Whether you buy a chef’s knife or a specialized Japanese knife, you have probably noticed already that some knives are sharper than others. This is because some knife manufacturers rely on some tricks. To achieve those razor-sharp edges, they usually rely on motorized electric belt knife sharpeners.
Such tools bring in super fast-moving belts. They are faster than other metallic alternatives. They can turn a dull knife into a razor-sharp one in no time, as those fast-moving belts can take off layers of metal at an impressive rate. Over the past years, such systems have managed to find their way into residential uses as well. In other words, you can buy your own electric belt knife sharpener and keep your knives sharp.
There are more things to pay attention to when interested in getting a belt knife sharpener. There are also some reputable brands with exquisite products, as well as a few unknown manufacturers.
2020’s 3 Best Belt Knife Sharpeners
Work Sharp WSKTS-KO-W Ken Onion Edition – Best Belt Knife Sharpener
You can sharpen a knife to 15 to 30 degrees, as the sharpening edge is adjustable. There is no need to calibrate the sharpener or set it up. Simply adjust the angle and you are ready to go.
The unit features variable speeds, meaning you can hone or grind a blade. The speed goes between 1,200 and 2,800 SFM. Different speeds work for different grades of dullness.
Given the 6,000 grit belt, you can sharpen knives with serrations too, not to mention gut hooks or other unusual shapes.
- Durable and solid construction
- Sharpening angle can be adjusted
- Speeds vary based on your needs
- No calibration required to run
- Does not come with any spare belts
Smith’s 50933 – Cheap Belt Knife Sharpener
Sharpening angle – The unit is set to sharpen knives at 20 degrees, which works for most knives out there. You can also hold the knife at a different angle, but the blade guides ensure there will be no misalignment if you want 20 degrees.
Belts – There are three belts included in the package – fine, medium and coarse, only to be able to sharpen any type of knife out there, regardless of how dull it might be.
- Ideal for most types of knives
- Stable while holding the knife at the right angle
- Comes with three belts in different grits
- Lightweight and easy to move around
- No spare belts to replace them once they lose their grit
Bucktool BG2600 – Expensive Belt Sander Bench Grinder Combo for Knife Sharpening
Versatility – Bucktool’s best electric belt knife sharpener can be used for a series of operations. It is also advertised to be a bench grinder or a belt sander, yet most customers get it for its exquisite sharpening capabilities.
Power and package – The unit comes with a solid 1/3 HP motor. It runs at 3,450 RPM. The package includes the actual machine, as well as a 2×42 high-quality metal sanding belt. It can be used both vertically and horizontally.
Extras – Given the extra abilities of this sharpener, you can count on a series of extra features. For example, you have a brush wheel to remove rust from metallic parts in no time. There is also a LED light, as well as an adjustable eye shield.
- Easy to change and adjust belts with a quick-release tension and tracking mechanism
- Excellent for many other activities, such as sanding or grinding
- Easy to put together and use
- Powerful motor for a consistent operation
- A bit too large or powerful for those who only need occasional sharpening
The good news
It is easy to sharpen your knives with an electric knife sharpener. Even if this is the first time you sharpen a knife, you will still manage to come up with a good result.
The belt will spin at incredible rates. It will grind the blade continuously. The fast it moves, the faster you will get a razor-sharp result. There will be more metal coming off too, so you need to stop once the knife is sharp enough. Some of these systems come with guidance on how to achieve the right angle based on the type of knife you have. This way, there will be no guesswork involved.
Another good thing about electric belt knife sharpeners is its efficiency. A classic sharpener will work on straight blades only. These toys work on serrated blades as well. They can also bring in a razor-sharp edge on inexpensive stainless steel knives, which tend to take forever with other types of sharpeners – not to mention the sketchy results.
If you have a simple straight knife, you could do with any sharpener. If you have more knives or you have a few specialized knives, an electric belt knife sharpener will get the job done. It makes no difference if you want to grind your ax for some firewood, you need to sharpen your scissors or you have to hone a Japanese knife.
The bad news
Nothing is perfect, and electric belt knife sharpeners are no exception either. For instance, their belts are not cheap. Value for money is great, but get ready to pay more than for a simple manual sharpening tool.
Belts also come with various grits, meaning you need a bit of research. Some knives could do with low grits, while others require finer alternatives. It also depends on how dull your knife is. A little guidance, in the beginning, will help, but you will be able to tell yourself later on – experience will lead you in the right direction.
Now, a bit of research on how these things work will also help. The blade could get relatively hot if there is too much friction involved. You can prevent such issues upfront, but you can also learn the hard way and damage some knives. For example, you need to keep the belt speed at a low value – high speeds are suitable for extreme cases and temporary options. Also, try to avoid lingering in one spot.
Comparing electric belt knife sharpeners with other types of sharpeners
We have a great article on different types of knife sharpeners available in the market. But here is a summary of some of them.
Whetstones represent a more efficient option. This is what many professionals rely on. However, they require a bit of maintenance to last. Plus, good quality ones are expensive, and learning how to use them could take weeks. Chances are you will ruin a few knives before even figuring out how it works. If patience and time are not your best friends, stay away from whetstones.
The same rule applies to guided sharpening stones. They are similar to whetstones and maybe a bit more efficient than electric belt knife sharpeners. Some of them are good, while others are terrible. They require more work and time, but they also need practice and experience. Again, you will ruin a few blades. However, with time, you might get it right – getting angles is one of the hardest parts though.
A pull-through sharpener works by some simple principles. It comes with two pieces stuck in an X. Sometimes, they come in a V. They are made of ceramic or steel. The idea is pulling the knife through the X and some of the metal will come off, giving it the sharpness there. This option is good if your knives cost less than a takeaway coffee or you need to sharpen some basic scissors. Other than that, the electric belt knife sharpener is a few leagues higher.
Sharpening a professional knife with an electric sharpener is like washing your Rolls Royce with a dirty sponge and some soapy water. It is not the best tool for the job. When is it better? If all your knives were bought while on sale in discount stores, you could do with an electronic sharpener too.
Honing rods are classic – available in lots of kitchens and can get the job done. Believe it or not, their primary role is not to sharpen a knife. Instead, they are meant to keep the cutting edge straight. If you are only up for realigning things a little, a honing rod will get the job done. If you want to sharpen a professional knife, stick to an electric belt knife sharpener.
Tips on how to use an electric belt knife sharpener
Take it slow. Electric belt knife sharpeners come with more speeds. Start with the slowest setting, as you are just learning. Doing it slowly will prevent damaging knives by removing too much metal. Plus, it will also prevent excessive heat.
Get that burr out. The wire edge is important and represents a principle of sharpening knives, regardless of what you use in the process. Sharpen one side only until you can feel the burr. You can then turn to the other side. This rule is common when using sharpening stones as well.
As a general rule of thumb, the belt should move only when in contact with the blade. Otherwise, you might round off the tip. Moreover, putting the blade on when the belt is already moving can go wrong and damage the belt.
Now, how about the angle? Different knives have different requirements in terms of angles. Check out the manufacturer’s manual or specifications – maybe even send an email. If you cannot find the perfect angle, read our guide. Lower angles bring in extra sharpness and delicacy. Higher angles are not as sharp, but quite robust. A bit of experience will help you figure it out. Normally, it should be between 15 and 25 degrees for most knives.
Electric belt knife sharpeners are fast and efficient. It will save you time, stress, effort, and fatigue. Learning how to use one is fairly simple and easier than learning how to use sharpening stones and other manual tools.