Knife Sharpeners: Ratings of Sources
Cook's Illustrated publishes two articles on knife sharpeners, evaluating both manual and electric models. They include a number of sharpeners meant to handle either 15-degree Asian knives or 20-degree Western-style knives; a few can handle both. These comparative reviews are among the best in the industry, with extensive hands-on testing and separate ratings for design and performance.
The author links to a series of videos tutorials on knife sharpening, then tests seven knife sharpeners, both electric and manual. Each sharpener receives a comparative rating out of ten, a brief listing of pros and cons, and a short summary that explains how it felt to use and, ultimately, how it performed under real-world conditions.
Although we do take note of the knife sharpeners highlighted on the Knife Depot website, the user reviews collected for each model are much more instructive. The most notable models receive a dozen user reviews or more, with an average score of at least 4 stars out of 5 possible. Reviewer comments are usually brief and to the point, from users who are generally quite familiar with the range of knife sharpening options.
Amazon.com stocks a wide selection of knife sharpeners. User comments here tend toward the lengthy end of the spectrum and vary in usefulness; the most useful reviews come from owners who return several times to give updates on how their knife sharpeners perform over time. Standout models receive a rating of 4.5 stars or more after at least 100 user reviews.
Chef's Catalog carries a variety of cutlery, sharpeners and other supplies geared toward the serious home chef. User comments vary in length, and some knife sharpeners have accumulated more than a hundred reviewer comments. In addition to their feedback on the sharpeners in question, some reviewers also list their favorite brands and their skill level in the kitchen.
Walmart.com stocks an extensive selection of knife sharpeners, but the number of reviews is relatively modest. Those reviews that are available tend to be frank and to the point, although the users' familiarity with knife sharpeners varies. We took special note of any models that receive a 4-star or better rating after at least eight user reviews.
Bed, Bath and Beyond stocks a healthy diversity of knife sharpeners in its online shop, and most receive at least a few reviews from users. User education about knife sharpeners varies widely. The most notable models receive an average rating of 4 stars or more after at least a half dozen comments from owners.
This review is a little old, but still useful because it involves hands-on testing under expert guidance, and most of the models haven't changed much. Five sharpeners are tested, with both electric and manual models in the mix. Various knives are tested, first in expert Frank Monaldi Sr.'s shop and then in the reporters' homes.
Professional photographer John B. Holbrook II is also a knife enthusiast, and has worked with enough knife sharpeners to lend some heft to this in-depth review of the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition knife and tool sharpener. He includes a video that explains the sharpener's features and assembly, but doesn't actually show it in use.
KnifeCenter.com accumulates just a handful of user reviews for a few knife sharpeners, and they're hard to access. The website's list of recommended sharpeners is more useful; each one receives two separate "out of five" rankings for ease of use and effectiveness.
The editors of ReliableKnife.com don't provide much information about who they are, but they do exhibit in-depth familiarity with all types of knives, including kitchen knives and survival knives, and their sharpeners. This round-up describes the various sharpening methods available to a home user, plus their advantages and disadvantages.