Finding the Best Knife Sharpener
In the kitchen—whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook—there’s no better tool than a great knife. A sharp chef’s knife or paring knife is exactly what you need to master finicky techniques like carving a turkey or chiffonading herbs. However, even if you’re very careful with your knives and avoid these common mistakes, you’ll still need to maintain them with a good sharpening. But how do you sharpen knives easily at home? Sure, you could use a chef-grade sharpening steel, but that’s a skill that takes a lot of work to master. That’s where a countertop knife sharpener comes in! These electric devices sharpen, hone and polish your blades so you can keep slicing and dicing like a pro.
But which countertop gadget is the best? You know our Test Kitchen had to find out. We collected several brands of knife sharpeners in all price ranges—from $20 to more than $200—to see which brought our dull knives out of retirement. In addition to using these sharpeners in our Test Kitchen for several months, our staff put them head to head with these tests to find our Best Loved Brand.
- Use: How easy was the knife sharpener to use?
- Paper test: A sharp knife should be able to cleanly slice through a sheet of paper. When sharpened, was a knife able to slice a sheet in half heel to tip?
- Price: Is the product affordable? Was the performance reflected in the price?
The Best Knife Sharpener: Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Knife Sharpener
After weeks of testing, an obvious winner emerged. Chef’s Choice ($150) gained a five-star rating from our Test Kitchen staff. Find out why.
Features We Loved
- Three-stage sharpening: To get your knives looking and working great, you’ll need to do more than just sharpen them. That’s why the Chef’s Choice sharpener is so great—it sharpens, hones and polishes knives of all sizes.
- No automatic settings: It might sound counterintuitive, but this gadget’s lack of auto-sharpening settings is what made it a favorite in our Test Kitchen! Many sharpeners rely on a mechanism that goes through the three stages of sharpening on its own. Our Test Kitchen cooks know from experience (and testing other tools) that a device like that isn’t always reliable. By separating the stages, you have better control and you get a better result.
- 15-degree sharpening: Most gadgets sharpen blades to 20-degree edges. This is pretty sharp, but Chef’s Choice takes this bevel to the next level with a 15-degree edge facet. This is a pretty technical spec, but it means your blades are that much sharper.
How It Performed
When it came to sharpening dull knives, Chef’s Choice wowed our Test Kitchen staff. The easy, three-step process mad quick work of sharpening chef’s knives, paring knives and cleavers. After going through this simple course of sharpening, each knife sliced easily through a slice of paper—the mark of a truly sharp knife.
Of course, a reliable knife sharpener does come at a cost. This model sells for about $200, though it will serve you for a long time—just ask our Test Kitchen. Staffers will tell you that this established brand is built to last.
We Also Recommend…
While the Chef’s Choice knife sharpener got great marks, two other brands we tested also deserve a nod:
- Chefman Electric Knife Sharpener ($25, left): Simply put, this Chefman model gets the job done and the price is unbeatable. But we weren’t fans of one design feature: The cord is positioned in the center, so our knives nearly hit it with every pass, making us nervous.
- WorkSharp Culinary Model E5 Knife Sharpener ($200, right): If you want bells and whistles, take a look at this knife sharpener, which even comes with a ceramic honing rod. The WorkSharp runs pretty quietly, but its sharpening belts seemed a little flimsy for the steep price.
How to Put Sharp Knives to Work
Truth be told, a set of sharp knives may not make your food taste better. What it will do is make your favorite recipes so much easier (and safer!) to prepare. Practice your own knife skills with one our fan-favorite recipe: Mama’s Potato Salad. A razor-sharp knife will help you cut up those wobbly potatoes, pierce through tricky hard-boiled eggs and dice onions in a cinch.
Ready for more? Grab your cutting board and get preppin’ with these 5-ingredient salad recipes that come together super quick!
About Best Loved Brands
If you’re like us, you want all your favorite recipes to turn out fabulous every single time you make them. That means opting for the best tasting ingredients and the best tools. While picking your favorite brand of chocolate chips or bacon is a task, it’s a delicious one to be relished. Choosing the best gadgets and gear for your kitchen, though, is another story. Unless you buy several stand mixers or food processors and put them through their paces, how can you ever know which will make your recipes turn out their best? That’s where our Test Kitchen comes in. Our culinary experts tried dozens of products our Test Kitchen—testing your recipes—to find out which brands came out on top.