More in Appliances

Electric Knife Sharpeners

Blades too dull to slice a tomato? Straighten up your knife edges and make them cut cleanly with the right tool for the job

electric knife sharpener
Photo by Ted Morrison
1 ×

 

You can't cook without a knife, so it's frustrating when the one you love no longer cuts it; if only maintaining a sharp edge were as easy as losing it. Pros keep their knives in shape by regularly honing them, drawing the blade down a butcher's steel at the perfect angle to realign microscopic finger-like serrations along the edge. When hard knocks—like hacking through chicken bones—wear the edge down, pros pull out a whetstone and expertly shave away just enough metal to create a sharp new one. No wonder mere mortals long for an easier fix than steel or stone. Cut through the clutter of options with these tips.

Shown: Chef's Choice Diamond Hone EdgeSelect Model 120, about $150; wayfair.com

Know Your Knives
Most knives have European-style edges beveled on each side at a 20-degree angle; Asian-style knife edges are narrower. And what about bread knives with scalloped edges? Choose a sharpener designed for your knives.
You can't cook without a knife, so it's frustrating when the one you love no longer cuts it; if only maintaining a sharp edge were as easy as losing it. Pros keep their knives in shape by regularly honing them, drawing the blade down a butcher's steel at the perfect angle to realign microscopic finger-like serrations along the edge. When hard knocks—like hacking through chicken bones—wear the edge down, pros pull out a whetstone and expertly shave away just enough metal to create a sharp new one. No wonder mere mortals long for an easier fix than steel or stone. Cut through the clutter of options with these tips.

Shown: Chef's Choice Diamond Hone EdgeSelect Model 120, about $150; wayfair.com

Know Your Knives
Most knives have European-style edges beveled on each side at a 20-degree angle; Asian-style knife edges are narrower. And what about bread knives with scalloped edges? Choose a sharpener designed for your knives.
2 ×

Know What You Need

 

Know What You Need

closeup of electric knife sharpener
Photo by Ted Morrison
While the most expensive manual "sharpener" on the market can hone—and maintain blades in basically good shape—cheaper, more-aggressive models create sharp but coarse micro-serrations that soon bend, requiring more sharpening. To put a new, long-lasting edge on knives that have been neglected, an electric sharpener is best. We like this model because it uses diamond-particle disks to make 20-degree bevels on an edge so that it curves outward like a Gothic arch; the disks also create micro-grooves for more "bite." A second, gentler set of disks hones; a third set polishes for even smoother cutting. With regular honing and polishing, knives generally need the additional step of sharpening just once a year.

Know How it Works
Electric sharpeners grind metal at high speed and must be handled with care. This model's slots guide the knife—first on one side, then the other—so with practice, getting the right angle is easy. The polishing disks sharpen serrated knives, too. Now if only they could make dinner....
 
 

TV Listings

Find TV Listing for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.