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The 5 Best Knife Sharpeners in 2023

We spent more than a thousand dollars buying dozens of devices and used piles of lemons, ripe tomatoes, chicken breasts, and beef tendons to find the best knife sharpeners.

By Anh Ngo, Luna Regina, Lap Vo and Nguyen Ntk
Updated
A batch of products tested to find out the best knife sharpeners 2023, including manual and electric sharpeners such as the Lansky Deluxe kit, the Smith’s 50264, the Kitchellence, Chef’s Choice Trizor XV, and Presto Eversharp.

With time and use, even the finest knives will eventually become blunt. One option is to throw the dull knives away and get new ones, but a more economical strategy may be to invest in a good kitchen knife sharpener and enjoy your trusty blades for decades.

To find the best knife sharpener, we spent more than a thousand dollars buying dozens of devices and used piles of lemons, ripe tomatoes, chicken breasts, and beef tendons as test subjects. And now, with all that experience under our belt, we can tell you exactly which ones perform best.

How We Test Knife Sharpeners

We designed a unique series of tests for each category of sharpeners. Each device is rated for Performance, Ease of Use, and Design. However, the exact composition of the tests differ to reflect the nature of each type.

With manual sharpeners, for example, sharpening time — or how long it takes to make a dull knife sharp again — is a major deciding factor. Most electric sharpeners, on the other hand, do their work quickly, so the rating depends more heavily on safety features and ease of use.

Our testing methods improve as we test more devices, too.

We started out sharpening our dull blades as instructed by the user manual. After a few months, we tweaked the sharpening process so we could achieve sharpness more quickly while maintaining knife edge integrity. This, of course, means we ended up adjusting the tests, repeating them for all of the devices, and putting out a new version of the testing methodology.

All those discoveries and tips are mentioned and explained both in the test methodology and reviews so you know what you can expect out of your sharpener.

How We Picked the Best Knife Sharpeners

Our Best Knife Sharpener to Buy pick is the one with the highest rating across all product types. Following that, the devices that got the highest ratings in each category are chosen to represent their respective categories.

As new products hit the market, our testing efforts expand. As such, our best picks change as we discover better products or better ways to measure their effectiveness.

Why Our Ratings Are Reliable

We purchased all of the sharpeners in this review out of our own pocket. Our ratings and reviews are based purely on testing; we don't get kickbacks from any brands or marketers.

Relevant Tests, Verifiable Results

Some products—the Smith's and Chef's Choice EdgeSelect sharpeners being easy examples—seem like great ideas on paper and even in person until we actually sharpen a knife with them and find out their flaws. 

That's why, instead of subjective ratings based only on inspection, we designed hands-on tests that mimic real sharpening scenarios to give you an idea of how the sharpeners perform in a home kitchen. 

Every time we update a test methodology, it's applied to all the devices under that category. We keep our sharpeners for years and can confidently report on their quality and effectiveness over time.

The tests are conducted and the products rated by at least two reviewers with different levels of previous exposure to knife sharpeners. The ratings are agreed upon by both. The whole testing process is recorded in videos or photos and posted for the reader to check and verify. It's one way we tried to minimize personal bias.

Reviews of the Best Knife Sharpeners in 2023

After testing a bunch of knife sharpeners, we compiled a list of the best performers in each category.

Here are our picks for the Best Knife Sharpener in 2023.

  1. Cubikook CS-T01 Knife Sharpener - Best to Buy in 2023
  2. PriorityChef 2-Stage Knife Sharpener - Runner-up Manual Sharpener
  3. Chef’s Choice XV Professional - Best Electric Sharpener
  4. Work Sharp Ken Onion – Best Knife Sharpening System
  5. Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone Kit – Best Manual Sharpening System

1. Cubikook CS-T01 Knife Sharpener - Best Knife Sharpener to Buy in 2023

The Cubikook Chef Sharpener 3-stage knife sharpener on a cutting board with a knife and slices of tomatoes
The Cubikook Chef Sharpener 3-stage knife sharpener on a cutting board with a knife and slices of tomatoes
Cubikook Chef Sharpener Sharpening Time
Cubikook Maximum Sharpness Achieved video
Close up view in vignette of the knife blade and edge after sharpening with the Cubikook Chef' Sharpener
Medal residue on the three abrasive slots on the Cubikook knife sharpener

Things We Like

  • Solid, durable construction
  • Low center of gravity
  • Great stability
  • Budget-friendly

Things We Don’t Like

  • Flaky brand label 
  • Small abrasive rods

Cubikook CS-T01 Manual Knife Sharpener Test Results

8.5
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    8.0/10
  • Design (15%)
    8.5/10
  • Ease of Use (35%)
    9.2/10

The Cubikook CS-T01's working section features Coarse, Medium, and Fine slots, all working at a 20-degree angle (on both sides of the blade). It struck a fine balance between sharpness and edge integrity. The device received some of the highest ratings in our edge smoothness and material retention tests, and was also among the top tier in both speed and effectiveness. 

The sharpener took only one and a half minutes to restore factory sharpness on a useless dull knife. In normal conditions, it will prep your knife for any challenging cutting task in less than 30 seconds.

With wide sharpening slots placed in a natural progressive order, the sharpener is intuitive to use. Its working section is tightly fastened to a wide, flat, and solid base, further stabilized with two strips of silicone underneath. This design lowers the center of gravity and effectively eliminates the risk of flipping during sharpening. 

Its weak points include a brand label that starts to peel off after a few months. We've used two Cubikook sharpeners and both have this same problem. This doesn't affect the device's functionality, but if it annoys you, a little glue is all you need to fix it. Also, make sure you're gentle on the white ceramic honing rods—they tend to become loose more quickly than the other abrasives.

Despite its drawbacks, the Cubikook CS-T01 is an all-round quality handheld sharpening device. We highly recommend it for home cooks who are looking for an effective kitchen knife sharpener that's also safe, quick, and doesn't require too much effort to use.

2. PriorityChef 2-Stage Knife Sharpener - Runner-up

The Priority Chef 2-stage knife sharpener on a cutting board with a kitchen knife and slices of lemon.
The Priority Chef 2-stage knife sharpener on a cutting board with a kitchen knife and slices of lemon.
Priority Chef Sharpening Time to Cut Lemon video
Priority Chef Maximum Sharpness Achieved video
Close up view in vignette of the knife blade and knife edge after sharpening with the Priority Chef diamond knife sharpener
The coarse slot on the Priority Chef sharpener, with metal dust and part the diamond coated abrasive disc shown

Things We Like

  • Quick sharpening without removing too much metal
  • Simple design
  • Intuitive working section
  • Affordable price

Things We Don’t Like

  • Slippery grip
  • Flimsy base pad

PriorityChef Manual Knife Sharpener Test Results

8.4
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    8.7/10
  • Design (15%)
    7.8/10
  • Ease of Use (35%)
    8.2/10

Instead of sharpening rods, the Priority Chef features diamond-coated and ceramic abrasive wheels. These can sharpen very quickly without shaving off much metal. The device took only 1 minute 15 seconds to bring a knife from completely blunt to being highly serviceable in our test (15 seconds faster than the Cubikook). 

There are not many other manual devices that outperformed it in terms of speed. The rare ones that did either removed way more material from the knife's blade or failed to create such a smooth edge.

The learning curve is almost flat with this sharpener. Its working section only sports two sharpening stages: a Coarse sharpening slot and a Fine honing slot, which progress naturally from left to right if you're right-handed. Similar to the Cubikook, the Priority Chef has a full base and low center of gravity, which allows it to maintain its balance without fail. 

The base, however, would benefit from a better build. It's a thin, lightweight plate of metal atop a spongy rubber pad that doesn't look like it'll hold up very well. The stainless steel tube grip, likewise, is functional, but could be slippery and uncomfortable when your hands are wet. These faux pas, though minor, affected its rating, preventing it from becoming our pick for the best manual sharpener.

With only one angle option (17 degrees), the Priority Chef is not going to sharpen your filet knife or single-bevel knives. But it will bring a finer edge to your chef's knife, santoku, or utility knife after just a few swipes. And at its affordable price, the device will pay for itself in no time.

3. Chef’s Choice XV Professional - Best Electric Sharpener

The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV electric knife sharpener on a wooden table surface with chili peppers, an onion, and two lemon slices for decoration.
The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV electric knife sharpener on a wooden table surface with chili peppers, an onion, and two lemon slices for decoration.
Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Electric Sharpener Speed Test
Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Electric Edge Quality
Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Electric Sharpener Continuous Operation Time Test
Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Electric Material Retention
Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Electric Sharpener Knife Size

Things We Like

  • Strong, solid build, great stability
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Long operation time without overheating
  • Sleek design
  • Easy setup and cleanup
  • Long warranty (3 years)

Things We Don’t Like

  • No grind angle options
  • Shaves off a lot of knife material

Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Electric Sharpener Test Results

8.0
Overall Score
  • Performance (40%)
    8.0/10
  • Design (30%)
    7.2/10
  • Ease of Use (30%)
    8.7/10

If whetstones and belt systems seem too complicated but manual sharpeners won't cut it for you, the Chef's Choice Trizor XV is your best bet. It quickly sharpens, renews, and polishes your kitchen blades with very little effort. Of course, this good performance is unapologetically reflected in a high price tag.

The Trizor XV sharpens at a 15-degree angle and produces a sharp, straight, and smooth edge with excellent height—one of the nicest we've seen out of an electric sharpener. We can't quite call the result a ‘razor edge,' but our test knives emerged keen enough to slice smoothly through a thick string of raw beef tendon—the toughest food on the Practical Sharpness Scale. As a plus, it can also hone your serrated knives. 

The sharpener couldn't be more straightforward to use. Setup is as simple as flipping a switch, and there are angle guides to keep your knife in the right position. The Trizor XV leaves you with zero guesswork. 

It does produce a lot of noise—up to 95 dB. On the other hand, its strong magnetic plates do a great job keeping the metal dust under control. The machine is also excellent at heat control; we ran it continuously for 25 minutes and it never overheated. The fact that this machine has a longer warranty period (3 years) than any other is just the cherry on top.

The Trizor XV is, of course, not perfect. It gives you no control of the edge angle or rotational speed, so you won't be able to sharpen all specialty knives with it. Also, to achieve that sharp edge, the device strips quite a bit of material from your knives. On the other hand, because edge height is correlated with edge retention, at least you won't have to sharpen your knives too often.

4. Work Sharp Ken Onion – Best Knife Sharpening System

Work Sharp Ken Onion Electric Sharpener Review
Work Sharp Ken Onion Electric Sharpener Review
Work Sharp Ken Onion Electric Speed Test
Close-up image of the knife edge after sharpening with the Work Sharp Ken Onion
Work Sharp Ken Onion Electric Continuous Operation Time Test
Sharpening residue as metal dust in a white bowl
Work Sharp Ken Onion Electric Knife Size

Things We Like

  • It accommodates different blade types
  • It's easy to get the precise edge angles
  • You're in control of the speed 
  • It produces a sharp edge with a mirror-like finish
  • It works on various tools other than kitchen knives

Things We Don’t Like

  • It throws dust into the air 
  • There's a learning curve
  • It's tricky to get even bevels

Work Sharp Ken Onion Electric Sharpener Test Results

7.8
Overall Score
  • Performance (40%)
    7.4/10
  • Design (30%)
    8.9/10
  • Ease of Use (30%)
    7.3/10

Even though it requires more effort to use and is costlier than some other electric sharpeners, we settled on the Work Sharp Ken Onion as the best sharpening system because no other can beat it in terms of both effectiveness and versatility.

The Work Sharp Ken Onion allows more control over the sharpening process than any other knife sharpener. It's the only one we know of that allows you to adjust the abrasive component's speed. The machine sharpens to any angle between 15° and 30° at 1° increments, and is equally adept at fixing damaged knives and polishing fine edges.

It's the only one among all the sharpening machines we've tested that left a razor edge with a mirror-like finish—something we thought was only achievable by spending half an hour on a series of whetstones.

Of course, such versatility comes at a cost. The learning curve is steeper on this device than most. Setup can be a bit of a hassle, though it does get easier with time. 

We haven't experienced blade scratches while sharpening with the Ken Onion like some other users have reported. However, we found it difficult to keep the bevels even on both sides; it's more an art than a science. 

Also, while the machine is great at heat control, we can't say the same about noise and the dust. You'll have to wear ear plugs, a safety mask, and glasses and sharpen your knives far away from the food prepping area.

Even with all that, we can't truly complain about the Work Sharp Ken Onion. We've had ours for more than a year and it's still running like a beast. The belts, delicate as they look, still work just fine dozens of knives later.

5. Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone Kit – Best Manual Sharpening System

Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone Sharpening System
  • Does both sharpening and honing
  • Works for various knife types and edge angles
  • Affordable
  • Fun to work with
  • Not suitable for large knives or Asian knives
  • Can be dangerous

We picked the Lansky kit as the best manual knife sharpening system even though it won't be everyone's cup of tea. It takes time, but if you enjoy the process of giving your blades a polished edge, you may grow to like this versatile tool.

The kit comes in a neat box with, among other things, five stones of different grits and colors that make it look like a playkit. 

With guide rods and a knife clamp, it allows you to sharpen your dullest blades to various angles with satisfying precision. The bottle of honing oil conveniently covers more than a few sharpening sessions.

The manual sharpener kit can handle a wide variety of kitchen knives: chef's knives, butcher's knives, pocket knives, fillet knives, and even knives for hunting and outdoor uses. It works on one side of the blade at a time, and is thus compatible with single-bevel knives. Its coarsest sharpening stone is strong enough to fix minor burrs and chips, while the finer ones can give a shiny finish to your knife's edge. 

In fact, you even create an entirely new edge with this set of sharpening stones, although that might take too much time to be practical.

Setup is a lot simpler than we expected. However, the rods' modest length is best suited for medium-sized blades. We also had difficulty securing the test knife on the device's small clamp. That shortcoming presents a possible hazard, especially considering the fact that the knife's edge faces you during sharpening. A quick fix is to cover the clamp with some duct tape.

With the smallest angle being 17 degrees, the guide rods won't be so useful on Asian style knives, which usually come with 13- to 15-degree edges. Of course, you can sharpen them without the angle guides, but that takes steady hands and some practice.

Nearest Competitors

Here are some other decent sharpener options if you're looking for more.

- Manual Knife Sharpener: Kitchellence 3-stage Sharpener

This one is not excellent and certainly not the best manual knife sharpener, but it is reliable enough. It's above average in speed and enjoys a robust construction, with more substantial diamond and ceramic rods than the Cubikook's. Don't expect surgically sharp knives from this one, but you can get consistent and well-rounded results with it.

- Manual Knife Sharpener With Scissor Slot: Wamery 4-Stage Sharpener

This is a fast and efficient manual knife sharpener, although its shoddy build means good performance isn't always guaranteed.

- Budget Electric Sharpener: Presto 08800

While it doesn't have supportive features like the Trizor XV, the Presto Eversharp electric knife sharpener is also a fraction of the price, and it can still bring your knife back to life within minutes. It's not the best knife sharpener on the market, but you can almost always get sharp knives with it.

Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Knife Sharpener

1. What Grind and Angle is Your Knife Edge?

In terms of edge angle, most chef's knives are either Western or Asian style.

Western/European style knives, designed for dealing with animal-based foods and tough vegetables, typically have a large, strong blade with a 20- or 22-degree edge. Asian/Japanese knives, meanwhile, are intended more for fish and softer vegetables, and have finer angles (13 – 15 degrees). Wider-angle blades are stronger, while finer angles allow for more precision.

Some chef's knives are hybrids, with edge angles between 15 and 18 degrees.

Western knives and Asian knives
Western knives and Asian knives

The knives can also be categorized based on their blade grinds or the shape of their blade. These edge styles get the names flat, hollow, taper, convex, and chisel. It is impossible for a single sharpener to fix and polish all of the types. However, the best sharpener for you is one that can handle the majority of your knives.

Common knife bevels
Common knife bevels

If all your knives belong to a single knife set, it will be easy to find the right sharpener. Determine if yours are Western or Japanese style knives, as well as the type of blade grind, and buy a sharpener with the same angle.

If you have all the different kinds of knives, which is often the case, your search for the best knife sharpener can be a bit more complicated. You will either have to get more than one pull-through sharpener, or learn how to work a semi-manual or fully-manual tool (think waterstones, oilstones, or full sharpening systems) to keep your knives sharp and in tip-top shapes.

2. A Word on Serrated Knives

You don't need to sharpen serrated blades regularly, but when you do it's often difficult to find a device that does the job well. The most that a typical pull-through sharpener, stone, or sharpening band can do is remove some burrs from the pointed teeth, which only goes so far. The many teeth on a serrated knife require a tiny device to get in between them. 

There are a select few options for sharpening serrated knives, which we will point out as we get to them.

The four most popular types of sharpening devices for kitchen knives include honing rods, pull-through sharpeners, electric knife sharpeners with abrasive belts, and whetstones.

In the graph below, we compare them in terms of ease of use, the maximum level of sharpness each device can offer, and their prices.

Knife Sharpeners Comparison
Knife Sharpeners Comparison

How Long Should It Take to Sharpen a Knife?

The amount of time it takes to sharpen a knife depends on various factors. Per our estimation, here's the time it typically takes to bring a chef's knife to the maximum level of sharpness that the sharpening device allows:

  • Sharpening rod (for honing):  30 seconds
  • Pull-through knife sharpener: 1 – 3 minutes
  • Electric pull-through sharpener: 3 – 4 minutes
  • Electric sharpening machine with abrasive belts: 7 – 10 minutes
  • Sharpening stones: 15 – 30 minutes
How Long It Takes To Sharpen A Knife
How Long It Takes To Sharpen A Knife

Top Knife Sharpener Brands

1. Work Sharp

Work Sharp Tools is a brand under Darex, LLC. With three decades of experience, Darex makes some of the best electric sharpeners on the market. Its drill sharpener Drill Doctor has won prestigious awards from Sears Catalog, Handyman Club of America, National Hardware Show, and others.

The experience is employed on Work Sharp Tools, which focuses on manual and powered sharpening devices for culinary, outdoor, and woodwork tools. Knife enthusiasts love its powered handheld sharpeners, which come with whole sets of quality abrasive belts.

2. Shun

Shun belongs to the KAI Group, which has been making cutlery in Japan since the early 20th century. They make fine knives, and certainly know what makes a sharp edge.

Despite the high price tags that come with them, Shun duo-grit stones and honing steels are sought after by cooks and chefs who trust in their high quality materials and craftsmanship.

3. Sharp Pebble

Sharp Pebble also sells knives and strops, but it’s mostly known as a brand of affordable sharpening stones.

Interestingly, Sharp Pebble doesn’t sell their stones separately. They always come in sets of a double faced stone or two or three separate stones, a guide, a stone holder, and occasionally a strop. Despite the budget-friendly prices, these stones offer performance that edges in on that of high-end products.

4. Cubikook

Cubikook is a rising brand that’s already setting new standards for kitchen tools and appliances. 

Variety is not one of its strengths; however, the few products that it does offer are quickly becoming popular among home cooks thanks to their durability, functionality, and ease of use. Its Chef’ Sharpener CS-T01, a handheld pull-through sharpener that comes in solid ABS construction and with three stages of sharpening and honing, is one of the new must-haves in home kitchens in the US. 

5. Chef’s Choice

Launched in 1985, Chef’s Choice is a brand under EdgeCraft Corporation. It specializes in small tools and appliances, including kitchen knives, waffle makers, food slicers, egg cookers, and sharpeners. 

Chef’s Choice electric sharpeners are made with 100% diamond abrasives and multi-stage technology, making them fast and highly effective devices. Made in cooperation with Wusthoff, these sharpeners are trusted and used by home cooks and professional chefs worldwide.

6. Lansky 

Lansky is a brand of outdoor knives and sharpening kits. The brand was established about 40 years ago, when Arthur Lansky Levine developed the controlled angle sharpening system and started Arthur Lansky Levine & Associates. 

Lansky is most known for its precision sharpening systems. These systems are compact-sized kits with small abrasive stones and honers, clamps, and angle guides that allow the customer to sharpen their knives at consistent angles.

7. Spyderco

Spyderco is more famous for its pocket knives and doesn’t offer a wide range of sharpening products, but its Tri-Angle Sharpmaker is very popular among knife enthusiasts. 

The system, invented more than 40 years ago, employs a simple and effective design that both novices and experts can use to give their blades a new, razor-like edge.

Knife Sharpeners FAQs

A new knife usually comes reasonably sharp. Before putting it on the shelf, the factory has sharpened it to a specific angle and given it bevels that are suitable for the tasks it's intended for. When sharpening the knife by yourself, you potentially change the bevel(s) and alternate the edge angle. 

If you have little experience in knife sharpening, it's best to use a new knife until it becomes dull before sharpening it.

A knife enthusiast may have specific preferences for the knife edge. However, you may want to try using your new knife for a few days to have a better feel for the knife and know what, if any, adjustments are needed. 

If the difference in the edge angle or bevel affects your cutting experience, it's not too late to take it to the stones. This sharpening typically involves reprofiling the factory edge to a particular angle, altering the bevel, or creating/removing secondary edges.

When sharpening on a stone, the push stroke is also referred to as the edge-leading stroke, and the pull stroke, the edge-trailing stroke.

Each of these styles has its own pros and cons. The edge leading stroke compacts the steel and removes more material. It is the more effective style when you want to fix a damaged edge, but it also causes chipping. The trailing stroke creates a keener edge, but because it stretches the steel, it tends to create foil burr.

You can either push or pull, or combine the two strokes when sharpening a knife. 

We recommend the edge leading stroke for edge rejuvenation. You can finish the sharpening session with the edge trailing stroke, but stop after about 30-40 laps before the foil burr forms.

If you're using a manual or an electric sharpening device, always use pull the knife starting at the heel. Never push or you may risk destroying the knife's edge.

After sharpening a knife, you can polish it with very fine sandpaper or stropping leather. This step is optional.

Once the sharpening and honing is complete, it's crucial to handwash your knife in soapy water and wipe it dry immediately with a soft cloth. Do not leave it wet or dirty, as rust and discolorations can appear really fast in those conditions. 

If you have a high-carbon knife, you may also want to coat the knife with vegetable oil to prevent rust.