Overview of Affordable Sharpeners
Most of us want to have easy to use and sharp knives without any fuss. And, we don’t want to spend a fortune on it either! Today, we are going to focus on economic choices that won’t break the bank. The key will be making a few compromises that won’t sacrifice performance.
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If you like to have full versatility, then go for the manual Lansky System or the Shun Whetstone. It does take a lot more time though. If you haven’t used a whetstone before, get the Lansky Diamond Deluxe Sharpening System (Click to see at Amazon.)
Here is a quick reference table:
Click here to learn about the Best Electric Knife Sharpener.
Why Get A Sharpener?
A sharp blade is critical for the performance of your knife and your safety while using the knife. This applies to any type of knife—chef’s knives, paring knives, pocket knives, survival knives, switchblades, or even machetes.
A sharp knife is important for safety since a dull knife blade requires more force to do the job than a sharp knife blade. The bottom line is that if you have a knife or knives, then you absolutely need a knife sharpener to keep your knife blades in top form.
Here is our list of the top-rated knife sharpeners. The knife sharpeners on this list offer basic functionality for the average knife owner.
Why type of knife sharpener?
I would be happy to have any of these sharpeners as a first step into knife sharpening. If you are looking for a top notch knife sharpener for your kitchen, I would highly recommend any of the electric models listed. The speed in which you can sharpen a knife, a dull knife, is typically about 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
If you just need to touch up a blade before a furious session of onion chopping for a big pot of chili, then any of these electric sharpeners will take under 30 seconds.
If you’re a DIYer and you know you do like sharpening knives already AND you have plenty of time, take a look at the Shun Whetstone. It is highly versatile and provides unmatched flexibility for the angle of your blade. This is how your ancestors sharpened their sharp implements and it doesn’t need to be plugged in.
It does, however, take lots of practice and patience. You might end up in a zen like state. That’s a good thing as long as your expectations are set properly. I would definitely have some practice knives before you go and try to sharpen your Shun Ken Onion Chef’s Knife.
Best Knife Sharpeners to
Chef’s Choice 320 Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener
See the Chef’s Choice 320 Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener at Amazon
- Two Stages
- Diamond honing disc in Stage 1
- Polymer honing disc in Stage 2
- Can sharpen and hone serrated knives
- Assembled in the USA.
- Two Year Warranty for home use.
- Will sharpen bread knives, and other serrated knives.
- Can sharpen Asian style knives in Stage 1 only.
- Sharpens to a compound double bevel (learn about knife edges here)—so you get more durability with the 20º angle on top of the 15º angle.
- Can be used for kitchen knives, pocket knives, hunting or survival knives, and utility knives.
- 120 Watt motor for fast sharpening
- If you have a lot of Asian-style knives, then you can’t utilize the Stage 2 to hone and polish.
- One user has noted that the Stage 2 is too light—like a buffing stage. So she uses Stage 2 almost every time she uses a knife and it takes about 10 seconds.
- If you have a very dull set of knives it may take a long time on Stage 1 for the first time you sharpen your set. After the knives are in good shape, it should not take too long to keep them sharp.
Chef’sChoice 315S Diamond Electric Sharpener for Asian-Style Knives
See the Chef’s Choice 315S Diamond Electric Sharpener for Asian-Style Knives at Amazon
- Two Stages
- Diamond honing discs
- Ideal for Asian-Style Knives
- Perfect for Sushi knives
- Sharpens to 15º—Sharper than the factory (in most cases)!
- It uses an angle that will be better than most knives—15º. This will make them sharper than when you got them. I prefer all my kitchen knives to be sharpened to 15º, so this is my go-to-sharpener.
- The diamond discs in Stage 1 work great for normal sharpening.
- Uses precision spring guides to ensure the perfect angle.
- Can fit very thin Asian-style knives.
- 120 Watt motor for fast sharpening
- 15º is a little too sharp of an angle if you intend to sharpen mostly pocket knives or hunting knives. Those knives see harder action and 15º is just less durable.
- There are only two stages so you’d face the same issue as the M320—super-dull knives will take time to get into shape.
- Some users have seen scratches on the blades after sharpening. This can definitely be a BIG problem if you have some expensive and precious knives. Not all users see this though so it could be the user or the model. My advice is to test out your new M315S on some everyday-use knives FIRST, then if it seems fine you can proceed to your better knives.
Lansky Diamond Deluxe Sharpening System
- Four grit level – 4 Diamond Stages – for maximum control
- Extra coarse – 70 grit
- Coarse – 120 grit
- Medium – 280 grit
- Fine – 600 grit
- Can sharpen to several different angles
- Good for kitchen, outdoor, pocket, or hunting knives
- Comes with a storage container
- You can sharpen to many different angles depending on what you are sharpening.
- The diamond based stones work faster then the composite whetstone version.
- The angles are exact so you have a BIG advantage over a plain whetstone, like the Shun below.
- About 78% of the owners at Amazon have a favorable rating, that is 4 stars or 5 stars.
- It takes a little while to sharpen by hand, manually. It can take 15 to 30 minutes the first time compared to about 90 seconds to 2 minutes for an electric sharpener like the M320 or M315S.
- You can only sharpen to 17º, so if you have Asian-style knives this won’t do well. Instead check out the Gatco model which a similar design but different angle options.
- The guide rod can get bent during use, and some owners have noted this. The rods can just be bent back to their original shape.
- If you are sharpening at the sharpest angle, you may have a shortened sharpening angle. Let me explain further—the guide rod can hit the rear screw-head and the whetstone will hit the clamp at the ramp section.
Chef’s Choice 110 Pro Diamond Hone Sharpener
See the Chef’s Choice 110 Professional Diamond Hone Sharpener at Amazon
- Professional Level
- 3 Stages at a bargain price
- 100% diamond honing discs
- Sharpens to 20º for versatility
- The 20º sharpening angle is best for diversity—you can do kitchen, pocket, and hunting knives.
- Two Year warranty and assembled in the USA.
- Has the Trizor Edge – which is the proprietary compound angle that provides great durability and long-lasting sharpness.
- If you have mostly Asian-style knives, this is not the best option. Check out the M315S instead.
- Not recommended for serrated knives.
- Some users have noted that Stage 3 is too light – NOT gritty enough. So, it is really more of a “stropping” phase, like running a razor blade over a leather strap.
- The motor is 71 Watts, so it is less powerful than some other models.
Shun 300/1000 Combination Whetstone
See the Shun 300/1000 Combination Whetstone at Amazon
- Can sharpen to infinite angles
- 2 grit levels—2 stages—for versatility
- Will last a lifetime of normal use
- No moving parts
- It provides the maximum amount of flexibility compared to any sharpener.
- You can sharpen any blade to any angle.
- It helps you understand the basics of sharpening at the most basic level.
- There are only 2 grits, rough and medium, so there is not a honing stage. You may need to get a finer stone to do fine-grit work. This fact is one of the main issues that some users have with this particular whetstone.
- It takes a long time! You have to make each stroke manually, and that’s really slow compared to the electric versions above.
- It can take a great deal of practice to keep a consistent angle. You should probably get a sharpening guide to help you keep the intended angle.
If you have a higher budget, read more about the best electric knife sharpeners. Or, if you need a sharpener for Japanese Knives, read about sharpeners that are optimized for 15º angles. Also, see this guide to honing steels to learn how to extend the lifespan of your blades.