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A Home Cook’s Guide to Knife Sharpeners

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Argh! You go to slice up something for dinner, and you can’t even get your knife through it! A dull knife can bring your kitchen to a full stop. How will you chop or slice your garlic? How will you julienne your carrots? Don’t let this common problem stop you from creating amazing meals - there’s a thing call knife sharpeners for kitchen knives!

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You could stop reading and go find a sharpener right now, if you already know what you need to look for - you may want to take a look at Healthy Kitchen 101’s collection of the best knife sharpeners and their reviews for reference. Or, if you want to dig a bit more on the types of sharpeners and how they work, keep on reading.

First, you need to know what kind of knives you have and the condition they’re in, be it mildly dull or chipped and cracked. Then, you need to know whether you prefer a manual pull-through sharpener or an electric model. From there, there are kits, rods, stones, and more. Don’t get overwhelmed, we’ll explain each one and how it can help you.

Pull-through Sharpeners

These are the most common kind of sharpeners, and because of this, you can find them just about anywhere. They contain small pieces of stone within cutouts, meant for you to pull your knife through. However, they do have some cons. This kind of sharpener won’t work if your blade is chipped or damaged and will only sharpen to a certain degree. Still, pull-through sharpeners are convenient, inexpensive, and perfect for those who only have a couple knives and don’t need something fancy.

Electric Sharpeners

This kind of sharpener is the most convenient. It’s perfect for people who dread the tedious chore of sharpening their knives. Like a pull-through sharpener, they have cutouts for you to pull your knife through, but instead of a stationary stone, they will have rotating disks or other moving items inside. This makes for a much faster knife sharpening experience and can vary from inexpensive to a serious investment. Like the simpler sharpener above, this type is not ideal for severely damaged blades with cracks or bends. If you find yourself with dull knives often, and they don’t have any cracks, chips, or bends, an electrical sharpener is perfect for you.

Honing Rods

If you bought your knives in a block, that block may have come with one of these. A honing rod is exactly what the name says; a rod with a handle meant for honing knives. While it can be tricky to use, you can get a very sharp blade from this. They come in several different materials, from textured metal to diamond. What’s even better is that some honing rods can fix damaged blades. They take up very little space, are low in cost, and perfect for those who want a customized sharpen.

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Whetstones, Waterstones, and Oilstones

These have been around as long as things have needed sharpening. They come in several different sizes, compositions, and grits. When you purchase a sharpening stone, pay attention to the name. Whetstones must be kept dry, waterstones must be kept under running water, and oilstones require either a honing oil or whatever is recommended by the manufacturer. Many of them come dual-sided with a coarse side and a fine side. However, if you see numbers, don’t get confused. The lower the number, the coarser it is. Sharpening stones are perfect for people who want a more exact sharpening, without the price tag of paying for a service.

Sharpening Kits

This is the top of the line for those who are looking to restore their dull knives. Coming with electric, manual, or both kinds of sharpeners, these kits offer extensive options. Each one includes several levels of grits, ranging from a rough, low grit to a smooth, high grit. The drawback with kits is similar to the sharpening stones; There is a learning process in order to use them. However, with practice, you’ll be able to restore knives in almost any condition.

Well, since that you know what kinds of knife sharpeners there are, do you feel more prepared? You’ve learned what types there are, what they do, and how much they cost compared to the others. Good luck picking your sharpener, and happy sharpening!