After testing nine honing rods, both steel and ceramic, we think the Idahone 12″ fine ceramic rod is best for most kitchens. We were looking for a tool that kept knives of all styles sharp, from 4-inch paring knives to 12-inch chef’s knives. We wanted one that worked equally well on German and Japanese blades, which are made of softer and harder steels, respectively. We also wanted to pay less than $40. The Idahone met all our requirements. Its surface was noticeably smoother than that of the other three ceramic models we tried, yet rapidly restored the edges of all the knives we tested. It also removed less material from the blades, which will help to prolong their working lives. And compared with the five steel honing rods we tested, the Idahone was gentler on the blades.

Unlike our Top Choice for this category, most rods are actually made only to hone your blade, not to sharpen it as well. To hone something means to straighten it. The very thin cutting edge of any blade will become warped over time. It will not be visible to the naked eye, but it will be warped. Tiny folds and grooves will find their way to your blade’s edge, making it seem as if it is growing dull. Using a honing rod, you can push those folds back into place and create a straighter, stronger, sharper blade. Of course, this will only work for so long, as your blade will eventually grow dull in other ways.

The Chef’s Choice 476 2-Stage Sharpener transforms your weary kitchen, hunting and pocket knives into razor sharp cutting instruments with dependable ease. The sharpener is simple in concept, solid in its fabrication and reliable in the way it goes about its business. The design is also free of right-hand bias which is good news for the lefty chefs out there.
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.
Ye olde tomato test - After you have sharpened using one of the above sharpeners grab a firm tomato and try to slice it. If the blade is properly sharpened it will slice through the skin with virtually no effort and without pushing the skin inward first. If the skin is able to fight back against the blade then your knives are not properly sharpened yet.

A major benefit of sharpening your knives on a sharpening stone is that you can thin out your knife. When thinning out a knife, you grind away extra material on the sides of the blade, making the blade thinner. Thinning of a knife is useful for knives that are often sharpened, as the cutting edge gets fatter when the blade is sharpened more often. Thinning is of great importance for the preservation of good cutting properties.
To take off the fine scratches and the burr left by coarser stones, and polish the surface, one can use stones starting around 2000 grain. Above that there is theoretically no upper limit, but at the same time stones above about #10000 provide no measurable practical improvement in the edge. It is also interesting to note that above #8000 grit, there is no Japanese measurement standard. With all the stones labelled as having a finer grit, one simply has to take the manufacturer’s word for it.
Whetstones may be natural or artificial stones. Artificial stones usually come in the form of a bonded abrasive composed of a ceramic such as silicon carbide (carborundum) or of aluminium oxide (corundum). Bonded abrasives provide a faster cutting action than natural stones. They are commonly available as a double-sided block with a coarse grit on one side and a fine grit on the other enabling one stone to satisfy the basic requirements of sharpening. Some shapes are designed for specific purposes such as sharpening scythes, drills or serrations.[9] 

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.
Our favorite way to sharpen a blade is to use a whetstone—a rectangular block that works almost like sandpaper, helping to straighten and refine the cutting edge on the blade as you slide the knife across it. Most whetstones are designed to be soaked in water before every use, so check the manufacturer's instructions to be sure. (Fun fact: Whetstones aren't actually named for the fact that most are used wet—"whet" is actually just an old word for "sharpen").
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.
This is an important but often confusing aspect of the sharpening process. When you sharpen knives, especially on coarser stones, you'll notice a burr form on the opposite side of the edge. It can be difficult to see, but easy to feel. Carefully feel for the burr by running your finger from the spine of the knife to the edge. The burr will jump from side to side as you sharpen each edge, and once you've felt the burr move to both sides, you can move to the next finer stone. Once you get to the finest grit, the burr will become smaller and smaller!
4. Start sharpening the first side of the blade. With your blade set at the prefect angle, you’re ready to start sharpening. Imagine you’re carving off a slim piece of the stone’s surface. Personally, I bring the blade into the stone. Other people stroke the blade away from the stone. Both ways work, so just use whatever technique you prefer. If the knife blade is curved or if it’s longer than the stone, you’ll need to sweep the blade sideways as you work, so the entire edge is sharpened evenly. Apply moderate pressure as you sharpen. No need to bear down hard on the blade. After you make one stroke, start back at the beginning and repeat. Do this about 6-12 times.

A major benefit of sharpening your knives on a sharpening stone is that you can thin out your knife. When thinning out a knife, you grind away extra material on the sides of the blade, making the blade thinner. Thinning of a knife is useful for knives that are often sharpened, as the cutting edge gets fatter when the blade is sharpened more often. Thinning is of great importance for the preservation of good cutting properties.


With our sharpeners in hand, we went about putting them to work—meaning we needed a lot of dull knives. Those are in short supply in the Wirecutter test kitchen (Lesley keeps ’em sharp), so we borrowed some from coworkers and sacrificed a few of the test kitchen’s blades. To ensure truly, appallingly dull blades, we ground their edges repeatedly against a piece of concrete curbstone.
Cost – While you can get a perfectly serviceable sharpening stick or stone sharpener for short money and some very high-quality tabletop manual 2 and 3-stage sharpeners for less than $50, high-quality mechanical systems will often run you $200 or even more. While that’s not so much money it’s likely to impact the quality of your life it is a lot to pay to keep a decent edge on your knives. While how much you ultimately pay for a sharpener is entirely up to you, you may want to consider your commitment to cooking and how often you are actually liable to use the device. If this is your first sharpener you might also want to consider learning how to sharpen a blade using a classic stick or stone sharpener first, before deciding if moving up to a mechanical sharpener is the right thing for you.

However, it should also be noted that “water stones” are generally significantly softer than oil stones and thus, water stones generally cut faster than oil stones but, they also have to be flattened more often that oil stones do. Furthermore, it should be noted that some water stones must be soaked in water for several hours prior to use whereas, others are of the “splash and sharpen” variety and thus, they only need to be soaked for a few minutes before use and then wetted down occasionally during sharpening process. Diamond hones on the other hand are more durable than either water stones or oil stones and, because they generally have a more coarse grit, they cut faster than natural whetstones. Plus, due to their construction, they never need truing and, in fact, coarse diamond hones are often used to flatten both natural and synthetic whetstones.
First choice knife sharpener for professional chefs. It doesn’t matter whether you work in a five start hotel, or you just love preparing meals at home, this device will keep your knives sharp always. It gets the job done effortlessly and efficiently. A knife sharpened with this device retains its edge for a longer period, as compared to others. Apart from kitchen use, its compact design makes it perfect for hunting, camping, and fishing trips.
If you don't want to learn the skill of sharpening on a stone, a pull through sharpener may be a good option. The pull through sharpener consists of one or more smalle grinding wheels with a fine or coarse grit. In order to sharpen the knife you pull the knife several times through the grinding wheels without really pushing. The results of this shaprening method are of lower quality than sharpening rods and stones. The result is a relatively jagged edge, and the sharpness is of short duration. To get really sharp knives, it is therefore advisable to use one or more sharpening stones. The fast and somewhat rough treatment of a pull through sharpener is, in particular for harder steels, not recommended. A good knife actually deserves a more sophisticated sharpening method, such as sharpening on a stone.
Now that you're holding the handle and the blade is in position, gently apply some pressure to the belly of the blade with your left hand fingers – "roughly the amount of pressure to semi depress a sponge," says Warner. Starting at the tip, glide the blade up and down the stone – around five strokes up and down is a good number. Then move to the middle – five more strokes. Finally five strokes up and down on the heel.
Now turn the knife so that the blade is no longer pointing towards your body. Continue to maintain the angle of 10 – 20 degrees and the gap of approx. 5 mm from the back of the blade to the sharpening stone. Slide the cutting edge up and down over the sharpening stone. Grind both sides of the blade alternately, around five to ten times on each side.
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.

I can personally verify that this will get your knives very sharp. I will spare you all the gory details, but the picture is of the instructions the ER sent me home with after stopping the bleeding and patching me up. I have to say, that’s not what I had in mind regarding “Thanksgiving tips”. So: not only will knives slide easily through spinach, but they will go through finger and fingernail like a hot knife through butter after being sharpened by this whetstone. Very clean, straight cut. Impressive, really. Just take it slow and don’t be a moron like me.


Honing is kind of like dusting the furniture while sharpening is more like reupholstering the furniture. Honing is purely a maintenance activity that should be regularly practiced to make sure the blade is clean and sharp as can be every time you use it. It’s easily done using a honing rod, a leather strop or a sharpening stone; as most stones have a side for sharpening and a side for honing. Honing is akin to trimming your hair to remove the split ends. It’s not a full on haircut. What it does is realign the tiny sharp protrusions along the edge of the blade that can be bent over with use, so that they stand more or less straight.
Cutting angle – With a manual stick or sharpening stone you set the angle yourself so this does not factor into the equation when choosing that type of sharpener. When shopping for an electric sharpener however it does. You’ll want to decide if you want your knives to have the 15 degree “Asian” style angle so that you can make precise cuts or the Western standard 20 degrees or 22-degree sharpening angle. Most people will opt for the 20 or 22-degree angle simply because their cuisine doesn’t call for a lot of finesse from their knives and those knives are probably of a heavier Western variety anyway.
Both Belgian Blue and Vielsalm Coticule are ancient stone layers found in the Belgian Ardenne Mountains with characteristics similar to both Novaculite and Siliciclastic sedimentary stone in that it is a metamorphic stone consisting of both gray and yellow volcanic ash mixed with tiny Spessartite Garnet crystals suspended in a clay matrix. However, due to its geology, both types of stone occur only in vertical seams sandwiched between two thick layers of bluish-purple slate and thus, they must be meticulously extracted mostly by hand. However, this type of extraction process is both very time-consuming and very labor-intensive and, quarrymen can only extract the stone for a few months each year due to inclement weather conditions. Consequently, both Belgium Blue and Coticule whetstones tend to be somewhat expensive.

Water stones can also be made out of natural or synthetic materials and they are fast becoming the most popular type of whetstone as they only require the use of water to lubricate the stone. They are not as messy to work with as an oil stone and deliver fast sharpening results but for even better results, soak the stone in water for 5 or 10 minutes.

I can personally verify that this will get your knives very sharp. I will spare you all the gory details, but the picture is of the instructions the ER sent me home with after stopping the bleeding and patching me up. I have to say, that’s not what I had in mind regarding “Thanksgiving tips”. So: not only will knives slide easily through spinach, but they will go through finger and fingernail like a hot knife through butter after being sharpened by this whetstone. Very clean, straight cut. Impressive, really. Just take it slow and don’t be a moron like me.
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.
The ProntoPro 4643 easily took a top-quality Mac paring knife made of very hard forged Japanese steel from badly dulled to paper-slicing sharp. Initially the knife struggled to slice through the paper and ultimately tore out; after sharpening, it swept through like a razor. And the ProntoPro 4643 was able to sharpen the blade to within ⅜ inch from the handle—that’s excellent compared with many competitors. For each knife, the whole process took about 60 seconds, and the padded handle and level base offered a secure, stable, confidence-inspiring grip.
Your stroke can be straight or circular, from "hilt to tip" OR "tip to hilt," whichever is more comfortable. If you're using a small portable sharpener, stroke the blade in nearly a straight direction. Remember to always cut into the stone and never pull or drag your edge backwards. The blade edge should face in the same direction as your stroke. So, you're essentially moving the metal away from the edge. We recommend the circular stroke as it helps you maintain your angle instead of having to find it every time you lift the knife from the stone.
Everyone who owns a knife needs a sharpener. Even the highest-quality knife will lose its edge over time and with use. The metal wears away on the cutting board, it chips on animal bones and bends on tough root vegetables, and it dissolves in the acids and salts of the kitchen. A dull knife is a dangerous knife. To keep it safe, and to keep a knife working, you need to sharpen it regularly.
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.

Cutting angle – With a manual stick or sharpening stone you set the angle yourself so this does not factor into the equation when choosing that type of sharpener. When shopping for an electric sharpener however it does. You’ll want to decide if you want your knives to have the 15 degree “Asian” style angle so that you can make precise cuts or the Western standard 20 degrees or 22-degree sharpening angle. Most people will opt for the 20 or 22-degree angle simply because their cuisine doesn’t call for a lot of finesse from their knives and those knives are probably of a heavier Western variety anyway.
It is made of solid ABS plastic. It has rubber feet that make it safe to use on your counter top while at the same time guaranteeing its stability and grip when it is being used. The handle used is very durable, and it is ergonomic. This knife sharpener will deliver excellent results for all your knives. It works in three stages to give the best professional results on ceramic and steel blades.
The kind of tech we love: compact, reliable, durable, attractive and cheap. Purists may feel that other sharpeners will produce a more perfect result but for 99% of the human race this sharpener will be everything the doctor ordered. Your blades stay sharp for a good long time thanks to the 2-stage sharpening process and if you’re a left handed chef you’ll love the fact that it works just as effectively for you as for anyone else.

Most people don't think about sharpening knives until this vital kitchen tool is no longer sharp. The truth is that nothing impacts the longevity of your knives, or their daily performance, more than regular sharpening and maintenance. A dull knife in the kitchen is more dangerous than a sharp one when employees must force their way through cutting meat and slicing vegetables. As a result, daily sharpening and maintenance is easy, and most importantly, necessary. We're here to show you how to use a sharpening stone, including correct techniques and maintenance. The end result is a more efficient, and safer, set of knives!
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