5 Tips on What to Look for in a Knife Sharpener

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People often think that a dull knife is much safer than a sharp knife.  The truth is, a dull knife can be much more dangerous.  This is because you have to apply more pressure when cutting with a dull knife, and there is a greater chance that it may slip.  A sharp knife cuts precisely and smoothly, leaving a clean cut without a lot of pressure.

There are two basic types of knife sharpeners – electric and manual.  Some people prefer electric because it is quicker and more convenient, but others prefer manual because you have more control during the sharpening process.  If you have a collection of knives then you might choose an electric sharpener just for convenience.  Below are some of the things you should look for when buying a knife sharpener.

Angle Guides

Sharpening at the right angle is essential when it comes to your blade cutting effectively.  Angle guides are designed so that you do not have to guess at the right angle.  Many knife sharpeners have angle guides already built in.  Angle guides ensure that you will get consistent sharpness by using the same degrees each time you sharpen. The most common angle is 20 degrees on both sides of the blade.


Look for knife sharpeners that will do everything you need to maintain your knives. These sharpeners usually have stages that range from coarse to smooth.  The first stage is mostly coarse and removes metal which forms a new edge on the blade.  The second stage straightens metal that is already on the blade without removing much more. This also realigns the blade. The third stage polishes giving your knife a mirror finish.  Some sharpeners have up to four stages to accommodate different styles of knives, such as serrated and Asian knives.


The overall performance of the knife sharpener is important.  Research ease of use, safety, and whether or not it does what the manufacturer claims it will do.   Keep in mind that when you use a manual sharpener it requires practice before you master the skill, whereas an electric sharpener will do the work for you.  Look for sharpeners that will accommodate left hand and right hand.  Some sharpeners are only designed to use with the right hand.  Be careful that you do not choose a sharpener that will over-grind your knife, and be sure to check whether the sharpener is designed for your type of knife.  All sharpeners do not work with all knives.


Electric sharpeners tend to be much more expensive than manual sharpeners, but many people like them because they are quick and convenient.  The machine does the work for you, so you do not have to be skilled at knife sharpening.  Manual sharpeners are economical but you have to have patience when using them.  Even though it may take more time to sharpen, you will be pleased with the razor-sharpness of your blade.  Also, be sure that you get a good warranty if you purchase an electric sharpener as they are more likely to break down because of the mechanical parts.


Although it may be more costly, think about buying a knife sharpening system.  It is a good investment and you will have everything you need to maintain your knives in one system.  Knife sharpening systems are designed to be durable, versatile and portable.  You can even use these systems to sharpen your other tools.

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