Most sharpeners in this category have guides to set the sharpening angle. To use them, you hold the sharpener steady on a work surface while you draw the blade through the slots. Some are single-stage sharpeners, with one kind of abrasive; others have multiple stages so you can aggressively sharpen and then refine the edge. The types of abrasives vary widely, as do the prices, from about $10 to $90. We tried five models, priced in the low to middle range.
What the experts say
In terms of design, these sharpeners vary wildly, so most experts were reluctant to discuss them as a general category. One knife retailer did mention, however, that he finds these devices better suited to maintaining a reasonably sharp edge than to restoring a very dull one, since they are generally less aggressive than an electric sharpener and don’t let you adjust the angle the way a stone does.
“Is that all there is to it?” was the common sentiment; however, many testers did say that they needed to concentrate on the pressure and position of the blade in the angle guides. With some exceptions, testers were more impressed with the ease of use than with the results.
Pros: Fast and easy to use; small and easy to store; some models include a fine-grit stage to “finish” the edge, which can also be used for edge maintenance in place of a steel.
Cons: Some testers found the blades’ motion through the slots to be rough and unpleasant; effectiveness varied widely among models.
Is it right for you?
If you want a quick sharpening solution or a maintenance device, consider a pull-through sharpener. Design and effectiveness vary widely, so consult a trusted retailer for advice.
Option #4: V-stick Sharpeners
You can find several models of these sharpeners on the market, with varying angles, number of sticks, abrasives, and prices…Read more