I Tried the $15 Knife Sharpener with More Than 34,000 Five-Star Amazon Reviews
Knife sharpening isn’t rocket science, but it sure seems like you need an advanced degree in order to use a whetstone properly. Just picking one out can be tricky, as they come in a wide range of grits, which are used for different sorts of sharpening jobs, depending on how dull or damaged your knife happens to be. Then you have to make sure it’s wet enough, that you’re holding the knife at the right angle, and that you’re pulling it toward you correctly. It takes practice, which takes time.
And so I hear from many home cooks that they just, well, don’t sharpen their knives at all. They’d rather chop with a dull knife than risk ruining their blades. That’s a bad idea, though! Because using a dull knife is a good way to absolutely make it worse — and maybe even hurt yourself, as a dull knife is more likely to slip off whatever you’re cutting.
That’s where knife sharpening gadgets come in. See, there are a bunch of self-contained devices that do the hard part for you: They guide the blade, keeping it at the ideal angle, while you simply pull the knife through. There’s an electric version that Ina loves. There’s a $9 gadget that’s a bestseller on Amazon. There are lots of options. I’ve tried many of them — and my most recent test drive was of the AnySharp Knife Sharpener. Let’s take a look.
The AnySharp is small enough to fit in your palm, but it doesn’t have to. And that’s perhaps what I like the most about it. Its base features an easy-to-engage suction cup that’s so strong, the sharpener legitimately does not budge when you push it. (I challenged my husband to push the thing off the counter and he couldn’t!) I really like that the thing stays put while I work.
Of course, it also does its job and is easy to use. Just suction the sharpener to your counter or table so that the logo faces away from you. Then you just put the heel between the v-shaped tungsten carbide sharpening edges and apply light pressure as you pull the knife toward you. Run the knife through three or four times and you’re good to go.
I tested it out on my dullest knives — even a serrated one. I used it with my inexpensive knives and the knives that cost more than my weekly grocery bill. And all my German knives in between. (I wouldn’t recommend using it with Japanese knives, as those knives have a bevel that’s between 12 and 15 degrees and this sharpener is set to 20 degrees. If you have lots of Japanese knives, the AnySharp XBlade is worth a look.)
I had some grape tomatoes on hand and used each knife to cut a tomato in half before and again after sharpening. The difference was unreal. Before sharpening, some of them had trouble cutting all the way through the skin. (See the tomatoes at the left of the photo above.) After a few pulls through the sharpener, every one of my knives showed significant improvement. They sliced right through the other side of the tomato (see the ones at the right!) Even the knives that didn’t seem dull were that much sharper. One thing to note: The light pressure is key. You may be tempted to push hard as you drag your knife through, but that could take too much metal off your blade. Nice and gentle. When you’re done sharpening, just lift the lever back up for an easy release.
I checked the Amazon reviews to see if other people loved this thing as much as I do. And, it turns out, they do! The sharpener has more than 34,000 five-star reviews and the recurring theme throughout the reviews seems to be … general shock and disbelief! So many people wrote in to say that they can’t believe how well this thing works. I have to say, I’m in the same boat!
- Pros: Inexpensive; wildly easy to use; suction cups to the table; compact design; doesn’t require electricity.
- Cons: The sharpening mechanism is set to 20 degrees, making it less ideal for knives with a sharper bevel.
- Good to know: The tool comes with a 10-year guarantee; the tungsten carbide sharpeners can easily be replaced; the AnySharp line features two higher-tiered sharpeners for more serious cooks.
- Who it’s for: Any home cook who is intimidated by the idea of having to sharpen their knives.