We recently brought to your attention the ideal rice cooker to help amp up your meals at home, and when talking to Chef Nathan Lyon on the topic, he raised the excellent question we could all stand to consider more often: “We only get so many meals on this earth, so why not make them all really worth it?”
Keeping with that philosophy, we’re exploring some options for the little gadgets in your kitchen that can make the biggest impact on how well you’re able to prepare food. One of the easiest ways to improve your mealtime is to invest in a small but sturdy knife sharpener that will shape up your current cutting game, making it easier and more fun to incorporate healthy vegetables, perfectly sliced breads, quality cuts of meat, and more into each spread without splurging on a brand-new set of chef’s knives.
After talking to a handful of food professionals and getting their top picks, we searched Amazon to spot some other top-rated options. Read on to discover which whetstones and sharpeners are the best fit for your kitchen, and get to tightening up those edges for a better, easier, and more satisfying chop.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Tim Nelson is the expert behind bbqsmarts.com, a site where he writes in-depth guides to achieving peak excellence in barbecuing, product reviews, and more standard recipes. Needless to say, he knows a thing or two about sharp knives and gave us two recommendations for how best to hone your blade.
“For sharpening a knife, nothing beats a whetstone,” Tim tells us. “I use this Sharp Pebble Sharpener which is double-sided with fine and coarse grit levels. The coarse side is for sharpening, while the finer grit is for finishing. It also comes with a little guide that clips to the dull side of your knife to ensure that you're sharpening at the correct angle.”
He also suggests hitting up YouTube to find a visual guide on how the proper use of a whetstone since, in his words, “nothing beats a visual guide.”
Tim also threw in a more accessible option for those looking for a lower price point that can be used anytime without soaking like the whetstone mentioned above.
“I also have a cheap sharpener which works surprisingly well in a pinch. A whetstone needs to be soaked in advance, so it's nice to have something you can use without any prep. Just be aware that this type of sharpener does create small metal shavings, so it's a good idea to give your knife a rinse after using one.” More than 16,000 ratings tend toward agreement, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars corroborating Tim’s claims.
In addition to the wonderful question poised in this article’s introduction, Chef Nathan did in fact have a fantastic recommendation for a professional-grade sharpener that will set you back a bit more money but handles the largest variety of knives with unwavering accuracy. As with the rice cooker, he had plenty of top-shelf advice to complement his pick:
“So most Asian style knives are a 15 degree angle, which means they're sharper, and classically speaking, European or German style knives have a 20-degree angle, so they're not as sharp, but it's more of a workhorse thing–you can bang through bones and stuff like that. But very few American consumers break down an entire hog or an entire chicken, so they want a sharper knife. The Chef's Choice Trizor XV gives all that more, plus they've finally figured out–'they' meaning the industry– a way for sharpening straight edge knives like your chef's knife or your paring knife and serrated blades like your bread knife. Historically speaking, serrated knives had been very difficult to sharpen.”
Our next suggestion is one of the highest-rated models on Amazon with a staggering 98% approval rating and reviews that suggest this mid-priced tool is a safe bet for those looking. "I’m not a knife enthusiast, but from what I see, this sharpens EVERYTHING and does it very well," claims one enthusiastic user who has only recently dived into the sharpening game. They add, "I’ve done scissors, kitchen knives, and I can tell this is going to be a great sharpener I’ll hopefully have a long time!!"
Another option selected through the sheer approval of the masses is the very unique and colorful design of the Redi Edge. The lowest review is a 3 out of 5 stars, and there's only one of those among more than 80 others proving this one does exactly what it says it will and looks stylish while doing so. The compact design means it will fit nicely in your flatware drawer as well, and if you're still not convinced, take for example one longtime fan who writes, "I have been using them for 10 years and it has out sharpened every sharpener out there. A friend of mine, who uses a diamond edge sharpener that was double the cost, asks to use it. I never leave home to fish camp or hunting camp without it."
Our final sharpener is the most expensive of the bunch and designed with not only chefs but also avid outdoorsmen for whom the Everyday Carry lifestyle is more than just a popular Instagram hashtag. The price point isn't a light one nor is the counter space this will take up, but for those looking to make a long-term investment for the workshop or crafty garage setup, the Wick Edge is an aspirational piece of equipment that will keep all your handy sharps at their peak.
Sure it looks cool sitting on your counter, but the J.A. Henckels Twinstone Pro will also use its 250 grit to remove existing damage from the blade before the 1000 grit side sharpens it into like-new perfection.
"The synthetic material is great and quick to use," one user raves, noting there is no presoaking required and, "It brings my knives back to their razor sharp edge with ease."