Best Knife Sharpener Reviews – Buying Guide for 2018
Regardless of how sharp your knife may be — it may even be sharp enough to slice through paper in the air — the fact of the matter is that it won’t remain sharp when you use it. That’s just the way it is. Even if you use a hard sharp knife only on soft vegetables, you’ll still end up with a dull edge sooner or later. And because of this incontrovertible fact, you really need the best knife sharpener you can get, especially if you really value your knives.
With a high-quality knife sharpener, chefs can take really good care of the favorite kitchen tools. And outdoorsmen like hunters, campers, and soldiers can also make sure that their knives remain sharp enough—which may save their lives in the process.
Knife Sharpener Reviews - Our Best Picks
All the benefits and advantages of a knife sharpener can be yours, but only if you pick the best one for your needs. So without further ado, here are a few amazing knife sharpeners that you can get for yourself. The following knife sharpener reviews should give you a clue as to which one will suit your needs:
Best Electric Knife Sharpener
Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV EdgeSelect
So let’s start with a Chef’s Choice knife sharpener, as this brand is quite well-named. This is the Trizor XV EdgeSelect 15, designed to give a 15-degree angle of sharpness for your knife.
It’s made for both straight and serrated blades, and the adjustable spring guide gives you a precise position of angle each and every time. This model has become one of the most popular knife sharpeners in the whole world, and its enthusiastic fans have dubbed it as the best all-purpose sharpener you can get.
With Chef’s Choice, the focus has always been to provide a commercial-grade knife that both pros and homebodies can afford. And that principle is evident on the 15 Trizor XV.
Every continent—Europe, Asia, and the Americas, seem to have their own knife design traits, so it can be a bother to find a sharpener that suits your knife. And this is especially true if you have lots of different knives from different areas in the world. Add the fact that your sharpener has to deal with serrated as well as straight-edged knives, and it may seem as if you’ll need more than one sharpener to take care of them all.
That’s no longer true. The Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV has you covered. It offers 3 stages of knife sharpening which includes the use of diamond abrasives and the exclusive flexible abrasive stropping disk system. And it can also convert a standard 20-degree angle knife to a fine 15-degree angle chef’s knife.
How It Works
The first stage has the diamond abrasives on the conical disks creating extreme fine micro-grooves on the facets of the two sides of the knife edge. With these micro-grooves, get more “bite” from the edge. At the same time, it also makes the first major bevel of the arch-shaped edge, at about a 15-degree angle.
With the second stage, the conical disks have even finer diamond abrasives. These shape the arch-shaped edge’s 2nd and smaller bevel. This results in even finer micro-grooves on the 2nd bevel, at a somewhat larger angle.
The third and final stage involves the use of the unique flexible abrasive stropping disk system. If you’re familiar with the barber strop (if only in the movies), then this is just the high tech version of that. And it creates a non-serrated ultra-sharp edge that’s smooth on a microscopic level. This results in the 3rd and even smaller bevel of the arch-shaped edge.
With the stropping action of this this 3rd stage, the micro-grooves formed at the edge facets during the earlier stages are polished even further. This results in the micro-flutes along the micro-groove edges. This adds to the performance, sharpness, and durability of the knife’s edge.
Serrated knives are also sharpened during this final stage. The flexible stropping disks are able to straighten the misaligned teeth of the serrated edge. Each prominent tooth of the serrated edge is sharpened, so that they’re essentially a super-sharp micro-blade all lined up. The 3rd stage abrasive is effective yet gentle, and it can extend the lifespan of your serrated knives regardless of the alloy it uses, or if it is forged or non-forged.
The EdgeSelect feature means that you’re not limited to using the entire 3-stge process. It depends on what you actually need, and you have to factor in what you’re trying to cut. So if you’re going to use your knife for fibrous ingredients like venison or pumpkin, you can opt to just sharpen the knife with the 1st and 3rd stages only. This leaves the edge with a bit more bite, so that it can cut through the tough fibers more cleanly.
With this knife sharpener, using it for the first time for your knife will require a minute of your time. For resharpening, it’ll take all of 10 seconds.
The Trizor XV is arguably the most versatile of all the sharpeners you can find in the market today. It works for both serrated and straight edge knives. You can use this to sharpen chef’s knives, Santoku knives, bread knives, hunting knives, skinning knives, and pocket knives.
And it can do this in an amazingly short period of time. You don’t have to put too much pressure to acquire a terrifically sharp edge. With lots of knives in use during your food preparation, it’ll save you a lot of time.
There’s also no real skill needed to use this sharpener. There’s no technical proficiency to develop. And it’s also just about impossible to injure yourself while you sharpen your knife. With this appliance, you can get a knife sharp enough that you can confidently do various derivate tasks. You can fillet fish, or slice prosciutto ham or smoked salmon where the presentation is of the utmost importance. You can consistently and predictably come up with sharp edges in your cuts, so that food waste is reduced, portion control is enhanced, and an attractive presentation is realized.
Pros and Cons
As for its durability, it’s remarkably reliable for a long time. Its warranty period is for 3 years.
As for the drawbacks, there’s almost nothing bad about the Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV at all. It’s a solid candidate for the award of the best electric knife sharpener out there. Of course, if you’re nitpicky you may find the sharpener’s dimensions of 10 by 4.25 by 4.25 inches a bit larger than the norm. But that shouldn’t be a problem even if you have limited space in your kitchen. Besides, it looks good in either brushed metal or platinum finish.
And you may also complain about how some sellers may not be courteous enough to send you a printed copy of the manual. So just download the online copy of the manual and save it in your tablet or smartphone.
The cost of this excellent knife sharpener is reasonable, but only if you’re a pro.
Other Notable Electric Knife Sharpeners
So is there another option for electric knife sharpeners out there that are better than the Trizor XV? Some believe that the Chef’s Choice AngleSelect 1520 is actually the better deal, and may in fact be the better candidate for most versatile knife sharpener.
In many ways it is very similar to the Trizor 15. It has the advanced spring guide for more precise control of the sharpening angle, and which enables the sharpening of even cleavers and other thick knives. Again it offers the 3 stages of honing, with the diamond abrasives and the patented flexible stropping/polishing disks. It is also very suitable for the same type of knives: chef’s, Santoku, bread, hunting, pocket, and fillet knives. Again it can be used for straight edge and serrated knives, and for knives from Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
But this time, you don’t just get a 15-degree angle for Asian knives and contemporary American and European-style knives. For traditional American and European-style knives, you can also create or restore a 2-degree angle. That’s what the 1520 in the name is all about. You can use stage 1 and stage 3 for a 15-degree angle. For the 20-degree angle knives, you’ll use stages 2 and 3.
Another difference is that it also comes in black, white, or brushed metal. Aside from that, it’s virtually the same as the Trizor, with the same dimensions and same sharpening time period needed. Same warranty period too. The price range is also similar and perhaps a little bit higher.
Best Kitchen Knife Sharpener
Now if you don’t have any ambition to be a renowned chef but you still want a sharpener for your kitchen knives, you need something that offers great sharpening performance at a much lower price range. And one sharpener that fits the bill is the KitchenIQ 50009 Edge Grip 2 Stage Knife Sharpener.
KitchenIQ 50009 Edge Grip 2 Stage Knife Sharpener
This is an extremely popular knife sharpener, and for all the good reasons. It's a compact, yet really solid kitchen knife sharpener. While not as versatile as a full-fledged electric knife sharpener, it's enough for keeping your usual kitchen knives sharp throughout the year.
Part of the reason for that popularity is the price. While the last two Chef’s Choice knife sharpeners have much higher costs, this one comes at a really low price tag. To be fair, that probably doesn’t count the shipping costs, but normally if you buy in bulk you can get free shipping.
Compared to the toaster-oven dimensions of the Chef Choice sharpeners, the KitchenIQ 50009 is positively miniscule. Its dimensions are only at 5.93 inches x 4.34 inches x 2.09 inches. Or in other words, it’s as if you’re holding a snail in your hand to sharpen your knives. It even looks like a snail, with the shell and all.
But its small size offers huge results, which is why this tiny tool is regarded by some of its fans as the best kitchen knife sharpener. Its 2-stage sharpening process uses one slot for coarse sharpening. It contains carbide blades, and these quickly sharpen your damaged or dull knives, with only a few pulls of the knife through the slot.
Then there’s the 2nd slot for fine sharpening. This time it contains ceramic rods, which work well to finish and polish the edge. If you’re knife is already sharp, this is the lot you use for a light touch-up.
Another feature is the Edge Grip Bottom. It has a 90-degree inverted V design that lets you rest the KitchenIQ 50009 on the edge of your kitchen table or counter top. This is a better way because in some instances when you use a smaller sharpener for a larger chef’s knife, you may end up dragging the tip of the knife across the countertop. This can damage your counter top and your knife too.
With this Edge Grip Bottom, you can place it on the edge of the countertop and you can sharpen the knife by pulling it from heel to tip through the slots. This bottom also lets you just place it on top of the countertop, but at least you have options to choose from. The non-slip material at the bottom makes sure that everything’s is safe and secure when you begin your sharpening process. And it also comes with a non-slip rubber grip handle so you can have a secure and firm hold while you sharpen your knives.
This unit looks great, with its stainless steel construction material and soft touch accents. It also works well, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, it’s manufactured by Smith’s Consumer Products, Inc. and they’ve been in the business since 1886. If you need to sharpen straight edge, double-beveled European and American style knives, this is a great option.
Best Manual Knife Sharpener
The KitchenIQ 50009 is a manual knife sharpener, which means you don’t need to plug it in an electrical socket. They tend to be smaller, and they’re also more affordable. But they can give you extremely sharp beveled edges. For many traditionalists, only the best manual knife sharpener will suffice. And because it doesn’t need electricity and it’s small, you can also ring it with you when you’re outdoors camping, hiking, or hunting.
But the KitchenIQ 50009 is a modern version of the manual knife sharpener. The 3 traditional options, on the other hand, are much more basic. You have the sharpening stones, sharpening rods, and the sharpening steel stones. To use these sharpeners, you will have to devote a lot of time practicing your methods so you can optimize your results.
It’s now the 21st century, however. So you may as well pick more modern variants of the manual sharpener. A solid traditional manual sharpener is the following model:
DMT W250EFNB 10-Inch DuoSharp Bench Stone
Here you have 3 versions to choose from: Coarse / Extra-Coarse; Extra-Fine / Fine; Fine / Coarse. Whatever version you choose for your needs, you’re pretty much guaranteed a high quality manual knife sharpener.
It’s made in the USA, and it comes with a guarantee with no conditions whatsoever. So if you get a defective product, it will be replaced free of charge.
What really sets this apart is the use of micronized monocrystalline diamonds. These have been sized precisely so you get a totally even diamond surface on both sides of the sharpener. It offers the highest grade of diamonds found on any commercial knife sharpener available today.
With the DMT process, you get the most number of diamonds per square inch, which boosts the durability of the sharpening surface. These stones are also amazingly flat, so that you’re assured of even contact with the knife.You can use this sharpening tool for various types of knives. These include many types of home kitchen knives, gardening tools that include your spade and trowel, outdoor or hobby knives including tactical knives, fillet knives, machetes, axes, and hatchets, and also woodworking implements like your chisel and veiner.
Bring this with you in your camping trips, and it’s not a problem. It only measures 10 by 4 inches, with a thickness of just 0.38 inches. As for its weight, it’s just 1.5 pounds.
Of course, it does come with one glaring drawback, and that’s the price. With diamonds embedded on the sharpening surface, of course you’re going back to a high price range. Too bad you can’t wear it as jewellery…
Best Sharpening Stone
Now if you are not exactly enamored of diamond-studded sharpeners and you’d rather have more traditional (and more affordable) implements instead, then you can stick to the sharpening stones. They’re not that expensive, they’re portable, and they can offer sharp edges when you know what you’re doing.
Woodstock SteeleX D1130 1000 Grit and 6000 Grit Japanese Waterstone
This one is a favorite among woodworkers. The Japanese waterstones are renowned in their ability to cut more aggressively and to provide a keenly sharp edge in a much shorter period of time. This SteeleX D1130 is a 2-sided sharpening stone, with both 1000 grit and 6000 grit.
With this, you can polish as you hone so you save yourself a lot of time and effort. You get a mirror finish for your blade even without stropping or polishing compounds. Just make sure you have some water with you, and you’re good to go. The water will lubricate the cutting edge so your knife can come across the surface more smoothly.
This SteeleX D1130 can be a marvel, especially if you haven’t used waterstones before. It’s very portable, since it only weighs 1.3 pounds and measures 8.5 by 2.1 inches with a thickness of 0.9 inches. You’ll get quick results, and the sharpness of the edge after its use can be amazing.
Waterstones are made of a layer of small abrasive particles, and they come loose when you use it for sharpening. By pouring the water over the surface, you can then remove the loose particles from the surface and you also form slurry that helps with the sharpening process.
And that leads to its main drawbacks. The slurry can be quite messy (especially in the kitchen) and the water stones wear out quickly. And perhaps the Woodstock made a mistake in making the 1000 grit and the 6000 grit layers of equal thickness. That’s because the 1000 grit surface wears out faster. It would have been better of the 1000 grit layer was thicker.
Finally, with good quality usually comes price issues, and the SteeleX D1130 is no exception. Its price can be much higher than typical oil stones. But if you’re looking for one of the best sharpening stone options, this one is a solid contender.
Best Pocket Knife Sharpener
Many outdoorsy types like to carry pocket knives when camping, or even while going to the office. They’re very versatile and frankly, they’re quite manly. But unless you keep them sharp, they’re pretty much decorative instead of functional.
So what can you use for pocket knives? If you’re aiming for versatility, one strong contender for the title of the best pocket knife sharpener is the Smith’s 50264 Adjustable Manual Knife Sharpener.
Smith’s 50264 Adjustable Manual Knife Sharpener
The Smith’s 50264 doesn’t just offer a sharpening performance that many of its competitors can’t match. It also offers innovative features that haven’t yet been used for a manual knife sharpener before.
You may be familiar with Smith's home accessories for appliances like portable ACs, but they've got a good reputation when it comes to kitchen accessories like knife sharpeners, as well.
It comes with 3 slots through which you can place and pull your pocket knife blades. First you have a 2-stage process to sharpen your straight edge blades. The stage 1 uses the Coarse slot, with diamond-coated disks specifically meant for damaged, dull, and excessively worn blades. Then the stage 2 uses the Fine slot, to give it that extra fine edge. In the middle slot, you have the fixed angle sharpener for serrated blades.
For pocket knives, this is excellent. It’s not just a manual tool, but it is also very portable. It measures 10.8 x 2.5 x 1.2 inches and only weighs 10.6 ounces.
But this is not just for pocket knives. It’s not really a good idea to get a sharpener exclusively for a pocket knife, especially when you also cook and prepare your own food, or if you also use other knives for hunting and camping. You’ll want something that’s good for all those knives, and that’s the 50264. That’s one of its most compelling features—you can use it for just about all types of knives.
The other notable feature here is that you can also easily set the sharpening angle you want with the turn of a knob. It’s that simple. So with Asian knives and fillet knives you can set it to 16 degrees. Euro-American kitchen knives and pocket knives will need 20 degrees. Set it at 22 degrees for hunting knives and 23 degrees for tactical knives.
The abrasive components of the 50264 are replaceable, so there’s no need to buy a completely new unit when one slot can’t do its job anymore. It also comes with a soft grip handle along with nonslip rubber feet.
Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener
But what if you want something small and cheap, yet versatile and of high quality? Then you should get the Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener.
This one is also an extremely affordable model, and its dimensions are super portable at 3.5 inches x 1 inch and very thin as well. When you’re out camping or hunting, you should just bring it along as it doesn’t weigh much at all at just an ounce. It even comes with an integrated lanyard hole.
The PP1 features a slot with preset carbide blades, which quickly restores a sharp edge to dull knives. The other slot has unique designed ceramic stones, and this slot provides your serrated and straight edges with the razor edge you need. Then you can fold out a tapered round rod coated with diamonds to sharpen straight and serrated edges.
Best Sharpening Rod
These are probably the most widely used sharpening tools in the world. The rods are fitted into a handle which you hold on top, while you set the rod’s tip on the table. Then you just glide the knife’s edge along the length of the rod to sharpen it. This will however need some sort of skill on your part, because the wrong angle will just deform your knife instead.
J.A. Henckels 9-Inch Poly Sharpening Steel
This is a German product, and a true classic. It will realign your knife edges and maintain the quality of its sharpness.
It’s very lightweight, and the grip offered by the polypropylene handle is quite comfy, and it’s well balanced too. This is a maintenance tool, and its purpose is to keep the edge sharp after you’ve used a sharpener for your dull blades.
Why Keep Your Knives Sharp?
Not to put too fine a point on the matter, but the simple and obvious truth is that a sharp knife works better. Its function is to cut, and with a sharp edge it cuts much more effectively.
- You need less brute force to cut through. This saves you a lot of effort and frustration.
- It does less damage to the food you cut. When you cut delicate herbs, by slicing through neatly with your sharp knife the herb slices will look fresher and for a longer period of time.
- On the other hand, a dull knife mangles the area around the cut, so it will take a shorter time for the slice to wilt and discolor.
- A sharp knife also makes food preparation easier, and consequently much more enjoyable. There’s just something so satisfying with an efficient slice.
- It’s also safer when your knife edge is sharp, which may seem surprising for some. When drawing the edge across the surface of a food ingredient, a sharp edge means that the knife won’t slip. So you can more easily control how the blade acts through the food, so you’re better able to control the knife when you slice or chop.
- When the blade is dull, the knife is more likely to slip. That makes it harder to control the knife. You increase the risk of having the blade slipping from the food and into your fingers. Use a dull knife and sooner or later you’re going to cut yourself.
- The best knife sharpening system is also an investment. A knife sharpener is much more affordable than having to buy new knives on a regular basis. With a good sharpener, you extend the lifespan of your favorite knives, and you won’t have to waste time getting used to a new knife every time. That should also maintain the quality of your food preparation.
- You can even determine just how sharp your knife can be when you have your own knife sharpener. For a chopping blade, you may want to have a 45-degree angle on each side so you have enough mass to use for chopping. A fine slicing knife may have a 15-degree angle instead so it can slice through food with ease. You can also limit the sharpness for such food ingredients as very ripe tomatoes.
- Sharpening your knives can also be a very fast and simple process. There’s really nothing to it, and there’s no complicated process to learn.
As you can see, you don’t lack for options when it comes to finding a tool to sharpen your knife. The best knife sharpener is always one that fits your budget, can sharpen all your knives, easy to use, and can last for a long while. Pick any of these options we’ve suggested, and your knives will become much better tools for your purposes.