The 10 Best Electric Knife Sharpeners
10. Presto 08800 EverSharp
- sapphirite grinding wheels
- good affordable home option
- not professional quality
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
9. Shenzhen Knives Diamond
- cartridge is replaceable
- included covers keep dust out
- wheels wear down fairly quickly
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
8. McGowan Diamondstone
- creates hollow-ground edges
- doesn't get hot like some models
- tends to spew dust and grit
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
7. Smith's 50245 Ceramic Edge Pro
- works on both sides at once
- creates a 45-degree-angled edge
- not suitable for asian-style blades
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
6. Kitchen IQ 50142
- built-in wheel cleaning brush
- manual honing slots
- prone to imbalanced beveling
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
5. Chef's Choice XV Trizor
- works on steel and alloy blades
- creates a universal 15-degree bevel
- bit of a steep learning curve
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
4. Presto 08810 Professional
- also works for hunting implements
- adjustable blade thickness selector
- guards could be a bit sturdier
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
3. Chef's Choice Hybrid 290
- engineered and assembled in the usa
- works on serrated blades
- creates durable arched edges
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
2. Work Sharp WSKTS-KO
- industrial-grade tool
- perfect for use at a workbench
- includes five abrasive belts
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
1. Wusthof PEtec 2933
- makes dull blades razor sharp
- easy to use right out of the box
- works in just a few seconds
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
The Knife: Every Chef's Most Important Tool
Most culinary professionals will agree: few tools get as much use in the kitchen as the iconic chef's knife. These medium-to-large-sized beauties are often flashy and usually razor-sharp. Most kitchen workers and home cooks swear by them as their most treasured piece of equipment. And when something is that important to your food and your career, keeping it in great condition is of utmost importance.
The most obvious reason for proper knife care is the ease with which a sharp knife can be used. The most exact, clean, consistent cuts are easy when your blade sinks smoothly into the food you're prepping. What a lot of people overlook is the safety factor that comes with keeping your implements in tip-top shape.
It's simple to see how a dull knife is more dangerous than one that is honed daily. It takes more power to chop with a blunted blade, and inconsistent knife edges easily slip off food and can jerk the knife across or into your hand accidentally. Furthermore, injuries from less-than-perfect knives generally take longer to heal. So, it's of prime importance to keep that blade as keen as possible.
The thing is, sharpening knives using the popular and traditional sharpening stone method can be very difficult. Many cooks spend years of careful practice perfecting this skill. However, barring a prodigy-level ability to quickly master this ancient technique, there are other options, such as professional sharpening services. But it does generally take multiple knives to get various jobs done, and the $1-$2/inch prices from these craftsmen can add up quickly, especially if you have a lot of dull knives.
So what does the home chef or restaurant sous do to make sure every metal tool is safe and effective without breaking the bank? Leave it to modern power tools to bring us a quick, easy, and foolproof way to maintain any set of knives.
What It Means To Be Sharp
That's a great question — and one that's often left unanswered. First of all, sharpening and honing are two different activities. Before a blade becomes actually dull, first it loses its true. In this stage, the very edge of the knife actually becomes malleable and curls over slightly, hurting the knife's overall performance. When this happens, as it does to all knives during regular use, the correct solution is to use a honing rod.
While sharpeners remove material from the blade and can make an unusable knife seem new again, honing rods simply uncurl the very edge of the knife and keep it from starting to become dull. That being said, many heavily-used knives will benefit from a monthly sharpening in addition to daily honing. And that's just the beginning of understanding sharpness.
There are a few qualities that affect exactly how sharp your knife blade will be. Be careful to remember that not all steel is the same. Indeed, manufacturers use very different alloys with varied qualities that directly effect how the knife is used. Many knives, especially those with German or French heritage, use steel that is somewhat heavy and soft when compared to the metal used in most Japanese-style knives.
Although this is somewhat counterintuitive, soft, heavy steel is often more resilient to nicks and dulling than harder steel. Carbon steel, known for the high level of attention and care it demands, actually holds a better edge and is more easily sharpened than its stainless counterpart. On the other hand, while harder alloys require less daily honing, some high-hardness steel can become brittle and prone to chipping. For example, it's important to use only smooth honing rods on harder Japanese-style knives to prevent micro-serrations that diminish the edge and lifespan of the blade.
What These Tools Can Do For You
As mentioned, hand-sharpening knives is by no means an easy task to get right. It requires investment in a set of stones of varying coarseness, patience, and lots of practice. In fact, a lot of people end up damaging a knife or two while learning the process, so its good not to start training on your finest European blade. With the advent of high-quality electric options, though, that learning curve is effectively eliminated.
You'll find that most of the models on the market operate using at least one pair of grinding wheels. These are often made of industrial diamond-incorporated materials that work very effectively. A few of them employ proprietary alloys that are just slightly less abrasive than the diamond wheels. Some premium options use a belt-grinder setup with belts available in various grits. A couple high-end models even feature adjustable bevel guides. This lets you customize the exact angle of your blade's edge, perfect for chefs who use a blend of Eastern and Western-style knives of varying hardness.
A lot of these units offer multiple stages of grinding options. As the fineness of the wheel used increases, so does the sharpness and consistency of the blade, even on a microscopic level. For that reason, properly sharpened and honed blades tend to remain sharp and usable for longer stretches than knives that are only kept up sporadically.
Rarely, you'll run into a sharpener with a slot for serrated blades. This is especially useful, as the hand-sharpening of these useful tools is notoriously difficult and time-consuming. After all, a sharp serrated knife can be a huge help in the kitchen, especially when slicing homemade bread or extremely ripe heirloom tomatoes.
Many electric sharpening units are designed with kitchen knives in mind. Some of them are suitable not just for culinary applications, but also for working on hunting and survival equipment or brush-management tools. Of course, you'd never want to be caught with a dull pocketknife when field-dressing a buck or building an emergency shelter. With today's wide range of available electric knife sharpeners, you never will be.