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I love a sharp kitchen knife. A truly sharp knife makes meal prep fun. I could also say that it’s safer and helps you save time, but honestly, for me the main attraction is just the tactile feel. Slicing a tomato with a super-sharp knife is really fun. Is that weird?
First off, you’re going to need a good knife. This isn’t a post about that, so I’ll just tell you what I’ve been using: A Global 8” chef’s knife. I got it for a great price and it punches well above its weight — excellent Japanese steel that holds an edge for a long time, and blade geometry that’s fun (there’s that word again) and easy to control. I’ve experimented with a few other knives over the years and this one’s the best I’ve used to date.
So we got the knife out of the way; let’s assume it’s a good one. Now you’re going to want to keep it sharp. That means touching up the blade every now and then, and sometimes doing a full sharpening.
To that end, I’ve tried a few solutions over the years:
Above, you can see my sharpener collection. There’s an electric Eversharp, a well-rated “pull through” sharpener from Zwilling for quick touch-ups, the excellently-reviewed WorkSharp, and finally, today’s star, the Hone Knife Sharpener.
ZSA Loves isn’t really about comparative reviews, but I can just say the Hone is the best of these, by far.
Here’s how it works:
There’s a sturdy rubber block with angled sides (one side is 15 degrees and the other is 20). There are magnets on each side. You snap your blade on, and then roll the sharpening disc on the counter while touching it to the blade. To me, that’s a surprising way to use a sharpener.
You may have seen this style of sharpener pop up on social media. The ones I’ve seen tend to be wooden, and they have one major difference: The discs are fixed. You get one disc on either side (usually a diamond disc and then a spiral steel honing side) and that’s it. That’s not good enough: Those sharpeners work well in the beginning, but can then quickly drop off in efficiency. The Hone takes the basic shape and mechanism and makes it much better, because you can pop the discs out (they’re also magnetically attached) and swap them out for even finer or coarser ones. Here’s me, popping on the ceramic disc:
It’s an opinionated device: You can sharpen your knife at any angle you’d like, as long as it’s either 15 or 20 degrees. This makes it easy to repeat the angle in later sharpenings and touch-ups. This is an issue I’ve had with the WorkSharp sharpener shown above, where it was challenging to set up the same exact angle next time.
The rubber block’s two other sides can be used to anchor small paring knives at those same two angles, so you don’t need to have a big chef’s knife:
The Hone is a practical sharpener. If setting up a sharpener is a whole production, I’m less likely to reach for it. With the Hone, an entire sharpening session (unboxing, coarse disc, fine disc, ceramic disc, and putting it away) takes maybe five minutes. And quick blade touch-ups really are quick.
I still find myself using the pull-through sharpener for the small paring knives because that literally takes seconds. If I had the counter space I might leave the Hone right on the counter, making it quicker to access. As it is, it sits in the nice reusable box it came in. The box even closes with little magnets — it’s meant to house the sharpener permanently, and is another thoughtful touch.
Two surprises, for me:
The first was getting such a high-end product from a small independent business. I happen to know how much work that takes. :) It was fun to go to a standalone site and buy something from a small company and then get a package that truly delivers.
The second surprise was that the form factor not only works, but works better than all of my other sharpeners. Simple to use, quick, repeatable, and feels sturdy and safe. Oh, and the end result is a very sharp knife. What more could I ask for?