For overall ease, speed and versatility, the Chef's Choice AngleSelect Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener 1520 is attractive, as it produces a quality edge on both Western and Asian-style knives.
Gets the job done on Western and Asian knives. In one professional test, the sharpener brings both types from "completely dull" to "like-new sharpness." Sylvia Anderson of the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press agrees, saying that the Chef's Choice 1520 produces an edge "as good or better than [the edge] from the factory." Most Amazon.com reviewers agree; the top review claims it gets knives "sharp enough to shave my arm." However, a few owners express disappointment. One 3-star review says, "I just don't find my knives razor sharp." The manufacturer notes that the 1520 is not recommended for "reconditioning heavily worked knives."
In addition to straight and serrated kitchen knives, the Chef's Choice 1520 can sharpen nearly all Asian-style knives. This includes thicker Deba-style blades and single-beveled knives, which have an edge on only one side of the blade. However, one user who gives the Chef's Choice 1520 5 stars out of 5 for Asian knives suggests that those who have only standard Western-style knives might be better off with either the Chef's Choice Diamond Hone EdgeSelect 120 (*Est. $135) or the Chef's Choice Professional Sharpening Station 130 (*Est. $150). These models, the user says, "offer more sharpening options for Western type blades."
Pros and owners agree it's a snap to use. Anderson says it "takes out all the guesswork or need for skill in sharpening knives," to the point that you could "probably do the job blindfolded, although that's not a good idea." Users at Amazon.com agree, saying that the instructions are very straightforward and it's easy to get good results. Speed is also touted as a benefit. Editors at one foodie magazine say it takes knives from dull to sharp "in a matter of minutes," and one Amazon.com reviewer says it "took only 20 minutes to do my entire drawer." Because this is a slot-style sharpener, it works for both right- and left-handed users. However, it'll also take up counter space, unlike manual sharpeners that just stow in a drawer when not in use.
Your fingers are safe and secure. The knife blade stays inside the sharpener slot during sharpening, so there's no way it can make contact with the user's skin. The sharpening surface is also contained so that it can't pose a threat to the user's fingers.
Owners say it's quiet. About one in 10 reviews specifically mention its quietness, with assessments ranging from "fairly quiet" to "super quiet." Professional reviews don't mention this sharpener's noise level, either positively or negatively.
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1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Review Credibility: Very Good Cook's Illustrated magazine tests five knife sharpeners made specifically for Asian knives, which have a 15-degree angle as opposed to the 20-degree angle found on European knives. Editors also test an Asian knife on a standard 20-degree knife sharpener to see if it makes a noticeable difference. Testers find that while the Western-style sharpener does an adequate job, three Asian-specific models from Chef's Choice -- including the Chef's Choice AngleSelect Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener 1520 -- provide truly superior results.
Review: Asian Knife Sharpeners, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Nov. 1, 2009
Review Credibility: Good The Chef's Choice AngleSelect Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener 1520 has around 40 reviews from owners at Amazon.com. The vast majority award this knife sharpener 5 stars, saying it produces a great edge quickly and with minimal noise. A handful of owners express disappointment, including one who says it "only gets me to about 80%" of the desired sharpness. Another user notes that if you don't need to sharpen Asian-style knives, you might be better off with the Chef's Choice 120 or 130, as these provide "more sharpening options for Western type blades."
Review: Chef's Choice AngleSelect Knife Sharpener, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2012
3. St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press
Review Credibility: Fair Lifestyle reporter Sylvia Anderson offers her take on the Chef's Choice AngleSelect Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener 1520. There's no clear indication of hands-on testing, though, so her brief review is mostly a run-down of features. Nevertheless, her bottom line is that the Chef's Choice 1520 "takes out all of the guesswork or need for skill in sharpening knives. You could probably do the job blindfolded, although that's not a good idea."
Review: Sylvia Says: Chef's Choice Diamond Hone AngleSelect Sharpener Is Cutting Edge, Sylvia Anderson, Aug. 2, 2008