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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Knife Sharpener for Your Needs

January 19, 2024

In simple terms, a knife sharpener is a tool that gives back the edge and sharpness to your knives, thereby making them easier for you and even safer to use again. 

Knife sharpeners also enhance the life span and performance of your knives, hence saving you lots of money in the long run, besides a lot of unnecessary trouble. 

But as you know, not all sharpeners are made the same and selecting the right equipment to start with is the best investment for the future. 

So, where do we start? There are a lot of factors that must be considered — for instance:

  • The Type and Material of the Knives
  • Their Angle Before Sharpening – And After, if Necessary
  • How Often do They Require Sharpening 
  • And Whether a Sharpener Fits Your Requirements…

This article will assist you in understanding the diverse options and features available for knife sharpeners. We will give advice and descriptions so you can have an idea of what would suit you best from the get-go!

Types of Knife Sharpeners

The first thing you have to do before narrowing down your selection is to understand what types of sharpeners are available and which type suits your tools. 

Knife sharpeners can be classified into two main categories: 

Manual and Electric

Now, each category has its own strengths and weaknesses depending on the knives you have or their condition, how much sharpening action is needed and the desired quality of workmanship as well as the effort one wishes to put in. 

For example:

Manual Sharpeners

You need to use your hand and move the knife over the edge at the necessary pressure and angle. Manual machines tend to be less expensive, easier, and more portable when compared with electric sharpening systems. 

They will let you have more accurate and precise control over how the sharpening process is done. Nevertheless, manual sharpeners may also be more inconvenient and time-consuming than electric ones, even though they demand certain skills. 

Manual sharpeners can include items such as:

Honing Rods

Sharpening or honing rods are long and cylindrical types of tools that do not actually improve sharpness but align the edges of your knives. For everyday use and touch-ups, honing rods are perfect as they can enhance the effectiveness of cutting and prevent dullness.

Honing rods are made of steel, ceramic, or diamond and have different degrees of abrasiveness as well as hardness. 

In order to use a honing rod, you must place the rod vertically on some stabilised surface with the modern ceramic ones sliding down your knives at approximately 15-20 degrees on each side until both sides are equally aligned. 

Pull-through Sharpeners

Knife pull-through sharpeners have single or several slots containing particles of abrasive material such as diamond, carbide and ceramic, which touch and sharpen the knife while you run it through. 

Pull-through sharpeners are simple tipped gadgets that should be capable of quick But infrequent fine-edged sharpening. They can resurrect a sometimes dull edge in a matter of a few strokes. 

Depending on what knives you have and how dull they are, pull-through sharpeners can be provided with different grits of abrasiveness and angle settings to get the job done.

Pull-through sharpeners are used by placing the sharpener on a flat surface and pulling your knife through each stage at an even speed and pressure until you reach perfection.

Sharpening Stones

Sharpening stones are smooth rectangular blocks that the knife is quickly rubbed over on its surface to sharpen it. 

One of the advantages is that sharpening stones are very broad and give you an absolute level of control over how to carry out your sharpening. You can do any type or size of knife combined with being able to adjust both angles plus applying whatever pressure you feel necessary to get that blade back to life. 


Whetstones may come in the form of oilstone, waterstone, or diamond, which can be natural compositions or synthetic variants. The grit can vary from one stone to the other depending on how sharp you want your knives.

Wet a sharpening stone with water or oil, lay the knife at an angle of 10 to no more than 20 degrees, and swipe it across as you repeat this process on both sides until sharp.

Electric Sharpeners

Here, we refer to knife sharpening systems that are driven by electricity and which have abrasive wheels, discs or belts designed to grind the edge of a blade as one passes it through. 

Electric sharpeners are knife-sharpening devices that have turning discs or wheels with rough materials, including steel, ceramic, and diamond, that will help you move the knives along a rapid grinding slot. 

Typically, electric sharpeners are pricier and more complicated to use while also being less portable. However, they may also be a more convenient, quicker, and uniform procedure even if your staff have limited handling skills. 

Electric sharpeners can include items such as:

Belt Sharpeners

Belt sharpeners are electric knife sharpening devices that include flexible belts coated with abrasive materials such as ceramic, silicon carbide or aluminium oxide.

The greatest advantage of belt sharpeners is their efficiency, which makes them appropriate for high-volume as well as professional cuts, as the volume is all part of their daily grind on the job. 

Belt sharpeners may either be less or more abrasive, and the speed to use will depend on sharp you’ve decided hey ned to be. 

NOTE – Ensure all settings are set on a belt sharpener before you press the button

Then, gently move it along the belt within both sides until the edge is sharpened.

Wheel Sharpeners

Wheel sharpeners are preferable to use due to their ability to produce continuous equal sharpness in almost any type or size while maintaining a fixed angle of pressure/motor energy. 

Depending on the type and stage of your blades, wheel sharpeners can be useful due to dexterity, so offering different controlled angles to some of the other options in this article. 

To operate the wheel sharpener, you switch it on, make some settings of levers and knobs according to your needs; then you hold a knife straight up in compliance with width lengthways between sides + – one by slot segment vibrating at high-speed several times until blunt edges become sharpened.

Factors to Consider

The next stage in selecting an ideal knife sharpener to meet your particular needs involves all the factors that will influence each choice, such as the type and material of knives, their angle or position.

Before you forget there is something here for everyone but you have these factors to take into consideration:

  • Staff Levels – Novice to Experienced
  • Familiarity with a Chef’s Knife, Type of Steel and the End Product
  • Ho Many Cuts the Knife Needs to Make
  • Endurance
  • The Fit 
  • Function 
  • And, of Course, the Price…

If all those factors align, you’re in good shape. 


Knife sharpeners come in many different shapes, sizes, manual and electric.  There’s no right or wrong as there isn’t between liking iOS or Android, But when you’re considering a well oiled abattoir, slaughterhouse, commercial kitchen or butchery, you need to factor in a few areas that’ll ensure you keep your output on track and customers happy. Good luck!