Reviewers say the Chef's Choice Professional Sharpening Station 130 produces a good edge and is easy to use once you can puzzle out the instructions in its confusing owner's manual.
Produces a nice sharp edge in tests. The Chef's Choice 130 takes top honors in one foodie mag, in which editors name it "the Rolls-Royce of sharpeners." In more than 300 reviews posted by owners at Amazon.com and Cooking.com, we didn't find any complaints about the edge quality this sharpener delivers. Most owners also say it doesn't take off too much metal, although we did see some complaints that it leaves scratches on knife blades. In theory, the Chef's Choice 130 can handle both standard and serrated knives, but some owners say that it sharpens only the tips of serrated blades and won't sharpen all the way down to the base on any knife with a heavy bolster.
Another type of blade it isn't ideal for is Asian-style knives, such as santokus, which have a narrower bevel than Western knives. In one professional test, this sharpener changes the edge on an Asian knife from 15 degrees to 20. Most testers didn't find the change terribly noticeable, but experienced cooks found that the wider edge wasn't quite as nimble for slicing through tomatoes. So although testers find this sharpener good enough to use on Asian knives "in a pinch," they say it won't do as good a job as a sharpener specially designed for this type of blade.
A snap to use, once you read the dreadful owner's manual. Like the less expensive Chef's Choice 120, the 130 features spring-loaded guides for the blades, which pro testers say make sharpening "foolproof." They're also impressed by the built-in steeling slot, which they say takes all the "guesswork" out of the process. (Steeling is not the same as sharpening; instead, it realigns the blade of a knife to make it cut more effectively and prolong the time between sharpenings.) Owners find the sharpener very easy to use after they got through the user manual, which many say is confusing. One Amazon.com customer warns that it's essential to read the manual carefully to figure out which grooves on this sharpener are suitable for which type of knife; another says that the book gives conflicting instructions as to when the first sharpening slot should be used. Moreover, according to a third user, the text in the manual is too small, the paragraphs are too dense and there's little white space, all of which makes the instructions "painful" to read.
Your fingers are protected. Because the knife blade stays inside the sharpener slot during sharpening, it can't possibly make contact with the user's skin. The sharpening surface itself also poses no threat, since it's not exposed.
Reviewers don't complain, so assume it's quiet. User reviews generally make no comment about its noise level, either pro or con. However, we didn't see any reference to the "screeching" noises that affect the less expensive Chef's Choice 120.
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1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Review Credibility: Very Good Cook's Illustrated magazine tests five knife sharpeners (three electric and two manual) made specifically for Asian knives, which have a 15-degree angle as opposed to the 20-degree angle found on European knives. For comparison purposes, they also try sharpening the same knives on the Chef's Choice Professional Sharpening Station 130, which they describe as their favorite sharpener for Western cutlery. Testers find that while the Chef's Choice 130 would work "in a pinch," three models designed specifically for Asian-style knives provide superior results.
Review: Asian Knife Sharpeners, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Nov. 1, 2009
2. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Review Credibility: Very Good In this review, the magazine's editors test six electric knife sharpeners, rating each on performance and ease of use. Several Chef's Choice models, including the Professional Sharpening Station 130, are among the tested models. Two sharpeners are recommended, one of them highly. In addition to ratings, this article details how knife sharpeners and sharpening steels work. The editors also contrast electric sharpeners with manual ones, which they say are less expensive but harder to use.
Review: Electric Knife Sharpeners, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Nov. 1, 2006
Review Credibility: Very Good The Chef's Choice Professional Sharpening Station 130 receives an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from more than 260 owners posting at Amazon.com. Most say this electric sharpener produces a great knife edge without taking too much metal off the blade. They also say it's easy to use, once you manage to make sense of the instructions in the manual, which many users find confusing. A few users gripe that the Chef's Choice 130 does not produce a sharp enough edge and can leave scratches on knife blades.
Review: Chef's Choice M130 Professional Sharpening Stations, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2012
Review Credibility: Good In nearly 50 reviews, the Chef's Choice Professional Sharpening Station 130 earns a perfect 5-star rating from owners at this retail site. Comments are generally short but straightforward: They say this sharpener gets knives sharp quickly and easily. The only common complaint we found is that the instruction manual is confusing.
Review: Platinum Professional Sharpening Station by Chef's Choice, Contributors to Cooking.com, As of October 2012