We Found The Best Knife Sharpening System for 2017
We are all guilty of overusing knives.
It’s easy to forget how effective a properly sharpened knife is. They wow us when we first started using them, but over time, they begin to dull. This is hard to pick up on because of how slow the dulling process is.
Depending on how often you use a knife and what you are using it for, a knife can begin to lose its edge in as little as a few days. If you want your knives to perform at their optimal level throughout their lifespan, it is important to sharpen it on a regular basis. This applies to not only kitchen knives, but also utility and hunting knives. No matter what you are using it for, you will have to sharpen it on a regular basis.
Once a blade begins to dull, you will lose the ability to rely on the edge alone for cutting. Instead, you will have to compensate with added force. This will compromise the cut. It will lead to rips and tears in the material that you are cutting through. The knife can get caught and it can even ruin the project that you are working on because of its deteriorated blade.
A properly sharpened blade, on the other hand, should be able to slice right through many different types of materials. This will make your cutting job much easier and more precise. Once you get used to a dull blade, you may be surprised how much better a sharpened blade can perform.
Fortunately, good knives are built to last. Although the edge will need regular sharpening, the knife itself should be able to last years and even generations. Keeping the edge sharp will allow you to maximize the lifespan of your knife. You can also sharpen an edge to rejuvenate an old and worn down knife and use it like new again.
This is why a great sharpener is important. There are many different types of knife sharpeners that can be used to bring new life into any blade. There are electrical and manual operated sharpeners. There are sharpeners that use diamond to sharpen the blade and others that use stone. There are knife sharpeners that can be used to restore the edge of practically any type of blade.
How to Identify When Your Blade Is Dull
The easiest way to identify a dull blade is to find out the age of it. The longer it is used, the more likely it is to require sharpening. If you are unsure, there are several tests that you can use to quickly differentiate a dull blade from a sharp one.
The easiest way to tell is to take a close look at the blade. Hold the blade close to your face and examine the edge carefully. If you see tiny nicks and indentations, that is a clear sign of a worn out blade. The blade should look even and uniform all the way across the edge. If you find any unevenness or deformities, it is a clear sign that your knife is in desperate need of some attention.
If you have a magnifying glass, you can take an even closer look. If you have any knives that are new or unused, you can compare the two edges to get a better sense of what a fresh edge is supposed to look like. The best knife sharpening system will be able to restore your blade to its original form. When you are done sharpening the edge, it should look exactly like a brand-new blade.
What Type of Sharpener Is Right for Me?
There are lots of different knife sharpening systems that you can choose from to use for your knives. They range from pull-through and manual sharpeners, to electrically operated sharpeners. Below, we will go over the different types of sharpeners that you may want to consider.
There are several different types of sharpening stone variations. When we say “stone”, we mean any material that is able to sharpen the edge of a blade. Typically, this includes diamond and ceramic stones. You may also be surprised to learn that there are sharpening stones made of oil and water as well.
Diamond is one of the hardest materials known to man. It is extremely durable and it can sharpen any type of material. In this case, a plate will be fixed with small diamond engravings in it. As the edge of the blade is passed through, the diamonds will break away the imperfections and help return it to its original state. There are two types of diamond stones that are used to sharpen blades. These are called mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline. They both work in similar ways and can produce effective results.
Ceramic is very comparable to diamond and that is a material that is extremely strong and is built to last a lifetime. They are relatively maintenance-free as well. Between each use, all you have to do is clean the ceramic with soap and a scrubber so that you remove all of the previous debris that was left on it.
The only downside to a ceramic stone is that it is generally not available in coarse grades. This means you will be limited to fine detailing. In most cases, this will do just fine, so it is usually not much of an issue.
If you are dealing with a heavily damaged knife that will require multiple grade types in order to take it from its dull state to a sharp edge, you may have to use a different type of stone than what ceramic can offer.
It may seem odd at first, but oil can, in fact, be used to sharpen knives. The oil stone, otherwise known as the Arkansas stone, comes in a flat stone surface. It offers a variety of different coarseness grades, making it a very flexible option. The oil stone is one of the most affordable types of stones that you can find. The main drawback of this type of stone is that it has a very slow cut rate. This means it will take longer to sharpen a knife with an oil stone than it will take using a ceramic or diamond stone.
The water stone is similar to the oil stone. The biggest advantage it has is that it is easy to clean and it works a lot more quickly than an oil stone does. The main drawback is that it wears away quickly and will have to be replaced more often than other stone types.
The alternative to stone sharpeners are steel sharpeners. A steel sharpener is a much more common item to see in kitchens and restaurants. If you cook at all, it is very likely that you have already seen or used one of these yourself.
The steel is usually shaped in a long cylinder rod with a handle attached to the end of it. To use it, you simply hold the blade along the long side of the rod and scrape the edge along it at a 30° angle. Do this on both sides several times and it will restore the edge of your blade.
The steel rod will usually be made of steel or ceramic. You can also find variations in diamond as well. In order to find a high-quality steel sharpener, the easiest way to do that is to inspect the handle. A poorly made steel sharpener will feel flimsy and it will break apart more easily. The handle should feel firm and solid when you are using it.
Steel sharpeners will come in different grid types. A finer grit will create a smooth edge, while a more coarse grit will be better suited for restoring heavily damaged edges.
Steel Versus Stone
When you are looking for the best knife sharpening system, you will come across several variations. Each of these variations will use some type of sharpening steel or stone in them. If you have a particular sharpening type that you need to use for your knife, make sure you pay attention to this when you are selecting your sharpening system. If you just need one for general purposes, any type of material that we discussed above should do just fine.
There are two main different types of knife sharpeners that you should consider. They are electric knife sharpeners and manual knife sharpeners. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. We will explain those below.
Manual Knife Sharpeners
A manual knife sharpener relies on the user to pull the blade through.
It has a V-shaped set up that you insert the blade into in order to sharpen it. One of the benefits of this is that it sharpens both sides of the blade at the same time. The actual sharpener will typically be made of one of the stone or steel types that we discussed above. It is situated at an angle that is ideal for the edge of the blade.
It only takes a few pools through to take a dull blade and turn it into a sharp one. They are very simple and easy to use. There are also affordable and portable. They are the most convenient type of knife sharpening systems that you will come across.
Electric Knife Sharpeners
An electric knife sharpening system is similar to a manual sharpener with the exception that you do not have to do any of the manual work. An electric sharpener will automatically sharpen any blade that you insert into it. You can simply put the blade in the blade slot and let it do its magic.
There are many electric sharpeners that will automatically shut off once the blade has reached the appropriate sharpness level. This is a great convenience, especially if you aren’t a professional cook that knows exactly how sharp a blade should be.
The major downside of this type of sharpener is that it needs to be plugged in and they tend to be bulkier. This makes it more difficult to conveniently store it in a cabinet or pull it out when you need to use it. Instead, most people that have this type of sharpener will usually have to find a permanent place for it on their countertop.
Electric Versus Manual Sharpeners
When you are looking for the best knife sharpening system, it’s hard to go wrong with either an electric sharpener or a manual sharpener. Both sharpener types are great options. The electric sharpener will offer more features while the manual sharpener will be more convenient to use and store. Regardless of what your needs are, a sharpener is a must-have in every kitchen.
The Best Knife Sharpening Systems in 2017
Now that we have explained the different types of sharpeners, we will look at some models more closely. Below, we have tested dozens of the best knife sharpening systems that we could find. We narrowed it down to our top five knife sharpeners and reviewed them for you below.
Here's a quick comparison chart to give you a nice overview of what's out there:
Besiva Knife Sharpener, 2 Stage Coarse & Extra-Fine Sharpening System
Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening Stones System
Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone Sharpening System
Lansky LKDMD 4-Stone Deluxe Diamond System Precision Knife Sharpening Kit
Work Sharp WSKTS Knife and Tool Sharpener
#1 - Besiva Knife Sharpener, 2 Stage Coarse & Extra-Fine Sharpening System
- Very affordable
- Easy and convenient to use
- Small which means easy to store
We Don't Like:
- Requires manual work
- Limited coarseness options
Manual or Electric: Manual
- It has a two slot design for coarse and fine sharpening
- It has a slip resistant rubber bottom, making it easy to use on countertops
- Red and black exterior
- Measures 2”x8”x2”
The Besiva is a basic manual knife sharpener. As far as simplicity goes, you can’t get any more simple than this. It’s designed to be quick and easy to use and put away when you are finished with it. Its two-stage slot system allows you to use two different types of sharpening grades so that you can use it to accommodate any different type of knife.
We love the look of it with its black and red finish. When we were using it, it felt strong and sturdy. It did not slip at all on a variety of different countertops that we tested it on. This is important because a sudden slip in any direction can cause you to hurt yourself on the blade. When we tested all of our manual knife sharpening systems, we made this factor a priority.
To use the sharpener, simply pull it a few times through the coarse slot and follow that up with a few pulls through the fine slot and you will be left with a perfectly sharpened blade.
#2 - Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening Stones System
- Three stone types
- Offers a good variety of coarseness
- Drip pan helps keep your countertop clean
We Don't Like:
- Requires oil to use
- Stones must be manually switched
Manual or Electric: Manual
- It has 3 stone types to switch between
- Handles allow for easy switching between stones
- Skid-proof bottom
- Drip pan
The Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening Stones System is one of our favourite standalone stone sharpeners. It has three different Arkansas stones that vary in grit types. This allows you to easily switch between coarse, medium and fine grits. It is manually operated which means you have to pull the blade across the stone on each side in order to sharpen it.
It has a non-skid bottom that prevents it from moving when you are using it on most surfaces. It also has a drip pan underneath to catch the oil after each use. This helps keep your working surface clean.
The three stones that are included come in a coarse synthetic grip of 400, a medium synthetic grip of 600, and a natural fine grit of 1200. This will allow you to finish your blade off with an extremely fine edge.
#3 - Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone Sharpening System
- Five stones with different coarseness levels
- Controlled angled sharpening system allows you to set the blade at four different angles
- Color-coded stones
- Finger grooves for added safety
We Don't Like:
- This type of kit is not as convenient to use as other sharpeners are
- It takes longer to fully sharpen the blade using this type of kit
Manual or Electric: Manual
- Five Stone kit
- Affordable high-quality stone kit
- Controlled angled sharpening system
- Guide holes allow for easy angle selection
This is a full sharpening kit that gives you five different coarseness levels to use on your knives. The different stones range from the extra fine ceramic stone, and it goes up to its extra coarse stone. In between, it has a coarse stone, medium stone, and a fine alumina oxide stone. This allows you to match the perfect coarseness grades with any type of knife that you need to sharpened.
To use this kit, use the holes to angle for your knife. You can control the angle and set it at 17°, 20°, 25° and 30°. This will help you match the angle of your knife up without changing the angle of the blade. A kit like this is the best way to ensure that your knife is sharp and perfectly each and every time you use it.
#4 - Lansky LKDMD 4-Stone Deluxe Diamond System Precision Knife Sharpening Kit
- Features diamond sharpeners
- Four different angle settings
- Color-coded sharpeners
- Wide range of grit options
We Don't Like:
- Higher price point
- Requires oil to use
- It takes time to sharpen the knife
Manual or Electric: Manual
- Diamond grits
- Four different types of sharpeners
- Multi-angle flip over knife clamp
- Carrying case included
The Lansky LKDMD 4-Stone Deluxe Diamond System Precision Knife Sharpening Kit is the next step up from the Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone Sharpening System Kit that we reviewed above. It offers all of the features that the four stone kit does. The only difference is that it offers diamond grits in place of the stone sharpeners.
There are four different diamond grits that are offered. Included are the fine diamond 600 grit, the medium diamond 280 grit, the coarse diamond 120 grit, and the extra coarse diamond 70 grit. As you can see, the grit types on the diamond sharpeners are different than what you will find on the stone kits. These four options vary from 70 grit to 600 grit. This gives you a wide range of coarseness options for your knives.
Much like the stone kit, this kit also allows for four different angle settings. These angles come at 17°, 20°, 25° and 30°.
#5 - Work Sharp WSKTS Knife and Tool Sharpener
- Electrically operated means there is no manual work required
- High-quality abrasive belts
- Edges are consistent
- Sharpens knives quickly
We Don't Like:
- Higher price
- Large and bulky
- Not portable
Manual or Electric: Electric
Type: Electric Sharpener
- Electrically operated
- Works quickly
- Precision sharpening creates consistent edges
- Can handle extra-large blades
If you are looking for the best of the best in knife sharpening systems, look no further than the Work Sharp WSKTS Knife and Tool Sharpener. This sharpener performed at the highest level based on our testing. It created the best edges with the most consistent results. Best of all, it is electrically operated. This means that it not only created the best results, it was also the easiest to use.
The only major downside we saw with this model was that it is more expensive than the others that we reviewed. We are recommending this sharpener because we feel the price is well worth what it offers.
This may sharpener operates with a belt system. The Bell System runs electronically and sharpens the blades as you run the edges through. It only takes a simple glide a few times to get your knife is sharp as they were the day you bought them.
While we highly recommend all of the knife sharpeners that we reviewed today, there are two that really stick out to us. Of those two, the best knife sharpening system for you will depend on your budget and what you are looking for from a knife sharpener.
We loved how simple and easy the Besiva Knife Sharpener was to use. We also felt that the Work Sharp WSKTS Knife and Tool Sharpener created the best results, although it comes with a higher price tag.