- Sharp knives make cooking easier and safer. To keep your knives sharp enough to slice through tomatoes like butter, you need a great knife sharpener.
- The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV stands out as our top pick because of its versatility for various sharpening tasks and its three distinct sharpening stages.
No one wants to be associated with being dull. Being a dull guest at a dinner party ensures you won’t receive a second invitation. If someone calls you a dull thinker — even if you might not be able to understand it — that person is insulting you.
Don’t let your knives be dull, either. Dull knives cut poorly, causing you to apply extra force in the process, which increases the chance of injury. Additionally, dull knives tear up your food, rather than slicing it beautifully. Sharp knives have a longer lifespan, too, which is especially important for an expensive set of knives.
The best knife sharpeners are easy to use and give your knives that desirable sharp edge. Because knife sharpeners exist in a variety of configurations, finding just the right type of knife sharpener for your needs requires a bit of sharp study. (Apologies for the bad pun.) Continue reading to learn more about this product area that will give your search for the best knife sharpener the proper edge! (We’re really sorry.)
How knife sharpeners work
Several different gadgets and kits exist that will help you sharpen a knife. Some use electrical power, while others use a manual stroke. We’ll break down the different types of knife sharpeners in the next segment. If you need more information, we have further discussed knife care in a video.
As far as sharpening a knife blade goes, all types of sharpeners follow the same type of process. You’ll rub the metal blade of the knife against some sort of an abrasive surface that removes some of the metal to create a thin edge.
Knife sharpeners need to be able to create an exact angle on the knife’s edge. American and European knife blades use a 20-degree angle out of the factory, as Chef’s Choice explains, while Asian knife blades use a 15-degree angle. Hence, many people prefer a knife sharpening machine to a simple manual stone, because the machine helps guide you to maintain the proper angle on the blade.
If the blade is only slightly dull, using a steel rod, called knife sharpening steel, can give the edge a quick touch up by realigning the edge, as shown by Cook’s Illustrated. Technically, using this method means you’re actually honing the knife, rather than sharpening it. For a dull blade, though, a knife sharpener provides the best method of obtaining a sharp edge again.
Types of knife sharpeners
- Electric machine: An electric knife sharpener offers the most convenient sharpening tool design. You’ll pull the knife blade through the guide slot on the machine, and a motor applies the sharpening agent (usually a sharpening stone) to the metal blade. Many electric sharpeners will offer multiple guide slots that run from coarse to fine sharpening or that handle different blade angles.
- Pull-through machine: A pull-through sharpener, also called a manual sharpener, works best with kitchen knives. You’ll pull the knife blade through the sharpener, which includes guide slots with the sharpening agent inside. Some pull-through sharpeners allow you to adjust the angle of the blade, which helps with different types of knives. Some provide multiple guide slots, ranging from coarse to fine sharpening.
- Sharpening kit: Sharpening kits appear at the top end of the market for knife sharpeners, as they have multiple parts to ensure a proper result. The kit allows you to set the sharpening angle you want to use, while working from course to fine sharpening. Sharpening kits work great for both sharpening and honing. Using a sharpening kit properly requires some time invested in learning to use the kit. However, for those who demand a perfect blade, the sharpening kit achieves the desired result with full manual control.
- Stone: With a sharpening stone, you’ll drag the blade of the knife across the rough surface of the stone. Sharpening stones consist of a number of types of material, such as diamond stones, oil stones (also called Arkansas stones), water stones (or aluminum oxide stones), and ceramic stones. Yes, the diamond stone actually contains tiny fragments of diamonds, but it’s a little heavy to wear as an earring. The trick with a sharpening stone becomes applying the right amount of pressure and sharpening at the proper angle because using a sharpening stone requires a completely manual process with no guide slots. However, stones can sharpen many tools, including scissors and chisels.
Our guide attempts to give you the easiest methods for keeping your arsenal of knives sharp and ready. One final item to mention: Serrated knife blades won’t work with all types of knife sharpeners. If you’re using a pull-through or electric knife sharpener, it needs to have a serrated setting or the blade will lose the serration during sharpening.
Here are the best knife sharpeners you can buy:
- Best knife sharpener overall: Chef’s Choice Trizor XV
- Best affordable knife sharpener: Chef’s Choice ProntoPro 4643
- Best stainless steel knife sharpener: Brod & Taylor Professional Knife Sharpener
- Best knife sharpening kit: Edge Pro Apex 4
- Best stone sharpening system: Smith’s TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HOME Sharpening System
- Best manual knife sharpener: M3 Manual sharpener
- Best versatile knife sharpener: Work Sharp WSKTS Knife & Tool Sharpener
- Best affordable electric knife sharpener: Linkyo Electric Knife Sharpener
Updated 10/25/2019 by Owen Burke: Removed the best fast knife sharpener because it’s out of production. We’re currently researching and considering new electric and affordable sharpeners for testing.
The best knife sharpener overall
The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV knife sharpener is extremely easy to use and works with a nice variety of kitchen knife blades, making it a versatile option.
The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV represents our pick as the best overall knife sharpener for a variety of reasons, but ease of use tops the list.
Most electric knife sharpeners offer easy-to-use features, but the Trizor XV truly simplifies things with its three sharpening guides, starting with coarse before moving to fine and polishing. In its review, The Wirecutter appreciated the strong motor in the Trizor XV, which allows it to run smoothly during sharpening with no catches on the blade.
As Mal Knives shows in a review, the Chef’s Choice sharpener creates a triple bevel on the blade, which allows it to work with both Asian and European/American knives. The bevels are at roughly 25 degrees, 20 degrees, and 15 degrees. This triple bevel design increases the length of time required between sharpenings. However, one Amazon customer reviewer disliked the sharpening results on Asian knives with this machine.
The Chef’s Choice carries a slightly above average price point versus other electric knife sharpeners, but one Amazon customer reviewer says the Trizor XV represents a great value and great investment for those with many knives.
Overall, we think it’s the best knife sharpener for most people with its multiple settings, clear instructions, and decent price.
Pros: Triple beveled knives should need fewer sharpenings, three sharpening guide slots, easy to use, motor runs smoothly, excellent sharpening results
The best affordable knife sharpener
If you’re looking to save some money on a knife sharpener, the Chef’s Choice ProntoPro 4643 provides outstanding results at a low price.
The Chef’s Choice ProntoPro 4643 is one of our favorite knife sharpeners on the market, as it provides outstanding results at a low price point. This manual pull-through knife sharpener offers a lot of the same features as our top pick, the electric Chef’s Choice Trizor XV, but does so at a far lower price point.
The design of the ProntoPro 4643 is a little different from most manual knife sharpeners because it has a curved handle with a soft grip. As The Blade Guru shows in its review, you can hold this handle firmly to achieve the best results. Additionally, the ProntoPro 4643 is only about nine inches in length, meaning it’ll fit easily in a drawer, which is a handy feature that The Wirecutter liked.
You can control the angle of the knife blade at either 15 degrees or 20 degrees, making it work well for both American/European and Asian knives. In fact, the manual sharpener uses different guide slots for each type of knife, as well as a third guide slot for serrated knives. However, one Amazon reviewer was disappointed in the performance of the ProntoPro 4643 on expensive knives.
Even though the Chef’s Choice ProntoPro 4643 carries a lower price point than most electric knife sharpeners, it does cost a bit more than other manual sharpeners. But as one Amazon reviewer says, the ProntoPro 4643 provides a great value because of its high-performance level.
Pros: Reasonable price point, excellent results versus other manual knife sharpeners, three guide slots for different types of knives, easy to hold handle, fits in a drawer
Cons: Questionable quality with expensive knives, not quite as versatile as some more expensive electric options
The best stainless steel knife sharpener
The Brod & Taylor Professional Knife Sharpener not only looks sharp in an all stainless steel design, but it works flawlessly.
As discussed in The Wirecutter’s review of the Professional Knife Sharpener from Brod & Taylor, some pull-through knife sharpeners that make use of a V-notch sharpening system tend to remove too much metal from the knife. However, The Brod & Taylor machine’s design overcomes this problem by precisely guiding the knife blade to create a perfect angle. This sharpener features a tungsten carbide sharpening system.
With V-notch systems, some people may experience difficulty applying just the right amount of pressure to ensure an even sharpening on the blade. The Brod & Taylor design includes a spring-loaded sharpening configuration that overcomes this problem for most people, according to the Kitchen Boy review. One Amazon customer reviewer experienced this problem. However, once you have the hang of this machine, it works great.
The stainless steel construction of the Brod & Taylor Professional Knife Sharpener looks great, meaning you’ll enjoy keeping this knife sharpener in full view at all times on your kitchen counter. It works with both American/European knives and Asian knives, because you can adjust the angle at which the Brod & Taylor sharpener works.
Even with a high price tag for a pull through knife sharpener, the Brod & Taylor sharpener represents a good value, according to one Amazon customer’s review, because it provides a new life for old knives, allowing them to last longer.
Pros: Nice looking stainless steel design, excellent performance for a pull through knife sharpener, works with both European/American and Asian knives, can set to precise angle
Cons: Above average price for pull through sharpener, takes some practice to use properly
The best knife sharpening kit
Simply put, the Edge Pro Apex 4 sharpens all knives at precise blade angles for some of the best and sharpest results you’ll see.
The Edge Pro Apex 4 is a thorough knife sharpening kit, giving you the ability to fine-tune your knives. The kit uses a guide system along with different sharpening stones to help you draw the blade at the right angle. It does require some know-how and practice to achieve the desired results.
Additionally, this completely portable kit fits inside a carrying case, allowing for easy transportation for camping or hunting. The kit can handle blade sizes ranging from small knives to machetes, as an Amazon customer reviewer explains, and all of them will be incredibly sharp. However, another Amazon reviewer said the system didn’t work well with extremely thin bladed knives, such as a fillet knife.
With this toolkit, setting an exact sharpening angle at which to guide the blade works great, according to Let’s Talk Survival’s review. The kit ships with five water stones, ranging from 120 to 1,000 grit, allowing for coarse to fine sharpening. It also contains 2,000 and 3,000 grit polish tapes for honing. The stones fit tightly into the kit’s design, ensuring no slippage as you use the kit’s angle guide to draw the knife blade across the stones.
Make It Sharp’s review says that using the Edge Pro Apex 4 properly involves a learning curve, but the time invested pays off with incredibly sharp blades. The kit ships with a DVD, providing detailed instructions on how to use it. Once you have mastered this tool, its results are impressive.
This kit costs quite a bit more than most knife sharpeners, but it gives your knives more longevity by removing less metal from the blades during the sharpening process.
Pros: Excellent sharpening kit, allows for precise multiple knife blade angles, includes multiple grit stones for fine polishing, all parts fit in a carrying case for easy portability, works with multiple blade widths
Cons: Expensive sharpening kit, requires some practice to use well, doesn’t work well with thin-bladed knives
The best stone sharpening system
For those who want complete control over the sharpening process, the Smith’s TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HOME Sharpening System makes it easy to use a sharpening stone.
If you’re frustrated with the performance of electric knife sharpeners – or if you’re just a bit of a control freak like me – the Smith’s TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HOME Sharpening System allows you to manually sharpen your knives. The system ships with three high-quality sharpening stones and the included bracket holds the stones in place so you can work efficiently and safely.
The rotating triangle block on which the manufacturer has mounted the three different sharpening stones makes it convenient to just twist a knob and find the exact stone grit you wish to use.
Some people may be a bit intimidated by using a sharpening stone, rather than an electric sharpener. However, one Amazon reviewer says this system is very easy to use, even for someone who is new to knife sharpening.
However, another Amazon buyer questioned the longevity of the TRI-HOME’s frame, as a couple of the rubber feet and one of the stones came loose from the frame after several uses.
Pros: Offers full control over the sharpening process, excellent price point, three different grit stones included, stones mounted on triangular block are convenient to access, easy to use for beginners
Cons: Takes longer to sharpen knives than an electric sharpener, longevity of the frame is questionable
The best manual knife sharpener
The Work Sharp Culinary M3 Manual Kitchen Knife Sharpener puts the power of knife sharpening in your hands with a simple diamond and ceramic rod system.
Work Sharp Culinary is known for its many knife sharpeners, and one of the best ones is the M3 Manual sharpener. It’s a modular manual sharpener with two rods. One is made of Diamond Sharpening Steel and the other is a Ceramic Honing Rod.
The tapered shape of the diamond steel rod lets you sharpen straight, curved, and serrated knives or blades. The 320 grit diamond rod won’t eat up your knives, either, because it just gently sharpens the edge.
Meanwhile, the ceramic honing rod has both a fine and coarse so you can hone your knives or just touch them up between sharpenings. Together, the two rods ensure that your knives stay sharp longer and keep cutting for years to come.
Although using a manual knife sharpener might sound intimidating, the ergonomic handle with its 17° sharpening/honing guides make it easy to sharpen your knives at the right angle every time. Insider Picks’ Guides Editor Malarie Gokey uses the M3 to sharpen her knives and highly recommends it.
Work Sharp also has a 90-day guarantee and 3-year warranty on this knife, so rest assured that it’s worth the money.
Pros: Effective, easy to use, affordable compared to electric ones, guides help sharpen knives perfectly, diamond grit is great
Cons: Manual style may scare some off
The best versatile knife sharpener
If you don’t mind the idea of sharpening garden tools and kitchen knives with the same system, the Work Sharp WSKTS Knife & Tool Sharpener is extremely versatile.
The Work Sharp WSKTS Knife & Tool Sharpener is a popular sharpening system, as it works on a variety of tools and knife blades, but it also allows for precise performance. One Amazon buyer echoes the thoughts of many by saying this is the best tool for sharpening many kinds of blades, including straight razors, gardening tools, and kitchen knives.
The WSKTS works with abrasive belts that run in conjunction with an angle guide to ensure you get the exact angle you desire. Tools in Action says it’s an impressive feature that makes sharpening knives easy. You can even use this tool as a handheld detail grinder in a pinch.
In its review, Cool Tools likes the compact size of the Work Sharp WSKTS sharpener, which is similar in size to a handheld drill. The low cost of replacement belts is another big plus.
One Amazon reviewer says sharpening several blades in a short amount of time is easy with this powerful machine, so if you have lots of knives and scissors that need a new edge, you can get them all done quickly.
The only known issue found by reviewers at Atomic Toasters is that the WSKTS can cause some rounding of precise tips on knives, so be careful with some of your finer blades.
Pros: Works on a multitude of blades, uses three different grits on the belts to yield a precise level of sharpness, includes angle guides to ensure proper sharpening angles, small size, replacement belts are reasonably priced
Cons: May cause rounding of the tips of some blades, some people won’t like sharpening garden tools and kitchen knives with same machine
The best affordable electric knife sharpener
Electric knife sharpeners create metal filings, which can result in a mess, but the Linkyo Electric Knife Sharpener includes a tray for collecting the filings, making cleanup a snap.
If you don’t like the metal shards and filings that an electric knife sharpener creates, the Linkyo Electric Knife Sharpener is the answer. This system includes a receptacle inside the sharpener that catches all of the metal filings, and you can easily remove the receptacle to clean up the machine after running knives through it.
In his review, the Knife Sharpener Guru says the Linkyo model works fast, but it only works with knife blades that have straight edges. You cannot use it with scissors or serrated edge blades.
For those new to knife sharpening, this is a very easy-to-use machine. The Knife Fellas review loves the simplicity of the Linkyo sharpener and its sharpening angle guides.
The sharpener itself works pretty well, although it’s not as precise as some higher-priced and more powerful models. It does a nice job outperforming other models in its price range, thanks to its two-stage sharpening system.
One Amazon customer says this machine has paid for itself many times over the years because it gives old knives new life. Some Amazon buyers say the Linkyo sharpener did a poor job on expensive knives, so be wary.
Pros: Easy to clean up metal filings after sharpening your knives, system is great for beginners because it keeps the blades properly aligned, fast-working sharpener, offers a low price point for an electric knife sharpener
Cons: Doesn’t work with scissors or serrated edge knives, may not sharpen more expensive blades precisely
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