used to remove the dullness of the blade. This results in an incredibly sharp blade. Lastly, you begin with the stopping stage wherein you polish the burr and retain a sharp edge.
Knife Honing: How to Hone a Knife with Steel Rod
What is Honing?
Honing is done to keep a sharp knife sharp. Honing steels are not designed to sharpen a dull knife. The process does not involve the removal of metal. Though there are some hones with a diamond or ceramic surface that removes metal, honing is not done to remove metal. Honing is done to move fatigued metal back into its original position. It is done realign the edge. Honing can be done for a period of time, but that period of time is dependent on many things, such as the type of blade, the frequency of use among other factors.
How to Hone a Knife with a Steel Rod
Honing steels are made of a rod of steel that is ridged along their length. The ridges help to bring a blade back into alignment as you draw the knife over it. It is recommendable that you hone your knife every day before you use it. Here are the steps to follow when honing your knife with a steel rod.
Step 1: Start Your Honing at the Heel
Hold the handle of your honing steel and place its tip on a cutting board. Place the heel of your knife at the top of the honing rod at an approximate angle of 15 to 20 degrees.
Step 2: Hone Towards The Tip
Apply light pressure and draw your knife down the steel, using the whole length of the honing rod and pulling across the entire length of the knife. Check to be sure that you are maintaining the right angle.
Step 3: Start Honing the Second Side
Place the heel of your knife on the other side of the honing steel. Place the blade at a 15 to 20 degrees angle. Apply light pressure and draw your knife down the steel, using the whole length of the honing rod and pulling across the entire length of the knife.
Step 4: Finish the Honing Process
To hone the knife properly, make sure that you drag it across the honing rod until the tip of the knife and tip of the honing rod meet. Repeat this process for both sides of the knife, typically about eight strokes per side.
This method of honing is ideal for beginner chefs. If you are a professional chef or an experienced home cook, you can use the advanced honing method. This honing technique is faster, and it does not require the use of a cutting board. It is, however, difficult to control. All you need to do is to hold the honing rod horizontally with your Non-Knife hand and then place the heel of your knife against the base of the honing rod. Check to be sure that you are maintaining a 15 to 20 degrees angle until the tip of the knife meets the tip of the honing rod. Do the same for the other side of the knife, and the knife should be aligned perfectly.
Knife Sharpening: How to Sharpen a Knife
How to Sharpen a Knife with a Diamond Hone
There are different types of honing rods. One of them is the diamond honing rod. Diamond hones are very reliable when it comes to sharpening because they are one of the hardest materials in existence. A diamond hone is known to create a smoother blade if it is used correctly. Here are the steps to follow when sharpening your knife with a diamond hone.
- Step 1: Hold the Handle of the Honing Rod on a Cutting Board
Use your non-knife cutting hand to hold your diamond hone on board. Check to be sure that you hold straight up and down so that it is perfectly vertical.
- Step 2: Choose the Right Blade Bevel Angle
Find out what angle you should hold the blade against the diamond hone. Most blades should be held at an angle between 15 to 20 degrees. Consider asking your local knife shop or hardware to determine the correct angle for your knife.
- Step 3: Swipe the Edge of the Knife along the Rod
Using a light touch, slowly swipe the edge of your knife along the diamond honing rod. Avoid pushing the knife against the rod with a lot of pressure. Move the knife from the heel to the tip as you move it along the honing rod.
- Step 4: Repeat the Same Process for the Other Side
Switch to the other side of the knife. Repeat the same process until your knife is incredibly sharp. If your knife is very dull, swipe your several more times on the honing rod.
- Step 5: Cleaning
After you are done, clean the knife using warm soapy water and use it to cut your ingredients.
How to Sharpen a Knife With a Stone
Despite the price tags, all knives have something in common. That is they all need to be properly and regularly sharpened. In this case, there are a lot of dissimilar methods, opinions, and purposes that are better for different problems and blade types. For simplicity’s sake, there are some things you as an average user, have to know to sharpen your ordinary blunt knife. However, the best way of sharpening your knife is by getting it professionally sharpened. But for those of you who want to learn to do it yourself, here are guides on how to sharpen your knife with a stone.
- Step 1: Choose Proper Coarseness for Your Sharpening Stone
Proper coarseness for your sharpening stone is a crucial step in sharpening your knife. Not each knife needs to begin at the coarse stone you have, but on the other hand, a dull knife cannot be sharpened on a fine stone. Starting with proper coarseness will make sure that you have achieved the edge you require faster. If your knife has a nicked blade or blunt, begin with your coarsest stone. The coarse stone takes material faster so that a bad edge can be refined easily. However, the coarse stone must be followed up with your better stone to refine the edge. If your knife is only slightly blunt, and just needs a fast touch up, beginning with a fine or medium stone can save you time. Beginning on a fine stone need small steps but must only be used on edge requiring less work.
- Step 2: Find the Right angle
Most straight blades require to be sharpened at 20-degree angle. To get the angle, hold it directly in front of you and straight up and down. This is 90 degrees. Slant the knife halfway towards the table until it is at 45-degree angle. Slant the knife again at about (2.5 cm) inch above the table.
Your knife might have a larger sharpening angle if the blade is very thick or big.
If you are using a very coarse stone, you may need a lower angle, so as you do not sharpen off too much of the blade.
- Step 3 Apply Water or Oil to Stone
Some stones require water while others require oil for floating the swarm, (small metal filings created when sharpening). Simply apply few drops of either oil or water directly to the stone. However, it is advisable to use an inexpensive spray bottle to apply water. This lubricant will determine the sharpening stone to use. Water stones and diamond stones need water. While oil stones such as Arkansas, crystalline, and India stones use oil for lubricant.
- Step 4 Sharpening a Knife
Beginning with the coarsest stone required for your knife, you will continue through each finer stone until you get to the desired level of sharpness.
Place your knife on the stone at your chosen angle. An easy way for determining the angle by eye is to visualize a 45-degree angle and then take half that amount. That will give you an approximate estimate of the angle and then you can adjust accordingly up or down. With a slicing action bring the length of the knife across the stone with a motion that begins with the heel of the knife on the stone and ends with the point of the knife. The motion should be similar to a sweeping arc pattern across your stone. Be very watchful to be sure you maintain a constant angle on the stone. Long curved knives provide extra challenges, but as long as you can maintain the angle, you will do the sharpening very well. You have to repeat this procedure on the other side of the knife and keep on repeating until you sharpen your knife through all your stone grits.
How to use Sharpen a Knife with an Electric Sharpener
- Step 1: Preparation
Plug your electric sharpener into a power outlet and then switch it one. Make sure that the unit is placed on a flat surface. Clean the knife to be sharpened while the unit remains on for some minutes. Use warm soapy water to get rid of debris or dirt on the knife and the dry the knife using a kitchen towel.
- Step 2: Choose the Right Sharpening Angle
The blade should be at a 15 to 20 degrees angle. Your sharpener will set angle automatically as the knife is pulled through the slot and connects to the grinding stone.
- Step 3: Pass the Knife via the Sharpening Stage
Pass the knife via the sharpening stage. Start with the heel of the knife and slowly proceed to its tip. Make sure you hold the blade firmly down to allow the sharpening wheels to contact and sharpen the knife fully. Complete two runs on both sides of the blade so that you have a total of four runs for both sides.
- Step 4: Sharpen with Finer Stones
Now that you have sharpened your blade on the coarser grits proceed to the finer grits and run the blade two times on each side.
- Step 5: Rinse and Dry the Knife
Once you are done, you will want to rinse your knife with water and dry it with a kitchen towel. Before this, an optional step will be to run the blade via stropping leather. We will discuss this later.
How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife
Sharpening a serrated knife requires a different technique for sharpening a straight-edged blade. This is because each serration on the knife has to be manually sharpened individually. With the right tools and a little patience, you can get any serrated blade back into an excellent cutting shape. Some tools you can use to sharpen serrated blades include modern electric sharpeners, sharpening rod among others. We recommend sharpening a serrated knife using a top quality sharpening rod. Here are the steps to follow when sharpening a serrated blade using a ceramic or diamond sharpening rod.
- Choose the Best Sharpening Rod
Ceramic and diamond sharpening rods are the most commons ways of sharpening serrated blades manually. The rod is specially shaped to get inside the serrations of the blade. This allows for the sharpening of the knife tooth by tooth.
- Set the Right Bevel Edge
Most serrated knives have a single-sided bevel edge. In most cases, the bevel-edged face is slightly on the inside of the serrations. For best results, only apply the sharpening rod to the beveled edge of the serrated blade.
- Sharpening the Gullets
Place the sharpening rod into one of the serrated grooves, also called the gullets. Make sure the rod is in line with the beveled edge. If you sharpening rod is tapered, ensure the rod is aligned at a position where it is the same diameter as the gullet, thereby filling the groove. Smoothly run the rod via each groove of the knife a few times. After sharpening each groove, check the other side of the knife for a burr or metal shavings. The best way to do this is to run a finger alongside the blade. Repeat this for all the grooves.
- Remove Metal Shavings
Move the knife over the edge of sharpening stone to remove burrs at the back of the blade. If you do not have a sharpening stone, rub the back of the knife against a fine grit sandpaper. With that, your serrated knife should be nice and sharp again.
How to Keep Your Knives Sharp
Every chef understands the importance of keeping their knives sharp. A sharp knife not only makes food prep faster and cleaner, but also safer. Once you have sharpened your knife, follow these five tips to ensure your knife remains sharp and perform at its best:
Tip 1: Clean Your Knives Properly
Never put your knife in a dishwasher as this speeds up the dulling of the blade. Instead, hand wash it with warm soapy water and dry it with a kitchen towel before putting it away.
Tip 2: Store Your Knives Properly
Always store your knives on a magnetic strip or in a knife block. Avoiding tossing your knives in a drawer as this causes blades to rub against each other causing them to become dull. Additionally, this presents a safety hazard when reaching the knife.
Tip 3: Cut on the Right Surfaces
The surface you use for cutting directly affects the condition of your knife. Avoid cutting on metallic and other hard surfaces, such as granite, aluminum, and stainless steel. You will want to cut on polyethylene, plastic or wood. Your knife will remain sharp as long as you are using a cutting board made from proper materials.
Tip 4: Sharpen Your Blades Often
One of the best ways of keeping knives sharp is by sharpening them frequently. If you work in a professional kitchen, consider sharpening our knife at least once per week. More importantly, when sharpening your blade ensure that you are doing it correctly. Read our section on how to sharpen knives correctly.
Tip 5: Use the Knife for the Intended Task
The biggest reasons knives lose their sharpness is because they are used for different tasks than they should be. For example, using a paring knife for boning may end up damaging the blade and even breaking it.
OUR PICK: The Best Knife Sharpeners for 2018
In the list below you will find our picks for the best knife sharpeners for 2018: Browse, compare and find a knife sharpener that is right for your own specific needs and budget.
Priority Chef Knife 2-Stage Serrated and Straight Blade Knife Sharpener
Made by Priority Chef, this 2-stage knife sharpener is made to transform any blunted knife into the sharp-edge item. It is one of the most popular and top-rated sharpeners that give you the desired outcome. The first stage is designated for coarse sharpening of dull or blunt knives while the second is designed for smooth and fine sharpening, which adds the final sharpness. You will receive an incredibly sharp knife, as long as you follow the instructions provided by Priority Chef. The sharpener comes in a silvery black appearance making it unique and very appealing to the eye. Overall, the sharpener is stylishly structured, and it comes in a very beautiful box.
It features an ergonomically designed handle with a rubber grip making comfortable to hold. In addition to the handle, the sharper features a non-slip rubber base that makes sure that the sharpener is firm while in use. The utility of the Priority Chef Knife sharpener is high, meaning you can sharpen one knife after the other until your entire knife set is complete. With a weight of only 3.8 ounces, this sharpener is extremely lightweight making it easy to carry around.
Pros of the Priority Chef Knife Sharpener
- Two-stage sharpener equipped with both fine and coarse sharpening slots
- Ergonomically designed handle with a rubber grip for enhanced comfort
- Non-slip rubber base ensures the sharpener is firm while in use
- Attractive packaging box, making it an appropriate gift for someone special
Cons of the Priority Chef Knife Sharpener
- It is not ideal for ceramic blades
Best Electric Knife Sharpener
Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener
The Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener is one of the most popular electric sharpeners on the market today. It is created by a combination of Ken Onion’s industrial design and the Work Sharp Engineering Company. Using a sharpening guide, flexible abrasive belts, and variable speeds, this sharpener is designed for sharpening any kind of knife including serrated knives, kitchen knives, and hunting knives. But mostly this electric knife sharpener would make a great addition to the exclusive Ken Onion chef knife.
The engineered abrasive belts can sharpen any shape or kind of blade while the precision sharpening guide ensures you get a consistent angle at all times. You can adjust the sharpening guide in one-degree increments from 15 degrees to 30 degrees so you can sharpen knives to your desired angles to meet your needs.
The variable speed control, ranging from 1200 SFM to 2800 SFM gives you optimal belt speed for the task at hand. The Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener works so quickly, especially when you are accustomed to doing everything by hand. By removing the sharpening guide and rotating the cassette forward, you can switch to the grinding mode so you can sharpen your lawnmower blades, axes, and other large blades.
Pros of the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener
- Adjustable sharpening angle with a one-degree increment from 15 degrees to 30 degrees
- Precision sharpening guide ensures you get a consistent angle at all times
- Flexible engineered abrasive belts allow you to sharpen any shape or type of blade
- Variable speeds and heavy duty motor
- Grinding attachment is available so you can sharpen bigger blades, such as axes and lawnmower blades
Cons of the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener
- It retails at a higher price than other sharpeners, but this is due to its multiple sharpening features and capabilities
Chef’s Choice 130 Professional Knife-Sharpening Station
The Chef’s Choice 130 Professional Knife-Sharpening Station is engineered with a unique combination of manual and electric sharpening technology that can sharpen a wide range of straight-edge and serrated blades. The sharpener comes with three sharpening stages, of which the second stage is manual while the first and third stages are electric. Each of these stages comes with different conical disks embedded with a high quality diamond abrasive that create an arch-shaped, durable and incredibly sharp edge that resists folding over.
The first stage is a 100 percent diamond sharpener sharp for really sharp blade the first time every time.
The second stage uses a miniature steel for making blades sharpened, like any other professional sharpening equipment. This creates an incredibly sharp cutting edge using powerful microscopic teeth ideal for cutting foods.
The third stage has a stropping disc that spins to create a hair-splitting sharpness in all blades, especially serrated knives. Built-in elastomeric guides help you maintain a consistent angle without guessing while the sharpener’s compact design ensures it fits nicely on your counter.
The sharpener comes with a three-year limited manufacturer’s warranty and is very easy to use. In summary, the Chef’s Choice 130 Professional Knife-Sharpening Station is a must-have in the kitchen whether you are a professional chef or just one of one of the people who love to prepare foods.
Pros of the Chef’s Choice 130 Professional Knife-Sharpening Station
- 3 stage sharpener combining manual and electric sharpening technology
- Built-in elastomeric angle guides to help you maintain a consistent sharpening angle
- Compact design and unique stabilizing feet that allow the unit to remain firm while in use
- Can be used to sharpen both serrated and straight-edge blades
- This great sharpener is uncomplicated and easy to use
- It is very easy to maintain and clean
- three years limited manufacturer’s warranty
Cons of the Chef’s Choice 130 Professional Knife-Sharpening Station
- Some customers complained of too much metal coming from the sharpening stage, but this can be avoided by not overusing the first stage.
Wusthof Black 3-stage Chef’s Choice PEtec Electric Knife Sharpener
This three-stage sharpener is actually manufactured by Chef’s Choice but is specially engineered to sharpen Wusthof blades with the Precision Edge Technology (PEtec). The Wusthof Black 3-stage Chef’s Choice PEtec Electric Knife Sharpener is designated to sharpen, hone and polish serrated and straight-edge blades.
The first stage uses a diamond abrasive wheel to create a new edge on dull knives. The second stage has a finer diamond grit wheel that allows you to hone and refine your knife’s edge. The third stage features an advanced stropping material that polished the blade to an incredibly sharp edge and also sharpens serrated blades.
Overall, the operation of the Wusthof Black 3-stage Chef’s Choice PEtec Electric Knife Sharpener is excellent. Unlike other electric sharpeners, this sharpener is optimized for PEtec knives. It will work well on Wusthof knives and a wide variety of others. Apart from working on Western and Eastern knives, its multiple features make this sharpener stand out from other electric sharpeners in its class.
Pros of the Wusthof Black 3-stage Chef’s Choice PEtec Electric Knife Sharpener
- the 3-stage electric sharpener that works well on PEtech knives
- The unit is easy and simple to operate
- Can sharpen both serrated and straight-edge blades
- Works quickly and efficiently
- Made in the USA by Chef’s Choice meaning it is highly reliable
- Comes with three years limited manufacturer’s warranty
Cons of the Wusthof Black 3-stage Chef’s Choice PEtec Electric Knife Sharpener
- Pretty expensive given that it is really designed to work with one knife brand
Best Knife Sharpening Stone
Whetstone Two-Sided Professional Knife Sharpening Stone
The Whetstone Knife 2-Sided Professional Grade Sharpening Stone is a truly top of the line sharpening stone designated to make your knives incredibly sharp, maybe even sharper than the first day when you purchased them. This outstanding 2-sided professional sharpening stone works on every type of knife including both straight-edge and serrated knives. Boasting a 1000 grit side and a 6000 grit side, the non-slip bamboo base ensures you are set when sharpening your knife. You do not have to use oil with this sharpening stone; many users have reported better result using basic water.
The Whetstone Knife 2-Sided Professional Grade Sharpening Stone comes with instruction on how to get the most out of it in PDF and video formats. It comes with a discreet size, and it is lightweight so you can carry it with you wherever you go. It also comes with a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty that includes a 100 percent money back guarantee.
Pros of the Whetstone Knife 2-Sided Professional Grade Sharpening Stone
- Double-sided whetstone (professional Japanese grade 1000/6000 grits)
- Detailed user guide on getting best results in PDF and Video formats
- Non-slip bamboo to ensure the sharpener remains firm when in use
one year limited manufacturer warranty
- 100 percent money back guarantee
Cons of the Whetstone Knife 2-Sided Professional Grade Sharpening Stone
- It can break easily if dropped accidentally
The Premium Home Knife Sharpener Stone Kit is a multi-colored knife sharpening kit for sharpening both straight –edge and serrated knives. It measures 8.25 inches long, by 2.75 inches wide, by 1.5 inches tall, and weighs 2.2 pounds. It is two-sided meaning it offers two different grit settings depending on the sharpening you are doing and the type of knife. One side, the yellow colored part, has an 800 coarse grit that is capable of restoring the dullest blade to a sharp edge. Then, the 3000 grit stone hones and polishes that edge to a razor-like sharpness.
The sharpener comes with a non-slip base that ensures that the stone remains firms as you sharpen your knife. The knife sharpener is ideal for daily maintenance or whether you need to bring a blunt or dull knife back up to par. Even better, it works with both ceramic and steel knives. The Premium Home Knife Sharpener Stone Kit is one top rated stone sharpener. It comes with a 60 days money back guarantee.
Pros of the Premium Home Knife Sharpener Stone Kit
- Two-sided stone sharpener with an adjustable plastic enclosure to give you a 15-degree base
- 800 grit stone for sharpening dull blades and a3000 grit stone for honing and polishing
- Nonslip base for firmness of the stone while sharpening
- Ideal for sharpening all types of knives
- Detailed user guide and online tutorial video
- 60-Day money back guarantee
Cons of the Premium Home Knife Sharpener Stone Kit
- The stone is soft and may get dents
Yoshihiro Professional Grade Toishi Japanese Whetstone Knife Sharper
The Yoshihiro Professional Grade Toishi Japanese Whetstone Knife Sharper is an outstanding sharpening stone that is increasingly becoming popular. The sharpener comes with a whopping 10000 stone for honing and polishing all your knives. A wooden base is affixed to the stone to allow you to sharpen your knife with ease.
With a height of 1-inch, you can be sure that this sharpening stone will last a lifetime. The stone is 3 inches wide and 8 inches tall to provide for a larger surface area to sharpen your knife more accurately. Made in Japan, this sharpening stone is NSF approved and ideal for sharpening Japanese-style knives.
Pros of the Yoshihiro Professional Grade Toishi Japanese Whetstone Knife Sharper
- 10000 stone grit ideal for honing and polishing knives
- Comes with a discreet size and is lightweight, meaning you can carry it out
Its stone grit makes it ideal for sharpening, honing and polishing knives, especially Japanese knives
- A solid wooden base affixed to stone to make it easy to sharpen your knife
- Can sharpen ceramic blades
Cons of the Yoshihiro Professional Grade Toishi Japanese Whetstone Knife Sharper
- Comes at a very high price, but this is due to the 10000 stone grit
Best Sharpening Steel
DMT 12-Inch Diamond Steel Sharpening Rod
Made in the USA, the DMT 12-Inch Diamond Steel Sharpening Rod is a top rated sharpening equipment for nearly all types of kitchen knives. The sharpener will quickly and effectively hone and aligned you knife’s blade. The surface of this rod is coated with diamond dust, one of the hardest and most abrasive materials for honing knives. There is an extra-fine-grit that is ideal for final step honing to polish your knife’s cutting edge.
The sharpening rod comes with a black plastic handle with large guard and color coded ring for easy grit designation and hangs up. Unlike sharpening stones, this sharpening rod does not require you to use oil or water while sharpening. Its sturdy construction will provide you years of consistent performance and reliable service.
Pros of the DMT DS2F 12-Inch Diamond Steel Sharpening Rod, Fine Grit
- Durable construction provides years of consistent performance and reliable service
- No oil is required to sharpen dry or with water
- Sharpens knives quickly and effectively more than conventional stones
- Extra-fine grit for final polishing
- Sanitary plastic handle with a color-coded ring for easy hang-up and grit designation
- DMT promises to replace any defective product free of charge
Cons of the DMT DS2F 12-Inch Diamond Steel Sharpening Rod
- The sharpening rod comes with a ceramic coating that may not be as durable as expected
Kota Japan 12 in. Diamond Carbon Steel Professional Knife Sharpener Rod
Kota Japan has been the originator and pioneer of diamond sharpening tools. The Kota Japan 12-inch Diamond Carbon Steel Professional Knife Sharpener Rod has the hardest, most durable and long lasting sharpening surface available. The sharpener comes with an oval shape to ensure high sharpening efficiency. It is also elegantly designed, meaning it will be a pleasing and attractive addition to any kitchen or work area.
The diamond electroplating ensures that efficient and sharpening of dull tools and knives. The sharpener comes with an unconditional lifetime warranty and is 100 percent tested. This means you can buy this outstanding sharpening with confidence.
Pros of the Kota Japan 12-inch Diamond Carbon Steel Professional Knife Sharpener Rod
- Ideal for sharpening nearly all types of knives
- No water or oil is required
- Diamond electroplating for efficient and sharp sharpening
- Ergonomic handle for aesthetics and practically
- Oval shape knife rod is designed to ensure higher sharpening efficiency
- Elegant design, making a valuable aesthetically pleasing addition to any kitchen
- Unconditional lifetime warranty
- 100 percent tested for defectiveness
Cons of the Kota Japan 12-inch Diamond Carbon Steel Professional Knife Sharpener Rod
- Diamond sharpeners leave heavy scratches on the material. This makes it an ideal sharpener for the first phase of sharpening.
Smith’s #3001 10-Inch Oval Diamond Sharpening Rod
Smith’s has been a trusted name in the sharpening industry for over 125 years. Unlike steel rods that only realign the cutting edge; the Smith’s #3001 10-Inch Oval Diamond Sharpening Rod realigns the edge at the blade at the same time. This shape rod boasts a unique sharpening surface with an overlapping and oval design that fastens the sharpening process. The surface is coated with layers of micron-sized, monocrystalline diamond bonded in nickel to the flat metallic surface. This ensures the sharpening always remains clean and clear and extremely effective in sharpening the hardest steel blade.
The Smith’s #3001 10-Inch Oval Diamond Sharpening Rod comes with a comfortable, soft grip handle. The soft grip handle provides a comfortable grip while the oversized hand guard ensures safety. The hang-up ring allows you to store easily, and access your sharpening rod wherever you need. There is also a plastic tip at the end of the rod to help you avoid damage your countertop during sharpening.
Pros of the Smith’s #3001 10-Inch Oval Diamond Sharpening Rod
- Ultimate sharpening technology to realign and hone your blade
- Overlapping and oval-shaped design to speed up the sharpening process
- Soft to grip handle with a hang-up ring for easy storage
- Plastic tip at the end of the rod to protect your counter during sharpening
Cons of the 10-Inch Oval Diamond Sharpening Rod by Smith’s
- The shape of the sharpener makes it difficult to sharpen some knives, but it always gets them razor sharp
Buying the best knife sharpener, you can afford is a very smart decision. Do not only look for the cheapest one as having a quality sharpening tool in your home is essential and would save you money in the future.