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Tips for Choosing and Using an Electric Knife Sharpener

Updated on August 19, 2014

All About Electric Knife Sharpeners

Knives really aren't of much use unless they're sharp. But using traditional methods, it takes some time to keep them this way. Electric knife sharpeners provide an easy solution for dull knives and they are easy to use.

On this page you'll learn a bit more about electric knife sharpeners; what they offer, what you should consider when buying one, and find some good household, and even a few commercial grade, sharpeners from which to choose.

Photo by Cliff Hutson.

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What Are The Advantages of These Devices?

Electric knife sharpeners can:

1. Help you maintain a good cutting edge on your knives. In the kitchen this means much faster and easier meal preparation.

2. Allow you to sharpen blades in seconds. In fact, it is so fast, you may start sharpening your knives monthly, weekly, or even daily.

3. Decrease kitchen accidents. Many people find that if they aren't struggling to cut through something with a dull blade, they have far fewer cuts despite the fact a sharper knife needs to be treated with some caution.

4. Help you save on the cost of buying new knives. Many knives can last a life time, but only if they are maintained in good working order and useful. It's much more cost effective to sharpen than it is to replace them.

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Buying Tips

When you decide to buy an electric knife sharpener, there are a few things to consider before making your choice. For instance,

1. The type of knives you have.

Some electric knife sharpeners can handle only straight edge blades, others serrated, and some can handle both. Some are ideal for 20-25 degree edged blades which are common with European and American style knives, while others are better suited for sharpening or creating a 15 degree angle on the edge which is common on Asian/Japanese knives.

Luckily, if you have a variety of knives, some of these electric knife sharpeners can handle all of it; kitchen, hunting, sport, butcher, and pocket knives, cleavers, Asian style knives, and sometimes even scissors.

2. One sided versus two-sided sharpening in a single pass

Clearly a device that can handle both sides in a single pass will operate more quickly. They are easier to use, are designed more simply and are therefore very reliable, and they don't need or have blade guides which might scratch the blade.

A device that works one side at a time tend to take a bit of practice since it can be difficult to hold the blade at just the right angle, but it will result in the strongest edge. Most of these devices will have blade guides to help assure proper positioning, but the guides can sometimes scratch the blade as well. Obviously, it will take just a bit longer to complete the task with this type of electric knife sharpener. If you have serrated knives, this is the type of device you will probably need.

3. Sharpening capabilities.

Household models will use grinding wheels to remove burrs and knicks in the blade and to sharpen. They may use ceramic, diamond, or other materials. Those devices that offer a 3 step process will add a final polishing or stropping step. This tends to result in a slightly sharper and stronger edge.

One question that some consumers have is about whether or not a commercial grade sharpener will get their blades sharper. This isn't necessarily the case. The difference sharpness won't be significantly different. However, commercial grade electric knife sharpeners are designed to handle a large volume of work. Therefore, a quality consumer level device is generally recommended for at home use.

About Knife Edges

A 25 degree angle is stronger than a 15 degree angle. Also, while the 15 degree angle is sharper it will also need sharpening more often.

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Care and Usage Tips

Once you've purchased your electric knife sharpener it's important to:

1. Read the owner's manual/instructions in order to use it properly.

2. Keep it unplugged when not in use or when cleaning.

3. Clean it by wiping with a damp cloth. Do not submerge in water.

4. Empty the tray that catches metal filings periodically.

5. Check instructions regarding care and cleaning of the grinding wheels or stones. Many can be brushed with a kitchen scrub brush.

Buy an Electric Knife Sharpener

Presto 08800 EverSharp Electric Knife Sharpener, 2 stage, Black
Presto 08800 EverSharp Electric Knife Sharpener, 2 stage, Black
Probably the most affordable electric knife sharpener available, this Presto Pro EverySharp is great for home use. It features professional grade sapphirite sharpening wheels and a 2-stage process. Blades are ground and sharpened in the first stage and honed in the next. It's easy to use with blade guides to assure the blades are held at just the right angle. This device is for use with alloy, carbon, and stainless steel knife blades. It will work with non-serrated and non-electric knife blades that are serrated on one side only. This device has suction cups on the bottom to hold it securely in place and two receptacles underneath to capture metal fllings. It comes with a 2 year warranty and mesures 8 1/4" x 5 3/4" x 4".
 
Wusthof Precision Edge Diamond Electric Sharpener
Wusthof Precision Edge Diamond Electric Sharpener
This Wusthof device has interlocking diamond wheels that will work with both sides of a blade at once making it quicker and resulting in a perfect, even edge on each side. It is designed for traditional European/American 20 degree, straight edge knives. (not for Asian or serrated knives). It has a durable stainless steel housing, non-slip rubber feet and a magnetic slot underneath to catch fillings and easily clean the unit. It offers two stages, one for coarse grinding to rid older blades of knicks and finer grinding for a super sharp, smooth edge.
 
Kitchen IQ Diamond Edge Gourmet Electric and Manual Knife and Scissors Sharpener
Kitchen IQ Diamond Edge Gourmet Electric and Manual Knife and Scissors Sharpener
This Edgeware electric knife sharpener can be used manually or electrically. It features triangular diamond/ceramic abrasive wheels to sharpen and polish both straight and serrated edge knife blades as well as right and left handed scissors. It will produce a true hollow ground blade and sharpen both sides of the blade a the same time for an accurate center. This device has a rubber hand grip, non-slip rubber feet and a clean out slot underneath.
 
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