"Sharpening is like a hangover cure," says Laurie Timpson, founder of Savernake Knives in Wiltshire. "If there was a cure and you knew about it, I'd stay at your house, crash on your sofa and have whatever it was when I woke up. Everyone would have it and there'd be no discussion. Everybody says they've created a perfect sharpening technique, and they haven't." 
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.

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.


Stropping a knife is a finishing step. This is often done with a leather strap, either clean or impregnated with abrasive compounds (e.g. chromium(III) oxide or diamond), but can be done on paper, cardstock, cloth, or even bare skin in a pinch. It removes little or no metal material, but produces a very sharp edge by either straightening or very slightly reshaping the edge. Stropping may bring a somewhat sharp blade to "like new" condition.
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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.
Learning sharpening technique requires focus even without worrying about the stone itself. Stones that require frequent flattening, soaking and cleaning, or that take a long time to create an edge can be a source of frustration to some beginning sharpeners. Keep in mind your willingness perform regular maintenance when choosing a starting set of stones.
A hybrid manual-electric sharpener, the Chef’sChoice Hybrid 210 uses a motor and abrasive wheels to grind the new edge and employs a manual stage to hone it. This sharpener is eminently affordable. However, our top pick, the ProntoPro 4643 multi-blade-angle manual model (as well as its $30 to $40 single-blade-angle kin) produces a better edge and doesn’t make us worry about breakdowns the way the Hybrid 210’s lightweight motor does.
Chefs and meat cutters frequently pause and “steel” their cutting edges. Steeling doesn’t sharpen an edge; it straightens it. That’s necessary because the thin edge actually bends or warps while you’re cutting. If you could see the edge under a microscope, it would look wavy, and it would feel dull while cutting. Steeling the knife straightens out all those waves to restore a straight, even cutting edge. So when your knife begins to seem dull, don’t sharpen it—steel it first. Every time you grab a knife for the first time to begin cutting, steel it before you even get started. But it’s important to do it right or you’ll just make the edge worse. And don’t act like one of the Iron Chefs on TV and do it all up in the air—you’ll eventually wind up in the ER. Rest the end of the steel on a cutting board and do your steeling the safer and more accurate way. It’s very important that you steel at an angle between 20 and 30 degrees. Photo 1 shows you how to figure that out. 

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.


All stones require either water or oil as a lubricant to sharpen the knife. We prefer water stones because they’re easier to use, less messy and don’t have the possibility to go rancid like oil does. If you choose a water stone, all you have to do is either add water to the stone before placing the knife on the surface, or soak the stone in water for 10 minutes before use. You’ll want to read the instruction for the stone you purchase to find out how to use it properly.
Method 1: Use an Electric Sharpener. Quality electric sharpeners are an option, but I strongly discourage their use. First off, they remove a tremendous amount of material from your edge. Sharpen your knife a dozen times, and you've lost a good half-centimeter of width, throwing it off balance, and rendering any blade with a bolster (i.e. most high-end forged blades) useless. Secondly, even the best models provide only an adequate edge. If you don't mind replacing your knives every few years and are happy with the edge they give you, they'll do the trick. But a much better choice is to...

In addition, the Chisora 1,000 is absolutely delightful when using it. Professional chefs and wood workers, have reported exemplary results. Unlike other stone sharpeners, these ones don’t need soaking in water. You only have to lubricate it, and you are ready to sharpen your knife. Once you start sharpening your blades with this stone, you will never choose any other product. They are that addictive.
The Work Sharp WSKTS-KT Knife is your complete knife sharpening solution for both field and home use. It is a combination of precision sharpening guides and flexible premium abrasive belts, to give you razor sharp blades. Apart from knives, it can be used for other sharpening jobs like lawn mower blades, shovels, garden pruners and a wide range of other bladed tools. As you can see, you are not buying a simple knife sharpener, but a multipurpose sharpening tool, for home and outdoor use.
I'm a novice knife sharpener. I've had to unlearn what my grandpa taught me in order to use these. So far, I've had decent but mixed results. I've switched to my cheap 200/400-ish cheap tool stone from harbor freight for cutting a bevel when the blade has either been damaged or did not have a proper bevel. The 400/1000 grit stone in this kit is soft. Very soft. I have bowled it out several times. It makes keeping a steady angle difficult. But these stones at this price point are meant for learning, and for that they serve their purpose.
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.

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").
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