A sharp blade edge is perhaps the most essential requirement for buying any knife for any purpose. Whether it is for cutting ingredients in the kitchen or cutting ropes or belts in a rescue operation, such an edge is responsible for making the knife functional. There is one more fact to recognize that no knife comes with a sharp edge that will last forever. In fact, after some time of usage, the edge is likely to get dull.
The blade becomes dull because it loses its edge by frequently cutting via ingredients. At times, the factor contributing to dullness is the acidic content in those ingredients, which corrodes the edge’s steel gradually and consequently blunts when it hits the cutting board’s surface. Even though you minimize this effect by reducing the usage of acidic stuff or choosing a resistant knife such as ceramic one, it is impossible to stop using it.
- 1 A Dull Knife is Safer!? Well, It Is a Myth!
- 2 Is Sharpening and Honing the Same?
- 3 Types of Knife Sharpeners
- 4 How to Choose the Best Knife Sharpener ?
- 4.1 Factor 1 – Types of Knives:
- 4.2 Factor 2 – Your Patience:
- 4.3 Factor 3 – Your Need for Speed:
- 4.4 Factor 4 – Type of Blade Bevel
- 4.5 Factor 5 – Blade Angle
- 4.6 Factor 6 – Type of Knife
- 4.7 Factor 7 – Angle Selection
- 4.8 Factor 8 – Number of Stages
- 4.9 Factor 9 – Sharpening Space:
- 4.10 Factor 10 – Budget:
- 4.11 Factor 11 – Noise Level:
- 4.12 Factor 12 – Working with Left Hand:
- 5 Qualities of Best Knife Sharpeners
- 6 5 Best Knife Sharpeners for Pocket/Survival Knives
- 7 5 Best Knife Sharpeners for Kitchen Knives
- 8 Conclusion
A Dull Knife is Safer!? Well, It Is a Myth!
It is a fact that any kind of knife requires regular maintenance for retaining its safety and efficient performance through sharp edge sustenance. This includes using a sharpener. It is a misconception that a dull knife is less likely to cut a finger.
With such a knife, additional force is required for getting the desired outcome. This force can result in slipping or finger cut due to sudden speed. On the other hand, a knife with a well-sharpened edge does not require that much force, which makes it relatively more secure. Further, it will also have some safety features such as a bolster and handle to ensure safe gripping while cutting.
In order to buy the best knife sharpener, one should first understand the physics behind the dulling of a knife and the difference between sharpening and honing. Next, consumers should become acquainted with all of the different types of sharpeners on the market. Once a shopper has decided which tools or equipment are ideal, he or she can follow strategic buying tips in order to get what they need to keep their knives slicing.
Is Sharpening and Honing the Same?
Well, they both are actually different, despite being used interchangeably quite often. Even in terms of action, they both tend to differ. Sharpening is the process of discarding metallic particles from the edge to create a new cutting surface, whereas honing is the process to straighten the curved or bent edge. However, the similarity is that both are essential for maintaining the edge.
Honing is the first process to be performed when the edge first appears dull. Usually, professional chefs tend to hone before using a knife every time, with the help of a steel rod. If honing fails to give the result of good cutting performance, sharpening is obviously chosen.
A high quality blade usually needs sharpening once every four months, given the same use. The interval between two sharpening tends to differ and it depends on three factors: metal type in blade, frequency of usage, and hardness of blade. In case of an inexpensive knife, you might need to sharpen it every fortnight in case of heavy usage. On the other hand, a very good, high quality blade may only require sharpening once a quarter under the same use.
Types of Knife Sharpeners
Before you go ahead and just pick up any knife sharpener, it is wise to know about its different types and choose the right type. Broadly, knife sharpeners are split into two categories: Manual and Electric.
Both tend to use some material for discarding the metal, which can be ceramic, stone, or diamond.
Keeping aside the type, each sharpener material features different grits, which range from extremely fine to highly coarse. Coarse materials are faster in discarding the metal, which is handy for blades that have become very dull blades or while re-setting to another angle. The finer grits take a late entry in the removal process, just as sanding a wooden furniture piece. Lastly, the finest grits only polish the metal.
Manual Knife Sharpener
Since thousands of years, manual sharpening of knives has been prevalent. Stones are the most ancient sharpeners that are used even today but ceramic sharpeners are modern offers. Originally, these stones were very hard as well as abrasive. Manual sharpeners are available in different grits as stated above. The coarse grit is followed by the fine grit for polishing and refining.
While different types of manual sharpeners are available, stones are the most ancient sharpeners that are used even today. Originally, these stones were very hard as well as abrasive. Revealing the most modern style, the ceramic sharpeners are also gaining a competitive edge. Following are the different types of manual sharpeners to consider:
A sharpening stone is a solid rectangular block or slab of ceramic, whetstone, diamond, or other such sharpening material and are one inch thick. You need to lubricate it prior to use. For example, a traditional wheel whetstone is dampened with water.
Sharpening stones are useful for honing and grinding the edges of steel tools. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes; some designed as flat for flat edges and a few with a shape suitable for complex sharpening.
Ideal for: A stone sharpener is mostly seen even in modern homes, as it can sharpen razors, scissors, thinning and other knives, and other small and big blades. It is best for sharpening the dull edges, as it works by discarding a lot of material. However, using a sharpening stone flawlessly requires sufficient practice and skill.
Grits: Stone sharpeners are available in different grits. As a rule of thumb, a finer grit means finer edge result on the tool. Such grits cut more gradually, as they tend to discard less material. Each grit is associated with a number denoting the density of particles. If this number is higher, it means that the grit is finer. By considering this number, you can choose the right grit for the tool to be sharpened.
Types: Modern stones for sharpening are usually oil or water stones, which means they need water or oil for lubrication. However, if you use water, you cannot later switch to water if the stone is flexible enough to accept both water and oil. Most sharpening stones are from India, Japan, and Arkansas.
Nowadays, artificial and composite sharpening materials are commonly used and are usually composed of aluminium oxide (most traditional) that lubricates in soil or water. They are less expensive than the actual stones. Other composites might contain diamond dust of industrial grade for quick removal. Below are the stone sharpener types:
- Oil Stone: Is the most affordable type of sharpening stone but has a slower cutting rate. The oil is quite messy but there is no substitute for it if you want an extremely fine finish. Oil stones are usually seen in hardware stores. The Arkansas oil stone is quite popular and comes in various grades such as the Washita (coarsest and very soft due to which it is avoided), hard Arkansas (rare and expensive), and soft Arkansas (finer for having a smooth polished edge). The India stone of aluminium oxide, a manmade one, is more popular for extremely fine finish with a quicker cut.
- Water Stone: Is a better option than an oil stone if your priority is quick cuts and easy cleanup. However, the construction material, aluminium oxide, is very abrasive and soft due to which it will wear away more rapidly. So, you need to flatten it quite often. Water stones are made up of natural or synthetic materials but the natural ones are costlier and rarer to find.
- Diamond Stone/Plate: Is more spotless to use with its flat surface, as it does not need oiling. Even cleaning such a stone is easy, as it needs only a wire brush that discards shavings and small particles. Such stones are becoming popular due to their ability to cut quickly and prevent recession in the sharpening surface. The durable diamond material has a metal plate holding micro-sized diamonds in it, with or without surface holes. The ones with holes are more popular and capable of sharpening more effectively as well as quickly. While you can use the stone dry or wet, it is best to use it wet, as it prevents the diamond abrasive from weighing up with the removed particles.
- Natural Stone: Is the most form of sharpening stone used widely in ancient Europe and Japan. Using a good quality natural stone is much more satisfactory than other options but is also more expensive due to very few operative mines. Natural stones tend to give a lasting edge due to random grits that result in serration of various sizes, each exhausting at a different pace. You can consider such a stone for sharpening the Japanese knives having a single bevel. For an affordable deal, you can use a natural stone with water.
- Synthetic Stone: In gaining more popularity than natural stones and is usually made up of fused aluminium grit perched in resin. While a few synthetics demand water soak before use, the rest just need a splash. You will find different synthetic stones, including soft steel or firm steel. Consider using a synthetic water stone for western style steel knives. However, some will work nicely on the traditional, single-sided, Japanese edges.
- Ceramic Stone: Is a modern alternative but an early substitute for a natural sharpening stone. Interestingly, you can find them as long rods or sticks with handle giving a look of sharpening steels or as pre-angled notches via which the knife is pulled. Just like stone, ceramic is manufactured using minerals but tend to possess a less porous texture due to which you need to soak it for a few minutes for saturating the pores. Thus, it offers a more consistent as well as smoother sharpening surface. Because differences in the ceramic quality are vast, you need to be quite vigilant while buying one. A few are extremely soft, while some are quite hard. Because all knife steels tend to differ, you need to choose a ceramic stone that shall work better with your knife. Ceramic stones are suggested for single edged knives.
If you go by the name, you will consider a sharpening steel for sharpening a steel blade. Well, that’s a misnomer because a sharpening steel is preferable only for honing blades.
Sharpening steels started their journey as hardened steel rods that are even harder than the blade that needs sharpening. These rods were used to disrupt the surface for the purpose of abrasion, which was only helpful for reshaping the edge metal or light honing.
As a result, sharpening steels are now used for a knife’s upkeep, and not for sharpening a dull edge. For the latter, an electric sharpener or a sharpening stone is used.
A sharpening steel is a long, narrow steel or ceramic rod, which alleviates the much contact with the blade to avoid removing much material. Thus, it is not ideal for sharpening a dull edge. The rod distorts and realigns a blade to gain the original shape. Thus, it is vital to use the rod instantly prior to and after using the knife.
Such rods are quite analogous to sharpening stones, in the sense that the actual sharpening part is affixed to a handle that needs to be comfortable for use. Despite easy design, it takes some time and experience to master the art of using these rods. Above all, you need to select the appropriate angle carefully, or else, the blade is likely to get damaged. You may get a deformed blade at the end.
Cuts: While the main job is honing, a steel rod with a certain style or cut can do minor sharpening. Below are the four common cuts with minimal differences:
- Normal cut steels (popular) but are harsher than ceramic ones
- Diamond steels with a layer of diamond abrasives (much like diamond sharpening stones), which are also capable of grinding and recommended for advanced users, as they can affect the blade quality with scratches, if not used with caution
- Combination cut featuring a blend of a rough surface for light sharpening and smooth surface for honing
- Ceramic cut with ceramic material for minor sharpening for finer edge or grinding (1500 grit rating enough for sufficiently sharp edge in up to eight strokes without removing blade metal)
Choosing one of these cuts actually depends on your budget and preference for the sharpening option. It is recommended using a sharpening steel rod with a corresponding knife brand, as manufacturers offer such sharpeners for honing their knives.
Grits/Grit Rating: This is similar to sand paper and gives you an idea of the exact edge type you will get. A finer grit means a smoother finished edge.
Ideal for: Pocket and survival knives demanding long life span but not for blunt blades or thinning knives
Overall Pros and Cons of Manual Options
Pros: Simple, fully flexible, diverse range, low maintenance due to no moving parts, ability to sharpen a blade of any length
Cons: Possibility of expensiveness, needs some practice to sharpen at a constant angle, time as well as effort consuming
Manual Sharpener Systems
Leaving stones aside, you can choose a manual sharpener system that too has a stone as a sharpening material. Such a system is designed to retain a constant angle while sharpening, which is a pretty significant plus point.
If the angle is not constant, the resultant sharpness might be less. Further, the level of sharpness at different sections might vary noticeably. These systems usually come with some angle and guide rod specifications for safely retaining the angle at a constant level.
Ideal for: Sharpening at a constant angle, only for small knives but needs some practice time
Pros: Simple, uniform angle, no external power, some flexibility, different set of angles, wide range, low maintenance due to lesser moving parts, easier to learn
Cons: Expensive stones if from a foreign site, labor intensive but not as stones, stone replacement, risk of scratching due to the clamping system although preventable with adhesive tape
Manual Pull through Sharpener Systems
Another option is manual pull through sharpener that demands pulling action from you to draw the blade via the sharpening section (grinding wheels). Several of these units come with different grits in one.
While coarse and fine stages are common, you can choose a model with up to four stages. However, pull through systems have a fixed angle due to which flexibility is limited. Further, the manufacturers do not, many times, state the angle.
Consider this system if you have no time in mastering the sharpening skill with a stone or guess the right sharpening angle. Such systems have single or multiple small grinding wheels with a coarse or fine grit. The outcome is usually of lower quality than that of a stone or rod, as it a moderately jagged edge with sharpness lasting for a short period.
Still, you can expect a good touch by straightening the microscopic teeth to retain the blade in a superb condition without much effort. With our pull-through sharpeners, you’re able to set the precise angle of the blade to ensure a sharp and consistent edge every time. These manual sharpeners are perfect for kitchen knives, but also work well with pocket knives and other types.
Ideal for: Soft edges due to fast and a bit rough handling of these systems, not for really sharp knives or for thinning
Pros: Compact, no external power, uniform angle, low maintenance, simple to use, easier to learn, less time for touch up, ability to sharpen blades of common length
Cons: Slower in case of only one stage, expensive, not for machete knives, not lasting due to which sharper angle is required, few selection of stones
Electric Knife Sharpeners
For kitchen uses, it is said that an electric sharpener is a more comfortable choice. This is because they are capable of applying the right angle on their own as well as are safer to use. Such sharpeners typically have two or three grits or stages, ranging from fine to coarse. Every time, it is not mandatory to use all stages available. However, such models sharpen very dull edges, more swiftly.
Several such sharpeners employ diamond plates for sharpening. Such units are superb, as diamond is among the hardest substances on the planet. Other models use ceramic or titanium.
Just as sharpening stones, these sharpeners also need maintenance but the actions to be taken tend to differ. You need to clean an electric sharpener manually quite often. Some units may come with a self-cleaning mode.
Ideal for: Kitchen knives due to fast results and easy to use but not for thinning
Pros: Quick, uniform angle, low maintenance
Cons: Needs external power, few stone collections for these systems, much material loss, not reliable after some point of knife’s life
It is obvious that electric models are more popular than manual stones and manual systems. So, which type is best for your knives? Well, the answer to this depends on the buying factors explained below and the ability of a sharpener type to handle your knives in the way you prefer.
|Precision||Unsure||Somewhat||Very Much||Accurate but only with skill|
|Steel Damage||Yes, tempering||No||No||No|
|Fixed Angle||Usually Yes||Yes||No||No|
How to Choose the Best Knife Sharpener ?
Now that you know about the different types of knife sharpeners, it does not mean that you are prepared to go forward and select your knife sharpener. Well, you need to consider some more factors to select the right type of sharpener with suitable features and functionality.
Factor 1 – Types of Knives:
Which knives do you use in the kitchen? If you know this, you know which sharpener is better for you. While all sharpeners are capable of sharpening knives with straight edges, only some are capable of handling serrated ones. Because serrated knives break down more gradually, you might not need a special sharpener if you do not use it heavily. You will need a special sharpener for sport or Asian-style knives having edge narrower than a normal kitchen knife. Moreover, if you are choosing an electric or manual sharpener, it is essential to know that some models (regardless of the type) might end up over grinding the knife. This can result in a reduced lifespan of its blade, chipping, and/or warping. To control this issue, consider a sharpener that does not emit much heat and is metal-friendly, especially if your knife is expensive.
Factor 2 – Your Patience:
If this is not much within you, an electric sharpener is the best deal. A sharpening stone usually has a long learning curve, although it is easy to use.
Factor 3 – Your Need for Speed:
Consider how you would like your sharpener to work in terms of speed. Is it so that you need to get the job done in seconds? Or is it that you wish to save? Each sharpener performs at a different pace. If you need something that works speedier, a pull-through or electric sharpener is ideal. Actually, both are quicker than their competitors.
Factor 4 – Type of Blade Bevel
Also known as the grind, the bevel refers to the shape of the blade’s edge. This shape usually tends to differ widely depending on what you will be using the knife. In simple words, the shape is dependent on the desired sharp and strength of the blade.
It is essential to know the bevel type, as this will help in choosing the right kind of knife sharpener. There are some common types of bevels to check out in your knives. However, they are by no means the only options and that a few of them are also mixed to produce new bevels. Here are the most common bevels:
- Convex: Has an outwardly twisting taper that aims to retain more metal at the rear of the edge. This makes the blade stronger while yet retaining an average level of sharpness. Most cleavers have this kind of bevel. Such a bevel of the edge needs an expert hand on a sharpening stone.
- Hollow: Has an inward taper, which is just in contrast of the convex bevel. This kind of bevel gives an extremely sharp edge but it is quite fragile. Such a bevel is usually found on straight razors.
- Flat: Has a taper starting at the blade’s spine. Such a bevel is quite sharp but is difficult to create due to the quantity of metal to be discarded. This is the reason why such a bevel type is limited in its commercial use.
- Chisel: Features one side as ground down and the other as completely flat. Such a bevel offers a very sharp edge due to which it is usually seen on Asian cooking knives. Depending upon the side on which the bevel exists, left- and right-handed options are also available.
- Double/Compound: Is usually seen on Western kitchen knives and is much popular. Another back bevel is added over the edge bevel to boost the cutting ability of the blade and retain it thinner. Although not much sharp as other types, the double bevel is admired for its resilience as well as strength.
- V/Sabre: Is much like a flat bevel but with a taper that starts around the blade’s middle area and not from the spine. This kind of bevel is seen on different types of kitchen knives, as it gives a lasting edge. However, this benefit is achieved at the cost of ability to make the best cut.
Factor 5 – Blade Angle
The angle measurement refers to the angle to which a blade’s side is sharpened. In reality, a blade believed to be sharpened at a 15 degree angle possesses a whole angle of 30 degrees. The most ordinary angle is 20 degrees in case of kitchen knives although a few makers design their models with an angle of 15 degrees.
As a rule of thumb, the greater the angle of blade, the more durable as well as stronger is the blade. However, this comes at the cost of reduced sharpness. So, the more the angle, the less is the sharpness. Thus, you need to know the angle for sharpening the blade frequently or non-frequently. Below are some common ranges of degrees to consider and find for your knife:
- 12-18: Are for knives that are designed to be very sharp, such as paring. As the angles result in a weaker blade, they usually are considered for models that are designed to perform much of fine slicing. An angle below this range is specifically used for razors.
- 18-25: Are mostly found on several kitchen knives, in fact, on majority of it. The angles in this range make up for a subtle balance between durability and sharpness required for cutting cheeses, fruits, and veggies. These angles are common on Chef’s knives.
- 25-30: Are commonly seen on many types of outdoor utility knives, such as pocket models. This is because these knives should be able to cut and slice in difficult situations, which kitchen knives do not tend to experience so usually. So, such knives have a large blade angle.
- 30-35: Are usually seen on cleavers and blades that are specifically designed for chopping. This is because chopping needs much more force than expected and that such large angles deliver the required durability as well as strength to chop consistently.
Factor 6 – Type of Knife
This is mostly Japanese or Western style. Japanese knives were traditionally constructed to have a single bevel, indicating that the edge is sharpened only on a single side. Due to this bevel, the bevel angle is usually sharper and smaller.
A few Japanese models posses a bevel angle of just 5 to 6 degrees. So, for these knives, you need a sharpener that sharpens only one side at a time or else the edge is likely to be ruined.
Japanese knives are also designed using harder steel than the steel used for Western equivalents. Further, they are usually flat along the edge, which is another vital factor to consider while sharpening.
Due to such design, the Japanese style knives are efficient enough to give more blade region to come in contact with the cutting food. This also indicates using a different method of blade pulling via the sharpener.
On the other hand, Western/European style knives, especially German ones are famous for their efficient shape and function. However, unlike Japanese knives, these models tend to possess a symmetrical bevel. This indicates that both the sides of blade are sharpened.
The overall angle is determined by the united angle of both edges. A majority of Western style knives possess angles between 18 and 28 degrees. It is also common to possess factory angles over 20, which is actually significantly more than the Japanese style counterparts.
Another point to consider is that Western knives are made up of softer steel, which means more quantity of it is used for the purpose of strength. Well, the benefit of this steel is high durability. However, the softer steel increases the chances of damage in the form of dings and dents on the edge due to heavy use. However, with the right sharpening technique or techniques, it is possible to restore these knives quickly to their actual sharpness.
A majority of Western style knives possess some kind of curve along the blade due to which you can put more pressure to a particular blade area. While this is essential for cutting dense stuff, it also means that you need to pull the blade along this curve via a sharpener for sharpening it nicely.
In short, you need to know the whether your knife is single or double beveled for the sake of choosing the right type of sharpener.
Factor 7 – Angle Selection
Most Japanese knife makers use a lower angle for more sharpness and harder steel. On the other hand, Western blades have higher angle and softer steel. If you have both the types of knives, it is essential to choose a knife sharpener that allows you to the set different sharpening angles.
This is essential to extend as well as preserve the blade’s lifespan. Because the knives are designed to perform at its factory bevel angles, it is wise and, in fact, best to retain them at those angles.
Factor 8 – Number of Stages
This does not only apply to electric sharpeners, as the basics of sharpening remain unchanged. In the first stage, any imperfections or damages are grounded to form a consistent surface to have a clean edge. Now, this is something that not many sharpeners tend to offer. So, just keep it in mind, especially if you are looking for a sharpener for your severely damaged blades.
In the second stage, a less coarse stone lifts a burr that finally turns into the cutting edge. When it is the matter of doing regular or simple blade maintenance, this is the stage you usually can start with. Finally, you start with the stropping stage wherein you polish the burr and retain a sharp edge.
Factor 9 – Sharpening Space:
A manual sharpener is ideal if you have a small space for sharpening. On the contrary, an electric version need more space.
Factor 10 – Budget:
Usually, there are several manual sharpeners that are cheaper than their electric counterparts. They also cost less to perform and maintain, due to no moving parts that can easily malfunction at some time or the other. You also do not lose on durability aspect if you invest in a manual sharpener.
Factor 11 – Noise Level:
Well, for those who do not know, a few electric sharpeners are noisy. There is some kind of scraping sound of blade, which can be more annoying to some people. In manual sharpeners, this sound is not so problematic. So, if noise bothers you, check for its level in the promising electric sharpeners.
Factor 12 – Working with Left Hand:
If you are left-handed, you need a dexterous model that can adapt itself to your hands without making you lose on comfort and safety aspects. Well, the good news is that several manual and electric sharpeners are usable even with left hand. However, just ensure that while buying, as some are specifically for right-handers.
Qualities of Best Knife Sharpeners
- Superb Sharpness and Performance: The most reliable test of sharpness is to use a knife to slice a tomato. If the knife is nicely sharpened, it should be able to penetrate into the skin of a tomato without any effort. A sharpener’s most critical quality is its ability to give a steadily sharp yet edge without making any scratches.
- Precise and Flexible Angle Guide: A few knife sharpeners allow even a naïve to position blade at the right angle. However, the rest models require all its users to practice a bit. The best sharpener has the best angle guides that are adaptable to embrace several blade angles, specifically 15 and 20 degrees. These two are the most common angles for kitchen knives.
- Abrasive and Hard Surface: Of all the sharpening materials, diamond is the hardest one due to which it is also the fasted performer. Second, polished ceramic and tungsten carbide are placed in the race. Abrasiveness is a measurement in number of grits. The greater is this number, the finer is the abrasive. Thus, a material of 800-grit is very fine and 120-grit is very coarse.
- Multiple Stages of Sharpening: You at least need two stages: Coarse material for redesigning the really dull or damaged edges and while finer material for polishing and touch ups. You cannot use coarse material for touch-ups, as doing so discards too much steel.
- Proper Safety: Usually, it is easy to sharpen without scraping your fingers. In manual sharpeners, this is ensured by inserting a physical blockade between the blade and fingers. Electric knife sharpeners rely on slots to escort the knife into the targeted belt, and not into your fingers.
- Good Warranty: This is much needed for an electric sharpener that should also offer prompt and satisfactory customer service.
5 Best Knife Sharpeners for Pocket/Survival Knives
You will also come across pocket sharpeners, which are of pocket size and flat. Due to their size, these small sharpeners do not facilitate retaining a steady angle while sharpening. Still, these sharpeners are good because it is easier to move them around, unlike several other sharpeners.
Some models are highly portable, as they have a travel pocket or a key ring for the same. The full-sized flat sharpeners are ideal for ensuring sharpening precision.
You can use pocket sharpeners, apart from other types of sharpeners, for sharpening your pocket/survival knives. However, while choosing a sharpener of such a knife, it is wise to consider performance, as to how effectively the tool will sharpen the blade. The most effective one will never chip off the edge too fast.
Similarly, you should consider the precision of sharpening process. Each knife requires some amount of sharpness for being effective. Because the owners of such knives prefer sitting and sharpening manually, a manual sharpener is much more preferred for survival and pocket knives.
Still, the decision to choose the right sharpener for pocket/survival knives is dependent on the type of knife you have. For example, the buck knife should not be handled by a power-driven grinding wheel of a sharpener, as it burns or damages the blade. So, here are top 3 sharpeners for pocket or survival knives:
Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic:
Is perhaps the cheapest and the most portable option for sharpening all outdoor knives, regardless of them having a straight or serrated edge. It is a full sharpening kit with four different features: Diamond tapered rod for quick upkeep and overhaul, tungsten carbide that restores an edge in just three or four strokes, ceramic sharpening rods for polishing a finished edge, and a serrated sharpener to reach up to the smallest serrations.
Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone Sharpening System:
Is capable of sharpening all knives easily with its latest sharpening technology available at some more dollars than the aforementioned Lansky model. The set offers five sharpening hones, each with a different coarseness, finger groves for safety, and color code, catering to the sharpening needs of all kitchen, garden, and hobby knives. The coarseness options are extra-coarse, fine aluminium oxide, coarse, medium, and extra-fine ceramic. You also get a controlled-angle mechanism with flexible angle options ranging from 17 to 30 degrees. The set also comes with precision clamp, guide rods, custom-molded carrying case, and honing oil.
Gerber Bear Grylls Field Sharpener [31-001270]:
Is cheaper than the Deluxe 5-stone system but demands a bit more than the Blade Medic one. It features a rugged and reliable construction, which is suitable for sharpening military, survival, industrial, and other knives. It is pocket-sized and portable manual sharpener featuring fie ceramic and coarse carbide grits for handling fine blades along with two rod-like diamond-coated mechanisms for serrated blades. The handle is also quite grippy and safe to hold, due to rubber construction.
Smith’s 50364 Pocket Pal X2 Sharpener & Survival Tool:
Is more affordable than the Gerber Bear Grylls. It features a tapered diamond rod for grinding serrations and hooks, carbide grit for rapidly setting the edge, and ceramic finishing slot for finishing the edge. The included preset sharpening angles ensure you good results. It comes with a fire starter, Led light, single whistle, and a compass.
KME Knife Sharpening System (Standard Stone Kit):
Is the costliest one but is also versatile. The kit offers a typical stone kit with rod guide, spring knob, stainless steel guide rod, angle adjustment scale and knob, cherry wood pistol grip, and stone retainer. It has four sharpening stones each for fine, medium, coarse, and extra coarse grit. It is best for knifes that have gut hook and serrations, which are usually toughest to sharpen.
5 Best Knife Sharpeners for Kitchen Knives
Is small, portable, compact, easy to use, and perhaps even the most affordable one in this list. It comes with crossed ceramic rods (fine) and carbide blades (coarse) holding sharpening angles that take care of right sharpening angle every time. Coarse material offers swift edge setting ability, while the fine material in rods ensures final edge honing. The sharpener also features V-grip bottom for using it on a table edge or countertop, soft grip handle of rubber for stability, and non-slip rubber feet. Well, it is not for serrated blades.
Is also affordable but a bit costlier than the above model. It is designed as per North American electrical standards, which makes this model quite reliable at an affordable price. It features two-stage sharpening system that can handle all non-serrated blades to give out professional outcome. You get a highly sharp edge in a few seconds via its Sapphirite wheels, the very hard material that professional shops tend to use. The precision guides take care of the right sharpening angle every time. The first stage precision grinding is responsible for forming a rightly angled edge.
Chef’s Choice 320 Diamond Hone:
Is an electric, multi-stage unit that is versatile enough to give a 20-degree edge for American and European style knives and a 15-degree edge to an Asian knife. It is also reliable for serrated blades, fine-edge blades, Santukos, sports knives, single-bevel blades, and pocket knives. The sharpener has as three-stage system and precise guides for successful operation. It comes with pure diamond abrasives and flexible discs, durable construction, and stabilizing feet. However, this one is expensive.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Stone Pro Sharpening Stone:
Is a double-sided stone meant specifically for sharpening Zwilling J.A. Henckels knives of carbon and steel blades. The dark side is for restoring the shape, while the light side is for normal sharpening. There is no need of soaking this stone. It features 250/1000 grit for medium and rough fine sharpening. There is also a rubber feet for steady sharpening.
Chef’s Choice 1520:
Is the costliest one in this list and also versatile enough to handle American, Asian, and European style knives for restoring both 15 degree and 20 degree angles on respective knives. It features pure diamond abrasives and flexible discs forming a gothic arch known for its superb sharpness and durability.
The best knife sharpener is the one that is functionally flexible as well as durable for the price that you have paid for it. There is no single unit that is the best for all. It all depends on one’s requirements and budget.
We strongly advise you to go through our reviews of different knife sharpeners so as to compare and choose the most promising ones as per your needs and preferences. While doing so, do consider the aforementioned factors and qualities of the best knife sharpener.