No matter what kind of knife you are using, constant maintenance is required to keep it in tip-top shape. A dull blade can be frustrating to use, and even dangerous to the uncareful. Accidents can happen when a dull blade glides off whatever you’re cutting and onto things that are not meant to be cut. A dull knife requires greater force to cut with and lacks control, which makes it prone to mishaps. This is why everyone, from beginner knife-enthusiasts to the highly experienced, should look into finding the best knife sharpening system that suits their purposes to keep their knives sharp and safe. Read More: Best Sushi Knife
Some things you should keep in mind while reading this article
- What type of knife do you use? Does it have a straight or serrated edge?
- What will you use your knife for? Skinning a deer, slicing tomatoes, or cutting rope?
- How experienced are you with knife sharpening? Have you sharpened knives before or are you buying your first knife sharpener?
- How much time and money are you willing to put into sharpening your knife? Do you prefer convenience and efficiency or are you willing to spend hours manually honing your knife to a fine edge?
- Consider these questions while reading this article to find the best knife sharpening system that suits you and your knife.
Common Types of Knife Sharpeners
The Sharpening Stone Knife Sharpening System
Perhaps the most common and most ancient form of knife sharpening, a sharpening stone sharpens a blade by grinding it to give it a sharp edge. Sharpening stones come in many shapes and sizes but are most commonly found in the form of a flat block of dense material. They are made of different materials such as stone, ceramic, diamond, and there are some made with artificial materials as well. Some require oil, others require water, while there are also stones that do not require any lubricant at all. Stone sharpening is one of the most efficient ways to sharpen your knife: It is fast and also versatile because you can use your sharpening stone to sharpen many different tools at different angles. Sharpening stones can also last quite a long time. However, sharpening a knife using a sharpening stone is a skill that requires a steady hand and much practice. The angle of the blade, the direction, and the movement are all factors that can influence how well-sharpened your blade is on a sharpening stone. Read More: Best Gyuto Knife
One important thing you should remember is that a sharpening stone is only useful for sharpening straight-edged blades. If you try to sharpen a serrated knife on a flat sharpening stone, the serrated knife will lose its serrated edges.
The Sharpening Steel
A sharpening steel, also known as honing steel, is a handheld metal rod used to realign the edge of a blade. There is a common misconception that sharpening steel will “sharpen” a blade, however, a sharpening steel does not actually “sharpen” since it doesn’t remove any metal from the blade. What it does instead is hone and realign the blade if there is a curled edge. The act of using sharpening steel is called “steeling”. Steeling can be done every day because it removes very little metal, while in contrast, sharpening a knife is done much less often. Some disadvantages of sharpening steel are that it cannot sharpen a dull blade nor can it remove nicks on the edge.
Pull-Through Knife Sharpening System
To use a pull-through sharpener, you pull your knife through a V-shaped notch to sharpen the edge of your knife to a certain set angle. The slot is usually made out of two pieces of hard material such as carbide or diamond. Pull-through sharpeners are quite easy to use by simply placing the knife’s edge in the slot and pulling steadily from heel to tip with a light and even amount of pressure. They are portable, fast, and easy to carry around. Some can be used to sharpen smooth blades as well as serrated ones. There are electric ones as well as manual, handheld versions. Some pull-through sharpeners have only one slot while others have two or three of decreasing coarseness to finely hone the blade. While the pull-through sharpener is cost-friendly and easy to use, disadvantages of the pull-through sharpener include scraping off metal very easily, meaning that frequent use will eat away your blade, and providing an edge of slightly lower quality compared to a sharpening stone.
Serrated Knife Sharpener
Sharpening a serrated knife is not easy. Standard sharpening stones cannot be used to sharpen serrated blades, otherwise, the blade will lose its serrated edge. A handheld serrated knife sharpener looks like a thin metal rod that tapers towards the end. There are round rods as well as triangular rods for different types of serrations. By sliding the handheld knife sharpener back and forth at the serrations at the proper size and angle, it can hone the entire curve of each serration on a knife. While sharpening a knife with a serrated blade takes a bit of time and effort, luckily, serrated blades typically don’t require sharpening as often as straight-edged blades do. A handheld serrated knife sharpener works well on serrated knives with single bevels, however, it does not work on scalloped or wavy edges, nor does it work on double serrated edges.
Crock Stick Sharpener
A crock stick sharpener, also known as a ceramic rod sharpener, is a set of ceramic rods held in a V-shape at a predetermined angle. The blade is brought down vertically against the rods in a slicing motion, allowing the edges of the knife to be sharpened at a fixed angle. Crock stick sharpeners come in many different kinds. There are round rods for straight-edged knives and triangular rods for serrated knives. The rods also have varying degrees of coarseness to sharpen and hone your knife to the finest degree. Some crock stick sharpeners have bases that allow the user to adjust the angle, while others do not. It takes a bit of time to learn how to use a crock stick sharpener, but it is easier than most other options.
Other Factors of Consideration When Choosing a Knife Sharpener
How often do you use your knife? How much time are you willing to spend sharpening your knife? If you are willing to put in the time and effort to learn how to manually sharpen your knife, then you might consider buying a sharpening stone or a crock stick sharpener to get the best results from a manually sharpened blade. On the other hand, if you only wish to acquire a knife sharpener that is fast and easy to use, then you should consider buying a pull-through sharpener or even an electric one for the fastest and most efficient results.
Portability of the Knife Sharpening System
When and where do you use your knife? If you often take your knife outdoors and go hunting or camping in the wild, a portable knife sharpener such as the pull-through sharpener would be the ideal choice because it is small, lightweight, and easy to use, so that keeping your knife sharp won’t be too much of a hassle in the great outdoors. There are many portable best knife sharpening systems that include a combination of both sharpening rods and pull-through sharpeners that can fit right in your pocket as you trek out into the wild. If, however, you prefer to stay at home, then the slightly bulkier knife sharpeners would work as well. Especially if you have many knives as well as other utensils around the house that need to be sharpened, then a sharpening stone would be perfectly suited for a variety of different tools.
Best Knife Sharpening System Price
Buying a knife sharpener is an investment. A good knife sharpener can be used to keep your knives sharp for many years while buying a low-quality one will take up your time and possibly ruin your blade. Electric knife sharpeners tend to be on the expensive side, however, they are typically easier to use and sharpens faster. Electric sharpeners also require a power outlet nearby, therefore they may not be the ideal choice if you need to sharpen your hunting knife in the wild (although they are useful for kitchen knives). Sharpening stones tend to be the most durable out of the aforementioned types of knife sharpeners, however, they can be quite costly. Before choosing a knife sharpener, think about your budget and how much you are willing to spend in maintaining your knife at a high functionality. Very often, there is a trade-off between price and quality. For those on a low budget, the pull-through sharpener, as well as other small, handheld sharpeners, give you a decent quality edge for a modest price.
There is a myriad of other types of knife sharpeners and this article only covers a few of the most common ones. The best knife sharpener for you isn’t necessarily the one that provides the sharpest blade – after all, many of these sharpeners can all produce top-quality edges. Instead, in the end, the best knife sharpener is the one that suits you and your needs the best, whether it be in price, portability, convenience, or efficiency. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some insight into picking a knife sharpener to keep your blades sharp and strong. Good luck!