Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener Buying Guide
October 24, 2018

Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener Buying Guide

The Chef's Choice Knife Sharpener is the staple when it comes to electric knife sharpeners and has been making them since 1985. Assembled in Avondale, Pennsylvania, Chef’s Choice offers a wide array of knife sharpeners at all kinds of different prices that can leave you wondering which sharpener is best for me and why? This Chef's Choice Knife Sharpener Buying Guide will help explain the difference between the different models of Chef’s Choice electric knife sharpeners and help you find the one that will best suit your needs.  Also referred to as Chefs Choice Knife Sharpener.

Entry Level Sharpeners

Chef’s Choice offers several different entry level electric knife sharpeners such as the models Hybrid 210 or Chef's Choice Hybrid 220 Diamond Hone sharpeners. So who are these models right for? Actually these knife sharpening units are good for a lot of people. These models still feature Chef’s Choice Diamond Hone technology that is used throughout their line to give you enough abrasion to sharpen a wide array of knives. These models have a two stage sharpening system with stage one being electric and using a 100% diamond abrasive wheel to sharpen knives and stage two being a fixed manual (non-electric) stage with micron sized diamonds used to hone and polish your knife’s edge. The first stage, the sharpening stage of these models, are pre-set for 20° knives which will be good for most western blades. Stage one has two angled slots, one for the left face and one for the right face of the knife, which are used to make sure that the knife is being sharpened at the proper angle. All the user must do is simply put the knife in the left slot and slowly pull the knife towards the user, ensuring proper and consistent contact between the knife and the sharpener while doing so. Then repeat the same process on the right side until you have a restored edge. It might take a few passes or it might take many passes, depending on the initial sharpness of the blade. The second stage is the manual honing and polishing stage. This stage serves a dual purpose. Once you sharpen your knife in stage 1 your knife will have a sharper edge; however, their may still be steel burrs remaining on the edge of your knife which stage 2 will polish off of the knife, creating a smooth clean edge from heel to tip. The Second stage can also be used for everyday care and maintenance of your knives. Honing your knives in stage two on a frequent basis will help maintain the edge of your knives while not removing any steel from your knife’s edge, thus keeping your knives nice and sharp while prolonging the life of your knives. Ultimately, we recommend this knife sharpener to people with stamped knives that aren’t too thick as thicker knives can have difficulty fitting properly into the slots and can also jam the sharpener. These sharpeners are better suited to keeping knives sharp as opposed to making dull knives sharp. If your knives have no edge, we would recommend either getting them professionally sharpened before using this sharpener or upgrading to a mid-level electric sharpener. These sharpeners also work great on pocket knives and knives used for fishing. If you have knives of different angles, such as 15° and 20°, Chef’s Choice does also have the Hybrid Model 290 which works much the same as the sharpeners above but offers a stage for 15° angled knives and a stage for 20° angled knives.

Mid-level Sharpeners

Chef’s Choice mid level knife sharpeners, like the model 312, differ from the entry level sharpeners by being fully electric on both stages and are also more powerful than the entry level sharpeners, allowing for heavier forged knives to be sharpened easily. These sharpeners cater to people that tend to purchase good knives that are of the same brand and series. This is because at this price range, Chef’s Choice sharpeners are powerful enough to handle heavier forged blades; however, you will have to decide between purchasing a 15° angle (Japanese Knives) sharpener or a 20° angle (Western Knives). Chef’s Choice does not offer a sharpener at this price range that is designed to handle multiple angles. The process for using these sharpeners is the same as the entry level sharpeners. The angles are pre-set for your knives and all the user needs to do is pull the knife through keeping consistent speed and contact between the knife and grinding wheels and alternating from left side to right side, repeating the process until you have a restored edge. It might take a few passes, it might take many passes, depending on the initial sharpness of the blade. Like the entry level sharpeners, stage two is used for your polishing and day to day maintenance of your knives. By consistently using stage two, you will be able to maintain the existing edge and reduce the need to sharpen your knives.

Chef's Choice Premium Knife Sharpeners

Chef’s Choice premium knife sharpeners such as the 120, 1520, and Trizor XV are designed for the knife enthusiast who has a wide variety of knives of different brands and various angles. These sharpeners have their own distinct features, so we will talk about them on an individual basis to provide the best understanding of each sharpener.

Model 120

The Chef's Choice Knife Sharpener, model 120 is a 3 stage electric knife sharpener that is angled for 20 degree knives. The first stage uses a coarse grit diamond abrasive wheel to create a new edge on your knife. This stage is intended to be used for knives that are extremely dull and that have little to no edge left on the knife. The second stage uses a finer grit diamond abrasive that is well suited for your day to day sharpening. It will remove less steel from the blade than the first stage, so knives that still have some edge on them can be sharpened starting on the second stage. The third stage uses a ceramic wheel to polish the edge of your knife. This will help to ensure that you have a smooth clean edge on the knife giving it that super sharp feeling. Since this stage will remove little to no steel from the edge of the knife, it is also ideal for your everyday knife maintenance. We recommend this sharpener to people that have good quality knives that are on a 20° angle. This is the ideal sharpener for knives that are doing butchering of game and fish.

Model 1520

The model Chef's Choice Knife Sharpener, model 1520 gets its name from its ability to sharpen knives on both a 15° angle and 20° angle. It is because of this ability that we view this as Chef’s Choice most versatile sharpener. This knife sharpener features a stage that is pre-set for 15° angles knives like your Japanese knives, a 20° pre-stage for your Western knives and a third stage for polishing the edge of your knives and day to day maintenance. Both Japanese and Western knives have their own strengths and weaknesses depending on the task at hand so limiting yourself to only one style or the other can leave a whole unexplored world of greatness from your knife collection. We recommend this sharpener to people that have both styles of knives in their collection, as maintaining the proper angle on these knives is critical to being able to enjoy these knives the way that they were designed.

Trizor XV – Model 15

The Trizor XV is designed for 15° knives but can also reground knives on a 20° angle converting them to a 15° angle. This is a 3 stage sharpener, the first stage is used to begin the process of re-beveling your 20° knives to a 15° angle or you can use this stage on extremely dull knives that have completely lost their edge. The second stage is used for your routine sharpening and the third stage features a ceramic polishing wheel used to create a smooth clean finish on your knife’s edge and also your day to day knife maintenance. This sharpener comes highly rated by America’s Test Kitchen because of it’s supreme ability to put an edge back onto a dull knife. We recommend this sharpener to people who have Japanese knives that need of a really good sharpening and also people who have Western style knives that are looking to convert them to a 15° angle for superior sharpness.

There are a few important things to be aware of regardless of the Chef's Choice Knife sharpener you choose to purchase. Knife sharpeners remove steel from your knife’s edge to create a new sharper edge on your knife. Doing this will reduce the lifespan of your knives, so it is important to still abide by good knife maintenance practices and not rely on constantly using your knife sharpener.

  • Keep your knives stored in either a knife block or knife sheaths; don’t have them loose in your drawers.
  • Do not put your knives in the dishwasher – many manufacturers will say that their knives are dishwasher friendly which is true; however, you will dull the blade much faster by doing so.
  • Avoid cutting on hard surfaces such as glass, marble, or granite- we recommend maple cutting boards.
  • Hone your knives frequently, use either the polishing stage on your knife sharpener or a steel honing rod. This will help maintain the edge that’s already on your knives, keeping them sharp for a longer period of time.

Chef’s Choice knife sharpeners provide a quick and easy way to sharpen your knives; however, if you have high end knives, we would strongly recommend using a sharpening stone. It will allow you to get a sharper edge while removing significantly less steel than an electric sharpener.  Visit our sharpening stones for more information.

As a general rule, the price of your knife sharpener should correspond with the price of your knives. Our favorite Chef’s Choice sharpener is the Model 1520. This is mainly because of its ability to sharpen knives on a 15° angle (Japanese) or a 20° (Western) angle as both angles offer their own advantages in the kitchen. The most important thing to remember  is to match the style of knife sharpener to the kinds of knives that you have.

If you have further questions, you may ring one of our Knife Sharpening experts (1-888-334-3233) at Williams Food Equipment Kitchen Supply Store.