Three best knife sharpeners

Jennifer Blair

Avoid pressing your knife too hard against the sharpener’s grinding surface or you could damage the blade.

If you've invested in a high-quality set of knives, you know how much easier they make slicing, dicing, and chopping for your favorite recipes. But if the blade gets dull, even the best knife can become a liability, which is why every kitchen needs an effective knife sharpener.

But choosing the right knife sharpener is key. You need to consider the types of knives you own, whether you prefer a manual or electric sharpener, and any other features that can make sharpening your knives a little easier.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by all the options, have no fear. Our helpful shopping guide has all the tips you need to choose the perfect sharpener for your kitchen. We've even got a few specific product recommendations for entirely fuss-free shopping.

Considerations when choosing knife sharpeners

What types of knives do you use?

The first thing to consider when shopping for a knife sharpener is the types of knives you have in your kitchen. Any sharpener you choose can handle a knife with a straight blade, but only select models can sharpen serrated knives, Asian-style blades, scissors, and sports knives. If you need to sharpen specialty knives, read the product specifications of any sharpener you're considering to be sure it can handle the blades you want to sharpen.

How much effort do you want to put into sharpening your knives?

You'll find manual and electric knife sharpeners.

Manual: A handheld manual sharpener usually requires you to slide the knife back and forth through the tool, so it can take a little more time to sharpen the blade. A manual sharpener is usually more compact than an electric model, which means it can work better in a smaller kitchen.

Electric: An electric sharpener does all the work for you and can sharpen a blade more quickly, making it easier to use than a manual sharpener. Electric models are larger, so one will take up more countertop space. They are also more expensive.

Knife sharpener features

Material: For truly effective honing, a knife sharpener should have an extremely hard sharpening material. The best models have a tungsten or diamond surface, though these usually cost more. Polished ceramic is an affordable alternative.

Adjustable angle guide: If you're new to sharpening knives, it can be tricky to determine the correct angle for the blade. Some sharpeners have guides to make it easier to figure out how to hold the knife, and some sharpeners allow you to adjust the angle setting. In particular, opt for a model that lets you work at angles of 15° and 20°, the most common for kitchen knives.

Sharpening options: Some knife sharpeners have multiple sharpening surfaces to allow you to find the right one for your needs. A coarser abrasive surface sharpens extremely dull blades, while a fine surface is suited to polishing or sharpening a slightly dulled knife.

Safety: If you're not careful, it's easy to cut yourself when sharpening knives. The best sharpeners have safety features designed to keep fingers from getting nicked. Opt for a sharpener with some sort of barrier between your fingers and the blade.

Also, choose a sharpener with a sturdy base, so you don't need to worry about it slipping during sharpening.

Knife sharpener prices: Basic, handheld, manual knife sharpeners can cost anywhere from $5 to $60. Electric knife sharpeners range from $25 to $250, depending on the features.


Q. How often should I sharpen my knives?

A. It depends on how often your knives are used, as well as what types of food you're cutting with them. If you use your knives regularly, it's usually a good idea to sharpen them once a week.

Q. Do I need a special knife sharpener if I'm left-handed?

A. Most knife sharpeners are suitable for both right- or left-handed use. However, there are some that are designed for right-handed users only, so check the product specifications to make sure a particular model will work for you.

Knife sharpeners we recommend

Best of the best: Chef'sChoice 1520 AngleSelect Electric Knife Sharpener  

Our take: An ideal option for American, European, and even Asian-style knives, which can restore blades to brand-new sharpness.

What we like: Offers three different stages of sharpening for extremely sharp blades. Works for serrated and beveled knives, too.

What we dislike: Knife guide can throw off alignment. May not be compatible with ceramic knives. Pricey, though many users find it worth the investment.

Best bang for your buck: Priority Chef Knife Sharpener 

Our take: A quality manual knife sharpener that offers versatility and a budget-friendly price.

What we like: Features a stable base that doesn't slip during use. Ceramic and diamond sharpening surfaces.

What we dislike: Duller knives take more time and effort to sharpen.

Choice 3: Wüsthof PEtec Electric Sharpener 

Our take: An excellent knife sharpener from a trusted brand, though it takes some practice to get the hang of it.

What we like: Designed to be compatible with Wüsthof knives. Offers a diamond grit sharpening surface and leather stropping surface for polishing.

What we dislike: Doesn't work as well with Asian-style knives. Takes some practice to get used to the grinding wheels.

Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

Prices and availability presented in this piece may change after publication.

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