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Best Electric Knife Sharpeners of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

June 6, 2024 - Blog

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Most people have seen a knife butchered (pun intended) by someone using a power tool to sharpen a knife. That’s because most tools that get pressed into service as a sharpener are bench grinders and rotary tools. In my sharpening business, I’ve seen dozens of knives that needed rehabbing and reworking after someone hamfisted them with a grinding wheel.

But I’ve also used power tools to fix (as much as possible) those very same knives. The difference between destruction and a mirror-polished edge is in the design. Several electric knife sharpeners on the market today, if used properly, will put a sharp, refined edge on a knife. I put several of the best electric knife sharpeners to the test to help you find the right one for you. 

Best Overall: Work Sharp Ken Onion with Blade Grinder Attachment

Best for Kitchen Knives: Chef’s Choice 15XV

Most Versatile: Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Mk .2

How I Tested the Best Electric Knife Sharpeners 

The author testing electric knife sharpeners on a machete. Drew Conover

I recruited friends to bring me two dozen of their beat-up knives. The knives ranged in size and style to test the sharpeners with a variety of blades, inlcuding:

Super-thin chef knives

Paring knives

Old-school pocket knives

Hunting knives

Bushcraft/camping knives

Large choppers

A machete

Some knives had broken tips and large rolls and chips, and some just needed a touch up. 

While sharpening the knives, I evaluated each sharpener for ease of use, skill level required, quality of the edge, and how easy it was to remove damage. Only the sharpeners that produced a good working edge and, in my opinion, are worth owning made the cut. 

Some sharpeners hit the trash can almost immediately and aren’t worth talking about. But my final list of the best electric knife sharpeners includes the best of the best.

The Best Electric Knife Sharpeners: Reviews and Recommendations  

Best Overall: Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener with Blade Grinder Attachment

See It

Key Features

Includes five 1 x 18-inch belts from 120 grit to 12,000 grit

Adjustable edge angle from 10 degrees to 35 degrees

Can sharpen any knife or tool (Chisels, axes, scissors, etc.)

Adjustable belt speed 

Able to sharpen serrations

Pros

Produced the sharpest edges

Belts last longer because of increased surface area

Made the fastest repairs

Cons

Requires the most skill/practice

Most expensive sharpener in the test

The Blade Grinder Attachment is not a self-powered tool. As the name suggests, it’s just an attachment. It works with the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition sharpener, so you must purchase both. But it’s worth the cost of entry. The belts are wider and longer than standard Work Sharp belt sharpeners, and the adjustability allows you to get the perfect angle for any task and knife style. 

With the optional stropping belts, you can get near-perfect, polished edges, and with the extra coarse belts, reshaping a broken tip or removing a large chip is quick work. Outside of sharpening, you can square the spine of a knife to make it better for scraping a fire steel or making tinder, and it’s capable enough that you can dip your toes into knifemaking. 

Keeping a steady angle while sharpening takes practice since there’s no guide, but once you get it down, it will produce the sharpest edge possible. As with all electric sharpeners, you must be careful not to round the tip, especially on the coarser belts. 

To keep from rounding the tip, be sure not to rotate the handle too far as you near the end, and keep your pass as one fluid motion, not pausing while the tip is still on the belt. 

If you want the best edges possible from an electric sharpener, this is your tool. While the Blade Grinder attachment has a learning curve, I think it’s worth it for the unmatched end result. 

Read Next: Best Knife Sharpeners

Best for Kitchen Knives: Chef’s Choice 15XV

See It

Key Features

3 stages of sharpening

Large guides for easy operation

Honing/Stropping disks can be dressed to extend useful life

Will sharpen serrated kitchen knives

Pros

Easiest to use

Detailed instructions for sharpening specialty and single bevel Chef’s Knives

Quietest motor of all sharpeners tested

Low edge angle for excellent slicing

Cons

Slowest tested for repairing chips and reprofiling

Won’t accept thicker blades

This was the only kitchen knife sharpener to make my best electric knife sharpeners list because it actually did the job it claimed—unlike others I tested. I found it quiet, efficient, and easy to use, producing consistent edges. 

I like that you can leave the Chef’s Choice 15XV on the counter because it doesn’t look like a tool from the garage. Its rectangular shape helps it easily stow in a cabinet. 

I found that this sharpener is best suited for maintaining the sharpness of your kitchen knives rather than fixing heavy damage. Since the guides are too narrow for many of my outdoor knives, this sharpener lost points for versatility but gained them for ease of use.

My kids (11 and 14) easily operated the Chef’s Choice 15XV after a 30-second tutorial and got solid edges from it. I say solid edges because the 15XV won’t produce mirror-polished hair whittling edges, but it gives a great working edge for kitchen knives. It’s a great tool to just leave on the counter so you can periodically run your steak knives, chef knives, and even your serrated bread knives through it to keep them up to snuff. 

The 15XV has what Chef’s Choice calls a Three Stage Trizor Edge with coarse, medium, and stropping wheels for a nice refined edge. However, you have the option of not stropping the edge if you want it a bit “toothy” to get through fibrous fare with ease. The instruction book helps show how to best sharpen serrations and specialty edges. If you’re looking for a tool to keep your kitchen sharp and want it quick and easy, the Chef’s Choice 15XV might be the one for you.

Read Next: Best Sharpening Stones

Most Versatile: Work Sharp Ken Onion Mk 2

See It

Key Features

7-speed motor with LED display

Adjustable sharpening guide 

Sharpens from: 15 to 30 degrees

Tool sharpening adapter with 65-degree scissor guide

Includes belts that range from extra coarse to extra fine 

Price: $200 (Blade Grinder is an additional $99)

Pros

Quickly sharpens knives and tools

Great for repairing chipped blades

Excellent instructions included 

Versatile 

Cons

Can ruin a knife if you’re not careful 

Noisy

The Work Sharp Ken Onion sharpener has been our best electric knife sharpener pick for three years running because it’s versatile, fast, and easy to use. Sharpening is a skill, and you can go down the deep rabbit hole of whetstones or expensive fixed-angle systems. But most people want to sharpen their knives quickly and get on with their day. They also don’t want multiple sharpeners for kitchen knives, pocket knives, scissors, and garden tools. That’s the role the Work Sharp fills, and it does it exceptionally well. 

The medium belt sharpens knives quickly.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

How it Works

This knife sharpener uses abrasive belts, rather than stones, of different grits. A small motor spins the belt, and using the angle guides, you pull the knife across the belt to remove material. Work Sharp includes detailed instructions in the box, and they have a bunch of helpful YouTube videos. I recommend learning to use the sharpener with an inexpensive knife because if you’re using a course belt at high speeds, you can quickly remove a lot of material and ruin a knife.

Testing

In testing the new Mk 2, I sharpened knives that went through my rigorous EDC knife test, hunting knives, and kitchen knives. The addition of the Blade Grinder attachment allowed me to try my hand at freehand sharpening knives, and I used it to sharpen much-neglected scissors and pruners.

The Mk 2 is just as easy to use as previous models, and it has some nice refinements. The speed control is no longer a nob, but plus and minus buttons with lighted level indicators. There’s also a constant-on function, which frees up both hands for sharpening. The angle adjustment is done on a smooth wheel with clicks for each degree. 

If you want to take a knife from dull to sharp, a few passes with the medium belt is all that’s needed. The process only takes a few minutes. Progressing to finer belts results in a polished cutting edge that glides through material. But before you can enjoy that ease of sharpening you’ll have to reprofile your knife’s edge to the convex grind created by the belt sharpener. This process takes about 10 minutes, but once it’s done, maintenance is easy. — Scott Einsmann, gear editor

Things to Consider Before Buying an Electric Knife Sharpener 

Electric sharpeners can produce mirror edges. Drew Conover

Choosing an electric sharpener is similar to choosing a knife. You have to be honest about what you want to do with it. Is this strictly for the kitchen? Do you have damaged knives that need repair? Are the knives you want to sharpen just for hunting and outdoor use?

If you’re looking for a kitchen tool, the 15XV will do all you want it to. If you have a wide variety of knives, some with thicker spines or recurved edges, then one of the Work Sharp Belt Sharpeners will be much more versatile, and the Mk.2 should work perfectly for you. But, if you want to bring your edges to the next level and need a sharpener that will pull double duty in the garage or barn, then go for the Ken Onion with the blade grinder attachment.

Buyer Beware 

But, be aware that not all sharpeners are created equally. Plenty of cheaper sharpeners look very similar to the 15XV, but they use cheap stones instead of abrasive discs, and they quickly overheat and damage the metal at the edge. Others have guides so narrow that you can’t get the heel far enough forward to sharpen it. One sharpener I tested was so loud and shaky (due to cheap, unbalanced synthetic stones) that it walked across the table if I didn’t hold it down. It also threw loads of sparks when the blade made contact. Did it grind the edge? Yes, so much so that it made a divot and heated the edge blue. Most of these sharpeners show up on Amazon for a third of the price or less, so beware of deals that are too good to be true. Save up a little and get a quality tool to take care of the knives that keep you going in the kitchen or outdoors. 

FAQs

Q: Can electric sharpeners damage my knife?

Yes, but so can most sharpening methods. The biggest risks with electric sharpeners are rounding the tip off, getting too much heat in the blade, and u0022burningu0022 the edge. These risks are basically out of the picture when you follow the directions for the sharpener. I recommend practicing on inexpensive knives that you don’t care about as much or that are already damaged while you are learning the basics of your sharpener. 

Q: Are all electric sharpeners the same?

Absolutely not. There are some very poorly designed and executed electric sharpeners out there that look attractive because of the price, but they lose their luster when you hear the terrible noise and watch them burn parts of your edge while not reaching other parts. They may look like some other quality sharpeners, but they don’t work the same way. 

Q: Are electric knife sharpeners messy?

Sharpeners with exposed belts will create metal u0022dustu0022 as they remove material, so you should do it on a surface that is easy to clean or in an area where the dust won’t get on food. I use an old box underneath them to catch the shavings on the off side of the belt, and they only make it a few inches from the sharpener. The Chef’s Choice 15XV keeps all shavings internal and has a clean-out port on the bottom, which is great for the kitchen.  

Final Thoughts on the Best Electric Knife Sharpeners

Since no knife can hold its edge forever, having a quality sharpener is just as important as having a quality knife. Although I own and use sharpening stones and clamp style sharpeners, and guided systems with diamond stones, nothing beats the speed and convenience of a quality electric sharpener. If you’re looking to keep your tools up and running and razor-sharp, and you don’t want to take the time to learn a whole new skill, jumping to one of the best electric knife sharpeners might be your best move.   

Best Overall: Work Sharp Ken Onion with Blade Grinder Attachment

Best for Kitchen Knives: Chef’s Choice 15XV

Best Value: Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Mk.2

Most Versatile: Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition

The post Best Electric Knife Sharpeners of 2024, Tested and Reviewed appeared first on Outdoor Life.

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