But, before you get into all of that, are knife sharpeners any good at all?
Knife sharpeners help users to restore the edge and sharpness of knives when they begin to go dull. Used right, knife sharpeners protect your investment in the knife and ensure you can keep using the knife for a longer time.
The keyword from the above is ‘used right.’ Flip the switch and knife sharpeners can become a nightmare for your cooking tools.
Table of Contents
Is It Bad to Use A Knife Sharpener?
The knife sharpening process relies on chipping away part of the knife-edge so that a new, sharper edge is formed.
In other words, even the most effective knife sharpening processes rely on the wear and tear of the blade material.
The difference between using a knife sharpener right and wrongly lies in the application. If you are removing the knife steel material from the edges unevenly or at the wrong angles, then you are damaging the knife more than you are using it right.
It is also important that you use the right knife sharpening kits and supplies.
When I discussed alternative methods to sharpen your knives, I mentioned that they are only to be used sparingly. Should you make them your go-to methods for sharpening knives, you risk getting blades that will be ruined in no time.
Should You Sharpen Knives Every Time You Use Them?
Even if you know the right way to sharpen your knives, and you have the best knife sharpener in the world, sharpening all the time will ruin the knives faster.
For one, purchasing high-quality knives (such as high carbon steel knives or these premium sets from Shun) means that you don’t have to worry about sharpening them every time. These knives are designed with premium-grade steel that holds their edges for a longer time.
If you are a heavy knife user, though, even if they are of high quality, there are times when you feel they are not sharp enough.
In that case, they don’t need to be sharpened again. Simply hone the knife to align the edges again and it is good to go.
Technically, sharpening should only be done a few times a year while you can max out on honing as much as you like.
What Should You Look for In A Knife Sharpener?
I have discussed all of that in my whetstone sharpening guide.
Besides learning how to sharpen your knives properly on a whetstone, you also learn the right kinds of whetstones to buy.
In the same piece, I discuss different grit sizes to use when sharpening and what they mean for you. Above that, the piece mentions some mistakes to avoid when sharpening knives with a whetstone for the best results.
What Knife Sharpening Methods Do I Recommend?
Those who know me know that I love the traditional whetstone knife sharpening method.
To be candid, it is boring and repetitive, but it does get the job done for me. And I love it when something gets the job done.
Like most people, though, I’m simply a cook, not some fancy bladesmith. So, I would also enjoy a sharpening method that gave me speed and efficiency towards getting my sharp knife.
This is where pull-through knife sharpeners come in.
There are a lot of them out there already but this 4-stage pull through sharpener from Zwilling stands out. Besides the fact that I trust the brand already, they also make a mean pull-through sharpener.
Finally, I would recommend electric knife sharpeners. I have not used them personally (hoping to do so one day) but I have heard a lot of good things about them.
Of course, you should know well to stay away from the poor options too. If I would buy one for myself today, it would be this Chef’sChoice Professional Electric Knife Sharpener due to the trust I have in that manufacturer, and the nice price point that it comes at too.
So, in my opinion, are knife sharpeners any good or we should stop using them?
Well, unless we wanted to get a new knife every time one of our older knives goes dull, I would say knife sharpeners are here to stay.
The only difference now is in knowing what you’re doing so that you get the process right. Invest in some quality angle guides (see the Wedgek angle guide, for example) if you’re not confident of keeping a consistent angle on the whetstone by yourself.
Do these, and you’re good to go on any knife sharpener that you face.