They may be made of tough steel, but knives can be surprisingly fickle tools. Even the highest quality kitchen knife will become dull with use. When it comes time to sharpen yours, the Chef’s Choice Model 15 Trizor XV may be just what you need.
The Chef’s Choice brand is owned by EdgeCraft. They specialize in kitchen appliances such as meat grinders, food slicers, and of course, knife sharpeners. Many of their products are equally suited for home kitchens and major restaurants. Naturally, a lot of serious home chefs love to have the same equipment as the professionals.
Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV Edgeselect Professional Electric Knife Sharpener Review: Features
- All-electric operation
- Simple to use
- Flexibility with EdgeSelect procedures
- Easy to clean
- Powerful enough to grind any knife to a 15-degree edge
- Cannot maintain the factory angle of common 20-degree knives
- Stropping disc cleaner degrades the disc
- Knives may look “uglier” after grinding
Knife sharpeners come in many forms, from the whetstones used since antiquity to laser-precision electric grinders. The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV is certainly among the more modern of sharpeners. It works very well, but isn’t 100% perfect, as we’ll discuss.
First, a word on edge angles. This “Model 15” Trizor XV is designed to grind to an edge angle or bevel angle of 15 degrees. Many knives— especially European designs— are built with a 20-degree edge. The Trizor XV can grind those to 15 degrees, but you’ll be altering the knife fairly significantly.
A smaller angle on your knife edge sounds great, but sometimes it can have drawbacks. The thin metal on that narrow edge can bend or curl over onto itself, dulling the knife significantly. It’s likely to need more regular sharpening or honing than a 20-degree edge. Fortunately, the Chef’s Choice unit makes that process easier.
Conical Grinding Discs
Like most electric knife sharpeners, this one works by placing the knife in the grinding slot and drawing it through. The Trizor XV has six such slots— a pair for each of its three sharpening steps. One of each pair grinds the left side of the blade and the other grinds the right.
Each sharpening slot conceals a conical disc that does the dirty work. The first is tipped with diamond and sets the overall 15-degree angle. Naturally, this one removes the most material. It also reportedly creates micro-grooves on the edge facet to give the knife more “bite” on tough vegetables like pumpkins.
Next, the knife should be run through the middle stage. The grinding disc here is also tipped with diamond, but generates a much finer grind. This step finalizes the bevel angle.
Finally, the third slot contains the flexible stropping disc. Stropping is the process of polishing the sharpened edge and removing any stray metal burrs. This is what’s happening when you see a movie character run their knife along a leather strap. Such manual stropping takes lots of practice.
Chef’s Choice instead strops your knife with a semi-flexible rotating disc. Like the grinders, it’s set at exactly the angle needed, so it takes the guesswork out of the process.
Note that the main three-step procedure is primarily for straight-edge, double-bevel blades. Serrated blades can be sharpened with this unit, but should only go through the stropping portion. You don’t want to grind away the serrations!
Likewise, single-bevel blades such as Japanese sashimi knives can be sharpened, but require their own procedure. These should only go through stages two and three (the fine grind and stropping). Make sure you’re only using the slot that grinds the beveled side of the edge!
The instructions included with the sharpener go through all these procedures in detail.
We’d like to point out that grinding metal is an aggressive process. The machine does the hard work— that’s not a criticism— but the results may not look as pretty as a new knife. Your sharpened blade will have a different shine to it and the sides may get some new scratches. Most of us aren’t too focused on knife aesthetics, but it’s good to know what to expect.
Chef’s Choice advertises the “EdgeSelect” capability of their sharpening system. This sounds fancier than it actually is. EdgeSelect is a procedure rather than a feature. Slight differences in edges can be attained by following procedures other than the standard three-step process.
For instance, if you are sharpening a hunting knife to field-dress game, Chef’s Choice recommends skipping stage two. The course grind at stage one creates tiny flutes that help get through the fibrous meat. Then the stropping stage removes stray burrs from the edge.
Similarly, a good filleting edge can be achieved by skipping stage one and only using two and three. The sharpener’s instruction pamphlet outlines a number of EdgeSelect procedures to consider. One- and two-stage knife sharpeners don’t offer the same sort of flexibility.
Safety and Maintenance
The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV is ETL listed as safe for home use by the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL). The rating has also been reviewed and approved by Canadian authorities. An ETL listing applies specifically to electronic appliances. Do note that it’s only approved for use with a 120-volt electrical system (the North American standard).
Safety recommendations extend beyond the electricals, of course. Knives are sharpened by grinding a bit of their surface away. That ground up metal turns into flakes of metal dust that you don’t want in your food. It’s very important to wash your knives after you sharpen them to keep that dust out of your salad.
Much of the dust ends up inside the sharpener housing itself. It doesn’t build up too fast, but the machine still must be cleaned out occasionally. A port on the bottom can be opened and a handy magnet removed. Brush metal shavings off the magnet and shake out any residual dust from the sharpener at least once a year.
The other main maintenance concern is the stropping disc. Over time its white surface will gather grime which reduces its effectiveness. A small lever on the side of the unit extends a dressing tool inside the sharpener that cleans the disc. Chef’s Choice recommends using this sparingly— it shaves off a layer from the disc, so you don’t want to wear it away too fast.
The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Model 15 electric sharpener is covered under a three-year warranty.