LAST UPDATED: October 11, 2019
Best Knife Sharpening Systems: Sharpen Edges and Points
Slice, cut, and chop more precisely with these knife sharpening systems
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PUBLISHED ON October 11, 2019
Over time, knives become dull, which compromises their efficiency and precision. However, there is a way to make them sharp and like-new again. The best knife sharpening system allows you to sharpen a knife anywhere and in no time at all. Whether you’re camping, using a survival knife or Swiss Army Knife, or simply cooking in the kitchen, here are the best knife sharpening systems to use.
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Benefits of Knife Sharpening Systems
- Sharpen knives. As the term suggests, knife sharpening systems are meant to sharpen dull knives and give them a sharp edge. However, modern sharpening systems are far more advanced and easier to use than they were ages ago. Although modern knife sharpening systems still make use of the grinding method, the material they are made of and the technology they operate on allow for easier use and faster results.
- Maintain the quality of knives. Even the finest and most durable stainless steel wears out due to constant use, so having a handy knife sharpening system can truly make a difference when it comes to maintaining the tiptop condition of your knives. With knife sharpening systems, your knives will always be as good as new. In addition, there won't be a need for you to buy new knives anytime soon.
- Repair damaged knife edges. Not only are knife sharpening systems capable of sharpening dull knives, they are also made to repair damaged knife edges and points. Chipped knife edges and bent knife points do not require professional help if you have a reliable knife sharpening systems at home, which saves you a lot of money and time.
Types of Knife Sharpening Systems
Electric sharpeners are knife sharpeners that are probably the easiest to use. Just plug them in and turn them on, and its sharpening stones will start spinning. All you have to do is insert your knife through the slots to sharpen it to your desired sharpness. These knife sharpeners also come with a guide to get that perfect angle.
Just like electric sharpeners, handheld sharpeners are easy to use but have fewer slots. But despite the limited number of knives they can sharpen at the same time, their size and manual operating method make them ideal for road and camping trips. In using handheld sharpeners, you can either draw the knife through a slot or draw them down to the knife's blade.
Sharpening stones are the most basic and common type of knife sharpening system. There are three subtypes: Arkansas, India, and Crystolon. Arkansas stone sharpeners are made of Novaculite and can have fine to coarse grit types. India stone sharpeners are made of aluminum oxide and are meant for fine sharpening. Crystolon stone sharpeners are made of silicon carbide and are ideal for initial coarse sharpening.
There are four common cuts of honing steel: regular, diamond, combination, and ceramic. These cuts only differ in material and price, but they are all used in honing knives rather than sharpening them. Regular cuts are the most common of all the cuts and are made of sharpening steel. Diamond cuts have diamond abrasives. Combination cuts have smooth and rough surfaces. Ceramic cuts specializes in aligning knife blades.
Serrated Knife Sharpeners
Serrated knife sharpeners are highly-specialized sharpeners. They are used for knives with odd blade shapes, such as a bread knife. With these sharpeners, there is less possibility of damaging your knives, so make sure to consider this feature before buying a knife sharpener. Checking the literature that comes with knife sharpeners can also help you select the best system.
Chef'sChoice by EdgeCraft is one of the leading knife sharpener brands in America. Its knife sharpeners are known for their top quality and premier technology since 1985. One of its best knife sharpeners is theChefsChoice 15 Trizor XV EdgeSelect Professional Electric Knife Sharpener. Aside from knife sharpeners, they also offer countertop appliances such as waffle makers, egg cookers, and kettles.
Lansky Sharpeners is home to premium professional knife sharpeners. It specializes in creating controlled-angle knife sharpening systems that will help you achieve your desired bevel. Lansky has a wide range of knife sharpening products that can be used in the kitchen, outdoors, and even in shops and business. It also offers utility and hunting knives for those who are always on the go. Check out one of its top products—theLansky Four-Stone Deluxe Diamond Knife Sharpening System.
Since 1886, Smith's has been providing the public with tools and equipment for various purposes such as fishing, camping, hiking, hunting, and archery. Among these tools and equipment is knife sharpening systems. Smith's boasts top-of-the-line knife sharpeners that are also budget-friendly. Among these knife sharpeners is the Smith's CCKS Two-Step Knife Sharpener.
Knife Sharpening System Pricing
- Under $30: Within this price range, you can find decent and quality knife sharpening systems. You can get portable knife sharpening systems that may not have the most sophisticated technology but can still get the job done.
- $30-$130: This price range can be a bit hard on your wallet, but you can get knife sharpening systems that do more than just sharpen your knives. They can also reprofile your knives in addition to doing your weekly touchups.
- $130 and above: This price range includes premium and high-quality professional knife sharpening systems that are built with speed motors and a wide variety of grits. They can easily and quickly sharpen, reprofile, and refine your knives without exerting a lot of effort.
Knives can normally be sharpened to a 20-degree angle. However, when buying a knife sharpening system, consider its ability to do custom sharpening angles for your specialty knives.
Depending on what kitchen tools you have, you can choose from a variety of knife sharpening systems that are capable of sharpening and honing ceramic knives, scissors, cleavers, and knives with long and short blades.
Manual Versus Electric
Electric knife sharpeners are easier to use than manual ones, but without careful handling you might do your knives more harm than good. Manual sharpeners, on the other hand, require you to have the necessary skills in using them but are easily controlled, minimizing the possibility of damaging your knives.
- Ease of Use. If you are a novice at knives and knife sharpening, it would be better to choose a knife sharpening system that has a blade guide and adjustable guides.
- Material and Quality. Industrial-grade materials offer more abrasive and superior qualities for better performance and longevity. However, know that they also cost more money.
- Safety. For safety, consider knife sharpening systems that have non-slip and stability features to avoid accidents. Make sure that they have features that can protect your hands.
Best Knife Sharpening System Reviews & Recommendations 2019
This sharpening system is a two-sided 1,000- or 6,000-grit that has a non-slip bamboo base and angle guide. It is made of premium-quality materials that last a long time.
With this sharpening system, safety is the highest priority. Its non-slip bamboo base ensures that the system locks in place while sharpening. It also has an angle guide that helps you apply the right pressure on the blade. This sharpener is versatile and can sharpen nearly any blade. Moreover, it is easy to use, especially by novice knife handlers.
This knife sharpener would be perfect if not for the missing instructions on how to use the angle guide. Moreover, its 6,000 grit can be a bit soft and chalky to the touch, which can be distracting to users.
This Work Sharp knife sharpening system is an American-made durable and compact sharpener that features diamond plates, ceramic rods, leather strop, and sharpening guides.
It is a multipurpose knife sharpener that does a variety of tasks at a relatively inexpensive price. Its broad head wrench speeds up sharpening outdoors or out in the wild. The rotating ceramic rod has fine, coarse, and grooved surfaces that can be used for sharpening fish hooks. If you want a complete sharpening solution, this knife sharpening system has five abrasive steps that can help you achieve it.
However, you shouldn't use a lubricant with this system because it is already difficult to hold on to. The lubricant may make it more slippery. In addition, you should leave the sharpening of large knives to other knife sharpening systems.
The Lansky 4-Stone Deluxe Diamond System includes extra-coarse, coarse, medium, and fine hones. This sharpening system is perfect for kitchen, hobby, outdoor, and gardening knives. The custom-molded carrying case makes it easy to transport and includes multi-lingual instructions. This sharpening system also comes with a specially formulated honing oil, knife clamp, and color-coated grooved safety holders.
The system includes extra-long knife clamp screws to hold it in place while in use and one guide rod for each honing stone. The controlled-angle sharpening system includes 17-degree, 20-degree, 25-degree, and 30-degree angle options.
One thing to be aware of is you should only use a limited amount of the honing oil, as it can cause a large mess in your work area. Also, be careful with the guide rods because they are susceptible to bending under pressure.
The Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener is a versatile and simple-to-use device. Not only is it capable of sharpening your blunt knives, but it can also improve the blades on scissors and other types of cutting blades. It comes with premium abrasive grit belts that help to refine the edge on any blade. Plus, the belts are easy to replace.
The tool sharpens knives with three distinct modes—coarse, medium, and fine—without damaging the steel during the sharpening process. Whether it’s a kitchen knife or an outdoor survival knife, the device can sharpen each one to a precise angle. It requires 110 volts and is lightweight, so it can be moved around easily.
However, it will release a lot of dust into the air, so you should wear a mask and eye protection. You should also make sure you use it in a place that's well ventilated and keep it away from children and pets. The dust can also scratch the blades if you are not careful. While that may not be a big deal for kitchen knives, it may impact the value of collector knives.
Work Sharp returns with another one of its premium knife sharpening systems. This one is designed as a flat belt grinder. The surface is perfect for both curved and straight-edged blades. It’s built with diamond plate pivots that get in between serrated edges and sharpen blades. The angle guides are also interchangeable to achieve more optimum angles and can be flipped from 17 degrees to 20 degrees.
The sharpener is built to handle all types of knives, including serrated knives, fish hooks, and kitchen knives. It’s also designed to be light and can be stowed away in a desk or drawer. Plus, it comes with three ceramic rods—small, medium, and large—for different knives. The plating is held down by powerful magnets as well, so it won’t slide around in the middle of sharpening.
However, you may notice that the coarse and extra coarse diamond plates may wear down quickly. The tool may also leave residue or marks on coated knives—typically ones with a black coat. It is a bit heavier than other models but not overbearingly hefty.
Now on to one of our more standard-looking whetstone-type knife sharpening tools. The BearMoo stone is reasonably priced and can be found in two different styles, depending on your preference. This brown and white combination functions as a dual-sided knife sharpening stone for convenience and versatility.
The coarse side provides 3,000 grit and is best for making edges sharp. The 8,000-grit fine side is perfect for finishing blades and polishing the edges to make the knife look brand new again. It’s ideal for sharpening kitchen knives, shears, precision tools, garden tools, and basically anything with a blade. It also features a non-slip silicone base to reduce the risk of the knife accidentally slipping off of the pad.
However, like with other sharpening systems, you may see leftover residue or scratches on your tools and knives. This is largely the result of using the 8,000-grit side. Also, the grit stone may be less than advertised and may not leave your knife with the sheen you want. That being said, it is still a great tool for sharpening just about anything.
This kitchen countertop knife sharpening system is designed with two settings to sharpen dull knives. A coarse setting is built to handle blunted or damaged knives, while the fine option polishes blades and for quick touch-ups for already sharpened knives. It’s a small and compact device that can sit in the cabinet or be stored away in a drawer for quick and easy use.
It features carbide blades that are capable of quickly sharpening edges and ceramic rods designed for final edge honing. Plus, with its non-slip base, you get enhanced stability and grip with the rubber handle. This ensures that it doesn’t slide around and knives stay in place.
While it will leave knives with a sharper edge, you won’t get as detailed an edge as you would with a whetstone or sharpening rock. It may also leave quite a bit of metal behind after you sharpen less-expensive and less-durable knives.
The most compact and lightweight tool on our list, the Lansky BladeMedic works like a pocket knife for sharpening knives. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket or camping bag and can be carried around with you, making it extra convenient. It’s designed as a field repair sharpener and can be grabbed in an instant.
It works with standard, serrated, gut hooks, and fillet knives, making it a versatile option. And while it's cheap its price doesn’t weaken its design or functionality. The sharpener is developed out of durable carbide, ceramic, diamond plates, and tungsten. All it takes to sharpen your knives in the wild is a few strokes against the ceramic.
While it won’t be nearly as effective as a traditional whetstone, it will get you through a camping trip. It may also not last as long as larger sharpening devices.
- Make sure the base is sturdy and secure before using a knife sharpening system to avoid accidents or harm.
- Take it slow when using a knife sharpening kit to ensure you don’t potentially cut yourself.
- If you want the best edge and point on your knife, consider using a 4,000 grit to sharpen and hone the blade. While there are higher grit choices, 4,000 is considered a fine stone and provides a nice polish and finish to the material.
Q: What is the difference between grit on a knife sharpening system?
A: Grit less than 1,000 is designed to repair knives with chipped edges. Grit between 1,000 and 3,000 is used to sharpen dull knives. Finishing stones have grit between 4,000 and 8,000 and are designed to refine the edge of a knife.
Q: What is the oil used for when sharpening knives?
A: The oil is used as a cleaning agent for the whetstone and alumina oxide sharpeners. It’s also designed to make sure the stones don’t crack under pressure. Never use oil on diamond coating. When in doubt, consult the sharpener’s guide.
Q: How often should I sharpen a knife?
A: This depends on how often it is used and how dull it is. The general rule is to sharpen a knife once for every two hours of use. However, this will vary due to the type of knife you use. Carbon steel knives should be honed after each use, while stainless steel ones can be sharpened every two to four uses. Always check the guidebook with the sharpening kit to see what it recommends.
To leave your knives sharp and pointed, consider the Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone System.
Or save some cash and check out the Work Sharp Guided Field Knife Sharpener System for an easy-to-use knife sharpening kit.