The Best Way to Sharpen Kitchen Knives Like a Pro

August 15, 2022

No matter how expensive your beloved kitchen knives are, they will eventually lose sharpness. Some kitchen knives (those from industry-leading brands, most especially) take years before they lose their sharpness, while others may require daily maintenance so that you can keep using them. Regardless of how much you paid for them, you will need to sharpen them sooner or later.

Amateur kitchen enthusiasts and professional chefs have their own respective knife sharpening methods. For instance, using a whetstone can have the most desirable effect on your sharp blade edges but requires mastery of technique and too much time to do. Meanwhile, automatic knife sharpeners can do the job in seconds without you needing to learn sharpening techniques.

So, which knife sharpening method reigns supreme? Read more and find out!

Why Kitchen Knives Need to Be Sharpened

You already know that losing sharpness is a part of any kitchen knife’s lifecycle. But do you know why it happens? Knowing why and how your kitchen knife goes dull is key to deciding which sharpening method is the best for your situation. This section tackles some reasons kitchen knives become blunt as you use them over time.

Wear and Tear

Like other things you use daily, kitchen knives also experience wear and tear. The more frequently you use them, the sooner they lose their edge. However, it shouldn’t discourage you from using these tools. Instead, you should note how frequently you use them so that you can time your knife maintenance perfectly.

Knife Edge Curling

When you have a kitchen knife made of malleable materials, exerting too much force on it can cause its edges to curl or roll. Curling happens due to excessive force applied to the knife edges. While curled knife edges look irreparable, you can restore them to their original state using a honing rod.

Knife Edge Chipping

Like the curling of the knife edge, chipping could be a sign of weak material or excessive wear and tear. When you use your kitchen knife and come into contact with any object, including your ingredients, the edge gets chipped at the microscopic level. You can’t see it with your naked eye, but the effects accumulate and result in a blunt tool.


Kitchen knives come in different degrees of corrosion resistance. For instance, most stainless steel knives, even the most affordable ones, have reliable resistance against corrosion. Unfortunately, no matter how strong their corrosion resistance is, water and the acidic environment in the kitchen will eventually take a toll on your kitchen knives’ edges.

Usage and Technique

Knives, in general, are simple to use. You grab a knife and push it into fruits, vegetables, or meat. But to use kitchen knives efficiently, you need to master knifing techniques. Have you watched professional chefs do their food prep? It takes seconds for them to dice ingredients! Sadly, bad technique and improper use can speed up the deterioration of your kitchen knife.

The Best Way to Sharpen Kitchen Knives

You should determine whether it’s time to sharpen your knives or not before anything else. So how would you decide if they are up for a good honing? You can do the paper test by holding up a piece of paper and slicing it using your kitchen knife. If it slices through the material without you having to saw through it, it’s still sharp enough.

Otherwise, think about using any of these knife sharpening methods to restore your kitchen knives to brand-new condition.

Best Way to Sharpen Kitchen Knives Using a Sharpening Stone

best way to sharpen kitchen knives - A knife being sharpened using a whetstone

If you ask professional chefs and seasoned kitchen enthusiasts which knife sharpening method they prefer, they would say that using a whetstone is the best. It’s a simple sharpening tool that people have used for years. 

However, sharpening a knife using this method requires mastery to produce good results. In addition, it takes longer to do than other methods.

Pick up a whetstone of your choice and follow these steps:

  1. Insert a towel under the whetstone so that it won’t slip out while you sharpen your kitchen knives.
  2. Soak the whetstone in water or oil, whichever the instruction manual indicates.
  3. Identify its coarse side and face it upwards.
  4. Pick the knife up and position it on the whetstone’s surface. A 15- to 20-degree angle would be ideal.
  5. Push it across the surface ten times, then do the same for the knife’s other side.

After following the steps above, your kitchen knife should be noticeably sharper than it was before! You can grab a piece of paper and do the paper test again to see how well you have sharpened your knife.

Best Way to Sharpen Kitchen Knives Using an Electric Sharpener

best way to sharpen kitchen knives - An electric knife sharpener on a table

While most people would agree that manual sharpeners like a whetstone produce the best results, not everyone has enough time to practice using them. Without practice, you can end up damaging your kitchen knife’s edge. Some amateurs have chipped their expensive kitchen blades because of improper sharpening techniques.

Plug in your electric knife sharpener and follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that your knife sharpener is secured on your kitchen counter or table.
  2. Turn it on.
  3. Pick up your kitchen knife and gently pass it through the first slot on the electric sharpener.
  4. If the sharpener has two or more slots, do the same gentle pass through each.
  5. Once you’re done, dispose of the metal shavings from the process.

Some kitchen knife sharpeners have special features which require additional steps. But most electric knife sharpeners, regardless of the brand, usually work this way.

The Bottom Line

Regularly sharpening steel kitchen knives will make them last longer. However, different knife sharpening methods produce varying results. Manually doing the process is preferred by many seasoned professionals but takes time to master. Meanwhile, electric knife sharpeners can do the job quickly but can chip your knife’s edge when used improperly.

If you’re ready to purchase a knife sharpener, head over to our knife accessories section and say goodbye to your dull knife!

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