To keep your knife in top condition it’s important you have the best knife sharpener available to keep things sharp. There’s nothing worse than cutting yourself on a dull knife. Except, perhaps, being unable to cut a tomato without smushing it.
A knife sharpener is one of the best tools for any knife owner to have; not only are they inexpensive (at least compared to throwing that dull knife in the trash) they allow you to bring new life to well-used knives. Whether you’re looking for a basic sharpener for your trusty kitchen knife, or need a hardcore sharpener for dozens of knives, a sharpener is a great investment.
Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Knife Sharpener
For many, buying a knife sharpener is a once-in-a-decade (perhaps even once-in-a-lifetime) purchase. A good sharpener can last for years, so make sure you know the pros and cons of the different options that are out there.
Size, Storage, and Counter Space
For home chefs, allocating a big chunk of kitchen space to a knife sharpener can take up valuable real estate. Fortunately, there are a number of space-efficient knife sharpeners that can make a great addition to your kitchen while keeping things neat and tidy.
On the other hand, if you’re a professional chef, you might be sharpening knives daily and not mind taking up a bigger chunk of space for a larger sharpener.
Larger knife sharpeners can be more stable and easier to use, particularly when sharpening a larger number of knives. But, a smaller sharpener can still give your knife a good sharpening.
Blade Type and Size
Do you have a hunting knife, a Japanese-style blade, or even something crazy like a broadsword? A “standard” slot-based knife sharpener might be restrictive, or even unusable.
A bowie knife, for example, is much thicker than a kitchen knife. Many slot-based knife sharpeners are designed to work for the “standard” knife, which translates to basic, common knives, but not always less common blades. If you’re looking to sharpen other types of knives, a knife sharpening system that allows for fine control over your sharpen may be the best fit.
On the other hand, if you’ve got a few kitchen knives and maybe a few pocket knives, you’ll have no problem using something like a slot-based knife sharpener.
Ease of Use
If you put a whetstone in front of the average person, they’d likely need instructions on how to use it. Improper use of a whetstone can even cause damage to a blade. In contrast, many sharpeners are designed to be extremely straightforward, even for those who’ve never sharpened a knife in their lives.
For some, learning how to use more complicated sharpeners can be a good use of time. For others, something basic and easy-to-use will do the trick. It all depends on your personal preference, your experience, and how often you intend to be sharpening knives.
Knife Sharpener Reviews
The Lansky Sharpening System allows for precise control over the knife sharpening angle, supporting 17, 20, 25, and 30 degree sharpening angles. The result is definitely noticeable. I was able to trim hair off of my arm with a knife that was not even close to being sharp enough a few minutes earlier.
The ability to easily sharpen blades of any size, shape, and type is extremely useful. If you have a bowie knife, for example, it may be too thick to be sharpened by a standard knife sharpener. This is also great for pretty much any kind of blade you can imagine, whether it’s a Japanese style knife, a house knife, pocket knife, serrated blade, filet knife, or pretty much anything your mind can dream up. Overall, the flexibility is one of the biggest selling points to this system.
Before I tested this product, I thought it might feel a bit complex, but I was pleasantly surprised with how straightforward it was to use. You might have to sharpen a knife or two before you get the hang of it, but within a few minutes you’ll be sharpening away. In contrast to a whetstone, this sharpening system is easy to use, even if you’re less experienced, while still providing the flexibility of a whetstone.
Using the Lansky system was easy with a number of different knives. I was able to sharpen a kitchen knife, two folding pocket knives, a Leatherman multitool’s blades (both straight and serrated), a filet knife, as well as a thick bowie knife. I was able to take an old folding knife from the 1970’s and sharpen it up to the point that it was able to slice a piece of newspaper cleanly, which is quite impressive considering that before it had gotten so dull that it could be described as a glorified butter knife.
I’d recommend this for enthusiasts, professionals, and casual users alike. It’s a great setup that allows for high-precision sharpening of all kinds of blades, easy enough for even amateurs to use with ease.
Additionally, the sharpener provides a sturdy handle to grip, while still being nice and compact. Other products that get smaller than this can be awkward to hold, which is the last thing you want when handling a knife. Great balance of size and ease-of-use, plus it’s easily used in either the left or right hand, if you’re a southpaw.
As a bonus, the Kitchellence sharpener comes with a cut-resistant glove. It’s by no means necessary, but it’s a nice bonus. The glove has a decent thickness and is fairly comfortable, fitting hands of most sizes with no problem.
The real selling point here is that this is truly a well-made “standard” sharpener that is easy to use, durable, and that works as expected with no fuss or moving parts. For many of you out there, that’s really all you need. It’s an all-around reliable sharpener. If you’re a first-time buyer, this is a great option that anyone can pick up and use instantly.
When I just need a quick sharpen on a kitchen knife, this is my go-to option. It’s quick, easy, and small. It’s a little more straightforward than a full sharpening system, but does lose a bit of flexibility. For your average chef, though, you’ll be happy with this purchase.
The cut-resistant glove is nice, but I’d pay the same price without it. It’s nice to have, but the tool stands on its own; regardless of whether you’re using the glove, it’s obviously important to be careful with knives and the device is perfectly safe to use.
For most knives, this will work great. An all-around decent tool that gives you plenty of bang for your buck.
This product fits a great niche in the market for users who want to keep things simple. Really, how often does the average person sharpen their knives? The benefits of a simple tool that doesn’t overthink it make this a good choice.
Personally, I had no problem sharpening up a few blades with the Kitchen IQ sharpener. The Edge Grip base helps make the device steady without needing a larger handle. However, it does feel just a bit small and a little more awkward to hold than something like the Kitchellence sharpener; if you’re just sharpening a knife or two, it’s no problem, but if you’re using it constantly, you might want something a little easier to grip. Regardless, for the price this stands up well and will do the job. If I had just a few knives, I might go for this option.
While the more heavy-duty options can be a bit easier to use and can get a better result, this sharpener will do the trick to put some life back into your knife of choice. Plus, it’s quite small, easily fitting into any drawer without cluttering up your kitchen.
If you’re interested in a “cross-stick” type sharpener, this one is a solid rate and will definitely make your knife happy.
As for the downsides, it’s of course a little trickier than a slot-based sharpener, but it’s definitely easier to use than a whetstone. But, the size is quite nice and it’s flexible enough to sharpen blades of many types.
The product is simple, but flexible. Other products can have lots of parts, or be restricted to only certain knives, but a classic whetstone is pure simplicity.
The product is good quality and well made. It has a bit of weight to it and you can tell that the product was made with care.
Personally, I don’t mind a whetstone; at the same time, I’ve seen too many people go out and buy an expensive knife, then try to sharpen it on a whetstone and cause damage due to incorrect use. Of course, that’s not to say that whetstones are bad in and of themselves, but you do want to take care to use them correctly.
All in all, this is a decent product, but can be a little tricky to use, like any whetstone. If this is your first sharpener, I’d pick something a little simpler. But, if you’ve got the skills, or are willing to learn, this is a solid option for a whetstone.
Conclusion and Buyers Guide
If you need a knife sharpened, any of these tools will help you out. But, if I had to choose, I’d go with the Lansky sharpening system. Let me tell you, I own a ton of knives, and it’s hands down the best option. You definitely get what you pay for.
Of course, the Kitchellence provides great value for the cost, and is more than enough to get by for a home chef. The size is excellent, easily fitting in any drawer or cabinet. Everyone knows the headache of hauling around boxes of kitchenware, and the size alone is enough that you might go for this option on that basis alone, while saving money in the process.
Finally, Kitchen IQ’s sharpener is a decent pick. As a knife junkie, it’s a little basic for my needs, but I can see it filling the bill for plenty of households out there. For the price, it’ll put plenty of value back into your knives and it’s easy to store and use without cluttering up your kitchen.
So, which one is the best for you? Leave a comment below if you’ve tried these out, or if you have any questions about picking the best knife sharpener for you. I’d love to hear what you have to say!