I’ve used a number ofover the years and come to appreciate each of them for their unique feel — the heavy-duty Wusthof (my first chef’s knife) is great for cutting squash, whereas I love my Mac knife for mincing veggies and herbs. But even a premium chef’s knife will dull over time, and $150 can feel like a waste when your Wusthof cuts as well as a $10 generic knife after only a month or two. Enter the knife sharpener.
Knife sharpeners are far less common in the average kitchen than many, despite their value. Some professional chefs sharpen their knives daily, but even the casual cook will benefit immensely from sharpening their knives once a month.
The good news is, knife sharpeners don’t have to be huge investments. Like any other kitchen tool, what you put in is often what you get out: A few bucks can get you measurable improvements to your blade, and 20 times that can keep your chef’s knife’s edge as sharp as new in perpetuity.
There are lots of tools out there for keeping knives sharp — we’re sure you’re all familiar with the sharpening stone and the sharpening rod — but we wanted the knife sharpening process to be a little easier than these particular sharpening tools. So we tested the heck out of some sharpeners to figure out which ones will always result in a sharp knife without you having to worry about the sharpening angle or anything else, and still get a razor sharp edge from a formerly blunt knife. Here are our picks of the best knife sharpener for your chef’s knife, and we’re going to update it as we test more products.
A note, though: We’re talking just chef’s knives here. A serrated knife may need a different kind of sharpener.
The best sharpener I used while testing was the $150 Chef’s Choice Trizor XV, a bulky device with three separate tracks for bringing dull knives to a super-sharp 15-degree edge (many American knives are sharpened to a 20-degree angle). The Trizor also comes with thorough and helpful directions for use — explaining unfamiliar terms and processes in straightforward ways. Plus, magnets on the sharpening tracks keep your blade angled correctly, so risk of making mistakes while sharpening a dull blade on the diamond abrasive sharpeners is pretty minimal.
The results of my testing were impressive. The sharp blade and smooth edge produced by the device meant I could slice through a tomato without squashing it or tearing the skin because of inconsistencies across the length of the edge.
The one downside of the Trizor sharpener is its premium cost ($150 is more than most people pay for a chef’s knife, let alone the tool that sharpens