Best electric knife sharpener reviews 2018
Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV Professional Electric Knife SharpenerPrecision for the discerning chef
This knife sharpener has high-quality diamond abrasives and precise sharpening angles that pro chefs need for the perfect cut. It’s a no-frills gadget that does what it promises perfectly.
Chef’s Choice 15 Review
Chef’s Choice is back at it with the highly-touted 15 Trizor XV, which is an undeniably quality machine capable of tackling most any knife without flinching. It requires the right technique for the best results, so knife aficionados will likely be the most satisfied with this machine.
Its claim to fame is the ability to sharpen 20-degree knives (like American and European ones) to the razor-sharp, insanely precise standard of 15-degree Asian knives without losing much strength in the process.
The Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor has three efficient, effective stages—the first is for converting from a 20-degree to a 15-degree angle, the second for refinement, and the third for achieving that crucial professional smoothness.
The wheels are made with high-quality diamond abrasives and, as the icing on the (very precisely cut) cake, this Chef’s Choice model employs useful spring guides that help you get just the right angle for each knife without guesswork.
While it doesn’t pack an endless list of bonus features, those who know knives know that those don’t matter. What matters is a razor-sharp finish, the ability to handle high-quality knives, and a machine that makes quick work of your blades—and the Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor does it all, earning it the title of best electric knife sharpener.
- The 15-degree sharpening produces knives that are easy to handle and sharp.
- Do everything from a second-long touchup to a full restructuring with three stages.
- The disks are long-lasting and high-quality, but are also replaceable when the time comes.
- It works on serrated, straight, Asian, and European knives to the same high standard.
- It isn’t the prettiest, so some people may want to tuck it away when it’s not in use.
Chef’s Choice 120 Diamond Hone Knife SharpenerSingle angle, multi-stage
It only offers a 20-degree sharpening angle, but it’s great at what it does: after three stages, your knife will be gleaming and ready to slice through your ingredients with ease.
Chef's Choice 120 Review
Chef’s Choice is the name in electric knife sharpeners these days, and it’s pretty easy to see why. The space-conscious Chef’s Choice 120 does a phenomenal job of sharpening knives to a high standard.
Its three-stage sharpening system is more than sufficient for the casual to mid-level knife user—in fact, it’s far above par for the price. The first stage takes a bit of patience the first time you sharpen, but that’s the case with most sharpeners. After the first use, it will take you just moments to “brush up” a knife—far more efficient than a wet stone or other sharpening tool.
Its sharpening wheels are coated in an all-diamond grit, giving you the firmness and precision you need for high-quality results. It’s also a great first choice for beginners with room to grow and experiment—stage 1 is for super-rough edges, stage 2 for touch-ups and a cleaner cut, and stage 3 for that shiny finishing touch.
The Chef’s Choice is also small enough to leave out on the counter or put in storage, and “jazzy” enough not to ruin your kitchen décor. Plus, it can even sharpen serrated knives—although it’s recommended to have a backup method for those, as it may wear them out quicker than manual sharpening.
Overall, this is a high-quality electric knife sharpener that does what it says it will and will satisfy novices and experienced chefs alike, making it a great all-around value knife sharpener.
- The diamond abrasives provide faster, higher-quality sharpening.
- Stropping and polishing steps create a sharper, cleaner edge.
- It works well on standard kitchen knives, outdoor knives, and serrated edges.
- The knife sharpener can handle a wide variety of edge types.
- The angle isn’t adjustable (it’s 20 degrees), which may feel limiting to some.
Chef’s Choice 290 Diamond Hone Knife SharpenerBetter value for experienced sharpeners
This sharpener offers two sharpening angles for all your straight-edged knives, but it requires manual sharpening know-how.
Chef’s Choice 290 Review
Another “diamond” in the rough from the Chef’s Choice company is the Chef’s Choice 290 Hybrid AngleSelect. It may be a little rougher on the eyes than the best-value electric knife sharpener, but it won’t be any rougher on your knives.
The AngleSelect is just as or more versatile than the 120, with the bonus ability to switch between 15-degree and 20-degree angles. This means—you guessed it—it does just as good a job on Japanese knives as it does on European and American ones.
Like the Chef’s Choice 120, it’s also got diamond abrasives in all three sharpening stages and a helpful polishing step in the final stage. It seems to sharpen kitchen knives and outdoor knives to the same high standard with little to no scuffing.
Why the second-place spot, then? Good question. As its name suggests, the Chef’s Choice 290 is a hybrid unit; that means that stages one and two offer the automatic convenience most people are looking for, but the third stage is manual. This is great for those who crave customization but not so good for the hands-off user, which means its market is a little limited.
Still, the Chef’s Choice 290 does a stellar sharpening job at an impressive price point with a high level of customization available, so it’s one of the top electric knife sharpeners available.
- The 15- and 20-degree angle options are helpful for those with many knives.
- It produces a burr-free edge for greater precision.
- The sharpening disks are undeniably high-quality—and fast.
- Three stages make it easy to get just the right edge on every knife.
- The hybrid design could require more effort than some users would like.
Presto 08810 Professional Electric Knife SharpenerA great entry-level option
The Presto has many customization options, including multiple stages and angles, but its results are a little rougher than other models.
Presto 08810 Review
Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you don’t need sharp knives. The Presto 08810 sharpens knives to a high standard at an extremely low price point.
It has three sharpening stages (although you likely won’t want to use the first one unless you have a totally dull knife—it takes off a lot of your blade). It’s utterly unclear what the wheel abrasives are made out of—which is important to some—but they work well and sharpen with little to no scuffing. The final stage does a satisfactory job of honing, too.
Its true selling point, though, is the fact that it offers adjustable angles—three, to be precise. Of course, it would be helpful to pro chefs to know what the degree measurements are (they’re not listed), but the lowest angle is sufficient for fillet knives, the middle angle for steak or carving knives, and the highest for large implements like cleavers. It’s capable of sharpening everything from serrated to European and Japanese knives because of this very feature.
If you’re a professional chef or if having these few missing details is important to you, the Presto may feel like a risk. Still, for most home kitchen uses, the Presto is fool-proof to use and gets the job done well.
- Adjustable angles are a huge boon for people with a large knife collection.
- The Presto has three stages.
- It can be used on outdoor knives, kitchen knives, and a variety of knife designs.
- The sharpening wheels may not last as long as higher-end ones.
2. Why buy an electric knife sharpener?
The mechanics of electric knife sharpeners are pretty straightforward—they do the manual sharpening work of water stones or handheld sharpeners with far less labor and expertise required on your part.
They are an excellent option for home chefs and outdoorsmen who don’t need total customization and control in their sharpening (but still need consistently high-quality results).
Unlike manual devices, electric knife sharpeners have:
- A much quicker sharpening time: Higher-end models can have your knife gleaming in seconds.
- A more hands-off approach: You need less knowledge about angles and other technical aspects of knives to operate them.
- Guides: Many electric knife sharpeners offer pre-set angle guides so you can choose the right cut for your knife.
- Greater safety: It is far more difficult to cut yourself on an electric knife sharpener.
Of course, not all electric knife sharpeners are created equal. Before you buy, brush up on differences in performance, abrasives, angles, and other sharpening basics.
3. Are your knives serrated or straight?
This is one of the easiest ways to knock a few electric knife sharpeners off the list. Many sharpeners can actually ruin your serrated knives. Make sure to choose one that specifically advertises the ability to sharpen serrated knives if you have both serrated and straight blades in your repertoire.
4. Electric knife sharpener blade angles
Your knife’s angle is the angle at which each side of the edge of the blade is sharpened. Kitchen knives are typically sharpened to 15 or 20 degrees per side (and these are usually the options you’ll find in electric knife sharpeners); meanwhile, knives that need to be stronger than they are sharp (such as some outdoor knives) usually measure in at 26 degrees or more.
Knife style matters
Asian-style knives are better-suited to 15-degree angles and European or American styles to 20-degree angles, so make an honest assessment of your collection before taking the plunge on a sharpener.
Angle, sharpness, and strength
Remember that the greater the angle, the stronger but duller the blade will be. So a 15-degree knife is sharper but weaker than a 20-degree knife. Use the general measurements below to give you an idea of the angles you’ll need.
- 17 degrees or less: These are precision-oriented kitchen knives, such as paring knives.
- 18-25 degrees: These are your standard kitchen knives. Think carving knives and chef’s knives that you use for cutting things like meat and veggies. They offer a balance of sharpness and strength.
- 26-30 degrees: These won’t fit the bill in the kitchen, but their strength is ideal for hunting and outdoor use.
5. Single-angle vs. multi-angle knife sharpeners
In addition to offering different angles, electric knife sharpeners also offer different numbers of angles.
Single-angle knife sharpeners
Electric knife sharpeners are primarily geared toward standard kitchen knives and, as such, often offer only one of two angles (15 or 20).
Multi-angle knife sharpeners
However, many have built-in angle guides for a variety of knife types, which allows for easy customization. These options typically range from 15 to 25 degrees.
Which is right for you?
If you need greater versatility, opt for one of these “adjustable” electric knife sharpeners; but, if standard suits your uses fine and you won’t notice the difference in angles, a 15- or 20-degree sharpener will still produce excellent results—and often comes with a lower cost.
6. Best knife sharpener materials
There are two primary knife-sharpening materials.
- Diamond is the hardest surface known to man, and its abrasiveness is also ideal for knife sharpening. This is the fastest option when it comes to sharpening. Don’t worry, these knife sharpeners don’t cost thousands—it’s the polished, cut stones you see in jewelry that are the expensive ones.
- Tungsten carbide is a middle-of-the-road option in terms of hardness and speed. If you’re not a discerning sharpener, you may be able to save a few dollars with this functional and capable material. However, it’s rare to find tungsten carbide alone in an electric model: It’s usually combined with something like diamond.
The bottom line? If you’re a discerning chef or even a serious survivalist, it’s worth the very slight splurge on a diamond knife sharpener. However, if you just need something to sharpen, period, you may be able to save a few dollars by going with one of the more modest options.
7. Electric knife sharpener stages
Knife sharpeners come with 1 to 4 stages, or levels of sharpening, with one being the coarsest and 3 or 4 being the finest (and most precise).
When to buy a 1-stage sharpener
Be careful: Although one-stage sharpeners will be cheaper (and you should usually pass over them if they’re not), they typically only provide a coarse treatment. That means they remove a lot of metal and don’t allow for any customization of your “cut”.
However, if you work with less expensive knives, only sharpen your blades when they’re totally dull, or only need something for outdoor slicers, a one-stage sharpener will suit you just fine. Just don’t expect that nice, shiny finish provided by a 3- or 4-stage sharpener.
When to buy a 2-stage sharpener
These models will provide you with a “coarse” and a “fine” setting suitable for most kitchen-knife users. You won’t be able to finely hone your sharpening session for each knife, but you will have some control over how much metal you take off and how precise the end result is.
Plus, you can use the finer option for a quick “polish” and the courser option for more thorough sharpening.
When to buy a 3- or 4-stage sharpener
These are useful for anyone, but novices should be prepared for a learning curve as they hone their skills—and everyone should be prepared for a slightly higher price tag.
These more versatile options are the only real options for professional or serious chefs and knife enthusiasts. They’re also the only options that allow you full customization of the sharpness of your various blades. Additionally, you can do a seconds-long touch-up on sharpness before chopping up dinner ingredients as easily as you can dive in to a multi-stage sharpening of a totally dull specialty blade.
If versatility is your game, splurge on a 3- or 4-stage sharpener.
8. Additional features
Electric knife sharpeners are pretty simple machines by design—they do only have one job, after all. But many come with a few icing-on-the-cake features that really take them to the next level.
- Stropping: If you’re looking at a 3- or 4-stage sharpener, you may notice that it boasts a “stropping” feature on the final stage. All this really means is polishing your blade and refining your edge after micro-abrasions and tiny grooves are created during the sharpening process. This provides a more professional and precise end result.
- Deburring: This feature is usually built in to the final stage of a 3- or 4-stage sharpener. Burrs are inconsistencies in your knife’s edge created by the sharpening process, and you really don’t want them to stay put if precision and consistency are what you’re after!
- Hybrid design: Some may like this design, while others will detest it. Either way, this is another multi-stage-only option that has 2-3 electric (read: automatic) stages and 1-2 manual stages (meaning the machine won’t do the work for you) that allow you to customize the finishing process. This can save the discerning chef a few dollars and definitely provides a bit more of a hands-on feel. Plus, you don’t have to turn on a potentially loud machine just for a few polishing strokes.
- Spring guides or spring systems: These adjust the angle at which the knife is held in the sharpening slot to its individual size, so there’s less risk of botched guesswork or your own movement leading to a less-than-ideal edge.
9. Buying tips
Now that you understand the many different features of knife sharpeners (and, for some, what is considered the art of knife sharpening), we come to the crucial question: Which one will fulfill your needs without breaking your budget? Whether you’re looking for simple and bottom-dollar, mid-range and versatile, or a top-notch all-in-one tool, this checklist has you covered.
Crucial features for a good budget knife sharpener
- It’s recommended to step up to a 2-stage sharpener for all kitchen uses.
- Single-angle sharpeners are more than sufficient for most cooks.
- Go for a non-diamond sharpener if it can save you a few bucks.
Great features in a quality, mid-range electric sharpener
- Splurge on a 3-stage sharpener to cover all your cutting needs.
- Look for tungsten, diamond, or combo sharpeners to get the most bang for your buck.
- Prioritize finding a sharpener that can also handle serrated knives.
High-end features for a professional electric knife sharpener
- Look for at least 3 stages and preferably 4 for ultimate versatility.
- Diamond is a must-have for that precise, polished end result.
- Adjustable angles will help you customize the cut to the knife.
- Stropping and deburring features help you achieve ultimate perfection in a knife.