Manual and Electric Knife Sharpener Reviews
Sharpening Rods Included
If you have invested your hard-earned money in a quality set of kitchen knives it is important that you care for them properly. Of course, you could always send them away for sharpening, but why pay money to have someone else do what you could easily do yourself? Not to mention the inconvenience of having to drive them to and from the sharpener or pay shipping and handling to send them by mail.
The days of visiting the knife sharpener are gone. It is rare that you will see a knife sharpening truck roaming the streets, dinging its bell, on a search for customers. Those days are gone because newer, easier methods of sharpening knives have been developed. You no longer need to know special techniques and methods to properly sharpen a knife. You don’t need to worry about holding your knife at the perfect angle to get a nice straight edge.
Newer knife sharpeners have been designed with you in mind. They are quick and easy to use. They figure out the angle for you, so you can focus on learning skills in other areas of your life without wasting time learning how to hold a knife. This page has been designed to bring you the best of the best of today’s most popular kitchen knife sharpeners. Of course, some of the older style sharpeners have prevailed in popularity over the years and we will be sure to include a couple of those here as well.
As you will see, I have included three categories of knife sharpeners here – manual sharpeners, electric sharpeners, and sharpening/honing rods. For each of these I have selected one Best in Class choice to be featured in the Top Three Choices of knife sharpeners.
Top Three Choices
If you have already perused some of the knife review pages on this website, you have probably noticed that I usually select a “Best in Class”, “Best Value”, and Best something else for each Top Three Choices section. What I quickly noticed when working with these knife sharpeners was that it simply wouldn’t be possible to do such a thing. Each of these types of sharpeners is so different from the other types that I felt all deserved their very own “Best in Class” selections.
The following three reviews are for the knife sharpeners which I believe are most likely to satisfy your needs. To come to these conclusions, I spent hours researching each of the three kinds of knife sharpeners on this list so that I could select the best version of each type, research sales statistics, and read countless consumer reviews.
Best Manual Knife Sharpener
My choice for Best Manual Knife Sharpener wasn’t an easy one. I came across plenty of quality manual knife sharpeners in my journeys. The four honorable mentions listed farther down the page were all very close to making it into this top position.
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.
Turning my mind away from the fancy advertising gimmicks which had lured me to the sharpener that I almost selected for this position, I began looking closer at consumer ratings and reviews. Of all the manual knife sharpeners I found, all five included here on this page, the Sunrise Pro had, by far, the most positive consumer ratings. It’s hard to argue with people who have used this device in everyday settings and seen positive results.
Of course, I cannot fit everything I would like to say about this sharpener into one small section on this page while simultaneously explaining why I chose it above all the others. I made another page specifically for this sharpener to really give you a clear picture of why people were so happy with it.
Best Electric Knife Sharpener
Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV EdgeSelect
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.
I wanted one which would create a nice sharp edge. I wanted one which could not only handle a serrated blade but would also straighten its teeth. I wanted one which would be easy to use so that beginners and pros could both hop in and use it without a problem.
Unlike my choice for Best Manual Sharpener, the Chef’s Choice 15 was a slam dunk for the category of Best Electric Sharpener. Not only does it come fully loaded with almost everything you could think of, it also received extremely positive consumer reviews. As usual, it will take a little more space to tell you about something as awesome as this knife sharpener.
Best Sharpening/Honing Rod
Wusthof Sharpening Rod
Although everyone has their preferences, I’m the one selecting the Best Sharpening/Honing Rod so I am going to go with my own preference on this one. I decided to choose a rod which both hones and gently sharpens, because that is the kind of rod I like.
Okay, that’s not the only reason. This particular rod has received substantially more positive consumer reviews than all of the others. I suppose that the majority of people agree with me, then. It is difficult to turn down a rod which outperforms the others, though. This Wusthof rod has been specially designed to not only straighten your blade but also to give it a quick sand to keep it sharp for even longer than the typical honing rod.
Don’t worry, if this type of rod isn’t your preference I’ve also included rods made strictly for honing in our “Honorable Mentions” section. First, however, I suggest you take a bit of a closer look at the Wutshof Sharpening Rod to see what all the hype is about.
Manual Sharpeners – Honorable Mentions
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.
If you are like me and prefer the precision of a manual sharpener, but our top choice wasn’t the one for you, keep reading. One of these four runners up may be just what you are looking for.
Chef Sharp 3-Stage Sharpening and Honing System
This Chef Sharp manual knife sharpener is made to sit solidly on your countertop or whatever workspace you like. Its soft, rubbery bottom provides the perfect non-slip surface no matter what type of material you are working on. The smoothest of countertops will be no match for this sharpener, it will stay perfectly still as you work. To offer extra stability and support, this sharpener also includes a horizontal steel handle. Holding onto this handle will not only help to keep your sharpener steady, it will also keep you steady as you draw your blade through either of the two sharpening slots.
The first slot contains carbide blades which effortless shave your blade as you draw it through. The blades feature microscopic carbide particles which help them rough up the edges of the blade as it moves through to get an even deeper shave. The second sharpening slot contains two ceramic rods which work to hone your blade as you draw it through. They gently pull your blade into alignment and buff away the rough edge etched into it in the first stage. You can even choose to skip the first stage and use only the ceramic rods to hone your knife on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, this sharpener is not meant for use with serrated blades, unlike some of the others on this list. Also unfortunate is the fact that I was unable to find any record of the angle degree to which it will sharpen a blade. However, consumers have been very happy with its performance and estimate the angle to be somewhere around 16 to 18 degrees.
Wusthof Precision Edge 4-Stage Knife Sharpener
At first glance the Wusthof Precision Edge looks as if it is a handheld sharpener. If you read the Knife Sharpener Buying Guide you know that I am not a fan of handheld sharpeners. I find them dangerous and ineffective. Therefore, you can safely assume that I haven’t included any on this list.
The part of this sharpener which makes it appear as if it would be handheld is, in fact, a handle. However, instead of using this handle to hold the Precision Edge in the air, it is actually to provide you extra stability and support while the sharpener is firmly planted atop your counter on its rubber base.
Despite being called a “4-Stage” sharpener, this is actually two 2-stage sharpeners in one. You can easily choose between a two-stage sharpener built for a 28 degree angle (14 degrees per side) and one built for a 20 degree angle (10 degrees per side). A sliding plastic guard covers whichever type you are not using to reduce confusion and stop you from accidentally placing your knife into the wrong slot. As someone who likes some knives to be sharper than others, I find this to be quite an impressive feature.
Kitchen IQ 50009 Edge Grip 2 Stage Sharpener
The Kitchen IQ Edge is a very uniquely-designed manual sharpener. It has been created to sit on the edge of your countertop or any other flat surface featuring a 90-edge. In fact, it would be great for working atop a picnic table when you are camping. To grip the corner even better, the entire corner-catching edge has been lined with rubber. The rubber continues along the outer edges as well so that you can easily sit this sharpener on top of any flat surface. However, if you choose to do so I must advise you to be careful not to let the tip touch the countertop when you do. Unlike some of the others on our list, this one sharpener will not sit very high up off of the counter and, thus, will not give you much clearance.
This sharpener features two stages, like many of the others on this list. The first stage uses carbide blades to sharpen the knife. The second uses ceramic rods to hone and buff the blade to near perfection.
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.
King Two Sided Sharpening Stone
This manual knife sharpener is a little bit different from the others on this list. Instead of incorporating blades, rods, or abrasive pads into a V-shaped sharpening slot, this sharpener is a basic block. In all honesty, once placed upon its base this sharpener reminds me a little bit of a balance beam.
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 have the time to commit to a block sharpener, this two-sided King stone should manage to meet your needs. Of those consumers who actually knew how to use this type of sharpener and those who took the time to learn how to use it, the overall consensus was that it is worth its fairly average price. Consumers were most impressed with how well this stone worked when it was wet, but noted that it is also rather useful when dry.
The only negative comments I could find among experienced users were related to its grit. Apparently, the texture is rather fine on both sides of this double-sided stone. This means that it will take you a considerably long time to sharpen a rather dull blade.
Electric Sharpeners – Honorable Mentions
With the vast number of electric kitchen knife sharpeners available on today’s market I knew that I wouldn’t be able to select only one. Obviously you will need a little more to work with than that, as you try to select the best sharpener for you. Not to mention the fact that there are different types of electric sharpeners. Some have one stage, some have two, and some even have three. Some will sharpen, while others will both sharpen and hone.
While I do not necessarily believe the next four electric sharpeners are quite as good as the one I placed in our Top Three Choices of knife sharpeners, I must say that they are rather impressive. All of the sharpeners on this list have received rave reviews from actual consumers, so all are worth your time. Also, the selection for the Top Three was partially based on my opinion and you may have an entirely different one after you see these four impressive machines.
Work Sharp WSKTS-KO Knife and Tool Sharpener
This is one seriously heavy-duty looking machine. Upon first seeing it, I wasn’t sure if I should applaud it or run from it. If you find yourself similarly intimidated, take a deep breath and continue to read – you may be pleasantly surprised.
The Work Sharp WSKTS-KO performs double duty as a knife sharpener and a tool sharpener. Its ability to perform multiple tasks is part of why this sharpener looks so intimidating. Instead of using spinning discs like most electric sharpeners, this Work Sharp uses belts. In fact, it works a lot like a typical electric sander. A motor pulls the belts along so that they gently shave away at whatever you place them against.
If you decide to use this device to sharpen a knife, you can simply attach the blade guide against the belt, creating a barrier against which you can lean your knife as you sharpen it. Leaning your knife against the guard holds it at a specific angle so that your blade can be sharpened to a specific angle. The angle is adjustable from 30 degrees down to 15 degrees. You can also choose to use this machine to sharpen tools, such as axes. If sharpening those types of blades, you will want to go with a freehand approach instead of using the guide.
I find that this sharpener has extra value in that it can sharpen many different blades including kitchen knives, hunting knives, swords, axes, and scissors. I also like that it comes with multiple belts, each with a different
grit so that you can choose between a rough grit, a fine grit, and honing. It is perfectly acceptable for sharpening serrated blades as well and has an adjustable speed
If I am honest, I was somewhat close to awarding this sharpener the title of “Best Electric”, but realized that it is probably a little more sharpener than most people will require in their day to day lives.
Chef’s Choice 120 Diamond Hone Professional
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.
The fine grit is best-suited to those somewhat dull knives which simply need a quick clean-up. Again, I suggest jumping over to stage three and honing your blade afterward for a better, straighter edge. The honing stage can even be used on its own to clean up a warped edge or simply to maintain a straight edge. This sharpener’s long sharpening slots will work well to hold blades steady as they move through, effectively reducing the chances of producing a warped and wobbly edge.
If style and interior décor are important to you and you intend to leave your sharpener on the countertop, you will be happy to hear that this Chef’s Choice is available in six stunning colors. The colors include black, white, red, chrome, brushed metal, and platinum. Though they may not be the best matches for many country or vintage-style homes, these sharpeners will look fantastic on the countertop in an urban, industrial, or modern-style home.
Linkyo Electric Knife Sharpener with Automatic Blade Guide
Before I even begin discussing much else about this sharpener I would like to take a moment to discuss its four sharpening slots. Upon reading consumer reviews, I found that many people were confused by the fact that there were four slots and mistakenly believed that this was a four stage sharpener. This is a two stage sharpener. It has one stage with a rough grit and one stage with a fine grit so that you can adjust the type of sharpening to the dullness of the blade.
So, why are there four slots? Unlike many other electric and manual sharpeners which sharpen both sides of the blade at one time, this sharpener sharpens one side at a time. Therefore, two slots are for the rough grit and two slots are for the fine grit. This is especially helpful for those people who prefer to only sharpen one side of certain blades.
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.
This Linkyo’s suction cup feet will hold it still atop any counter. Its auto-stop function will turn the machine off if you press downward with the blade or if the blade itself is too heavy. This wonderful safety feature will keep the machine from jamming and ruining your knives. Also impressive is its special catch basin which makes cleanup much easier as it catches any metal shards or shavings that come off your blade.
Chef’s Choice 1520 AngleSelect Diamond Hone
I have to tell you, it was very difficult to pick only one favorite among all these electric knife sharpeners. Selecting the “Best Electric” was a very difficult task. Yet again, you have stumbled across one of the sharpeners which were almost awarded that title.
This impressive Chef’s Choice sharpener is not the only Chef’s Choice sharpener on this list. That must tell you something about its quality. I must say that I was very impressed with this sharpener. It features three stages: rough, fine, and hone. The first two stages use sharpening discs with diamond flecks as abrasives. They gently file down your blade, bringing it to a smoother, sharper point. Stage three features patented honing and polishing discs designed to straighten your blade for the sharpest, cleanest cuts possible. Its rubber feet keep it firmly planted upon your countertop for an easy and safe sharpening process.
Consumers have stated that a lot of metal is removed from the blade if you use all three stages. Usually, however, it is completely unnecessary to use all three stages. Most of the time you can easily get away with only using the fine grit and the honing discs to sharpen your knives. You can even use the honing discs on their own to keep your blades straight. The first stage (the rough grit) will only be necessary for sharpening extremely dull or damaged blades. Upon completing this stage, you will often find that you can skip right over to honing.
This sharpener allows you to select either a 15 degree angle or a 20 degree angle. Personally, I love being able to choose the angle I am going to use based on the knife I am sharpening, since I prefer some blades to be sharper than others. Also impressive is that this sharpener can be used for serrated blades as well as thick, sport-type blades.
Sharpening/Honing Rods – Honorable Mentions
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.
These next four reviews focus on honing and sharpening rods. You will notice that all of them will hone your knife, but some will also sharpen it a little bit at the same time. Your personal preference will dictate which type you select.
Messermeister 12-Inch Ceramic Rod Sharpener
This Messermeister rod is available in a 10-inch option and a 12-inch option, allowing you to select whichever suits you best. A general rule I like to follow in selecting a sharpening rod is to select one which is about the same size as my longest blade. As someone who’s longest blade is only 8 inches, I would select the 10-inch option. Most people will find themselves leaning toward that option, since bigger isn’t necessarily better. The rod needs only to be sufficiently long to allow you to sweep your knife down it without running out of rod before you reach the end of your knife. Anything too large will be difficult to control. Therefore, unless you are trying to sharpen a sword, I would advise against the longer option.
Like all other things constructed of ceramic, this Messermeister is extremely fragile. Though it will give a more polished effect to your blade and is slightly friendlier toward soft blades, the ceramic will shatter if you drop it, rendering the rod useless.
Unlike some rods which can be used as sharpeners, this rod is made specifically for honing. The incredibly tiny abrasions built into it are only enough to push bent metal back into a straight line – they are not gritty enough to actually remove metal.
The no-slip, soft-grip handle of this rod is a definite bonus. I’m not sure about you, but when I am working with sharp objects I want to be certain that I have a good grip on everything I am using. Being able to maintain a strong, safe grip on this rod will be important in maintaining your safety as you work to hone your knives.
Winware Stainless Steel Honing Rod
If I thought that the 12-inch option of the Messermeister rod was a little longer than necessary you must be wondering why I would include this Winware rod which is only available in a 12-inch option and a 14-inch option. I stand by my opinions and will confidently say here that I would not select either of these rods on the sole basis of their extreme lengths. That being said, many other consumers have selected these sharpeners, despite (or maybe because of) their length and have reported being very satisfied with the results they have achieved.
This rod features no abrasions. Instead, it features long grooves. This tells me that it has been made for honing, not sharpening. That is okay, though, because that is what most people look to a rod for – its honing ability. Unlike the Wusthof, which was awarded “Best Rod”, this Winware is not magnetic. That is also okay, though, since this rod is made strictly for honing and will not need to grip onto any metal shards, as no metal shards will be removed from the blade during the honing process.
This rod’s soft handle will allow you to hold it without any discomfort. Its no-slip qualities will also help you work confidently and safely as you hone your blades. The loop in the end of the handle allows you to hang it from a hook on the wall for easy access and to protect it from the damage it may receive if placed in a drawer.
Smith’s DRET Diamond Retractable Sharpener
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.
From camping to fishing to hunting, this sharpener can come with you wherever you go and quickly clean up any wobbly, rusty, slightly dull blade in a snap. The rod itself retracts into the handle to not only make it take up less space, but also to protect the sharpener from bumps, scratches, and the external environment. Once collapsed, it is small enough to fit inside your pocket and even features a pocket clip for easy transportation.
The slim, tapered design of this rod is perfect for getting into the grooves of hooks and bone notches, which, again, makes it a very useful tool for fishing, camping, and hunting.
Victorinox Cutlery 9-Inch Round Honing Steel
This 9-inch honing steel is the perfect length for most people. Just slightly larger than the typical chef’s knife and slicing knife (usually the longest knives in a set), this rod will not be too much for most people to handle. Unlike the 12 and 14-inch rods featured further up this list, this 9-inch rod should be very easy to confidently and safely control.
Truly meant for honing, this rod features deep grooves which extend the length of the rod. As you sweep your blade along these grooves they will gently work to pull its edge back into proper alignment, making it stronger, straighter and allowing it to stay sharp for longer. Consumers appear to be very happy with this rod’s performance and construction. Their reviews give off an overwhelming impression that this rod is reliable and gets the job done right (so long as you know how to use a honing rod).
Unfortunately, the fibrox handle is not non-slip or soft-grip, but it is ergonomically shaped and has been textured to reduce the likelihood of slippage. The handle also features an attached metal hoop so that you can easily hang this rod on a hook on the wall for easy access and to keep it out of the drawer, where it would probably get bumped around and scratched up.
So Which is Best For You?
The first, and probably most important, step in selecting your new knife sharpener is to decide which type you would like. Now that you have read a little bit more about each of the three types of sharpeners and seen examples of their most popular, top-selling models, you should be able to decide which type is best for you.
Hopefully, this page has given you enough information to go out and purchase that sharpener without hesitation or self-doubt. It is my goal to give you the information and knowledge you need to confidently make that decision.
If, however, are still unsure about which type of sharpener or which particular sharpener to purchase, try taking a moment to read our knife sharpeners buying guide.