Even if you have worked occasionally with knives you would know that knife sharpening is a part and parcel of using knives. When it comes down to selecting an appropriate knife sharpener for yourself, you have two main categories to choose from: electric and manual knife sharpeners.
This article will discuss in detail, the benefits and drawbacks of electric and manual knife sharpeners. I will also specify how they differ from each other during usage.
Knife Sharpener Electric vs Manual – Which One To Choose?
Electric knife sharpeners are easy to use and give quick results. Manual knife sharpeners give attention to detail. It will take longer to achieve the desired result, but you can wield the tool according to your requirements.
When choosing a knife sharpener for yourself, it all comes down to what suits you the best. You might own a set of expensive knives which require extra care and maintenance. On the other hand, you might be a beginner at knife sharpening and don’t want to end up purchasing a very technical instrument.
In order to identify the good knife sharpener for your set of knives, I will go through the pros and cons of manual knife sharpeners and their electrical equivalents.
Manual Knife Sharpeners
Manual knife sharpeners are also known as pull-through knife sharpeners. These are not powered by an electric source but rely solely on your muscle power. Manual knife sharpeners generally have two available sharpening slots; one for coarse sharpening and the other one for fine sharpening.
Advantages of Using a Manual Knife Sharpener
- Using your own hands for the sharpening process: This aspect is by far the most important one when it comes to sharpening knives. Every knife blade is different and needs to be sharpened at a different angle. When using a manual sharpener you can easily change the sharpening angle to suit every individual blade. Additionally, you can also change the pressure exerted on every knife that you sharpen. By using a manual knife sharpener, you are providing your knives with a customized sharpening plan. Talk about VIP treatment!
- Lighter on the pocket: Manual knife sharpeners are generally less expensive than their electric counterparts. Of course, there will always be some really expensive products in the market too but that is a rare exception. Generally, you will be able to purchase a good manual knife sharpener in the $10-$20 price range. These gadgets will last you a lifetime which makes them a good money-saving investment.
- Safer to use: Since you can adjust the speed and angle of knife sharpening according to your personal preference, manual knife sharpeners are safe to use.
- Cultivates a lifelong skill: As you gain experience using your manual knife sharpener, you are learning a skill; one that will stay with you forever. You will gradually learn how to take care of your knives and which sharpening technique suits them best. This particular skill will also come in handy whenever you don’t have access to an electric knife sharpener or if your knife needs sharpening when you are outdoors.
- Easy to store: Not all Australian kitchens are vast. If you live in a small-sized apartment, you wouldn’t want too many bulky electric machines hoarding up kitchen counter space. Manual knife sharpeners are compact and can easily be stored in a kitchen drawer or cabinet.
- Portable: Manual knife sharpeners are available in a wide range of styles and sizes. Larger sharpening systems are ideal for use in your homes. However, pocket-sized instruments are also available. Smaller sharpeners are ideal for outdoor trips. This way you wouldn’t even have to worry about carrying too many knives with you. A knife and a sharpener and you’re good to go.
- Less damaging to knives: Like I already mentioned, you can customize knife sharpening using a manual sharpener. Since you can adjust the angle and pressure at which you sharpen knives, the process will be less damaging to knives.
Drawbacks of Using a Manual Knife Sharpener
- Time-consuming: Sharpening your knife while using a manual knife sharpener takes longer compared to using an electric one.
- Requires more effort: The only power source attached to a manual knife sharpener is your arm therefore, it can be a tedious chore.
- Not suitable for all blade types: Manual knife sharpeners are not suitable for use on serrated or wavy-edged blades.
- Not suitable for people with hand injuries: Sharpening knives with a manual knife sharpener can be a laborious task. Therefore, people with hand or wrist injuries have a hard time using these instruments.
Are Electric Knife Sharpeners Better Than Manual?
Electric knife sharpeners are motor-fitted appliances which are powered by electricity. These are generally equipped with three sharpening slots. One slot is reserved for coarse sharpening, another for fine sharpening and a third additional one for honing the knife blade.
Seems like a convenient alternative to manual sharpeners, right? The question arises, are electric knife sharpeners good? Below, I will discuss the various advantages and disadvantages of using electric knife sharpeners, which will help you to decide.
Advantages of Using an Electric Knife Sharpener
- Time and energy saving: All you have to do is plug your sharpener in and let it do its job. It’s a no-sweat and quick process.
- Easy to use: Electric knife sharpeners take care of angle calculation and other technicalities related to knife sharpening. Hence, if you are a beginner knife sharpener, you can simply trust your electrical appliance to do the job for you.
- Works for multiple blades: Electric knife sharpeners have a variety of built-in functions. If you like to work with different sets of knives (American/Asian) or own knives with different blade types, you can purchase an electric sharpener which will work for all. You won’t have to buy an additional electric serrated knife sharpener. Your regular one has a built-in slot exclusively for serrated and wavy-edged knives.
Drawbacks of Using an Electric Knife Sharpener
- Expensive: These appliances come with a higher price tag as compared to manual sharpeners.
- Sharpening is beyond your control: The entire process will be carried out by the gadget from start to finish. You will not be able to set the angle or pressure with which you want to sharpen your knives.
- Can be knife-damaging: Since the sharpening process is standardized and automated, using electric sharpeners can shorten the lives of your knives in the long run.
- Short life span: Electric knife sharpeners have a life span of one to five years. Comparatively, manual ones can last an entire lifetime.
Is an electric knife sharpener worth it? Based on the benefits and drawbacks discussed above, you are now in a position to make an informed decision.
Here’s a More Detailed Guide: Problems With Electric Knife Sharpeners
A manual and an electric knife sharpener will ultimately provide you with a nice, sharp knife. However, there are some differences in how you would operate the gadgets. Read on, to understand how you can use these tools to achieve the best results.
How to Use a Manual Knife Sharpener
Most manual sharpeners have two built-in slots, one for coarse and the other for fine sharpening. If you have a blunt knife, insert its base into the coarse sharpening slot.
With firm pressure, pull the knife towards you till you reach the tip of the knife. At this point, lift the blade straight upwards. While running your knife through the slot, ensure that you use enough force to hear a grinding sound.
Additionally, while you are running the knife, make sure that you follow the curve of the blade. Repeat this motion three to six times depending on the sharpness of the knife. Now pass the knife one to two times through the fine sharpening slot.
Once you are done, wash the knife with warm water and pat it dry.
How to Use Electric Knife Sharpener
Place the sharpener on a flat surface and connect it to a power supply. Based on the type of knife you are going to sharpen, set the dial accordingly. Some examples are Asian, American, serrated or ceramic knives.
If your knife is quite blunt, place it in the coarse sharpening slot and switch the machine on. Run the knife from the base through the tip following its curve. Repeat this several times. In the same manner, run the knife through the fine sharpening slot.
In the end, wash and dry the knife for later use.
Here’s a more detailed blog: How To Use Knife Sharpener?
FAQ – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
It is imperative to sharpen your knife every now and then in order to restore its original sharpness. You can do so by using a manual or an electric knife sharpener.
You can control the process when you are using a manual knife sharpener, thus giving more precision and perfection. However, it can take a lot of work.
Using an electric knife sharpener can give you speedy and effortless results. However, these are expensive instruments and cannot be operated outdoors or during a power failure at your home.