How to Choose a Knife Sharpener for a Chef's Knife

How to choose a knife sharpener for a chef's knife. A chef's knife should be razor-sharp at all times to guarantee accuracy, efficiency, and safety in the kitchen.

How to choose a knife sharpener for a chef's knife, A chef's knife should be razor-sharp at all times to guarantee accuracy, efficiency, and safety in the kitchen. Investing in a good knife sharpener is essential if you want to keep your chef's knife in tip-top shape.  However, it might be difficult to choose the best knife sharpener among the wide variety of styles and models available.

In order to discover which model sharpens a chef's knife to the highest standard, we tested a variety of electric and manual devices from brands including Chef's Choice, Presto, Wasabi Knives, and more. In this article, we will guide you through the key factors to consider when selecting a knife sharpener specifically designed for a chef's knife.

Which knife is the best?

Taryn Flynn, senior buyer of cutlery at cookware store Williams-Sonoma, adds, "A sharp knife is a safe knife." It's surprising, but a sharp blade is less likely to slide when you push down to cut, which might save your finger.

Taryn Flynn, senior buyer of cutlery at cookware store Williams-Sonoma, adds, "A sharp knife is a safe knife." It's surprising, but a sharp blade is less likely to slide when you push down to cut, which might save your finger.

With a sharp knife, you can cut with less effort, saving your hands, wrists, and arms from exhaustion. Cuts may be made with more accuracy; for instance, herbs can be sliced into ribbons rather than crushed, and silverskin can be easily removed from muscle when trimming beef. Professional knife sharpening services are readily available and often cost less than $6 per knife. You might also do it yourself by purchasing a knife sharpener.

Several common formats are available. Which one is best for you depends on a number of considerations, such as how much you're willing to spend, how often you plan to use knives, and how much time and energy you're willing to put into maintaining them. The good news is that no matter which path you choose, your knife will end up more effective than it was before.

how to choose a knife sharpener for a chef's knife 

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How We Picked the Knife Sharpeners

In my search for the finest knife sharpeners to review, I looked at a wide variety of devices, from the classic whetstone to electric countertops and manual sharpeners from popular companies like Chef's Choice and Presto. I looked all over the web to identify the most popular sharpeners used in kitchens.

Learn the Facts Before Making a Purchase

It's important to know what kind of knife you have before deciding on a knife sharpener. Beveled edges, common on chef's knives, need special care during sharpening. Make sure the sharpener you choose is suitable for your chef's knife by checking whether it has a single bevel (one side) or a double bevel (both sides).

What To Know About Using a Knife Sharpener

Knife sharpening techniques range widely, each with its own set of pros and downsides. These are the most typical examples:

Manual or pull-through sharpeners are compact and feature a stable handle that rests on the countertop while you sharpen the knife by pulling it through one or more abrasive holes.

Moving the knife carefully through an electric sharpener allows motorized abrasive discs, wheels, or flexible belts to do the work. Two or three grit settings are standard on many models. A new edge is made at the coarsest level, and then it is refined and aligned at the next one or two levels.

Whetstones, also known as sharpening stones, are the traditional way of sharpening and may be found in a wide variety of shapes and coarsenesses. One uses one by holding the knife perpendicular to the stone and skimming it back and forth over the surface at an angle.

Although they share a name, honing rods, and sharpening "steels" have distinct purposes. Knife performance may be enhanced by using a honing rod, which is typically composed of steel or fine ceramic and functions to align the steel fibers on the edge of the knife. A blade may be gently sharpened with a sharpening rod, which has a rougher surface than standard rods. The best sharpening rods for serrated blades have a tapered end.

Stability and Safety: A stable sharpening surface is necessary for control and safety. Knife sharpeners with rubberized bottoms or clamps enhance stability. Finger guards and guides protect your hands during sharpening.

Durability and Maintenance:: A robust knife sharpener can endure for years. Stainless steel or robust plastic sharpeners are best. Consider maintenance, since some sharpeners need disassembly or cleaning.

However, skilled sharpeners often remove too much metal, decreasing the knife's lifespan. Ask a knife shop, fine cookware store, barber, or hairdresser for advice to avoid this. Aidells notes that sharp scissors are their livelihood. Use determines knife sharpening frequency. Most home chefs only cook twice or three times a year. Use a honing rod (see below) to realign your knife's edge after a few uses to prolong sharpening sessions.

The Telltale Signs That Your Knives Are Dull

Professional chefs and knifemakers often advise checking the knife's sharpness with a tomato. Bruce Aidells, chef, restaurateur, and James Beard Award–winning cookbook author, suggests placing a tomato on a cutting board and holding the edge of your knife to the skin without exerting pressure. After then, you should draw the knife toward yourself. If you have a sharp knife, peeling a tomato shouldn't be difficult.

Do not have any tomatoes but really want one? Get a piece of paper and try to cut it in half vertically. A sharp knife will prevent you from ripping or bending the paper as you cut. If you can easily rip through tomato paste or paper, your knives are dull.

Methods of Knife Care in Between Honings

Maintaining a sharp edge on your knives requires more than just a little touch with the honing steel every now and then.

  • To get started, always hand-wash your knives. Dishwasher detergent has the potential to dull blades, and the high temperatures of the washing and drying cycles may deform handles.
  • Keep your blades locked away in a knife block or on a magnetic strip. The blades will get dull from rubbing against one another if you store them in a drawer without any partitions.
  • Finally, a quality cutting board is crucial for extending the life of your knives. Wooden cutting boards are superior than plastic ones while preparing meals (save for raw meats and herbs).

Four distinct varieties of home sharpeners are described here

1. Manual Sharpeners


The D-shaped handle of a pull-through sharpener connects to one, two, or three sharpening grooves or channels (stages) on the other end. You place the sharpener on a counter and pull the knife through its various stages repeatedly. First, the knife is sharpened with coarser abrasives utilizing a pair of abrasive wheels or a v-shaped channel.

Bob Kramer, the master bladesmith and designer of Kramer Knives in Bellingham, Washington, believes his product is ideal for the occasional cook who needs a simple method of sharpening in between visits to a professional.

Pros:  Benefits include low price, portability, and little weight. There is no need to worry about the knife's sharpening angle since it will be guided by grooves or channels.

Cons: NegativesElectric and whetstone sharpeners may sharpen more effectively than manual ones. They do not work well with knives that have serrations.

Sharpeners with merely a honing stage and low price tags are to be avoided. "If your knife is truly dull, you will never get it sharp with a single-stage sharpener," says John Carmona, sharpening expert and founder of the website

2. Whetstones or Sharpening Stones

"You have control over everything—over how much material gets removed, and over the shape, angle, and level of finish," Kramer says of whetstones. You need two or three sharpening stones of different abrasion levels or a two- or three-sided stone. You'll then need to master their utilization.

The objective is to stroke the knife over the stone while holding it at a certain angle. The motion isn't natural, and maintaining that angle is difficult. A knife store's sharpening class or YouTube or knife manufacturer's videos may assist. It takes practice, and some expert chefs never perfect it.

Who it's for Devoted foodies or knife aficionados prepared to take the time to find the appropriate stones and develop the proper technique. "Sitting down with your stones to tune up your knives is just another way to stay in touch with your tools and pay attention to the act of cooking," Kramer adds. 

Pros:  Sharpening stones are flexible and the finest method to get a factory-sharp edge at home. Good stones stay forever.

Cons: Aidells claims it's hard to choose the perfect stones and acquire the right sharpening method. Sharpening takes 5–20 minutes for each knife. Carmona says water and oil stones need soaking and/or lubricating with water or mild mineral oil, and steel dust may go everywhere.

Avoid Extremely coarse stones that may harm your knife. "Look for a stone without inconsistencies in the grit or anomalies in the surface," Kramer advises.

3.  Electric sharpeners


Most types include slots with motorized abrasive wheels or discs that sharpen and polish both sides of a knife as you pass it through. Newer flexible-belt sharpeners employ rotating abrasive belts to sharpen one side of the blade at a time. A guide keeps your knife at the right angle. Both kinds feature at least two phases—one more abrasive stage that removes metal to shape the blade and create the edge, and one or two more stages to sharpen and hone that edge.

It's for Frequent chefs who want to sharpen their knives without the time, effort, or mess of stone-sharpening.

Pros:  Electric models sharpen dull knives. Slots or guides help maintain the optimum angle. Carmona says you can set the amount of abrasion and replace belts as they wear out. Each knife sharpens in minutes.

Cons:  They're pricey and big. They're loud. Wheel or disk models with worn abrasives must be returned to the manufacturer. They sharpen serrated knives poorly.

Avoid Single-stage models. Too much sharpening might damage the knife. "If you use an electric model too often—more than about three times a year—you can remove so much metal that you'll alter the original design of the knife, so it can't be used how it was manufactured to be used," explains Curtis-Wellings.

4. Honing and Sharpening Rods or 'Steels'

Many knife blocks have perplexing rods, according to Brendan Walsh, dean of the Culinary Institute of America's School of Culinary Arts. To keep your knife in tip-top shape, however, you'll need a steel (honing rod).

Honing steels may be made from either ridged steel or fine ceramic. Running a knife blade along an honing rod uses friction to restore the shape of metal fibers that become deformed during cutting. (Think of individual grass blades being propped upright.)

There are also sharpening rods, which are frequently referred to as sharpening steels despite being composed of diamond or ceramic abrasive. In contrast to honing steels, they actually remove metal to sharpen the blade.

The use of honing steels and rods is universal. Flynn says that knives perform better and stay sharp longer if they are honed after each usage. When you need a touch-up every few weeks between professional, DIY, or electric sharpening, a sharpening rod might come in handy. Carmona says they're the best way to maintain a razor edge on a serrated blade.

Pros: With regular use of an honing steel, you may find that you need to sharpen your knife less often.

Cons: Neither honing nor sharpening with a sharpening steel is recommended. Stay away from any of these bad habits.

Don't bother using a sharpening steel to hone or sharpen.


how to choose a knife sharpener for a chef's knife Choosing the right knife sharpener for your chef's knife is essential for maintaining its sharpness and maximizing its performance. Consider the type of knife you have, the preferred sharpening method, the available grit levels, stability and safety features, as well as the durability and maintenance requirements.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can make an informed decision and select a knife sharpener that meets your needs as a chef. Remember, a sharp knife not only enhances your culinary skills but also ensures safer and more enjoyable cooking experiences.

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