Best Knife Sharpening System

A man honing a knife using the Ceramic Coating Honing Rod 10"

Ceramic Coating Honing Rod 10"

A dull knife isn’t just annoying -- it’s dangerous. But worry not, my friend! With the best knife sharpening system, you’ll be slicing, dicing, and julienning like a pro in no time

1. Why Dull Knives Are Dangerous

A man sharpening a knife using the Portable Whetstone Kit #1000 / #6000 Grit Combo with Oak Storage Box

Portable Whetstone Kit #1000 / #6000 Grit Combo with Oak Storage Box

People often think it's the sharp knives that are dangerous, but that's a common misconception. While it's true that sharp knives can cause serious cuts if mishandled, dull knives are actually the stealthier villains in your kitchen. Here’s why.

The Risk of Slipping

Imagine you're in the kitchen, prepping for a big meal with your chefs knife. You grab a tomato, press down, and the knife slips, nearly taking your finger with it. The problem here isn't your slicing skills; it’s the dull blade. A sharp knife would have sliced through that tomato effortlessly, but a dull knife? It requires more force, more pressure, and that’s where things go wrong.

When a knife is dull, the blades edge loses its ability to make clean cuts. Instead of slicing, it tends to mash and crush. This means you have to push harder, and when the knife does finally break through, it’s more likely to slip off the cutting board or the food and into your hand. Kitchens knives that aren’t kept sharp become unpredictable, turning everyday cooking tasks into potential hazards.

Read about how to hold a knife, here.

Maintaining Control and Precision

Consider a tested knife that's sharp and well-maintained. It glides through vegetables, meat, and even herbs with precision. The knife blades of a sharp knife respond to minimal pressure, making it easier to control. This is why professionals, from home cooks to the most experienced knife maker, emphasize the importance of keeping knife sets sharp. It’s not just about efficiency; it’s about safety.

Another issue with dull knives is that they can damage your food. Imagine trying to cut through a delicate piece of fish or finely chop herbs with a dull blade. Instead of clean cuts, you get torn, uneven pieces. Not only does this affect the presentation of your dish, but it can also alter the cooking process. A sharp kitchen knife ensures that your ingredients are cut uniformly, which can help them cook evenly.

Respecting Your Tools

Chefs knives, pocket knives, and even fixed blade knives should all be kept sharp. This isn't just about performance; it's about respect for your tools. Think about your favorite knife -- maybe it’s a chefs choice that’s been with you through countless meals. Keeping it sharp honors its craftsmanship and prolongs its life.

And let's talk about the wear and tear on your cutting surfaces. Dull knives can scar your cutting boards because you’re pressing down harder than necessary. Over time, this can create grooves and ridges where bacteria can hide, making your kitchen less sanitary. A sharp knife, by contrast, glides smoothly, reducing the wear on your cutting surfaces.

Achieving the Perfect Edge

A well-sharpened knife maintains its convex edge, allowing for precise, controlled cuts. This is particularly important for tasks that require finesse, like filleting a fish or slicing sushi. Even for everyday tasks, like dicing onions or chopping carrots, a sharp knife makes the job quicker and safer.

The process of keeping your knives sharp involves more than just running them over a sharpening stone once in a while. It’s about understanding the right abrasive material for the job, maintaining the correct angle, and regularly honing the edge. Whether you’re working with a fixed blade or a pocket knife, choosing the right tools and techniques is essential.

The next time you’re in the kitchen, take a moment to check the sharpness of your knives. Investing time in sharpening your blade knives doesn't just make meal prep easier, it also keeps you safe. The best knife is a sharp knife, and keeping your knife sets in top condition is the hallmark of a true kitchen pro.

2. When Do You Need To Sharpen Your Knives?

Knowing when to sharpen your knives is a bit like knowing when your car needs an oil change. Wait too long, and you’ll have a problem on your hands. But instead of an engine breakdown, you’re dealing with dulled knives that can barely slice through a loaf of bread. Here are a few telltale signs that your kitchen knives need some TLC.

Telltale Signs It's Time to Sharpen

Dull Blades

If your knife can’t slice through a ripe tomato with ease, it’s time. Tomatoes are the ultimate test for sharpness. A kitchen knife that smashes instead of slicing is practically screaming for a sharpening session. The blades edge should glide through with minimal effort.

Knife Edge

Notice any nicks or rough spots? These imperfections can catch on food and make cutting more difficult. A good sharpening session can restore your blade’s former glory, ensuring a smooth convex edge that makes cutting a breeze.

Increased Effort

Are you pushing harder than usual to make cuts? Your knife is crying out for help. Sharp knives reduce the amount of force needed to make precise cuts. When you find yourself leaning into your knife sets to get through a carrot, it’s time to take action.

Test Knife Sharpeners

Keep a test knife handy to compare sharpness regularly. This can be a simple kitchen hack to quickly assess whether your blade knives need attention. Test it on everyday tasks -- slicing paper-thin pieces of onion or making clean cuts through raw meat.

The Impact of Frequent Use

If you’re an avid cook, your knives will naturally dull faster with frequent use. Constant chopping, slicing, and dicing wears down the knife blades over time. Pay attention to how your kitchen knife feels as you prep meals. A knife that once felt like an extension of your hand but now requires more effort to use is a knife in need of sharpening.

Honing vs. Sharpening

While honing with a ceramic rod can help maintain your knife’s edge between sharpenings, it doesn’t replace the need for actual sharpening. Honing realigns the edge, while sharpening removes material to create a new edge. If you notice that honing isn’t making your knives sharp again, it’s time for a full sharpening session.

Assessing the Edge

Run your thumb lightly perpendicular to the edge of your knife blades (carefully, of course). If the edge feels rounded or you notice visible chips, it’s definitely time for some maintenance. A sharp knife should feel smooth and even, with a keen edge that promises clean cuts.

Another clear indicator is how your knife performs with different types of food. Struggling to slice through a ripe tomato or an onion without mushing it? That’s a sign your knife’s edge isn’t what it used to be. Similarly, if your steak knife sets are tearing through meat instead of cutting cleanly, those sharpened knives need attention.

Frequency of Sharpening

How often should you sharpen your knives? It depends on how often you use them. For home cooks who prepare meals daily, sharpening every few months is a good rule of thumb. For occasional cooks, twice a year might suffice. Keep an eye on performance and adjust as needed.

Professional Assessment

Sometimes, it’s best to get a second opinion. Taking your knives to a professional can provide a clear assessment of their condition. Professionals can offer insights on how often you should sharpen based on your specific knife usage and the types of abrasive material best suited for your knives.

Maintaining the sharpness of your knives is more important than most people think. Sharp knives are predictable and easy to control, reducing the risk of accidents. So, keep an eye on those telltale signs, and don’t let your trusty kitchen companions become dulled knives. Keep your knives sharp, and your culinary adventures will always be a cut above the rest!

3. Different Methods Of Knife Sharpening

Now that we know why and when to sharpen, let’s talk about the “how.” There are several methods to choose from, each with its pros and cons. Understanding these methods will help you choose the best one for your needs and ensure that your knives stay sharp and ready for any culinary challenge.

Sharpening Stones

Also known as water stones or Arkansas stones, these are a favorite among chefs and home cooks alike. They require a bit of skill but offer great control. Grit diamond stones are often used for their durability and effectiveness in sharpening even the hardest steel.

PROS: Precise sharpening, customizable angles.

CONS: Learning curve, time-consuming.

Electric Knife Sharpeners

Perfect for those who want quick and easy results, electric knife sharpeners can get your knives back in shape with minimal effort. Brands like Sur La Table offer models that are both effective and user-friendly.

PROS: Fast, user-friendly.

CONS: Can be harsh on knives if not used properly.

Honing Rods

Often mistaken for sharpeners, honing rods (or honing steel) are used to maintain the edge between sharpening sessions. A ceramic rod or ceramic hone can keep your knife’s edge aligned, extending the time between sharpening.

PROS: Easy to use, prolongs the life of the edge.

CONS: Doesn't replace actual sharpening.

Professional Knife Sharpening Systems

For the perfectionists out there, Wicked Edge Precision and Edge Pro systems offer professional-grade sharpening at home. These systems often include jig systems to ensure precise angles and sharp precision adjust features for fine-tuning.

PROS: Extremely sharp results, mirror finishes.

CONS: Expensive, requires setup.

Pull-Through Sharpeners

Great for quick touch-ups, pull-through sharpeners are straightforward and portable. They are handy for maintaining sharp edges on the go.

PROS: Convenient, portable.

CONS: Less precise, can wear down knives faster.

Ceramic Stones and Rods

Ceramic stones and rods are excellent for honing and polishing your knife’s edge. A ceramic sharpener can provide a fine finish and help maintain the edge well.

PROS: Provides a fine finish, maintains edge well.

CONS: Can be brittle, less effective for very dull knives.

Diamond Stones

Diamond stones are known for their durability and effectiveness in sharpening even the hardest steel. A diamond sharpener can make quick work of restoring a dull blade.

PROS: Long-lasting, sharpens quickly.

CONS: Can be pricey, over-sharpening risk.

Professional Electric Knife Sharpening

For those who prefer a hands-off approach, professional electric knife sharpening services can be an excellent option. These services use high-quality equipment to ensure your knives are sharpened to perfection.

PROS: Professional results, no effort required.

CONS: Can be expensive, requires dropping off and picking up knives.

Knife and Tool Sharpeners

For those who need to sharpen more than just kitchen knives, a knife and tool sharpener can be a versatile addition to your kitchen. These sharpeners can handle fixed blade knives, pocket knives, and more.

PROS: Versatile, can sharpen a variety of tools.

CONS: May require different settings for different tools.

Sharpening Kits

Investing in a comprehensive sharpening kit can give you all the tools you need to keep your knives in top shape. Look for kits that include precision adjust knife sharpener options and various types of stones.

PROS: Comprehensive, all-in-one solution.

CONS: Can be expensive, requires knowledge to use effectively.

Additional Tips

Regardless of the method you choose, regular maintenance is key to keeping your knives sharp. Using leather strops can help achieve a polished, convex edge and keep your blades razor-sharp.

Sharpening serrated knives requires a bit more finesse. Specialized tools and techniques are needed to maintain the unique edge of these knives. Sharpening serrated blades ensures they remain as effective as their straight-edged counterparts.

Before investing in any sharpening method, look for products that have been tested and reviewed by professionals and home cooks alike. This can help ensure you're choosing a reliable and effective tool.

Choosing the right sharpening method depends on your needs, skills, and preferences. Whether you opt for a professional electric service, a sharp precision adjust knife sharpener, or a simple ceramic rod, keeping your knives sharp will enhance your cooking experience and keep you safe in the kitchen.

4. Sharpening Knives At Home Vs Professional Knife Sharpening Services

Dalstrong whetstone being used to sharpen an omega knife

To sharpen at home or to call in the pros? That is the question. Both options have their merits, and the best choice depends on your needs, budget, and willingness to get hands-on with your knives. Let's break down the pros and cons of each.

Sharpening at Home


  • Convenience: Imagine it’s Sunday afternoon, and you’re prepping for a big family dinner. You realize your kitchen knife is dull. No problem! With a sharpening kit on hand, you can restore that blade's edge in no time, right in the comfort of your kitchen. Whether it’s a pocket knife or a chefs knife, you have the flexibility to sharpen it whenever the need arises.
  • Cost-effective: Investing in a good knife sharpening kit might set you back initially, but over time, it’s a bargain. No recurring fees, no need to drop off and pick up your knives. Just you, your trusty precision adjust knife sharpener, and a bit of elbow grease. Plus, you get to brag about your sharpening skills at your next dinner party!


  • Skill required: Let's be honest, not all of us are born with the innate ability to perfectly sharpen a knife. Some methods, especially those involving grit diamond stones or fine ceramic rods, require practice and a steady hand. It’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it’s incredibly rewarding.
  • Time-consuming: Meticulous methods, like using a sharp precision adjust knife sharpener or jig systems, can take time. You’ll need to be patient and diligent, ensuring you get the angle just right. While it’s a great way to zen out, it might not be ideal when you’re in a rush.

Professional Services


  • Expertise: Sometimes, you just want things done perfectly without any hassle. Professional sharpeners have the experience and tools -- like professional electric knife sharpening machines -- to get your knives sharper than you ever could at home. They know the nuances of different blades, from steak knife sets to pocket knives, and can handle them all with finesse.
  • No effort required: This is the ultimate convenience. Drop off your dulled knives, and pick them up later, sharpened knives ready to slice through anything like butter. It’s like magic, only it’s a highly skilled professional working behind the curtain. They’ve been tested and reviewed, and their services often come highly recommended.


  • Cost: Quality comes at a price. Regularly taking your knives to a professional can add up, especially if you’re a frequent cook who needs sharp blades all the time. Consider it an investment in your kitchen’s performance.
  • Inconvenience: Finding the time to drop off and pick up your knives can be a hassle. If you’re someone with a busy schedule, fitting in that trip to the sharpener might be more trouble than it’s worth. Plus, if you suddenly need your knives sharpened in the middle of a cooking marathon, waiting for a professional service isn’t ideal.

Weighing Your Options

When deciding between sharpening at home or opting for professional services, consider your specific needs. If you enjoy the process and have the patience to learn, sharpening at home can be incredibly satisfying and cost-effective. Equip yourself with a high-quality precision adjust knife sharpener, ceramic rod, or a complete sharpening kit, and you’re set.

On the other hand, if precision and time are more important to you, letting the professionals handle your knife and tool sharpener needs might be the way to go. They use advanced equipment, like electric knife sharpening systems and professional electric tools, ensuring your knives are in the best possible condition without you having to lift a finger.

In the end, whether you choose to sharpen at home or rely on the pros, the key is to keep those knives sharp and ready for action. Your cooking will be smoother, safer, and far more enjoyable with a well-maintained set of blades. 

5. Introducing Dalstrong’s Professional Knife Sharpening Services

A man chopping vegetable using a dalstrong chef knife with the Gladiator Series Honing Steel 10"

Gladiator Series Honing Steel 10"

Dalstrong, one of the top knife makers in the business, also makes knife sharpening tools – check out their offerings here. But if you'd rather leave the sharpening to the pros, there are other options.

Maintaining the razor-sharp edge of your knives can be a daunting task, especially if you're not proficient with sharpening tools like a whetstone. Enter the Dalstrong Knife Sharpening Service, a professional solution designed to make the process effortless for customers. Simply use the pre-paid envelope provided to send in your dull knives, and skilled knife smiths will restore your blades to their original sharpness.


  • Hassle-Free Experience: For those who lack the time, equipment, or expertise to sharpen their knives, this service is a game-changer. You don't have to worry about learning the nuances of different sharpening tools or spending hours trying to get the perfect edge.
  • Expert Craftsmanship: The knives are sharpened by experienced knife smiths who have a deep understanding of various blade materials and designs. Their expertise ensures high-quality results, often yielding a more refined edge than you might achieve at home, especially if you're less skilled with a whetstone.
  • Versatility: Dalstrong's service covers a wide range of knives, including specialty and premium models. This makes it a versatile option for all your sharpening needs, whether it's your everyday chef's knife or a prized specialty blade.
  • Cost-Effective for Occasional Use: The pay-per-use model can be more budget-friendly for those with fewer knives or who don't need frequent sharpening. It allows you to pay only when you need the service, without the upfront cost of investing in sharpening tools.


  • Lack of Immediate Results: If you need your knives sharpened urgently or enjoy the immediate satisfaction of sharpening your own blades, this service might not be ideal. The turnaround time can be a drawback if you require your knives quickly.
  • Availability: Currently, the Dalstrong Sharpening Service is only available to customers in the United States, which limits its accessibility for international users.
  • The Dalstrong Knife Sharpening Service offers a convenient and professional solution for maintaining the sharpness of your knives. It eliminates the hassle and skill required for home sharpening, providing expertly sharpened blades with minimal effort on your part. However, consider the potential for cumulative costs and the need for immediate sharpening when deciding if this service is right for you.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best professional knife sharpening system?

Dalstrong Knife Sharpening Service offers incredible and cost efficient service. The Wicked Edge Precision and Edge Pro systems are also often cited as top choices for professional-grade sharpening at home. These systems provide razor edge results and mirror finishes that even pros appreciate.

What is the best method of sharpening knives?

The sharpening stone method is highly regarded for its precision and ability to create a custom edge. However, for those seeking ease and speed, an electric knife sharpener like the Trizor XV can be an excellent option.

What do professionals use to sharpen knives?

Professionals often use a combination of methods. Sharpening stones and ceramic stones are popular for their precision, while electric sharpeners and honing rods are used for maintenance. Brands like Spyderco Sharpmaker and Wicked Edge are common in professional kitchens.

What knife sharpener do pros use?

Pros often use systems like Dalstrong whetstones, the Wicked Edge, Edge Pro, and Trizor XV for their reliability and superior results. These tools provide the precision and extremely sharp edges needed for professional cooking.


Written by Jorge Farah
Born on the coast of Colombia and based in Buenos Aires, Jorge is a cooking enthusiast and kitchenware obsessive with a tremendous amount of opinions.

Best Knife Sharpening System

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