The Art of Keeping your Kitchen Blades Honed with the Best Manual Knife Sharpener

A simple way to sharpen your household knives is by use of a manual knife sharpener. While you can choose to use an electric sharpener, it isn’t really effective compared to a manual sharpener. If you are a professional or passionate cook, when you use any type of kitchenware, it is essential to keep these tools in pristine condition to increase their efficiency.

This is important especially when dealing with tools you often use for cutting. If you want to prepare a barbeque in your backyard, or work as a chef in a busy restaurant, you should ensure your knives are sharp enough to avoid frustrations when cutting meat.

That is why knife sharpeners come in handy – to help keep your knives sharp and ready to use at all times. This review will explain how to use manual knife sharpeners, the different types of sharpeners available, and how you can select the best one that suits your needs.

Top Pick

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PreciSHARP 3-Stage Sharpener is our top pick on this list and is perfect for use by those who are either left or right handed. This 3-stage manual sharpener allows you to tweak your knives properly for a sharper cutting edge.

It guides the blade on the sharpening surface and you never have to worry about doing it wrong. However, you should use it’s slots with the right sequence to get the best results when sharpening your knives.

Budget Pick

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Zulay Kitchen Knife Sharpener is an excellent option if you have a limited budget. More importantly, it will accomplish the task and keep your knives sharp and in great shape. It is a 2-stage sharpener designed for both serrated and straight knives.

And though it’s manual, anyone can use it as you only have to place the knives on the slots. The handle is comfortable to hold, and keeps the sharpener sturdy while protecting your hand from the blade. Also, it has a non slip bottom that allows you to sharpen your knives without the sharpener moving endlessly on the kitchen counter.

10 Best Manual Knife Sharpener in 2020

1. PreciSHARP 3-Stage Sharpener

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Highlighted features

  • Ergonomic handle
  • 3 stages
  • Sharpens ceramic knives

At first glimpse, you will be surprised that this is actually a manual knife sharpener. It somehow resembles a tool that you can use to scrape ice when you look at it more closely. With an ergonomically built handle, this manual sharpener is easy to operate.

It is an excellent choice for both left and right handed users, just ensure you use it’s slots with the right sequence. And since this is a 3-stage manual sharpener, you can easily tweak your knives on the sharpening surface for a proper cutting edge. After you position the blades correctly on the sharpening surface at the right angle, it will be easier for you to sharpen your knives. This is a great option for those who have ceramic knives, and stage one is designed to specifically work on ceramic blades.

More importantly, the base of the sharpener comes with a non-slip surface that prevents it from moving while you are sharpening your knives. Still, you should hold the handle steadfastly to avoid pivoting or slipping the base. Therefore, if you own a set of knives at home, and you need a quick and easy-to-use sharpener, then this is an excellent choice for you.

2. Zulay Kitchen Knife Sharpener

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Highlighted Features

  • Comes in beautiful color scheme
  • Smart design allows easy storage in drawers
  • 2 stages (honing and sharpening)
  • Sturdy

This easy-to-use manual sharpener has 2 – stages and this allows you to sharpen your knives to enhance their effectiveness. After a few swipes, your knives will become sharp and shiny again. Essentially, the coarse slot helps in sharpening your knives and the ceramic one polishes and honed the blade.

And thanks to its high quality Tungsten Carbide Blades on the 1st stage, this manual sharpener will make your work easier. On the second stage, the sharpener will fix any imperfections while honing the blade’s edge.

The good thing is that you can use it on your kitchen counter without worrying that it will slide or move when using it. This is made possible by the padded, non-slippery bottom. And when its not in use, the small design enables you to store it comfortably on your countertop or kitchen drawers.

It has an appealing black color scheme that makes your kitchen look chic and modern. And if you aren’t satisfied with the product, simply request for a refund.

3. Chef’s Choice 4643 Diamond sharpener

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Highlighted features

  • Easy to use
  • Diamond abrasive edges
  • Comfortable with a variety of kitchen knives

This versatile 3 – stage  sharpener is designed to work on different types of knives with ease. It uses modern technology known as the criss-cross technique, which ensures the edges are burr free. Moreover, the sharpener offers a durable arch when sharpening the blade and its bevel control panel is accurate at a 15 – degree angle.

And similar to most chef’s choice manual sharpeners, it has high quality diamonds as abrasives and hence it sharpens knives fast. This manual sharpener can work effortlessly on different blade types and it is compatible with almost all types of knives available.

However, sharpening and honing are separate stages entirely, and that means after you are done sharpening, your knife will retain its sharp edge, which is perfect for heavy use again. Additionally, it is fast and effective, and will prolong the effectiveness of your kitchen knives.

4. Wusthof-Trident 4452 3000/8000

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Highlighted features

  • Extremely fine grit
  • Compatible with oil or water
  • 2 – sided stone

Wusthof is a major player in the cutlery industry and they are responsible for manufacturing quality products that can stand the test of time. This manual sharpener is made from quality ceramic that you either use with oil or water, depending on your preference.

And similar to most sharpening stones, you can use both sides to sharpen your knives. The stone comes with a (3000) side of fine grit, and (8000) side for super-fine grit. It’s an amazing stone that will work great on your knives while achieving razor sharp edges.

Having two blades makes it effective in sharpening beaten up blades effortlessly. For routine sharpening, it is ideal to use both sides so that you can get the best results. The sharpener keeps your kitchen blades super sharp and in pristine condition, regardless of whether you use them often or not.

Although this product serves its intended purpose, it lacks a stand which can be annoying. However, you can buy a stand separately but this may cost you slightly more. Still, buying this sharpening stone is definitely worth your money.

Therefore, if you have severely blunt knives, you should opt for this reliable sharpening grit stone for it’s effectiveness and ease of use.

5. iGear Pro Professional 2-Stage Knife Sharpener

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Highlighted features

  • Non-slip base
  • 2 – stages
  • Better grip
  • Long lasting sharpening surface

If you have stainless steel kitchenware, this manual 2- stage sharpener will fit in effortlessly. You can even keep it on top of your kitchen counter as it looks modern and sleek. Or perhaps you have a set of top notch knives that require some sharpening? Well, this simple manual sharpener should work on the task at hand.

And like most pull-through stylish sharpeners, this 2- stage manual unit rests perfectly on your kitchen counter. Hold the handle firmly and then pull your knife through its course grit several times and finish the process on the fine grit slot. While this is a simple technique to sharpen your knives, most products on the market often use this method.

The sharpener also boasts of a sharpening surface that is diamond coated, which is ideal for producing the best edge on blunt knives with minimal effort. And while you can’t use the sharpener to work on Japanese or ceramic knives, you can still sharpen other types of knives beautifully.

6. Vremi 4-Stage Manual Knife Sharpener

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Highlighted features

  • Excellent for both 15° and 20° knives
  • Non-slip base
  • Compact

This 4 – stage versatile sharpener will work magic as far as sharpening your knives is concerned. But despite having the 4 – stage name, it is similar to a 2 – stage sharpener. This simply means that two stages are designed for 15° knives, while two stages can sharpen 20° knives.

You’ll agree with me that having a 4 – stage sharpening surface is sufficient to effectively and properly sharpen your knives. And the good thing is that you can easily sharpen your steel knives effortlessly one a singular device. Additionally, you never have to worry about sharpening your blades using the wrong zone as they are labelled clearly.

The unit has a smaller handle than most manual sharpeners and might not be suitable for users with larger hands. However, it comes with a rubberized bottom and grip, as well as a weighted base that allows it to remain sturdy as you sharpen.

And since this sharpener is on the lower end in terms of cost, you don’t expect to get the high quality diamond grit found in most sharpeners. It has a perfect combination of ceramic rods and carbide steel that will serve the intended purpose. If you have different knife types, then you can depend on this sharpener for value as well as efficiency.

7. Wusthof Unisex Hand-Held Sharpener

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Highlighted features

  • Stable base
  • Easy to use
  • Sharpens different types of knives

This versatile precision edge sharpener is ideal for both Asian knives and American type knives. It’s made from carbide steel and this allows you to sharpen your knives without destroying the blade. The sharpener also has a rubberized blade that offers stability when sharpening knives.

The Wusthof sharpener is bulky and this adds stability and balance. What’s more, you can use the blades at an angle of 14 or 28 degrees to ensure your knives have a consistent sharp edge. But if you want to sharpen Asian knives, adjust the blades to 2 degrees to achieve the desired result. Either way, it V-shaped sharpening surface will work on your knives quickly.

You can use ceramic rods to complete the honing phase and this process will work perfectly on different types of knives. After you finish sharpening your knives using this unit, they will become super sharp and the edge will last longer.

8. Rada Cutlery Quick Edge Sharpener

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Highlighted Features

  • Dual intersecting wheels
  • Very affordable
  • Durable
  • Non-slip bottom

Manufactured in the U.S, the Rada Cutlery sharpener has a lot of benefits to offer. It has hardened carbon stainless steel material and intersecting wheels that allow you to sharpen the blade on both sides simultaneously.

The intersecting wheels will ensure your blades are sharpened effortlessly with minimum effort. Moreover, it’s a sturdy and portable device that comes with a non-slip base. This holds the unit in position during use and prevents it from sliding or moving. The sharpener is not only helpful in sharpening dull kitchen knives, but is also excellent in sharpening both pocket and camping knives.

9. Smith’s Adjustable Manual Knife Sharpener

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Highlighted features

  • Replaceable abrasive materials
  • Easy to use
  • Compatible with different knives

This adjustable manual sharpener is appropriate for sport enthusiasts why enjoy having sharp knives at all times. It can work well with all different types of knives including straight and serrated, and the two stage sharpening process will keep your coarse knives sharp and fine.

You can also use the sharpener to ensure your knives retain their edge longer. The sharpener also comes with an adjustable knob that you can set at 14 or 25 degrees on both sides. And if you want to sharpen a serrated blade, simply use the slot with a fixed angle to fully sharpen your knives.

While the sharpener has a long lifespan, you can choose to replace the working parts when necessary. More importantly, it has a soft handle that is comfortable to hold as you sharpen your knife. Moreover, it has a non-slip base that doesn’t move while sharpening. And though it is designed for sport lovers, this manual sharpener is versatile and can be used on both hunting and kitchen knives.

10. Senshi 1000/3000 Professional Grade Whetstone

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Highlighted features

  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Silicone non-slip base
  • 2 stones

This Japanese made knife sharpener is an excellent choice that you can always depend on. But the main challenge of working with whetstone sharpeners is holding them still in position as you sharpen. It can be difficult to protect your kitchen counter from getting damaged.

But since the Senshi manual sharpener is fitted with a silicon base, you don’t need to worry about damaging your kitchen counter. It is a two sided quality sharpening stone: the coarse side is perfect for dealing with heavy blunt knives and the fine side for smoothing. The sharpener offers some form of convenience as you get to have both sides on one unit.

And while its grit is rough enough to work on any knife, you can also use it to sharpen your swords. But if the edges don’t meet the exacting standards, it is still sufficient if you are looking to ensure your knives stay sharper longer.

Things to consider before buying a manual knife sharpener

It is always advisable to do thorough research online before you buy any kitchen tool so that you can make an informed decision. Here are some of the things to consider as you compare different manual knife sharpeners.

Select your type

Manual knife sharpeners usually come in two different types, and they are diverse from each other. With that said, you need to ensure you have chosen the right knife sharpener tailored to your specific needs.

For starters, you have pull-through manual sharpeners that are easy to use. They can accommodate almost all types of knives and are ideal for newbie cooks. On the other hand, sharpening stones can work on any blade type but only after you have learned how to use them as intended.

You should ensure that the sharpener you decide to buy will serve the task at hand. And to sharpen your blade with minor effort, you need a quality sharpener made of hardened material. But if your kitchen knives are manufactured from material other than carbide or ceramic, then you need to shop for the right sharpener.

Sharpening stages

It is easy to sharpen a moderately blunt knife using a fine grit. However, a heavily blunt knife should first be sharpened by a unit that supports heavy grit knives. Without these essential stages, you might find it difficult to complete the job accordingly. You should shop for a two stage manual sharpener but a four stage sharpener is better.

Suitable for knives, or multipurpose?

Having a versatile knife sharpener is an important household unit. It will certainly come in handy if you want to sharpen chisels, screwdrivers, and scissors. But if the sharpener doesn’t have multiple uses, then you need to find a quality all-purpose sharpener. However, you should never sacrifice quality for versatility.

Can it work on curved blades?

Not all knife sharpeners are suited to work on serrated blades. Find out if your kitchen knives are serrated and identify the best sharpener that has been configured correctly. This is an important aspect if you don’t want to damage your knives.

Use the appropriate angle

Most kitchen knives usually have cutting edges at different angles. For example, Japanese knives normally have a cutting edge at a 15° angle, and other knives employ a 20° angle. You should always maintain the desired angle when sharpening your knives and this is important to avoid damaging the blade.

Pull-through manual sharpeners come with a guide to help you use the right angle so that you can sharpen the blade properly as intended. For that reason, you should buy a manual sharpener that matches the type of knives you have in your kitchen.

When using a sharpening stone, you don’t need to worry about sharpening angle. You can use it to sharpen your knives freehand without necessarily using any angle.

What is the intended use: Commercial or home use?

Remember that what you can buy for home use may not be ideal for commercial purposes like a restaurant. Therefore, if you plan to buy a manual sharpener for large scale commercial use, you should ensure it’s sturdy and can withstand the severities of habitual usage. That means you don’t need to buy a professional unit if you only plan to use it at home.

Reliability/ brand reputation

This is something tricky that most people face. Unlike most barbecue units, most manual sharpener brand names might be unfamiliar to you. In fact, you can find a sharpener that has been branded differently by multiple vendors.

It is therefore important to browse through user reviews so that you can get an idea of what buyers are saying. That way, you will know what brands are trustworthy, as well as those that should be avoided.

Price

Manual kitchen sharpeners usually have different prices and pull-through types are often affordable than whetstones. Nonetheless, budget is something personal and you will decide what purchase makes financial sense to you.

That means you don’t have to spend your hard earned money on a unit that you only plan to use occasionally. However, you should not underspend to an extent that you are not satisfied with the product.

Conclusion

Do you agree that sharpening your knives by hand is the best way to go? Well, if you are looking for great control and precision, then you should shop for a manual kitchen sharpener. But if you want to try other options, you can opt to buy an electric kitchen sharpener.

Hopefully, this review has been helpful in your search for the best knife sharpener. All in all, remember to do thorough research before you settle for a specific knife sharpener. That way, you can identify a good unit that will serve your needs.

And for those who have a limited budget but still want an efficient sharpener that will deliver optimal results, the Zulay Kitchen model is a worthy investment. Last but not least, remember to store the sharpener properly in a secure drawer.

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