Knife Sharpener Reviews – Top 5 Recommendations

As knife and blade enthusiasts, we care for our tools and value the sharpeners that help us maintain them. The tools that keep our blades sharp and healthy are almost as important as the blades themselves. We’ll make this very clear from the beginning: there is no single tool for all your sharpening needs. Sharpeners and their uses are just as varied as all the different types of knives. Likewise, there are great generalist sharpeners as well as sharpeners for specific tasks (and environments). We’ve gathered a number of our favorite sharpeners; only the best from each category.

 

Edge Pro Apex 4 Knife Sharpener

The Edge Pro Apex 4 Knife Sharpener is not a singular tool or sharpener; it’s better described as a “knife sharpening system”. While this product might share similarities with other sharpeners in its choice in sharpening stone material, the Edge Pro Apex 4 Knife Sharpener is a comprehensive and complete tool. It features swappable and replaceable water stones of multiple grits (120, 220, 400, 600, and 1000 grits). There are two polishing tapes (2000 and 3000 grits) to finish quality blades like chef knives. The mounting mechanism allows for the user to adjust the sharpening angles. While this sounds complicated, the product comes with instructional material and a DVD to guide you through the process. We found these materials sufficient to ease the tool’s learning curve. This product is manufactured in the US with materials sourced domestically.

 

Key Features:

  • Closest you can get to an “all around sharpening tool”
  • Variable water stone grit levels  
  • Adjustable sharpening angles with premarked settings

 

We prefer this sharpening system over most others for its ease of use and complete design. This tool definitely has a place in our tool sheds with the rest of our appliances. While this is a manual sharpening system, we felt completely control of all the different variables (grit levels, angle, and how much metal we were removing). It’s important to note that while electric systems might be faster and less intimidating, manual sharpeners generally remove less material from your blades, lengthening their lifespans.

 

Matching the Tool to the User:

We recommend the Edge Pro Apex 4 Knife Sharpener to those that have a multitude of knives that need sharpening. From chef knives to survival knives, this sharpening system will allow you to efficiently give your blades a consistent edge. This is the tool we turn to when we have multiple knives to sharpen at once. Where the Edge Pro Apex 4 Knife Sharpener struggles is with larger knives. It is possible to sharpen 9+ inch  knives with patience and practice, but there is a learning curve. Flimsy and flexible knives like fillet knives are a bit tricky to work with as well.

 

Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV Edgeselect Electric Knife Sharpener, Brushed Metal

The Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV Edgeselect Electric Knife Sharpener is an electric knife sharpening system with three stages. The sharpener is set to 15 degrees, a steeper and sharper edge than most traditional European or American chef knives. The preset 15 degrees is closer to Japanese style knives, though the sharpener gives knives a “triple-bevel” edge  instead of the normal “V” shaped edge. The sharpener uses diamond abrasives on conical disks to create the arch shaped edge. Keep in mind that this tool will only sharpen to 15 degrees, any knife that is used with this tool will be converted to a 15 degree edge. This tools is capable of working through carbon steel, though it may take longer.

 

Key Features:

  • Three step sharpening tool
  • Electric sharpening system
  • Can convert knives to a sharper 15 degree edge

 

This sharpening system is for those that don’t want to fuss over sharpening their knives or dealing with different settings. While we found this most useful for chef knives and other kitchen knives, we found that the tool was capable of putting a sharp edge on hunting knives, as long as they fit in the grooves. We don’t really recommend putting an edge this sharp (and potentially brittle) on a survival knife. Remember to sharpen to your uses!

 

Matching the Tool to the User:

This tool is mainly aimed at chefs and their kitchen tools. The Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV Edgeselect is more than capable of putting a wicked sharp edge on the rest of your blades, but the 15 degree angle isn’t universal to all blades. However, we had no problem setting our pocket knives to the “triple bevel” 15 degree edge. If you’re a professional cook or a cooking enthusiast at home, this is a reliable tool for your kitchen countertop.

 

Shun 300/1000 Combination Whetstone

The Shun 300/1000 Combination Whetstone is a dual-sided sharpening stone. As its name suggests, it is a whetstone, or water stone. This is a standalone stone measuring at 6 inches x 3.2 inches x 1.8 inches  with a stabilizing holster, meaning sharpening will be done completely manually. It comes in two grits, the coarser 300 grit on the orange side and the finer 1000 grit on the blue side. Shun is a trusted Japanese knife manufacturer; it’s only appropriate that we trust and find the same excellence in their whetstone products. Whetstones are generally gentler on a blade, allowing the user to carefully remove material from a blade in procedural and gradual steps. Whetstones are considered the most common sharpening tool among experienced chefs and seasoned knife owners. The sharpening stone is suitable for almost all metals. Extended use, however, will require you to maintain the stone’s flat edge.

 

Key Features:

  • 300 and 1000 grits serve most reshaping and polishing needs; finer edges may require higher grits
  • Stabilizing platform holds the stone in place
  • Great value sharpener for confident knife owners

 

We keep this whetstone in our workshop cabinets and kitchen drawers. The 300 grit setting is coarse enough to really grind away at a dull knife. The 1000 grit really lets us finish the edge and give our blades a light polish. For high quality chef knives, we have separate whetstones reaching up to the 4000 grit level, but most knives won’t be able to hold that edge. Whetstones are brittle and can break if dropped; we leave this stone at home.

 

Matching the Tool to the User:

Sharpening with a whetstone takes practice. For serious knife enthusiasts like us, sharpening our knives is an enjoyable hobby in itself. It is a rewarding experience learning how to manually adjust your technique to reach certain angles. We prefer the manual control a simple sharpening stone provides us and the personal imprint we leave on our blades. You only have yourself to blame if your knife comes out less than satisfactory. If you are comfortable with that responsibility and find excitement in that, consider this tool.

 

DMT WM8EF-WB 8-Inch DuoSharp Plus Bench Stone – Extra Fine/Fine With Base

The DMT WM8EF-WB 8-Inch DuoSharp Plus Bench Stone is another sharpening stone, though this one uses a monocrystalline diamond surface as opposed to the whetstone. Sharpening is done dry or with water, no oil is used when sharpening with this product. It comes in two settings (600 and 1200 grit) and a stabilizing base. Keep in mind that diamond sharpening tools are generally more abrasive than whetstones and will remove more metal. Because water is optional, this tool is cleaner to use and leaves less of a mess. This will sharpen kitchen knives and work blades. The sharpening surfaces are much thinner and flatter than a whetstone. While the base suggests you leave it in your workshop, we are much more comfortable traveling with this than we are with whetstones.

 

  • 600 grit and 1200 grit surfaces fit for most uses
  • Cleaner to use than whetstone
  • Flatter, more durable sharpening material

 

The DMT WM8EF-WB sharpening stone is a very capable tool. Much like the Shun whetstone, we enjoy the manual control this tool offers. It requires less setup overall than whetstones (no water soaking necessary). This is the tool we use when we need to quickly sharpen our tools. It takes less time overall as each stroke pulls more material from the blade.

 

Matching the Tool to the User:

Many of knife enthusiasts prefer diamond sharpening surfaces over whetstones because of their speed and cleanliness. Seasoned knife owners understand that diamond sharpening surfaces are a reliable tool as long as the user has worked through the learning curve. We tend to use this for work blades like our machetes rather than a whetstone. Blades that take a beating can handle the diamond sharpening surface. Delicate tools like kitchen knives require the more gradual finesse provided by whetstones.

 

Smith’s DCS4 4-Inch FINE & COARSE Diamond Combo Sharpening Stones

The Smith’s DCS4 4-Inch FINE & COARSE Diamond Combo Sharpening Stones, compared to the rest of the sharpeners, is a completely different tool. This sharpener is meant for the field, not necessarily for home uses. We understand that many of our readers require a tool for on-the-go sharpening. The Smith’s DSC4 is compact in design, its handle is removable and sheaths the sharpening surface when not in use. There is a small loop at the end of the handle. The diamond sharpening surface comes in a coarse (325 grit) and fine (750 grit) setting.

 

Key Features:

  • Compact design, handle is removable and sheaths the sharpening surface
  • Rubber grip handle with thumb guard, dual sharpening surface (325 and 750 grits)
  • Comes with a sharpening groove for pointed tools

 

We keep this tool with us when we go camping or bushcrafting. You never know when you might need to hone down a blade’s nicked edge in the middle of the woods. The design is smart and reliable, there isn’t much to say other than the tool just works.

Can you get away with just this tool? Short answer: Yes. Long answer: We don’t suggest it. This is a very capable field tool, but you’ll be giving yourself a headache if you need to sharpen all your knives on the small 4 inch surface.

 

Matching the Tool to the User:

Anyone that brings a blade with them for extended wilderness trips should consider buying one. It’s an affordable and compact tool meant for emergency uses. Remember, a dull knife is more dangerous to use than a sharp knife. Dull knives require more force to operate; a small error using extreme force can be catastrophic.

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