Best knife Sharpener 2020

Andy Kincain
I use a knife sharpener to keep my kitchen and sport knives at their absolute sharpest

Best Knife Sharpeners 2022: An Amateur Chef's Search for Convenience in the Kitchen

What I liked:

  1. Quickly and easily puts a new edge on a dull knife

  2. Intuitive sharpening technique is great for novices

  3. Sharpening angle can be adjusted with precision

  4. Won’t scratch or damage knives

  5. Sturdy and well-balanced

What I didn’t like:

  1. Utilitarian appearance

  1. Direct from manufacturer!
    (extended warranty + free shipping & lowest price)

  1. Direct from manufacturer!
    (sold out on Amazon)

At a glance: I tried these knife sharpeners

Making my home kitchen safer

Ever since I retired last year, I’ve been relishing having the time to explore two of my lifelong passions: cooking and spending time outdoors. And thanks to this new free time, I’m discovering just how many products there are that could make my life a lot easier and allow me to enjoy my hobbies to the fullest.

Over the years, I’ve owned a few different knife sharpening systems, including a whetstone and a sharpening steel that have been gathering dust in my garage. I’ve always wanted to find something that I could use to sharpen my knives quickly and easily, without having to master a complicated technique or potentially ruining my knives because I was rushing or not using the sharpener correctly. What is the best manual knife sharpener?

I decided that the best solution would be to try out six of the most popular knife sharpeners on Amazon, to see if they could keep my knife blades sharp, with minimal effort and expertise on my part. There are dozens of kitchen knife sharpeners of all different shapes, sizes, and styles on Amazon, at drastically different prices. I wanted to find something dependable, safe, and easy to use that would be convenient to grab whenever I noticed one of my knives getting dull.

Best Knife Sharpener Comparison

I bought and tried each of these knife sharpeners.

Hopefully, my experiences with these products will give you a good overview of the best knife sharpeners on Amazon, and will help guide you towards one that will serve you well for many years to come. 

How did I evaluate the knife sharpeners?

  1. I used the knife sharpener on a variety of kitchen knives
  2. I used the knife sharpener to on my pocket knives
  3. I tried out the different sharpening stages
  4. I used the knife sharpener on inexpensive knives with dull blades
  5. When possible, I adjusted the sharpening angle to the correct setting for different knives
  6. I considered how quickly the knife sharpener put an edge on my knives
  7. I examined the blades after sharpening for any scratches or damage
  8. I considered how safe and sturdy the knife sharpener feels
  9. I considered how straightforward and intuitive the knife sharpener is to use
  10. I noted how easily I could store the knife sharpener

What were the most important factors for choosing a knife sharpener?

  1. Quickly puts a sharp blade on dull knives

  2. No previous sharpening experience necessary

  3. Convenient and easy to use

  4. Works on a variety of knives (western style, Asian style, sport knives, etc.)

  5. Suitable for both cheap and expensive knives

  6. Won’t damage the knife blade or blunt it over time

  7. Has multiple sharpening stages for creating a precise, polished edge

  8. Designed for safety (sturdy and no-slip grip)

  9. Portable and easy to store

I’ve seen knife sharpeners on Amazon for under $20 -- what are they like?

When I first started looking at the different knife sharpeners available on Amazon, I was amazed to see that some were priced at under $20.

To see what they were like, I purchased several of these budget sharpeners, and tried them out on a few cheap paring knives. Overall, I’m glad that I didn’t use them on my better knives, or even the old (though decent quality) stainless steel knives that are usually my go-to in the kitchen.

The one thing that the budget sharpeners had in common was that they really didn’t put a sharp edge on the knives. Most of these sharpeners took a long time to put any kind of edge on the blade, if they worked at all. Somehow, a few of my knives actually ended up duller than they were when I began sharpening them. Invariably, these budget sharpeners are lightweight, flimsy, and imprecise, which is far from ideal when you’re holding a knife in your hand.

My advice is to spend a little more money on a safe, quality product that actually works and will last for many years. It’s certainly possible that you might luck out and find a decent knife sharpener for less than $20, but based on my experience, you’re far more likely to end up with an odd-looking paper weight!

1. The best knife sharpener I tried: RazorSharp Knife Sharpener

RazorSharp Knife Sharpener

RazorSharp Knife SharpenerCheck Price on Amazon
  1. Direct from manufacturer!
    (extended warranty + free shipping & lowest price)

What I liked:

  1. Quickly and easily puts a new edge on a dull knife

  2. Intuitive sharpening technique is great for novices

  3. Sharpening angle can be adjusted with precision

  4. Won’t scratch or damage knives

  5. Sturdy and well-balanced

What I didn’t like:

  1. Utilitarian appearance (design isn’t as elegant as some others)

  1. Direct from manufacturer!
    (extended warranty + free shipping & lowest price)

Author’s pick: Ranks #1 out of all knife sharpeners

The RazorSharp Knife Sharpener is by far the best knife sharpener I tried, and it’s the one that I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone, regardless of their prior experience (or lack of experience) with sharpening knives.

One of my favorite aspects of the RazorSharp is how effortless and intuitive it is to use -- and how incredibly versatile it is. I got the hang of the sharpening motion the very first time that I ran a knife through it. The fact that the RazorSharp has a knob that allows you to precisely adjust the sharpening angle is a huge advantage, and it was the only manual sharpener that I could find with this feature. The RazorSharp would be an excellent fit for those who like having the adjustability of an electric knife sharpener, but at a far more affordable price.

It couldn’t be any easier to change the sharpening angle -- the knob is clearly marked with angles from 14 to 24 degrees. The recommended angle for various knives (fillet knives, western and Asian kitchen knives, pocket knives, hunting knives, cleavers, etc.) is helpfully printed directly on the side of the sharpener. You simply push the knob down and turn it to exactly the angle you want.

The RazorSharp features professional-grade tungsten carbide for the sharpening stage and diamond-coated ceramic tips for the polishing stage, so you can fine tune the honing process depending on the condition of your knives. Even after repeated use on all sorts of knives, both of these stages continued to work just as well as they had the first time, and they are clearly made to last. I tested the RazorSharp on a variety of knives, starting with some inexpensive yet fairly sharp kitchen knives. I immediately noticed how well I could clean up the blades with just a few strokes through the sharpening and polishing stages. In less than 30 seconds, the Razor Sharp completely smoothed out any nicks on the metal.

As an extra bonus, the RazorSharp has a third stage with diamond-gritted ceramic edges, specifically designed for sharpening scissors. Before using this particular product, I had never sharpened scissors before. Needless to say, I’m amazed at what a difference it’s made -- cutting through paper (especially wrapping paper!) is much faster and cleaner now that I have a pair of nice sharp scissors.

Even more usefully, with only a dozen strokes through the sharpening stage, I was able to put a new, completely straight edge on some seriously dull knives. The RazorSharp worked just as well on cheap knives as on my best stainless steel set, and on my carbon steel hunting knife, as well. I had allowed a couple of paring knives to become fairly blunt, and the Razor Sharp very quickly restored them to a keen edge, without noticeably shearing off the metal, as other sharpeners might have done. I was able to cleanly slice through tomatoes with very little pressure, and all of the knives passed the paper slicing test, too.

The polishing stage even honed the blades on some of my serrated knives, including an old bread knife that had seen better days. I felt comfortable enough with the Razor Sharp that I had no hesitation using it on my best hardened steel knives, including my Asian kitchen knives. With the helpful instructions and adjustable sharpening angle, I knew exactly how to do it.

In addition to the quality of the sharpening system, the user experience with the Razor Sharp also sets it apart from its competitors. The RazorSharp Knife Sharpener is very well designed, with an ergonomic handle that’s contoured to fit snugly in the palm of my hand. It’s very comfortable to grasp, and never puts my hand in an awkward or cramped position. I also felt completely safe while using the RazorSharp. Thanks to its clever design, my fingers were always a good distance away from the sharpening stages, and thus protected from any potential contact with knife blades. A great deal of care clearly went into making the Razor Sharp as safe as possible, which is incredibly important, considering how many potential users are likely to be unfamiliar with sharpening knives.

I’m also very pleased with how solid the RazorSharp feels. Although it certainly isn’t excessively bulky or heavy, the Razor Sharp is hefty and well balanced, so it won’t tip or rock, however vigorously you pull your knives through the sharpening stages. There must be an additional weight inside the base of the Razor Sharp that keeps it securely situated on any surface. Further contributing to its excellent stability, the Razor Sharp has a thick and extra-grippy rubber mat underneath, so there’s no chance of it sliding around during sharpening.

One of the only things I can fault the RazorSharp on is that its appearance is somewhat utilitarian. However, even though the RazorSharp isn't quite as elegant as some other kitchen gadgets, it has an attractive silver-gray matte finish. It’s a nice-looking gadget that I would be happy to have sitting on my countertop. And just in case it clashes with your decor, or if space is limited in your kitchen, the Razor Sharp is certainly portable and compact enough to easily store in any drawer.

In terms of putting a new edge on a dull knife, or touching up a frequently-used blade, I doubt you’ll find a better tool than the RazorSharp, no matter how much or how little experience you have with knives.

2. The Runner-Up: Mercer Culinary Double Diamond Manual Knife Sharpener

What I liked:

  1. Not likely to scratch or damage knives

  2. Compact design with comfortable handle

  3. Fairly easy to use, even for novices

  4. Good for periodic touch ups

What I didn’t like:

  1. Sharpening angle is fixed and can’t be adjusted

  2. Not particularly sturdy or grippy; tends to roll during use

  3. Better suited for western knives than Asian-style knives

Although I preferred the Razor Sharp for its versatility, I have no hesitation in ranking the Mercer Culinary Double Diamond as the runner-up. The Mercer Culinary is definitely a quality, well-made product that would look attractive on any countertop. It’s a manual, pull-through sharpener with two sharpening stages -- one for sharpening and one for honing. Both of the sharpening stages use diamond abrasives to sharpen the blades, which makes me think that it’s built to last.

I certainly can’t fault the Mercer Culinary in terms of convenience. It’s easy to use and I quickly mastered the technique for pulling my knives through each of the stages. Even someone who had never used a knife sharpener before would probably grasp the correct sharpening motion without too much trouble. The instructions are easy to understand and would help clear up any confusion about how to use the product. 

After using the Mercer Culinary on a variety of inexpensive kitchen knives, I felt confident enough to give it a try on my better knives. I’m pleased to report that it didn’t leave any scratches, although the edges it put on them weren't quite as sharp as what the Razor Sharp can produce. Based on my efforts to sharpen cheap, dull knives with it, I think the Mercer Culinary is probably better for the occasional touch-up, rather than putting a new edge on a very blunt knife. 

One of the only major drawbacks of the Mercer Culinary is that the sharpening angle can’t be adjusted, so it doesn’t give you the flexibility or precision of the Razor Sharp. The Mercer Culinary seems to be intended primarily for use with western knives, so I haven’t tried sharpening my more delicate Asian-style knives with it. Since the sharpening angle is fixed, I don’t want to risk damaging the blades on some of my favorite knives. 

In terms of the overall design, the Mercer Culinary knife sharpener is fairly lightweight and compact. The handle is comfortable and won’t leave your hand feeling cramped. However, I definitely preferred the sturdier, weightier feel of the Razor Sharp. Likewise, the Mercer Culinary doesn’t have that extra layer of rubber matting on the bottom to grip the counter. Alarmingly, this knife sharpener tends to roll during use because the grips underneath don’t hold it in position, so extra care is required to prevent an injury caused by slippage.

3. Brod & Taylor Classic Knife Sharpener

What I liked:

  1. Unusual, eye-catching design 

  2. Automatically adjusts to knife angle

  3. High-quality tungsten carbide sharpeners

  4. Can put a new edge on a dull knife

What I didn’t like:

  1. More expensive than its competitors

  2. Takes time to master techniques for sharpening, honing, polishing

  3. May take too much metal off the blade, especially for novice users

  4. Base isn’t very heavy, tends to shift slightly during use

The Brod & Taylor Classic knife sharpener is definitely one of the most unique-looking knife sharpeners that I’ve ever seen, and it’s undeniably the most eye-catching one on this list. With its elegant shape and matte black finish, it’s a cool gadget that would look very much at home in a sleek, modern kitchen. It was the most expensive knife sharpener I tried, although the high price tag didn’t equate to it being the best.

The Brod & Taylor has a single stage for sharpening, honing, and polishing, rather than the separate sharpening and honing/polishing stages that most pull-through sharpeners have. The spring-action bars are supposed to automatically adjust to fit knives of any size and angle, including serrated knives and delicate fillet knives. This is a very interesting design feature, but I’m not sure that it’s a plus. Since I’m not a knife expert, I would prefer to have a separate polishing stage so that I could see exactly how the blade is looking at different steps in the sharpening process. 

In terms of actually sharpening knives, the Brod & Taylor has some very appealing features. The tungsten carbide sharpening surfaces do a good job of putting a new edge on a dull knife. I was impressed at how well it sharpened inexpensive knives so that they were able to slice through vegetables with ease. On the downside, however -- although this might well have been user error on my part --  the Brod & Taylor took off a noticeable amount of metal each time I used it on a blade, so I’m not sure how reliable it would be with more expensive knives.

I also found that mastering the different techniques for sharpening, honing, and polishing wasn’t all that intuitive. It took some lengthy experimentation with positioning and pulling knives through the sharpening surfaces in order for me to be able to sharpen various blades. I might have gotten the hang of the Brod & Taylor more quickly if someone with experience had been around to show me how to use it, but just relying on the visual instructions on the base was challenging. 

Frustratingly, the Brod & Taylor sometimes moves slightly during use. The base isn’t particularly heavy or grippy, nor is there anything to hold onto while you’re sharpening. I much prefer having a comfortable handle to grasp, like the Razor Sharp and the Mercer have.

For experienced knife enthusiasts, the Brod & Taylor would probably be a great choice, but I think novices might really struggle to master the proper techniques for sharpening, honing, and polishing. Also, as it’s designed for kitchen knives with a maximum blade angle of 20 degrees, the Brod & Taylor wouldn’t be my first choice for sharpening a pocket knife or a hunting knife.

4. AnySharp Pro Chef Metal Knife Sharpener

What I liked:

  1. Attractive design, available in a wide range of colors

  2. Designed for one-handed use

  3. Soft polymer surface won’t damage knife tips after sharpening

What I didn’t like:

  1. Pre-set for sharpening at 20 degrees

  2. “PowerGrip” suction isn’t strong enough to stop sharpener from moving

  3. Generates a lot of metal filings, potentially damaging blades

  4. Too small for repeated, serious sharpening

I was initially drawn to the AnySharp because of its unique design and attractive metallic look. I chose the copper model, but it’s also available in brass and a variety of vibrant colors. There has been a lot of hype surrounding the AnySharp Pro, probably because of its slick appearance and the fact that it’s advertised as “The World’s Best Knife Sharpener.” However, although it’s a cool-looking little gadget, it doesn’t come close to deserving all that fanfare. 

In theory, I like how the AnySharp can be locked so that the base grips the counter or table. It’s essentially a suction cup, and it’s supposed to be strong enough to secure it vertically to a fridge or wall tile for easy storage. The PowerGrip is supposed to allow you to sharpen your knives with just one hand. If the suction actually worked, this would be a huge plus in terms of safety, as there would be no danger of your fingers accidentally getting in the way of the knife blade. However, I found that the suction on the base of the AnySharp was very weak. I tried it on a number of different surfaces; sometimes it held fast, while other times it didn't. And because the AnySharp is so tiny and lightweight, if the suction doesn’t work and you have to use your other to hold it in place, the design becomes far more dangerous than a typical two-handed sharpener with a decent-sized handle.  

It took me a little while to get the hang of the AnySharp, because it’s pretty different from any other sharpener I had previously used. It works best when I apply very light pressure to the knives, otherwise I notice a little pile of metal filings building up on the countertop. This isn’t a major problem for putting a new blade on a cheap, dull knife, but it’s more of a concern for better-quality knives that only need a minor touch-up. Likewise, because the AnySharp only has one stage, there’s no way to simply give a blade a light polish, rather than running it through the tungsten carbide sharpeners. The AnySharp is supposed to require just two or three sharpening strokes, but I found that it needs a good deal more than that. On the plus side, the AnySharp has a softer polymer layer on its top, which protects the tip of the knife blade from damage once it’s been sharpened. 

I would have preferred to be able to adjust the angle of the AnySharp, in order to better sharpen different types of knives. It’s pre-set at 20 degrees, which is fine for most kitchen knives, but this isn’t the correct angle for certain knives such as hunting  knives, cleavers, and fillet knives. Thus, although the AnySharp is fairly straightforward to use on standard kitchen knives, it requires some skill to correctly sharpen a knife with a thinner, narrower blade.

The AnySharp is supposed to work on serrated blades, as well, although not those with fine-toothed serrations. I tried it on a bread knife and I think it made the blade marginally sharpener, but it was difficult to see significant results, as you can only apply very light pressure to serrated knives.

The AnySharp is extremely small, which makes it easy to store and pack away into a drawer or toolbox. However, when it comes to actually using it, I would have preferred a heftier sharpener, especially since the suction cup on the bottom is too weak to grip the counter unassisted.

5. PriorityChef Knife Sharpener

What I liked:

  1. Sturdy rubber grip on the base

  2. Safe and straightforward to use

What I didn’t like:

  1. Takes a long time sharpen and may scratch expensive knives

  2. Handle feels very hollow and cheaply made

  3. Diamond sharpening wheel can get knocked out of position

The PriorityChef is probably the best budget knife sharpener that I tried, although that’s not saying much. It’s affordable and it looks nice, but based on my experience, it’s not up to the task of sharpening blunt knives, unless you want to spend a lot of time sharpening your knives on a regular basis.

The PriorityChef features two stages -- a “coarse” stage with diamond abrasives that’s supposed to repair and straighten edges, and a “fine” polishing stage with a ceramic honing wheel, which can also be used on serrated knives. This system may be sufficient for sharpening certain knives, especially those that are already pretty sharp and just need a little retouching. However, the PriorityChef didn’t accomplish anything when I used it on dull knives. Although the instructions say that you should be able to get a knife sharp in 10 strokes, in my experience, even after five minutes of pulling a fairly blunt chef’s knife back and forth through the PriorityChef, the blade still couldn’t easily slice through vegetables or meat. 

Furthermore, there’s no way to adjust the angle of the PriorityChef’s diamond abrasive wheels (and these can sometimes get knocked out of alignment), so it’s a lot less versatile than the RazorSharp or the Brod & Taylor. That being said, its simplicity makes it pretty straightforward to use, even for people without any sharpening experience. 

Although it didn’t actually scratch any of my knives, I didn’t give it the chance to do so -- I only tried to sharpen inexpensive knives with the PriorityChef. I did use the second polishing stage (with the ceramic wheels) to sharpen a bread knife, with moderate success. However, since there’s no way to control the sharpening angle, I was definitely not going to try to sharpen my Asian knives with this. Likewise, the lengthy sharpening time required to make the PriorityChef effective would likely have damaged their thin, delicate blades. 

Despite these issues, the PriorityChef is one of the safest knife sharpeners that I tried. Although I would have preferred the PriorityChef to have rubber along the bottom, rather than foam, this knife sharpener is relatively sturdy because of its wide base. It’s not as nearly heavy or grippy as the Razor Sharp, but it seems pretty secure and it isn’t likely to slide around.

The cylindrical metal handle is easy to grip, although it feels pretty hollow and cheaply made compared to some of its competitions, especially the cushioned handle on the Mercer Culinary and the contoured, ergonomic handle on the Razor Sharp.

6. KitchenIQ Edge Grip 2-State Knife Sharpener

What I liked:

  1. Very portable and compact

  2. Available in several fun colors

  3. “Edge Grip” may stop large knives from scratching countertop

What I didn’t like:

  1. Became ineffective after a few uses

  2. Potentially dangerous design due to proximity of one’s hand to blades

  3. Actually causes some knives to become duller

  4. Lacks heavy-duty rubber underneath

I was really hoping that the KitchenIQ would completely surprise me, given that it’s one of the cheapest knife sharpeners on Amazon. However, it turned out to be a textbook example of “you get what you pay for.”  I’m sure that the KitchenIQ’s small size and low price (and multiple color options) will give it broad appeal, especially for people with limited kitchen space, but that doesn’t mean it’s effective at sharpening knives. You might get lucky and have a better experience with the KitchenIQ than I did, but it’s more likely that you’ll just end up having to buy a different sharpener after this one. 

On the plus side, the KitchenIQ didn’t damage my knives, and it actually worked pretty well the first few times I used it. Like most manual sharpeners, the KitchenIQ has two sharpening stages. The “coarse” stage features carbide blades, while the “fine” stage uses ceramics. All of the knives I tried ended up very sharp, from chef’s knives and paring knives to fillet knives and even steak knives. I ran my pocket knife through it on a few occasions, too. Initially, it seemed that the KitchenIQ had solved my sharpening needs, at a fraction of the price I had expected to pay for a decent sharpener.

However, after several uses, it became completely ineffective at sharpening, and it seemed that the sharpeners had simply worn out. To make matters worse, I found the KitchenIQ to be far more difficult to use than some of its competitors. It would be a real challenge for an inexperienced user to guide a knife through this, without it swaying side to side and potentially nicking the blade. 

Although the KitchenIQ is extremely compact and portable, I didn’t feel particularly safe using it. It doesn’t have any kind of handle to grasp while you’re sharpening, and it’s very lightweight. And because it’s so small, your hand has to be very close to the knife that you’re sharpening -- a small slip could result in a pretty serious injury since there’s nothing to separate your hand from the blade. Even if you don’t actually hurt yourself while sharpening, grasping the miniscule KitchenIQ for a prolonged period of time is practically guaranteed to cause your hand to cramp. 

All of these factors, as well as the lack of heavy-duty rubber underneath, make the KitchenIQ likely to move around while you’re using it, especially if you apply any sort of pressure to the carbide sharpeners. On a more positive note, itt does have an interesting design feature called the “Edge Grip,” which allows the KitchenIQ to rest on the corner of a counter or table, in order to prevent the tip of a long knife from scratching the work surface after being pulled through.

How did I evaluate the knife sharpeners?

  1. I used the knife sharpener on a variety of kitchen knives
  2. I used the knife sharpener to on my pocket knives
  3. I tried out the different sharpening stages
  4. I used the knife sharpener on inexpensive knives with dull blades
  5. When possible, I adjusted the sharpening angle to the correct setting for different knives
  6. I considered how quickly the knife sharpener put an edge on my knives
  7. I examined the blades after sharpening for any scratches or damage
  8. I considered how safe and sturdy the knife sharpener feels
  9. I considered how straightforward and intuitive the knife sharpener is to use
  10. I noted how easily I could store the knife sharpener

What were the most important factors for choosing a knife sharpener?

  1. Convenient and easy to use

  2. No previous sharpening experience necessary

  3. Quickly puts a sharp blade on dull knives

  4. Works on a variety of knives (western style, Asian style, sport knives, etc.)

  5. Suitable for both cheap and expensive knives

  6. Won’t damage the knife blade or blunt it over time

  7. Has multiple sharpening stages for creating a precise, polished edge

  8. Designed for safety (sturdy and no-slip grip)

  9. Portable and easy to store

About Andy Kincain

Best manual knife sharpener

I recently retired after 30 years as a history professor at a small college in Pennsylvania. I’m loving my retirement, as it gives me the chance to do everything I always wanted -- but didn’t have time for! 

Cooking has always been an interest of mine, and I really enjoy trying out new recipes from all over the world, especially Mediterranean and Japanese cuisine.

My other passion is spending as much time outdoors as I possibly can. My wife and I live outside of Pittsburgh, and we love heading into Allegheny National Forest whenever we can to hike, camp, and fish. I always try to barbecue any fish we catch at our campsite, or use them in a recipe when we get back home!

Since having good, sharp knives is essential for all of my hobbies, I decided to try out a variety of knife sharpeners in order to establish which one is the best and the easiest to use. Although I am by no means an expert, I learned so much about knife sharpeners from this undertaking that I wanted to share my findings with other people, and especially other amateur chefs like myself. 

My goal is to stop people from needlessly throwing away their old, blunt knives, because it really is possible (and actually pretty simple) to put a sharp blade on any knife in a matter of seconds. I hope my experience will help other people choose a high-quality, easy-to-use knife sharpener, so that they don’t have to spend their valuable time searching through hundreds of Amazon reviews, or waste their money on knife sharpeners that just don’t work. 

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the views of my former employer.