Go Electric: Why Use an Electric Knife Sharpener and How to Use One

February 9, 2022

Before you cook, you need to do some prep work in the kitchen first. For example, you have to chop vegetables and slice them into more workable pieces. Likewise, when preparing meat, you may have to delicately debone or fillet them while ensuring that no piece goes to waste. 

That’s why a sharp blade is your best friend in the kitchen. Unfortunately, as time passes by, even the highest-quality kitchen knife can go dull for many reasons. For instance, it can depend on the hardness of the steel material used in the knife: some can go dull faster than others. It can also happen because of misuse, such as using a kitchen countertop as a cutting board.

To lengthen the life of your kitchen knife, you should sharpen it regularly. What’s more, the best electric knife sharpener can always make the task easier and faster for you. 

If you wish to know more about this essential kitchen equipment, scroll down to learn more!

Why Bother Sharpening Your Knives?

Having sharp knives at your disposal is a must whether you’re a newcomer to the kitchen or an experienced professional chef. There are many good reasons to pamper your knives and maintain their sharpness. Sadly, most people often neglect to do so, preferring to toss out their knives and buy new ones.

Firstly, a sharp knife is always safer than a dull one; forcing your way with a dull knife can lead to accidents, such as cutting your precious thumb. If you have a sharp knife, you can cut through vegetables and fruits seamlessly and cleanly. A sharp knife is also better for your ergonomics than a blunt blade.

Second, a sharp knife makes better food. Using a blunt knife can have you pushing a tomato, for example, ruining its shape and juiciness. For better presentation, you must preserve the natural shapes of your garnish. Aside from that, you don’t want your fresh vegetables and fruits to quickly wither and lose their freshness.

Lastly, a sharp knife improves your workflow. You don’t have to fumble with your ingredients and desperately try to work on them. If you already have your knife skills nailed down, then you’ll greatly appreciate how a sharp knife can make slicing, chopping, and dicing ingredients a breeze.

What Are the Methods to Sharpen Knives?

Japanese chef with whetstone

After learning the benefits of a sharp knife, you may now want to breathe new life into your kitchen knives. 

There are different ways to sharpen knives. Of course, professional chefs have their own preferences, but you can opt to buy the best electric knife sharpener for your needs.

But before moving forward to electric sharpeners, let’s tackle the other alternatives first.


If you want to preserve the longevity of your kitchen knives, consider using a whetstone. Professional chefs recommend whetstones for sharpening knives because the process is more deliberate and more delicate. High-grit whetstones can even perform better than electric sharpeners.

Despite their cheaper price tags, whetstones require both skill and patience. Not everyone can use a whetstone from the get-go; they also take longer to use compared to manual and electric sharpeners. If you wish to use this method, you must have the patience and time to master it.

Manual Sharpeners

Don’t have the skills and dexterity for a whetstone or honing steel? Then, you can get a manual knife sharpener instead.

Getting a feel for your blades is essential, especially if you have a set of knives that you always bring with you. A manual knife sharpener lets you feel how abrasive the blades are upon contact with the sharpening wheel. 

Electric Knife Sharpener

Not everyone has the time to learn how to use a whetstone. Most of us would just like to have extremely sharp knives in the kitchen without the hassle of using manual knife sharpeners. So if convenience is your top priority, then an electric sharpener might be the one for you—that is if you don’t mind the expensive price tag that comes with it.

How to Use an Electric Knife Sharpener?

One of the most common problems people find with electric knife sharpeners is how powerful they can be. Unfortunately, without the proper knowledge of how to use one, you might end up with a broken and unusable kitchen knife.  

Save yourself from the stress of breaking your beloved blades and learn how to use an electric sharpener properly. Regardless of the model and brand, the steps below should be applicable to your unit.

Step 1: Insert the Knife.

Prepare the knives that need sharpening. While you don’t need to sharpen them frequently, you do need to do so on a regular basis. Some professional chefs sharpen their knives weekly. You can do the same if you use your knives for long periods. Otherwise, you can do it every other week. 

Once you have your kitchen knives laid out, take the first one and put it in one of the slots of your sharpener. Make sure to firmly but gently press it down in place. You have to do this to get the maximum effect out of your sharpening machine. Press the heel down and raise the tip for a balanced placement.

If you’re wondering how to sharpen a serrated knife with an electric sharpener, look for machines specifically designed for serrated edges.

Step 2: Slide the Knife Through.

After securing the knife in place, slowly run it through the sharpening slot. Some electric sharpening machines have a specific correct sharpening angle, but most have built-in guides to help you slide the knife properly. 

Step 3: Sharpen Each Side.

Run your kitchen knives twice through the slot (one for each side). Thanks to the motorized sharpening stone, it only takes a minute or two to get through each knife, which is a big help if you need to sharpen multiple tools. You can also use an electric belt knife sharpener, which uses a belt instead of stones to sharpen your knives.

Step 4: Use a Finer Grit.

Most electric sharpening machines have a two-stage process. The first one is for the coarse grit, while the second uses the finer grit. Otherwise known as honing, the second process straightens your blade and makes sure it’s in tip-top condition.

Step 5: Clean It All Up.

One inevitable side effect of using this sharpening tool is that it sheds a lot of material from your blades. Since you’re working with food, ensure that it leaves no metal shavings on your kitchen countertop. Some electric sharpeners have built-in compartments that can save you the hassle of cleaning up.

Final Thoughts

With all the things happening in the kitchen, forgetting to sharpen your knives is easy. Electric sharpening machines can be your reliable ally in the kitchen: they can do the job with speed and great ease, especially when compared to a grinding wheel. You can even opt to get an electric can opener with a knife sharpener to hit two birds with one stone.

If you’re feeling a little bit adventurous, check out Snap-on kitchen knives: they can both easily slice through meat and serve as great conversation pieces!

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