Let’s Cut to the Chase: The Best Knife Sharpeners


After sharing my favorite chef knives, as well as proper knife care, I’ve had several readers ask about which knife sharpener I recommend.

We love product testing at Chris Loves Julia, so let’s try out some of the most popular knife sharpeners on Amazon and give them the ol’ college try to see which one we like best. Note: While I did test sharpness to a degree, this test is not highly scientific. It’s meant to show which ones I like working with best.

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Hot tip: You don’t have to love sharpening your knives as much as I do to love the results. Whether you sharpen them yourself or take them to a professional knife sharpener, it’s a critical task that actually makes chopping safer—the sharper the blade, the less pressure you have to apply, the more control you have over the knife.

For this test, I took some of my knife blades with the most rounded edges, sharpened them with each tool for about a minute, and tested slicing the knife through a piece of paper.

I cook nearly every day for my family of five, and my knives become dull pretty quickly. I included one that is my go-to tool, but I knew that it wasn’t the most user-friendly option for most. It looks cool. It’s highly effective. But you have to get the technique right. So let’s kick it off with that one.

Shun Cutlery Combination Whetstone

Chris Loves Julia | The Best Knife Sharpener Product Test

Shun Cutlery Combination Whetstone

The whetstone is pretty popular and classically what many chefs use. It’s compressed sandstone. You soak it in water and start with the lower grit to shave off the blade and then you smooth it out with the higher grit side. I start with three passes in either direction over the wet stone. If it dries, I simply add more water. But you’re building up grit and mud on the stone itself and that is is what creates your edge and chips away any metal pieces that may be out of alignment with the blade itself. Then I switch to one pass each way.

What I’ve loved about this one is that, honestly, it’s kind of fun. It’s a little bit primal, very analog. The difficulty is getting your angle right on your blade: It can be difficult to be consistent with the angle that you hold it on with every swipe. The whetstone works really well, but it’s slower to sharpen. One minute of sharpening didn’t quite do the trick for slicing the paper cleanly.

I give this knife sharpener a 6 out of 10.

Smith’s CCKS 2-Step Knife Sharpener

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Smith’s 2-Step Knife Sharpener

This knife sharpener had a lot of good reviews. There is a coarse and fine side to the sharpener. It’s highly compact but doesn’t give you much control. I don’t tend to like this kind, but I went in with an open mind. And? It’s alright. It’s very inexpensive and easy to use. Make sure you use it on the edge of a table or countertop so your hand can go down at an angle when sharpening.

It does O.K. on the knife; I think if I spent a little more time on it, it might be more successful on slicing the paper cleanly. It does, however, feel unsatisfying to use it. But if it sharpens, it sharpens.

I give this knife sharpener a 5 out of 10.

AccuSharp 001C Knife Sharpener

Chris Loves Julia | The Best Knife Sharpener Product Test

AccuSharp Knife Sharpener

This one has so many high reviews. It works by just sliding the knife through the sharpener in the same direction. But it makes me so nervous that my hand is so close to the blade. Am I going to slice my finger open? The sound effects on this one are also unpleasant. Like nails on a chalkboard.

What do I like about this one? Not much. The paper crumpled under my knife. I see that the sharpener can go through the dishwasher, so there’s that.

I’ll give this knife sharpener a 2 out of 10.

Work Sharp Professional Electric Culinary E5 Kitchen Knife Sharpener

Chris Loves Julia | The Best Knife Sharpener Product Test

Work Sharp Electric Culinary Knife Sharpener

This one is an electric sharpener that has two flexible sharpening belts on either side: one with a rougher abrasive and one that’s a finer abrasive. It has a built-in vacuum to keep any knife dust from settling on your counters.

You sharpen your knife by slowly sliding the blade back and forth for a few passes. Don’t forget to hone your knife after you sharpen it to really prime the edges.

This is a nice one. I like how it works, and it did a pretty good job slicing the paper. It’s really easy to use. There are clear guides. But I don’t like that it’s electric. The sandpaper belt is going to go bad eventually, and you’re going to have to replace it.

I’m giving this knife sharpener a 7 out of 10.

Homly Professional Electric Knife Sharpener

Chris Loves Julia | The Best Knife Sharpener Product Test

Homly Electric Knife Sharpener

My hopes were high with this one. It has three sections with two levels of abrasion and then one section that polishes. Like the last sharpener, you turn it on, and then make several passes with your knife through each side and abrasion level.

After testing it, I’m torn on this one. I felt like it was completely destroying my knife in the process. But it actually sharpened really well in a short amount of time. Just for the fact that it works so well on the paper, I have to give it a high score. But I don’t love using it.

I’m giving this knife sharpener an 8 out of 10.

Work Sharp Professional Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener Tool

Chris Loves Julia | The Best Knife Sharpener Product Test

Work Sharp Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener Tool

This one has a complicated setup: it works by swiping a sharpening tool in a pendulum action over the stationary knife that’s being held by the tool. You can adjust the grit fineness of the handle you’re using.

My take? I kind of like this one. It’s fun, and it gets knives sharp. The downside is that it’s large, and there are a lot of pieces. It’s definitely an investment in storage space in your house. But I can hear the knife getting sharper—it’s less gritty sounding the more I swiped the sharpener. Once you get into the rhythm of it, it’s very cathartic. It sliced through the paper quite neatly.

I’ll give this knife sharpener an 8 out of 10.

Work Sharp Rolling Knife Sharpener

Chris Loves Julia | The Best Knife Sharpener Product Test

Work Sharp Rolling Knife Sharpener

If you’ve been following along in stories, you have probably seen me using (and liking) this rolling sharpener over the past few months. However, I found this one with a few additional niceties, that I wanted to include in the test. This sharpener works by holding one side of the knife still with a powerful magnet while you run the sharpening roller back and forth on a flat surface across the other side of the knife.

What I like about this one is that it doesn’t require any power. The block comes with four different angles for various knives — each manufacturer has their own angle. I like the different disc grit tops in increasing abrasion levels. It’s effective, it’s really fun to use and is not quite as expensive as some on the list. It made a clean cut through the paper after just a minute.

This knife sharpener gets a 9 out of 10.

Chris Loves Julia | The Best Knife Sharpener Product Test

Overall winner

So what’s the verdict overall? With knife sharpeners there are a lot of options. My top electric pick was the Homly Professional Electric Knife Sharpener. It’s pretty affordable, but it’s hard to tell what’s happening with the knife since it just makes one single noise. I prefer non-electric sharpeners however, since I like to know what’s happening with the knife: you can hear it getting sharper. My top pick is is the Work Sharp Rolling Knife Sharpener. It’s convenient, it’s small, and it stores really well.

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