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Knife Sharpeners - Reviews & Guides For 2021

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Knife Sharpener Buyers Guide

Any physical tool wears out in performance over time. The same applies to a knife, and you will notice when it starts getting dull. It wouldn't perform as efficiently as it did when you first bought it. Hence, you would need a knife sharpener to refine its edges once again.

But wait a minute! Which knife sharpener should you choose? Yes, there are multiple types of knife sharpeners, and all of them have a variety of features. Did you know knives have varying bevels and angles? If you end up using the wrong sharpener, it can lead to damaging your blade or worse accidents.

So what do you do? You need to read this guide and get all the essential knowledge! This ultimate buyer's guide for knife sharpeners will help you get the best options available in the market. Find the perfect match of sharpeners for your knife set today!

What is a knife sharpener?

A knife sharpener is a tool that you use for sharpening the knives. Primarily, it either uses whetstones, sandpaper, or abrasive belts to support the process. However, the common term for it is 'grit.' The sharpener's grit contains particles like sand, stones, or diamonds. Some have a mix of these granules to make it easier to sharpen the blade.

You will find grit numbers on the sharpeners (1000-5000, it can be more or less), showing how fine the sharpener is. A higher number would mean it provides a more refined edge with less material waste. However, a higher number is not always the best choice. You will learn more about it in the factors.

Sometimes you need a lower number to help repair a damaged life. Many people overlook the efficiency and convenience of a knife sharpener. However, once you get a taste of this valuable tool, you might always want to have it in your person. There are different materials available for a knife sharpener.

Why every knife owner should own a knife sharpener?

Every time you use a knife, it affects the quality of the blade. Various materials and food items will start to take their toll on the edge. Even the sharpest blades dull down over time and require polish and sharpness. These effects are so microscopic that you won't notice them right off the bat.

However, over time, your knife will wear out, it might take a couple of months with honing, but you will get there. In the end, you'd need a knife sharpener to tweak your knives. Sure, you can visit a professional, but they charge more than what you can get at home. Sometimes, you feel like buying new knives would be cheaper than getting the blades sharpened.

You might not have enough time to go and drop them for sharpening and pick them later. That's where a knife sharpener plays a vital role in helping you conserve time and save money. Additionally, many knife sharpeners enable you to repair the damaged knives for longer-lasting performance. Hence, it could be a compelling reason to buy the knife sharpener.

Given below are some more reasons to help you decide if it's worth getting a knife sharpener or not, then you will move to the guide:

Extend the life of knives

The primary benefit of sharpeners is that you won't discard your knives easily. You can sharpen them and extend their life. Blades never truly become useless unless they break. As long as you can sharp them efficiently, they will keep bringing you impeccable performance. Thus, you extend its life.

Many sharpeners help you clean foreign elements that might have stuck at a microscopic level. Over time, it would degrade the quality of the blade and make it wither away. You will save the knife from these elements if you use a honer knife sharpener daily.

Safety measures and ease

Dull blades can make it challenging for you to cut an object. Thus, you might have to apply extra force. This can lead to unforeseeable accidents due to abrupt chops. To reduce the chances of accidents, you need an adequately sharp knife.

You might also damage a knife while working, and you might not want to take a break to go to a professional to get it fixed. Thus, you will keep using the chipper of a worn-out knife that could cause more harm than good. Here, if you have an in-house knife sharpener, you wouldn't have to worry about wasting time. Thus, you will maintain the optimum condition for knives.

Furthermore, if you choose a proper knife sharpener, it will come with appropriate safety measures to sharpen your knife. Thus, you wouldn't have to worry about injuring yourself.

Convenient and time-saving

A proper knife sharpener will bring you the ease of sharpening. It could take 30-40 minutes with stones or at a professional to get your knife sharpened. However, with a knife sharpener, you can get your knife up and running in the game within a couple of minutes.

As mentioned above, a knife sharpener's convenience will incline you and others to sharpen the knife regularly to maintain the best state and performance. As long as you know how frequently to sharpen the blade, you will have no problem maintaining the right integrity.

It will save time and bring you comfort in the long run.

Valuable development of skills

It's never a bad idea to learn new skills or hone your older ones. Using a knife sharpener can be an impressive skill. If you're a professional chef, it becomes essential to know how to use a knife sharpener. However, if you cook at home, then it might become something to show off. It also makes you a more responsible and resourceful person for everyone.

Factors to consider when buying knife sharpeners

Finding the right knife sharpener can become a daunting task. It's not easy due to various options, different types of sharpeners, material, knife sets, and other factors to consider. Numerical specifications or bevel terminology might confuse you further.

Nobody wants to get into the 'science' or detailed 'information' all the time. Some might want a simple guide with tips to help them find the best knife sharpeners. That's what this guide aims to achieve. It will keep the explanation simple for you to make the right choice.

We won't cover the price in the guide. As a tip, you might want to consider the knife sharpener's material quality and its grip to ensure maximum safety and long-lasting use for the sharpener. Don't invest in low-grade and cheap sharpeners for the sake of saving a few bucks.

Here's everything you need to know before you buy a knife sharpener:

Choosing the right knife sharpener

There are different types of knife sharpeners available in the market. This segment covers all different types, including the automatic, manual, and even the stones, to bring you pertinent information. It will enable you to make a better decision regarding what you need precisely.

Electric sharpeners

These are the most convenient and well-versed choices that bring you a wide range of features or options for sharpening the blade according to your requirements. There are often multiple openings or knife holders to perform various tasks. From proper sharing the girth to refining the sharpness, there's a lot you can do.

As these are automatic, these either come in battery or electric-powered modules. You simply have to put the knife in the sharpener and turn the machine on. Depending on the model, you might have to move the knife to sharpen the blade thoroughly.

Some come with adjustment features to help you choose precisely how sharp you want the blade to be. A cheaper alternative would have measures, values, or scales to help you get the right idea. Either way, almost nothing can match the convenience of electric sharpeners. However, they are equally costly.

Ensure that the electric sharpeners come with a warranty or something similar, as they are a costly choice and might face some problems.

Serrated knife sharpeners

Most of you might have a knife set that is suitable for different purposes. Therefore, you will most likely have serrated blades to help you with various tasks. However, it's challenging to sharpen them by using sharpening rocks or steels manually. Many hand sharpeners don't offer much for serrated knives either.

The best way to have impeccable sharpness for serrated knives is to buy serrated knife electrical sharpeners. These have perfect stone designs and mechanisms to provide the best performance. If you don't want to damage your serrated knife or buy a new knife all the time, it's the right choice.

Many electric sharpeners come with an additional feature to sharpen serrated knives. Hence, you don't necessarily have to invest in them separately. Just increase a little bit of the budget on the electric ones to get a versatile knife sharpener.

Manual sharpeners

Popularly known as 'handheld sharpeners,' these are a highly portable and most convenient tool if you don't have the budget for an electric sharpener. The method of using a manual sharpener might vary. Some come with a full box in which you have to move the knife, and others are more compact and require you to move the sharpener across the edge of the blade.

Either way, many traveling chefs prefer manual sharpener. These are generally limited in the features, but some may offer more than one customization to support various knives. Overall, these are still a better choice than stones or steel.

Knife honers

Another common name for these is sharpening steel or metal honers for a knife. These don't specifically offer much sharpening but provide you an option to regularly 'polish' your knife's edge and keep it sharp for a longer time. Despite the famous name, there are different versions of knife honers.

Most of them primarily use steel and offer diamond cut, regular cut, or combination cut. Some are ceramics to match a kitchen's décor, premium appeal, and to align the blade. Depending on the type of cut, apart from 'honing' the edge, you will get minor sharpening.

Either way, these are not a substitute for knife sharpeners but something you can use to reduce knife sharpening frequency.

Sharpening stones

These are the cheapest option and strongly depend on your experience and skills to sharpen the blade. Even sharpening stones have different categories, such as artificial and natural stones. Arkansas stones are known as natural ones that can help with various grit of the knives.

Alternatively, Crystolon stones are artificial sharpening stones that offer standard sharpening for the knife. India stones (Artificial) are better for refining the edge and to provide better sharpness. You can always find sharpening stones that have a mix of these features. Overall, these are the cheapest but not user-friendly.

Whetstones

Do you want something more convenient than running the pieces of stones against your knife? Then whetstone is another manual knife sharpener available at a feasible cost. It would require you to learn the right skills and angle to use it, but you might not want anything else once you become proficient.

You might need oil or water to work with the whetstone and sharpening the blade. It's a good option if you want to carve a new knife or polish a dull knife's surface. In most of the kitchens, you will find whetstones as a common choice. In traditional Asian restaurants, this is a common choice that also tweaks the décor.

The grit of the sharpener

Your sharpener's grit is an indispensable consideration you have to make for its compatibility and performance. As mentioned above, there are multiple adjustments, scales, or features that sharpeners have. However, you don't need to find them in all sharpeners. It will depend on the purpose of the sharpener.

Therefore, you should look for these three girt options for a well-versed sharpener. You can buy three different sharpeners that help with the process or a single one. Don't fall for a marketing scheme for other or multiple grit options, as these three will suffice.

Medium grit

This is the most common grit option you will find among the sharpeners. A medium grit enables you to sharpen most of the dull blades. Any blade that wears out should fit perfectly with medium grit, and it will sharpen the edge to be useful. However, the process won't complete unless you use the fine grit with the sharpening.

Fine grit

You might use honing steel for this. A fine grit refines and polishes the edge of the knife. It is to ensure that final and clean finish. If you want your knife to work efficiently, fine grit is vital, and you can't overlook it. Medium grit will only help with sharpness, but you will need a fine grit for performance and efficiency.

Coarse grit

Finally, you have a coarse grit that people often overlook, but it is available in many sharpeners. A coarse grit allows you to sharpen a damaged blade. Over time, knives are bound to get chipped or damaged, mostly if they are used to cutting toucher items.

Therefore, a coarse grit would reduce the requirement to buy a new knife. It will also help you sharpen even the oldest of knives to optimum sharpness. This grit can add a lot of value for money in your sharpeners.

Compatibility with knives

If only the process of selecting the right knife sharpeners was as easy as the above-given points, but it's far from over. The next most important consideration is compatibility with knives. As mentioned at the start of the article, knives have different sizes, angles, and bevels to suit other purposes.

Therefore, it becomes paramount to consider the compatibility of a sharpener for the best results. If you have a knife set from a single style like Western, Asian, or German, it would be easier to find a sharpener. However, different types of knives would require additional considerations. Here's a quick overview:

The material of the knife

Today you can find a wide range of materials for knives and sharpeners alike. Some blades are metal, but the quality of their metal is also different. Softer metal requires more gentle but pressing sharpening, while brittle metal would require sheer force to prevent the knife from sustaining damage.

Similarly, there are wooden knives, ceramic knives, and other similar choices available in the market. It becomes vital to consider which type of material would sharpener support. The industrial standard is stainless steel, but you can find a sharpener for other materials, as well. You might have to consider a specific 'cut' type for it.

Size support

After material, sometimes size matters for the knives, at least for electrical knife sharpeners. If it's an automatic one, there might be a specific size range it covers. Thus, you might have to move the razor of the knife more frequently along the sharpener.

However, if you get a bigger sharpener for your kitchen or house, you might have a more challenging time storing it. You would have to look for the proper placement. Therefore, this factor breaks down to personal convenience and compromises you're willing to make.

Angle of sharpness

Chisel, hollow, double, flat, convex, and saber, there are many different types of edges a kitchen knife set could have, depending on the kind of knife you're going to use. Some even have a particular angle (15-22 degrees). Therefore, you might have to check the sharpener's support and see if it enables you to sharpen a blade with a specific edge or angle.

It is to prevent any damage to the blade and to ensure a longer-lasting application. Sometimes the knife may also damage the sharpener. So it becomes paramount for you to consider the angle of sharpness.

Most of the sharpeners that aren't adjustable only offer support for common knife types. Depending on 'western, Asian, German,' you'd have to make a choice. Therefore, if you have a knife set from single authenticity, it would be more comfortable. Multiple style knife sets would require you to buy different sharpeners.

FAQs: Best Knife Sharpeners

Q: When should you sharpen your knife?

A: You should sharpen your knife once every three to six months, depending on how extensively you use it. Six months is ideal for in-home use, while three or four months is better for restaurant and commercial knives.

However, regularly honing your knife should become a practice. Filing your knife will enable you to use it most efficiently and increase the gaps of sharpening your knife. If you over sharpen your knife, it can easily damage the blade.

Q: How to find out if the knife needs sharpening?

A: The best way to determine if the knife has lost sharpness is by using it for the primary purpose. For example, cut vegetables if it's a vegetable knife, or slice the meat. If it can do the deed as efficiently as you started, you don't need to sharpen.

Many knives would smash tomatoes or slip off an onion if they are not sharp enough, so this is the second option to test the sharpness. Then you can decide whether your knife needs sharpening or not.

Q: How long does it take to sharpen knives?

A: It can take anywhere between a few minutes to 10-15 minutes, depending on the type of sharpener you have. Honing requires 3 minutes tops, other sharpeners will take 4-5 minutes, abrasive belts take 10-15 minutes, and stones take 30-40 minutes.

Conclusion

Choosing the right knife sharpeners is all about the type of knife you have and the convenience you want. If you don't want to invest in a new set of knives all the time, these are highly convenient. Now that you have all the essential information, there wouldn't be much problem regarding the purchase.

There are too many knife sharpeners, and if you don't want to get different types of sharpeners, get a sharpener for the knife set or a specific knife you use the most. In the long run, even that would be cost-effective, and you can grow a knack for using them.

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