Knife Sharpening 101: Our Favorite Sharpeners And How To Sharpen


Sharpening kitchen knives? I know it’s important, but…how exactly, and why, exactly, should you sharpen them? We’ve heard the rumors about sharp knives being more dangerous than dull knives — is that true? How bad can a dull knife really be?

FYI: pretty bad. Your knives deserve TLC in order to cut cleanly and to avoid the dreaded finger cut when your knife slips. We’ve addressed the rumors and rounded up the best sharpeners to keep your knives in tip-top shape — keep reading to find out!


Why Should You Sharpen Your Knives?

First things first, let me address that rumor that dull knives are better — because it’s not true. When you use a sharp knife, it gives a clean cut and slices through easily. Dull knives, on the other hand, require extra force, which can cause the knife to slip and cut you. And yes, a dull knife cut hurts just as much as a sharp knife’s.

There’s also a difference being sharpening and another term: honing. While they are similar, and both will keep your knives sharp, there is a significant difference.

Honing is when you realign an already-sharp blade with a honing steel. Depending on how often you cook, you should hone your knife often, if not after every use. We recommend these:

Sharpening, on the other hand, is when you remove material from the dull blade itself, therefore revealing a sharper edge. Generally, you should sharpen your knife at least once every three months.

If you’re wondering if your knives need to be sharpened, you can do the typical test: swipe your knife down and out on a piece of printer paper. If it’s a clean cut, you’re good to go. If it’s jagged – or doesn’t even cut all the way through – it’s time to sharpen.

How to Sharpen Your Knives

There are two ways to go about sharpening your knives: a knife sharpening stone or an electric knife sharpener.

How To Use A Knife Sharpener

Sharpening stones are straightforward: you hold your blade at about a 20º angle, then draw your knife against it from bottom to top six to eight times. We recommend these:

Electric sharpeners take the elbow grease out of sharpening, though some say they lessen the life of a knife. Simply flip a switch, then run the knife through the slot from bottom to top. These are some of the best:


Whether you sharpen by hand or decide to go electric, sharpening your knives will keep you safe and your slicing easy. How often do you sharpen your knives? Do you prefer manual or electric? Let us know in the comments!

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