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.
Electric machine: An electric knife sharpener offers the most convenient sharpening tool design. You'll pull the knife blade through the guide slot on the machine, and a motor applies the sharpening agent (usually a sharpening stone) to the metal blade. Many electric sharpeners will offer multiple guide slots that run from coarse to fine sharpening or that handle different blade angles.
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.
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.

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.
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.
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.
The following are my personal favourites and they are all synthetic stones, I do have experience with natural what stones but lets keep it simple, lets stick to synthetic water stones. Believe me, some of the world sharpest knives are sharpened solely on synthetic stones. Here are my personal favourites, I use these water stones every day and the order is not necessarily in priority, they are all good.
By employing separate sharpening slots, the ProntoPro 4643 is capable of sharpening both older European-style knives (such as from Wüsthof and Henckels) and Japanese-style knives (such as from Mac—which makes our favorite chef’s knife—and Shun). The difference is in the angle of the bevel that forms the cutting edge: Traditional European knives have roughly 20-degree bevels, while Japanese knives have roughly 15-degree ones. If you own both types of knife, or if you do a lot of heavy work in the kitchen (like chopping up chicken carcasses), you’ll appreciate this feature, as a 20-degree bevel is best for tough jobs. Note, though, that Wüsthof and Henckels have stopped making 20-degree knives, having switched to 15-degree or 12-degree designs exclusively in 2011; the reason is that for all but the heaviest tasks, these more-acute bevels cut better and, with the ongoing improvements in steel alloys, hold their edges for just as long.
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.
To sharpen, you can use a sharpening stone. Before using, immerse the stone in water for approximately five minutes. Then, place the non-slip side of the stone facing down into a wooden base. For best results, maintain the wetness of the stone throughout the entire process. A grey liquid is produced during sharpening. This is normal and improves the effectiveness.
Today, however, there is a whole new generation of mechanical sharpeners that are far more forgiving for those who may not use perfect technique. At the same time many more people have become accustomed to sharpening their knives this way and the average novice of 10 years ago is now the seasoned pro. It is still possible to damage knives with an electric sharpener, but you would have to either be trying to damage the knife or have some type of accident in order to do so.

When sharpening a knife, you're actually grinding away the existing blade to create a new edge. This is evidenced by the fact that upon completion, you can find tiny metal filings, called swarf, when wiping down the stone. Because the metal blade is actually being ground away, a high importance is placed on the technique and consistency of drawing a knife over the stone.


For this type of hand held manual sharpener the 463 does an extraordinary job thanks mostly to the diamond abrasive wheels. You get an edge that’s both razor sharp and burr-free, as if you spent an hour working the edge on an oil stone. If people make a mistake with the 463 it’s that they assume more pressure is needed than actually is. Keep in mind though that it really shines on serrated and straight edged, double bevel Asian-style knives.
After 15 hours of research and testing, and several adult lifetimes of kitchen experience, we recommend the manual Chef’sChoice ProntoPro 4643 as the best mechanical knife sharpener. It’s impressively simple—almost intuitive—to use: You run the blade back and forth between its diamond-impregnated sharpening wheels to cut and then hone a new edge. The ProntoPro 4643 works on both traditional European and Japanese knives, which use different edge angles, making it universally utilitarian. (Note that we also link to otherwise equivalent but cheaper single-angle sharpeners below.)
But Joe has a quick, drop-dead simple approach that he’s been teaching to amateurs to learn how to sharpen a knife. You’ll only need a couple of inexpensive sharpening tools and a bit of practice. Master it and you’ll be amazed at how well your knives perform and how much more fun food prep, carving, slicing and peeling can be. Or at least how much less painful. Read on to learn how to sharpen a knife.

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.
Grip the handle of the knife firmly with one hand, and with your opposite hand spread your fingers across the the blade in a way that enables you to apply even pressure. Maintaining a consistent angle, and applying even pressure, drag your knife across the stone with slow, deliberate passes. Over time, you will see a build up of dark sludge called a slurry. This is good! It will help remove metal from your knife and make the edge sharp. Once you finish running the blade along one side you should be able to feel a small hook or ‘burr’ along the other. After you successfully form a burr, turn the knife over and start again on the other side.
For this type of hand held manual sharpener the 463 does an extraordinary job thanks mostly to the diamond abrasive wheels. You get an edge that’s both razor sharp and burr-free, as if you spent an hour working the edge on an oil stone. If people make a mistake with the 463 it’s that they assume more pressure is needed than actually is. Keep in mind though that it really shines on serrated and straight edged, double bevel Asian-style knives.
If you're frustrated with the performance of electric knife sharpeners - or if you're just a bit of a control freak like me - the Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HOME Sharpening System allows you to manually sharpen your knives. The system ships with three high-quality sharpening stones and the included bracket holds the stones in place so you can work efficiently and safely.
Begin by sharpening the knife from the front side. Sharpening is completed when the knife has an even burr. Only use a flat-surfaced stone to finish the back surface of the blade. Sharpen the blade from the edge to the spine. Do not sharpen at too great an angle between the blade and the stone. The stone used to finish the cutting edge of the blade should contact the edge evenly.
The blades of Sugimoto Hamono Japanese knives are tempered using the traditional mizu-yaki process which gives the metal a harder finish compared with Western knives. As a result, if you sharpen the cutting blade so that it becomes too thin, it will not be able to maintain its mechanical strength and may chip. In addition, you need to use a flat-surface whetstone to back-grind a Japanese knife. Be careful not to over-grind the blade. Blades made using the hon-kasumi method consist of two different layers of metal that are forge-welded together. Since the blade is composed of two layers, it may slightly bend over time, but this can be corrected at our Company. Single-beveled-blade knives cut with the back side of their blade. Please take particular care that this back side does not become rusty.
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.
Naniwa also makes the Naniwa Traditional line of stones, these are less expensive than the Professional lineup and I believe were created to compete in terms of cost with some other brands such as King that are less expensive, more attractive to some who are just starting and may not want to invest a lot of money. I have tried the Naniwa Traditional 220, 1,000 and 2,000 grit stones and I thoroughly enjoyed them, so if you are considering a less expensive brand to get started, these are also good. I do not like them as much as the Professional line but I do like them, they work, they make the knives sharp.
Aluminum-Oxide oil stones are very popular man-made sharpening stones produced by an abrasives company called Norton and which are commonly called India Stones. Generally less expensive than Arkansas stones (aka Novaculite), these stones are graded coarse, medium, and fine and are designed for fast cutting. Yet, when the fine grit is used, they can also produce a relatively fine edge. Also, because India Oil Stones are both softer and coarser than Arkansas Stones, they are commonly used in conjunction with Novaculite to cut the initial edge bevels or, repair extremely dull or damaged edges before refining and polishing the bevel with an Arkansas Stone.
Our second entry from Chef’s Choice is the 463 Pronto Santoku. This manual sharpener is super-simple to use and delivers fast, high quality results every time. While this is a “2-stage” system there’s nothing complicated about it. One slot is for sharpening and the other for honing. Both stages utilize diamond abrasive surfaces so your blades will retain its edge for a good long time.
The goal when sharpening is to create a burr, which is a tiny whisper of metal left on one side of the blade. You'll know you have a burr when you can feel one smooth and one scratchy side to the edge. Warner's is formed in no time at all; I struggled. Nevertheless, eventually I got there. Once you've got the burr, it's time to move on to step three.
There are numerous types of stone sharpeners on the market. However, the Chosera 5,000 Grit Stone remains one of the best. This wet stone knife sharpener is an improvement on previous versions, allowing you to handle more blades. It uses magnesium as a binder. Since these stones don’t soak up water, you will have to sprinkle it with water regularly, during the sharpening process. Due to its hardness, it does not wear out easily, which adds to the overall durability.

Dan’s Whetstone Co., Inc. currently offers over 350 products and is the only Arkansas Novaculite stone producer that quarries, manufactures, and distributes Natural Arkansas Whetstone products worldwide. Dan’s owns over 500 acres of mineral properties and controls several quarries that supply the various grades of Novaculite used in manufacturing. According to the reserve projections these quarries will supply the next four generations or more, which would lead one to believe that Dan’s Whetstone will be around for many years to come.
Using the strength of industrial high precision superior mono-crystalline diamonds, Diamond Machining Technology (DMT) have created a durable longer-lasting flat sharpening surface that will efficiently sharpen, hone, deburr and polish almost any type of knife or cutting tool. The DMT set contains 3 one-sided whetstones that have extra-fine, fine, and coarse grits which means you have a complete sharpening system at your fingertips.
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