- Performance (50%)4.3/10
- Design (15%)8.1/10
- Ease of Use (35%)8.2/10
- Performance (50%)6.0/10
- Design (15%)7.8/10
- Ease of Use (35%)7.5/10
The Smith’s would be our pick over the KitchenIQ because it’s faster and more effective. Of course that’s not to say the KitchenIQ is without its own advantages.
The problem with the Smith’s is its instability in the working section, which results in a wavy knife edge. Its long thin body means you have to strain more to keep it in place, too.
The KitchenIQ, while being much smaller, feels much more solid and stable. It’s also gentler on the knife edge, though admittedly that doesn’t mean so much as it doesn’t really sharpen to the degree the Smith’s does.
- Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon (35%)1.0/10
- Maximum Sharpness Achieved (20%)6.0/10
- Edge Smoothness (20%)6.5/10
- Material Retention (25%)6.0/10
- Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon (35%)8.0/10
- Maximum Sharpness Achieved (20%)8.0/10
- Edge Smoothness (20%)4.5/10
- Material Retention (25%)3.0/10
Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon
- Sharpening Time: 3 minutes 35 seconds
- Cutting Feel: Swift and smooth
The KitchenIQ took 215 seconds, or more than 3 minutes to sharpen a knife to the point where it could cut through a big lemon in one single swipe. This may not sound like a terribly long time, but we generally expect faster results from handheld sharpeners. In fact, similar one-stage or two-stage devices take less than half that time to get to the same level. For example, it was 105 seconds for the Sharpal, and 65 seconds for the SunrisePro.
- Sharpening Time: 1 minute 25 seconds
- Cutting Feel: Light and smooth
The Smith’s Pull-Thru completed the lemon-cutting test in 85 seconds, thus easily securing its place among the fastest sharpeners. It performed consistently well in this test through our repeated attempts over the months, sometimes overriding its own record to reach the 70 seconds mark.
If immediate sharpness is all you ever need, this one won’t disappoint.
Maximum Sharpness Achieved
- Sharpening Time: 6 minutes
- Sharpness Level: 7 (ripe tomatoes, 1 swipe)
An additional 3 minutes on the KitchenIQ took the test knife from the lemon to the ripe tomato level, and that was its peak sharpness with this device.
Though this is below what most sharpeners can achieve, at this level, the knife’s still capable of most cutting tasks, save for perhaps precision cutting and thin slicing.
We conducted this test several times over the span of six months and used the device in our kitchen throughout that time. The results were consistent, so at least we can conclude that its abrasives will take a long time to wear down.
- Sharpening Time: 6 minutes
- Sharpness Level: 8 (Chicken breast with skin, one swipe)
We had smooth, almost effortless slices with tomatoes, and the thick flesh and slippery skin on a raw chicken breast didn’t pose much of an obstacle for the knife, either. This is the same keenness level as when the knife was brand new, so we’d say the sharpener did an excellent job of reviving a knife from dead dullness.
We were able to slice through the thick and stringy fibers of a piece of beef tendon with two swipes, but it was rather forceful, so we decided to grant it an 8 in sharpness at the end.
- Sharpening Time: 1 minute
- Target Sharpness:
Since its tungsten carbide blades do most of the sharpening, the KitchenIQ peels off more steel from the blade than do most other multi-stage sharpeners. It produces more dust than coarse swarf, suggesting that it acts more like a grinder rather than a serious peeler. This suspicion is confirmed by the relatively fine edges it creates. This was true even when we deliberately applied more force while pulling the knife through.
Unfortunately, the extra pressure didn’t help much with improving the knife’s sharpness.
- Sharpening Time: 1 minute
- Target Sharpness:
Compared to other manual sharpeners in the test, this one ranked last in terms of material retention ability. As the photos indicate, it sacrificed a significant amount of material in exchange for sharpness. Over time, it can eat away at the blade, reducing the knife’s overall lifespan. You could practically whittle the knife away to nothing on this device if you want to!
The KitchenIQ produces an ok edge with no major chips or burrs. The primary edge looks narrow, with visible horizontal grooves and tiny metal grains and fragments. The ceramic rods seem to do their job of refining the edge, making for better results compared to the Smith’s or SunrisePro.
While it is true that this sharpener was quick and effective, it was at the expense of the edge’s integrity. From tip to heel and everything in between, the edge was anything but smooth once it had exited the slots.
In the process of sharpening, the abrasives took a massive toll on the knife’s edge and rendered it deformed.
- Build Quality (75%)8.7/10
- Grip (25%)6.5/10
- Build Quality (75%)8.2/10
- Grip (25%)6.5/10
In the Box
- The KitchenIQ 50009 edge grip knife sharpener
The device comes in a simple clamshell package. It has four color options. Interestingly, each color is sold at a different price, though they’re all affordable.
- 1x sharpener
- 1 x instruction manual
Rather than a cardboard box, the Smith’s Pull-Thru came delivered in a plastic blister pack molded after its outline. The package wouldn’t pop open, so we had to cut it with a pair of scissors to retrieve the contents inside.
A user’s guide is included with the package and contains plenty of useful information that you may need to know before using this sharpener. An online version is also available on the official website.
- Length:3.7" (9.4 cm)
- Width:2.0" (5.1 cm)
- Height:1.8" (4.6 cm)
- Weight:2.0 oz (57 g)
- Length:10.5" (26.7 cm)
- Width:1.3" (3.3 cm)
- Height:2.9" (7.4 cm)
- Weight:8.8 oz (250 g)
The KitchenIQ deserves a shoutout for its excellent build quality despite its cheap price. The whole sharpener is solid and sturdy. Its parts all fit together seamlessly, leaving no unexpected gaps. We actually dropped it from our countertop a couple times, and it took it well. Even afterward, we didn’t observe any rattling or loose components.
The silicone grip cover was nice to the touch and comfortable to hold throughout the sharpening session.
We could tell that the materials that make the Smith’s Pull-Thru Sharpener are all high-quality, and the finish suggests the manufacturer’s dedication to every small detail.
However, its angle adjustability is accommodated by a bunch of movable and removable parts. Even though they’re secured with screws, the device feels shoddy as a whole. Its angle nob and the working section threaten to fall out or break at the first drop.
We really like the feel of the grip — it’s soft but offers good friction. It has an ergonomic shape and is connected directly to the base, thus offering great stability. Its tiny size, however, feels awkward in even smaller hands. Users with large hands will have problems finding a safe place for their fingers.
The handle is covered with silicone and has grooves, which makes it grippy. However, in proportion, it’s rather small compared to the whole device . It’s connected to the base, which is good, but part of the base underneath it is flimsy and narrow. This means you will need a strong grip to keep this device stable during sharpening, as confirmed by the stability tests.
- Levels of Sharpening:Coarse, Fine
- Abrasive:Tungsten carbide blades, ceramic rods
- Mechanism:Pull through
- Sharpening Angle:20 degrees
The KitchenIQ offers two levels of sharpening. While the slots themselves are more or less the same size as those on other devices, the whole working section is rather small and doesn’t work well with larger and thicker knives.
- Levels of Sharpening:Sharpen, Hone/Polish
- Abrasive:Precision-ground carbide, crossed ceramic
- Mechanism:Pull through
- Sharpening Angle:14°, 16°, 18°, 20°, 22°, 24°
The Smith’s Pull-Thru may look like a typical tri-stage sharpener, but it’s actually a dual-stage model with an extra sharpening slot for serrated blades.
The abrasive system features precision-ground carbide and ceramic stones. They’re tough, durable, and can certainly get the job done.
Except for the serrated slot, which remains fixed at 22.5° per side, the Smith’s sharpening slots are adjustableby 2° increments from 14° to 24°, allowing it to accommodate a wide variety of knives. It’s intended as a fix-all solution for busy cooks who have little time and patience to alternate between different tools.
The device is also one of the very few that allow replacement of the abrasives. You can purchase and change them at home with tiny Philips screwdrivers. If you forget to note the knob's angle while dismantling the parts, the equipment is so designed that you won't be able to lock it into place until you locate the right spot.
- Feet Type:Edge gripper
Not only is the layout of its working section different from most other devices, the KitchenIQ’s base is special too. It’s a thick silicone pad that covers the grip and extends all the way to the base, creating lots of friction with any flat surface. The cutout in the middle of the base forms an edge grip, allowing you to attach it to the countertop or table edge (as long as that edge is 90 degrees).
- Feet Type:Slip-proof soles
The underneath of this sharpener features two rubber soles on both ends.
Do you notice anything missing in between the sharpener’s underside and the flat surface area? With a high center of gravity and a narrow body supported on two tiny soles, it is not surprising that the whole thing feels wobbly with each draw.
Ease of Use
- Slot Arrangement (10%)7.0/10
- Insertion (20%)7.0/10
- Pulling Through (10%)7.0/10
- Stability on a Clean Surface (40%)10/10
- Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface (20%)7.0/10
- Slot Arrangement (10%)7.0/10
- Insertion (20%)10/10
- Pulling Through (10%)7.5/10
- Stability on Clean Surface (40%)7.0/10
- Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface (20%)6.0/10
The KitchenIQ employs a different slot layout than most others of its type: The coarse slot is placed further from the grip than the fine one. If you’ve used other pull-through sharpeners before, this layout will take some time to get used to. Otherwise, it’s not a problem: The slot names (Coarse and Fine) are printed on both sides of the working section, so pay a little attention and you’ll do it right. This also makes the device south-paw friendly.
The slots on this device are arranged based on a combination of grit level and designated knife type. Instead of medium coarseness in the center, the middle slot is reserved for serrated blades. Even though the sharpening order does progress rightward, it feels disrupted and unnatural.
With only one correct direction to draw the knife, we followed the arrows adjacent to the slots. These handy little cues indicate where to position the blade and which way to go, preventing cooks from making mistakes. It’s not ideal for lefties, though; so if you happen to be a southpaw, you need to choose another tool.
You may notice that the tungsten blades in the Coarse slot have distinct corners that protrude from the plastic frame. If you use too much force or are too fast with insertion, your delicate knife edge may end up raking across one of those surfaces and risk chipping or deforming.
Also, the tiny size of the KitchenIQ means the slots are jammed together and are very close to the grip. There’s a real danger of cutting yourself if you’re not mindful while sharpening your knives.
All that being said, insertion was not challenging. We measured the actual openings and found to our surprise that they’re some of the widest among all the devices we tested (6mm).
During the course of our experiment, we found no discernible difficulty when placing the knives into the slots.
The inserts are wide open on top to comfortably accommodate the knife, while the slots gradually taper downward. Depending on the type of knife you’re working on, you can further tighten or loosen the abrasive blades.
The KitchenIQ’s sturdy working section and strong base allows for steady operation. Pulling through was effortless, though it’s easy to cut into the plastic frame underneath the sharpening panels if you go too fast.
We noticed that the ‘brace’ is rather loose on this device — the sharpening rods don’t seem to grip to the blade very tightly. This contributes to the rather mediocre sharpening performance.
The abrasives themselves are hard and well-built; however, because the angle is made adjustable, their frames are not sturdy. As a result, they jostled and squeaked when we tried pressing the knife down during sharpening. This resulted in the excessive loss of metal and a very poor, wavy edge. However, the jostling improved when we reduced the force, so the trick here is to be extra gentle and use just a little more than the knife’s own weight when sharpening.
At times, the knife’s tip scratched into parts of the sharpener, usually the front end facing toward you. This could be annoying but doesn’t really affect the knife edge.
Stability on a Clean Surface
With a grip and base made from one solid piece of tough silicone, the KitchenIQ stood perfectly still on a clean countertop as we pulled a knife through it. It has a low center of gravity, so regardless of the force used, the device didn’t wobble one bit.
We tried it on the countertop edge, too, which it’s designed to work on, and were happy with how well it gripped the edge.
Even when positioned on a spotless surface, knife sharpeners with such an elevated body are quite unstable due to their high center of gravity. The Smith’s Pull-Thru is no different.
The friction at the bottom was strong enough to prevent the unit from flying off the countertop, but the more serious issue was the back and forth rocking motions. With its small footprint and slim body, the sharpener shook and wriggled with every draw. Sharpening at times felt unsafe and uncomfortable.
Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface
Like most other devices, the KitchenIQ’s silicone base couldn’t keep it in place on a dirty countertop. To its credit, the device slid but did not shake or wobble like the taller units we tested. Still, given how its grip is so close to the sharpening slots, you run the risk of cutting yourself if things slip.
The same was observed on a wet and slippery edge: no wobbling, but the silicone foot doesn’t help much in keeping it from gliding along the edge.
If the dry surface test served as any indicator, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the sharpener didn’t fare so well on the oil-stained and salt-sprinkled surface. It kept inching itself away from where we set it down. The friction at the sharpening slots didn’t help, either.
To be fair, most other devices struggle in this test. But the Smith’s Pull-Thru was among the bottom tier of the bracket.