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How to Use an Electric Knife Sharpener – Chef’s Choice 320 & 120 Demonstration Videos

Dull knives are not just inconvenient, but also quite dangerous. If you have your knives sharpened on a regular basis, you can get all your cutting, chopping, and carving done quickly without risk. This is why one should know how to use an electric knife sharpener.

There are two kinds of knife sharpeners available on the market: electric and manual. The methods for using them aren’t difficult, but you should know how to go about it.

This is especially true for electric knife sharpeners, since they’re a fairly new addition. Make the best use of them by learning how to operate it safely and efficiency by following the steps below.

How to Use an Electric Knife Sharpener Step by Step

Switching on

First, you should plug in the electric knife sharpener. Since this would be a little larger than a manual sharpener, it may actually take up as much space as a proper appliance. After plugging in, flip the button to ‘ON’.

2-Stage or 3-Stage Sharpener?

Electric knife sharpeners usually have at least two stages, which is also called 2-stage sharpener. Each stage has 2 slots, for grinding each side of the blade. Each stage would mean a certain level of coarseness.

Let’s take the Chef’s Choice 320 sharpener as an example. This is a 2-stage electric sharpener. You may also want to read the review on Chef’s Choice 320 to have a good understanding of this sharpener.

The stage that gives the coarsest result would usually have the label ‘1/one’ or simply ‘coarse’. This stage will remove the bulk of the steel from the blade.

Stage 2 is for refining the blade. It is usually for horning the knife after the blade has been sharpened through stage 1. If your knife is not dull and just wants to refine it, then skip stage 1 and proceed to stage 2.

The Chef’s Choice 320 is an affordable 2-stage electric knife sharpener.

>> Check out the reviews and lowest price on Amazon <<

There are many models that come with more than 2 stages.  Stage 3 is for stropping and polishing to hairsplitting sharpness. And this final stage is also used for sharpening serrated blades.

Depending on the model, stage1 and 2 may have 100 percent diamond abrasives and stage 3 could be ceramic or diamond abrasive.

The Chef’s Choice 120 is a 3-stage sharpener in this example.

Sharpening a knife with a 3 stage sharpener applies the same procedures as using a 2 stage sharpener. It is just another slot in between of the coarse and fine stage for better refining of the knife.

Depending on what kind of result you want, either 2-stage or 3-stage sharpener should produce optimum results. We may need to sharpen a dull knife or just for honing the blade, an electric knife sharpener would get the job done in under a minute.

The chef’s choice sharpeners can turn all types of dull knives into razor-sharp knives (hunting and fishing knives, pocket knives, kitchen and household knives and even cleaver). That will also include straight edge and serrated blades.

The Chef’s Choice 120 has 100% diamond abrasives in stage 1 and 2 and with unique stropping disk in stage 3 for hairsplitting sharpness. Last check, more than 500 positive reviews on Amazon.

>> Check out Chef’s Choice 120 lowest price here <<

Start Sharpening

Stage 1

You should first pull your blade along the first stage. Put the blade’s heel on the left slot of stage 1, and lightly pull back. When you see the tip of the knife clear the slot, you know you’re done with this step.

Always try to put the blade’s base very close to the opening of the slot. Make sure you start working from the base all the way to the tip. Also, make sure to push in the knife as deep as you can but do not apply pressure. This is to ensure the blade is in full contact with the diamond abrasive to achieve optimum results.

When you’re pulling you should notice the sharpener itself putting the knife at a 15-20 degree position. So don’t worry if the handle tips up slightly. It’s supposed to work that way!

Next, pass the knife through the right slot of stage 1. This will complete one pass on each side of the blade.


Repeat another round for both sides of the blade for stage 1. In total, each slot should get the knife at least twice.

For a very dull knife that has never been sharpened for years, you may repeat this step for another one or two passes before processing to stage 2.

Stage 2

After stage 1, the knife is considered very sharp but the burr needs to be removed on the blade by passing through stage 2.

Be very careful to pass the knife in and out as mentioned above – a back and forth motion would be very dangerous and would possibly damage the knife.

Let’s summarize the sharpening steps using the Chef’s Choice 320 sharpener.

Coarse Sharpening

  • Switch on the sharpener
  • Put the dull blade on the left slot of the angle guide of stage1 (coarse) and slowly pull it towards you to the end of the tip
  • Repeat the above step on the right slot
  • Repeat another pass again (repeat the above 2 steps) to complete the coarse sharpening

Fine Sharpening/Honing

  • Do the above sharpening steps but only in stage 2.

Be Careful!

An electric knife sharpener’s slot would have a stone or grinding wheel of its own. These parts would turn in the opposite direction to the blade. This method is quite fast and could get a bit intense, even dangerous.

We can get our knives sharp real quick with such a treasure! Even extremely dull old blades would find themselves sharper than new. However, we do need to stay on the alert while operating the sharpener.

Avoid children standing around you during the sharpening process.

Should You Skip Stage 1?

Of course, if you want to hone the blade each time before cutting food, use only the last stage.

However, you may find that after several months of heavy usage, honing the blade is not enough to maintain its hairsplitting sharpness. It is a good practice to go through every stage again to achieve a razor sharp blade.

Rinsing and Drying

After you have sharpened the knife which normally takes about a minute, it may now have some fine metal shavings on it. Don’t start chopping and craving just yet!

Always be sure to rinse every knife after your sharpen it. And, just to be on the safe side, make sure you wipe every knife dry after rinsing. We don’t want that metal in our bodies, so down the drain it goes!

Empty Shavings

An electric knife sharpener would usually get rid of most of the shavings when sharpening a knife. They’re equipped with magnets on the inside, which attract those filings to themselves.

The shavings collected by the electric knife sharpener would be collected in a bin within the sharpener itself. After some uses, be sure to empty out this bin. Much like clearing out the crumb tray of a toaster, this keeps the machine in prime working order.

If you’re confused about how to locate the collection bin and remove/clean it, there should be an instruction manual handy. This should contain detailed instructions on how to perform this important task.

Handle Carefully

Your electric knife sharpener should be kept away from dust and debris. Otherwise, something could get caught in its workings and make it less effective. It is advised that you keep this sharpener either covered or in closed storage when you’re not using it.

You also need to handle those extra-sharp knives with care! If you’re using a knife for the first time after sharpening, you may have to concentrate a bit to cut properly and without accident.

You may have become used to pressing the dull knife with your whole arm, but now all you need is a fingertip and a steady hand. It may be easier, but it could also be dangerous. So remember that you’re working with a whole new tool now, and take good care!

Are You Ready to Master The Skill?

Learning how to use an electric knife sharpener is easy, the difficult part is no chance to master it.

Do you agree?

If yes, we would recommend to check out the reviews below for some of the models before you decide to buy one.

Highly recommended 3-stage sharpener
Chef’s Choice 1520 AngleSelect Diamond Hone Sharpener, best for 15 and 20 degree angles.
Chef’ Choice 15 Trizor XV, best for 15-degree angle. Or use it to reprofile a 20-degree angle to 15-degree.

Budget 2-stage sharpener
Presto 08800 EverrSharp Electric Knife Sharpener
Linkyo Electric Knife Sharpener


If you’ve been used to dull knives for a long time, cutting with a sharp one could be heavenly! With a nifty electric knife sharpener, you could be slicing through fruit and meat like they’re mere butter!

Your cooking time would probably be cut into half as well, if you’ll pardon the pun.

We may conclude that an electric knife sharpener is quite a useful addition to any kitchen setup. Getting our knives sharpened somewhere else could be inconvenient, especially if you regularly use them.

The average turnaround time for a knife sharpening service is about 2 weeks. But it could be more than a month depending on the workload. To work things out, it’s even better to get it sharpened in minutes in the comfort of your home.

Of course, a good quality knife sharpener will yield results comparable to a professional sharpening service. The Chef’s Choice is one of the reputable companies that many chefs recommend.

So, do you need an electric knife sharpener to make your life easier? My humble opinion is yes, and it is an asset to any home kitchen.

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