Finding the Best Electric Knife Sharpener
updated: May 10, 2016 — Are you looking for the best electric sharpener on the market? Then you are in the right place!
Electric knife sharpeners have the advantage of speed due to the automation of the grinding, usually 1 to 2 minutes from start to finish. If the blade just needs a touch up, then the process may only take under 30 seconds!
Scroll down to see the electric sharpener ratings as judged by real users and subjective input that considers pricing, value, and durability under real usage.
Electric sharpeners are fast. Period.
FACT: All blades will dull over time.
This is one of the reasons that electric models are ideal for kitchen cutlery applications, even gourmet cutlery made with very high quality metal.
They are very simple to use once you get down the basics, and understand your particular model. Let’s get one thing straight – if you’re on the fence about whether or not you need a sharpener, then here is a fact you may need to consider. All knives, even blades of the finest steel, will dull over time. Better steel will stay sharp longer but it will still dull over time.
In fact, the factory sharpness will be gone within a several days or a couple weeks of regular use. Not to worry though – nearly all sharpeners can get your blades better than the factory edge.
Let’s get into the details with a quick reference table… This table contains a list of the top 5 best electric knife sharpeners as reviewed by actual users, with consideration to the features, durability, cost, and reviews by real users.
*The cost listed below is my own and it's a relative rating compared to the other sharpeners.
Click here to learn about the Best Knife Sharpener.
How Many Stages?
Most sharpeners have more than one “stage.” Each stage allows you to sharpen the knife just enough, but not too much. So if you just need a quick touch up before you slice an onion or tomato, then you may be able to use stage 3 to finely hone the edge.
Most of the models come with two stages, coarse and fine, while the best models have three or more stages. The three to four stage models typically allow the user to sharpen very dull blades more quickly or enable the blades to be honed very finely.
Be careful about models with only 1 stage since they typically are fairly coarse and remove more metal than necessary and shorten the life of your knives. They aren’t bad or anything but you should be aware of the limitations. If you need to sharpen blades out in the garage (like pocket or utility knives), then a one stage model may be the ticket.
Most basic, economy models have composite sharpening stones and most models currently do have diamond based abrasive stones.
It is typical to have a very fine or straightening stage made of tungsten carbide which serves the purpose of steeling the blade – that is to say the microscopic cutting edge is realigned and straightened.
What is the best kitchen knife sharpener?
This should be a subjective choice since each person’s needs will be a little different depending on their knives, interest in knives, interest in sharpening those knives, available budget for sharpening, and probably a couple other matters that are specific for each kitchen chef.
And I think you know that I think an electric model is the way to go, mainly due to the speed of sharpening.
What about serrated knives?
Some models can sharpen serrated knives but the economy models usually will not so be sure you check the manufacturers documentation. Generally, you can touch up your serrated knives with great success by using to last or finest stage of an electric sharpener. To really sharpen each serration then you normally need a round tapered sharpening rod, or you need a manual sharpening kit (like the Gatco 10005 or 10006).
One of the other advantages of electric sharpeners is that the angles are non-variable or fixed, providing a consistent and precise angle.
Most electric sharpeners of high quality have a 20º or 15º sharpening angle, with a total of 40º or 30º inclusive. The 15º angle is designed for Japanese style knives while the 20º angle is for European style knives. Lower quality sharpener manufacturers may not specify the sharpening angle. (Have a Japanese Knife? Check out the best electric models for Asian-style knives.) See my review on a great 15º sharpener.
Some models actually have a variable angle which you can adjust, but they stay put so you can sharpen for a session at the given angle. Now, these models are more rare and harder to come by, but here is one: Smith’s 50281 Adjustable Edge Pro Electric Knife Sharpener.
The big advantage is you can sharpen your hunting knife, then your Japanese Sushi knife, and then your Wusthof Chef’s knife – all at the proper angle.
Most models have one angle and it is commonly 20º. A few specialty models are just for a specific kind of knife or brand of knife:
- Wusthof 3 Stage Electric Knife Sharpener sharpens to 14º for the PTEC line of products.
- Chef’s Choice 316 Diamond Sharpener for Asian Knives sharpens to 15º to match most Asian made knives.
- Chef’sChoice 15 Trizor XV EdgeSelect goes down to 15º as well.
The Top 5 Ratings
In depth electric knife sharpeners comparison table
|Chef's Choice M120||Wusthof 3 Stage||Chef's Choice M320||Chef's Choice M220||Presto 08800|
|Chef's Choice M120||Wusthof 3 Stage||Chef's Choice M320||Chef's Choice M220||Presto 08800|
|Picture||Click here||Click here||Click here||Click here||Click here|
|Coarse Stage for Very Dull Knives||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|Polishing/Very Fine Stage||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Sharpens Gourmet Kitchen Cutlery||Y||Yes, designed for the Wusthof PEtec Edge||Y||Y||Y|
|Sharpens Hunting, Tactical, and Pocket Knives||Y||Yes, but the result is a very sharp blade with a 14º angle||Y||Y||Y|
|Sharpens Serrated Knives||Y||Y||Y||Y||N|
|Warranty||3 Yr||3 Yr||3 Yr||1 Yr||2 Yr|
|Colors Available||Red, Brushed Metallic, Metal, Platinum, Silver/Chrome||Charcoal||White||White with Brushed Stainless||Gray with Black|
|Size||12 x 6.2 x 6.2 inches||10 X 4.25 X 4.25-inches||10.6 x 6.4 x 6.3 inches||7.3 x 3.2 x 4 inches||9.9 x 7.2 x 4.8 inches|
|Weight||4.7 lbs||4.8 lbs||1.2 lbs||4.8 lbs||3 lbs|
|Assembled in USA||Y||Y||Y||Y||N|
The Electric Knife Sharpener Review
Chef’s Choice 120 Diamond Hone 3-Stage Professional Sharpener (Best Home Knife Sharpener)
Click the image below to see the M120 an Amazon…
- Three stages for high precision.
- 100% Diamond abrasives in the first 2 stages – that is for fast sharpening speed.
- Stage three is a honing stage with a combination purpose of stropping.
- Stage 3 is also a polishing stage too.
- It can sharpen your serrated knives.
- Chef’s Choice states that this is an all purpose sharpener that will work well for the kitchen, garage, and even utility-type knives.
- Use Stage 2 for most of your normal sharpening.
- Stage 3 is for very dull knives.
Wusthof 3 Stage Electric Sharpener
Click the image below to see the Wusthof Amazon…
- Made by Chef’s Choice to the specs of the World Renowned Wusthof makers.
- 3 stages to meet all your sharpening needs without sacrificing the longevity of your knives.
- It sharpens down to 14º – PEtec angle to match the Wusthof Premium line.
- Contemporary design with gray and silver housing.
- Stage 1 is for dull knives that need a good sharpening session. It is made with 100% diamond abrasives.
- Stage 1 creates a new edge, normally sharper than most factory edges.
- Stage 2 is also has diamond abrasives but refines the edge and smoothes it out. It prepares the blade for honing and polishing.
- It may be too sharp of an angle if you have a lot of hunting, camping, or pocket knives. (Learn more about hunting sharpeners and field sharpeners here. opens in a new window.)
Chef’s Choice 320 Diamond Hone Sharpener
Click the image below to see the M320 on Amazon…
- 2 Stages so there is less of an ability to sharpen very dull knives. You can still do it but it will take longer even with the diamond abrasives.
- The honing stage is 100% diamond.
- The M320 is capable of doing the job in the kitchen, and you can sharpen your sporting blades and pocket knives.
- The angle is slightly larger in Stage 2 than Stage 1 and that provides a compound angle. It is more durable and a compound angle will stay sharper longer.
- You can use stage 2 to sharpen serrated knives.
- Sharpens to 20º which is great from kitchen and sporting blades.
- This is a more economic choice and still delivers 90% of more expensive models.
Chef’s Choice 220
Click the image below to see the M220 on Amazon…
- This is a 2 Stage model with a unique design from Chef’s Choice.
- The M220 is a Hybrid model meaning it has an electric motor in Stage 1 to shape the blade. Stage 2 is manual.
- The 2nd Stage has a single slot with a proprietary criss-cross design. It is innovative and speeds up the sharpening process.
- The angle is fixed at 20º so that is a good compromise for an all-purpose sharpener.
- The 2nd Stage is manual – with pull-through functionality.
- This is a great economic value.
Presto 08800 EverSharp Electric Knife Sharpener
Click the image below to see the Presto an Amazon…
- 2 Stages provide fast sharpening sessions.
- The 1st stage shapes the precision angle.
- The 2nd and final stage hones and polishes. It is a much finer grit, i.e. less coarseness, so it is perfect for finishing up your blade.
- The angle is about 20º which is a good compromise between angle options.
- The 20º angle can service the kitchen knives that you have, as well as your pocket knives.
- If you have a lot of Asian and Asian-style knives, then you should consider a different sharpener since you need a 15º angle for most of those. check out the Wusthof listed above if you need to sharpen Asian-style knives.
Well, like all good questions, the answer is, “It depends.” You need to think about your needs and what knives you need to sharpen. You also need to think about your budget.
On a budget…(and few Asian-style Knives)
If you have a limited budget and don’t have any Asian knives, then I would go for the Presto 08800 EverSharp (get the latest pricing info). You can usually find it for under $30, and if you read some of the reviews that are out there you can see that almost everyone is very happy with it.
On a budget…(and many Asian-style Knives)
Chef’s Choice 316 Diamond Sharpener (for Asian knives – Click here for the latest pricing) for Asian Knives. I have a lot of Asian-style knives so this is pretty important to me. And, I have a couple German knives that I sharpen to a 15º angle because I like sharp things! So, if you need an economic choice for your Asian-style knives, then check out the Chef’s Choice 316 Diamond Sharpener for Asian Knives. You can normally get it for about $80 or less, and it does a perfect job on a 15º angle.
Best Value Knife Sharpener: Premium Electric Sharpener Under $150
This is the price point to get premium features, and three stages. The three stages give you more versatility in what you can sharpen. The Chef’s Choice 120 Diamond Hone will take care of basically all of your blades. It sharpens to a compound angle so you get the durability of a 20º and the sharpness of a 15º angle. You can use the 3rd stage for touching up your serrated bread knives, or for a quick honing session before you julienne carrots.
Overview of Best Electric Knife Sharpener for Japanese Knives
Anyone who has used both Japanese and western style cutlery will tell you that these types of knives each have a different character and feel. The edge of western style blades are sharpened at a 20º angle, while its Japanese style counterparts are sharpened to 15º. Learn more about knife angles here.
The electric models will sharpen in about 90 seconds if you start with a dull blade
The upshot of the smaller angle is that the edge is noticeably sharper than that of a western knife, making it ideal for slicing. The tradeoff is that Japanese style knives need to be sharpened more frequently than the western variety.
See my review on a great 15º sharpener.
If you have a Japanese style knife set and are in the market for a sharpener, it is critical to understand the distinction between the different angles.
Chef's Choice M1520 Chef's Choice Trizor Wusthof 3 Stage Shun Electric Knife Chef's Choice M1520 Chef's Choice Trizor Wusthof 3 Stage Shun Electric Knife Picture Click here Click here Click here Click here Coarse Stage for Very Dull Knives Y N Y N Diamond Plates/Stones Diamond Diamond Diamond Stone Polishing/Very Fine Stage Y Y Y N Sharpens Gourmet Kitchen Cutlery Y Y Yes, designed for the Wusthof PEtec Edge Y Sharpens Hunting, Tactical, and Pocket Knives Y Y Yes, but the result is a very sharp blade with a 14º angle N Warranty 3 Yr 3 Yr 3 Yr 1 Yr Assembled in USA Y Y Y Y See MORE Click here Click here Click here Click here
Here, we’ll look at the important features to look for in an electric knife sharpener that will keep your Japanese blades in peak condition.
Choosing Electric Model for Japanese Cutlery
There are hundreds of different electric knife sharpeners (Here are the 5 best) on the market today. Choosing which one is the best for your Japanese knives can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
Let’s take a quick look at the essential features of a high quality electric knife sharpener.
- Easy to use. No one wants to make knife sharpening a hassle. You also need to be able to sharpen your premium knives without fear of scratching them.
- It needs to be a 15º angle for a Japanese style knife. (Shun’s are normally 16º and the Wusthof PEtec are 14º…Yep, Wusthof is German but they have sharp blades!)
- It is best to have 2 or more stages, 3 is best. (One stage is okay for the Shun because it is solely focused on Shun knives.)
- Fast sharpening action. Most of the modern sharpeners work very fast compared to sharpen belts of yester-year…
- Durability – No surprise here. You don’t want to spend $100 only to have your sharpen break.
The Best Asian Knife Sharpener
The original knife sharpeners were flat stones that acted as an abrasive scraping away small amounts of metal to restore the sharpness of the knife’s cutting edge.
These sharpening stones were made of different material so that the surfaces of each stone had a different level roughness which is known as grit.
The person sharpening the blade would scrape the knife across the sharpening stones, starting with a coarse grit stone and progressing to a fine grit stone.
The finest grit stage, known as stropping, was typically accomplished using a leather strip, called a strop, rubbed with a light abrasive such as chromium oxide or a fine diamond paste.
It was the job of the person sharpening the knife to ensure that the knife was held at the proper angle and that all of the stones and the strop were well maintained.
Electric Sharpeners to the Rescue – They are FAST!
The electric models will sharpen in about 90 seconds if you start with a dull blade. If you have a blade that just needs to be touched up before you slice up a sushi roll, it will only take 10-15 seconds.
The electric knife sharpener operates on the same principles as the old sharpening method above. Your electric knife sharpener should have multiple sharpening stages, progressing from a coarse grit to a fine one.
Not only is a quick and effect way to sharpen the main cutting edge of your knife, it also creates a beveled edge since the angle changes with each stage.
Typical abrasive materials include ceramic, diamond, steel, and tungsten carbide.
Sharpeners like the Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV EdgeSelect Electric Knife Sharpener have three sharpening stages to provide a durable, professional edge to your blades. This will give you an edge that will stay sharp much longer than a single stage knife sharpener will give you.
If you have both western and Japanese style knives, it’s important to know that electric knife sharpeners such as the Chef’s Choice 1520 Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener are able to adjust between the fifteen degree edge for Japanese style knives and the twenty degree edge for western style knives at the flip of a switch. This can save you money and counter space.
Wusthof 2933 Sharpener
This one is actually made for the Wusthof line of PEtec knives. (See the full review here) The PEtec are at 14º so that’s pretty darn close, like you can’t tell a difference close.
It has 3 stages and works fast, so it meets our criteria. The 2933 is the perfect option for people with a few Wusthof knives and some Japanese knives.
Shun AP0119 Sharpener
I have a Shun Chef’s Knife (a Ken Onion special edition) and it is awesome. There sharpener looks great and is made by Kershaw – a great company.
However, the major downside is that you only have one stage. So, it will take longer to sharpen a very dull blade. It will also take off more metal than necessary if you just need a touch up for your blade.
One cool feature is that you can remove the sharpening discs to clean them. Or you can replace them if they wear out.
Also, consider the safety features of your electric knife sharpener. A non-slip base or feet will help prevent the unit from moving you are using it so you can maintain control of your blade.
Safety covers will not only protect the abrasive wheels from being damaged, they also prevent a finger from accidently coming into contact with a moving abrasive surface.
Take your time when shopping for an electric knife sharpener for your Japanese style knives. Make sure the model you select uses high quality abrasives and two to three sharpening stages.
Good abrasives include
- tungsten carbide
Make sure the sharpener is capable of creating the appropriate 15º edge for your Japanese cutlery.
If you plan to use it for a variety of knives, consider a model that allows you to switch between a 20º angle for western knives and a 15º angle for Japanese blades. A good knife electric knife sharpener is effective, easy to use, and enjoyable.
While electric knife sharpeners of this caliber may seem costly, remember that it’s cheaper to buy a quality knife sharpener that will last for many years than to buy low quality knife sharpeners that will need to be replaced in the near future.
CHECK OUT THESE REVIEWS IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE:
- Chef’s Choice AngleSelect M1520 Sharpener
- Chef’s Choice 130 Professional Sharpener
- Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV Electric Sharpener
- Wusthof Electric Knife Sharpener
- Work Sharp WSKTS-KT
- Chef’s Choice Edge Select Pro Electric Sharpener M120
- Presto 08810 Pro Electric Knife Sharpener
- What’s the best sharpen for Wusthof Knives
How To Use The Chef’s Choice M130 Electric Sharpener: A Guide
This is a tutorial based on the very popular M130 by Chef’s Choice. Not all electric sharpeners are use exactly like this but it should give you a great idea about actually using one. This M130 is a premium model and is an update of the M120 list above.
Here we go…I referenced the Chef’s Choice Manual extensively so you can find a link to it below if you want to go to the source.
The oil’s beginning to sizzle and you’re all set to slice up some steak for dinner, you open up your knife drawer, and 10 different knives look up at you.
Which one is sharpened and ready to go?
Grab one, nope that doesn’t cut it. Try another, still no!
The Chef’s Choice M130
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a knife sharpener that tunes each knife for the job at hand? Behold! Enter the Chef’sChoice® Sharpening Station Model 130. (See the M130 on Amazon.)
3 Stages For Maximum Versitility
This little gem has 3 stages of sharpening that allow you to take any knife and craft the blade specifically for the job at hand. Anything from big slices laid up for butchering to the finer touch of gourmet preparation. This knife sharpener will make sure you’re always covered!
As mentioned, the Model 130 has 3 stages, and this guide will walk you through when and how to use each stage by itself, or paired with the others to create an unbelievably sharp edge that will transform you into a ninja of the kitchen. So let’s dive straight in and introduce the 3 stages!
The Big Three
The Model 130 brings out the big guns right away with a diamond coated disk in Stage 1. For all your inner geologists, diamond is the hardest mineral on earth according to the Mohs Scale. So imagine the sharpness of your knives after a few passes on that!
Stage 1 – For Very Dull Blades
Due to the fact that your knife, compared to diamond, is composed of very soft metal, every pass you make on Stage 1 against the diamond disk scrapes tiny particles of metal off the knife.
Removing this blunt or damaged metal paves the way for you to hone it in later stages.
However, due to the fact that Stage 1 removes material from your knife, you’ll use it very infrequently. After using Stage 1 for a single heavy duty sharpening session, Stages 2 and 3 will be your go-to for standard sharpening thereafter.
Stage 3 – Steeling (or Blade Realignment)
Stage 2 is where we can begin to diversify the sharpening technique based on what you need.
Remember that long steel rod that came with your knife set?
That’s Stage 2, designed to precisely align your blade for a professional cut! Nice and compact for your easy use, without the risk of doing someone an injury while swinging a long steel rod in one hand and a knife in the other.
Another factor that launches Stage 2 ahead of a standard steel are those 2 handy guide slots for the left and right sides of your blade. These slots are perfectly angled to ensure proper contact between the blade edge and the miniature rod, and this in turn creates razor sharp micro-serrations. Trying to hit this sweet spot angle on your own takes tremendous skill, and if you miss by just a little bit all you’re doing is dulling the blade, or simply rubbing the face. So why not use Stage 2, eh?
Stage 3 – For Honing and a Razor Sharp Polishing
Stage 3 is the honing step. Inside are polishing disks made from ultrafine abrasive material that take the blade, already sharpened in Stages 1 and/or 2, and remove any excess material to refine the edge for the razor sharp finish you need to complete the task on hand.
Cleaning Mechanism of Electric Sharpeners
The Model 130 also comes with a convenient cleaning mechanism to keep Stage 3 performing perfectly for years! It removes any grease or imperfections that may develop, and we give detailed instruction on how to use it in the maintenance section later in this guide.
Proper Technique to Use When Sharpening Using an Electric Sharpener
Before we get into the different sharpening steps, we’ll first cover the proper technique to use when sharpening.
Whether you’re using Stage 1, 2, or 3 always start with the power switch for the Model 130 facing you, this is the front side. Also begin each stroke by inserting the blade as close to the handle as possible, and pull through the sharpener at a steady pace.
Always pull the blade through the sharpener towards you, never push it away!
Using an Electric Sharpener for Curved Blades
For curved blades, tilt the handle upwards as you’re pulling through in order to keep the edge of the blade in contact with the sharpener throughout the entire movement. This same rule applies to every blade you sharpen and every stage you use. Also keep the knife edge in contact with the sharpener to keep a uniform blade!
How Long to Pull For a Chef’s Choice Sharpener?
As for speed, the standard practice is a 4 second pull for a standard 8-inch blade.
So a steady, deliberate, pull is what we’re looking for here. Don’t whip the blade through at the speed of light, but also don’t go so slow that rust will form on the other end before it reaches the sharpener.
Lastly, you’ll notice that each stage of the Model 130 has 2 slots. This is designed to sharpen the left and right sides of your knife edge equally. With that in mind, always complete the same number of pulls on the left and right sides. Therefore, for the rest of the guide we will refer to ‘pairs’ of pulls, this means to complete 1 pull on the left and another on the right.
Standard Sharpening Using the Chef’s Choice M130
When you’re ready to begin sharpening, turn on the power and start with Stage 1.
- Insert the blade into the left-hand slot.
- Push down until you feel the blade contact the diamond disk.
- Pull the blade towards you in one steady motion.
- Switch to the right-hand slot and repeat.
- Generally, 2 pairs of pulls are sufficient to move onto the next step.
How Much Pressure to Use on an Electric Sharpener?
As for the pressure to put on the blade, take it easy!
Remember us talking about how diamond can eat knives for breakfast?
Once you feel the blade touch the diamond disk, exert just enough pressure to maintain that contact.
The harder you press the more metal will get scraped away by the disk.
Don’t worry, you’ll always get the sharpness you’re looking for with just a little pressure!
Check For The Burr On The Blade
Once you’ve completed your pulls, check for a burr on the side of the blade that you completed your last pull (if your last pull was in the right slot, the burr will be on the right side of the blade).
To complete this check:
- Simply place your figure on the flat of the blade and slowly move it down towards the sharpened edge.
- Just as your finger reaches the sharpened area you should feel that the edge is slightly bent or feel a rough line.
- If you find this burr, you’re good to go and can move on to the next step.
- If not, complete a couple more pulls on Stage 1 and repeat the check.
When you’re looking for this burr, please remember to start on the flat of the blade and move your finger down!
Running your finger along the knife edge like they do in the movies is much more likely to end with a trip to the Band-Aid station.
Skip Stage 2
For the standard sharpening process, we’ll skip Stage 2 for now and jump straight into Stage 3. As with Stage 1, press down gently to avoid wearing down the honing mechanism.
Move to Stage 3
Only 2 pairs of pulls are needed on Stage 3 to create a sharp edge that can tackle the majority of your food preparation needs. If you’re looking for a few extra fancy points with gourmet preparation, then give the blade a couple more pulls on Stage 3. Go ahead, pluck that hair and with dramatic flourish, slice it in midair, that’s how sharp your knife is now!
On the flip side, if you’re cutting very fibrous or stalky foods, then only a single pair of pulls will be sufficient to prepare the blade in Stage 3.
This process of using Stages 1 and 3 will produce an exceptionally sharp blade that far exceeds any factory produced sharpness!
What About Touching Up the Knife With A Honing?
However, with continuous use, the time will inevitably come when it’s time to re-hone the blade.
When that time comes, always start with Stage 3. You want to hone and sharpen without scraping off metal each time, right?
So give the blade a couple pairs of pulls through Stage 3 and check the sharpness.
If you’ve put the blade through the ringer, and Stage 3 can’t quite make the cut for re-sharpening, then it’s safe to return to Stage 1 and begin the sharpening process again.
Always remember you need your Model 130 powered up for Stages 1 and 3!
Knives of Steel – What about Stage 2 of the Electric Sharpener?
So far we’ve left Stage 2 out of all the fun, but now it’s time for some steeling action!
As mentioned earlier, this Stage contains a miniature steel rod similar to the ungainly steel rod that comes with most knife sets.
Since this rod remains stationary during the steeling process, the Model 130 does not need to be turned on to use this Stage.
How To Hone (or Steel) A Knife Using Stage 2 of a Chef’s Choice Sharpener
To steel knives for the first time, sharpen normally using Stage 1 as we covered above.
- Now take the sharpened blade and insert into the left-hand guide slot of Stage 2.
- Keep the face of the blade on the guide surface.
- Insert up to the handle.
- Press down until the blade just kisses the steel rod.
- Then pull the blade towards you in a steady motion.
- Keep contact between the blade and rod for the entire motion!
Once again, it’s important to emphasize that pushing harder on the blade doesn’t make it sharper!
The key is to maintain consistent contact between the blade edge and the steel. So when you place the blade in the slot, push just enough until you feel it contact the steel, and then start your pull.
It will take about 10 pairs of alternating pulls to fully align the blade and create micro-serrations along the entire edge. You now have a perfectly steeled edge. Go forth and conquer the world of fine cutlery!
Normal Blade Wear
As with any blade, the ‘bite’ will wear off with continued use. However, before submitting to the knee-jerk reaction of throwing the knife back into the heavy duty sharpening of Stage 1, give it about 10 pairs of pulls on Stage 2.
Generally, this steeling process will return the blade to it’s former glory by realigning and removing any imperfections developed during use.
###What if Stage 2 Takes Too Long on my Electric Sharpener?
If you feel that it is taking too many pulls on Stage 2 to develop the sharpness you need, then go ahead and return to Stage 1. Follow all the instructions we’ve already covered for Stage 1, and then return to Stage 2.
Stage 2 Vs. Stage 3 of a Chef’s Choice Sharpener?
You’ve undoubtedly noticed that Stage 3 was been left out of the steeling process. This is due to the fact that Stages 2 and 3 produce 2 very different types of sharp edges.
Stage 2 produces a steeled, razor-sharp, edge by creating micro-serrations along the length of the blade as the softer metal is evened out against the strong steel miniature rod. You won’t be able to easily see or feel these micro-serrations, but trust us, they’re there!
Stage 3 on the other hand produces a perfectly honed, polished, and smooth edge that is ideally suited for filleting or gourmet food prep. If you wish, you can give a steeled blade a very quick swipe on Stage 3 to polish the micro-serrations, but beware! Pressing too hard and too many passes will simply remove the micro-serrations.
Serrated Sharpening: How to Use a Chef’s Choice Electric Sharpener on a Serrated Knife
The Model 130 isn’t restricted to simple, standard, blades.
If you have a serrated knife, like a bread knife, that is no longer pulling its weight in the kitchen, then you can sharpen it using Stage 3.
Serrated blades are made up of several tiny teeth that work very well for cutting into tough husks or cardboard.
However, never try to use Stage 1 to sharpen these blades! You’ll end up just grinding these teeth off.
Therefore, give the serrated blade about 5 or 6 pairs of alternating pulls on Stage 3, using the same procedure we covered earlier. This will re-align all the little teeth that are present on the blade, as well as sharpen them.
How to Sharpen Kataba Blades
Essentially, this means that only 1 side of the blade has the angled, sharpened, appearance while the other side looks uniformly flat.
Therefore, when you use Stage 2 to steel your Kataba knife, first identify the beveled side. Steel this side normally as described in the section above.
However, when it comes to the non-beveled side, apply even less pressure to the steel.
This means that the non-beveled side is barely touching the steel! We just want to keep it in contact to help with the overall blade alignment.
Maintenance for a Chef’s Choice Sharpener
Using Stage 2 for steeling only engages 1 section of the miniature steel rod. With use, this section can wear down slightly and lessen the effectiveness of your steeling procedure. If you notice this, simply insert a coin or flat-head screwdriver into the slotted cap at the top of the rod, rotate 1 click, and viola! You have a brand new surface of the steel rod ready to go!
When Should You Clean the Chef’s Choice Sharpener
When you notice that Stage 3 is no longer honing the blade quite like it used to, then it’s time for a clean!
You should only need to complete this about once a year.
How To Clean the Chef’s Choice Sharpener
- Turn the Model 130 around, and locate the lever on the lower left corner on the back side.
- Turn on the power and turn this lever to the right, and hold for 3 seconds.
- Then turn to the left and hold for another 3 seconds.
- This motion activates the dressing tool that removes any grease, food, or other undesirables from the honing surface.
Pretty easy isn’t it?
Before beginning any sharpening process, it’s best to remove all food, grease, and other material from the blade before inserting into the Model 130. This not only helps give your blade an impressive edge, but it will help prevent your sharpener from wearing out earlier!
Always follow the speed and pressure recommendations that we emphasized above. Harder does not equal sharper here, and will simply eat away at your knives.
The instructions we’ve provided cover standard metal knives, serrated, and Kataba blades. Do not try to sharpen scissors or ceramic knives with the Model 130 as they are manufactured differently and have drastically different material properties.
References: Chefs Choice, The M130 Manual
Review of the Presto Eversharp Professional Knife Sharpener (Model 08810)
Owning an electric knife sharpener becomes a source of personal pride in the same way owning a band saw does: few of your friends have one, want one, or know how to use one. But you have one, and so you find a million uses for it. And then you can’t live without it.
When I bought my electric knife sharpener, I did some online research. I told my sister about my purchase, and she said, “Why do you need one of those?” This from the woman who has a thousand-dollar sewing machine for her “quilted art.” I thought about her question. The truth is, I don’t need an electric knife sharpener, but the process that brought me to the decision to buy one led to only two options – pre-sliced vegetable and meat purchases, or buying an electric knife sharpener. It was that clear to me.
Why I needed a knife sharpener
The simple sad fact of life is that cutting with a sharp blade makes a sharp blade dull. In the course of making a salad, you may be chopping cabbage, spinach, lettuce, onions, and carrots, and slicing tomatoes and celery and other veggies. Then you cut the meat. One dinner can dull a brand new blade.
And once you’ve had to saw your way through cutting a tomato or you’ve flattened your loaf of freshly baked bread trying to get it sliced, you realize that you need a method for sharpening your knives.
My sister worried that I would “slice a finger open” if my knives were too sharp, but in fact, I had nicked myself many times by using a dull knife because I put weight on the knife with my hand, and when it slipped, it cut me.
History of sharp blades
Humans have always liked very sharp blades. Archeologists tell us that Neandertals used finely honed flint blades to take down game and dress their kill. And primitive humans used similar methods and developed their own for making arrowheads, knives, and ax heads.
Sharp blades were a matter of life and death, and resharpening the blades was something every Neandertal or early human probably knew how to do.
We should give some thought to swords when we consider blade sharpening. The first swords were probably seen in the Bronze Age, around the 17th century BC. Later, during the Iron Age, blacksmiths discovered that mixing carbon with iron would produce an alloy we call steel. This is the beginning of the steel blades we see today.
How sharp were swords?
We often associate swords with knights. Knights, heavily armored horsemen, began to appear in the Middle Ages, around the 11th century.
When we wonder how sharp their swords were, we need to consider how they used them. They thrusted, that is, jabbed the point into an enemy, they cut, or chopped, and they sliced. Slicing cannot be done with a dull blade, as I discovered in my own kitchen. Knights, therefore, had to have a method of honing their blades at least as good as that with which our own kitchen knives are sharpened.
Centuries of primitive people, and knights on horseback kept their blades sharp, and yet I struggled with the problem of keeping my modern knives sharp. How could that be?
Methods for sharpening knives
Sharpening a blade involves two processes, the sharpening, or grinding an edge, and the honing, which is fine-tuning the edge to make it sharper.
There are really only two methods for sharpening knives, manually or by a machine such as my electric knife sharpener.
Professional knife sharpeners say that the best way to hone a knife is with a stone. To use a stone, you must determine the taper angle for sharpening, that is, how much the blade tapers from thick to thin. You must maintain that taper by angling the blade against the stone.
Any sharpening process on a dull blade involves first grinding the edge, then honing, or the actual sharpening. Using the stone sharpening method, you do both by using different grit.
My struggle to find a sharpening method
I have drawers full of knife sharpening equipment, and I can tell you, that for the average home cook like me, it’s not easy to learn to sharpen knives precisely with a steel or a stone. And yet, for carbon steel knives, it’s best to hone your knives every time you use them. Stainless steel knives can go 2-4 uses before honing. The struggle for me was how to do it.
Questions plagued me. Do I use a whetstone or a dry stone? How do I know the right angle? How much do I take off? And, what if I damaged my knives?
Methods I tried
First, I used a “steel” that came with a set of knives I’d purchased. It’s a rough steel rod with a handle. I really tried to master sharpening my knives with that. As a new home cook, I figured everyone knew how to use one of those because why else would one come with the knives? But the method eluded me. I only managed to dull and nick my knives.
Then I bought a sharpening stone. My first one was a rectangular gray stone. I really never quite figured out where to even place the knife against the stone, or whether I should pour oil or water on it, or use it dry. It sat in the drawer, accusingly unused.
After that, I bought a contraption with the sharpening stone built into a scissors-like handle. The pictures showed someone just sort of slicing a knife into the object in order to sharpen their knives and scissors. I couldn’t get the hang of that either. My knives remained dull.
I purchased three expensive and beautiful knives and although the company representative would drive out to sharpen them for me whenever I called, there was always a sales pitch for purchasing more knives. And there was the guilt factor of making him drive for an hour to spend fifteen minutes sharpening my knives. I bought a cake server and a cheese knife and a vegetable peeler before I stopped calling him.
I decided to use the services of a professional knife sharpener.
Out of desperation, I would wait for the once-a-month Thursday when the knife and scissors sharpener came to the hardware store. I’d carry in my sewing scissors and my favorite knives, and happily pay to have them come back super sharp again.
Having that super-sharp edge for a week or so spoiled me. But when I looked at what it cost to sharpen three of my best knives every month for a year, I invested in my Presto Eversharp electric knife sharpener.
Why I chose the Presto Eversharp Professional
The Presto Eversharp Professional was my choice because it has a 3-stage sharpening process. No, don’t cringe. The whole sharpening process takes only seconds.And it mimics sharpening knives with the stone method. The 3-stage process is the grinding, the honing, and a middle stage that falls between the two.
Since my knives were, at that point, dull enough to slide over a baby’s skin without making a nick, I thought it best to have all 3 options for sharpness.
All electric sharpeners have either 2 or 3 stages, and have different methods of controlling the angle at which the blade is sharpened.
The 2-stage sharpeners usually have the coarse and fine grinds only. I prefer having the option to use the medium fine grind, since I sometimes don’t take the time to sharpen my knives at every meal, and the medium stage gives me a bit more grind than just going directly to the fine grind.
Some electric sharpeners have a toggle, allowing you to control the angle of the blade in the machine by hand. I didn’t know enough to use those machines, and, once I made the decision to buy an electric knife sharpener, I wanted the most foolproof method possible.
Using the Presto Eversharp Professional
There is no setup process for the unit. You simply put it down on a smooth, even surface like a countertop or table, then plug it in. There are suction cups on the bottom of the unit with help to hold it steady while it is in operation.
The thickness of your blade determines the setting you select for the angle at which your blade will be sharpened, either thick, medium, or thin. As you select, you can see the orange plastic holders move in or out.
After you select your blade thickness, you turn the machine on. It’s relatively quiet for what it’s about to do. There’s a low hum. I’d expected a machine shop squeal the first time. After all, this machine is designed to grind down steel. Even when it’s sharpening, the sound is not deafening.
You then select the stage at which you start the sharpening. There are three stages, the coarse grind, a medium grind, and the fine grind, or honing stage.
If your blade is very dull, you start at stage 1, the coarse grind. If your knife is somewhat dull, you start with stage 2, the medium grind, and if your knife is only slightly dull, you start at stage 3, the fine grind. If you start at 1 or 2, you move to the next stage and end at 3. Always end at 3.
When I sharpen my knives regularly, that is, each time I use them, I only use stage 3. But if I’ve let them go for a couple of weeks, I start at 2. I rarely use the coarse grind, stage 1 anymore, but I did the first time I sharpened my knives. And I do if my knives start to get dull from my neglect.
Each stage has two openings, for the left side of the blade and for the right side.
You place the blade in the opening with the base at the end away from you and then, with a light touch, slowly draw the knife toward you, lifting up to match the curve of the knife.The first time you sharpen, you may find you use too light a touch, but that’s easily remedied by the second or third try.
Try to maintain the light, even pressure that will cause the knife to smoothly and quickly draw through the slot. Pushing down on the knife will cause the machine to stop. It doesn’t take long to learn the technique.
Once your knife is sharpened, wipe it with a clean, damp cloth to remove the tiny bits of metallic dust that cling to it.
This process took longer for me to describe than it will take you to do it.
Sharpening serrated blades without an electric knife sharpener can involve one of several methods, the most meticulous involving dowel rods and sandpaper. I was not prepared to do that, and in fact, my serrated blades were, except for one, so inexpensive, that the manufacturer probably would have laughed at me if I’d requested a sharpening.
Good chefs learn to sharpen knives by using a steel, and most can sharpen a serrated knife with a steel just as they do their other kitchen knives. Since I hadn’t learned to use the steel to sharpen my straight-edge knives, I doubted my ability to use a steel for serrated knives.
The professional knife sharpener at the hardware store sharpened them for me, but warned that continued sharpening might damage the curve.
“Ha,” I thought. “Continued use of a dull serrated knife could cause it to be trashed!”
Sharpening serrated knives with the Presto Eversharp
You can sharpen serrated blades with the Presto Eversharp. Be warned, however, that the honing process will eventually destroy the scoop of the curves on the serrated knives, and you will end up with a regular straight knife blade. If you have very expensive serrated knives, you will either want to learn to sharpen them by hand, or send them back to the manufacturer to be sharpened.
But the Presto Eversharp Professional sharpens my serrated knives, my old, very old, very…well, cheap serrated knives to a super sharp edge. Slicing through a tomato after sharpening my ancient serrated knife is like slicing through softened butter – I almost need no more pressure than to touch the knife to the tomato, and it glides through.
Yes, I know my knives won’t keep the serrated edge forever, but before my Eversharp, they sat at the back of the drawer because they were so dull, I didn’t want to use them. And looking at them today, after many, many sharpenings, I can’t tell by looking at them that they have lost even an iota of their curve.
Advantages and drawbacks to using an electric knife sharpener
There are drawbacks to using an electric knife sharpener like my Eversharp. For one, if you’re not used to using very sharp knives, you can slice your fingers up quite quickly. If you’ve ever watched one of those chef shows on television, you can see at least one contestant during the series slicing the tip off a finger. Good cooks like a sharp edge.
The instructions on the Eversharp say not to test the newly sharpened blade by running your thumb against it. Why did that make me want to do it? Bandaid!
Using dull knives
Using a dull knife for such a long time, I had developed a habit of putting a great deal of pressure on my knives when slicing root vegetables like carrots or turnips. I would hold the vegetable in my left hand and press firmly against it with the knife in my right. Sometimes I rested the heel of my left hand on the part of the blade near the tip while drawing the knife down with my right so that I could put even more pressure on the blade.
Sometimes, the vegetable would fly out on either side, and I’d have to hunt down the pieces.
I had to end those bad habits quickly, because my newly sharpened bladez would slice through so fast, I sometimes nicked my fingers. Okay, often at first. My husband grew used to hearing “ouch” and other more lethal, exclamations from the kitchen.
Today, I slice by moving the vegetable, not the knife. I can do that because my knives are often sharpened before preparing a meal. The knife works like a guillotine as I move the vegetable into place, my fingers far from the sharp edge.
Slicing through raw meat is no longer a chore. I can buy a whole chicken, cut it into parts and even debone it with no trouble at all because my knives are so sharp. Cooked meat, like slicing a steak, is a breeze.
And that freshly baked bread? The moment a loaf is cool, my ancient, but now very sharp serrated knife floats through it, making a beautiful, even cut.
Making the choice: manual sharpening
Is an electric knife sharpener preferable to a manual method, either a steel or a stone? I believe the answer is depends on what you’re comfortable with and your preference.
Certainly, a manual method gives you a lot more control over the process, being able to take off a small bit and check your work, or knowing exactly what is happening because the process is in your own hands, not that of a machine.
However, manual sharpening requires more time, and it requires learning a skill. Like any skill, you must practice to become proficient.
Making the choice: using an electric sharpener
Sharpening with an electric knife sharpener is fast, and the learning curve is so smooth, it’s almost no curve at all.
Electric sharpeners are not small. They can range from about 6 inches long to over a foot long, and about 4-6 inches deep. They must be taken out and put away again. A stone or steel takes up inches in your drawer and can be taken out in an instant. It can seem like a chore to get the electric knife sharpener, plug it in, then put the machine away again. However, for me, that whole process is less cumbersome than using a manual method.
And we come back to the joy of having an electric knife sharpener. Taking it out and setting it up gives me the pleasure of knowing I have the ability to use razor-sharp blades at my whim.
Improvements for the Eversharp
If there is one thing I would change on my Eversharp, it would be the length of the cord. It’s about a 3-foot cord, and that works fine if I put it on the counter near the plug. But that’s not where I would like it to be because the food processor is there, or the blender. I’d like to keep it on the island instead of making room for it every time. But that’s a small complaint.
Overall, I am still very pleased with my decision, and do not regret buying an electric knife sharpener, or this particular knife sharpener, after years of using it.
I can’t brag that I’m like the chefs on television, deftly moving their knives against their steels at the perfect angle.
I can’t talk with any conviction about using wet or dry sharpening stones.
But I secretly grin when I’m at the family holiday get-together and my brother-in-law gets out his electric knife to saw through the roast turkey.
“I could have done that in seconds,” I think to myself. And my slices would have been falling from the bone like petals from a flower. It makes me smile, just thinking about it.