This tiny, retractable rod has actually been designed for light sharpening and honing all in one step. Based on its size, I believe that this rod is best used by those who are uncomfortable flinging long knives and rods around as they attempt to put a finer edge on their blades. Its compact nature also makes it perfect for those who need to bring it with them on the go.
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.)
Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ’em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written about kitchen knife sets, cutting boards and butcher blocks, the best butter knife and steak knives, and even asked chefs to share their favorite kitchen knives, we’re rounding up the best knife sharpeners you can find on Amazon, so you can keep those knives slicing like new. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)
I haven't been able to find a decent, low priced knife sharpener since I bought my Wusthof knives. Until now! I decided that this was the last low price sharpening alternative I would try. I mean, for around $13, if it didn't work, I wouldn't be out that much. Man this thing is awesome! Seriously, it's easy to use and really tiny so it's not taking up any room. Most importantly though, it really sharpened my knives right up and took no time at all. I read some reviews where they talked about the metal shavings. It seemed to pull a lot of shavings off the first time I used it, but the 2nd time it was a lot less. I haven't tried on my serrated knives yet but I trust it will work fine. Even sharpened my steak knives with it. I also really like the fact that before it was delivered, the manufacturer reached out to me with a small instruction manual and then followed up with me after I received the product. Bonus: this is a small company so they are working hard for happy customers and I love supporting the little guy! Tips:
This is a great sharpener for budget conscious cooks. You can use it with equal facility whether you’re right or left handed, it has a convenient finger guard to cut down on accidents and most important, it only takes a few swipes on a regular basis to keep your knives in tip-top condition. It’s not glamorous. It won’t add anything substantive to your kitchen decor. But it will ensure your knives are always ready for whatever dish you have in mind.
Last, it should be noted that dual-sided Coticule/Belgian Blue whetstones are also sometimes available which have a layer of Belgian Blue stone on one side and a layer of Coticule on the other. Thus, these whetstones provide a softer, more coarse, grit on one side and a harder, finer, grit on the other. Plus, due to the inherent toughness of the Belgian Blue stone, these dual-sided stones do not require a substrate layer.
First, I used a “steel” that came with a set of knives I’d purchased. It’s a rough steel rod with a handle. I really tried to master sharpening my knives with that. As a new home cook, I figured everyone knew how to use one of those because why else would one come with the knives? But the method eluded me. I only managed to dull and nick my knives.
If your whetstone needs to be soaked, submerge it in water until it's completely saturated and there are no bubbles coming out of it, 5 to10 minutes. To use it, hold the knife at a 20-degree angle against the whetstone, and gently drag each side of the knife against it a few times. Most whetstones have both a "coarse-grind side" and a "fine-grind side"—start with the coarse side if your knife is especially dull, then repeat the process on the fine-grind side.
Throughout the years, knives have been used for an assortment of different purposes. Some have been able to use these blades to save their lives while others use them for more practical purposes, such as cutting through cardboard, at work and obviously in kitchens. In order for the knife to be completely effective, it is vital for the blade to be sharpened! Of course, this presents somewhat of a problem for newbies to the trade. With this in mind, you will want to read the comprehensive guide below, and pick up some pointers to find the best knife sharpener for you.

The Sharpening and Specialty lines of waterstones from Naniwa are available in several packages of three to five stones. The Specialty line is the same as the Sharpening line, but half the thickness and therefore less expensive. Both the Sharpening and the Specialty stones are 8 1/4" long by 2 3/4" wide, amply sized for most knives and tools. These are a higher grade stone that do not require soaking before use. While you would need a flattening stone in addition, these kits are a good way to enter into premium grade waterstones.


Once that is done, you would proceed to start the sharpening process with a coarse grinding wheel. This is made of saphirite and helps create the proper angle. The 2nd stage involves moving on to a medium grinding wheel to give precision. The 3rd and last stage is sharpening on the fine slot. This sharpens your knife to perfection with an ultra-fine-grit ceramic wheel that sees to it that your blade is polished to an exact, razor sharp edge.
Diamond whetstones, like the DMT Diamond Whetstone, are made out of industrial type diamonds which create a long-lasting hard, coarse and flat surface. A diamond whetstone is an excellent choice for when you are outdoors as you can use it dry or with a lubricant. It can take some time getting used to and the larger sized stone may not be ideal for working with small knives or cutting tools.
The Brød & Taylor Pocket Knife Sharpener (which is no longer available) uses the same carbide stones as the full-size model noted above, and it sharpens and hones just as well. It would make a solid, pocketable tool for campers, hunters, and anglers. But this compact model is not stable enough for long or heavy kitchen knives, and you can’t engage the spring-loaded arms in order to use a polishing function.
I haven't been able to find a decent, low priced knife sharpener since I bought my Wusthof knives. Until now! I decided that this was the last low price sharpening alternative I would try. I mean, for around $13, if it didn't work, I wouldn't be out that much. Man this thing is awesome! Seriously, it's easy to use and really tiny so it's not taking up any room. Most importantly though, it really sharpened my knives right up and took no time at all. I read some reviews where they talked about the metal shavings. It seemed to pull a lot of shavings off the first time I used it, but the 2nd time it was a lot less. I haven't tried on my serrated knives yet but I trust it will work fine. Even sharpened my steak knives with it. I also really like the fact that before it was delivered, the manufacturer reached out to me with a small instruction manual and then followed up with me after I received the product. Bonus: this is a small company so they are working hard for happy customers and I love supporting the little guy! Tips:

In summary: Peter Nowlan is a professional knife sharpener based in Halifax (Canada) and he recommends the KnifePlanet Sharpening Stone Set, a beginners and intermediate kit that includes 4 sharpening grits: 400/1000, 3000/8000, a bamboo base and the KnifePlanet Flattening Stone. The Japanese Naniwa 3-stone combination is also a great (and more expensive) choice, ideal for professionals and more advanced sharpeners: the Naniwa stones are slightly bigger compared to KnifePlanet’s. In both cases, a coarse, medium and fine grit combination is very effective to sharpen and refine the edge:
“I have been looking for a larger sharpening stone, so I was pleased to find this 12-inch stone. As some others have reported, while this states it is a fine stone, it is not. It has two grits, and one is very coarse, and I would rate the other as medium. I have a fine stone to finish the process, albeit a small one, but it works. I am very happy with the stone and would recommend it — but make sure you have a fine stone to finish.”
The iconic Wiltshire Stay Sharp Knives have been in homes since 1938, and are known and  trusted for their self-sharpening mechanism, as well as providing good quality durable knives. The Wiltshire Santoku Knife is ideal for precision cutting and slicing.  The air pockets on the blade reduce cutting resistance and stop vegetables from sticking to the high quality stainless steel blade. Scabbard sharpens and hones the knife each time the knife is removed, while the triple rivet handle provides strength and durability. The coloured trim is perfect for quick identification in the drawer. The locking system ensures the knife is securely held in place, and has a safety lock button to release the knife.
Visually, a very sharp knife has an edge that is too small to see with the eye; it may even be hard or impossible to focus in a microscope. The shape near the edge can be highlighted by rotating the knife and watching changes in reflection. Nicks and rolled edges can also be seen, as the rolled edge provides a reflective surface, while a properly straightened edge will be invisible when viewed head-on.
Generally speaking, this type of knife sharpener is designed for someone with a little bit of experience in the craft of knife sharpening. To sharpen your blade, simply swipe it along the rough, textured surface in a sweeping motion, being sure to hold it at the proper angle. Holding it at the proper angle can be quite difficult. Despite looking very basic and simple, this is actually one of the more difficult types of manual knife sharpeners to use. That being said, with a little practice almost anyone can learn how to use it effectively.

If you are a fan of matching your small appliances and gadgetry to your interior décor you will be quite pleased to hear that this sharpener is available in three different colors – black, lime green, and red. That being said, I don’t think it should be all that important, considering that this sharpener is so small it can easily be tossed in a drawer or backpack for safe keeping.

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If you are searching for a hard black Arkansas or hard translucent stone, you will surely have difficulty finding them because they are extremely rare and very expensive. Most individuals choose the India stone, which is a manmade stone that is constructed out of aluminum oxide, over the other options because it produces the finest edge and offers a very quick cut.
I haven't been able to find a decent, low priced knife sharpener since I bought my Wusthof knives. Until now! I decided that this was the last low price sharpening alternative I would try. I mean, for around $13, if it didn't work, I wouldn't be out that much. Man this thing is awesome! Seriously, it's easy to use and really tiny so it's not taking up any room. Most importantly though, it really sharpened my knives right up and took no time at all. I read some reviews where they talked about the metal shavings. It seemed to pull a lot of shavings off the first time I used it, but the 2nd time it was a lot less. I haven't tried on my serrated knives yet but I trust it will work fine. Even sharpened my steak knives with it. I also really like the fact that before it was delivered, the manufacturer reached out to me with a small instruction manual and then followed up with me after I received the product. Bonus: this is a small company so they are working hard for happy customers and I love supporting the little guy! Tips:
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.
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.
In terms of feedback, in the eyes, and in the hands of many sharpeners, the feedback on this particular brand of stones is not to their liking and often it is enough to stop them from using them. These are thinner than other stones as well so you may get the impression that you are not getting your moneys worth. They are very hard stones, there is no soft, creamy sensation as you sharpen, there is not much feedback at all in fact.
A honing rod is the best and easiest way to maintain a knife’s edge between sharpenings, and among the nine models we tested (five steel, four ceramic), the Idahone stood out for its exceptionally smooth surface, which was gentler on the blades than the other rods. It rapidly realigned and polished the edges of both German knives (made of softer metal) and Japanese knives (made of harder metal). It also removed less material than the other ceramic competitors—a good thing, because it means knives will wear out more slowly. And it didn’t chip hard Japanese blades, the way steel honing rods did. The maple wood handle is the most comfortable and attractive one of the honing rods we looked at, and it comes with a sturdy ring for hanging. The Idahone is 100 percent US-made, too.
“Purchased this knife sharpener a few months ago, and I am surprised about how well it works. I am a college student, so I don’t have the nicest knives, so they go dull pretty often. I run this thing over the blade a few times and BAM! It works like it was brand-new. This is very easy to use and lasts for quite a few sharpens … I sharpen the knives almost once a week due to them becoming dull so quickly, and I still haven’t replaced the metal inside. The shape of the handle is very nice and fits in the hand well for comfortable use. My mom has one of those electrical sharpeners, but I believe that this works just as well! Definitely would recommend if you have dull knives and are looking for a cheap way to get them sharpened.”
I've used ceramic rods, diamond plates, and leather strops for our sharpening needs. And, like most, I've tried a dozen little gimmicky sharpeners that, while some work, those that do often remove way too much material from the edge, making your blade wear down faster. I've also used oil stones, grinders and buffers for less meticulous sharpening of axes and such. These two stones from Unimi (600/1000 and 2000/6000) served as my introduction to whetstone sharpening. And I must say I like it. Though, I'm not sure of the need for investing in more expensive stones.
The Chef’s Choice 120 sharpener features three stages of sharpening. You can easily select between rough grit, fine grit, or honing. Rough grit is best for those extremely dull blades that will not cut through anything whatsoever, or blades which have been damaged and pitted. You can choose to follow that stage with the second and third stages or skip right to the third. Personally, I find it isn’t necessary to use every stage every time – that only chews up your blade faster, causing it to shrink.
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.
It is designed to help sharpen straight bladed knives that are made of steel. It cannot be used on ceramic and serrated edges. The two sharpening modes guarantee the user gets the best service from it. It has been designed with the users’ safety in mind. This is due to the large grip handle and the non-slip feet. It has an attractive design that makes it a great addition to any kitchen.
As you probably have guessed, knives are easier to sharpen on longer stones. The width of the stone is less important than the length when sharpening knives. The longer stone allows for longer sharpening strokes and contributes to faster sharpening. The longer strokes mean fewer strokes across your stone, making it easier to maintain a consistent sharpening angle. As a rule of thumb, a small knife can easily be sharpened on a large stone, but a large knife cannot easily be sharpened on a small stone.
We offer a series of oilstone packages that combine India and Arkansas stones and are very reasonably priced. At 8" long by 2" wide these stones are not as wide as some other types, but still wide enough for many edges and are plenty wide for knife sharpeners. Available in four price levels, these kits are a great opportunity for the beginning sharpener on a budget.
A manual pull-through sharpener looks similar to the electric machine, except that it has no motor. You sharpen your knives by placing them into the slots and pulling through with force. These manual sharpeners obviously cost less money, and inevitably more time and labor than the electric counterparts. However, they can still bring very satisfying results.

The goal when sharpening is to create a burr, which is a tiny whisper of metal left on one side of the blade. You'll know you have a burr when you can feel one smooth and one scratchy side to the edge. Warner's is formed in no time at all; I struggled. Nevertheless, eventually I got there. Once you've got the burr, it's time to move on to step three.
This coarse grit whetstone is great for prepping old and dull knives that need to be sharpened with a fine grit stone. One of my good knives edge looked like someone had tried to chop barbed wire. After ten minutes on each side of the stone, the edge was smooth and free of imperfections. After it hit the knife with the fine grit stone, I was cutting onions and apples like hot butter! I would soak this stone for 12-24 hours before using. It sucks water like a sponge. The surface needs to be damp when you sharpen.
Its main disadvantage is cost: At about $120, the flagship stainless steel Professional model sits in an uncomfortable middle ground between our main pick and our upgrade pick. That said, an otherwise identical Classic model made of black plastic is generally closer to the price of our main pick. A lesser point, but an important one, is that this design is not completely foolproof, as our other picks are. You have to pay attention and use a steady hand and pressure to get a straight edge. Not hard—but you may need a little practice to master the process.
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.
Our observations about the types of sharpeners on the following pages are based heavily on our experience using them. Why? Because if a sharpener is a pain to use, then it’s going to stay in the drawer where it will be of minimal benefit to our knives. We tried the sharpeners with a variety of knives—all stainless steel—including paring, slicing, boning, utility, and chef’s knives of various lengths; most were tragically dull when we started. We didn’t try serrated, ceramic, or other specialty knives. 
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