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No matter how much money you spend on a kitchen knife, they won’t stay sharp forever. So a knife sharpener is a great tool if you want to keep your blades razor-sharp for all your chopping, slicing and dicing tasks.
A blunt knife is also less safe to use, so it’s worth buying a decent knife sharpener that will keep your blades safely chopping for years to come. You can choose from a steel honing rod, whetstone, a hand-held device or an electric sharpener that does the work for you.
Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a fortune on getting a good product as prices start from under £10. Whether your knives are looking a little blunt or you want to buy a sharpener to keep your new blade in tip-top shape, here are the 10 best knife sharpeners to buy in 2021.
1. Best overall knife sharpener: AnySharp Knife Sharpener
“I use the AnySharp with mine, which is very reasonably priced and purports to be the ‘best in the world’ (and works very well for me).”
“We have this knife sharpener and have been very happy with it over the last few years. In fact, my whole family now have one."
A product that proves you don’t have to be big or expensive to work well, the AnySharp Knife Sharpener can bring almost every blade back to life, including most serrated knives.
Smaller than a packet of chewing gum, it’s just 6cm high so can be easily stored away when not in use. It has also been made with safety in mind – pull the handle down and it will attach to a flat surface using a suction pad so you can sharpen one-handed without it slipping around. Make sure the surface is clean and flat though as otherwise it may come loose.
It claims to be the ‘world’s best knife sharpener’ and it does a good job – it’s very easy to use (you simply pull the knife through the grinder towards you) and is a great all-rounder for everyday knives. But because it sharpens both sides of a knife, it may not be right for more expensive blades.
- Very easy to store
- Sharpens most knives
- Could be too harsh for more expensive knives
- Base can slip around if not positioned on a clean, flat surface
2. Best budget knife sharpener: Lantana Smart Sharp Knife Sharpener
A three-stage knife sharpener, the Lantana Smart Sharp prepares, hones and sharpens your blades to keep them razor-sharp.
The comfortable easy-grip handle is suitable for both left- and right-handed people, while the rubber base stops it from slipping around when sharpening.
It’s suitable for both straight-edged and wide serrated knives, including hardened steel blades.
It is, however, not suitable for narrower Japanese blades, ceramic and micro-serrated knives or scissors. For less than £10 though, it’ll work well for most of your usual kitchen kit.
- Both hones and sharpens the blade
- Handle and rubber grip for safety
- Not suitable for Japanese, ceramic knives, scissors or micro-serrated knives
- Not for single edge blades
3. Best handheld knife sharpener: Robert Welch Signature Handheld Sharpener
“I am a BIG fan of Robert Welch knives because they are perfectly balanced for a smaller hand unlike Wusthoff etc. A Robert Welch sharpener is also good.”
British company Robert Welch makes award-winning kitchen knives and their Signature handheld sharpener is a handy addition for keeping yours in good shape.
It’s been designed to maintain the 15-degree blade of their Signature knives, but should work just as well for similar blades. It only has one setting, but it’s very easy to use – just move the knife backwards and forwards through the ceramic wheel to sharpen your blade.
The handle also makes it easy to hold, with a thumb guard and a non-slip base for extra safety. It comes with a 25-year guarantee too.
- Easy to hold and use
- Comes with a 25-year guarantee
- Only has one setting so may not be suitable for all blades
4. Best electric knife sharpener: Chef's Choice 1520 Diamond Hone Angle Select Electric Knife Sharpener
If cooking is your thing and you want to sharpen a range of knives with ease, it may be worthwhile investing in a good electric sharpener like this one from Chef’s Choice.
The 1520 is suitable for all blades so it can keep both your bread knife and your expensive Japanese chef’s knife in good nick. The device guides your blades into the right position to prevent any damage, making it quick and easy to use.
The three-stage system uses diamond abrasives to sharpen and polish both Asian and European knives and, with regular use, it can take just 10 seconds to sharpen a knife.
- Sharpens both Asian and European knives
- Works on serrated knives
5. Best knife sharpening stone: SHAN ZU Knife Sharpening Whetstone
Using a more traditional method of sharpening, the SHAN ZU Whetstone is a block of white corundum with a combination of two different grits – a coarse 1000 grit for sharpening and a finer 6000 for both honing and sharpening.
To keep the stone secure, it sits in a silicone and bamboo case. The art of using a whetstone can be tricky to begin with and getting the angle right may require a bit of practice, but the SHAN ZU Whetstone will give you a super sharp edge without being too harsh on the blade – that’s why chefs often choose this method.
Just remember to soak the stone in water before use.
- Combination of two grits for sharpening and honing
- Excellent results without being too harsh
- Can be tricky to get the right angle
6. Best knife sharpener for Japanese knives: Global G91 Knife Sharpener
A well-known kitchen knives brand, Global has designed their G91 Knife Sharpener specifically for their Asian and Japanese blades, but it’ll work on other knives too, with the exception of ceramic and serrated.
Functioning as a water sharpener, simply fill the base with cold water to keep the blade cool as you pass it back and forth gently through the white coarse ceramic wheel, then do the same with the pink medium grit wheel. You should only need to do this seven times to get the blade as good as new again.
The handle makes the sharpener easy to grip and it’s lightweight, compact and comes with a removable plastic cover to protect the wheels. Replacement wheels are also available to buy should you need them.
- Water keeps blade cool while sharpening
- Lightweight and compact
- Not for ceramic or serrated blades
7. Best knife and scissors sharpener: SHARPAL 191H Kitchen Chef Knife and Scissors Sharpener
If you have a whole kitchen draw full of dull-looking blades, the SHARPAL 191H will get them all back to slicing, dicing and cutting with ease.
A three-stage sharpener, it comes with a fine ceramic grit for honing and a coarse blade for sharpening both straight and serrated knives, with a final slot for sharpening scissors too.
Similar to our overall winner, the AnySharp, it’s a tiny device with a suction base to keep it safely secured to a surface while you sharpen – very handy if you’ve got lots of blades to bring back to life.
- Sharpens and hones
- Suitable for all blades, including serrated and scissors
- Suction base may come loose
8. Best diamond steel knife sharpener: Procook Diamond Knife Sharpening Rod
A honing rod will keep already sharp blades in good condition, which makes the Procook Diamond Knife Sharpening Rod a good tool to have in your kitchen.
It can easily hone most kitchen knives, including Damascus steel and ceramic blades – and it’s recommended that you do this regularly – and the sturdy diamond steel rod and plastic handle come with a guard to protect your hand when sharpening.
The honing rod is quick and easy to use so even beginners should get the hang of it. We also like that it has a hook on the handle for easy storage.
- Diamond steel for keeping your blades in good condition
- Suitable for most kitchen knives
- May be harsher on blades than ceramic rods
9. Best compact knife sharpener: Joseph Joseph Rota Folding Knife Sharpener
A popular kitchen brand, Joseph Joseph makes affordable kitchen tools and their Rota Folding Knife Sharpener is ideal for anyone looking for a gadget that can be easily stored away when not in use.
It’s user-friendly with two sets of ceramic sharpening wheels – the first a coarse grit for dull blades that need resharpening and the second is fine grit for maintaining a sharp edge. It works on most steel knives, but not for serrated or ceramic blades.
It also comes with non-slip feet to give extra peace of mind.
- Non-slip feet to keep it secure when sharpening
- Handle folds away for easy storage
- Not suitable for serrated or ceramic knives
10. Best Wüsthof knife sharpener: Wüsthof 2-Stage Pull Through Knife Sharpener
German brand, Wüsthof, are well known for making high-quality knives and accessories and that includes their 2-Stage Pull Through Knife Sharpener.
There’s no need to buy a separate honer as it comes with diamond grit for sharpening dull edges and ceramic for polishing. While it’s been set to the correct angle for Wüsthof knives, it is also compatible with other brands.
Small and compact, it’ll make a good edition to your knife collection – especially for any avid Wüsthof fans.
- Both sharpens and polishes
- Suitable for Wüsthof knives and other brands
- May not work as well on thicker knives
What’s the difference between honing and sharpening?
To maintain a sharp blade, you should both hone and sharpen as they have different uses. Honing maintains a blade that is already sharp by polishing the rough edge of the blade and pushing it back into position.
If you do this frequently (some chefs do this after every use), you may only need to sharpen your knife as little as once or twice a year.
Sharpening, however, is for when the blade is blunt. You grind the blade against a coarse stone, wheels or plates to remove some of the blade’s edge to make it sharp again.
How often should you sharpen your knife?
Depending on how much you use them, you should only need to sharpen your knives every few months. Daily honing will help keep them sharp for longer and could mean you only have to sharpen them once a year.
Can you sharpen a serrated knife?
Ever noticed how well your bread knife cuts through a crusty loaf even after years of use? That’s because serrated blades such as bread and steak knives cut well for a long time. When they do eventually dull, you can sharpen them again.
It can be tricky and not every knife sharpener works for a serrated knife – some may come with an extra slot for this, otherwise a ceramic sharpening rod is a good tool for serrated knives. Check that the sharpener matches the serration sizes on your knives.
Some people prefer to leave it to the professionals so they can make sure each serration is individually sharpened.
How do I choose the best knife sharpener?
Picking a knife sharpener can be quite overwhelming as they don’t all do the same thing or work on every knife.
First of all, think about which knives you want to sharpen – some devices may work better for Japanese or European blades (or both), while others may sharpen all, including serrated knives and scissors.
Also look at how easy they are to use. Whetstones require more skill, so if you just want to get your sharpening done quickly and easily, you may want to look for one that’s suited for people of all skills, such as a handheld device or an electric sharpener.
Generally, you’ll choose from these four types of knife sharpener:
- A honing rod or sharpening steel: this is either a steel or ceramic rod that you should use regularly to keep your knives sharp. It doesn’t sharpen – it polishes the rough edge to realign the blade. Steel is cheaper but can be harsher on the blade, whereas ceramic is more expensive but gives an excellent finish.
- Whetstone: this tends to be a block of stone for honing and sharpening. They can be tricky to get the hang of and can damage your knives if done wrong – but they will give you a razor-sharp edge. Some come with two grits and they can be in the mid to high price range.
- Handheld sharpener: a great option for using at home as they tend to be easy to use and smaller than a honing rod or whetstone. Generally, you hold the sharpener with one hand on a kitchen surface and draw the knife through two abrasive plates or wheels. Some come with two or three different options for sharpening.
- Electric sharpeners: typically at the higher end of the price range, they are appealing as they can quickly sharpen the steel for you, but that can make them harder to control.
Sharpening knives can be dangerous so look for safety features, such as a non-slip base, an easy-grip handle or finger guards to prevent any accidents.
Knife sharpeners don’t have to be expensive and some products on our list cost as little as £8. While you may get better results from a more expensive tool, like a whetstone and or an electric sharpener, there’s a sharpener to suit every budget.
What is the best knife sharpener on the market?
We think the AnySharp World’s Best Knife Sharpener is the best knife sharpener on the market. Despite being small and light, it works well to bring any knife back to life, including most serrated blades. The handle makes it very safe and secure – and all for a low price too.
What knife sharpener do chefs use?
This seems to come down to personal preference, however something all chefs will agree on is that a knife should always be kept sharp. Chefs will regularly use a honing steel to keep knives sharp, and some may even do this after every use.
A whetstone is a popular choice among professionals, especially with a combination of grit counts, while others may opt for an electric sharpener for ease and speed. It’s likely chef’s also get their knives professionally sharpened too.
How we chose our recommendations
Most of our recommendations for knife sharpener came from Mumsnet users themselves. We searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which knife sharpeners Mumsnetters really rated. We also researched various review sites to find out which sleep trackers performed well across the board.
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