That’s a pity, because the merits of a sharp knife become apparent the moment you swipe through an onion with one. It’s pure pleasure. A sharp knife cuts easily and precisely, requiring little more pressure than the knife’s own weight to do the job.  By the end of this project, I was used to working with truly sharp knives. From now on, that’s how I’ll be keeping mine, and I hope to help you put aside your qualms and make knife sharpening part of your routine, too. Of course, that means you’ll need a knife sharpener—the question is, which one?
I would say they are worth the money. Go for it. I took a blunted Pampered Chef kitchen knife from completely dull to razor sharp in about an hour (of bumbling and repairing mistakes LOL) heavy grinding. If you have a severely damaged blade, grab one of those cheesey two sided stones from Harbor Freight to do your heavy grinding. From there these stones will work very well.
J. Kenji López-Alt is the Chief Culinary Advisor of Serious Eats, and author of the James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab, where he unravels the science of home cooking. A restaurant-trained chef and former Editor at Cook's Illustrated magazine, his first book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science is a New York Times Best-Seller, the recipient of a James Beard Award, and was named Cookbook of the Year in 2015 by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
If I am to be completely honest, I must tell you that I actually came extremely close to selecting another manual sharpener for this position. I thought it looked wonderful. It had all the specifications I would hope for in a manual knife sharpener and then some. It boasted the ability to sharpen at two different angles (15 degrees and 20 degrees) and included a honing feature. It looked solidly built. It used diamonds to grind the blades down. It sounded perfect and I almost selected it, until I read the consumer reviews. The consumer reviews for that apparently perfect manual knife sharpener were abysmal.

The final Chef’s Choice sharpener on our list is the 316 Diamond Sharpener. Like the 15XV the 316 is at its best when used to sharpen Asian-style knives and it does so with unflinching effectiveness and speed. This is a compact, 2-stage electric sharpener that produces the 15 degree edge so favored in Asian cutlery. Ideal for the preparation of sashimi or sushi.


Another benefit of the Wicked Edge system is that it has two sets of stones, one for each side of the knife. This allows both sides of the knife to be sharpened simultaneously unlike the Edge-Pro Apex and the Lansky systems. The stones that Wicked Edge utilizes are also diamond stones with the basic kits coming with 100, 200, 400, and 600 grit. The utilization of diamond stones allows even the toughest of steels to be sharpened relatively easily (it took me 25 minutes to sharpen a Spyderco ZDP-189 blade at 64.5 Rockwell!).
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.
Wicked Edge Sharpeners have won many awards in recent years, and for alternative high grade sharpening tools they are certainly a company to watch. Their accolades include, ‘Accessory of the Year’ for two years in a row at BLADE Show (2009 and 2010), and most recently Wicked Edge have claimed the Kitchen Innovations® 2014 Award for Best Professional Series Knife Sharpener.
To put it simply, this is a well-built manual knife sharpener with a sturdy design. That’s really all you need to worry about, because the sharpening technique will be the same. Draw the blade through the sharpening or the honing V with gentle pressure. Let the tool do the work. So long as you can safely move the blade through the V, this manual sharpener will tackle any type of knife (except for serrations).
Step 1 is to select an appropriate lapping plate or flattening stone, which is extremely coarse. Take a straight edge tool and lay it across your water stone to see if it truly needs flattening. Get down on eye level with the stone to see if a gap is visible, if so, then you will need to do a little bit of flattening. Sometimes the gap may be so slight that you will need to slip a piece of paper underneath the straight edge, which means if it can pass through, the stone needs flattened. This test will prove whether or not the stone genuinely needs to be flattened, so you do not waste your time.
“Great knife-edge maintainer!!! This is the best sharpener I’ve used for keeping a keen edge on your best kitchen knives. It’s primarily for the last step in maintaining a keen edge on the knives you use every day. It’s not for neglected knives that need a significant amount of metal removed. This would be great for maintaining a new set of quality cutlery. If you are looking for perfection to keep your best knives in top shape, this is the unit to get … I find that half to one dozen strokes every so often will keep your knives as sharp as the day you got them.”
Step 1 is to select an appropriate lapping plate or flattening stone, which is extremely coarse. Take a straight edge tool and lay it across your water stone to see if it truly needs flattening. Get down on eye level with the stone to see if a gap is visible, if so, then you will need to do a little bit of flattening. Sometimes the gap may be so slight that you will need to slip a piece of paper underneath the straight edge, which means if it can pass through, the stone needs flattened. This test will prove whether or not the stone genuinely needs to be flattened, so you do not waste your time.

You can sharpen serrated blades with the Presto Eversharp. Be warned, however, that the honing process will eventually destroy the scoop of the curves on the serrated knives, and you will end up with a regular straight knife blade. If you have very expensive serrated knives, you will either want to learn to sharpen them by hand, or send them back to the manufacturer to be sharpened.

The ceramic stone is very durable and capable of lasting a lifetime, if you take care of it properly. You will not need to oil or wet the ceramic stone, when you are using it to sharpen your knife blades. This will definitely offer a much cleaner work space. You just simply need to wash the stone with soap and a traditional pot scrubber to remove the swarf, so it does not interfere with the cut.


“I definitely do feel a difference between when I use this knife sharpener and when I don't,” reported one of our testers. “Vegetables are much easier to chop and bread is easier to cut.” She also thought the instructions were detailed and clear, and that the sharpener looked “elegant” on the countertop. However, one of our testers did point out that because the sharpener is both large and heavy, it’s not very portable. “I would like it to be smaller and lighter — maybe one day they'll make a mini version for camping,” she mused.
You will never have to worry about a flat stone, if you use the ceramic sharpener, since the material is very durable and ultra-hard. There is one downside to using this type of sharpening stone and that is, it is most often not available in a coarse grade. If you are lucky enough to find a coarse grade ceramic stone, you will be disappointed, by the “glaze” build up, which will cause the stone to lose its effectiveness. Of course, it will take a while, before the “glaze” begins to build up, but it is inevitable.

If I am to be completely honest, I must tell you that I actually came extremely close to selecting another manual sharpener for this position. I thought it looked wonderful. It had all the specifications I would hope for in a manual knife sharpener and then some. It boasted the ability to sharpen at two different angles (15 degrees and 20 degrees) and included a honing feature. It looked solidly built. It used diamonds to grind the blades down. It sounded perfect and I almost selected it, until I read the consumer reviews. The consumer reviews for that apparently perfect manual knife sharpener were abysmal.

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.​

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Many popular American and European kitchen knives have roughly 20-degree bevels on both sides of the blade. Some traditional Asian knives, however, have a different edge design, with a bevel on just one side of the blade, or bevels of a narrower angle, closer to 15 degrees than 20. A knowledgeable retailer should be able to explain the edge geometry of your knife and how to tailor the sharpening process to accommodate it.
Therefore, the first step to choosing a whetstone is to determine your intended purpose and then choose your whetstone accordingly. For instance, when sharpening tools that do not require a fine edge, you should choose a relatively soft, coarse, stone such as a Norton Crystolon water stone. However, for sharpening tools that do require a fine edge, a somewhat harder Norton India oil stone would be a good choice. But, for sharpening hunting knives where an exceptionally fine edge is required, a Novaculite or Coticule oil stone would be the best but, most expensive, choice. So, the process of choosing the correct whetstone for any given purpose is to first determine how fast you would like for the stone to cut and how fine an edge you need, and then choose either a soft, coarse, stone or, a hard, fine, stone of the appropriate type and grit.
In recent years, some whetstone manufacturers have started producing ceramic whetstones made from hard, ceramic, powders that are mixed with Aluminum Oxide and then sintered to form a solid. But, rather than using oil or water to lubricate the whetstone, ceramic whetstones are meant to be used without lubrication and thus, they provide a significant advantage for chefs who need to keep their knives sharp but, who do not have either the room or time for using a bench water stone. Thus, they are commonly available as either bench stones, pocket stones, round rods, or triangular rods.
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Using the strength of industrial high precision superior mono-crystalline diamonds, Diamond Machining Technology (DMT) have created a durable longer-lasting flat sharpening surface that will efficiently sharpen, hone, deburr and polish almost any type of knife or cutting tool. The DMT set contains 3 one-sided whetstones that have extra-fine, fine, and coarse grits which means you have a complete sharpening system at your fingertips.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that ‘factory sharp’ is not sharp at all, generally a manufacturer will use a 240 or a 400 grit belt to put an edge on a knife. This process often times leaves small burrs on the edges and I have received many knives with less than impressive edges over the years. Of course, once you start using your new knife it will eventually dull even if you did buy the latest and greatest super steel such as M390, CTS-204P or ZDP-189. So you will always be faced with the issue of how to bring your beloved pocket knife back to its original sharpness or preferably even better.
The Work Sharp WSKTS-KT Knife is your complete knife sharpening solution for both field and home use. It is a combination of precision sharpening guides and flexible premium abrasive belts, to give you razor sharp blades. Apart from knives, it can be used for other sharpening jobs like lawn mower blades, shovels, garden pruners and a wide range of other bladed tools. As you can see, you are not buying a simple knife sharpener, but a multipurpose sharpening tool, for home and outdoor use.
First, you should take a close look at the blade. Hold it a decent distance away from your face, but look at the blade’s edge very carefully. Do you see lesions and small indentions? Does the blade look slightly worn and uneven? If you spot any of these deformities, you have a dull blade and it is time to find the best knife sharpener for your needs!

As opposed to water whetstones that require you to pre-soak the stone, the Norton oil stone is pre-filled with oil to save time and eliminate the need to pre-soak it prior to use and the lubricant stays on the surface during sharpening.  The oil also prevents metal from bonding with the abrasive surface by flushing away dislodged abrasive and metal chips.


Like most sharpeners, this one is not equipped to handle scissors or serrated blades. Also unfortunate is the fact that, despite searching and searching for information, I was unable to discover this machine’s sharpening angle. Usually, it is safe to assume that sharpeners with unmentioned angles will be best suited to American and European-style knives, but I cannot say for certain.
In our tests, the Chef’sChoice ProntoPro 4643 took seriously dull blades—we ran them against a chunk of concrete curbstone until they were all but useless—to tomato-filleting sharpness in less than a minute. And like all our picks here, it’s far easier to master, and far cheaper, than traditional sharpening stones or modern jig systems. Effective, affordable, simple to use, and easy to store, the ProntoPro 4643 is the clear winner for most people.

Because the AccuSharp doesn't have multiple sharpening surfaces to choose from, the amount of pressure you apply is the only way of adjusting its abrasion level. In fact, a few users warn that if you apply too much pressure, this little sharpener will take too much metal off and can even nick the knife blade -- so use a light touch. Overall, users love its compact size, price tag and ease of use, and say they feel perfectly safe once they get used to it.

A sharpening stone is the most basic type of knife sharpener, this is not to say that they do not offer great benefits, but only that they do not have a lot of features. The traditional knife sharpener was constructed out of novaculite or aluminum oxide, but with technology the sharpening stone has come a long way. These stones are now constructed out of several different types of material including diamond, oil, water, and ceramic.
Most electric sharpeners use a 2 or 3 step process to create, sharpen and hone the edge of your blade. The first step in the sharpening process involves using a coarse grit, which sharpens extremely dull or damaged blades. The last step in the process uses a fine grit, which hones the blade to the desired finish. When an electric sharpener is turned on, it spins the sharpening stones. These stones sharpen the knife placed in the slots, to the desired sharpness. Most of them come with guides, which allow you to obtain the perfect angle. This makes them popular since they simplify the whole process of sharpening knives.
Steeling helps maintain sharpness. This process realigns the edge, correcting for dulling causes such as a rolled edge. A sharpening steel is a type of hardened cylindrical rod used similarly to honing stones. For example, a butcher steel is a round file with the teeth running the long way, while a packer steel (used in the meat packer's industry) is a smooth, polished steel rod designed for straightening the turned edge of a knife,[7] and is also useful for burnishing a newly finished edge. Because steels have a small diameter they exert high local pressure, and therefore affect the knife metal when used with very little force. They are intended for mild steel knives that are steeled several times a day, but are not well suited for today's tougher and harder blade steels. Diamond steels are now available that have an industrial diamond coating and can remove blade metal as well as straighten, therefore used correctly they can re-profile a knife instead of just honing.
I'm a novice knife sharpener. I've had to unlearn what my grandpa taught me in order to use these. So far, I've had decent but mixed results. I've switched to my cheap 200/400-ish cheap tool stone from harbor freight for cutting a bevel when the blade has either been damaged or did not have a proper bevel. The 400/1000 grit stone in this kit is soft. Very soft. I have bowled it out several times. It makes keeping a steady angle difficult. But these stones at this price point are meant for learning, and for that they serve their purpose.
I have heard some people say that using the Edge Pro for sharpening is easier. I do not believe this to be true. Yes, it has the potential to create very sharp knives and do that every single time but that doesn’t make it easier. I can throw a water stone onto the stone holder and be in bliss in a matter of seconds. What makes this device shine is that it removes the obstacles that novice sharpeners face and does just what the creator of the Edge Pro says it does, it sharpen knives and it does it very well.

Your Budget – Budget and pricing will always be a factor no matter what you purchase. As already mentioned, some of these sharpeners are more expensive than others, but those that are tend to be much more convenient. Ultimately, this will come down to a personal choice. Make sure that you set a budget and stick with. By doing this, you will be able to get a solid product that won’t bankrupt you.

One of the combinations of stones that I was introduced to several years ago is a unique one, it is a 500, 2,000 and 16,000 grit combination. I was apprehensive when I first tried this, that was thousands of knives ago, it works, it is fantastic combination. It is unique because the traditional way of thinking is that we should be doubling the grit sizes as we sharpen, for example, a 500 grit stone should be followed by a 1,000 grit, then 2,000 grit. This line of thought is meant to be flexible, it is a general rule only, I have broken it countless times.
Then, to start sharpening, pull your knife through the "coarse" slot (made of carbide steel) and then the "fine" slot (made of ceramic). Depending how dull your knives are, it can work well in one swipe, or require multiple passes. My knives were so dull, it took about 20 passes on each side. Also, make sure to use some pressure: At first, I was too light with my swipes, but as soon as I stepped it up — magic.
Using Stage 2 for steeling only engages 1 section of the miniature steel rod. With use, this section can wear down slightly and lessen the effectiveness of your steeling procedure. If you notice this, simply insert a coin or flat-head screwdriver into the slotted cap at the top of the rod, rotate 1 click, and viola! You have a brand new surface of the steel rod ready to go!

I bet those Vikings, relatives of mine no doubt, never had it so good. They never had surated blades to sharpen or needed to wear cool things around their necks to woo the women (they just grabbed them by the hair I guess). I love my stone. So useful and beautiful. I always have spit to wet it with, and I always have a way to sharpen my tool. Wazoo makes high quality products. I give them the highest rating I have. Dudes!
Good cutlery makes a difference, too; see our report on kitchen knives for the best knives that will hold an edge longer and sharpen up more quickly. If you find that you're uncomfortable working with an exposed blade or need a slicer that quickly makes many uniform cuts, we've also evaluated the best mandolines to make short work of any pile of veggies.

The next step is straightening, which is also known as honing the blade. The aim is to realign the newly exposed metal and this is achieved with a honing steel. This does not remove much, if any, metal from the blade. The hone will smooth out the nicks and rough patches caused by the destructive sharpening phase. This is known as burnishing the blade. The hone will look like a rod made of steel, though ceramic models are effective as well.

If you want to skip the learning curve entirely and save some money at the same time, one of the best knife sharpeners we found is also one of the cheapest. The design of the AccuSharp 001 Knife and Tool Sharpener (Est. $10) couldn't be simpler: It's nothing but a plastic handle with a slot containing a tiny, replaceable tungsten carbide sharpening surface. You place the knife to be sharpened on a table, blade up, and position the AccuSharp over the knife blade. Then you apply light pressure as you pull the AccuSharp along the length of the blade.

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The paper test - Remove your knife from the sharpener. Grab a piece of notebook paper and hold it vertically in your hand so that one edge is facing straight up. Now take the knife and push it down against this edge. If the blade cuts through without hesitation it’s sharp. If the paper simply crumples beneath the blade instead of cutting the blade needs a bit more work.

I've been using this stone for months and have started to find that, while the fine side does provide a nice sharp edge, the 400gr side is wearing my knives unevenly, which causes me to be unable to finely sharpen the entire length of the blade when moving to the fine side. The logo that is put in the middle of the 400gr side of the knife is causing more material to be removed than the rest of the blade when I'm sweeping across. I even verified this by going straight down the length of the fine side and watching the wear pattern come from the material coming off of the knife onto the stone.
Our only gripe about this sharpener is the terminology used in its documentation. When the Spyderco manual refers to a 40-degree knife edge, it's actually referencing what most knife-makers and manufacturers or sharpeners would call a 20-degree blade, the standard for Western kitchen knives. The reason for this disconnect is because Spyderco is measuring all the way across the blade, while most others measure just one side of the blade at a time. What Spyderco calls a 30-degree blade would typically be called a 15-degree blade, the standard for Asian kitchen knives, although some Western manufacturers are beginning to use this narrower blade angle as well.
The ceramic stones really bring an edge out and set the stage for the leather strops. The 1200 / 1600 stones are the ones that do the most in my opinion as they refine the edge and allow it to take a nice mirror once the leather strops are applied. I use the super fine 1.4 / .6 micron ceramics to really polish and remove scratches from the diamond stones. The only downside is they are the most expensive stones at about $120 so unless you are very serious about a mirror edge you can skip these.
Once I figured out what I wanted in my sharpening system I just needed to find a product that suited my particular needs. I set out on a mission during Blade Show 2014 to find the perfect knife sharpening system. After looking at various systems such as Work Sharp, Edge Pro-Apex, Spyderco’s Sharpmaker and all the random assorted loose stones I finally settled on the Wicked Edge to sharpen my knives.
The basic concept of sharpening is simple – you're using an abrasive edge to remove metal – but the knife you buy may alter the method you should use. A general rule of thumb is that a waterstone can be used for both Japanese- and Western-style blades, but you should avoid pull-through sharpeners for Japanese knives (or any knife with very brittle blades).
When a whetstone is used to cut metal, it acts like sandpaper by removing small particles of metal (aka “swarf”) with each pass of the blade over the stone. Therefore, whetstones with more coarse grits cut faster than those with finer grits and, at the same time, soft whetstones cut faster than hard whetstones because each pass of the blade over both types of whetstones not only removes fine particles of metal from the blade, it also removes fine particles from the surface of the whetstone (aka “slurry”) which continuously exposes new cutting crystals. However, if the swarf is allowed to build up on the surface of the whetstone during sharpening, it will clog the stone and drastically diminish its effectiveness. Therefore, some whetstones require water to lubricate the stone and suspend the swarf whereas, other whetstones require oil to lubricate the stone and suspend the swarf.
Honing steels are another story altogether. Honing steels are those instruments that look light a saber (light or otherwise) which you use to gussy up the edge of the blade periodically before using it. These do wear out every few years or less, depending on how often you use them. If you are unsure whether your honing steel is worn out run your finger around it. If it feels smooth all the way around then it’s time for a replacement. Not to worry though, they’re really affordable. One thing you may want to keep in mind about honing steels is that they typically won’t do much to hone the edge of some super hard knives, such as Japanese Global brand knives.
When I set out to look for the Best Electric Knife Sharpener, I told myself that I needed to find one which would make someone’s life easier. I didn’t want to just pick something because it was affordable, because a lot of people liked it, or because it did one really cool thing. I wanted it to be a stable piece of machinery built to actually improve someone’s life.
Manual sharpeners are, in my opinion, the best way to sharpen your knives. They are my personal favorite, because they allow you to sharpen your blades with precision. Unlike electric sharpeners which can take off layers of steel so quickly you barely see it happen, you maintain control over the sharpening process with a manual sharpener. You can put one pass through, then check your edge. You can do another pass or two, then check it again.
A dull knife is near worthless so you should be looking to keep a razor edge on all of your blades. That means you’ll be spending time on the sharpener, no matter what type of steel you have. If you’re serious about your knives then why skimp on so-so sharpening systems?  I continually scratch my head at folks who invest in $200, $300, $400+ knives and don’t given them the treatment they deserve.  So, overall I highly recommend the Wicked Edge system.  It’s not cheap but overall well worth it in my experience.
For this guide, we limited our focus to manual and electric sharpeners. Such models are by far the most popular choices for sharpening knives, and for good reason. When well-designed, manual and electric sharpeners are effective, extremely quick and easy to use, and durable. (By the same token, when poorly designed they’re cumbersome, flimsy, and ruinous to blades.)
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