What are the Best Knife Sharpeners Now?

There has to be a knife sharpening solution out there that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Isn't there?

Nothing is more frustrating than a knife sharpener that doesn't work. Unfortunately, it seems, none of them work, regardless of price. But, I've found a solution I'll share with you. And, it won't cost a penny. Stick around, you're about to be wowed.

 

The best knife sharpener now.

The best knife sharpener allows for three things:

  1. The right consistent angle,
  2. A reasonable progression of sharpening material, and
  3. Consistent placement of the blade.

For these reasons, I believe an example of the best sharpener available is the KME sharpener.

Let me explain…

 

Secrets of sharpening knives

There really are only a few secrets to sharpening knives. Once you understand these, you'll see how the recommended solutions fit nicely into reducing your frustration and increasing your ability to make and keep your knives sharp.

Angle

All knife blades have a specific sharpened angle. Typically, every-day-carry, or folders, have a 30-degree angle.  In other words, 15 degrees on each side. 

Benchmade for example claims that their “BugOut” – comes with a 30°-35° factory angle but this knife can be sharpened from anywhere from 10° to a 40° depending on your use for the knife.

A 30° angle equates to 15° on each side. Additionally, the smaller the degree sharpened, the sharper the knife, or more razor-like the knife but the weaker the edge.

Axes, for example, commonly have a 40° sharpness, while kitchen knives may be 10°.

It's not important to be able to memorize the angles of various knives, what is important is using a sharpener that will hold the desired angle when you are sharpening the knife.

But here's the big secret. Many knife sharpeners have pre-marked sharpness degrees, however, depending on where the knife is held in the sharpener, the knife may or may not actually achieve the desired sharpness degree.

To get the sharpening angle you desire, do the following:

  • set the knife in the sharpening holder
  • attach the sharpening stone and guide, then
  • using your smartphone download and install  a free program like “Angle Pro”
  • set the angle of the sharpening stone to the desired angle using the Angle Pro app.
    • do not use the pre-set angles on the sharpener since the angle will vary depending on where the knife is attached to the holder.

Each time you attach the knife to the holder, remeasure the angle using the Angle Pro application on your smartphone.

Why is that important?  Two reasons:

  1. You will match the angle set by the manufacturer (versus completely changing their angle), and
  2. You will maintain a consistent and recommended angle of sharpness.

Progression

Knives are sharpened by progressively moving from a coarser material to a finer material. As such, knife sharpeners that have only one stone or sharpening material will not produce the best result.

The KME Sharpener has 4 stones which allow for an ideal progression without too few or too many stones. As the knife is sharpened regularly you will probably only use the two finest stones to keep it sharp.

You can order the KME directly from Amazon.

Burr

Kind of a subset under progression, the most coarse stone will produce a burr on the knife blade. This burr can be felt by feeling the metal that is pushed over the edge of the blade. The object of sharpening is to create and then eliminate the burr by sharpening with finer, less coarse, stones on both sides of the blade.

Metal composition

Some knives are developed with harder metals. This contributes to the longevity of the knife's sharpness but creates problems by making it more difficult to sharpen.

The issue here is that knife steel that is harder to sharpen will also last longer. As in most things in life, you live with trade-offs – harder to sharpen but longer-lasting vs. easier to sharpen but dulls quicker.

Recommended knife sharpeners

I've used virtually every knife sharpener out there from simple stones to electric sharpeners. In addition to the KME system above, you may want to look at the following.

Lansky Sharpening System

The Lansky is a trusted name in knife sharpeners and this system is really inexpensive. It meets the requirements of providing a specific angle, although will less fine adjustments, and has a progression of sharpening stones. You could opt for some of their other systems that offer more stones, but, this is a simple and effective system without all the frills that will meet the needs of most people. Check out their YouTube video on how to use this system and you're off to the races. The price point for the system just can't be beaten.

Conclusion

There are literally hundreds of knife sharpeners available. Dull knives are a problem and they're dangerous. I won't give you the top ten or the top five. It will just waste your time.

After years of trying different systems with frustration after disappointment, these are the two best options out there and at really reasonable prices. Choose the one that best meets your needs and budget and forget about knife sharpening problems forever.

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