Last updated: August 23rd 2016
An electric knife sharpener is a kitchen appliance used by chefs to sharpen their knives. Before they existed, usually the knives were sharped by using traditional sharpening stones or other non-electric devices.
It’s an important kitchen item. Gourmands typically appreciate haute cuisine and all essential food preparation tools, such as ultra-convenient modern knife honing equipment. Yet even part-time foodies will find a knife sharpener vital once this item becomes a regular part of their kitchen ware.
One of these appliances sitting nearby ensures cooks can chop, dice, slice and cut ingredients with precision. It helps keep blades sharp, so a keen and well-maintained edge will reduce the nasty accidents that sometimes plague food prepared wielding dull knives.
In this document you’ll find 4 electric knife sharpener reviews that will show you the pros and cons of each one. Of course, some machines are better than others, and this in-depth article will help you make your mind on which is the perfect one for you. After finishing reading this extensive guide, you’ll be able to pick the best electric knife sharpener for your kitchen needs.
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This kitchen tool really deserves a respected place among extremely useful home and kitchen goods. Its history and features also make this product an interesting invention.
This guide will also be useful for you if you already have one of these machines in your kitchen, but want to upgrade it with a better electric knife sharpener.
Just in case this is the first time you listen about them, it would be better for you first to know how to use one of these knife sharpeners. Don’t have a knife yet? Check our latest guide on how to choose the perfect knife for you.
Top 4 Best Electric Knife Sharpeners 2016 Comparison Table
A Fascinating Past
The roots of the modern electric knife sharpener stretch back thousands of years. Knife sharpening stones likely played a prominent role in many human cultures during ancient times. The importance of keeping blades sharp caused some early peoples to use rocks to help maintain knives and other implements.
How to sharpen a knife using sharpening stones
Whetstones for sharpening knives come in a variety of grades. The very coarse 220 grit stone is good for chip repairing. The 1000-1500 grit stone is good for standard sharpening of dull blades. A finer 4000 grit stone is good for polishing a knife’s edge to a fine sharpness for everyday uses. An extremely fine graded 6000-8000 stone is best for an ultra-fine edge for specialty uses like slicing fish.
To sharpen your knife, first submerge the whetstone in room temperature water until it’s saturated. It should take about 5 to 7 minutes. When you are done soaking the whetstone, allow it to stay wet on the surface and don’t wipe off any muddy build up as this will help grind the blade edge of your knife.
As you slide the edge of your blade repeatedly over the whetstone one side and then the other, focus on keeping it at a 20 degree angle or at 17 degrees for sushi knives until you achieve the sharpness you desire. Move up to a finer grade stone as needed for the desired edge.
Today, “whetstones” and “sharpening stones” still play a prominent role in many fine dining establishments. Chefs strap the blades across the surface of these useful sharpening tools periodically to keep the metal edges honed to a fine edge. Yet the development of electric motors offered additional ways to keep kitchen knives sharp.
After World War II, many Americans flocked to purchase more convenient kitchen appliances. Electric knife sharpeners reportedly played a prominent role in this consumer movement.
Just as numerous households in rural areas replaced “ice boxes” with modern refrigerators and fire-burning hearths with electric stoves during the prosperous post-WWII Era, marketers promoted the sale of automated kitchen tools, too: egg beaters, toasters and knife sharpening equipment attracted many households tired of the privations and frugalities of the Great Depression and the War years.
What is an electric knife sharpener?
Sharpening a knife with an electric sharpener is a little different. Electric sharpeners typically sharpen in 3 stages with diamond abrasives as opposed to using a whetstone. They also have guides to ensure that your knife will be evenly sharpened along its entire length.
They can remove chips as well as sharpen various types of knives, including serrated edged knives. It is important when using an electric sharpener to let it do the work for you and to not press hard on the knife for proper operation.
Electric sharpeners will need periodic cleaning to remove metal shaving but are otherwise low maintenance.
Electric knife sharpener vs sharpening stones
There are advantages to both knife sharpening techniques. With an electric sharpener the biggest advantage is convenience. The best electric knife sharpener is simple to use regardless of your physical ability, a real plus for people with arthritis or other limitations. Unlike sharpening knives with stones, electric sharpeners require very little effort. Time is another factor to consider. Electric sharpeners are by far the faster option. Add to that their ability to sharpen serrated blades and they are the better choice overall.
However if you have a set of fine knives, say for instance Japanese sushi knives, then you would want the control over quality you would find in whetstone sharpening. For subtle control over the exact angle and polish on a blades edge, sharpening your high end knives on a whetstone simply cannot be beat.
So depending on your purposes and situation, there are advantages to be had in both electric and stone knife sharpening. Its important to note that the best electric knife sharpener can sharpen a knife in just a few minutes. Comparing it to a sharpening stone, the latter take many minutes, even hours to complete a correct knife sharpening. For more comparisons on knife sharpeners, you can take a look at this article on manual versus electric.
Using Electric Knife Sharpeners
Essentially, in most models, a motor powered by electricity turns sharpening surfaces that come into contact with a knife blade as an owner places the blade in a slot that correctly positions the edge. This process may permit the sharpening of these kitchen utensils faster than traditional methods.
Some experts recommend using less high-tech methods for sharpening expensive knives. Numerous chefs have learned to hone blades very accurately using traditional whetstones or river rocks.
Nevertheless, in high-volume environments, where knives dull quickly, electric knife sharpeners enjoy great popularity. They do not require extensive manipulation of the blades.
For this reason, these appliances provide essential assistance in many settings, especially large commercial and institutional kitchens. Amateur cooks appreciate the best electric knife sharpening machines due to their convenience and safety of use.
Chief Features To Look For When Buying The Best Electric Knife Sharpener
In selecting a suitable basic electric knife sharpener, consumers typically consider a variety of issues. These selling points may include:
Size of the unit
The size of your knife sharpener is important. The size of the unit needed depends on the space available and your particular knife sharpening needs. While a larger unit may offer more features, a small compact sharpener will save precious counter and storage space. Most units available take up about as much space as a toaster or blender.
Number of knife blade slots
Multiple blade slots often indicates a multi step sharpening process. The first stage may involve grinding the blade on a hard and abrasive surface. The second and third stages involve smoothing an polishing the blade.
While a unit with just one slot is perfectly functional, a unit with a multi step system is ideal for sharpening may different types of knives. Various slots may also provide for different angles at which to sharpen knives. Certain knives may only be sharpened properly at a specific angle.
Electric knife sharpeners come in all shapes and sizes. The shape and structure of your sharpener can be be important. A handle or grip on one side can provide for ergonomic comfort during sharpening. Some units also have a non-slip base for added safety.
Color of the unit
Most electric sharpeners come in neutral colors like white, black, silver, and beige. This is mostly because knife sharpeners are made to be functional rather fashionable. However, if you’re willing to search, you can find a quality knife sharpener that is also aesthetically pleasing.
Intended use (home or commercial)
The type of electric sharpener you purchase significantly depends on how you intend to use it. A commercial knife sharpener may be of higher quality and offer more features, but it may also be more expensive. A unit intended for household use may offer less features but will be less expensive.
Many manufacturers offer warranties for their electric knife sharpeners. These warranties ensure that if there is any defect with the product you can have it repaired at no cost. Most warranties are about three years for household units.
As with most products, there are dozens of different manufacturers making electric knife sharpeners. Three of the most popular brands are Chef’s Choice, Wusthof and Presto. These brands offer many different units in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices.
If you want a good electric knife sharpener, you should buy from one of those brands.
The price of a unit can vary greatly. A decent electric knife sharpener can cost anywhere between $15 to $20 on the low end, and from $150 to $200 on the high end.
Units on the lower end of the price spectrum are most likely more suitable for household needs, while the more expensive units are intended for a commercial or professional setting. The price you pay depends on your specific knife sharpening needs.
Although the first electric knife sharpening units to fill kitchens in the United States and many other countries proved somewhat pricey, costs have fallen as the invention gained wider popularity. Many early electric knife sharpening machines now appear strikingly “retro” in style.
However, today manufacturers produce a wide assortment of colors, sizes, specialized units and price ranges.
Available electric knife sharpening machines on the consumer marketplace enable extensive design and feature choices. Prices for simple electric knife sharpeners range from the tens to the hundreds of dollars.
Bells And Whistles
Do some electric knife sharpeners possess extra exciting features? Absolutely! If your budget permits, you might want to consider a unit with a little extra pizazz.
What type of special features can purchasers select when they shop for the best electric knife sharpener?
For example, recent advances in materials technology resulted in the production of some “permanently” sharp ceramic-bladed knives.
These very hard blades rarely require sharpening but may sustain damage in some cases. Reportedly, some specialized electric blade-sharpening units employ diamond-coated blades capable of honing even ceramic blades. Other popular tough grinding blades include corundum and tungsten carbide.
Additional specialized features on some units include angled blade slots to produce specific cutting edges on specialized kitchen knives and other tools.
These units typically cost more than ordinary electric knife sharpening equipment, and obviously the best electric knife sharpener has all of these features.
Smith’s Electric Sharpeners
What can take hours to do by hand can be accomplished in minutes with a Smith’s best electric knife sharpener, and to a much more precise degree using rapidly-moving wheels made of abrasive, coarse diamond and ceramic. These sharpeners are quite easy to use: simply insert the knife, turn on the tool, make one or two passes depending on the model through the Coarse and Fine slots, and the job’s done, all without exposing fingers to sharp edges or abrasives and with no risk of detempering or damage. If using a serrated knife, a manual slot can be used to get each point razor-sharp. Advanced models can be adjusted to provide the exact level of sharpening needed for any individual knife, including simple pocket knives for every day use, culinary knives of all shapes and sizes, tactical knives for self-defense, or even custom-made knives that require special care. Smith’s, the Edge Experts, have been developing sharpening tools since 1886, and their name has become synonymous with quality knife care products that will keep knife blades sharp and fit for use for years to come.
Smith’s Adjustable Edge Pro Electric Knife Sharpener
(5 out of 5) Excellent!
For top of the line care, Smith’s Adjustable Edge Pro Electric Knife Sharpener provides unmatched quality at an affordable price. This tool works both sides of a knife simultaneously using interlocking coarse diamond and ceramic wheels that automatically align the blade for a perfect sharpening in little time. In addition to a streamlined design that allows the sharpener to fit perfectly in any kitchen, safety is emphasized through non-slip rubber feet keeping everything steady and a comfortable rubber grip to hold while sharpening.
Smith’s knows that not every knife requires the same care, and with that in mind, they’ve included the easy to use Angle Adjust knob that can provide a razor-sharp blade for delicate cutting or a wider edge for a less precise but longer-lasting knife. For finer control, the manual sharpener has specially-crafted wheels that follow the contour of serrated knives, keeping them sharp without wearing them down. This one could easily be the best electric knife sharpener on the market right now.
Smith’s Diamond Edge Elite Electric Knife Sharpener
(4.5 out of 5) Very good
For knife care on a budget, Smith’s Diamond Edge Elite Electric Knife Sharpener provides high quality sharpening for a very low cost. Interlocking wheels made of coarse diamond and ceramic can provide a uniformly sharp blade with a few simple passes through the the Coarse and Fine slots, with no mess made, no risk of cutting hands or fingers, and no chipping, scratching, or detempering of the steel.
Thanks to carefully-designed guides inside the tool, blades are automatically positioned for a consistent and easy sharpening, but a manual sharpening feature allows for honing serrated blades safely, enhancing the edge on any knife and sharpening both sides simultaneously (this feature makes this machine the best electric knife sharpener for the money). As with other models, this tool has soft, rubber feet to prevent slipping while in use, and a comfortable rubber grip makes keeping the sharpener steady a breeze while in use. Designed with aesthetics in mind, it fits in with any work environment.
Presto 08800 Eversharp Knife Sharpener
(4.0 out of 5) Good enough
The Presto 08800 EverSharp Electric Sharpener is the number one seller on several online retailers. What makes this product so great is that by its build, it will guide your knife for you to create the perfect angle to sharpen your knife for professional-grade results. Even chefs are buying it to keep in their homes! One chef commented that after one use, they did not have to go back to cut their knives because of how long-lasting the first cut its. In fact, this chef even stated that this product is now collecting dust, because it simply does not need to be used more than once every few months or even once every six months. Customers are loving this product because it sharpens any and all non-serrated knives, and it does so in seconds. It will cost you less than what you would spend on a new knife (of good quality), and once it sharpens your knives, you can put it away for much longer periods of time than those other handheld devices. Customers also claim it will revive any knife you have lying around that you were thinking should just be trashed. In fact, there are so many five-star reviews of this product that it is hard to find anything negative to say about it. This is the best electric knife sharpener if this is the first time you’re purchasing one.
The only issues people seem to have with this product is that the motor shuts off if you press too hard with your knife. However, this is a built-in mechanism that protects your knife from being ground down too much. This feature allows you to guide your knife in a professional sharpener without worrying about ruining your knife in the process. Some customers have also complained about the vibrations of the machine itself, but that seems to be more of a personal preference issue than a mechanical issue.
Wusthof PETEC Electric Sharpener 2933
Manufactured in the United States by Chef”s Choice for Wusthof, the Wusthof P-Tec Electric Sharpener Model 2933 is a three-stage electric sharpener that will place a sharp edge on any cutting knife in your kitchen regardless of age or brand. The sharpener comes in a gray and silver housing made of durable plastic, weighs 4.8 pounds and measures 10″ L x 4-1/4″ W x 4-1/4″ H.
The three sets of blades are designed for three separate functions called stages.
Stage 1 is designed to sharpen straight and serrated knife blades with a 100% diamond-abrasive wheel. This function sharpens a new edge on the dull knife.
Stage 2 has a finer-grit diamond wheel that refines the edge even sharper and hones and cleans the knife blade.
Stage 3 is designed to polish the blade to a factory finish using a special stropping material.
Because the Wusthof sharpener puts a razor-sharp edge on the knife, one should always use care in operating the device and handling the sharpened knife during and after the process.
Finding the best electric knife sharpener is not an easy task at all. Having too many options to choose from can make it a cumbersome process, if you don’t have a nice guide to follow. In this article we’ve given you all the information you need to make your mind and choose the perfect knife sharpener for you. Please don’t forget that sharpening your knives is somewhat a dangerous process, specially after finishing the sharpening process.