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What if you could buy a knife sharpener that not only repaired the new breed of ultrathin chef’s knives but also honed the wider cutting edge of more traditional blades?
We tested 9 knife sharpeners (5 manual knife sharpeners, 4 electric knife sharpeners) to find the best one:
Chef'sChoice Trizor XV Knife Sharpener
Chef'sChoice Diamond Sharpener for Asian Knives
Kitchen IQ Angle Adjust Adjustable Electric Knife Sharpener
Shun Electric Sharpener
Chef'sChoice Pronto Manual Diamond Hone Asian Knife Sharpener
Miyabi 2-Stage Diamond/Ceramic Handheld Knife Sharpener
Wusthof Two Stage Hand-Held Sharpener
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Japanese bladesmiths have long favored chef’s-style knives with blades that are ultraslim—that is, sharpened to about 15 degrees on either side of the blade—and for good reason: In addition to being thin and lightweight, these blades have a supernarrow cutting edge, which helps make them razor-sharp. We’ve also come to favor a thinner edge. After years of testing dozens of knives, our repeat favorite is from Victorinox, a Swiss-made knife that is sharpened to 15 degrees on either side of the edge, allowing it to push and slide through food more easily than do more traditional European blades sharpened to at least 20 degrees.
To maintain that narrow edge, we use a tool specifically designed to sharpen a blade to 15 degrees. Our favorite models, both from Chef’sChoice, are a manual and an electric sharpener that each do a fine job of restoring an ultrakeen edge to an Asian-style knife. But in recent years the trend toward slimmer knives—and slimmer knife sharpeners—has spread west, as European manufacturers including Wüsthof, Henckels, Messermeister, and Mercer have launched their own 15-degree knives and sharpeners. (In fact, Wüsthof and Henckels have discontinued their 20-degree knives.) We were curious to see what these new sharpeners had to offer—and were especially eager to test the claim of one that it can even hone a 20-degree knife to 15 degrees.
So we rounded up nine models (including our previous favorites), five manual and four electric, from both Western and Asian manufacturers and priced from roughly $20 to $200. To evaluate them, we bought nine of our favorite Victorinox chef’s knives and assigned one to each sharpener; we then dulled the knives identically and sharpened them according to manufacturer instructions. To assess sharpness, we slashed sheets of copy paper and sliced delicate tomatoes, repeating the dulling, sharpening, and slicing process four more times with multiple testers.
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