Consumer Reports: Knife-sharpening know-how

Knife Sharpener
Knife Sharpener

You use them every day, but chances are they don’t get the TLC they need: We’re talking about kitchen knives.

If yours haven’t been sharpened in the past few months, you’re probably cutting—or trying to cut—with a dull knife. That’s not only frustrating but also dangerous.

Consumer Reports reveals the tools you need to keep your knives slicing and dicing for years to come.

Pull-through sharpeners typically cost $5 to $50. With these, you start right at the base of the knife near its bolster and pull all the way through to the tip. Once you’ve made a few passes on the coarse setting, you want to progress to the finer settings to polish the edge.

There are also sharpening stones, or whetstones, that offer a more hands-on experience. But they require more skill and can take some time to master.

Start with an inexpensive two-sided stone from your local hardware store rather than invest hundreds of dollars in equipment. Because while it can be fun, it can also be kind of frustrating and can take a very long time.

If you don’t care about honing your sharpening skills, an electric knife sharpener is a great option for serious home cooks. CR says to look for newer models that offer a flexible belt and a guide that helps keep your knife at the right angle.

And what about that honing rod that often comes with knife sets? CR says it’s another maintenance tool, but it’s not a sharpener. Honing your knives helps them cut better and extends the time between sharpenings. Check out CR’s website for a video on how to use a honing rod.