Last updated: August 10, 2021
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Everyone knows the problem: You want to cut open a tomato with a kitchen knife and you tear it up more than you cut it up neatly.

But how do I manage to keep the kitchen knives sharp or how do I get them really sharp again in the first place? Which knife sharpeners are there and which one is right for me? All these questions about sharpening knives are answered in this article and in our big knife sharpener test 2022 you can use our pros and cons to see which knife sharpener is best for you so that you never have to have a dull knife again.


  • Knife sharpeners ensure that your knives always stay sharp, as the knife wears down slowly through repeated use. To counteract this, a knife sharpener, when used correctly, removes the material from the knife in such a way that a sharp blade is created again and the cutting process can be carried out without much effort.
  • There are many different types of knife sharpeners, each with different characteristics. Manual and electric knife sharpeners usually have a step system of different sharpening materials and integrated sharpening angles to keep operation as simple as possible. Sharpening steels and whetstones have a certain coating or grit that determines which knives can be sharpened. This makes them very versatile and ensures excellent results.
  • Manual and electric knife sharpeners are particularly suitable for beginners, as they can be used without any prior knowledge and allow for few mistakes. With sharpening rods and whetstones, excellent results can be achieved like the professionals, but the know-how is necessary for these.

The Best Knife Sharpener: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Knife Sharpener

Who is a knife sharpener for?

A knife sharpener is suitable for anyone who wants to resharpen dull kitchen knives (or outdoor knives, etc.). When knives are used according to the rules, they inevitably become dull over time. Only a knife sharpener can solve this problem.


Whether sliced vegetables, meat, fish, fruit or even baked goods, the cut parts should be clearly separated from each other. (Image source: Popov)

With blunt knives, not only does more force have to be exerted when cutting, but the separated parts are more likely to be torn off than separated. A knife sharpener helps against this.

Whether knife sharpener, knife stone, knife stick, for pulling or rolling, a knife sharpener should be owned by everyone who uses their knives frequently. With certain knife sharpeners, the sharpening process must also first be trained before it can be carried out in such a way that the knife becomes really sharp.

For which knives is a knife sharpener suitable?

A knife sharpener in general is suitable for all knives, with a few specific exceptions where some knife sharpeners can cause damage to the blade.

Knives made of stainless steel or chrome-molybdenum-vanadium steel that are ground on both sides, such as those sold in Europe, can be sharpened with almost any knife sharpener if they have a smooth blade.

Even other knives such as pocket knives or razors can be sharpened to some extent with knife sharpeners, although some types of knives may damage the blade. For example, you should not try to sharpen serrated kn ives yourself, as you will probably do more harm than good.

Of course, it is always a question of correct handling, because even the best knife sharpener is of no use if used incorrectly.

For Japanese knives with a one-sided grind, on the other hand, you should either consult a knife sharpening shop or work with sharpening stones such as the Japanese water stones.

It is also better to leave the re-sharpening of ceramic kn ives to a professional, as they are usually damaged by improper sharpening.

What does a knife sharpener cost?

Some of the different knife sharpening utensils are in completely different price ranges. Depending on the quality and type of knife sharpener, the costs of knife sharpeners vary.

We have listed the most important knife sharpeners for you below and indicated their approximate price range.

type price range
manual knife sharpener approx. 5 - 100 €
electric knife sharpener approx. 40 - 200 €
sharpening rod approx. 20 - 200 €
sharpening stone approx. 20 - 300 €

If you want to spend rather little money, a cheap manual knife

sharpener for pulling or rolling is probably suitable. These can be purchased for less than 20 € and are suitable for beginners as well as experts.
If you are looking for higher quality, a sharpening rod or whetstone would be the right choice. Handling is somewhat more difficult and the price is also somewhat higher, although good sharpening steels and whetstones can also be found for under 100€.

If you have neither the time nor the inclination to read up a lot on knife sharpening and you are hoping for a simple and quick solution, the electric knife sharpener is probably the right option for you.

It is also always a question of the quality of the knives which variant is best for you. If you have very expensive knives, for example, you should spend a little more money and time on their care.

Is there an alternative to a knife sharpener?

You do not necessarily need a knife sharpener to sharpen your knives. You can also take your knives to a knife sharpening shop to have them sharpened, but you will only have solved the problem of dull knives for a while. After some time, the knives will be worn and dull again and you will be faced with the same problem.

If you still want to have your knives sharpened at a knife sharpening shop, you should simply google for a knife sharpening shop near you.

What Types of Knife Sharpeners are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to buy a knife sharpener, you can choose between many different models:

  • manual knife sharpeners
  • electric knife sharpeners
  • Sharpening steel rods
  • Whetstones

In the case of knife sharpeners (manual and electric), you have the choice between devices that pull or roll. In addition, the knife sharpeners have different numbers of steps and their step material also differs. There are also differences between the other two types (sharpening rod and sharpening stone). We would like to start by explaining the most important types of knife sharpeners and their advantages and disadvantages.

What distinguishes manual knife sharpeners and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

They come in many different types and shapes, with one, two, three or even 4 sharpening stages or different sharpening materials to sharpen different types of knives.


They usually have different numbers of grinding stages. This variant has 2 grinding material stages, which can be used to re-sharpen different types of knives. (Image source: HRAMYKA)

The main advantage of a manual knife sharpener is the simple sharpening process and the low price. The handling is explained within a few seconds and sharpening can be done almost immediately after purchasing such a sharpener.

So if you want to get relatively sharp knives again as quickly as possible and without much effort, you should go for the manual knife sharpener.

  • No prior knowledge required
  • easy to use
  • usually with integrated angle guide
  • good value for money
  • Mediocre to good grinding result
  • Grinding angle usually cannot be changed
  • Not suitable for Japanese or serrated knives
  • Prone to repair

What distinguishes an electric knife grinder and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Nevertheless, there are some electric knife grinders where you have to pay close attention to the grinding angle. However, some already have built-in grinding aids, such as an integrated angle guide.


An electric knife grinder does not have to be as big as the one pictured. They come in sizes from small to large, depending on your needs. (Image source:

The sanding belts and sanding discs inside the electric sander have a specific grit, just like the sanding stones. This grit is relevant for the type of knife that is to be sharpened. Accordingly, it is also possible to change the grit for certain knives and thus use the device in a more multifaceted way.

  • No prior knowledge required
  • Easy to use
  • Good to very good sharpening result
  • Sometimes difficult to clean
  • Relatively high price
  • Not suitable for Japanese or serrated knives

What distinguishes a knife sharpening stick and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Sharpening rods are used in most catering kitchens. However, sharpening with these rods must be learned beforehand so that the knives really become sharp. Nevertheless, knife sharpening rods, together with sharpening stones, achieve the best results in the field of knife sharpening.


A sharpening rod probably already sounds familiar to you. But there are many different types, and you probably don't know them all. (Image source: Steve Raubenstine)

When buying a sharpening rod, you should pay particular attention to the type of material. A distinction is made between:

  • Ceramic grinding rods
  • Diamond grinding rods
  • Metal grinding rods
type achieved sharpness
ceramic sharpening rod cutting sharpness
diamond sharpening rod cutting sharpness
metal sharpening rod straightening sharpness

If the knife to be sharpened has a polished edge, a metal sharpening steel should be used, as the blade material should not be removed, but only straightened, otherwise you would have to resharpen the blade after each cutting.

If a non-polished blade is to be resharpened, both the ceramic sharpening rod and the diamond sharpening rod are suitable, as these both resharpen the blade roughly and produce usable cutting edges again. However, this sharpness is not permanent and should be sharpened again as soon as possible.

Not only does the material of the coating of the sharpening steel differ between the individual models, but also their length, shape and special properties differ. This is also reflected in the different prices.

  • Robust and durable
  • Quick to use
  • Grinding angle freely selectable
  • Good to very good grinding result
  • Prior knowledge required
  • only suitable for the respective type of knife

What distinguishes a knife sharpening stone and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Sharpening with a whetstone is a little more complicated, although the sharpening result is just about perfect when used correctly and you can sharpen almost any knife with it.


A sharpening stone can also be used to sharpen pocket knives or outdoor knives. (Image source: 7241990)

The grit is also of great relevance. It indicates how coarse or fine the material is and thus which knives can be sharpened with this material or what degree of sharpness is achieved.

Furthermore, the whetstone should be washed or soaked in water before each sharpening process (alternatively oil).

If the sharpening process is carried out really flawlessly, you should even be able to achieve the same sharpening results as star chefs and knife professionals.

  • Suitable for all knives (except serrated knives)
  • Grinding angle freely selectable
  • Very good grinding result
  • Much prior knowledge required
  • More difficult and time-consuming handling

Buying Criteria: You can use these Factors to compare and evaluate Knife Sharpeners

No one wants to hear a (purchase) recommendation without being told what the criteria are. That's why we've listed some important buying criteria below to help you compare the many different knife sharpeners available.

The criteria are:

In the following paragraphs we explain what matters in each category.

Weight and size

The weights and sizes of the individual types of knife sharpeners differ significantly from each other. Manual knife sharpeners tend to be small and light, while sharpening rods tend to be large and heavy.

To explain the rough dimensions of the weight and size of the individual tools, we would like to give you some weight and size ranges of the individual sharpening utensils.

Type weight size
manual knife sharpener approx. 100 - 1000 g 5 - 40 cm
electric knife sharpener approx. 500 - 10000 g 10 - 1000cm
sharpening steel approx. 100 - 5000 g 20 - 100 cm
knife sharpening stone approx. 500 - 20000 g 10 - 50 cm


While manual and electric knife sharpening tools usually have different sharpening stages that are made of different materials, knife sharpening rods and stones are actually made exclusively of only one material.

While a higher number of stages in sharpeners is an advantage not to be sneezed at, it is the material of the sharpener that matters most. Even a single good material can achieve better results than 3 poor or unsuitable materials.

Since the material of the knife sharpener must be harder than the material of the knife, steel, diamond or ceramic is often used as the sharpening material.

The material not only determines which knives can be sharpened with it, but also the resulting sharpness. There are dressing and cutting knife sharpeners. While cutting knife sharpeners provide a rough sharpness for completely blunted knives, straightening knife sharpeners are only intended to re-sharpen a slightly blunt knife. This is why they are more suitable for daily use.


The relevance of this criterion depends solely on your interest. Do you want to work more intensively on knife sharpening, learn it slowly and achieve excellent results, or do you want to find a solution to your problem quickly and be satisfied with rather mediocre results? However, even a medium-sharp knife cuts reliably for the most part.

You can't go far wrong with manual or electric knife sharpeners. Often, the sharpening angles are preset so that you can hardly make any mistakes.

However, if you have any questions, they should be answered in the instruction manual.

With sharpening rods you can achieve better results, but the application requires some guidelines and you will probably only achieve your best results after a few attempts. It is important to move the sharpening stick along the knife very quickly. In addition, the angle of the sharpening rod to the knife is significant for the resulting sharpness.

The same applies to the sharpening stone or whetstone. The angle of the sharpening is just as relevant as the speed of the movements. If you want to sharpen with a whetstone, you should first soak the whetstone in water before sharpening (oil may also be possible). When sharpening, you should also pay attention to the correct angle (15-20 degrees). To maintain this angle, you can also use a grinding aid. These can be purchased for little money.

When using a grindstone , special attention should be paid to the correct grinding technique.

For knives ground on both sides, make sure that both sides of the blade are sharpened the same number of times on the stone, unlike knives ground on one side, where the side of the blade is sharpened 4 times as often as the unsharpened side.

Integrated angle guide

Some products for sharpening knives already have built-in sharpening aids such as an integrated angle guide. This helps to observe the correct grinding angle and thus ensures a better grinding result.

If you want to use a sharpening steel or a whetstone, there is usually no sharpening aid in some form, but you can get help tools almost anywhere that will also help you maintain the correct angle.

Manual and electric knife sharpeners, on the other hand, usually work with a step system in which grinding wheels are already positioned at exactly the right grinding angle so that the knife simply has to be pulled or held through a small gap.

However, even if you decide not to use a sharpening aid, after some practice you will probably be able to handle any sharpening tool and achieve good results.

Knife compatibility

Knife compatibility also plays a big role in choosing the perfect knife sharpener. Do you want to sharpen many different knives or do you only have a small selection of relatively similar knives?

This is a question you should definitely consider, as some sharpening tools can cause significant damage to some knife materials.

You should not resharpenserrated kn ives with almost any knife sharpener, as only a few are really suitable for such knives.

You should also be careful with Japanese knives made of Damascus steel, as these should be sharpened with a whetstone or, in the best case, with a Japanese waterstone.

We have noted the exact knife compatibility for each type of knife sharpener in the section above.

Price-performance ratio

Last but not least, the price-performance ratio plays a significant role in the choice. Generally speaking, the price-performance ratio of knife sharpeners is very good.

Even for less than 30€ you can get a reliable and long-lasting solution to your problem with dull knives. Whether it's a manual knife sharpener, a sharpening rod or a whetstone, everything is available at a really reasonable price these days and offers really good quality.

Even in the case of electric knife sharpeners, even the low-priced sharpeners are already convincing customers.

Facts worth knowing about Knife Sharpeners

How do I clean a knife sharpener?

A knife sharpener can often be washed in the sink like the knives themselves or even put in the dishwasher with them. Knife sharpeners show very little impurities even after frequent use.

However, you should be careful when cleaning some knife sharpeners or clean them without detergent.

With manual and electric grinders, you should follow the instructions for use. In most cases, all individual cleaning steps are listed there.

If you want to clean a sharpening steel, you should not use a lot of detergent and, above all, use suitable detergent; if you are not sure, just use water. Detergents should also always be rinsed off thoroughly so that no residue remains on the sharpening steel. Also, do not use metal brushes.

Cleaning a knife sharpening stoneis limited to washing it with water only, as the sharpening process cleans the stone and you soak or wash it in water before use anyway. The same should be repeated after the cleaning process to ensure that the whetstone is always clean. If there is ever any unevenness or dirt is visible, you should dress the whetstone.

Knife sharpener at the front door?

It's best not to let a knife sharpener into your house and get your own knife sharpener instead.

Time and again there are cases of allegedly professional knife sharpeners at front doors pretending to be excellent at sharpening kitchen knives. They engage you in conversation and, unsuspectingly, demand large sums of money from you if you have entered into the deal. There are countless such cases, you can also find a lot of them online.

In the same way, there are always perpetrators who pretend to do the same at the front door, but end up robbing you. There are also plenty of such cases online.

Picture source: Lake/